Monday, November 11, 2019

Ted Gioia

GIOIA: The most important thing right now is to understand that the best music in our society is under the radar screen for many complex reasons. Record labels are looking for the formula. Radio stations are following the formula. Even these amazing curated playlists are just a feedback loop. They’ll tell you what to listen to next week based on what you listened to last week. And because they’re a feedback loop, they won’t show you anything new or interesting.
So what you need to do, if you really want to broaden your horizons as a listener, is to get exposed to new things. Pick somebody. It doesn’t have to be me.
I can't remember how I stumbled on this podcast. Ted Gioia is either profound or off his chump, but I have added Music: A Subversive History to my reading list.

Ben was talking to me in the car last week about how modern technology has created hyper-local music scenes where kids are listening to a lot of tracks made by people they know who live round the corner. Gioia's "the best music in our society is under the radar screen" reminded me of that.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

chicks will dig it

There aren't native skills for my echo show 5 that will let me watch the BBC iPlayer or Netflix, but if I log into them on the built-in Silk browser, save the credentials and bookmark them I can access their videos handily.

That is all.

Saturday, November 09, 2019

George Washington and the Cherry Tree

A recall to the senior England squad is a nice present for Callum. I've been friends with him on Facebook since November 2011. FB reminded me it was his birthday yesterday. It thinks he is 23 not nineteen. He's part of a generation who fibbed when signing up. Ben - also 19 - is 25 according to Mark Zuckerberg's behemoth.

Friday, November 08, 2019

What Up With That?

Sorry I have to rush, but when I start singing this you can't claim you haven't been warned.

Thursday, November 07, 2019

Pit Stop

Arrived at Cardiff, dropped my stuff at Bronwydd and put the heating on.

Off now to visit mum, dad and supermarket.

Wednesday, November 06, 2019

On with the dance! let joy be unconfin'd

Mum should be coming out of hospital this morning. I will see her tomorrow.

I feared the worst a fortnight ago.

Tuesday, November 05, 2019

Corpus Christi Procession

It is good to see the South African rugby team showing off the rugby world cup in their De la Salle blazers. They could have gone straight from this photo shoot to Cardiff's Corpus Christi Procession in the 1960s.

Monday, November 04, 2019


MPs will elect Mr Bercow's successor in London today, the first such vote for a decade.

Sunday, November 03, 2019

existential disrepair

Amid tepid reviews last year, I went on record as thinking that The Kominsky Method was great (Icons passim).

Then, earlier this year, it took home two of the biggest comedy television awards in the Golden Globes. Michael Douglas snagged Best Actor In A TV Comedy or Musical, before the show itself won Best TV Comedy/Musical.

Now who's looking foolish TV critics? Season 2 just dropped on Netflix. I have watched the first couple of episodes; again it is great.

Michael Douglas had his moment in the sun when gongs were being dealt out, so let's give it up for Alan Arkin who is still knocking it out of the park at the age of 85. I think he may have had a stunt double for unsteadily mounting and riding a horse but the acting performance is all him. (I can't help but compare him to someone else I know of the same age.)

Saturday, November 02, 2019

None ever wished it longer than it is.

I have finished reading The Second World Wars: How the First Global Conflict Was Fought and Won by Victor Davis Hanson (752 pages) and started reading Dominion: The Making of the Western Mind by Tom Holland (624 pages).

1,376 pages between them. I really don't make it easy for myself.

World War II was the most lethal conflict in human history. Never before had a war been fought on so many diverse landscapes and in so many different ways, from rocket attacks in London to jungle fighting in Burma to armor strikes in Libya.

The Second World Wars examines how combat unfolded in the air, at sea, and on land to show how distinct conflicts among disparate combatants coalesced into one interconnected global war. Drawing on 3,000 years of military history, bestselling author Victor Davis Hanson argues that despite its novel industrial barbarity, neither the war's origins nor its geography were unusual. Nor was its ultimate outcome surprising. The Axis powers were well prepared to win limited border conflicts, but once they blundered into global war, they had no hope of victory.

Christianity is the most enduring and influential legacy of the ancient world, and its emergence the single most transformative development in Western history. Even the increasing number in the West today who have abandoned the faith of their forebears, and dismiss all religion as pointless superstition, remain recognisably its heirs. Seen close-up, the division between a sceptic and a believer may seem unbridgeable. Widen the focus, though, and Christianity's enduring impact upon the West can be seen in the emergence of much that has traditionally been cast as its nemesis: in science, in secularism, and yes, even in atheism.

