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Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

Cardle disappoints at South Tyneside Summer Festival

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Short set from former X Factor winner

Heard quite a few moans and groans in the Bents Park, South Shields this afternoon as Matt Cardle fans seemed a little cheesed off at his late arrival at the venue and the late start to his performance. The former X Factor winner was also heard moaning about his audio and asking technicians to make adjustments to his vocals in between songs. Most disappointing was the shortness of his set at around thirty minutes, but I guess at a free gig beggars can’t be choosers. The concert attracted a very decent sized crowd, although not as large as last week’s even though the weather was ten times better. The park was bathed in warm sunshine with just a few clouds floating by as we all filled the place with deck chairs and aluminium tables for a decidedly family afternoon of music and entertainment.  Unfortunately it was left to local performers to pad out the schedule but they took it in their stride, and despite nervousness gave a good account of themselves. For me the real star of the show was former Britain’s Got Talent contestant Ryan O’Shaughnessy, he finished in fifth place in the sixth series of the popular TV talent show in May this year. Like Cardle, O’Shaughnessy just appeared with a guitar to warm the crowd with some very mature songs, the Irish lad really was a breath of fresh air.

I guess it’s a bit of a shame that he eclipsed Cardle, but he had the audience in his hands whereas Cardle seemed to be totally unaware of where South Shields was!

Oh well, with a choice of a free concert in South Shields or an almighty struggle with crowds down the road making for the Sunderland International Air Show I think I made the right choice (anybody else notice the apparent lack of planes over South Shields this weekend?)

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Written by curly

July 22, 2012 at 8:55 pm

Scouting for Girls, and Jenny too.

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South Tyneside Festival now in full swing

I found it difficult to hide a little disappointment that South Shields would not see any of The Mouth of the Tyne Festival this year, the Saturday night parade has become a luminary and pyrotechnic spectacle that we all much looked forward to, and the varied entertainment on the Sunday was also a great “crowd magnet”. However, times are hard, cash is tight, wee have to cut our cloth, yet still we can manage to bring thousands of smiles to faces in South Tyneside as our Summer Festival adapts to the changes as today’s free concert in South Shields’ Bents Park provided some attractive and stirring competition to the street walkabout acts in Tynemouth. I missed last Saturday’s opening parade because of work commitments but there was no way that I would be missing today’s event as local girl Jenny Stevens and her band The Hiccups stepped up another notch to play to probably the largest crowd they’ve ever played to.

The South Shields based four piece now have a more rounded sound and style with some heavier riffs and beats  to accompany the melody created in Jen’s self penned songs, Jenny has been a member of the Curly’s Corner Shop Message Board and a Twitter user for some time now, so many of us were delighted to be able to enjoy her warm up act which was a very decent set played to a demographic which perhaps was not her usual “market” (lets be fair most buyers of the band’s CDs are a little bit older than the average Scouting for Girls fan), she has also done a great deal of self marketing and promotion through the use of social networking sites so there really were no excuses for local music lovers NOT to know that she’d be playing today. The set included a great selection from the first album Meg’s Hill and the new album Better Frame of Mind. If you don’t know the music of Jen Stevens and the Hiccups watch this video for a taster:

Thankfully the weather stayed dry, a mixture of cool clouds and breezes interspersed with some warm sunshine, it certainly helped in getting the crowds out and I’d not be far wrong in guessing that perhaps 18000 packed the Bents Park, almost as many as attended the Joe McCelderry coming home concert last year. The giant screen first introduced at the Bents Park last year was in use again and very much appreciated by those families at the back, whilst at the front of the stage thousands of young boys and girls recreated a version of a “mosh pit” revelling in seeing their faces caught by the cameras. Unfortunately it made my job of taking pictures that much more difficult with a camera rostrum erected right in front of the centre of the stage, shooting over the heads of thousands of youngsters is difficult enough without other obstructions, I think I’ll take along my own step ladders next time 🙂

Next up were the headline act Scouting for Girls whose debut self titled album went to No. 1 in the charts in 2007, the next album Everybody Wants t be on TV reached No. 2 in the charts and gave them a No. 1 hit single in 2010. They are a three piece band from London with a huge fan base in the mid to late teens group who were very vocal today. Not exactly my taste in music, but hey if they draw a crowd into South Shields for the right reasons then that’s fine by me, they sound a bit too much like the Gary Barlow Take That genre. Anyway here’s the one that had them all jumping!

