Monday, July 22, 2019

the backstop's backstory

I was born in the early sixties so I grew up to the drip-drip-drip of news of the Troubles in Northern Ireland and developed an examined assumption that, perhaps, shootings and bombings were how things had always, and would always, be.

Perhaps that is why it was such a group-hug thrill yesterday to see Shane Lowry cheered to the rafters, one of their own, as he won the Open at the Royal Portrush Golf Club. Royal Portrush is in County Antrim, Northern Ireland. Antrim on one of only two counties in Ireland with a majority Protestant population. When I was a boy if you heard the word Antrim on the radio or the TV it was never, to say the least, in a heart warming context.

Shane Lowry was born in a town called Mullingar, which is just off the M5 between Dublin and Galway; a place with a back-of-the-envelope claim, to my eyes, to being the centre point of Ireland.

To see all of the Emerald Isle, united behind him lifting the Claret Jug would have astonished my twenty one year old self.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

mi casa, su casa

My next door neighbours knocked on my door last night to tell me that they were going away for a few days and asking me to keep an eye and ear open for their house as they's been robbed last time they went on holiday.

As I was walking back down the street yesterday I spied what I took to be a criminal crew emptying their house through the front door and loading the proceeds into a van.

I was preparing to sell my life dearly until I noticed that it was just their other neighbours moving out; the front doors are adjacent.

At least it proves my adrenal glands are still working; the body's fight-or-flight response is called upon but rarely these days.

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Everyone's gone to the moon

While everyone else is remembering Apollo 11, I am wondering whatever happened to Jonathon King.

Friday, July 19, 2019

I'll give it 5

There is now an Echo Show 5 in my life. I snapped one up for just under fifty quid on Amazon Prime Day. This means that my two-up/two-down home now contains and original Echo, an Echo Dot, a Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote, and their new sibling.

Near as dammit Alexa in every room.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Andy Tea

Just wanted to let you know Andy is in St George’s ICU . He had an aortic aneurysm yesterday morning and they have done an aortic arch replacement (6 hours of open heart surgery) . The Drs are very pleased with him and he has 2 nurses looking after him. He will be in ICU for another 48 hours but then onto a ward.
This is what I have heard about Andy Cunningham, just in case anyone reads these pages and doesn't know about it. I am too timid to Google  aortic aneurysm or aortic arch replacement.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Seller ZOOMTEC has a message for you.

This is Linda from ZOOMTEC Store. Thank you for purchasing toner cartridges from us wisely.
If the cartridge leak, or print terrible, or something other issues, replying this email is the best way to solve problem quicker. Hope you could kindly contact us before you take bad action to our account, then we will give you a 100% happy solution program at first time for you.
If you are satisfied with our product, could you please kindly leave our product an opinion?
We are honest seller and never hire someone to place a fake order to add positive review. So we have very few review. Your review has important impact on products and will be a big encouragement for us to a better seller.
Though I have probably read more accomplished English prose, this is - to say the least - a charming email. I think I probably will leave them a positive review on Amazon, certainly the printer is churning away happily enough on the cartridges I bought from them.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Wit Sandwich

As you'll know if you're paying attention I finished reading 'A Talent to Amuse: A Life of Noel Coward' by Sheridan Morley this weekend.

Before that I read Citizen Clem: A Biography of Attlee by John Bew.

Yesterday I started The Deniable Darwin by David Berlinski.

If you can't see any thread or connection, let me reassure you; neither can I.

Monday, July 15, 2019

an everyday sort of magic

I started to read 'A Talent to Amuse: A Life of Noel Coward' by Sheridan Morley as preparation for last Thursdays' trip to the Old Vic for 'Present Laughter' but I didn't finish it until Saturday morning.

The last sentence said:
All that London lack now is a Noël Coward Theatre, and I cannot believe it will be too long before we get one.
On Saturday afternoon we saw 'The Night if the Iguana; at the Noël Coward Theatre.

Spooky action at a distance, what?

Sunday, July 14, 2019

The enigma of the eighth pub

As far as I can tell, Friday's Clapham Common to Colliers Wood pub crawl comprised
  • The Alexandra
  • The Windmill
  • The Avalon
  • Wolfgang's Beer Haus
  • The White Eagle Club
  • The Wheatsheef
  • The Mayfair Tavern.
I think there should have been an eighth but I can't remember, which would seem to make sense.

Saturday, July 13, 2019

A simple twist of fate

Frankie says Bob Dylan at Hyde Park yesterday sounded more like my impersonation than Dylan himself.

My work here is done.

Friday, July 12, 2019


I was at the Royal Institution on Wednesday night, the Old Vic, yesterday and I'm going to see the Night of the Iguana in the West End tomorrow so I am awarding myself a Cerihew this morning
Nicholas Browne
The man about town
Grows, day by day, more fascinating
While you are procrastinating.
John, my brother is behind tomorrow's theatre. He is coming up on public transport this afternoon so I am going to meet him at Clapham Common Tube station and wander back down the A24 to the 'Wood. "You know, like Caine in “KUNG FU.” Just walk from town to town, meet people, get in adventures."

Thursday, July 11, 2019

It takes a village

I got a text from the Bomber on Tuesday:
I think I forgot to mention I'm going to Cyprus with a few friends tomorrow for a week.
He had forgotten to mention.

I went to get my hair cut in Ed's yesterday lunchtime. (If number one with the clippers all over counts as a haircut.) He knew that Ben was going to Cyprus and more specifically to Ayia Napa (news to me), because all the crew had been in having their side fades sharpened before the trip.

The coiffeur in loco parentis. I can remember when Ed would put baby Ben on a board on his barber's chair, snip scissors around his head pretending to trim the fluff, and then give him a lollipop.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Round Your Manor

Robert Elms' BBC Radio London show was largely about Wimbledon yesterday. Helen messaged me to say Fiona from the Bookfest was on it.

I asked Alexa to summon it up via BBC Sounds on the Echo last night and listened from the beginning to the end of her interview. She is on just after 'War Ina Babylon' by Max Romeo & The Upsetters.

Here it be, in case I have to refer to it again -

The first item on the show is a conversation with the general manager of the Ely's department store. It may be the most neuralgically boring thing I've ever heard in my life.

He hasn't been there long, but it's easy for him to get to work because he lives nearby! Be still my beating heart.

I advise fast forwarding to the reggae.

Tuesday, July 09, 2019

21st Century Limerick Updates: Part 1

The anonymous original about Gertrude Stein, Jacob Epstein and Albert Einstein:
There's a wonderful family called Stein,
There's Gert and there's Ep and there's Ein;
Gert's poems are bunk,
Ep's statues are junk,
And no-one can understand Ein.
Replacing Jacob with Jeffrey Epstein:
There's a wonderful family called Stein,
There's Gert and there's Ep and there's Ein;
Gert's poems are junk,
Ep? kids in his bunk,
And no-one can understand Ein.