That is why Dominion will place the story of how we came to be what we are, and how we think the way that we do, in the broadest historical context. Ranging in time from the Persian invasion of Greece in 480 BC to the on-going migration crisis in Europe today, and from Nebuchadnezzar to the Beatles, it will explore just what it was that made Christianity so revolutionary and disruptive; how completely it came to saturate the mind-set of Latin Christendom; and why, in a West that has become increasingly doubtful of religion's claims, so many of its instincts remain irredeemably Christian. The aim is twofold: to make the reader appreciate just how novel and uncanny were Christian teachings when they first appeared in the world; and to make ourselves, and all that we take for granted, appear similarly strange in consequence. We stand at the end-point of an extraordinary transformation in the understanding of what it is to be human: one that can only be fully appreciated by tracing the arc of its parabola over millennia.

Friday, November 01, 2019

Mignons de Porc Γ  l'ail

I worked with Anthony Bourdain's Les Halles Cookbook last night; a tribute to mum who (fingers crossed) may be responding to treatment (see icons passim).

Mignons de Porc Γ  l'ail
Top the tenderloins with the mashed garlic, spreading the paste like substance evenly along the length of the tenderloins. Lay the bacon slices across the garlic the long way. Now lay the other two tenderloins on top of the first two, the fatter ends pointing in the opposite direction from the ones on the bottom, so that they nestle together in a yin-yang sort of a way, creating a fairly even-shaped tube. Using kitchen string, tie each double tenderloin together tightly and evenly at several points along the tube (that way it can be sliced into medallions without cutting the string). Refrigerate overnight.
Okee Dokee. The trouble is I didn't have kitchen string so I used cable ties.
Preheat the oven to 350F (180C). Remove the tenderloins from the refrigerator. In the saute pan, heat the olive oil over high heat. Add 1 tablespoon (14 g) of the butter. When the butter stops foaming, season the pork, then add it to the pan, working in batches so as not to overcrowd the pan.
You can't really pan fry plastic cable ties, but hey presto!
If you're in a hurry, you can slice the pork into medallions when raw, then individually sear each medallion. That way you wont need to use the oven.
That's what I did. very nice too.

Moving on from cable ties I remember Beth being bemused last week that a house brick wrapped in foil was among my kitchen equipment. I use it to weigh down quesadillas.

No top London kitchen spends more money at Wickes than mine.

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Facebook Ad Library

The Ad Library shows you ads across Facebook's apps and services. You can use it to get information about the ads you see. The Ad Library contains all active ads running across Facebook Products.
Transparency is a priority for us to help prevent interference in elections, so the Ad Library also shows you additional information about ads about issue, electoral and political ads, including who funded the ad, range of how much they spent, and the reach of the ad across multiple demographics. We store these ads for seven years.
You can view and use the Ad Library at
If you're an advertiser, you can learn more about issue, electoral or political ads in the Business Help Center.
I imagine that this will produce some interesting information in the run up to the election.

Look at this link. The UK Government spent over a million quid advertising on Facebook over the last year and more than half of that in the last month.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Cardiff, where the poetic champions compose

YouTube's algorithms recommended a video of Morrison talking about this new album to me yesterday. To my surprise about one minute and ten seconds in (herewith he talked about recording a lot of it in Cardiff where he has a "set up" with guys playing keyboards, bass, drums and organ.

I was astounded. A little research suggests that the Music Box Studios is where the work was done,  and that Richard Dunn is the Hammond player.

I recounted this to my brother on the phone this morning and he told me that Van the Man lives locally in Pontcanna. Again I was astounded, but here is a story about Van Morrison popping in for a quiet drink at the Casablanca Club after a gig in Newport in the 80s.

At that time the club was managed by Frankie Johnson Snr. I was in school with Frankie Johnson Jnr. Ultimately it is all about me.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Finite to fail, but Infinite to venture.

Gunfire and car stunts filmed on Newport Road for Mark Wahlberg's movie. The road was closed from midnight on Sunday until early this morning for "gunfire, police cars in a ram raid and an Aston Martin sports car flipping over the central reservation."

Simon Crane, who I met a couple of months ago, is the second unit director on Antoine Fuqua’s ‘Infinite’ so it will have been him behind the megaphone in Cardiff for the last couple of days.

Nigel Tufnel: You know, just simple lines intertwining, you know .....
Myself: Coincidence? None dare call it a conspiracy......