Sunday, March 18, 2018

the humble chickpea

I have decided to read Robert Harris' Imperium next. It is the first novel in his trilogy about Cicero.

From wikipedia:
Cicero's cognomen, or personal surname, comes from the Latin for chickpea, cicer. Plutarch explains that the name was originally given to one of Cicero's ancestors who had a cleft in the tip of his nose resembling a chickpea. However, it is more likely that Cicero's ancestors prospered through the cultivation and sale of chickpeas.
Never mind "the influence of Cicero upon the history of European literature and ideas greatly exceeds that of any other prose writer in any language," it is stuff along the lines of:
The famous family names of Fabius, Lentulus, and Piso come from the Latin names of beans, lentils, and peas, respectively. Plutarch writes that Cicero was urged to change this deprecatory name when he entered politics, but refused, saying that he would make Cicero more glorious than Scaurus ("Swollen-ankled") and Catulus ("Puppy")
that floats my boat.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

That's entertainment, that's entertainment

I will definitely have a basin full of this Thursday week. It seems so wonderfully unlikely.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Uncle Simon is your brother?!

Five Latest Angelina Jolie Stories That Are Fake News
3. This week, NW claimed Jolie was developing a romance with a 20-something “boy toy.” The publication identified the purported beau as Oscar Crane, who worked on both By The Sea and First They Killed My Daughter. That professional relationship had now “progressed to a much more personal level,” the tabloid alleged, suggesting a “romance could soon be [in] the cards.” But the tabloid showed it was clueless by featuring a picture not of Oscar, but his brother Oliver. The siblings, along with their father, are longtime family friends of Jolie, Gossip Cop learned. That was just part of key information that was missing from the error-filled article. Jolie has a working relationship and family-focused friendship with the Cranes, not one that has anything to do with her love life.
Ollie - Oscar and Oliver's aunt - told me about this last night. Eleven and a half years on from "you mean Uncle Simon is your brother?!" A gift that keeps on giving.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Sky Now and Then

I've had my Sky TV Box for nearly four years now (see Icons passim). It doesn't get a lot of use these days, but I have discovered that you can also get Sky Box office on it. (You need to download an app.)

I am pretty much certain you couldn't do that last time I looked, and it does mean that I can watch the Anthony Joshua - Joseph Parker fight on March 31 if I pony up £19.95 (

I may well do that as I am rather tempted by a wager on Parker if I can get 6 to 1 odds. That's an extraordinary figure for a two horse race.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

When Particle Size Matters

The Bomber is doing his work experience next week at a company in the industrial park just around the corner.
Endecotts are the world's leading manufacturer of quality laboratory test sieves, sieve shakers, and related laboratory equipment.
Our sample analysis equipment is used by laboratories in all four corners of the world. Endecotts was founded in 1936 and has over 80 years established an enviable reputation for quality and accuracy.

Endecotts test sieves are available in a wide range of sizes to meet every national and international standard and virtually every specification.
Whether it is agriculture, engineering, mining, pharmaceuticals or some other critical area where accurate analysis is vital, our customers know they can rely on the name Endecotts.
With agents and distributors in over 80 countries worldwide and on every continent we can quickly supply a wide range of high quality, sample analysis to our customers around the globe.
It does my heart good to hear about an independent company manufacturing locally and exporting round the world. Journalists drone on and on about German SME engineering success but never breathe a word about it happening in my back yard.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Tickets for The York Realist are very limited

I switched radio 2 on in the car on Saturday on my way to Sainsburys and heard someone (Ben Batt perhpas) promoting a Donmar Warehouse production of The York Realist on the Graham Norton show. It is practically sold out but - Peter Gill completist that I am- I managed to get a ticket for last night.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Professor Yaffle Chuckabutty, Operatic Tenor and Sausage Knotter

Tatty-bye, everybody, tatty-bye!
I may not have enjoyed every moment of British seaside holidays when I was a kid, but I did get to see Ken Dodd at an end-of the-pier show somewhere or other. He was quite, quite brilliant.

