Thursday, September 21, 2017

Giles Hedley

Well this is certainly an option in the ever more essential Merton Apprentice for Saturday evening.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017


Old Elthamians have pulled out of Sunday's clash with the Old Ruts. Given that and the P Grill hibernation I can potentially devote the entire weekend to Tootopia. Oh dear.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Armenia - The World's Oldest Wine Producer

Armenia is the oldest wine producing nation in the world with the discovery at Areni of winemaking vessels 6,100 years old although the wild vine was established there over one million years ago. Recently there has been a renaissance with the emergence of new vineyards and state-of-the-art equipment.
The Club is delighted that Charles Masraff, founder of Armenian Wine Importers, will tutor a top selection. Charles spent five years in Yerevan from 2006. Sparkling Keush with its crisp citrus flavours starts our tasting. It is made from two ungrafted varietals – Khatoun Karji and Voskehat – grown on rich volcanic soil at 1,800m, the vineyards are the highest in Armenia and among the most elevated in the world.
Two stylish whites follow from the 2015 harvest: Koor (from the indigenous Voskehat vine grown on the Continental highlands of volcanic sediment and limestone) and Karas (which is a skilful blend of Chardonnay, Kangun, Rkatsiteli and Viognier). The latter is made by a top Argentine oenologist, guided by the noted Michel Rolland.
Areni Noir from the Trinity Canyon Vineyards at 1,300m is the source of Trinity 6100 Rose 2015, grown on volcanic soil with a high gravel and sand content. Its strawberry aromas and crisp, dry red wild berry taste ensure beautiful balance Four stylish reds will be shown. Koor 2015 is made from Areni and the more tannic Sireni grapes. Hand-harvested, the grapes are table sorted and cold macerated prefermentation.
Sireni grapes grown on the slopes of Togh (600-700m)are used for both Kataro 2015 and Kataro Reserve 2014. The latter is late-harvested and aged in Caucasian oak barrels for 12 months.
Finally, Karas Red 2015 from the Armavir region will be shown: a stunning blend of Syrah, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc, Kndoghni and Montepulciano grapes.
Andy M has come up with a spare ticket so that is where I will be tomorrow evening. That is pleasant surprise out of the blue. It is just a short walk from Bank tube station; a simple trip there and back on the Northern line. All good.

Monday, September 18, 2017

SEAGULLS! (Stop It Now)

Monday morning blues banished.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

closing down sale everything must go

The Phoenix grill bowed out for the year today, fittingly on the occasion of the All-Ireland Gaelic Football final, and maybe for good as Ned the landlord is moving on.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Harry Dean Stanton RIP

Prodnose: Look at those assholes, ordinary fxxking people. I hate 'em.

Myself: Me too.

See also Paris, Texas.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Plans for this evening, soundtrack for this afternoon

In which, for the very first time, I embed Amazon Music.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Objets Trouves

Why don’t we open Rue des Morillons, in that large stockpile an aisle for all the lost hearts, for all the misplaced lovers that are sent so gaily into oblivion?
Those who may have lost love, joy, and even a little more could then find each other at the Bureau of Found Objects.
Only in Paris could lost property be so deliriously romantic; read The Peculiar Poetry of Paris’s Lost and Found by Nadja Spiegelman in the New Yorker.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Travelling in a fried-out Kombi, on a hippie trail, head full of zombie

Rory Stewart
There are people in this room who will have contemporaries who would have been able to take a bus from Victoria station to Delhi in the 1970s. They would have been able to drive across Syria, Iraq and Iran. They could have gone across Afghanistan, from Herat to Kabul. They would have been able to travel to the north-west frontier province of Pakistan. None of that is possible today for a British citizen. In fact, nearly 50 countries in the world are in a fragile or conflict-affected state. It has never been so dangerous.

The decline of the Hippie Trail is a remarkable illustration of how the world has changed, but at the same time gives us hope it can bounce back I suppose.

Sir Peter Hall

Peter Hall's dead.

I remember A Streetcar Named Desire in 1997 with Jessica Lange as Blanche, Imogen Stubbs as Stella and Toby Stephens as Stanley. They were all brilliant. Apologies to whoever was Mitch. You have slipped my mind.

I also saw a production of A Woman of No Importance that he directed with Kate O'Mara. His notes in the programme described how Oscar Wilde was a very rare and special writer and thinker in that he stressed the value of kindness; a great insight I think that has stayed with me ever since.

Also, now I come to think of it, Dustin Hoffman's Merchant of Venice.

I used to get out more in the 80s and 90s.

Monday, September 11, 2017

How does an Electric Car work?

I need to do some woodshedding before these things take over the world.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Shared as a public service

Croissant Man is the story of a depressed Croissant trying to find meaning in the superficial world of Bourgeois pastries.

Saturday, September 09, 2017

And so it goes

Philosophically we put the Cardiff Blues 37-9 loss to Leinster behind us and turn our attention to City's Premiership game at Craven Cottage this afternoon.

After that - and treating Swansea with an inflexible rigour of disdain - we will be focussing on my beloved Seattle Seahawks on the road against the Green Bay Packers at 9:25 Sunday night.

Oh, and Celine has found out her family is OK (maybe more accurately unharmed) in St Maarten after the Hurricane.

Friday, September 08, 2017

Irma le dur

I'm paying particular attention to St Maarten in the wake of Hurricane Irma, because Tess - who used to run the kid's art school downstairs underneath my office in the Mills - moved there several years ago and I can see, via Facebook, that her daughter Celine (who is in college in Holland) hasn't been able to contact the rest of her mother, sister, brother and stepfather on the island since the storm passed. Fingers crossed they are all OK and the lack of a message is due to power and telecoms failures.

Dutch military forces have arrived, cleared the runway at the badly damaged airport and secured berths in the harbor for two navy ships. Prime Minister Mark Rutte told reporters today that the first plane has already landed at the airport in the capital, Philipsburg, and navy vessels have unloaded vital supplies. Further, the Dutch King Willem-Alexander will fly to the Caribbean island of Curacao on Sunday to inspect the coordination of relief efforts for the devastated former colony St. Maarten.

The British Navy flagship HMS Ocean is also on its way to our Caribbean overseas territories and former colonies carrying helicopters, Marines and engineers. It will get there in ten days to a fortnight's time. Pathetic. It's not as if Holland is a lot closer to that part of the world than we are is it?

Thursday, September 07, 2017

Oktoberfest in London

I got two tickets (one for me and one for my brother) for on 14 October yesterday.

Then, my friend Jason snapped up the other six tickets on table 331. Of the adjoining tables, half of 330, half of 321 and all of 332 are available if you fancy joining us. Book here.

Wednesday, September 06, 2017

Next Stop Tbilisi

There's a star man,
Playing on the right,
His name is Benny Woodburn,
And he's f*****g dynamite.
Strictly the assist is on the left, but I am going to allow a little artistic license.

Tuesday, September 05, 2017


The flunge is a move used in saber fencing. It is basically a flying lunge, hence the name. You can perform the flunge with the same intent as a standard lunge, but the initial flying leap gives you a greater element of surprise and speed.

If I had known that last night we would have won the quiz rather than coming second after losing the tie break.

Prodnose: What do we say to the god of the quiz?

Myself: Not today.

Prodnose: Go.

