Saturday 30 August 2014

Bread and butter in the gutter…

Alright Mac? Well you’ll notice that things have been quiet here in blogville of late, but hey today’s your birthday and I wasn’t going to let the day sneak by without giving you a shout and saying that, once again, you’re still right here in our thoughts and, in fact, it’s all about to kick off.

First off, I ought to give your lovely chum Sarah Chong a shout – today she’s shaving off her locks on your behalf, and of course I’ll be shaking the money jar at all your many fans (that means you dear reader). She’s donating to The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity, Cancer Research UK and Trinity Hospice, all the while reminding the world that you’re a top bird and that we all miss the fact you won’t be joining us for a pint and a Tunnocks Teacake this evening.

And you’ll be glad to know that filming on “The C-Word” has wrapped and while we’re all waiting for an air date, I suspect it won’t be too long. The bloody wonderful Sheridan Smith has been telling everyone about stepping into your Louboutins for the cameras and we’re all getting prepped for your prime time debut. There’ll be more on this blog when it hits the airwaves anyway.

Anyway, it’s been nearly eighteen months now since you stepped offstage, but I wanted to let you know that we’re all thinking of you today. As one of your besties said to me just now, “For me, it seems everytime I'm really down or unwell a little sign will come and make me think of her. A song, or I will see someone reading her book, or remember some of her wise counsel. I don't feel like she's gone, although I miss her.”

Couldn’t have put it better myself. I love the fact that you’re still here being generally awesome, we don’t stop thinking about you every single day, and above all, miss you mate.

Happy birthday you old bird.

Thursday 24 April 2014

You wait ages for a bus...

Well it's been reasonably quiet here on the Alright Tit homestead after all the "ooh eck” excitement of the big BBC news, as you may know, I've been on the hunt for guest blogs from El Mac's homies, and now there's not just one but two popped up. I’ll publish the next one in a couple of days, but for now, here’s some fine bloggery from Lisa’s kid bro. Enjoy…

A view from the inside

Right then. I’ve been trying to pluck up the courage to do this for a year now, so it looks like I’ve finally got there. It has been three years since my last guest post on this blog and I believe I’m well overdue another one, and more importantly, I definitely owe it to my Sis to make a contribution, even if she isn’t around anymore to edit for me! So for those of you, who haven’t already gathered it, allow me to introduce myself. I’m Jamie or James, Lisa’s Bro. I literally have no planned structure for this, so I have no idea where it’s going to lead, but stick with and we’ll see how it goes.

We’re over a year on now since Lisa moved upstairs. All of the “firsts” are out of the way, Birthday’s, Crimbo, and Anniversaries etc etc. And although they have generally been immensely wank, we have tried, as a family, to enjoy them as much as possible, which is exactly what Lisa would have wanted. Without wanting to toot our own family horn too much, I think that on the whole we’ve done a bloody good job too. We’re all dealing with what we have to deal with, the reality of the shituation that has been presented to us all. We have our moments, of course we have our moments. We’ll continue to have our moments, which is only natural, but life does go on, as we are learning, the very hard way. It’s not the same, it is worse of course. Any life without Lisa Lynch in it is going to be worse, but life is going on nonetheless. In spite of our shituation, we’ve done a lot of lovely things over the last year, and a lot of lovely developments have happened, but I’ll come on to them more later on I imagine.

Not too long ago, it was the one year anniversary of Lisa’s funeral. I thought it would be a good idea to read through the eulogy I prepared for the occasion, before I put finger to keyboard. Turns out that wasn’t such a good idea though, as it pretty much wrecked me before I started. To be fair, that was the first time I’ve read it since the funeral, so I guess it was to be expected.