All in all a great afternoon, pretty busy, lots of cash being spent and lots of visitors in town. South Shields and South Tyneside can be happy that the Summer Festival is definitely in full swing, next Sunday we have former X Factor winner Matt Cardle in the Bents Park, sure to be another big draw!

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Written by curly

July 15, 2012 at 8:52 pm

Blowing your own trumpet……….

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Cllr. Jimmy Foreman, South Tyneside

…….or even a saxaphone Jimmy?

Funny what the internet throws at you from time to time.

As South Tyneside councillors start to avail themselves of every possible photo opportunity before the elections in May, with nightly appearances in The Shields Gazette, and newletters littering your doormats, I find a one without a fistful of dominoes and not a dinner lady in sight! Does Labour’s Jimmy Foreman have a hidden talent that he was trying to keep secret?

Original photo courtesy of my mate Grouser.

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Written by curly

February 5, 2012 at 6:00 pm

2012 predictions

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Welcome back my friends.

First a bit of music to cheer you all up, and may I extend a big welcome to you all as we begin a New Year in South Tyneside’s first and oldest political blog, I wish you all a Happy New Year and hope that it brings some sort of cheer to you. I cannot promise that output from this desk will be any more frequent this year than it was last, a new lifestyle here leaves me a bit less time to write and my passion for photography at South Shields Daily Pictures also competes for my online time. However, with a long drum roll let’s get started with things for 2012.

National and international predictions

Financial and political pressure within the EU continue to build as a realistic solution to the Eurozone crisis fails to materialise, as referendums in Greece and Ireland  initially reject further austerity measures relating to the latest bail out plans. Calls to remove these countries from the Eurozone are thwarted as both nations are forced to hold a second vote which confirms their compliance with the Commission’s wishes. Massive unrest on the streets of Athens leads, for the first time, to a pan European peacekeeping force being deployed in Greece to keep its citizens under control.

David Cameron decides that Britain will not contribute any personnel to the new force, and further reduces Britain’s contribution to the IMF, stating that our financial problems require us to keep more of our finances at home. Nick Clegg threatens to pull the Lib-Dems out of the coalition in protest at the Conservatives outright hostility to the new EU plans designed to bring stability to the markets, however because of Labour’s weak position under Ed Miliband a combination of Tory and rebellious Labour MPs win the day in a Confidence debate in the House of Commons, thus tying the Lib-Dems into the coalition. Rebel Labour MPs claim this was the best way to ensure the total demise of Lib- Dem MPs at the next general election whilst buying more time for Labour to reorganise.

In America President Obama wins a second term, although very narrowly, after providing logistical and intelligence support to Israel when they successfully bombed a number of Iranian nuclear facilities the week before President Ahmedinijad was expected to announce the testing of his country’s first nuclear weapon.

In Russia Vladimir Putin is elected to lead the nation again, but there are strong doubts about the integrity of the elections, massive unrest in Russian cities is dealt with firmly and harshly, and following warmer than normal friendly talks with neighbouring states regarding trade agreements and energy supplies, observers begin fearing for the independence of the Baltic states (Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia) as nationalist parties there see a massive rise in popularity after the EU’s enforced austerity measures spark riots.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un announces a new treaty with Iran, promising to help them rebuild the facilities destroyed by the Israelis. Increased  defence spending in the secretive far eastern state has resulted in a larger American military presence in Australia’s Northern Territory and the permanent patrol of a full battle ready US fleet in international waters close to the Korean peninsular.