Monday, September 04, 2017

Back in the siddle

Ben's Old Ruts beat Reeds Weybridge quite handily yesterday which was quite gratifying as I don't recall us defeating them on the road before.

According to the teamer app, next weekend is Farham. I don't know if that is a typo of Fareham or Farnham and I don't know if it is home or away.

The Sunday after that we are playing London Welesh. I image that is London Welsh, but possibly we should invest in a club spell checker.

Sunday, September 03, 2017

Dig the new breed

I sacrificed a party to see this. It was worth it.

Saturday, September 02, 2017

Address to the nation

I don't know anything about Kenyan politics at all but this is a very impressive performance.

Friday, September 01, 2017

To infinity and beyond

Here's a picture of Callum with Jadon Sancho when they were playing for England in the European Under-17 Championship. It wasn't headline news yesterday as the transfer window closed, but Sancho become the latest young English player to move overseas after Borussia Dortmund confirmed the 17-year-old had joined from Manchester City for a fee understood to be around £8m.

He will wear the No7 shirt vacated by Ousmane Dembélé when he joined Barcelona for an initial £95m last week.

No pressure then.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Silk Road: Drugs, Death and the Dark Web

I watched a documentary looking at the black market website known as the Silk Road on the BBC iplayer last night. This 'Amazon of illegal drugs' - the brainchild of a mysterious, libertarian intellectual operating under the avatar The Dread Pirate Roberts - emerged in 2011, promising its users complete anonymity and total freedom from government regulation, and grew into a multimillion-dollar (denominated in Bitcoin) digital drugs cartel.

Fascinating stuff, especially considering that two of the last three books I read were Cryptocurrency: How Bitcoin and Digital Money are Challenging the Global Economic Order by Paul Vigna and Michael J. Casey and Dreamland: The True Tale of America's Opiate Epidemic by Sam Quinones.

It is available for another 22 days here.

Monday, August 28, 2017


The Blues beat reigning Aviva Premiership champions the Exeter Chiefs in a pre-season friendly on Friday, then the City beat QPR on Saturday to nail themselves to the top of the Championship.

And Dan Fish is back from his long term injury.

And Colin Jackson has come out.

All systems go in Wales' capital.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

nante Hampsteads, nante minces, nante riah, nante everything

... The sixth age shifts Into the lean and slippered pantaloon With spectacles on nose and pouch on side, His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide For his shrunk shank, and his big manly voice, Turning again toward childish treble, pipes And whistles in his sound...
Yep, I'm back in Cardiff.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Old Friends From High School Meet Up Every Year To Say Names Of Former Classmates

The Onion
Convening at their hometown bar to grab a drink and catch up on things, a group of old high school friends reportedly met up on Thursday as per their yearly tradition of saying the names of their former classmates. “Hey, remember that guy Dave Getler?” asked 32-year-old Kim Blackburn to a group of nodding Granville High alumni, each of whom took their turn listing a series of mutual acquaintances from the specific four-year period in their lives. “How’s Marcy Levesque doing? Anyone hear from her? Oh, who was Shane Cook and Trevor O’Malley’s buddy who used to date Karen Hest? Tanner Smith? I remember he would always sit with Devon and Sean in algebra—okay, now ‘Sean Houlihan’ is a name I haven’t heard in a million years.” At press time, those friends who still lived near each other agreed that there was no reason to wait another year to get together and say the names of former classmates as a smaller group.
That'll be me, Phil and Tim in the Claude later if everything goes to plan.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Tooting you own horn

Lonely Planet has pronounced on 10 of the world’s coolest neighbourhoods to visit right now.

Borgo San Frediano, Florence
Seongsu-dong, Seoul
The Triangle, Lisbon
Vesterbro, Copenhagen
Business Bay, Dubai
Damansara Heights, Kuala Lumpur
Sunset Park, New York City
Botafogo, Rio de Janeiro
Frelard, Seattle
Tooting, London

Myself: Tooting?

Prodnose: Tooting in South London has developed into an uber-cool neighbourhood in recent years and lost none of its gritty charm in the process. Rubbing shoulders with perfectly pleasant yet slightly square Wimbledon, Earlsfield and Balham, Tooting is a more captivating affair, revelling in multiculturalism and originality. Its high street, which stretches between two Tube stations, is one of the best ‘curry corridors’ in the country, and contains some superb South Asian restaurants, like Dosa n Chutny and Apollo Banana Leaf. The best shopping can be found inside eclectic Tooting Market, and quirky bars and pubs include The Castle, The Antelope and The Little Bar. The Tooting Commons create over 200 acres of green between them, and are home to Tooting Bec Lido – the largest swimming pool in the United Kingdom.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

85a Lower Richmond Road

Rod is back in Blighty from Greece and John is in town from New Zealand, so last night (and more than thirty one years after I moved out) we met up for a drink in the Half Moon pub which is a stone's throw from the flat we used to share with a revolving cast of colourful characters.

According to Zoopla, it is worth £583,000 now.

We must have left it in a better state than I remember.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

A Raindrop in the Ocean: The Life of a Global Adventurer

I'll be starting on this new book shortly. It sounds fascinating. Here is a piece from the Torygraph on a life well lived.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Tubby, you go rest your thumbs. I'll drive.

RIP Jerry Lewis. I've always loved this scene. Dunno why, but there you go.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

That went quickly

Time for Ben to apply for a provisional license if he wants to start learning to drive on his 17th birthday.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Premier League 2

Callum has been playing for Chelsea in something called Premier League 2 of which I have never heard, so here is the skinny:

It is a new competition that replaced the Under-21 Premier League from 2016/17, with a greater focus on technicality, physicality and intensity to bring players as close to first-team experience as possible.

The age limit for players has risen from Under-21 to Under-23.

The league will take on the same format of two tiers, Division 1 and Division 2, with 12 teams in each, and the factor of promotion and relegation.

The 24 clubs who compete each applied for 'Category One' status in the Elite Player Performance Plan (EPPP). There are 15 clubs from the Premier League and nine clubs from the Championship.

All players born after 1 January 1993 for the 2016/17 season are eligible to play, and the format stays as follows:

There are 12 teams in Division 1 and 12 in Division 2, with every club playing each other once at home and once away

In Division 1, the team who finish first are champions

The bottom two teams in Division 1 get relegated to Division 2
In Division 2, the league winners get automatic promotion to Division 1

Teams ranked second, third, fourth and fifth go into a promotion play-off

Second plays fifth place at home and third hosts fourth in the semi-finals, both at the club’s main stadium, while the final takes place at the home ground of the team who finished highest in the league

All play-off matches are one-off ties, decided by extra-time and then penalties if the match is level after 120 minutes

There is no relegation from Division 2

Teams in Division 1
Arsenal, Chelsea, Derby County, Everton, Leicester City, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Reading, Southampton, Sunderland, Tottenham Hotspur

Teams in Division 2
Aston Villa, Blackburn Rovers, Brighton & Hove Albion, Fulham, Middlesbrough, Newcastle United, Norwich City, Swansea City, Stoke City, West Bromwich Albion, West Ham United, Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Chelsea are on top as I write and Callum got both their goals in the first game. Not too shabby when you think he was born in the year 2000 and players both any time in 1993 are eligible.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Fast was good. Faster is better.

