The Sun
Published: 19 Oct 2010

“I thought ballet was mincing on stage but I was wrong. The blokes are built like soldiers and are amazing athletes”

SO you don’t know your splits from your Nutcrackers and think ballet is only for toffs – think again.

After twice having filled London’s Royal Opera House with Sun readers for exclusive opera performances of Don Giovanni and Carmen, this year we’re having a bash at ballet.

Below tough guy Andy McNab tells why he is a ballet fan and Louie Spence demonstrates a few moves to watch out for at a Cinderella show…

“Before I experienced ballet for the first time I had the same negative attitude as many people.

Why would I want to spend an evening watching theatre folk mincing around the stage when I had no idea what was going on? I thought those who enjoy it must be a bit wet or something.

Two years ago my wife convinced me to join her at a kids’ ballet called Angelina’s Star Performance with my niece and nephew. It was based on the popular children’s character Angelina Ballerina – and I was won over from the moment the curtain went up.

The staging, performances and music took me completely by surprise and I went from being a cynic to a convert. When my wife asked me to go to Swan Lake a few weeks later I was keen to see what such a legendary ballet would be like. I wasn’t disappointed.

If the first experience was impressive, the second blew me away. The blokes are built like soldiers, with legs thick as tree trunks. They throw the ballerinas around as if they are light as feathers.

Meanwhile, the girls pull all sorts of amazing shapes and aren’t bad to look at either. Watching someone standing on tiptoe with the other leg straight up in the air is pretty eye-popping.

Some of the audience were moved to tears, although I wasn’t quite in that category.

I’ve heard being a ballet dancer is the second most physically demanding profession after being a biathlete. I’m not surprised, because I’ve toured the gym where they train. I wouldn’t fancy bench-pressing what those lads lift on a daily basis.

If anyone claims it’s for wimps, ask if they’ve ever tried it. Without a doubt they won’t have.

Seeing a ballet also makes for a really good night out. Before Swan Lake I went online to learn the story. It is usually summarised in the programme too, so you don’t have to sit there like an idiot with no idea about what is happening.

A show like Cinderella is an ideal afternoon for families too. The difference between watching ballet on television and seeing it in real life is amazing. Kids will love the spectacle of the stage and the skill of the dancers.

It’s important to expose youngsters to a bit of culture because they need to be able to make up their own minds about whether they like it or not. The same goes for adults, of course.

Some people might also think twice about turning up at the Royal Opera House. But don’t forget, our taxes paid for its refurbishment and keep it running. The place belongs to regular, hard-working Brits. It’s a posh, spectacular building, so get in there and have your money’s worth.

My wife and I go to the ballet regularly now and I’m signed up to the Paul Hamlyn Foundation’s scheme providing cheap tickets to everyday folk.

Now we’re looking forward to Cinderella in December and I’m delighted a few thousand Sun readers will have the opportunity to enjoy it too.”

Go here to read the full article in The Sun

Well, I know at least one fan will jump at this one…. But I’ll end with a quote from Crisis Four..

The dog was feeling really confident now; he knew he’d got me. I bent
down and, with my right hand, grabbed hold of his left rear leg. The limb
twitched as if he were doing an Irish jig as he tried to kick away.
I started to pull the back leg up toward me. The dog was confused and
pissed off, biting more and moving his head from left to right. I was
grappling to keep hold of his leg. It was dancing away like Michael Flatley
on speed.


By Tom Newton Dunn, Political Editor
Published: 12 Oct 2010

DAVID Cameron was left shaken yesterday after it emerged his decision to rescue Brit hostage Linda Norgrove ended in her being killed by a US grenade.

The PM said: “I will go over it 100 times in my own mind, but I am satisfied it was still the right thing to do.”

Until yesterday it was believed Linda, 36, died at the hands of one of her Taliban captors who exploded a suicide vest as US Navy Seals went in to pluck her from a hideout in Afghanistan on Friday.

But NATO Afghan chief, US General David Petraeus, rang Mr Cameron and told him it was probably a US grenade that killed her. Early reports suggest there was an intelligence failing on which room she was being held in.

Go here to read the full article in The Sun


“WE have all been brought up on films where these things go perfectly — and that is the big problem.

What happened was a bid to save the life of a woman who essentially was already dead. The people holding Linda Norgrove were likely to kill her, so an attempt had to be made.

