World of Chig   

100 years old today

It's not every day you go to a one hundredth birthday party. It's not often you go to a birthday party for a building either, but that's what Chig is doing this afternoon. Our local swimming baths, Moseley Road Baths in Balsall Heath, are 100 years old today. They were opened by the mayor on 30th October 1907, so today the current mayor of Birmingham is retracing the route taken by his predecessor and walking from Birmingham city centre, out to Balsall Heath. We'll be joining in. Then we'll be going to an afternoon tea dance opposite the pool.

This magnificent Edwardian building needs millions of pounds spent on it, because Birmingham City Council has neglected the basic structure for years. However, they are considering closing it instead, which just cannot be allowed to happen. Today's centenary celebrations are just the beginning of a year of events to raise the building's profile and hopefully save this local legacy.


The Victorian Society includes Moseley Road Baths in its list of the country's ten most endangered buildings, published earlier this month.

Friends of Moseley Road Baths - MySpace profile.

Friends of Moseley Road Baths - facebook group.

Moseley Road Baths on Wikipedia.

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Who does one think one is?

It was a deliciously brilliant piece of timing for the BBC to show Matthew Pinsent's family history adventure tonight, on the day when the BBC itself is one of the main news stories, as people begin to digest the cutbacks announced yesterday. In 'Who Do You Think You Are?' tonight, BBC One played one of its trump cards, by showing just how brilliant BBC factual programming can be.

I've been hooked on WDYTYA? since it started (and this is the end of series four), but tonight's was one of the best. It sent shivers down my spine and made me very jealous that I have only traced my family tree back eight generations in one direction to one person born in the 1770s. I don't want to spoil the programme if you didn't watch Pinsent's story tonight, but let's just say he was able to go considerably further back and uncover some rather famous connections. (I haven't had a team of BBC researchers and genealogists to help me though, and he hasn't put in the hours at the Family Records Centre that I have, which is half the fun.) I strongly recommend you catch it when it's repeated. The repeats are currently running a few weeks behind the first showings (with Carol Vorderman's programme on after midnight tonight and Alistair McGowan's next week), but they're shown again, with signing, late on Thursday nights.

Pinsent's quest is the family history hunt to end them all, and will either encourage thousands more to start investigating their own family trees, or make people give up, because they know they will never...

No, enough, I'll say no more. Just look out for it when it's on again. If you are going to watch it, DON'T read this - it gives away too much information. If you happened to catch it tonight, what did you think?

Photo courtesy BBC.

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[17:35] Chig is currently listening to Five Live's commentary on the crucial Russia v. England European football qualifier. The BBC apologised for the sound quality before they handed over to their commentators in Moscow. They started the match commentating down their mobile phones, moving to a landline after about twelve minutes. They haven't explained why the Russians haven't provided proper broadcasting facilities. I'm sure we'll find out when the BBC team gets back home. In the meantime, we are having to strain to listen to commentary which sounds like it's coming from outer space, with cotton wool over the microphones.

All is not lost though. As several listeners have mentioned, it's just like the olden days. Football commentary always used to be like this when I was little, so I'm feeling quite nostalgic.

On the downside, England are losing 2-1, having taken an early lead on the artificial pitch.

UPDATE: England have lost, 2-1. There is now a very real chance that they won't be in Austria and Switzerland next year for the European Championships. The maths are complicated, but we may have to hope that Israel beat Russia and FYR Macedonia beat Croatia; two very unlikely results. Suddenly, despite the fact that there's not a drop of Scottish blood mingling with the English, French, Welsh and Irish blood in my veins (as far as I know), I'm feeling very Scottish. Off to watch their game with Georgia now. At least this one's on the telly.

Photo courtesy BBC News.

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Toše Proeski RIP

Eurovision fans are in shock today, not to mention most people in the Balkans. Toše Proeski (Тоше Проески), who represented the former Yugoslav republic of Macedonia in Eurovision 2004 in Istanbul, was killed at 06:25 (BST+CET) this morning in a car crash in Croatia, at the tragically young age of 26. It seems he was a passenger in a vehicle which crashed into the back of another. He was the only fatality. The driver and another passenger, Toše's manager, have survived the crash.

Toše and his dramatically presented song 'Life' (above) surprised quite a few people in 2004, by getting through the first ever Eurovision qualifier and finishing a reasonable 14th out of 24 in the final. More importantly, he was a multilingual megastar in the former Yugoslav countries, where this will be massive news today.

Our condolences to all involved with him.

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It's been a bad 48 hours for the UK's Eurovision fans. On Sunday, Wogan was elevated to the status of cultural icon by well-meaning but ultimately batty Radio 2 listeners. This has probably extended his tenure on Eurovision by another five years, at least.

Today, we learn that Ronnie Hazlehurst has died. Not only was his name one of the most seen in TV credits of the 1970s, because he'd written the theme tunes, but he was also a Eurovision fixture. He was musical director for three Eurovisions and conducted the UK entry seven times. This clip, from Eurovision 1974 in Brighton, is possibly not Ronnie Hazlehurst's finest moment, but Katie Boyle does mention his name twice in the first minute, once in English and once in French. What more could anyone want?

Here's a better tribute. Hazlehurst is the one looking like Steed from the Avengers at the beginning of this 1977 Eurovision clip (Wogan-free version):

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Throwing it all away

Spurs 1-0 Villa
Spurs 1-1 Villa
Spurs 1-2 Villa
Spurs 1-3 Villa
Spurs 1-4 Villa
Spurs 2-4 Villa
Spurs 3-4 Villa

92nd minute: Spurs 4-4 Villa

Bloomin' heck!

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