Lancashire nostalgia in 2007: Simon Cowell; the weather; and smoking popcorn

Here's a look at some of the stories that were making the headlines back in 2007:

Thursday, 2nd July 2020, 10:26 am
Updated Thursday, 2nd July 2020, 10:30 am
Britain's Got Talent judge Simon Cowell proved to be just as sharp-tongued as usual for rapper Matthew Cummins
Britain's Got Talent judge Simon Cowell proved to be just as sharp-tongued as usual for rapper Matthew Cummins

Sharp-tongued Simon Cowell takes a big bite out of rapper

A Preston rapper claims he was “set up” to look foolish by producers on Mr Nasty Simon Cowell’s latest television programme.

Matthew Cummins, who grew up in Deepdale, Preston, says producers at Britain’s Got Talent went out of their way to make him look foolish as he auditioned on the show.

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Now, he fears his performance in front of the show’s panel – made up of Cowell, former national newspaper editor Piers Morgan and actress Amanda Holden – will make him a laughing stock when the show screens next month.

Having got through a first audition, he claims he was thrust in front of the panel and 1,000-strong audience at the Manchester Apollo with a “big piece of sponge” microphone and backing music he could not hear.

Then, within 25 seconds of trying to rap, he was stopped by the notoriously sharp-tongued Cowell. Matthew said: “Simon stops me and said I looked like something I wasn’t.

“I am an estate agent by trade and he said I looked like a goldfish trying to be a shark, or something like that.

“Then Amanda Holden chipped in and Piers Morgan said something like, ‘Stick to selling houses’, so I just said, ‘Okay, take care folks’ looking up at the audience and walked off.”

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Look back at a selection of pictures from 2007 here

Weather is the word on everyone’s lips

It’s more mud, than flood, in the Fylde, but The Weather’s on everyone’s lips. It’s the new Waterloo: us versus the rain. And, for a few brief hours yesterday, we tasted victory, and it was sweet, as the sunshine startled tourists into emerging, blinking like pit ponies, from undercover attractions and amusement arcades.

And they kicked up their heels, and promenaded.

Prompted by apocalyptic telly visions of a flooded Britain, some paused by placards on sea defences to read about the multi-million pound coastal protection scheme, as the pile drivers boomed on, keeping time like Viking warships.

It’s been a wash-out of a season, for all the resort’s all-weather attractions.

Meantime, residents face waterlogged gala fields, flooded gardens, and cancelled sports fixtures, including a prestige XI cricket clash between Lancashire (including local lad Freddie Flintoff) and Derbyshire at Blackpool Cricket Club’s ground.

Resort-based Ordnance Surveyor Ron Jones said: “It’s the worst I can remember. Now we’re pinning hopes on an Indian summer – like most people.”

Freshly cut grass and popcorn is the new smell of pubs and clubs

As the smoking ban kicks in a pub landlord is offering smokers free popcorn to try and keep their nicotine cravings at bay.

John Cotton, the man in charge at Finney’s Sports Bar in East View, Deepdale, Preston, said he first saw the idea at American military bases in Berlin and Saudi Arabia.

The 38-year-old served with the Royal Corps of Signals in the British Army for 10 years.

He said: “Every American military base puts popcorn machines behind the bar.

“I also read about it when the smoking ban was coming into effect in England.

“It’s a peculiar idea, but I just thought it would help – I used to smoke about 40 a day but have cut down to about 10 or 15 since the smoking ban.

“I used to just sit at the bar and smoke, but now eat the popcorn which gives your hand something to do and takes your mind off the craving.”

He says it also gives the bar area a smell of fresh popcorn which hides the smell of stale alcohol which the smoke used to hide.

Mr Cotton bought the machine for about £15 and it makes plain popcorn for his punters, which is fat free.

Elsewhere, clubbers at Lava and Ignite in Church Street, Preston, will be able to enjoy the scent of freshly cut grass and perfume which will be pumped in via the air conditioning.