Alan Castle: Moan all you like, I’m gonna Do It Like A Dude

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CHOKING on your muesli can be a dangerous thing!

But that’s exactly what happened to me, at the breakfast table, on Thursday when Mrs Castle put last week’s Gazette in front of me.

What caused this cereal-related disaster I hear you cry?

Well, at first, I didn’t want to say it out loud, just in case it wasn’t true.

But it is, so here goes ...Jessie J is coming to Alnwick this summer.

Whoop, whoop – to coin a rather odd, but what seemed to be a happy cheer from the mini-Castles.

Now I may not be down with the kids (I believe that’s the expression), nor do I have her latest album on my iPod – whatever one of those is – but I can still appreciate a superstar when he or she rolls into town.

So I thought that last week’s front-page story, that the Price Tag singer (I had to look that up), was going to be performing in the shadow of Alnwick Castle, in front of an expected 12,000 crowd – the largest ever for this annual town event – was good news.

But it seems that not everyone is satisfied – and not just because she may not be your cup of tea.

Oh no. Instead, it seems that some people are not content that this modern-day star, who is currently gracing both our TV screens and the pop charts, and has performed at little-known festivals such as Glastonbury – so I’m told – is coming to Alnwick. She’s not big enough for us. I’ve actually heard that some folk are bemoaning the fact that the likes of Nicki Minaj or Lady Gaga – I’ve heard they’re also very good and very modern – aren’t coming instead.

Come on people. There comes a time when you simply have to be grateful – and this is one.

To attract the likes of Jessie J is huge for little, old Alnwick, and has to be appreciated, whether or not you like or loathe her music.

That’s exactly why I have already bought my tickets – which I’ve heard are nearly sold out – and believe me, when she rolls into town, I’m going to Do It Like A Dude (that’s the name of one of her songs by the way – cheers mini-Castles).

THE town of Alnwick, and north Northumberland as a whole, was offered a stark reminder of the dire economic situation that we are facing last week.

In this very newspaper, the creation of 40 manufacturing jobs by fishing tackle firm LYNX was heralded as a great boost for the town, and rightly so.

But while it was encouraging for the company that 250 to 300 people turned out to compete for the 40 posts, it is a very sobering illustration of the employment situation facing many people.

This huge turnout underlines why these sorts of stories about local companies and firms creating jobs and investing in the north of our county need to be celebrated.

When this whole economic crisis kicked off four or so years ago, it seemed to me that the media hype far exceeded the actual situation facing many normal families.

Those who had kept their jobs had a bit less, maybe, but it wasn’t so bad, was it?

Now with no sign of the problems relenting and the news of the country returning to recession, everyone now seems to be facing up to the stark realities of the crisis facing our country and our county.

As the cliche goes, the recession is really starting to bite now.

My loyal readers will know that I never give the county council an easy ride, but credit where credit’s due and supporting the creation of jobs is exactly what the bigwigs in County Hall should be putting their minds and resources to.

Let’s hope the hard-working folk of Alnwick and beyond who are successful in joining LYNX help the business keep their promise and expand, creating more and more jobs right here in north Northumberland.

It looks like we need them.