Sunday, March 11, 2018


The handle store
When selecting an espag window handle you will need to know the measurement of the spindle length - this is the length of exposed spindle that leaves the back of the handle and goes inside the window. It can be anything from 10mm upto 55mm. A common mistake is to measure the entire spindle length of a handle in its broken state and this will be too long as you only need the length that is exposed when the handle is together in its unbroken state. Espag handles typically break around the spindle pivoting area of the handle as this is the weakest point. When replacing a handle it will usually be be for this reason so look out for poorly riveted or sub-standard manufacturing.
I am back from Mum and Dad's with another job on my list (downstairs toilet). The trick will be to work out the spindle length as it is broken off. Also noticed that the outdoor night light with motion detection isn't working and the sitting room dimmer switch is sticking.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

On the road and in a rush

I belong to the blank generation, and I can take it or leave it each time. I belong to the generation, but I can take it or leave it each time
Repeat and fade. There is an invisible tag joke above trivia fans.

Friday, March 09, 2018

57 Varieties

Yanis Varoufakis is speaking at the Rose Theatre later this month. I may try and get along as I was impressed by his book "And the Weak Suffer What They Must?: Europe, Austerity and the Threat to Global Stability" which I read last year.

With the Kingston's Rose Theatre at one end the route, Streatham's Hideaway jazz club at the other, and a stop at the bottom of my street I could lead a full life just taking the 57 bus hither and yon.

Thursday, March 08, 2018

Darn Tooting

I didn't have a clue about this and I only live a short walk down the A24 in the 'Wood.

Wednesday, March 07, 2018

bounded in a nutshell

Paapa's Hamlet reached the Hackney Empire last night. We are going on March 23rd.

Tuesday, March 06, 2018

swipe left

We came second in the Antelope quiz last night, beaten by a single point but still the proud recipients of a £25 bar voucher for next week.

In the picture round I guessed that Tinder's pink and orange flame logo belonged to British Gas's Hive, the app I use to run my central heating and hot water; hilarity ensued.

Empirical evidence that I have reached the stage in my life where nice and cozy out ranks hook up culture.

Where are my slippers? Wake up, boiler!

Monday, March 05, 2018

Things to do in London this weekend

A rare sight of a frozen Roath Park. Credit: Liam Ellis
I think it was probably a good idea for me to postpone my trip to Cardiff on Friday.

Sunday, March 04, 2018

The dog ate my homework

I am sorry I am late. When I picked my coat up from the back of a dining room chair the high E string on a nearby guitar had managed to inveigle its way inside the slider of the front zip.

I don't think this can be explained without resorting to quantum entanglement. Classical mechanics aren't up to the job.

I tried to ease guitar and jacket apart for a while, but finally gave up and cut the string with some scissors. Until I get a replacement I will probably retune to G-D-G-B-D and entertain the neighbours with covers of The Rolling Stones' "Honky Tonk Women", "Brown Sugar" and "Start Me Up"

Saturday, March 03, 2018

You know why? Because you’re afraid of the NRA.

When Kevin showed me this video on his phone I just assumed it would be because Trump embarrassed himself. In fact it is nothing of the sort. Maybe his bull-in-a-china-shop persona will give him the cojones to do something about the USA's gun madness. Wouldn't that be a turn up for the books?

Friday, March 02, 2018

Wake Up Boiler!

I have cancelled my trip to Avon and Somerset Police today - and thence to Cardiff - in light of the weather warnings precipitated by the collision of Storm Emma and the Beast from the East. Thus I am in the office. The friggin' heating is off again; brass monkeys mate. Plumbers are on premises and we await developments.

I will be in the Standard tonight where people will be talking like this.