China continues to be the world’s leading economy but still shows little appetite for increasing it’s spending on imports, preferring instead to produce good quality copies of foreign article for home consumption, Obama’s pleas for relaxations in China’s trade policies fall on deaf ears.

Local predictions.

The case in San Mateo County Court in California involving three South Tyneside councillors and an officer rumbles on seemingly interminably with no prospect of either a firm result and conclusion, or a commencement of proceedings in a British court. The costs of the matter are used as a political weapon during the local government elections in May.

Fifteen South Shields boys and girls attend the X Factor auditions in Newcastle but not a single one makes any progress, meanwhile late in the year Little Mix release an album to mixed reviews which does well in the charts but does not reach No. 1, fans had a liking for the new material but complained that five covers in the album were probably too many. As the year closes Little Mix prepare for their second UK headlining tour. Meanwhile Joe McElderry had released an album firmly in the dance genre after expressing disappointment over the sales of his Christmas Classics collection of cover songs, he also decided to accept the offer of a part in a West End musical and will be appearing in panto at the end of the year at Newcastle’s Theatre Royal.

South Tyneside’s jobless figures continue to rise although not at the massive rate that some had feared, local employment prospects are boosted by the announcement from Nissan of their decision to build a further two new models at their massive plant in Washington.

In the local elections in May Labour takes an absolute stranglehold on local politics as virtually all opposition in South Tyneside is wiped off the map. Cllr Geraldine White loses her seat to Labour in Fellgate and Hedworth, Lawrence Nolan fails to hold Harton for the Progressives after the retirement of Jimmy Capstick, the Liberal Democrats disappear as Joe Abbot loses to Labour in Hebburn North, Labour regain Horsely Hill in a close contest as Independent Alliance councillor Gordon Finch loses his seat, in Monkton John Hodgson somehow manages to fend off Labour’s challenge with only a handful of votes to spare, Labour make it three in a row in West Park as Enid Hetherington ends the Progressive Association’s long tenure there, Labour pick up Westoe at the expense of Allen Branley, and further legal challenges ensue after Ahmed Khan narrowly loses the decision against Labour’s John Anglin in the Beacon and Bents ward of South Shields.

Labour’s only other failure on a remarkable night was in Cleadon Village and East Boldon, where Conservative Councillor Jeff Milburn retained his seat with a much  reduced majority.

Following further shop closures in King Street, South Shields, South Tyneside Council announced an updated plan for a shoppers car parking scheme which gave two hours of free town centre parking, charges would only be applied after two hours and could be refunded if shoppers were spending more than £5 with local “partner” businesses. In a further sign of Labour’s pragmatic approach to working with the coalition government council Leader Iain Malcolm announced his intention of shaving an additional £45m from South Tyneside’s spending as he intended to announce a first ever reduction in council taxes to help local people rebuild their economy by putting money back into their own pockets to spend.

On the sporting scene, South Shields Mariners are in disarray after the sale of Filtrona Park , a late season slide in form saw them narrowly avoid relegation and their future is now in serious doubt as new houses are about to be built on their former ground. Until they find a new home their existence in the Northern League cannot be guaranteed.

In the Premier League Mike Ashley showed no inclination to spend on Newcastle United during the January window, as once again he discussed the possibility of selling the club at the end of the season. The Magpies strong start to the campaign was cancelled out when striker Demba Ba suffered a serious injury, this coupled with the sales of Tiote and Krul meant that Pardew’s men had a late season loss of form which saw them end the campaign in 15th. place.

Rivals  Sunderland were boosted by the surprise arrival of a top name striker and a full back which pleased the red and white half of South Shields. Meanwhile Ryan Noble’s emergence as a Premier League threat helped Martin O’Neill cement his status as a “legend” as the team went on a strong run towards the end of the season finishing above the Magpies in 9th. place. Owner Ellis Short announced that further funds would be made available to the Irishman for the summer transfer window, once again Sunderland are considering the possibility of extending the capacity at The Stadium of Light.