The funeral itself was a remarkable occasion. It was horrible in many ways, for blindingly obvious reasons. But on the other hand it was remarkably uplifting, and made all of her family feel ridiculously proud. I like to think that my Sister would be pretty proud of me too though, for needing to get a kebab on my walk back to my hotel after the wake! She wouldn’t have called it a wake though. After party would have been more like it for her. That after party was a great occasion, even though it was an occasion that we never wanted to need to attend. The location was great; the food was great but most importantly the people were great. Only Lisa could have had a wake where people left saying “that were a fuckin’ crackin’ night out were that”. We know that’s the way she would have wanted it too.

Very recently, we’ve had yet another example of just how cruel life could be, having lost a very close family friend and ultra-long term colleague/business partner of my Dad’s in a tragic car accident. Keith Poynton was one of the finest people you could ever meet, and that is in no way any kind of emotional over-reaction, as anybody who knew Keith, knows exactly what I mean. This tragic loss has yet again left us all questioning, why such bad things happen to the best, and in Lisa and Keith’s case, the very best people. Whilst we at least had chance to prepare ourselves in some way as to what was eventually going to happen to Lisa, Keith’s family didn’t have that “relative” luxury, something that I personally just can’t imagine. We can obviously relate to the loss they are feeling now, albeit in very different circumstances, and as a family we can, will and are, going to be able to offer support, just in the same way they have to us. Keith’s funeral was another remarkable occasion, but one everybody wishes would have never been needed. It was dreadfully sad, of course, but uplifting at the same time. A marquee at Derbyshire’s Cricket Ground filled with hundreds of people immaculately dressed (just as the great man himself would have been), wonderful tributes and eulogy, and even a lovely toast made by my Dad. The sheer quantity of people in attendance was just a measure of the size of loss for the Poynton family and their friends. But the kindness on display by all in attendance restored your faith in humanity, just like it did at Lisa’s funeral. As a close family friend, Lisa obviously knew Keith very well herself, and in Keith, she has been joined upstairs by the very finest company she could have wished for.

So, back to the life goes on bit. We’ve had to keep ourselves busy to keep sane, but in keeping busy we’ve done a lot of nice things between us, as a family. You know, weekend breaks, holidays, nice meals, family days out, that kinda stuff. Lisa liked nice things, and she’d stick a rocket up our jacksie’s if she thought we didn’t continue to do nice things, even in her absence.

As much as I’m a hypocritical fuckwit for despising Social Media, yet using it every day, it has been bloody good way of keeping in touch with Lisa’s mates. That has been really important for me and just the knowing that I’m connected to these people has actually provided me with great deal of comfort. Seeing some of Lisa’s mates has been great for us too. We were fortunate enough to go on a family holiday last September to California and even more fortunate to spend a day in LA with the wonderful Ant. This day meant a hell of a lot to us, as I imagine it probably did for Ant too. Not because we’re such delightful company and because she really wanted to spend time escorting a family with whining jet-lagged nearly two year old boy around LA, but because I can imagine she felt a bit closer to Lisa with us being there. That whole holiday was great for us and I like to think Lisa would have been looking down on us taking Corey round Disneyland, over “Buddy-Owl Bridge” (long, family story, but a significant family moment) and then pushing him around our Villa’s swimming pool in his famous blow up car that she and Pete bought for our holiday in Spain together, a year earlier. We deserved a bloody good break and a bloody good break is what we got. We only wished it could have been ALL of us.

As the dreaded first Christmas crept up on us, Ant was back over in the UK and so she and the (also) wonderful Tilly arranged to come and see us. This meant that they had the ultimate privilege of entering the centre of the universe… Derby. I can only imagine that a visit to such a City as Derby was a lifetime goal for them both, as it would be for any resident of LA or London. But for us it was great to be close to some of Lisa’s very close mates again, and I’m sure that for Ant and Tilly to be able to come to the City and house where Lisa grew up, was an special moment for them too.

