Tuesday, September 02, 2014

ideas are dangerous, especially good ones

The outgoing mayor of Reykjavík:
One of the most valuable lessons that I have learned is that ideas are dangerous, especially good ones [laughs]. Because it is almost certain that some halfwit will pick them up and misinterpret them and misuse them. And this is why it was so important that the Best Party presented no ideology, no solution. No theory. Nothing that some idiot could then adopt and develop and use as a basis for something horrible, making us the ideologues behind some atrocity. And this is why it was so important that the Best Party remain blank, that it stood for no idea or theory other than impotence and powerlessness. And the will to collaborate, to seek help.
There are lots of great ideas out there. But they get misunderstood. And the cause is more often than not simple human frailty, which the theories don’t account for, because they exist solely on the ideological plane, without taking into account emotions and error. Just look at our best thinkers over the past few centuries. From Schopenhauer and Nietzsche to Marx and Engels. Their ideas led to a lot of misunderstanding, a lot of horror. Schopenhauer was Hitler’s favourite philosopher. Karl Marx created communism because he was outraged by how the underclass was being treated. But then, their theories eventually inspired all sorts of atrocities, events and ideas that in no way reflect their intentions.
We thus figured that the best ideology would be no ideology, save for the one espoused by the AA: Powerlessness, humility, frailty. To realise that we don’t have all the solutions.
Interesting man. I have put Gnarr: How I Became the Mayor of a Large City in Iceland and Changed the World on my list of books to read, where it nestles snugly among several hundred others.

Monday, September 01, 2014

To Rise Again at a Decent Hour

'The Catch-22 of dentistry' Stephen King

Joshua Ferris's dazzling new novel To Rise Again at a Decent Hour is about the meaning of life, the certainty of death, and the importance of good oral hygiene.

There's nothing like a dental chair to remind a man that he's alone in the world . . .

Paul O'Rourke - dentist extraordinaire, reluctant New Yorker, avowed atheist, disaffected Red Sox fan, and a connoisseur of the afternoon mochaccino - is a man out of touch with modern life. While his dental practice occupies his days, his nights are filled with darker thoughts, as he alternately marvels at and rails against the optimism of the rest of humanity.

So it goes, until someone begins to impersonate Paul online. What began as an outrageous violation of privacy soon becomes something far more soul-frightening: the possibility that the virtual 'Paul' might be a better version of the man in the flesh . . .
I finished Weekend Wodehouse when I was on the recline exercise bike this morning, so I have been looking around for something else. Amazon has recommended To Rise Again at a Decent Hour, of which I have never previously heard. It is unlikely that unaided I would make my way to 'the Catch-22 of dentistry' though I see it has been long listed for the Man Booker. Also Weekend Wodehouse contained The Fiery Wooing of Mordred, which begins in a dentist's waiting room, and a scene from Summer Lightning set similarly. Perhaps the universe, or Steve Bezos (the terms are essentially interchangeable these days), is sending me a message.

The short list for the Man Booker will be out on September 9 so I imagine I will have something to say about Joshua Ferris's inclusion or exclusion when the day dawns.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

body work

More than four months after the Bomber took his stiff back there, and more than two years since I had a sports massage, I plucked up the courage to take myself along for an hour's treatment at Abbey Mills Thai Yoga Massage today.

The trigger points that were discovered around my shoulders in a previous episode were still very much in evidence and certainly hurt when they were manipulated but - on balance - it was quite relaxing and I certainly felt it was doing me good.

£45 for an hour seems a lot, but then again I spent more than £700 servicing my car this week and more than £60 filling it with petrol. I can always get a new car, but I am pretty much stuck with the body God gave me.

I think I will start programming it once every three weeks. What do we think? Is a £15 a week massage budget excessive or prudent? It is also so near I could get an hour in at lunchtime rather than having it eat into an evening.

Saturday, August 30, 2014


Avenue Q Overview
‘The best musical of the decade’
Sunday Times
Winner of the Tony Awards Triple Crown for Best Musical, Best Score and Best Book, Avenue Q is part flesh, part felt and packed with heart.
Following five years in the West End and sell-out runs worldwide (packed with mischief, bad behaviour and political incorrectness) this hugely entertaining show is hitting the road on a brand new tour!
Created by Jeff Marx and Robert Lopez (co-creator of Book of Mormon and writer of the songs for Disney’s Frozen) Avenue Q is an irresistibly charming musical which tells the story of the loveable characters on a downtown New York street trying to make sense of life’s burning issues.
Hilarious, cheeky and uproariously entertaining, with a terrific batch of songs performed by a cast of hugely talented performers and puppets, Avenue Q is the musical like no other.

So don’t let your life suck - book your tickets today!
If I get my skates on I can pop along and get to the matinee this afternoon.
A short walk East
It is Sophie's birthday party this evening.
North, South, East, West; our Sarf London is the best.