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Merry Christmas to all

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I may not be back for a while.

Just as I was about to make a post regarding Cameron, Clegg, Miliband and the Eurozone debt crisis my desktop PC suffered a crisis of its own. Some sort of hardware issue is preventing Windows from booting, so I’m competing for time and space with the kids on this laptop, at this time of year it is near impossible to get them off it.

Needless to say, until I have the problem diagnosed and fixed there will be no chance of updates either here or at South Shields Daily Pictures, hopefully the delay will be as short as possible. Luckily things are relatively quiet on the local political scene as councillors and Town Hall staff in South Tyneside look forwards to the festive holidays, so it only remains for me to wish my readers a peaceful joyous and Happy Christmas and best wishes for 2012.

Whilst I’m here shall we say congratulations to South Shields girls Perrie Edwards and Jade Thirlwall of “Little Mix” who have seen their first single reach No. 1 in the charts, something which Joe McElderry did not achieve until after the Christmas period in 2010.

See you all soon.

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Written by curly

December 19, 2011 at 10:24 am

South Shields’ girls in X Factor win!

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Little Mix chased the dream.

Exactly two years ago I used this video to illustrate this particular post where I said

“I think that South Shields girl Jade Thirlwall should think seriously about having another go at the X Factor, she could well emulate Joe McElderry next year.”

OK, so it took a little longer, but after initial rejection she was thrown in, along with fellow Shields girl Perrie Edwards,  Leanne Pinnock amd Jesy Nelson to a girl group later to be known as Little Mix.  It has been a hard road for the four girls as they went through the pressures of public votes in ITV’s flagship reality show but yesterday evening they won the coveted X Factor prize and that important contract with Simon Cowell’s music company. Another feather in the cap for South Shields  and a great advert for the young talent that we have in South Tyneside. It takes some “bottle” to be knocked down, get up, dust yourself down, and come back fighting, but as many girls from Laygate or Simonside can attest this determination to succeed is a requisite in the tough streets of Tyneside.

To be fair we knew that Thirwall had it in her as a former winner at the Pride of South Tyneside Awards, but how many of us saw Perrie Edwards coming through? I wonder too, how much of an influence “Mark” was in Jade’s success?

Winning the X Factor is no guarantee of fame and fortune, and the winners see little of Cowell’s £1m contract, it is rumoured that they are advanced as little as £150000, and must spend the rest promoting an album on behalf of Cowell, however some are now reckoning that the four girls could be in for a huge windfall as advertisers, and promoters see the marketing opportunities presented by a bunch of young vibrant girls put together as much for their looks as well as their singing prowess. They have already featured in a Marks and Spencer’s advertisement, and will no doubt be signed up to promote hair and beauty products at home and in the UK as Cowell looks to exploit a gap in the market. Little Mix could be on the verge of reaping rewards running up to £10m. Don’t begrudge them this success, they will see very little of their home towns or families over the next 12 months, they will need bags of strength and enthusiasm to cope with Cowell’s demands, there will be travel and sleep deprivation, their lives will no longer be under their own self control – they now belong to Simon Cowell.

What does it mean for this region though?

We become seen as a nursery for talent, others may become inspired to emulate this level of success, we get a little more national press attention, and sometimes it may not be for the best of reasons as personal lives become laid bare to reporters, our youngsters may become seen in a more positive light too. Most importantly, we may see young entrepreneurs in business and commerce become more emboldened and self confident as they follow their own dreams. They may be inspired by the competitive attitudes of girls like Little Mix, and we may find that other more diverse young talents on Tyneside succeed in building bigger contracts that lead to some growth in our regional economy, the experience of the hard knocks that eventually lead to a winning position might hopefully rub off on many of Tyneside’s teenagers, upon whom our future relies.

Damian Rice’s Cannonball, great song, would not have been my choice for the winner’s single.

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Nigel Farage – Eurosceptic Rave

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Let’s make this viral

I came across this via one of the UKIP leader’s tweets, and well goodness me he’s a dance track!

