Saturday, October 24, 2020


 New Yorker Suspends Jeffrey Toobin

The New Yorker has suspended reporter Jeffrey Toobin for masturbating on a Zoom video chat between members of the New Yorker and WNYC radio last week. Toobin says he did not realize his video was on.

“I made an embarrassingly stupid mistake, believing I was off-camera. I apologize to my wife, family, friends and co-workers,” Toobin told Motherboard.

“I believed I was not visible on Zoom. I thought no one on the Zoom call could see me. I thought I had muted the Zoom video,” he added.

Is there some way we could make a show of solidarity with him? Any ideas?

Friday, October 23, 2020


Over by yer
We meet Kirsty, stumbling home from a night on the tiles on St Mary’s Street. But home isn’t where she wants to be. Instead, she finds herself weaving between the headstones of Cathays cemetery, where a chance encounter is about to open the doors to a whole new world for her, to a whole new Cardiff. Don't miss Owen Thomas’ hauntingly beautiful tale of fight or flight inspired by Cardiff’s legendary boxer Peerless Jim Driscoll.
My niece Bethany plays Kirsty.

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Bubble Wrap

I dined out at Sam's Riverside the day before yesterday. It's OK it was a business meeting.

Last night I was at at a Korean place in New Malden with the son and heir. He lives with his mother.

Thus no social bubbles have been injured in the making of this blog post.

I hope to have a drink after work tonight with my extended, garrulous, multi-ethnic, theologically diverse household.

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

This is Wales

This is Wales where my mother, my father and most of my family live.

This is Wales where getting my mother a new set of dentures will require her to be isolated in the home where she lives. Alone for fourteen days after a visit to a dentist.

This is Wales where my father who needs nursing care and has late stage Alzheimer’s can't be moved until he has a COVID test that the assigned nurses are incapable of performing.

This is Wales whose devolved government forbids me to visit from London.

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

How steadfast are your branches! O Christmas Tree

Peter recommended Drama out of a Crisis: A Celebration of Play for Today to me on Sunday. I will try and catch it on the BBC iPlayer. He said he had almost forgotten how left wing the Play for Today strand was, and then segued into telling me that back in the day, suspected subversives at the BBC had "Christmas trees" on their personnel files.

I thought quite frankly that he had gone of his chump, but no:

The vetting files:

For decades the BBC denied that job applicants were subject to political vetting by MI5. But in fact vetting began in the early days of the BBC and continued until the 1990s. Paul Reynolds, the first journalist to see all the BBC's vetting files, tells the story of the long relationship between the corporation and the Security Service.

Read the whole thing ......

Monday, October 19, 2020

Sold I to the merchant ships


I don't know if The Forgotten Slave Trade: The White European Slaves of Islam is reliable but I have got more and more interested in the subject while reading Don Quixote and reflecting on Cervantes' time in Algiers.

Sunday, October 18, 2020



Loose Windscreen has got a new album coming out. I expect him to hear from the estate of Tom Petty about the remarkable resemblance of the track Ghosts to Free Fallin' (Icons passim).

Saturday, October 17, 2020

Like breathing out and breathing in

 In Our Time was about Alan Turing this week, and very good it was too. All three guests (Leslie Ann Goldberg, Professor of Computer Science and Fellow of St Edmund Hall, University of Oxford; Simon Shaffer, Professor of the History of Science at the University of Cambridge and Fellow of Darwin College and Andrew Hodges, Biographer of Turing and Emeritus Fellow of Wadham College, Oxford) were articulate and knowledgeable. I was very struck with Shaffer - perhaps because I had never heard of him before - and his insistence that Turing owed a lot of his apparently abstract and abstruse leaps forward to a practical, material groundedness; hence the Turing machine.

A man to follow is SS, is a link I have found. It makes an interesting Turing/Michael Polanyi connection. You know, Polanyi - the tacit knowledge guy.

Friday, October 16, 2020

Intolerable Cruelty

You'll know if you read this blog that my son came round for dinner earlier in the week. Also I go and take my Dad's cousin (who is in his 80s and lives on his own) out on his grocery shop every Sunday morning. From midnight tonight I have to chose which of these two is in my social bubble. Either Ben and I can't meet in each other's households or I can't take Pete for a coffee in the Plum Cafe after Waitrose.

A ban on travelling to Wales from coronavirus hotspots elsewhere in the UK comes into effect on Friday evening. Mark Drakeford, the first minister has used devolved powers to shut Wales' borders. The ban will cover all of Northern Ireland, England's tier two and three areas and the Scottish central belt.

Neither my niece, who is studying here in London, nor I can go and see our family in Cardiff and South Wales.

Explain to me how all this can be justified or how the government has the authority to implement it.

Thursday, October 15, 2020

A recipe has no soul. You as the cook must bring soul to the recipe.

The Bomber came round to mine last night we cooked the Chef Show flatbread (Icons passim) and watched the Chef movie (Icons passim).

Fingers crossed, after last week (Icons passim) this will become a regular thing.

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

In my craft or sullen art


If you want poetry without the pretension, listen to Frank Skinner.

Okee dokee I am prepared to give Frank Skinner's Poetry Podcast a go. As a left-footer I think I will kick off with the Gerard Manley Hopkins episode -

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

local lockdown postcode checker

 Take a look at the screen shot above. This is where the Government expects us to check our lock-down level ( These people can't even write bog standard HTML.

Monday, October 12, 2020

Is the julep tart enough for you?

The son and heir has started watching the Chef Show on Netflix and thinks we should collaborate on some flatbread. I am all over this like a cheap suit and have ordered the Tartine book.


Sunday, October 11, 2020

So the last shall be first, and the first last

I have worked out a method for scoring Jonnie's premiership prediction competition (see Icons passim).

For each team you get 20 points minus the difference between your predicted position and the actual position. If you predict Liverpool will win and they do you get 20 but if they come last you get 1. If you predict Leeds will come 11th and they come 6th you get 15 etc. A perfect prediction gives you 400 points. The lowest mark you can get is 199 if your predicted winner comes last, you predicted runner up comes second last, etcetera etcetera.

I would keep it to myself, but I am currently second in a field of 28 with a score of 308 and thus feel validated. Villa are stealing points from everyone by over-achieving and the Manchester clubs are doing the same by under-performing.