Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Useless Box

A comment has appeared (passim) on a decade old post alerting me to a fresh source of Beachcomber at http://beachcomber.weebly.com. I am grateful.

If I can only put down Dr Strabismus' mancan of wine, and tear myself away from Charlie Suet's Useless Box, I will check it out.

J.B. Morton, once a satirist, now an elegant weapon for a more civilised age.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Mr. Calzaghe

I'm hearing nothing but good things about this new, theatrically released, Joe Calzaghe movie. I was at his both his professional début and, with with both my brothers and my Dad, at the Kessler fight that he considers his finest performance. I've even got a boxing glove signed by him on the wall in my office for goodness sake, so I have to see it.

I'll pencil in watching it with Ben on Thursday.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

all the romance of the novel

A first win in a league game in the Surrey top flight for the Old Ruts U15s today as the boys beat Richmond 24-21 away in a seven try thriller.

We went 7-0 up then 14-0, were pegged back to 14-7 then 14 all, went 19-14 up and then conceded another try (the conversion of which was disputed) to go 21-19 down with minutes to go, only for Silas to touch down in the last move of the game to give us a  24-21 win (and a four try bonus point).

I think it is the best team performance I have ever seen from them. It was very gratifying to see early season weaknesses that KCS had exposed comprehensively addressed and even turned (the breakdown for example) into positive strengths. Richmond came third in division one last year. This is a mighty scalp.

I am off down the pub shortly. The Ruts bonus point translating to bonus pints for me.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Oxford American


I think we will need a copy of this each, John.
The Oxford American’s 17th-annual music issue features the state of Georgia! The magazine comes with a 25-song CD compilation that showcases music by Georgia artists such as James Brown, Sandy Gaye, Gram Parsons, Otis Redding, OutKast, Indigo Girls, Drive-By Truckers, the Allman Brothers Band, and many more. Browse the table of contents below.
The Music of Georgia
Editors’ Note
There’s nobody like Blind Willie McTell
by Peter Guralnick

The moony lyricism of Johnny Mercer
by John Lingan

Pondering the Indigo Girls, awaiting clarity
by Jamie Quatro

OutKast’s Southern Stank
by Kiese Laymon


Gram Parsons’s prophetic Nudie suit
by Elyssa East

The Skillet Lickers’ pickin’ picnic
by Greg Reish

MC Shy D, an original ATLien
by Will Stephenson

Thomas A. Dorsey unites gospel and blues
by Dom Flemons

The Allman Brothers’ wild South
by Amanda Petrusich


Savannah, metal, and mourning
by Bill Dawers

Hip-hop and black history in Albany
by Regina N. Bradley

Atlanta’s Sweet Auburn soul
by Brian Poust

Life and Death in Cabbagetown
by Abigail Covington

Why Athens?
by David Barbe

Welcome Hinges
by Art Rosenbaum

The Cos-mo-pol-i-tan Sound
by Patterson Hood

Plus: anecdotes, images, and memories from around town


Calling Little Richard
by David Ramsey

Beverly “Guitar” Watkins at seventy-six
by Rachael Maddux

Bessie Jones, vision and voice
by Nathan Salsburg

In defense of Dave Prater
by Jonathan Bernstein

Fiddlin’ John Carson’s darkest murder ballad
by Christopher C. King

Ray Stevens remembers a comedy song
by Jewly Hight

The genius of Fletcher Henderson
by Cynthia Shearer


Rico Wade’s Dungeon Family reunion
by Rodney Carmichael

Sharon Jones comes home
by Maxwell George

In the cosmic mind of Col. Bruce Hampton
by Lance Ledbetter

Killer Mike turns forty
by Austin L. Ray

Janelle Monáe looks toward the future
by Brit Bennett

Dust-to-Digital’s unheard magnum opus
by Wyatt Williams

Friday, November 20, 2015

Peter O’Brien

18th November: The committee, members and friends of St. Peter’s RFC, would like to send their sincere condolences to the family of Peter O’Brien who died this morning. Peter was a well loved and exceptionally popular member, who represented the club in baseball and rugby. He was a founder member and current (three times) club champion of St. Peter’s Bowls Club. Peter was a family man. Husband to Marie and father of Keiran, Hannah, Sean, Rachel, Martha and Dominic; son of Sheila and Bart; brother of Bernard, Kevin and Catherine. He will be sadly missed.
Two workers who died in an explosion at a Cardiff steelworks have been named as Peter O'Brien and Mark Sim.