It’s an absolute tragedy and no one wanted to see this happen.

But there is only a small window of opportunity before the captors do something drastic. They risked their lives to save her life.

This time it didn’t work out. But it was still the right thing to do.”


The Sun – By Rhodri Phillips
Published: 6 October 2010

Prince Harry is controversially taken hostage in Afghanistan in a documentary to be screened on TV.
Channel 4 is to show the “dramatised documentary” based on what would happen if Prince Harry were taken prisoner serving in the war-torn country.

The 90-minute film, called The Taking of Prince Harry, features former hostages and intelligence experts.

It includes scenes showing the prince, played by actor Sebastian Reid, being held behind enemy lines while negotiations to free him are carried out.

But the scenes look certain to cause anger.

Sun security expert Andy McNab said:

“What these people forget is there is still a war going on. This comes at a bad time and is in bad taste.

It’s highly likely Harry will be going back to Afghanistan now they have spent so much money on his Apache chopper training.

But it’s not just insensitive to Harry, it’s insensitive to all the troops and the mums, dads, wives and kids with lads out there.

Showing the behind-the-scenes process could even be seen as a training video for some of these nutcases.

It’s all very well a bunch of trendy execs from Channel 4 putting this on to cause a stir – but there is still a war going on right now. They are forgetting that.”

Go here to read the full article in The Sun


A comedian, TV chef, SAS action man, art critic and children’s writer will be joining a big cat expert in a Hoddesdon book shop’s Meet the Author season.

Novelist and former military man Andy McNab, who wrote Bravo Two Zero, will talk about his change of career at Broxbourne Civic Hall on Monday, November 29, at 7.30pm, in aid of the Help for Heroes  charity.

Tickets cost £10-£12 (£6-£8 for over-65s and under-18s)

Source: Mercury –  Hertfortshire News


From Duncan Larcombe, Defence Editor, in Sangin
Published: 21 Sep 2010

The Sun stood shoulder to shoulder with our brave boys yesterday – as they finally said goodbye to the Valley of Death.
We were the last newspaper remaining as heroic commandos handed control of once lawless Sangin to the Americans.

In four bloody years wresting the powderkeg town and its district from the grip of the Taliban, more Brit troops have given their lives there than on any other front line in Afghanistan.

As our weary soldiers yesterday left with their heads held high they remembered the 105 comrades killed battling to put an end to the terrorists’ reign of fear and anarchy.

For some, there was frustration at a “job unfinished” – because of the failure to crush EVERY last insurgent bent on making life hell for the district’s long-suffering inhabitants.

Go here to read the full article in The Sun


I AM fed up with armchair generals who say the handover of Sangin to US Forces is a British retreat.

That is 100 per cent crap. We have moved out because at long last the 20,000 US ‘boots on the ground’ finally arrived.

This is a tactical decision. The Brits’ job in Helmand is still to take on the Taliban and protect locals.

Now they can be more evenly deployed. What the Brits achieved in Sangin is stunning. We held ten square miles of dusty ground vital to the Taliban.

Sangin is near the poppy fields and heroin trade routes. Profits made in UK and US cities fund the Taliban. Holding that ground came at a massive cost. Troops have died, but not in vain. Handing Sangin to the Americans is not betraying our dead. They stopped the Taliban bringing in more weapons. They helped save the lives of their mates.

There is no greater sacrifice.


Odd title perhaps, but it suits the article. I ran into quite an interesting website called Etsy.com who’s mission it is to “enable people to make a living making things, and to reconnect makers with buyers. Our vision is to build a new economy and present a better choice: Buy, Sell, and Live Handmade”. One of the items they’re selling – created by Tarabu – is well.. read the description:

Here’s your chance to own a truly one of a kind accessory created from a remaindered hardcover book. This title is currently out of print in hardcover.

This piece is created from Andy McNab’s novel ‘Last Light’

The cover has been altered to include a decorative glass button and an ink sunset. The cover has been coated with a protective sealant.

The text block has been replaced with a fully functional purse, including two interior pockets and elastic insets at the sides.

The handles are sturdy translucent acrylic.

See photo below, but go to the Esty website to see the item and more photos.  And although I wouldn’t dream of doing this to my Andy McNab books..I love it!!