Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Black Tot Day

Today marks the 43rd anniversary of ‘Black Tot Day’, when a 300-year-old Royal Naval tradition came to an end.
For over three centuries, until 1970, all Royal Navy vessels would ring out their ship's bells just before noon every day. The famous call, 'Up Spirits' would go out, calling sailors to report to deck and receive their daily 70ml ‘tot’, or shot, of rum.
But as the bells chimed on July 31 1970, 43 years ago today, British sailors were issued with their final rum ration and the popular ‘tot’ tradition was no more. 
...... the Royal Navy sailors boarded their ship's decks to take their last ‘tot’ of rum, many wearing black armbands in tribute. ‘Black Tot Day’ was born and each year, on this day, the history of the British Navy is celebrated.
A rum for me in the Provenance tonight then I think, thought strictly I suppose it should be taken at lunchtime.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Money Saving Expert

I have had a head's up that our auction system is likely to feature on moneysavingexpert,com's  weekly email later today. Time to spin up some extra capacity.

Martin Lewis also has his tuppence worth on the payday loan debate in the Telegraph today: "Wonga and other 6,000pc APR loans are the crack-cocaine of the money-lending world."

Monday, July 29, 2013

Teep the wink

'The chief enemy of creativity is good taste.' Only God Forgives opens in the Blighty this weekend. The trailer I out up before (Icons passim) has stopped working so here is the UK version.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

A serious statement

I have made many serious statements - I just can't remember any of them. I guess they mustn't have been very important.
Oliver Reed
Happy birthday John, I've got your present but I didn't post it. You will have to wait until next time I am back over the Severn Bridge to get your grubby paws on it.

Saturday, July 27, 2013


I iz well badmanz coz I like dis innit bruv!

Finally thanks to Phoneshop I can understand what de yoot (Bradley) be sayin' each uvver as I overhear them in the changing rooms in Virgin Active.

Hat tip, the Bomber. Should he really be watching this though?

Friday, July 26, 2013

Give me excess of it

Brendan Reilly is playing Abbeyfest tonight. Having performed at 4 previous AbbeyFests with the RB Funkestra, his 5th appearance will be his first under his own name. He hasn't been denying himself starchy foods since last time I saw him if the video above is anything to go by.
In a restaurant holdin' hands by candlelight. While I'm touchin' you, wanting you with all my might
is probably delivered with such sincerity because he's visualizing a cheese burger.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

O, be some other name!

A shout out to my home girl Elizabeth Linder bigging us up and sharing the love on the BBC. Word is bond.

So the name is George. Vanity Fair had a list of alternative candidates:

1. Dodi.

2. Joffrey.

3. Spencer.

4. Gandalf.

5. Dumbledore.

6. Hawking.

7. Turing.

8. Dench.

9. Magic Mike.

10. Fagin.

11. Eeyore.

12. Pippin.

13. Patriarchy.

14. Cromwell.

15. Wilde.

16. Rotten.

17. Ringo.

18. Keef.

19. Mr. Miniver.

20. Lord High Executioner.

21. Lord Haw Haw.

22. Sir Duke.

23. Kim Philby.

24. Brideshead.

25. Shagwell.

26. Disraeli.

27. Elton.

28. Filofax.

29. Brooklyn.

30. Spice Boy.

31. Goldfinger.

32. Babyshambles.

33. Braveheart.

34. Salman.

35. Carlos Danger.

36. Paddy.

37. Dov.

38. Miss Thing.

39. McVitie.

40. Elizaboy I.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Now give us the baby, say Welsh

THE Welsh have demanded the royal baby be given to them so the initiation can begin.
The dark and mountainous principality, which believes it is ruled by the baby’s grandfather, has dispatched a team of tiny warrior monks to collect the child from Kensington.
The monks will take the prince to the Hall of Dragons on the tip of the Gower Peninsula. There he will be placed in the arms The Great Gryffd, who will school him in the mystic ways.
The process, known as ‘The Rite of Caradog’, will take seven years after which the child will be returned to his parents, filled with ancient wisdom and resentment.
Owain Glynwyryn, of the Council of Elders, said: “We will teach him how to fight, not with his fists but with his mind. And also with a bottle.
“We will tell him tales of heroes and victories until we have washed every drop of Englishness from his true Welsh heart.
“And if that doesn’t work we’ll just hold him upside down.”
After the monks collect the baby they will ride at full gallop for the Welsh border where the infant’s loyal subjects will line the road, holding burning torches to light the way to the Hall of Dragons.
Glynwyryn added: “Release him unto us, for it is his destiny.”
A Buckingham Palace spokesman said: “Absolutely not.”
Hat tip, Kim

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Royal baby announcement

The Duchess of Cambridge was safely delivered of a son at 4.24pm on 22 July. Follow the Clarence House Twitter account for the latest updates.
The text above is from the home page of this morning. We launched the Monarchy on Twitter in July 2009 (Icons passim). I remember the odd eyebrow was raised then. Now it's just business as usual.