Lisa has missed out on a lot from a family point of view. She’d absolutely love to see her nephew Corey and some of the things he comes out with now. He still remembers her too, which is the most important thing to us. He recognises any picture of Auntie Lisa and regularly kisses them. We say goodnight to Auntie Lisa every night from his bedroom window and then Corey blows her a kiss and sometimes even sings her a song. She’d love the fact that he knows that we must say “boo” when we say Nottingham Forest, and she’d be even happier to see him singing “Auntie Lisa is the best, is the best, is the best, Auntie Lisa is the best, she hates Forest”. The “she hates Forest” bit came by accident really when I couldn’t think quickly enough when Corey requested an Auntie Lisa song one night at bed time. But it has stuck like mud, and I’m not going to lie to you, I’m not even nearly ashamed of it! Now Corey is talking more and more, I dread to think what kind of trouble Auntie Lisa could have got him in.

There have been so many moments where my natural reaction has been, call my Sis, or, I need to tell Lisa about this. Corey would say things or do things that I would have normally share with Lisa straight away. I just can’t do that anymore. Then there are things that only the pair of us would probably ever get excited about. For example, I recently discovered that the lead singer of one of our favourite 90’s bands (Audioweb) sings the theme tune to Rastamouse (check it out, it’s genius) on CBeebies. I always had a hunch that his was the case, but when I finally discovered it, I reached for my phone ready to tell my Sis, only to remember I can’t just call her or drop her a text anymore. That feeling, ladies and gentlemen, is the definition of a motherfucker!

Nobody else would appreciate that completely useless piece of information quite like my Sis would. Then there’s the love of music that we shared. I’ve bought loads of albums that I know Lisa & I would have loved over the last year, but I’ve hardly listened to any of them. That will come with time I’m sure though. The first one I bought was Queens of the Stone Age – “…Like Clockwork”. That was something I loved on first listen, and I knew Lisa would too. But she just ain’t knocking around anymore for us to talk about it. The amount of times the phrase “Lisa would have loved that” has been said by anyone in our family is a little bit ridiculous to be honest.

Aside from the family stuff, she has missed a lot going on in the world. What she probably wouldn’t have expected to have missed was Derby County getting good! Alright, good in relative terms then. This has obviously denied her the wonderful opportunity to royally rip into Chris Ward after Derby beat Forest 5-0 the other week. She has a funny way of coming back to haunt people does our Sis! With a lot of luck, there may even be a family showdown next year between Derby County and Pete’s Everton. I think even Pete would be rooting for Derby if that was the case! Mum, Dad and I have enjoyed going to the match much more again this season, not because things are going well on the pitch, but mainly because we’ve moved our Season Ticket seats to Lisa’s favourite stand. It just feels right again, and I personally like to think that when the seat next to me is empty that Lisa is sitting in it.

As Toby recently updated, there has been more news that Lisa has missed, but would be delighted to hear. The news that the BBC will be officially adapting Lisa’s book, The C Word, for TV was not a surprise as such for her family, but the realisation of it being out in the public domain got the emotions flowing yet again. I was away with work in Singapore when the press release came out, and was caught off guard a bit when I received a tweet about it from a friend. I was just in the process of wrapping up a week long workshop, and could have easily burst out into tears, but had to hold it in. It was a bit of a mad panic as I was flying home that night, but I just wanted to find out what was going on. I just wanted to be with my wife and parents, and talk to Pete. I remember messaging Pete before I boarded my flight home, and I took it upon myself to introduce myself to the one and only Sheridan Smith on Twitter, advising her that as she was playing my Sis, she was the only person to have the honour of referring to me as Arseface! She is a delightful young lady, and will do a fantastic job playing Lisa.