Friday, August 29, 2014


A short walk North:
On Saturday 30th August, to celebrate the launch of the new Moët Hennessy sparkling wine, which launched in May this year, Chandon will be taking over Tooting Bec Lido in South London to create the most extravagant lido experience Londoners could ask for.
Chandon strives to make everyday experiences extraordinary and their first event in London will be sure to do just that, as the new sparkling wine brand will be taking over the iconic public lido and creating the ultimate pool party.

Londoners who head to Tooting Bec Lido to attend the event will enjoy synchronised swimming performances, DJ performances, vintage style waitresses offering poolside service, pool volleyball matches, ultimate grilled cheese sandwiches sold from a vintage ‘cheese truck’, ice cream and cookie sandwiches and of course, plenty of Chandon.
A short walk South:
Sambrook's and the National Trust are pleased to present Beer by the River 2014! Following the success of last year, this year's event promises to be bigger and better - more music, more food and more beer!
This year's event will continue our celebration of beer, food and music, with local food producers, entertainers and craft brewers from around the UK...........
Duncan Sambrook, founder of Sambrook's, comments:
"I am thrilled to be back at Morden Hall Park for our second year with Beer by the River, and our Home Brew competition will add to the excitement of the whole event. For those interested in beer, Beer by the River really is a must visit event for 2014"
This is no place to live if you are teetotal.

Thursday, August 28, 2014


The Bomber has done the ice bucket challenge, as has Chris Howell who has nominated me. This adds up to near irresistible peer pressure.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014


What better way could there be to celebrate the fact that Prince is set to release two albums on 29 September, one with girl group 3rdEyeGirl and another solo record, than to share very Prince hairstyle from 1978 to 2013 with s a single handy animated gif? It would also appear that Prince has been trying to grow a moustache since 1978

Looking at the papers this morning after last night's first Kate Bush gig for thirty five years, it struck me that you wouldn't need to animate her gif as she has had essentially the same cut for all those years.

Rod Steward - similarly conservative - has a haircut that is actually older than his wife.

1. "4 2 B WITCH U" is a song that I wrote in the style of Minneapolis' finest purple person.
2. I wonder if they remastered the version of Kate Bush's The Kick Inside that is charting at the moment? I remember trying it again on my original vinyl a while back and finding it almost unlistenably stingy with the low frequency information known to the world as bass.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

North Atlantic Tweety Organisation

It seems to me that this message from out masters implies that they do not have a very high opinion of members of the public's attention spans.

Monday, August 25, 2014

close call

I was just walking out the door to the quiz, when I remembered I  hadn't written anything here today.

That is rare enough an event to serve as today's post.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

this kind of thing is my punch bag baby

I went to Bikram Yoga this morning. Facebook has told me that Floyd Mayweather did it this week as well in the run up to his rematch with Marcos Maidana in three weeks time, thus confirming once more its unlikely badassery,

The 8am Sunday session won't be an option for me once the rugby season starts again in a fortnight as I will have duties getting the Bomber to 10 o'clock kick offs.

He's still asleep at the moment. In two weeks time he will have waking up duties as well.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

making good

When I went home yesterday lunchtime I was astounded to find the Bomber repairing his jeans with needle and thread. He learned to sew when they were doing fabrics in art apparently. This is all to the good as far as I am concerned. I certainly can't do it.

I can, however, do chicken and sweetcorn quesadillas, so that is what we had. This morning - my Riverford fruit and veg box having delivered blueberries - we will have them in pancakes served with bacon and maple syrup. It will be as if he is still at IHOP in Orlando.

Friday, August 22, 2014

round house

Ever since the Bomber did it I have thought it would be a good idea for more girls to learn muay Thai.

Quite seriously, this sort of thing would have taken the spring out of the step of the guy I tried when I was on jury service in very short order.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Tim Vine

“I’ve decided to sell my hoover... well, it was just collecting dust.”
Tim Vine has won the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award in Edinburgh for the second time and talks here about the work that goes in to polishing his one liners.

Back in the day when there used to be comedy in G-Js (and when G-J's was even open) he was one of the comedians who came along testing new material away from the spotlights and television cameras.

He was great even though all he did was read through a huge pile of jokes (in a notebook or on cards? I can't remember) ticking ones that went well, occasionally jotting a comment on efforts that could have gone better, and drawing a line through the failures.

"Exit signs, they're on the way out."

Wednesday, August 20, 2014


Ben and Rayburn
The Bomber is back from  Florida and sleeping the sleep of the just after flying through the night to Heathrow. I will have to stock up on fun size confectionery, mango juice, Weetabix chocolate chip crispy minis and the other cornerstones of a nutritious breakfast that I don't really have much call for when he is away.