The track is called Star Circle 2 by Johnny Slide you can download it from here and perhaps embed it in your own site, spread it around – at least in South Tyneside! Please be generous and leave a link to the original artist.

See, told you I had some sympathy with UKIP!

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Written by curly

November 28, 2011 at 4:14 pm

Joe McElderry triumphs in South Shields gig

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25000 stars on show!

It was a homecoming triumph for former X Factor winner and this year’s Pop Star to Opera Star winner Joe McElderry as he returned to say an emphatic thank you to his friends and family in South Shields. The Bents Park had never seen so many stars as “Tommy the Trumpeter” (aka Ray Spencer) reckoned that just over 25000 people turned up to the free concert which was part of the South Tyneside Summer Festival, I don’t think there had been such a turnout since Rolf Harris packed them in some years ago, space along the promenade of the north east coastal town was at an absolute premium as Metro bosses Nexus ran a full service on a day that was scheduled for engineering maintenance, visitors came from all over Tyneside and I spent the afternoon partly in the company of a nice little lady who had travelled down yesterday from Glasgow! The Dragon was completely covered by cars and streets in the town centre and beyond were choked with parked cars, those of us who lived locally could either walk or cycle on a very pleasant warm day when the sun came out to welcome our visitors.

I would normally be able to get a prime vantage point to photograph these events and let the world see them, but today I had to take my chances amidst the shoulder to shoulder crush of the crowd, but at least you get to meet and greet! The queues had perhaps began to form yesterday, I don’t know, but there were certainly some folks sitting outside the park at 7:30 this morning! With a line up of supporting acts McElderry was very familiar with, the afternoon was in full swing after Lauren Waine and Scooch had wound up the “glee factor”,  before the local hero made his entrance at around 3:10 for a set which lasted  almost ninety minutes. His immediate family was sat near the front directly below the stage and giant screen which South Tyneside Council had built up to help those further back get a decent view. We were treated to a full “journey” over the past two years featuring songs from his very first audition for ITV’s X Factor, through to his No. 1 single “The Climb”  including  numbers from his new forthcoming album and a soaring rendition of Nessun Dorma the moving aria from Puccini’s Turandot, . When Joe effortlessly reached those high notes the 25000 other stars roared with approval, it was a monumental success.

Many of our local councillors and officers were there to savour the event in a marquee reception for Joe McElderry’s family built to one side next to the main stage and a full civic reception was held after the event in the Town Hall, South Shields in recognition of the very favourable publicity that this young man has brought to his home town. In troubled times our representatives needed an outlet to celebrate some success that everyone could join in with, and without doubt today’s concert was probably one huge success that Joe will remember for many many years.

Next Sunday’s concert in the Bents Park will feature the Lightning Seeds and will compete against the Sunderland International Air Show for visitors, two great reasons for you to visit us!

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Written by curly

July 24, 2011 at 8:25 pm

Sophie “singing in the rain”

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South Tyneside Summer Festival keeps fizzing despite the weather

Well the weather ensured that today’s concert in the Bents Park, South Shields did not exactly enjoy a record attendance (that will come next Sunday) but a big healthy crowd was there under the cover of umbrellas to enjoy the music today. Intermittent showers became heavier downpours as families dressed for the occasion in waterproofs and sturdy shoes, some made do with carrier bags and bin liners, all manner of invention was used to keep dry. Myself……..well I wore a plastic poncho from Bunnings Warehouse in Brisbane, Australia, a gift courtesy of one of my ex-pat readers originally from South Shields, thanks a bunch Andy it kept me dry all the way down to the knees but the camera still suffered.