I can’t describe the pride I felt that day when the press release came out. I was so pleased for Lisa, yet so sad that she won’t get to see the finished article. Although I like to think in some way she will. Pride was the key emotion, but I’d be lying if I said all the pain didn’t come flooding back with it. I know it was the same for the rest of the family too. I can’t imagine how we’ll be when it hits the screen, but I’m pretty sure once again that the main emotion will be pride. I just wish so much that we weren’t even in the situation to be having a TV drama about my Sis, but on the flip side I’m so bloody proud and excited that the world will get to see how brilliant she is. I’m also so, so pleased that the hard work of so many people is going to come to fruition. Lisa spent a lot of time working with people like Nicole Taylor (writer) and was even in contact with Sheridan Smith herself. The fact that Sheridan has agreed to play Lisa would make her brilliant smile beam from ear to ear, because that is just what she wanted. It’s a bizarre situation for our family to be in, but if you hadn’t gathered already, it’s a bloody proud one too. And when Corey is old enough to understand fully, we’re going to have something to show him to make him fully appreciate just how special his Auntie Lisa really is. At which point we’ll probably be getting a letter from his School Head Teacher advising us that he’s being going round calling the other kids Twatclacker!

As you can see, although life on the inside is very tough at times, it is still going on. This next 12 months will be no different, as will the 12 months after that, and so on and so on. That is just the way life if is now, forever more. Just because life is continuing, it doesn’t mean that Lisa isn’t still an integral part of it. Pete has his mahoosive Bike ride from London to Paris with is mates in aid of The Lisa Lynch fund at Trinity Hospice (so pull your finger out your arse and sponsor him), then me and Pete are going to attempt to win the Trinity Golf day, with a couple of my mates soon after. We’ll continue to spread the word and thanks to the people that helped Lisa out so much. No doubt there will also be holidays, weekend breaks, nice meals, summer days out at Cricket etc etc. Myself, Leanne and Corey are even (hopefully) moving house soon. So things aren’t standing still, they are no better, they are no easier. They can’t be, because Lisa isn’t here. But we plough on as a family, because that is what we have to do. We’re not moping around feeling sorry for ourselves, but as I mentioned earlier, we do have our moments, individually and together. We didn’t need this shituation for us to realise how close we are, that was always a given. But for me, the important thing is that we think about Lisa every day, talk about Lisa everyday, do things that Lisa would like, eat things that Lisa would like, watch things that Lisa would like, go places that Lisa would like, see people that Lisa likes, and generally do the main thing that Lisa wanted us to do… quit fucking around and get on with it!

So there is a little view from the inside for you I guess, I don’t know if you’re still reading at this point, but if you are thank you. If you take away anything from this post, let it be this… for some, completely fucked up reason, bad things will continue to happen to good people, so we need to make sure we make the most of everything we do, and the people we do it with. And if you wanted to take anything else away from this post, please remember that my Sister is fucking brilliant, still! Very proud little brother signing off.

Until next time,


Tuesday 11 March 2014

Dear Lisa...

Ey up Mac.

Well of course today is March 11, and that means it's been a year today since you left us, so I thought that, seeing has how you've lumbered me here with all this blog malarkey, I'd say hello and keep you posted on what's been going on.

Before you ask, I've no idea how Derby County did last season, but for all of your homies back here, it's been quite a year. Life goes on, some of us have had tough times, there’s been plenty of drama and for all of us, things have been pretty relentless, but to tell you the honest truth mate, I think we can all safely say it’s not been the same without you.

For me at least, it took me a while to get my head around the fact you’re no longer just a witty tweet away. I lose count of the times where I’ve been dealing with some stress or other and thinking, all I really need right now is for you to just say “Jonze…” followed by something clever, and suddenly I’d get reminded of your uncanny knack of calmly dealing with truly terrifying shit and coming out of it even more awesome, then suddenly my shit would suddenly be got together too.

Your send-off was something spectacular by the way. I remember it well. The sun was out in the afternoon, and most of your friends and family were there. I got to meet quite a few of them and we talked about you quite a bit – I’d go so far as to suggest you were the centre of conversation actually.

I’ve made quite a few close friends from the people I nattered with there. Nice bunch. Didn’t get a chance to talk to you I know, but it was very clear you were there. You could tell. It was seamlessly planned, warm, funny, poignant and full of cool people who you could tell were just thrilled they’d got a chance to hang around you long enough to get an invite.