I didn't know Peter, but I was in university with his brother Bernard. I guessed the relationship when I heard the news yesterday, and had it confirmed by my brother Vince this morning.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

This Sort of Thing Is My Bag Baby

I must get along to this exhibition at the Wellcome Collection in Euston some time between today and the end of February ............ and - in the interests of balance - to the Old Rutlishians' Wine and Cheese Evening on December 4th.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Jonah Tali Lomu, MNZM (12 May 1975 – 18 November 2015)

RIP Jonah Lomu. I was in Hong Kong (Dickie and I were visiting Kev) for the 1994 Sevens where he burst onto the international rugby scene.

I also remember that his brother ended up playing in Cardiff for the Old Illtydians and that I met him down the club in Splott. I could never quite get my head around how that might have happened, but happen it did.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

La Marseillaise

Allons enfants de la Patrie,

Le jour de gloire est arrive!

Contre nous de la tyrannie,

L'etendard sanglant est leve,

Entendez-vous dans les campagnes

Mugir ces feroces soldats?

Ils viennent jusque dans vos bras

Egorger vos fils, vos compagnes!

Aux armes, citoyens,

Formez vos bataillons,

Marchons, marchons!

Qu'un sang impur

Abreuve nos sillons!
Arise children of the fatherland

The day of glory has arrived

Against us tyranny's

Bloody standard is raised

Listen to the sound in the fields

The howling of these fearsome soldiers

They are coming into our midst

To cut the throats of your sons and consorts

To arms citizens

Form your battalions

March, march

Let impure blood

Water our furrows

Spelling out the lyrics of the French anthem in English shows how eerily apt and prophetic it is as a response to Friday. I hope the home fans sing it along with the visitors at the France-England football match at Wembley tonight.

Monday, November 16, 2015

It's the Arts

After we got back from the Winchester game yesterday, I took myself off to catch the tail end of the Open Studios Art Show. I hadn't even heard of the Wimbledon Art Studios until Andy posted in Facebook that Sharon was exhibiting. "It Just Shows to Go Ya," when one considers that it is only a mile and a half away from my house.

I was quite staggered by the scale of the thing. Reading Sharon's potted biography among her paintings I found that she graduated from Camberwell College of Art.

Ben's art teacher in school has been trying to persuade him to take classes there on Saturday mornings but to no avail. If we are ever at a social event that the Smarts are attending as well I ought to introduce him to Sharon. Maybe she could enthuse him? She and Ben are the only two people that I know who carry sketch books. They would have that in common, and it is more than you can say for me.

Here's a video of the last Open Studios, back in May.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

It pays to increase your word power

There was more Marquis of Queensbury than we are used to in the Ruts away game at Winchester earlier today. An hour and a half down the A3 for a punch up seems a bit extravagant. I could have just gone into Ben's room this morning, tuned him with the business end of a baseball bat and saved on petrol.

One particular donnybrook after a late tackle is lodged in my mind. An aggrieved Winchester prop came up off the floor and gave Sid the time-honoured two palm to the chest who-the-fxxx-are-you shove that we have all delivered when wronged, only to find he was pushing an immovable object and succeeding in nothing more than bouncing back and knocking himself down again. A one-in-all-in mêlée ensued, but an atavistic part of me thrilled as the ref sent him scowling and gesticulating to the touchline.

Prodnose: Donnybrook?

Myself: Named from Donnybrook Fair, a notoriously disorderly event, held annually from 1204 until the middle of the 19th century. A brawl or fracas; a scene of chaos.

Prodnose: Atavistic?

Myself: Relating to or characterized by reversion to something ancient or ancestral.

Prodnose: OK. I'd still prefer to have it in English though.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Kalashnikov, grenade and suicide attacks across French capital.