A little-known feature of the 2nd-generation Amazon Fire TV Stick, which Amazon has never advertised, is that it supports USB OTG by default. This allows you to connect much more than a power cord to the device’s micro USB port, like wired keyboards, mice, hubs, and external storage, but by far the most common use is to connect an Ethernet adapter in order to get a fast and stable internet connection to the Fire TV Stick. If all you want to do is connect the Fire TV Stick to Ethernet, this all-in-one Ethernet adapter by UGREEN is by far the easiest way to go.

Thanks AFTV News, via Google's machine learning estimate of my wants and needs, one is on the way to Browne Acres.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

the path of totality

A universal pop song and the universe are about to align.
Guests aboard the Royal Caribbean's Total Eclipse Cruise have an extra surprise in store for their once-in-a-lifetime viewing experience: Bonnie Tyler, the Welsh songstress of "Total Eclipse of the Heart" fame, will be on board to perform her 1983 hit just as the moon sails across the sun. (The cruise ship will be positioned in the path of totality for this critical moment. “Bonnie Tyler was a natural choice for this once-in-a-lifetime moment," said the president and CEO of Royal Caribbean International, Michael Bayley.)
Forever's gonna start tonight. Forever's gonna start tonight.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017


Charlottesville: Race and Terror – VICE News

I'll watch this later. Not looking forward to it, but it needs to be done.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

One ring

1x Yellow metal Ring

Condition: Used - Believed to be a Lord of the Rings ring

No guarantee it is an actual Nazgûl heirloom, but just imagine.

Coincidentally I was listening to In Our Time on Plato's Republic the other day and learned of the Ring of Gyges which is a mythical magical artifact mentioned in Book 2 (2:359a–2:360d). It granted its owner the power to become invisible at will. Through the story of the ring, Republic considers whether an intelligent person would be moral if he did not have to fear being caught and punished for doing injustices. Internet trolls anyone?

Monday, August 14, 2017

All time high

A £4.21 transaction in my Bitcoin wallet (£4 plus a 21p fee) from 17 July is worth £8.82 today.

See Icons passim. Not the same transaction.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

What I think about these days ......

All-Ireland SHC semi-final: Cork v Waterford, Croke Park, 3.30pm – RTE/Sky

The suspension of Tadhg de Búrca is critical to this match. There are two aspects to the situation. One, how do Waterford cope?

We saw them take on Cork without a sweeper in June and it looked like it didn’t suit them. Tadhg de Búrca was chasing Conor Lehane and he was left and right and ultimately very poor on the day.

Since then Waterford have improved and played better against Kilkenny and better against Wexford, in their familiar formation – call it a sweeper system. They’re crowding the middle third and De Búrca is sitting back off the centre forward who is being picked up by Darragh Fives.

It will be difficult to pick someone else to play that role. Tadhg de Búrca has a great positional sense, is a brilliant striker and is excellent under the high ball and plays there extremely well. I presume Fives will be asked to do the job but the truth is they have no-one as good to take over.

Is that all clear? I have made the arbitrary decision that I am a Cork supporter.

In other arbitrary sport support developments my beloved Seahawks kick off against the LA Chargers at one o'clock tomorrow morning.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Green and Gold

Paul Flynn MP
Last night I met Tony O'Donnell.
It was a riot of rushed words, shared memories of mutual friends plus gratitude from me for Anthony's playing of me at Donmar Warehouse Theatre. He wore a wig for the show which he sadly dumped for the photograph. Otherwise the resemblance was convincing.......
Following the show Anthony joined me in singing our old school song-Green and Gold. We were both at St Illtyd's College Cardiff. I was there is the late forties Anthony in the early sixties but we share many friends-especially from the Splott area of Cardiff. We will have another get together to catch up on many events.
See Icons passim.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Comrade Detective

In the thick of 1980's Cold War hysteria, the Romanian government created the country's most popular and longest-running series, Comrade Detective, a sleek and gritty police show that not only entertained its citizens but also promoted Communist ideals and inspired a deep nationalism. The action-packed and blood-soaked first season finds Detectives Gregor Anghel and Iosef Baciu investigating the murder of fellow officer Nikita Ionesco and, in the process, unraveling a subversive plot to destroy their country that is fueled by-what else-but the greatest enemy: Capitalism.
I watched the first episode last night on Amazon Prime. It's hysterical. Cardiff's increasingly ubiquitous Jon Ronson introduces it along with Channing Tatum. Enough to elevate him to Welsh Born Icon status. That's two in a month after a year of silence.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

A Man Named Fieri Filled with Fury

At last someone who thinks - as I do - that Guy Fieri is a great man. What did he ever do, besides support charities and small business owners, to get folk so agitated?

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

knife crime

Nineteen year old Daniel Namanga - Rutlish and Old Ruts - stabbed to death early yesterday morning in the Old Kent Road.

Eighteen year old Kishon Allen -  Rutlish, Old Ruts, and Herne Hill Harriers - among four teenagers who appeared in court in June accused of knifing Mahamed Hassan to death in Battersea the month before.

A plague a’ both your houses!

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Monday, August 07, 2017

Proof, if proof be needed

That is Bolt's legacy; unassailable.

Sunday, August 06, 2017

Last Chance to See

John Patrick Crichton Stuart, the 3rd Marquess of Bute, was one of the richest men in the British Empire in the late 19th century.
With an annual income in excess of £150,000 - around £15 million in today's money - he pursued his passion for architecture with a vengeance. Narrated by Suzanne Packer, The Scot Who Spent a Welsh Fortune delves into the extraordinary world of Lord Bute and reveals what connects the small Scottish island of Bute to modern Cardiff.
Bute was one of the most unconventional mavericks of the Victorian age, passionate about the past but also far ahead of his time - a blue-blooded aristocrat, who supported women's rights and striking miners, a Welsh-speaking intellectual Catholic who was also a ghost hunter. Above all, Bute was a fabulously rich and visionary creator of great architecture including the Gothic fantasy of Cardiff Castle, and Castell Coch - the fairytale castle.
Great stuff and you have only got one day left to catch it on the BBC iPlayer.

Saturday, August 05, 2017


Not a lot of  commercial action at the P Grill today. Still a groove and a gas shooting the breeze with the Bomber however which - truth to be told - is the point.

I think his enthusiasm will wane at this level though. Maybe tomorrow's Charity Shield will throw us a bone.

Friday, August 04, 2017

I loves the 'Diff

Seven priests walked into a bar... and were asked to leave because landlord thought they were on a stag do.
The seminarians were initially barred from the City Arms in Cardiff on Saturday despite insisting their clothes were not fancy dress.
But they managed to get their celebratory pints on the house after the bar manager realised they were the real thing.
I will be back later for my mum's birthday; good to see the home town is as barking mad as ever.