Thursday, March 01, 2018

Ugly Delicious

The New Yorker
What makes “Ugly Delicious” compelling, ultimately, is Chang’s commitment to rejecting purity and piety within food culture. “I view authenticity like a totalitarian state,” Chang declares, in the show’s first episode, adding, “It’s not that I hate authenticity, it’s that I hate that people want this singular thing that is authentic.” In food culture, particularly American food culture, the concept of authenticity is wielded like a hammer: This pizza, made with San Marzano tomatoes and mozzarella di bufala and a yeast-risen dough, blistered in an ultra-hot wood-fired oven for less than a minute, is authentic; that pizza, ordered on the Domino’s Pizza Now™ mobile app, dressed with toppings that arrive at a franchise location pre-sliced in a vacuum-sealed bag, passed through an industrial conveyor-belt oven, is not. The problem with such rigid categorizations, according to “Ugly Delicious,” is, for one thing, creative stagnation. Chang, after all, made his career on an exuberant disregard for convention. His restaurants—with their Japanese names, Taiwanese pork buns, Korean rice cakes, Continental flourishes, and intellectual-bro Americana twists—remix and subvert everything from ancient culinary traditions to standard restaurant-service expectations.
The fridge and larder yesterday were quite frankly not at their brightest and best. But then a forlorn supermarket coriander plant, pate bought from Chadwick's on Saturday, a stray roast chicken thigh, wilting chilli, plus sad carrots and my brother's pickling brine screamed banh mi at me.

A Co-Op baguette later Franco-Vietnamese fusion life was good and I settled down to binge watch this fine new Netflix series nodding with approval: Eat it all let God sort 'em out.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Kit and caboodle

Amazon Echo owners in the UK can now use Alexa to control Fire TVs. I tried this last night downstairs and it worked pretty well. I may set a monitor up in the bedroom with my first generation Fire TV stick and hook that in to the bedside Echo dot.

Also my GT-5 guitar effects pedal has got a HEADPHONES Jack (Stereo Mini Type) output. I may dig up the old Beats Pill and run it though that for the time being.

Now you know two things I may do. Lucky old you.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

The Beast from the East

Heavy snow and freezing conditions are expected along the east coast of the UK and south-east England, causing disruption on the roads, railways and in the air, as the “beast from the east” envelops the British Isles.
Meanwhile at Coraider central there is no water supply to the office and hence no heating from the building's boiler. Wake Up Boilers! Christmas has come later. (In-joke.)

Monday, February 26, 2018

New to Tooting

John and I walked up to Tooting on Saturday. I hadn't been there for a while; joint was jumpin'.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

All Out!!

Old Ruts Colts went out against London Irish in the semi-final of the Cup yesterday, then Arsenal got blown away by Manchester City in the League Cup Final.

I have had better afternoons to be honest.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Like a GT5, like a GT5

I bought one of these at auction. Here manual. Thanks the Lord you don't live next door.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Oxfam: ‘Your Donation Will Help Us Protect Impoverished Girls From Our Employees’

International nongovernmental organization Oxfam announced a new pledge campaign Thursday requesting help in their effort to protect impoverished girls from sexual predation at the hands of Oxfam employees. “Your donation can make a difference in the lives of girls in countries suffering from the effects of war, natural disasters, economic exploitation, or the unwanted sexual advances of our aid workers,” Oxfam executive director Winnie Byanyima said in a statement encouraging potential donors to sponsor a girl directly to ensure her continuing safety. “Our work in some of the world’s poorest, most harassed regions would not be possible without the generosity of people like you. Your donation can bring hope to girls suffering at the hands of our most debauched staff members.” Byanyima added that more than anything else, Oxfam was seeking committed, enthusiastic volunteers to help them combat further injustices.
Back in 2010 (Icons passim) I helped out, at the behest of the Royal Household with the Disaster Emergency Committee when it was working on the Haiti earthquake. I was really impressed with the people and the processes. Oxfam is a member of DEC and I am staggered by the revelations of what was going on.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Cat On A Hot Tin Roof

I am off to see NT Live: Cat On A Hot Tin Roof at the Odeon tonight. A Streetcar Named Desire; same author, same director and same venue, was the first NT live presentation I ever went to in the movies back in 2014 (see Icons passim).

Running time 193 minutes: Crikey!

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Get high, get lit, get drunk, get wavey, get wavey

Today I will mostly be listening to Wavey by CLiQ ft. Alika.