(Speaking of business as usual, normal service was resumed at the Antelope quiz last night as we won again.)

Monday, July 22, 2013

Nice and easel does it

The news will come on an easel. It's custom for news of royal births and deaths to be attached to the railings of Buckingham Palace. In this case, it will be displayed on an ornate easel in the forecourt of the palace. The Queen, senior members of the royal family, and the Middleton family - if they are not at the hospital - will be told about the birth first. Then a royal aide will hurry from the hospital to the palace under police escort with a bulletin. The foolscap-sized note, bearing the Buckingham Palace letterhead and signed by key medical staff, will be the nation's first chance to find out if it is a boy or a girl. After the note is displayed, an announcement will be posted on Twitter and Facebook, and the media will be informed.

What a strange country we live in.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Sunday Morning Coming Down

Yesterday went so well I have walked the gym this morning in case I am still over the limit.

The only change to the plan was that brunched at the Provenance rather than Rick's and very good it was too.

I'll be off to Paddington to see my brother off on the train to Wales. The Mad Bishop & Bear may well have a role to play in that ceremony.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Going uphill rabidly

Here at least is the the plan for today. Who knows how it will pan out?

1. Virgin Active: BYOB (Bring Your Own Brother)
2. Rick's: a stomach lining brunch and perhaps a sneaky Bloody Mary
3. HMVCurzon: the main feature
4. The Hand in Hand: head in hands
5. The Crooked Billet billet-doux
6. The Fox and Grapes "Beulah, peel me a grape"
7. The Rose and Crown Moses supposes
8. The Firestables Fires tables?
9. The Brewery Tap If you think I'm having a Nero's coffee, think again.
10 The Dog and Fox according to the small print we can have two in here, one in honour of Finch's
11 Standard Cabs Mother, I can never come home again, 'cause I seem to have left an important part of my brain somewhere ....

Friday, July 19, 2013

Death of an institution

I've been putting the final touches to the plan for tomorrow's trip to see The World's End movie, followed by the Ollie Reed pub crawl.

A change of cinema venue to the HMVCurzon for the 13:50 showing has been agreed. It is in Wimbledon like the Odeon but has a bar and allows, nay encourages, you to take drink into the auditorium.

Of the eight Wimbledon Village pubs in the classic crawl, two have closed.

Finch's is no more, but it is now part of the Dog and Fox, so - in Catholic theology at least - it still counts.

The Brewery Tap has gone the way of all flesh as well. It is now, God's bodkin, a Caffè Nero. John Sweeney paid tribute to its passing in the November 2011 edition of the Oldie in a style that should inspire us to live up to it tomorrow,
The Brewery Tap in Wimbledon Village wasn't much to look at, easily missed from the other side of the street from the better known, blowsier Dog and Fox, where Oliver Reed used to dip his moustache into his beer when not wrestling in the nude. The Tap was a king of home from home to the Village's non-hedge-fund-set, the people who might not want to have a Ferrari, decadent iconoclasm though that might be. Over the years the Tap had been patronised, if that's the wrong word, then sorry - by the likes of (the late) silver-tongued lawyer Geoege Carman, cricketer Bob Willlis, indie garage pop singer JameT and comic Paul Merton.
Landlord John Grover was - is - a miserable sod. ...... read on......
Prodnose: A toast to absent friends?
Myself: Absent friends!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

The Friends of Emily Ratajkowski

James and I were sniggering over the unrated video to Blurred Lines in the pub earlier in the week. He truly is the Bernard Bresslaw to my Sid James. I was previously unaware of it but managed to track it down from the snatches of lyrics he could remember and conjured it up over wi-fi on the iPhone. (I had bought the single on iTunes, but mainly so I could lecture the Bomber on how it is an inferior rip off of Marvin Gaye's Got to Give It Up, Pt1.)

I can't show you the promo in question here in case it frightens the horses, but - purely in the interests of science and accuracy - I have been researching its star Emily Ratajkowski ever since I got in on Tuesday night and I can share a version cooked up by Radio Shack to promote the Buy BEATS Pill Wireless Portable Speaker.

Spookily I bought a Pill last week myself. Perhaps fate is trying to tell me something?

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

passing the batton

Here's Imaani, who was on at Abbeyfest last Friday, introducing Kevin Leo, who is on this Friday.