Thursday, August 03, 2017

Dr William Price

BBC Blogs
Wales has had its fair share of eccentrics over the years but none was more bizarre or more flamboyant than the mercurial and fascinating Dr William Price of Llantrisant.
This Chartist and republican, a man who ate no meat, drank mainly champagne, eschewed the wearing of socks and prescribed a vegetarian diet for his patients instead of medicine, has a much more significant claim to fame, however. For this was the man who, effectively, opened the way for legalised cremation in Britain.
Born on 4 March 1800 at Rudry near Caerphilly, Price was the fifth child of the Rev William Price. His father wanted William to enter the church but the young man had different ambitions. He wanted to become a doctor and was, accordingly, apprenticed to a local surgeon, Dr Evan Edwards. He was just 13 years of age and after a number of years, following the death of his father, managed to enroll himself at St Barts in London.
Price was clearly a man of huge intellect. He passed his examinations in just 12 months and became a member of the Royal College of Surgeons before the age of 22. After further study in anatomy and physiology he returned to Wales to live and work in 1821.
In 1827 he moved to Nantgarw, just up the valley from Cardiff and became surgeon to the ironmaster Francis Crawshay.
A strain of eccentricity, even of insanity, ran in his family and this quickly began to show itself in his behaviour. He dressed in a white tunic with green trousers and red waistcoat and developed a liking for outlandish costume, notably a fox-skin headdress with the legs and tails hanging down over his shoulders and back. His hair was worn long in plaits and, in these early years, he had the rather disconcerting habit of racing, stark naked, over the hills around Pontypridd.
William Price had little time for many of the standard medical treatments of the day, things like bleeding and purging, believing that a vegetarian diet was far more important than anything else. He was dogmatic in his medical practice, refusing to treat patients who would not give up smoking.
An advocate of what was, in effect, an early example of the health service - he believed that patients should pay him when they were well and he would then treat them when they fell ill - Price was elected as the private medical practitioner to a group of workers at the local chainworks. They paid him with a weekly deduction from their wages.
Dr William Price was no ordinary man. He had little time for marriage, feeling that it was an institution that did little more than enslave women. He did believe, however, in free love. As if to prove his point he fathered several illegitimate children and fell out with church authorities over this issue on many occasions.
He became fascinated by the old druidic rites and even held druidic ceremonies at the rocking stone outside Pontypridd. He even began to build a druidic temple in the area, thus infuriating the local Methodists who went as far as to accuse him of trespass.
William Price was a supporter of Chartism, some accounts saying that he attended Chartist meetings in a cart pulled by a pair of goats. Having moved to Llantrisant, he was made leader of the Pontypridd and District group and, following the disaster of the Chartist march on Newport in 1839 was forced to flee to France. Legend declares that he left dressed as a woman and that a police officer even assisted him up the gangplank of his ship - unlikely but hugely entertaining.
Price lived in Paris for several years before returning to the Pontypridd area in 1846. He again fled to the continent in 1860 when a warrant for his arrest - he had refused to pay a fine - was issued. This time his exile was for a further five years.
Returning to Wales and to Ty'r Clettwr at Llantrisant, Price promptly installed his 16-year-old housekeeper, one Gwenllian Llewellyn, as his mistress. Despite his advanced age (he was then 83-years-old) he fathered a son by Gwenllian, naming him Iesu Grist, Welsh for Jesus Christ.
When Iesu died in 1884, aged just five months, Price cremated his body on an open pyre in a field at Llantrisant. Whether the good doctor was opposed to the traditional act of Christian burial or whether he was more interested in the druidic rituals of the past, is not known. However, what is clear is that, dressed in his flowing druids robes, he timed the cremation to coincide with the conclusion of chapel services in the town.
As might be expected, the local people were wild with indignation at what they saw as pure sacrilege. They attacked Price and were only prevented from assaulting Gwenllian by the pack of large dogs that Price kept at his home.
William Price was arrested and charged. However, in a sensational trial, held in Cardiff, Justice Stephens acquitted Price, a judgement and a decision that led almost directly to the passing of the Cremation Act, thus making the burning of bodies legal in Britain.
After fathering several more children, Dr William Price died on 23 January 1893. His body was cremated in front of many thousands of spectators - some estimates being as high as 20,000 - who flocked to Llantrisant to witness the event. Several tons of coal and wood were piled up underneath the corpse in order to make it burn more effectively.
They say that all the pubs in Llantrisant ran dry on the day of that cremation. Price had organised everything, even selling tickets to the event - bizarre and outlandish, right to the end!
A New Welsh Born Icon; the first inauguration of 2017.

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

I'll drink to that

From the Indescribablyboring
According to Margaret Rhodes, the Queen's cousin, HM's alcohol intake never varies. She takes a gin and Dubonnet before lunch, with a slice of lemon and a lot of ice. She will take wine with lunch and a dry Martini and a glass of champagne in the evening. That comes to 6 units per day, which would make Her Majesty a binge drinker by government standards.
Yes Ma'am.

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Hot stuff

Almost exactly seven years and eleven months (Icons passim) after my first Bikram yoga session, I took the some and heir along to Hot Yoga Wimbledon this morning so he could try it out for himself.

He did very well, though he was surprised how intense it was, and has signed up for an introductory unlimited thirty day pass. He should be able to give that a thorough pasting as he will be in limbo between GCSEs and college over the next month.

I have been 443 times in total, which makes it rather vexing to see him to things (Fixed Firm pose anyone?) I still can't do in his first class.

Monday, July 31, 2017

What The Bitcoin Cash “BCC” Hard Fork Means for Blockchain Wallet Users

We’ve received questions about the Bitcoin Cash Fork (known as BCC) that is scheduled to activate on August 1st and how it will impact individual users. Our top priority is the safety of customer funds. Though we are actively monitoring network conditions and will do everything we can to minimize the impact on you, it may be necessary to temporarily cease broadcasting transactions for a short period of time. If it is, we will let you know.
If you have a Blockchain wallet, it is essential that you retain your wallet and corresponding recovery phrase and not delete them, even if you empty the BTC balance. Also if you are considering withdrawing funds from exchanges that will not support BCC, it is safe to withdraw to your Blockchain wallet.
In the event of two separate blockchains after August 1, 2017 we will support the longest chain. As of today, we have no immediate plans to fully support the Bitcoin Cash fork within our main product. But, if BCC develops into an actual chain and market, you will be able to use your recovery phrase to export your funds and use them on that chain, regardless of whether or not Blockchain chooses to support it.
I can't claim to be entirely sure I understand this, but it seems to mean that Blockchain won't credit an allocation of BCC to me tomorrow, but that I could get it if I moved to a different wallet. Considering I only have the equivalent of £13.53, it hardly an issue of earth shaking significance.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

double end bag

We just set up a double end bag in Ben's room. Man it's fun. Why didn't we get one before? Perhaps because I had never heard of it before he mentioned the idea.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

It pays to increase your wordpower

a slender marine fish which attaches itself to large fish by means of a sucker on top of the head. It generally feeds on the host's external parasites.
I have found a new insult. Expect to be called a remora some time soon.

Friday, July 28, 2017


On the plus side, our barbecue premises have been upgraded at the Standard for this weekend's tailgate party.

The other side of the coin is that they now have Stella on tap; you may well have to make allowances.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Happy Birthday

Have a great birthday at the Fitzpatrick Grand Central in Manhattan, John.

Only you could find an Irish hotel in New York.

Update: Only you could find a hotel that features an Irish pub, the Wheeltapper, in New York.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

opioids of the people.

I have finished reading No Hunger in Paradise, a book about football, and started Dreamland: The True Tale of America's Opiate Epidemic by Sam Quinones.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

NB phone home

I left my mobile at home yesterday; nomophobia ensued.

I did, however, find out - to my surprise and delight - that I could still access it at  my PC via MightyText as it was connected to the internet via my house wi-fi.

This makes sense for sending and receiving SMS. The phone dialer feature bemused me though, as it offered me the facility to dial without being able to hear if anyone answered.