I realise it is unlikely and, frankly I don't think anyone is more surprised than I am. Tune popped up on the radio as I was driving home and earwormed its way into my life.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Hi Dad - I'm in Jail

Was (Not Was); accept no dubstitute. "What Up Dog?" is one of my favourite albums of all time.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Sunday, February 18, 2018

The Glamorous Life III

I am back from Northamptonshire with an Adam Black Libra Guitar. More information perhaps than you needed but some people asked,

Saturday, February 17, 2018

The Glamorous Life II

Hello, is that reception? Susan? Oh, hi. Can you make pornography come on my telly please? Oh, that’s very nice of you.
I have woken in the Mansfield Travelodge.  I am Alan Partridge.

Friday, February 16, 2018

The Glamorous Life

There is a new Co-op at the bottom of the road. It opened yesterday in what used to be GJ's. I bought an onion and some stock cubes there last night.

This afternoon I am going to Mansfield.
Dying by inches every night—
What a glamorous life!
Pulled on by winches to recite—
What a glamorous life!

Thursday, February 15, 2018

The Fall of Man

Seven weeks into 2018, there have been eight shootings at US schools that have resulted in injury or death. Seventeen people have been confirmed dead in the latest shooting in Parkland, Florida, on Ash Wednesday.

Ash Wednesday is a Christian day for peace and the first day of Lent, which is six weeks of repentance before Easter. It derives its name from the placing of repentance ashes on the foreheads of participants to the dictum "Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return."

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

had we but world enough and time

Today is Ash Wednesday and Valentines' Day.

If I had more leisure I would write a bitter-sweet reflective sonnet about an apparent but illusory in the world but not of the world contradistinction. Luckily for you I am too busy and have to crack on with work and earning a living.


Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Man jailed for life after stabbing teen outside nightclub

A man who stabbed a teenager to death outside a nightclub has been handed life imprisonment.
Dickson Tangu was found guilty of the murder of Daniel Namanga after he fatally stabbed the teenager late at night.
Daniel was only 19 years old when he went to Afrikiko Bar on Old Kent Road on August 8 with friends for a night out.
Daniel Namanga (Rutlish and Old Ruts); see Icons passim.

And then of course we have Kishon's tragic fall from the promise of 2013 to the pit of 2018.

Monday, February 12, 2018

The Crazy Nastyass Honey Badger

Ben is staying with me at the moment. Last night we watched YouTube videos about Honey Badgers.

The Chuck Norris of the animal kingdom. No bigger or faster animals ever give the honey badger crap. If they did, they wouldn't get the chance to regret it.

When the Tasmanian devil goes to sleep, he checks under his bed for the honey badger.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Don' tell me that wasn't a try

In my moral universe this was awarded and converted so Wales won 13-12.

Also, Ben and I have decided to go to one of the Autumn internationals in the Principality later this year, tickets and accommodation to be confirmed.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

A guilty secret

I saw Sam and Shauna of the Hang Fire Southern Kitchen inside the stadium at the Wales Scotland international last weekend.

They were too far away for me to say hello, but even if they hadn't been I don't think I would have been brave enough to tell scratch-makers like them that canned smokey BBQ pulled pork has become a kitchen cupboard staple at Browne acres.

As long as you drain the gunk off, it ain't too bad at all (£1.80 from Sainsbury).

Friday, February 09, 2018

coincidence is God's way of remaining anonymous

Another day, another batshit Quincy Jones interview; my cup runneth over.

Long may it continue. He set the bar high in a recent GQ effort but this rich run of form shows no sign of petering out.

Thursday, February 08, 2018

Sublime and Ridiculous

Colliers Wood yesterday: "All human life is here, but the Holy Ghost seems to be somewhere else."

Wednesday, February 07, 2018


I had a ganglion cyst on the first knuckle of the middle finger of my left hand drained with a syringe at an outpatient appointment in hospital in Roehampton this morning.

Tuesday, February 06, 2018


I found out last night that Paapa is featured in this, so I will try and catch up with it on 24 days left.

Monday, February 05, 2018

opioids (for pain) and benzodiazepines (for anxiety)

Neil and Caroline, who put us up over the weekend, having started their careers as pharmacists I mentioned on Saturday evening that it had emerged that Tom Petty (like Prince before him) had died of a Fentanyl overdose. This led me to recommending the book Dreamland: The True Tale of America's Opiate Epidemic to them, and to realising - when I attempted to say Oxycontin and Fentanyl - that I still read and recognise new words in my head as patterns of letters rather than sounds, so that I trip up the first time I try to utter them aloud.

