Alex B Cann column: Saddling up in bike week

Tameside Radio's Breakfast presenter Alex B Cann.

Movie recommendations to see at the cinema, taking up the vaccine, thoughts on 'Freedom Day' and getting back on the bike all make it into the Tameside Radio presenter's latest piece for us.

What a scorcher it’s been in Tameside this week! I’d imagine Screwball sales have soared at our local parks, as families make the most of the gorgeous weather during the half-term holidays.

There was even talk last week of a national Flake shortage, which is terrible news for fans of the ‘99’ (which is often more like two quid nowadays!).

I wonder if the sizzling temperatures have hit the popularity of Peter Rabbit 2 and Cruella at the cinema, but I guess both will be around for a few weeks yet if you want to catch them on the big screen. 

I’ve managed to see half a dozen movies at Cineworld Ashton since they reopened, and have plans to catch The Conjuring, A Quiet Place 2 and Cruella next week. 

It’s still a lovely slice of normality to grab a large coffee and watch a film in a dark screen after I finish work, and certainly beats the rather terrible Masked Dancer on ITV.

Elsewhere this week, it’s great to read that boat trips have finally returned to Portland Basin, allowing Tameside Canal Boat Trust its first opportunity to generate some income in some 15 months. It seems crazy to me that they receive no funding from the Government, particularly as they work with disadvantaged community groups and bring joy to many

I don’t think we should get too fixated on so-called ‘Freedom Day’, as some of the papers have nicknamed Monday, June 21. This is the date when we were originally told all remaining restrictions would be lifted, and that places like nightclubs would be able to reopen without social distancing. 

Whilst I totally understand the need for these businesses to start up again soon, we have to take a pragmatic approach based on the facts. I am relieved it’s not me making the decisions, I must admit.

It was heartening to see so many young people take up the offer of a vaccination at Twickenham on Bank Holiday Monday, when it was opened up to anyone over the age of 18, and made me wonder if this could be rolled out to other venues such as the Etihad Stadium in Manchester. I had my second jab a week ago, and apart from a slightly sore arm the next day and a deep sleep, have had no side effects. I promise too that you won’t feel a thing, and the volunteers at my local vaccine centre were all superstars. Smiley, reassuring and efficient.

There’s simply no good argument not to take up the offer of a vaccination, if we want to see a return to life as we knew it.

That’s why I was truly taken aback at Channel 4’s ‘The Anti-Vax Conspiracy’, which aired on Tuesday night. Some of the crackpot theories doing the rounds about this virus are beyond my comprehension. I hope social media platforms can do more to stop the spread of fake news and nonsense which has been proved to be false time and time again. If you’ve not read much on Q Anon, I’d suggest you look them up, as one in seven Americans apparently subscribe to their beliefs. I honestly thought it was a bad wind-up or satire the first time I read an article about them.

Away from the pandemic, I have taken a bold step this week and dropped my shiny green Bobbin Albion bicycle off for a service. I am determined to break a decade-long cycle of yo-yo dieting and actually shape up for summer, so the padded cycling shorts have made an appearance for the first time in a while. 

I’d love to hear from any keen cyclists in Tameside reading this column who can suggest routes for me; particularly ones that are not busy with traffic, or pass a nice real ale pub with a beer garden!

Finally this week, a mention for MJ Arlidge’s forthcoming book ‘Truth Or Dare?’, which is released on June 24. I was lucky enough to read a preview copy recently, and it’s nail-biting crime fiction at its very best. I’ll be chatting to Mathew, the author, on Tameside Radio later this month. I also recommend Belinda Bauer’s Snap and The Death Of Mrs Westaway by Ruth Ware. Perfect escapism as we continue to work out way back to normal life. 

I’ve not made it inside a pub yet, but perhaps one of my first bike rides in ages will be just the excuse I need!

You can listen to Alex every weekday from 7am to 11am and on the 'Super Scoreboard' show on Saturdays from 3pm to 7pm, on Tameside Radio 103.6FM

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