Monday, July 24, 2017

conspicuously tangential thinking

I have been reading No Hunger In Paradise: The Players. The Journey. The Dream, Michael Calvin's book about the snakes and ladders of making it from a schoolboy to a professional footballer. Fiona told me about the book as Calvin is going to be part of Brian Moore's Wimbledon Bookfest event this year, and - yes - Callum is in the Appendix though I haven't made it as far as as a mention of him in the text.

It contains this extraordinary passage about Nathan Redmond.
His solution to every boy's nightmare, the loss of a front door key when no one would be at home to allow access at the end of a school day, was to make himself a sandwich he didn't like, and place the key between two slices of bread. His reasoning, that he was less likely to misplace a sandwich box, was the produce of conspicuously tangential thinking.
He put his key in a sandwich to avoid losing it! This is the kind of imaginative leap that is being forced out of the modern game by over coaching.

I can scarcely believe I am not having my leg pulled, but it is there - large as life - on page 270.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

When the student is ready, the teacher disappears.

Six or so years ago, I read a book called Awake in the World: Teachings from Yoga and Buddhism for Living an Engaged Life by Michael Stone.

Michael Stone is dead now.
On Thursday July 13, Michael left his Gulf Island home for a routine trip to Victoria. On the way into town, he called a substance abuse and addictions pharmacy, likely to ask for a safe, controlled drug to self-medicate. He was not a candidate. He got a haircut, exercised, ran household errands and finally acquired a street drug. Initial toxicology tests suggest inconclusively that he had opioids, including fentanyl, in his system. Because of the back up due to the fentanyl crisis, it will be five months before the conclusive toxicology test results are in.
Fentanyl is the stuff that killed Prince. The opioid epidemic is certainly cutting a swathe across the US and Canada.

I am not going to comment on how jarring it is to hear of a teacher with a baby on the way crossing over like this. It was a strange thing to discover the day after I persuaded Ben to come along and try a yoga class with me later this summer

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Click a face for entry

Of to the Battersea Arts Centre last night for a double bill of Sleeping Trees' Western and Sci-Fi.

As I went to their their Mafia show last year (Icons passim), I have now seen all the At The Movies trilogy that they are taking to Edinburgh this year.

Friday, July 21, 2017

More on Captain Scarlet

Guyanese actor Cy Grant, who voiced the character of Lieutenant Green and believed that Captain Scarlet had positive multicultural value, discussed the allegorical nature of the series. According to him, Christian symbolism was heavily implied, with Colonel White assuming the role of God, opposed by the Devil in the form of Captain Black and descended by Captain Scarlet, who serves as a Christ allegory; moreover, Cloudbase represented Heaven and was guarded by its own fleet of Angels. Grant has also lionised Green as an African trickster hero. On dualism, he argued, "the 'darkness' of the Mysterons is most easily seen as the psychological rift – the struggle of 'good' and 'evil' – of the Western world as personified by Colonel White and his team. Dark and light are but aspects of each other. Incidentally, green is the colour of nature that can heal that rift."
I didn't see that one coming.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

This is the voice of Mr Ron

As you now doubt remember, in Captain Scarlet, Cloudbase was defended by the Angels, a multi-cultural squadron of five female pilots code-named Destiny (squadron leader), Harmony, Melody, Rhapsody, and Symphony, who flew the Angel Interceptor fighter aircraft.

Not only that the Angel puppets were paid the same as the Captain Scarlet puppet. Shame on you BBC, all these years later.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Crowd Sauce

Buy with Bitcoin

If you want to help with my research you can click on the button above and transfer a fiver's worth of Bitcoin from your wallet to my account.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

First shown: 7 Jul 2017. Available for 19 days

BBC iPlayer
Film shining a spotlight on the untold story of The Sidemen, the musicians behind some of the greatest artists of all time. The Sidemen are the forgotten 'guns for hire' that changed musical history. Featuring interviews with Mick Jagger, Billy Joel and Keith Richards, this film takes viewers from the 1960s to today, via global stars such as Prince, David Bowie, The Rolling Stones and Beyoncé.
You need to watch this before it expires at 2:30 in the morning on the 7th of August.

Monday, July 17, 2017



That's just the verification on the Bitcoin blockchain of a transaction I was involved in.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Roger Federer as Religious Experience

I blogged it four years ago, and it is eleven years old, but David Foster Wallace's piece the guy who - ten minutes from now - will be aiming to be the first man to win eight Wimbledon singles titles and the oldest men's champion in history is well worth rereading.

Saturday, July 15, 2017


While I am in Wales you can see my location (at least half past ten tomorrow morning) at

This makes me far more Generation Z than the Bomber who is in Ghost Mode on Snapchat's Snap Map.

Don't be a square, daddio!

Friday, July 14, 2017

Our revels now are ended.

I just got invited to go and see Simon Russell Beale as Prospero in an RSC production of the Tempest in the Barbican tonight, but I can't, as I have committed to driving down the M4 to Cardiff and the fambly. "In a unique partnership with Intel, the Royal Shakespeare Company will be using today’s most advanced technology in a bold reimagining of Shakespeare’s magical play, creating an unforgettable theatrical experience." Not that I am bitter you understand; more philosophical.

These our actors,
As I foretold you, were all spirits and
Are melted into air, into thin air:
And, like the baseless fabric of this vision,
The cloud-capp’d towers, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve
And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff
As dreams are made on, and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Tim Parry's Funeral

My post about his passing got more views than the normal drivel I write here, so - just in case it is of help to anyone - I got a call last night to say that Tim Parry's funeral will be at 3pm on Thursday 20 July, at Oxford Crematorium.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017


I popped into Brasileiro for the first time last night. It is a Brazilian butcher and grocery shop at the bottom of the road which has been open for quite a while but, for some reason I can't put my finger on, not patronised by me.

I was looking for eggs - which they didn't have - but came away with Torresmo, fried pork rinds.

It is actually something of an Aladdin's cave of unfamiliar and exotic food and ingredients.

I will be back.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Tim Parry

I just heard that Tim Parry - who was in school with me - died of throat cancer. Very sad news.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Post Hollow; a Hatful

After the fantastic excitement of the 3rd Test comes some more very exciting news as the Mighty Ruts are chosen as the only English Club recipients of some fantastic Lions branded training kit actually used by those very Lions courtesy of Rhino Rugby!
Well I never. The rise and rise of the Ruts.

Sunday, July 09, 2017

Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency Technologies Online Course

Princeton University produced a great online course on Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency Technologies ....... in case you were looking for one.

Saturday, July 08, 2017


The Lions drew 15 all with the All Blacks this morning to square the series.

I watched it in the Holden with Ben and other friends.

The aftermath seems strangely hollow and ambiguous.
Our dried voices, when
We whisper together
Are quiet and meaningless
As wind in dry grass

Friday, July 07, 2017

The world's funniest and most topical joke now that Wimbledon is on.

Never get romantically involved with tennis players; love means nothing to them.

Thursday, July 06, 2017

You'll never walk a loan

Chelsea hand three-year contract to teenage forward Callum Hudson Odoi amid interest from Juventus

  • Callum Hudson Odoi has signed a new, three-year contract with Chelsea
  • The 16-year-old impressed for England Under 17s at European Championship
  • He has been the subject of interest from both Juventus and Benfica

I think he should go on loan to Cardiff City, not Bristol or QPR. Joking aside it is a wonderful achievement for him.