Ben piped up with a reference to counterfeit Xanax bars pressed by gangs; something else to worry about.

Vice - How Xanax Became the British Teenager's Drug of Choice.

Sunday, February 04, 2018

Wales 34-7 Scotland

Ben's first time in the Principality Stadium for Six Nations rugby and a satisfying win for Wales yesterday. Thanks to siblings John and Caroline for tickets and hospitality. We saw Liam Williams afterwards. He seems like a top-class, modest and self-effacing bloke.

Saturday, February 03, 2018

How yesterday went

I was in analysis. I was suicidal. As a matter of fact, I would have killed myself, but I was in analysis with a strict Freudian and if you kill yourself they make you pay for the sessions you miss.
In years to come I will remember what I meant by this, but you won't have a clue.

Friday, February 02, 2018

In one era, out the other

Callum has made his Premier league debut for Chelsea now. They got beaten 3-0 and, frankly, his toilet brush haircut could be improved, but I still hug myself inside every time I think of his journey from Singlegate.

I imagine I will maintain radio silence now until the first time he starts a headline game, but I will still be following his career as closely as ever.

Thursday, February 01, 2018

Shaking the Magic Money Trees
During last year's general election, Theresa May argued there was "No magic money tree" to pay for the things some voters wanted. Although she was chided for being unsympathetic to various worthy spending claims, a more fundamental criticism could have been levelled at the Prime Minister: There is indeed a Magic Money Tree!! Since the financial crisis, no less than £435billion of new money has been created through the policy of "quantitative easing", equivalent to a fifth of Britain's annual GDP. In this programme, financial journalist Michael Robinson finds out what happened to this staggering sum of money, and evaluates its effect on the lives of us all.
With the help of expert testimony, Robinson explains how this controversial policy works, effectively creating money at the push of a button. But as he also finds out, the new funds are only indirectly injected into the wider economy, typically through big institutional investors lending to companies. Few of these transactions, it turns out, have involved the kind of 'real world' investment that might be expected to stimulate the productive economy and generate growth. Indeed, almost all of them have been within the financial sector itself, and many people argue that the returns on QE have been astonishingly small.
Moreover, the influx of cash has inflated the price of assets, and led to a relative widening of the gap between rich and poor, which now threatens to upset our economic and political order. Even QE's deliberate objective to lower interest rates has also served to make homes and shares more expensive, while those already holding such assets have seen the greatest benefit. Britain's own 'Magic Money Tree' might have saved the economy from meltdown almost a decade ago, but it seems its many side-effects might have been far less beneficial.
Kevin recommended this BBC Radio 4 show to me on the way to yoga this morning. It is a pity the BBC Alex skill is not up to playing it.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018


I went to see the dentist yesterday. She told me I have been biting my tongue. No one I met in the evening could believe it.

Goodnight folks, I'm here all week! Be sure to tip the waitress.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

an aha moment

How to Build Private Alexa Skills with Alexa for Business
If you intend to publish your skill as a private skill, add the "distributionMode": "PRIVATE" line in the publishingInformation block of your skill manifest.

Monday, January 29, 2018

And so it came to pass

Congratulations to Callum

Sunday, January 28, 2018

A throne is only a bench covered with velvet.

Callum is among the subs for the Newcastle game. Will this be the day he finally gets on?

Friday, January 26, 2018

Thinking of you

If you ever think of me, I'll be thinking of you. Through thick and thin I bear it and grin, and never give in
I could be the one thing there in your hour of need. So if you decide to change your views I'm thinking of you
Terry Hall: God-like genius.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

What is the point of it?