Prodnose: I love it when a plan comes together.
Myself: I love it when a piano comes together.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013


In the UK Development League athletics meetings two athletes compete from each club in each event in "A" and "B" strings. Looking through Saturday's results I was astounded to find out that the Bomber had won the U13 "B" Javelin and by a handy margin too.

I don't know if not realising this (I include both of us here as I was watching) is a sign of insouciant cool or, more likely, stupidity but I was happy to find out.

Also, it seems that Herne Hill Harriers did enough to win the Southern Premiere 2 division in this last meet of the season so next year they will be in Lower Age Group (U13 and U15) Southern Premiere 1 which is the top league of the ten in the South of England.

Good stuff.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Apocalypse postponed

Stacker Pentecost: Today, at the edge of our hope, at the end of our time, we have chosen not only to believe in ourselves, but in each other. Today we face the monsters that are at our door, today we are canceling the apocalypse!

One of the advantages of having a twelve year old at your disposal is that you can go and see movies featuring characters with names like Stacker Pentecost that are about Giant Friggin' Robots Fighting Monsters. And so it came to pass that we took in Pacific Rim at the Odeon yesterday.

I also noticed, for the first time, that there is a bar menu in the cinema, so it looks like the pub crawl after The World's End next Saturday will kick off in situ.

The apocalypse is not cancelled after all, it is merely postponed for a week.

Sunday, July 14, 2013


The Bomber was competing for Herne Hill Harriers in the UK Youth Development League yesterday. (Narrowly beaten to 2nd in the 200m thanks for asking. Nursing a leg injury not that we're making excuses you understand.)

The clubs in the Southern Region Premier 2 league are Herne Hill Harriers, Southampton A.C., Croydon Harriers, Team Dorset, and Winchester & District A.C.

While we were there an announcement came over the PA that Crydon Harriers' James Dasaolu had run a 9.91 second 100 metres medal contention at at the Sainsbury's British Championships in Birmingham.
His time, shattering his previous best of 10.03, elevates him from 22nd to fourth in this year’s world 100m rankings behind Tyson Gay, Asafa Powell and Justin Gatlin and, astonishingly, ahead of Bolt, whose best time this season is 9.94.
Extremely cool don't you think that he's from one of the clubs we were competing against? Very different from the gulf between the elite and the rest in many sports.

I don't know the the fianl YDL result yet, but barring accidents we will have done enough to win the league and HHH will be in Southern Region Premiere 1 next season which is the top division in this part of the world.

Saturday, July 13, 2013


Why is Gavin Henson trending? *innocent face*

Friday, July 12, 2013

Bringing home the bacon

Nothing is easier or more satisfying than making your own bacon.
Now I have made my own gravlax (Icons passim), bacon seems a logical next step. I've got the necessary herbs  growing in the garden you'll be pleased to know.

It may not all be plain sailing however:
You will now have your own “green” bacon. Don’t worry if a white mould appears; it’s harmless, just rub it off.
doesn't exactly set my mouth watering..

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Blame it on my youth

I got an email from Amazon yesterday which said, "you may have noticed that CD albums purchased from Amazon since you became a customer have been added to your Cloud Player library." (I hadn't noticed by the way.)

I tried it out on the web as well as in the iPhone and iPad app versions.

On iOS the Cloud Player lets you play your iTunes purchases as well, which is all rather splendid.

Gathering all my music together is a great thing in principle, but the trouble with my jazz vocal standards itch is that alphabetical order does tend to raise questions like "how many versions of Blame it on my youth does one person need?" Yes I am talking to you Victoria Tolstoy, Kurt Elling, Jamie Cullum., Keith Jarrett etc. etc.

If I expected love when first we kissed
Blame it on my youth
If only just for you I did exist
Blame it on my youth
I believed in everything
Like a child at three
You meant more than everything
All the world to me
If you were on my mind all night and day
Blame it on my youth
If I forgot to eat and sleep and pray
Blame it on my youth
If I cried a little bit
When first I learned the truth
Don't blame it on my heart
Blame it on my youth
If you were on my mind all night and day-ay
Blame it on my youth
If I forgot to eat and sleep and pray
Blame it on my youth
If I cried a little bit
When first I learned the truth
Don't blame it on my heart
Blame it on my youth

Sniff.... I'm only crying because I'm happy. If you need me I will be in the cupboard under the stairs with boxes (one of each) of Milk Tray and Kleenex.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