Anyway, we’ve all kept in touch since then, we’re looking after each other and we’re all remembering you every day. I’ve been taking care of this blog like you asked, despite my feet being far too small for your gigantic Louboutins (talk about tough acts to follow). We all sent you messages on your birthday and we raised the odd glass as well, but once again, it's just not the same I'm afraid.

I'm guessing you've heard all about the TV adaptation right? I mentioned it a couple of days ago here, but I guess we shouldn't be surprised - this is just the sort of amazing shit we're used to from you now (to quote your good self, "talk about milking it"). Still, it's going to be great seeing you again on the box again (yeah, I remember your GMTV thing).  That Sheridan Whatshername is going to kick ass just like you always do.

Oh, and we're all doing stuff too. Your mate Sarah Chong is shaving her head on your birthday this year to raise cash for The Royal Marsden, Trinity Hospice and Cancer Research UK (I'd offer to do the same but no one would notice). Here's a nice big link.

And even your fella is getting in on the act. Pete and five of his mates are cycling from London to Paris to raise money for Trinity Hospice between April 30 and May 2, so we're all going to shamelessly lean on your celeb-ness to try and drum up some cash for that. I shall report more and shake the charity tin a bit as well in the weeks to come, but here's a link for you in the mean time.

Anyway, I promised I'd spread the word for all of them and I'm sure your loyal blog fans will be reaching for their debit cards as soon as they read this (NOTE TO READERS: This is a subliminal hint - ed). 

In the mean time, you can rest assured your blog remains safe in my semi-competent hands. I'll make sure to bring lots of news about Pete's and Sarah's escapades and fleece your readers for cash ruthlessly, plus I'll make sure to tell them all about your grand TV debut as I learn more. So there's plenty more to come, don't you worry bird.

Anyway, I'd love to say it's been a year and we're all getting used to you being away, but we both know that's bollocks, right? Firstly, we never get used to it. We love you Mac, I love you Mac. You're so frigging fab and groovy to so many people that even when you're not about, I still get messages constantly telling me just how your ability to towel-flick The Bullshit™ repeatedly in the nadgers has got them through what seemed like the impossible.

For me, I'm just glad I got to be part of the inner circle. Now that you're going to be an international TV superstar, I can tell people, "yeah Lisa, she was a good mate of mine. Fucking appalling iTunes library..."

Miss you Mac. x

Saturday 8 March 2014

Lights, camera...

Well things have been quiet here at AT Towers, I admit. It’s coming up on a year since the old bird stepped out and left me, Tim Cook style, in charge, and it’s admittedly been a quiet six months since the last birthday posts. For me and for everyone who’s been part of the Alright Tit story, it’s been a time to reflect.

And yet this wouldn’t be Lisa’s blog without her still managing to surprise us all from time to time, and last Friday, on a dreary drive to work, I got an email from Pete with a link.

“Sheridan Smith to play cancer blogger Lisa Lynch”

Actress Sheridan Smith will play journalist Lisa Lynch, in a BBC adaptation of The C-Word, the book which chronicled her fight with cancer.

Now, truth be told, this wasn’t completely out of the blue – I knew that there was a script bubbling away somewhere and that the awesome Ms Smith was linked to it, but seeing it there all official-like on the BBC News site was a whole different matter.

We held off on announcing until the official press release came out (you can find it here) and then a week of me freezing up in front of the keyboard dragged it out until now, but here it is. Lisa, our awesome, gorgeous and thoroughly amazing Lisa, is back and will be hogging the prime time schedules one night soon.

It’s early days yet but rest assured, there’ll be more to come and I’ll be doing all I can to keep you all posted as the 90-minute drama develops. But in the mean time, a couple of thank yous.

Thank you Sheridan Smith. I thought you were lovely in “The 7.39” and it’s pretty clear that Lisa thought you were the dog’s bollocks too. You are going to do a wonderful job playing our girl.

And most of all, thank you Lisa Bloody Lynch. You just refuse to stop amazing us all don’t you?