It looks like I am going to have to wrap my head around it then. Herewith the skinny from the rules page of the Six Nations site. Rule 3 is what we are interested in.
1. The NatWest 6 Nations Championship is contested each season over seven weekends during February, March and sometimes April by the international sides of France, England, Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales.
2. Each team plays the other five once per season with home advantage in alternate seasons (eg England hosted France in 2003, and so France host England in 2004), giving a total of 15 matches per Championship.
3. The following points will be awarded based on the results of each Match (such points to be referred to as "Match Points" to distinguish them from points scored on the field of play):
(i) The Union that wins the Match shall be awarded four Match Points or (if it scores four tries or more in the process) five Match Points. 
(ii) The Union that loses the Match shall be awarded no Match Points or (if it scores four tries or more in the process or loses by a margin of seven points or fewer) one Match Point or (if it scores four tries or more in the process and loses by a margin of seven points or fewer) two Match Points.
(iii) Unions that draw a Match shall each be awarded two Match Points and any of them that scores four tries or more in the process shall be awarded a further one Match Point.
(iv) A Union that wins all five of its Matches (a "Grand Slam") shall be awarded a further three Match Points.
4. If in winning the Championship a team also wins all of their five matches, they are given the title of 'Grand Slam' winner.
5. There is also the title of 'Triple Crown' competed for each season, which is awarded if a team from the 4 Home Unions (England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales) beats each of the other 3 Home Unions.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

A Welsh Born Iconette

Wales have named 11-year-old table tennis player Anna Hursey in their squad for the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
Hursey is believed to be the youngest person to represent Wales at any sport at senior level, or compete at a Commonwealth Games for Team Wales.
Last year, aged just 10, she became the youngest player to represent Wales' senior table tennis team in a European Championship.
I am not sure I can get my head around this:

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

The book of Job

Google Maps thinks I was in Wagamama in Kingston from half past three until stumps were pulled tonight.

Let's just leave it at that shall we?

Monday, January 22, 2018

Icons passed

Ollie's mum died last night, nine years after her dad (Icons passim). It had been on the cards for a while, but it is still terrible news.

I remember that I walked her back to the taxi rank from a pub that had been booked for a party once. Out of the blue, and to break the ice, I said "tell me a wonderful story."

"By the time I was twenty I had finished working for MI6 in Singapore" she replied without missing a beat; a class act.

John Clement's funeral (Icons passim) will be on Valentine's Day. It's a way off but it's the day he met his wife. It's also Ash Wednesday this year. I've heard that on his deathbed he said, "tell Nick at least he won't have to print off any more timesheets for me to fill in." I find that inexpressibly brave and moving; another class act.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test

There are going to be times when we can't wait for somebody. Now, you're either on the bus or off the bus. If you're on the bus, and you get left behind, then you'll find it again. If you're off the bus in the first place — then it won't make a damn.
I met John and Lorraine in Borough Market yesterday. They were chilling after seeing  Girl from the North Country on Friday night. They did the trip on the bus.

I'm finally convinced enough to reciprocate. Ben and I will do the same for the Wales Scotland game. Out from Victoria 4pm on Friday and back from Cardiff half past seven Saturday night,

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Kryptonite to Corbynite

Is Corbyn friends with any Tories?
“I have a civilised relationship with a number of Tories – I discuss issues with them. Listen, David Davis and I worked very closely to try to get Shaker Aamer back into this country,” he says of an effort to get a British resident freed from Guantánamo Bay. “Indeed we went to Washington together – Andrew Mitchell, David Davis, Andy Slaughter and me – and we succeeded.”
Jeremy Corbyn gives props to David Davis for his record as a doughty supporter of civil liberties. Well done sir.

Friday, January 19, 2018

“A bit too early for coffee ... I think I’ll have Scotch.”

Peter Wyngarde, aged by the best estimates 90, has died. Can you really die if you are larger than life? Bootstrapped himself up from a Japanese internment camp (fellow inmate J.G. Ballard) to the inspiration for Austin Powers. 'Nuff respect.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Wales squad for the 2018 Six Nations