I was at the Guardian Centre in Colliers Wood last night, at a quiz to raise money for MertonVision, who, this year, celebrate 50 years of providing services, information and support to residents of the borough with a visual impairment.

Just as I was starting to think what a comfortably heart-warming evening it was social media reports started coming in via peoples' mobile phones of the atrocities in Paris.
Paris terror attacks: Isil terrorists gunned down disabled people as woman held dying Briton in her arms
Us and them. How can we be the same species as the people who did this? Words fail me.

The last book I read was The Gun: The Story of the AK-47. I have been thinking about it a lot today.
The AK-47, or 'Kalashnikov', is the most abundant and efficient firearm on earth. It is so light it can be used by children. It has transformed the way we fight wars, and its story is the chilling story of modern warfare.
C. J. Chivers's extraordinary new book tells an alternative history of the world as seen through these terrible weapons. He traces them back to their origins in the early experiments of Gatling and Maxim, and examines the first appearance of the machine-gun. The quest for ever greater firepower and mobility culminated in the AK-47 at the beginning of the Cold War, a weapon so remarkable that, over sixty years after its invention and having broken free of all state control, it has become central to civil wars all over the world.
The Kalashnikov is the main tool that was used in yesterday's massacres. It is estimated that 100 million Kalashnikov-family weapons have been built of which 75 million are AK-47s,

That genie is not going to be stuffed back into the bottle God help us.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Move Along, Nothing to See Here

I hurried along to http://www.gigsandtours.com/tour/prince at 10 sharp this morning only to read:
The on sale of Prince - Piano & a Microphone tour has been postponed and will not be going ahead at 10am this morning.
More details regarding purchasing tickets to follow.
So that is that then, at least for the time being.

In other mind-numbingly tedious news, I have discovered that the key ingredient in the pork pibil, Ben and I enjoyed recently is aciote paste and I can get it from http://www.mexgrocer.co.uk/Achiote-Paste.html.

Wahaca - Mexican Food at Home has been added to my wish list as well, for what it is worth.

Thursday, November 12, 2015


It was initially reported that the tour was announced during a press conference at Prince's Paisley Park studios in Minnesota over the weekend.
Prince allegedly told attendees: "Why do this now? For several reasons. For starters it is a challenge. I rarely get bad reviews because this is something that's been perfected for over 30 years. You have to try new things. With the piano it is more naked, more pure. You can see exactly what you get."
Friday 27th November – Glasgow Royal Concert Hall – Doors: 17:00
Friday 27th November – Glasgow Royal Concert Hall – Doors: 21:00
Sunday 29th November – London Theatre, Royal Drury Lane – Doors: 15:00
Sunday 29th November – London Theatre, Royal Drury Lane – Doors: 19:00
Tuesday 1st December – Birmingham Symphony Hall – Doors: 17:00
Tuesday 1st December – Birmingham Symphony Hall – Doors: 21:00 
Tickets on sale 10am, Friday 13th November at gigsandtours.com
You will have to excuse me at 10am tomorrow as I try and snaffle a couple of tickets for a London show at http://www.gigsandtours.com/tour/prince. The earlier one may be easier to swing than the later.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

I just kept plugging away

I read a Guardian interview with Henry Slade (one of the guys who emerged with credit from England's World Cup disappointment) yesterday. He says
“I went to the Devon county trials as an under-15 and I didn’t get in because they said I was too small. I was gutted but I reminded myself that you usually end up being taller than your mum and she was 5ft 11in. So I had hope.”
Does Slade believe English rugby is too caught up in physicality, at the expense of skill?
“From my experience, yeah, in the lower age groups. Other boys had a lot of skill and they weren’t picked for the county side because they weren’t big or powerful – even if you could see the smaller kid would be better in the long run. A lot were lost but, in my case, I just kept plugging away. It comes down to mentality, doesn’t it? If you’ve got that competitive edge it makes you stronger. I kept trying and trying and it paid off eventually. But it was a long road.”
Food for thought. Especially as I got an email in the afternoon from Surrey Rugby saying that Ben has been nominated, by the head of rugby at his school, for the U15 County Player Development Programme and inviting him to an Assessment Day early in December.

"I just kept plugging away."