AbbeyFest this Friday

A terrific singer in the Soul/R&B tradition Imaani’s cv is long and impressive. She first came to prominence as the UK’s 1998 entrant to the Eurovision Song contest (one of the better choices!) where she was runner up and went on to produce a highly successful single that charted around the World. She then moved on to work with Dub Cospiracy (with whom she again charted). Her worldwide tours, television, live and recorded output includes work with the likes of Gloria Gaynor, Carleen Anderson, Michael Bolton, Lulu and Beverley Knight. Most recently she completed her 5th World tour as lead singer with the iconic band “Incognito” with whom she has had a long association. A powerful and charismatic vocalist this is a rare chance to hear this enormously experienced and highly regarded singer perform at the Club. “the magnificent vocals of Imaani, who weaves her magic over a backdrop of funk guitar and old-school synths” DJ Times; “Imaani’'s beautiful vocals are the standout element” JazzproJect
So now you know. See you there.

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Unfortunately my face was my fortune.

When we bowled up at the CASS Business School last week, Tariq - who cannot bring himself to throw anything away it seems - produced the mug shot booklet issued for, and of, the Feb '86 Executive MBA intake. Yours truly's page is above. Alert as ever, like a tiger waiting to pounce.

Monday, July 08, 2013

Getting on Famously

Radio silence was observed over the weekend as I was away camping. This post is geo-coded with the location so you can see where we were through the miracle of modern science.

I couldn't get even a peep out of the 3G on the iPAD, but I did manage to catch the second half of the famous Lions win at the Apple Tree in Haslemere, and we were home for the final set of Murray's famous Wimbledon win.

Friday, July 05, 2013

Narcissus, with one pustule

I went to the private Parkside hospital in Wimbledon earlier this week to have a skin tag removed from my right lower eyelid. It's a procedure that is not available on the NHS and I rub my eyes in bewilderment at the vicissitudes of my life so often that this acrochordon (who he? ed) was becoming a significant nuisance.

Thus the old physiog is now a couple of millimetres closer to perfection, and I - oh the Hollywood glamour of it all - have my own plastic surgeon.

Try not to be offended if I decide I don't like your face and refer you to him after I have had a few drinkees of a Saturday night.

Thursday, July 04, 2013

STRABISMUS shouldst be living at this hour

Sky has developed technology to transfer adverts from train windows directly and silently into commuters' heads.
Passengers leaning their head against the window will "hear" adverts "coming from inside the user's head", urging them to download the Sky Go app.
The proposal involves using bone conduction technology, which is used in hearing aids, headphones and Google's Glass headset, to pass sound to the inner ear via vibrations through the skull.
STRABISMUS shouldst be living at this hour:
Utrecht hath need of he (whom God preserve)

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Welles Fargo is not far enough

Waiter: Roast pork?
Welles: Oh, my God. On a hot day, roast pork? I can’t eat pork. My diet. But I’ll order it, just to smell pork. Bassanio says to Shylock: ‘If it pleases you to dine with us.’ And Shylock says: ‘Yes, to smell pork; to eat of the habitation which your prophet the Nazarite conjured the devil into. I will buy with you, sell with you, talk with you, walk with you, and so following, but I will not eat with you, drink with you, or pray with you.’
HJ: Isn’t there something about the devil taking the shape of a pig in the Bible? Or did Shakespeare invent that?
Welles: No, Jesus put a whole group of devils into the Gadarene swine. Shakespeare was just trying to give Shylock a reason for not eating with them.
HJ: I would like the grilled chicken.
Waiter: Okay.
Yaaaaas. Life may not be perfect, but at least we never had to break bread with Orson Welles.

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Jim Kelly

Han: We are all ready to win, just as we are born knowing only life. It is defeat that you must learn to prepare for.
Williams: I don't waste my time with it. When it comes, I won't even notice.
Han: Oh? How so?
Williams: I'll be too busy looking gooood.
RIP Jim Kelly. I am very far from clear what that dialogue from Enter the Dragon is actually intended to convey, but I still dig it. Your man was seriously cooool.

It won't mean much to you, but I remember that my school friends and I all tried to get into see his X certificate movie sensation in the Plaza on North Road in Cardiff. That would have been 1973, making us twelve years old. Unsurprisingly we were refused admission, so we went and watched The Day of the Jackal in the Monico instead.

I can conjure it up quite clearly. The the manager confiscated our catapults before he would let us in, locked them in his office, and - fair play - gave them back to us afterwards.

Halcyon days of yore. The catapult: "An elegant weapon for a more civilized age."

Monday, July 01, 2013

David Foster Wallace

In honour of Wimbledon, here is Federer as Religious Experience, the fabled article on Roger Federer by David Foster Wallace, that I have never quite managed to dig up before.