Forwards: Rob Evans (Scarlets), Wyn Jones (Scarlets), Nicky Smith (Ospreys), Scott Baldwin (Ospreys), Elliot Dee (Dragons), Ken Owens (Scarlets), Tomas Francis (Exeter Chiefs), Samson Lee (Scarlets), Dillon Lewis (Cardiff Blues), Adam Beard (Ospreys), Bradley Davies (Ospreys), Seb Davies (Cardiff Blues), Cory Hill (Dragons), Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys, capt), James Davies (Scarlets), Taulupe Faletau (Bath), Ellis Jenkins (Cardiff Blues), Ross Moriarty (Gloucester), Josh Navidi (Cardiff Blues), Aaron Shingler (Scarlets), Justin Tipuric (Ospreys).
Backs: Aled Davies (Scarlets), Gareth Davies (Scarlets), Rhys Webb (Ospreys), Gareth Anscombe (Cardiff Blues), Dan Biggar (Ospreys), Rhys Patchell (Scarlets), Rhys Priestland (Bath), Hadleigh Parkes (Scarlets), Owen Watkin (Ospreys), Owen Williams (Gloucester), Scott Williams (Scarlets), Josh Adams (Worcester Warriors), Hallam Amos (Dragons), Alex Cuthbert (Cardiff Blues), Steff Evans (Scarlets), Leigh Halfpenny (Scarlets), George North (Northampton Saints), Liam Williams (Saracens).
Food for thought on the day that my tickets for the opener against Scotland have definitely come through.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Before the dawn

Off to the HMV Curzon to see Darkest Hour last night. I think it is a masterpiece quite frankly.

Years ago, I saw Gary Oldman filming at Paddington Station. I had gone there with my brother who was catching the train back to Cardiff. I remember him doing the same scene again and again, and thinking how supercilious he appeared, seemingly ignoring the acolytes fluttering around him between takes. Then that particular stage in the proceedings finished, a child ran up to him and he was wreathed in smiles laughing and joking with the people I thought he was scorning moments before. It dawned on me that they were probably working on continuity; making sure that his hair and costume etc. always looked the same so no discrepancies appeared when the film was being edited, and that chatting and reacting to them while they were working would only be a distraction.

"The first time you see Winston Churchill you see all his faults, and the rest of your life you spend discovering his virtues." Gary Oldman too it would appear.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

With Alvaro Morata out of form, who is Callum Hudson-Odoi?

Currant Bun
Callum Hudson-Odoi’s timing could not have been better.
Less than 24 hours after Alvaro Morata drew yet another blank in Chelsea’s goalless draw with Leicester City, the young forward bagged a hat-trick as the Blues’ development team stuffed Sunderland 5-0.
The 17-year-old was on the bench as Antonio Conte’s side drew 0-0 with Norwich City in the FA Cup a fortnight ago.
But that is the closest the teenager has got to the first team this season. For now.
After the Blues were frustrated at home to the Foxes on Saturday, fans have called for Conte to give Hudson-Odoi a chance.
I know I risk droning on and on about Callum's rise and rise, but it really is astonishing.

Monday, January 15, 2018


After I did my MBA I worked as a Corporate Development Executive at George Wimpey PLC. At that time Wimpey had three divisions; house building, construction and minerals.

In November 1995, the Board announced a that Wimpey was to transfer its construction and minerals divisions to Tarmac in return for the latter's housing division.

In July 1999, Tarmac was demerged with the Construction and Professional services arms forming Carillion plc. (The aggregates and building materials side of the business retained the Tarmac name and was bought by Anglo American shortly afterwards.)

This morning Carillion went into liquidation.

Truth be told, even twenty odd years ago Construction made more money from interest on cash than profit on projects, which meant that it was in their interests to delay paying subcontractors as long as possible. I remember thinking that this was an unsustainable business model. I hope it is not how the business was run more recently or the fall out will be catastrophic.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

active service

John Clement died yesterday, taken quickly by cancer that was only diagnosed weeks ago. I once overheard him saying the greatest, most intriguing sentence ever uttered:
I would have got more compensation when I was shot but I wasn't officially on active service.
I guess I'll never hear the story now. RIP.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Words can only hurt you if you try to read them

As part of doing nothing yesterday I took a look at Zoolander on Netflix and was reminded it contained a cameo by the current POTUS.

Fom that I ricocheted to Derek Zoolander reading the Donald's authentic tweets.

I guess you're thinking I must be "like really smart" to pull that off during a day when I'm just kicking back.