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Bitcoin Wallet

I know have a Bitcoin wallet, courtesy of I can access it via the web or from an Android app on my phone.

It has got 0.01217081 BTC in it, which is £24.25 at the moment I think.

All I have to do now, is to figure out something I can do with it.

Update: Try

Tuesday, July 04, 2017


In COMMITTEE... (A NEW MUSICAL), the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee Takes Oral Evidence on Whitehall's Relationship with Kids Company at the Donmar - make of that what you may - Paul Flynn MP is played by Anthony O'Donnell.

Flynn and O'Donnell both went to school at St Illtyd's; just like me and my brothers.

Still doesn't make the alma mater Eton, or Tony O'Donnell Eddie Redmayne ..... read on.

Monday, July 03, 2017


Rosslyn Park put on a 7s tournament on their 4G pitch yesterday, which the Old Ruts won. It was a great idea to have an event like this even though the season is over as U16s missed so much rugby while sitting their GCSEs. The photo of Ben in action above is from a set someone took and shared here.

Sunday, July 02, 2017

Whitchurch High School Old Boys

Tour de France 2017: Geraint Thomas wins stage one to earn yellow jersey
In a soaking chill reminiscent of a summer evening in his valleys of his native land, Geraint Thomas became the first Welshman to wear the yellow jersey of the Tour de France, finishing five seconds ahead of the young Swiss Stefan Küng at the end of the 14 kilometres.
To think that this happened on the same day that his old school mate Sam Warburton captained the Lions to a win over the All Blacks, and that the two of them were at Whitchurch with one Gareth Bale. It is absolutely astounding.

Saturday, July 01, 2017

The master of Rawlinson End was apt to be very... sporting and unpredictable

I was very pleased to see the Lions edge the All Blacks this morning from my vantage point in the Charles Holden.

Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby is being run at 17.20 this afternoon. That is going to clash with coverage of Mayo v Derry in the hurling at MacHale Park at 5pm on RTE. Between them those events should drag a few people into the Standard this afternoon where the Bomber and I will be holding the fort on our lonesome.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Bitcoin ATMs in London


Fancy that! I had no idea such things existed. That said there aren't any really local to me. Maybe I will check one out next time I am in Leicester Square or if the Burglar's proposed visit to the UK's only Burger Singh outlet in Victoria comes off.

Thursday, June 29, 2017


John McEnroe is in conversation with John Inverdale at Wimbledon Bookfest one-off event tonight. It will be his only UK appearance to promote his new book. It originally sold out in about eight minutes. It really is quite astounding that we have access to technology that can support such a feat.

The festival proper is in October. This year's festival line was released today and is now on sale to BookFest Friends. General sales will open on Thursday 13 July.

You can see it on It all went a lot more smoothly than 2016. That is for sure.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017


I am run ragged today hence the briefest of posts.

ERDINGER Weißbräu – a private German brewery since 1886 – is bringing the Oktoberfest event to London this October 5th – 22nd, 2017!

Welcome to the Cardiff Oktoberfest! Cardiff Oktoberfest will be on Roald Dahl Plass just in the middle of the city. 14th - 19th of September.

Only in Wales could Oktoberfest be in September. It is like getting your retaliation in first on the rugby pitch.

If I can't decide between Cardiff and London, I may need to go to both.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017


Buying the support of 10 MPs for a billion pounds works out at £100,000,000 per MP and vote.

In a related development, and after listening to his performance on Radio 4's Today programme this morning, if Michael Fallon - Secretary of State for Defence - me and a cow pat ever find ourselves in close proximity, things are going to get messy.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

How low can you go?

Building a bass guitar is a great way to spend a day. Who knew?

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Penalty Charge Notice

I have got a penalty charge notice from the Council.

50R - Performing a prohibited turn (No right turn for vehicular traffic)
Location: MTC- Kingston Road (No right turn into Morden Road) Time: 08:00

I will have to pay up. My own Google Maps Timeline has got me bang to rights. That is the same Google Maps I was tracking my brother with as he made his way up the M4 to London for the weekend yesterday. The location sharing feature was the culprit there.

Is this the death of privacy?

Friday, June 23, 2017

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Tall stories

Here are Ben and Jonnie graduating from Rutlish yesterday now that their GCSEs are finished. Considering Ben is a pretty solid six feet three inches I wonder how tall that makes Jonnie. Equivalent photos from primary school and first day in secondary school below.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

What have you got to hide?

Centrica, the company which operates British Gas in the UK, has launched a new member of the Hive Connected Home family: the Hive Camera. The Hive Camera will let me watch what’s going on in your home over a 24/7 high-definition livestream.

I can view the footage using a dedicated mobile app, which can also be used to record all movement while logging the time and date.

The camera contains a sensor that tracks motion and audio detection, and is capable of night-vision recording. I can zoom in remotely, and even trigger sounds like a police siren, a dog bark, or a ringing alarm. Doesn't that sound like fun?

Better still, there’s two-way audio functionality, which means that I can listen to everything you say, as well as speaking through the camera to correct you when you get things wrong.

We can pick up the new Hive Camera for £129 in the UK, but it doesn’t go on sale until June 29, 2017. Perhaps I can get a bulk discount if I buy one for every room.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Welcome to my world. Won't you come on in?

A guy who lives about five minutes away from my mum and dad in Cardiff has driven a van into a crowd of pedestrians by the Finsbury Park mosque that I have walked past whenever I've been to see the Arsenal at the Emirates stadium.

It shouldn't make it seem more real, but it does.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Boxing Clever

I was very happy to see that Andre Ward stopped Sergey Kovalev with a masterful performance in their light-heavyweight rematch this weekend to take him to 32 wins from 32 in his career; surely now he is the best pound-for-pound boxer in the world.

I tagged Ward as the coming man (see Icons passim) all those years ago around Fathers' Day 2008, and I resent Kovalev, as he took local boy Nathan Cleverly's WBO light heavyweight championship belt from him in Cardiff back in 2013 (Icons passim).

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Father’s Song

An unreleased Prince track is available to listen to ahead of its appearance on the forthcoming Purple Rain reissue, and rather appropriate for today.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Gaelic football

Andy "tea merchant" has pointed out that I have neglected Gaelic football in my estimation of the Irish-sports-spectator-load at the Standard of a weekend.

Sky Sports fill in the blanks for today and tomorrow:
Another feast of GAA action is just around the corner with places in the provincial finals up for grabs - we look ahead to some of the talking points going into this weekend's action.
In Leinster, Offaly and Westmeath will do it all again after their draw last weekend with the Dubs lying in wait for the winners.
The opening round of All-Ireland qualifiers gets underway with Wicklow at home to Laois, Louth taking on Longford, Sligo hosting Antrim and Derry making the trip to Dungarvan to face Waterford.
Roscommon go head to head with Leitrim in the Connacht semi-final , Tyrone will do battle with Donegal while our live Sky Sports game will be from Tullamore on Saturday night when Meath and Kildare target the Leinster final.
Frankly I am none the wiser.

Friday, June 16, 2017

In one era, out the other

“On with the dance! let joy be unconfin'd;
No sleep till morn, when Youth and Pleasure meet
To chase the Glowing Hours with Flying feet.”
Which is a roundabout way of saying Ben has finished his GCSEs.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017


I was arguing with the Burglar about blockchain yesterday. A blockchain – originally block chain – is a distributed database that is used to maintain a continuously growing list of records, called blocks. Each block contains a timestamp and a link to a previous block. It is the foundation upon which cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin are established.