The unusual thing about today’s free concert was the large amount of youngsters attending, around the twelve to sixteen age group, I quickly understood why when three piece boy band Twenty Twenty took to the stage, they obviously have a large screaming following around here! Unusually for a boy band they actually play their own instruments, and very well too! They have previously supported  JLS, McFly, Selena Gomez, the Sugababes and The Saturdays on their recent UK tours. Some of their sounds reminded me a bit of Green Day but without the over hard edge, anyway the young girls approved in a way I hadn’t heard since the Beatles hit RFK Stadium in Washington, I guess we’d better keep an eye on these young lads who did a great job in getting the crowd warmed up for the main act of the afternoon.

When Sophie Ellis Bextor arrived on stage she set the park alight, rather like a ray of sunshine which we all could have used, dressed in a couture yellow dress and black tights, she looked (to this writer) like the prettiest flower our parks had seen, her band had a tight sound as she bounced and flounced around the stage banging out her biggest hits. The 32 year old who hit the headlines first with a collaboration on Groovejet’s “If it ain’t love” showed no signs of suffering from any cold or throat infection as previously reported. After renditions of Get over you, Take me home, Music gets the best of me, Me and my imagination, and a few others we were treated to a complete Murder on the dance floor to send the soaked Sanddancers home. She made a real professional performance in the rain leaving everyone happy, I guess these events just wouldn’t have the same atmosphere if they were held indoors!

For those who might have been there “councillor spotting” to see who might have been enjoying refreshment at the public expense I can say that those who I saw were outside getting drenched working hard raising money for local charities, and that included Mayor Jim Sewell and his wife Rosemary, as well as Cllr. Faye Cunningham.

And so we move on to next Sunday’s big event when South Shields very own Joe McCelderry will perform in the Bents Park, I predict a record attendance for this free event whatever the weather, parking will be scarce and so will be space in the park, so get down to South Shields early making best use of public transport if you can! Gates open at 12:30 but you can be sure the queue will be huge hours before then, bring your chairs and tents and get ready for a spectacular in the Bents Park! I was told today that we got Joe at a bargain price because his star appeared to be waxing and waning at the time of his booking, that was long before the 2009 X Factor winner won ITV’s Popstar to Opera Star and signed a new record deal with one of Decca’s companies, so this may be the last opportunity for a long while to see Joe McCelderry perform for free on Tyneside.

ps – any photographers out there who could help me out? Whilst shooting the first batch of pictures today I had no problems at all, then after changing from the standard lens to the telephoto and shooting in aperture priority all of my shots were at least four stops under exposed and virtually unusable. Despite changing aperture a few times the problem persisted, and even reverting back to the first lens did not help. It looked to me as though the lens diaphragm was not opening and closing but the short shutter speed was correct. Was it possible that a raindrop on the body had got between the fitting and the lens contacts and prevented correct operation? When I got home and dried the camera, everything was back to normal.

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Written by curly

July 17, 2011 at 9:27 pm

Joe McElderry wins Pop Star to Opera Star

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2009 X Factor winner proves his worth again – great advert for South Shields!

Delighted that 20 year old South Shields lad Joe McElderry once again proved to be a great advert for South Shields as last night he triumphed in ITV’s “Pop Star to Opera Star”. I’m not a huge television fan but I made the time to watch the final which was closely contested against former Bucks Fizz chanteuse Cheryl Baker, she was extremely good too, but I thought the choices of music made for Joe were stronger. His rendition of Nessum Dorma from Puccini’s Turandot was a revelation, and Joe showed great maturity and boldness in taking it on a second time, I thought he was every bit as good as Russel Watson and that’s saying something!

It seems to me that Joe McElderry’s pop career has not been superbly managed by the men at Syco who have very few lasting legacies on their books, he clearly has bundles of talent is very adaptable in what he can perform, perhaps this latest television exposure may open new doors for him and prompt a change in direction and fortunes, it would be a real shame to see this singing talent wasting away.

Joe McElderry will be performing live in a free concert in the Bents Park, South Shields on Sunday 24th. July between 12:30 and 4:30, get along early it is likely to be packed shoulder to shoulder regardless of the weather. This is another “must see” event in South Tyneside!




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Written by curly

July 11, 2011 at 1:13 pm