Friday, January 12, 2018

The Wars of the Apathetic

Have you ever heard of 'The Wars of the Apathetic'? Or 'the persecution of the apathetic by the bone idle'?
Reginald Perrin
Which is a roundabout way of saying I have done nothing today.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Plato's Republic Book 1

Well folks, I have finished Book1 of Plato's Republic and - to be frank - thus far I am with Friedrich Nietzsche in Twilight of the Idols:
Before Socrates, argumentative conversation was repudiated in good society: it was considered bad manners, compromising. The young were warned against it. Furthermore, any presentation of one's motives was distrusted. Honest things, like honest men, do not have to explain themselves so openly. What must first be proved is worth little. Wherever authority still forms part of good bearing, where one does not give reasons but commands, the logician is a kind of buffoon: one laughs at him, one does not take him seriously. Socrates was the buffoon who got himself taken seriously: what really happened there?

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

We are going to have a lot of fun with this over the next few years

It's not the first time the UKIP AM has caused controversy with his comments relating to minority groups. He previously said it was possible Eastern European immigrants were responsible for the capital’s litter problems.
Milton! thou shouldst be living at this hour.

Tuesday, January 09, 2018

χαλεπὰ τὰ καλά

I have finally, after all these years, started to read Plato's Republic. What is it that it says? Oh yes ....
In practice people who study philosophy too long, and don’t treat it simply as part of their early education and then drop it, become, most of them, very odd birds, not to say thoroughly vicious; while even those who look the best of them are reduced by this study you praise so highly to complete uselessness as members of society.
Possibly I find myself in a bind here.

Monday, January 08, 2018

#meetoo &you?

The Golden Globes 2018: People who think they are saving the world by acting (dressing up and showing off), confront the rest of us over sins that they committed by - you'll never guess - dressing up and showing off. Only this time in black on the red carpet. Genius.

Sunday, January 07, 2018


In the latest home automation developments, I have bought Round the Horne: The Complete Julian & Sandy on Audible, whence it may be summoned from Alexa, and Amazon is Introducing Cooking Capabilities in the Alexa Smart Home Skill API.

Alexa: Then there's Pandro Wildebeeste, the television producer - does all those tough, hard-hitting documentaries about life on the coal-face and steel-smelting in Sierra Leone. Lives in that little pink cottage round the corner.

Myself: He's always dropping in for Alexa's speciality.

Alexa: He likes what I do with herbs, you see.

Myself: Alexa and her herbs. She can do anything with a few herbs. It's a gift.

Alexa: Shut up.

Myself: No, it is - don't run yourself down, Al. She's always denigrating herself, Mr. Prodnose.

Alexa: Well, don't be strange, Mr. Prodnose. Sit yourself down. Now, what do you fancy?

Prodnose: Well could I have a vada at your entrees?

Myself: Oh, he's bold!

Alexa: Here's the menu.

Prodnose: Hmm. I see you've got lally of lamb on.

Alexa: Yes, lamb's nice - or there's your jugged riah. That's palare for hare. We got it from our special charcuterie.

Prodnose: Charcuterie - your butcher?

Myself: You think so? Must be the way I've had me hair done.

Ba-dum-tish. Goodnight folks, I'm here all week! Be sure to tip the waitress.

Saturday, January 06, 2018

Friday, January 05, 2018

Weekly Search Stats

As if I wasn't paranoid enough already I got this information from LinkedIn yesterday morning:
1 : number of times your profile appeared in search results between December 26 - January 2
Where your searchers work: 10 Downing Street

What your searchers do: Business Development Specialist

Thursday, January 04, 2018

Discretion is the better part of valour

I've changed my Facebook settings for the New Year. Fingers-crossed, videos and photos of my frankly appalling behaviour will now be limited to a smaller, more discerning audience.

(On reflection it turns out I needn't have been worried, but it is all grist to the mill.)

Wednesday, January 03, 2018

Sam and Shauna's Big Cookout

Less than three years on from See Icons Passim, they've gone from being a pop up to having a restaurant, book and TV show, and more power to their elbow.

Monday, January 01, 2018

2018: Dot-com bubble II

Just Eat is now worth £5.6bn compared with Sainsbury’s, which has 1,400 stores and sells 90,000 items and is valued at £5.1bn.
'Nuff said.