When Paul and I start bickering about something obscure it usually means that the zeitgeist is signalling that it is about to become important and prominent.

The other thing the argument demonstrated is that neither of us understands it very well.

That needs to change.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017


Someone has put together a 'Dan Fish Tribute - 2017' video on YouTube. What a pity he's been injured for the last few months. Surely with Leigh Halfpenny and Liam Williams away with the Lions and Welsh full backs (Phil Dollman, Rhun Williams) dropping like flies he would have had a great chance of a cap this Friday against Tonga if he had been fit.

Monday, June 12, 2017


THe score in the Leinster semi-final was Wexford 1-20 Kilkenny 3-11. Eagle eyed viewers will have noticed that there are four numbers in the score rather than two. Here is what Wikipedia says:
Scoring is achieved by sending the sliotar (ball) between the opposition's goal posts. The posts, which are at each end of the field, are "H" posts as in rugby football but with a net under the crossbar as in football. The posts are 6.4 m apart and the crossbar is 2.44 m above the ground.
If the ball goes over the crossbar, a point is scored and a white flag is raised by an umpire. If the ball goes below the crossbar, a goal, worth three points, is scored, and a green flag is raised by an umpire. A goal must be scored by either a striking motion or by directly soloing the ball into the net. The goal is guarded by a goalkeeper. Scores are recorded in the format {goal total} – {point total}. For example, the 1997 All-Ireland final finished: Clare 0–20 Tipperary 2–13. Thus Clare won by "twenty points to nineteen" (20 to 19). 2–0 would be referred to as "two goals", never "two zero". 0–0 is said "no score".
This Wexford won 23-19. All clear?

In other news - if you can call it news - the Republic Ireland drew one all with Austria and Serbia drew one all with Wales, leaving the top four places in the World Cup Qualifying Group D completely unchanged.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Irish Sport on the Telly today

Racing from the Curragh 1.45pm - 5:45 - At The Races

Ulster SFC quarter-final
Cavan v Monaghan, Breffni Park, 2pm – RTE

Connacht SFC semi-final
Galway v Mayo, Pearse Stadium, 4pm – RTE

FIFA World Cup European Qualifying - Group D
Republic of Ireland v Austria 5pm - Sky Sports 1 HD

Then for me:
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying - Group D
Serbia v Wales 7:45pm - Sky Sports 1 HD (19:15)

Bacon rolls all round.

Saturday, June 10, 2017


If you drive you can take the 8am Bikram class at Wimbledon Hot Yoga and still get back to the Charles Holden for the last quarter of the Lions game.

It won't do for the tests obviously, which have to be taken in in their entirety, but it worked for me this morning and should fit the bill next Saturday as well.

Friday, June 09, 2017

At the races

A channel called At The Races always seems to be on in the Standard, so I guess I need to start paying attention to the schedule while we are catering.

On Saturday, Raceday Live runs from 1:15pm to 9:15 and consists of afternoon action from Greyville and a twilight meeting from the Curragh, followed by action from Stratford and Chepstow.

On Sunday, racing from the Curragh is the afternoon's feature.

I have heard of Stratford and Chepstow as they are in England and Wales respectively, and it turns out that Greyville Racecourse is a Thoroughbred race track in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, while the Curragh Racecourse, usually referred to as simply The Curragh, is Ireland's most important Thoroughbred racecourse (situated on the Curragh plain in County Kildare, between the towns of Newbridge and Kildare).

All grist to the mill along with my research into the weekend's team sports; forewarned is forearmed.

Thursday, June 08, 2017

No Matter Who You Vote For The Government Always Gets In

Put my usual tick in the box for Siobhain McDonagh (Labour) on the way into work today.

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

This weekend

Saturday June 10


World Cup Euro Qual - Group F
Scotland v England, 5pm - Sky Sports


Munster SFC semi-final
Cork v Tipperary, Pairc Ui Rinn, 5pm - RTE

Leinster SHC semi-final
Wexford v Kilkenny, Wexford Park, 7pm – Sky Sports


Summer Tour
Argentina v England, 8:15pm - BBC 2

I ought to be able to knock a burger or two out over the late afternoon and early evening in a sports mad Irish pub full of TV screens in London this Saturday I would have thought.

Tuesday, June 06, 2017


In the USA the public is advised to RUN, HIDE, and FIGHT. Fight - as a last resort - if your life is at risk.

In the UK, we are advised to RUN, HIDE and TELL in an incident like the London Bridge attack.

I've embedded the official videos above. I think the American idea is better.

Monday, June 05, 2017

Hilarity ensues

If I'm not as talented as Viv Stanshall does that mean I'm sub-Stanshall?

It is a joke you see. Sub-Stanshall is a homonym of substantial. I made it up myself.

Prodnose: Are you the front end of an ass?

Myself: No.

Prodnose: Are you the back end of an ass?

Myself: I'm not.

Prodnose: Then you are no end of an ass.

Sunday, June 04, 2017

Possibly, an armchair like me.

I am back from Cardiff. As ever, Lord Vivian of Stanshall has provided a soundtrack that fits.

Growing up to be like dad,
 death defying times ahead,
 retelling stories old
  of times when dad was older/younger.

Now he sits and has every comfort,
and sits with a washable cover.
Yet it niggles him that his life has gone by.

So he says to his son:
 I don't want to think,
 I'm not paid to think,
 I've retired you see ........

Saturday, June 03, 2017

Local boy made god

Kyle Sinckler (Icons passim) starts for the Lions this morning. Hats off to him, especially as he is a rare modern honorary international rugby representative of the League of Short-Arses (Founder and President - me).

Friday, June 02, 2017

Going in and out of style

Amid all the fuss about the 50th anniversary of the Beatles' album, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band the 1978 movie featuring The Bee Gees and Peter Frampton seems to have been forgotten. Press play above if you want to know why David Ansen of Newsweek dismissed it as "a film with a dangerous resemblance to wallpaper."

Thursday, June 01, 2017

Over Sharing

There is a newish location sharing feature in Google Maps. I am going to Cardiff this weekend, so I have configured it to run until about noon on Sunday. I tried to enable all my siblings for it, but only John and Vince seem to have Google accounts that let me do so without extra jiggery pokery. It might be handy for them to get an idea of what time I'll arrive, or where I am when I pop out on errands for ma and pa.

I set it up for Paul as well so I could look over his shoulder what this sharing actually means in practice. To my astonishment he was able to work out from it (while sitting in his office) that I had stopped at an ATM when I popped home at lunchtime.

This could take emotionally abusive relationships to a whole new level. Imagine what Jake LaMotta could have done with such a tool in Raging Bull.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Don't mock

I am one of the few earthlings not allowed to take the Mickey out of President Trump's epic fail in attempting to type coverage.

I have been known to sign off emails as Mock Browne rather than Nick Browne by hitting one key to the right of my target for the first two letters of my name.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

All Ireland

I was pleased to read that hurling is on until September. It is relevant to "dealing them off the arm"* of a weekend in a pub full of Irish folk.

Herewith the fixture list

* Dream Street Rose: Damon Runyon.

Monday, May 29, 2017


The British and Irish Lions squad depart for New Zealand this afternoon for their 10-match tour.

I hope they aren't flying on British Airways; flight chaos lessens after weekend of disruption.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

And there's more

Google systems based on neural networks can adjust their behaviour to improve, learn and evolve. For example, a voice recognition system could give different results depending on the person using it, for example by using their search history to help understand what the user has said. Ultimately it all comes down to reducing conversion errors, and probability plays a big role in this.
How Google Retooled Android With Help From Your Brain
WHEN GOOGLE BUILT the latest version of its Android mobile operating system, the web giant made some big changes to the way the OS interprets your voice commands. It installed a voice recognition system based on what’s called a neural network — a computerized learning system that behaves much like the human brain.
For many users, says Vincent Vanhoucke, a Google research scientist who helped steer the effort, the results were dramatic. “It kind of came as a surprise that we could do so much better by just changing the model,” he says.
Vincent Vanhoucke
Vincent Vanhoucke is a Principal Scientist at Google. He is a technical lead in the Google Brain Team and manages Google's Robotics Research effort. Prior to that, he lead Brain's vision and perception research, and the speech recognition quality team for Google Search by Voice. He holds a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University and a Diplôme d'Ingénieur from the Ecole Centrale Paris.
Google owns Blogger, so I guess the Google Search by Voice network will now be aware that I am researching it. How's that for recursion.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Koo What a Scorcher

Myself: Alexa, what’s the temperature in the house?
Alexa: Inside it's twenty three point eight.
Well, that's new.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Machine Learning

Last weekend - regarding preparation for doling out burgers and hot dogs by the score in the Standard - I attempted to dictate the SMS message "I cooked a lot of onions last night" on my Android phone.

It was rendered as "I cooked a lot of onions Husserl" which struck me as rather odd. Then again, I had been reading a lot online - in Google's Chrome browser - about Edmund Husserl, the German philosopher who established the school of phenomenology.

I googled Callum quite a lot in the run up to the FA Youth Cup and the EUFA U17 tournament, and I also remember Google's speech recognition engine rendering his name for some completely unrelated utterance.

It is gradually dawning on me that Google must be drawing on all the knowledge it has of me to fine tune its speech recognition. I remember being impressed that it got Bronwydd Avenue right, but now I think it may have steered itself from my address book.

I am not sure I approve.

"Do no evil" Google is also suggesting articles to me because I "have shown interest in Katie Hopkins," a car-crash of an attention-craving loon even by the exalted standards of the Daily Mail. Please note, appalled fascination is not the same thing as interest. 

Whether I am concerned enough to devote any time to the study of Long Short-Term Memory Based Recurrent Neural Network Architectures for Large Vocabulary Speech Recognition remains to be seen.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Things moving quickly

Amazon has added more than 40 TV channels to its UK streaming service, including ITV and live sport for the first time. If the U17 EUFA Cup Final had been on this Friday rather than last Friday I could have just watched it on Eurosport on my Fire TV stick rather than going through all the aggravation of connecting my laptop to the television.

Speaking of Ben, Jonnie and Callum, here is an old Muay Thai photo I found. Callum is front row left, Jonnie is second row left and Ben is second row right. It seems like last week to me, but when I consider that Jonnie is now six feet five and Ben is six feet three tall I guess it can't be.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

woe to the person through whom they come

Matthew 18 At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”
2 He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. 3 And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5 And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.
6 “If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea. 7 Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to stumble! Such things must come, but woe to the person through whom they come!
Fairly clearly according the New Testament, you are supposed to cherish and care for children and not to massacre them with bombs. What a day, what a world.

Monday, May 22, 2017


We have got our first Amazon Alexa app in development/testing. It pulls management information out of our SQL Server DBMS.

Amazon has announced that a ‘Notifications for Alexa' feature is coming soon. That could fit very well with us extending the app so it tells us when we have any systems problems.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Épater la bourgeoisie, butty boy!

The Turned-On Biennale: An Orgy of Liberal Sex and Liberal Guilt Greets Visitors in Venice
The world in 2017 is a frightening and chaotic place: why not relieve your anxiety with some casual masturbation or perhaps some good old-fashioned sex? As a corollary to the heavy menu of post-colonial guilt, migration-related tub-thumping and an abstract, queasy panic induced by global capitalism, this year’s Venice Biennale is letting off steam with an abundance of carnal knowledge. From pagan fertility rituals to extreme genital modification: it’s all here for the taking.
Showing as part of James Richards’s exhibition for the Welsh pavilion, the film What Weakens the Flesh Is the Flesh Itself (a collaboration with Steve Reinke) explores the body as a work of art in itself. Besides a lingering tour through snapshots of cheerful young men hanging out at a festival, and footage from an erotic photo-shoot heavy on the squashed fruit, the film draws extensively on the private photographic archive of Albrecht Becker.
An actor and photographer arrested and imprisoned for homosexuality by the Nazis, Becker became obsessed with representation and modification of the body. Gradually the images shown of this mild-looking elderly man in his V-necked sweaters become more unconventional, revealing a body entirely covered in homemade tattoos and piercings. Fairly close to the top of Venice’s wince list this year comes Becker’s modified and elephantine groin, so swollen that the penis prods out like a little mushroom cap. From a bolt through his glans, he lifts great metal chains.
The Welsh Pavilion; nice. At last I see the value of devolution to the Principality. Couldn't be prouder.
Cardiff-born Richards’ interest lies in the possibility of the private amidst the public chaos of quotidian media. His work makes use of an ever-growing bank of material that includes fragments of cinema, works by other artists, stray camcorder footage, murky late night TV, film soundtracks and archival research.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Spain U17 2-2 England U17 (4-1 on pens)

Heartbreak as Young Lions miss out on European U17 Championship title on pens after injury-time equaliser

  • Callum Hudson-Odoi continued his fine form to open scoring for Young Lions
  • Chelsea starlet had previously scored in semi-final to help England beat Turkey
  • Exciting Barcelona full-back Mateu Morey then levelled after wonderful move
  • Phil Foden put England back in front in second half with strike from outside box
  • In sixth minute of injury time, sub Nacho Diaz headed a last-gasp equaliser
  • Match went to penalties, where Spain secured a 4-1 spot-kick victory in Croatia
Heartbreak indeed. Jonnie, Ben and Alex came to my house to watch the game. I it was just like when they were in primary school and those three plus Callum (or a subset thereof) seemed to be round all the time.

Anyway, here's Callum's goal. Also, I was surprised to read on the FA website that he still has to take his GCSEs even though he is away at the tournament.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Not a problem

For the last couple of months, every once in a while my boiler (and the heating) has stayed on after the Hive Heating schedule says it should have gone off.

What I have got used to doing is physically switching the boiler off for a couple of hours as this generally cleared the problem, and half filing it away in my head as a software problem.

It happened yesterday morning as I was waiting at home for the British Gas to turn up and give the boiler its annual maintenance check up. He investigated and found it was caused by a valve sticking. The valve was replaced and all is well.

I never tire in work of berating people for assuming that any and all problems relate to IT and warning them to entertain the possibility that the issue at hand may be more prosaic.

Hoist by my own petard.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

And there's more

That is Callum's goal from the semi above, as England move into the final of the EUFA U17 Championship against Spain at 7pm on Friday. That is going to be worth a one day £5.99 Eurosport pass investment methinks (