Saturday, September 25, 2021


My brother stayed with me for the last two nights. He was out with clients on Friday morning but intended to work in my office towards the end of this afternoon, so he dropped me off there and I left my car at home so he could use my permit to park in the Mills later. When we left this morning I walked down the street to see how much it would cost him to park in Marlborough Road up until 6:30 tonight; it is free afterwards.

John's car is grey. As I walked back I opened the door of a grey car as the ignition started and tried to get in. It wasn't John's car. There was an Indian fella in the driving seat and what I took to be his wife and child in the back. Luckily I knew the guy by sight as he is from the Colliers Wood Tandoori. I gesticulated to John's similar vehicle in front of his and we laughed it off. 

John and I collected a takeaway later and my friend smiled at me through the serving hatch making a thumbs up hitch hiking sign.

I have thought today about how lucky with are to live in a place where almost everyone is at least acquainted with each other. I imagine jumping into the wrong persons car in some areas of London might lead to unpleasant escalations.

Friday, September 24, 2021

Louie Louie

Louis Lynagh keen to keep fairytale rise going at first England training camp, and fair play to him. 

We first came across Master Lynagh in 2015, when Ben's Ruts (horny handed sons of toil who had fought their way up from the lower leagues) beat Richmond U15s at their own ground as way of announcing our arrival in the top tier.

I remember him being pointed out to me from the touchline as the son of a Wallabies legend. Well he wasn't a better full back than the Bomber that day. You may rest assured of that.

I mentioned the game to Ben last night. He remembered so much about it; a rite of passage with the miracle of Silas' last minute winning try,

Thursday, September 23, 2021

Prisoners of the Ghostland


My brother John is staying Friday night. If we go to the pub striaght from work, we are going to need a movie we can watch after that over a take-away from the Colliers Wood Tandoori. One that doesn't tax the old grey matter too much.

Take a bow, Nic Cage.

Cult Japanese film-maker Sion Sono (Love Exposure, Suicide Club) never shies away from an opportunity to shock and surprise with lashings of gore, weirdness and lurid, louche lunacy. Nicolas Cage, meanwhile (now practically a cult himself), loves to rage, bellow and glower in offbeat low-budget films, apparently the kookier the better. They’ve teamed up for this beyond-bonkers, cross-cultural bricolage of styles and influences, and the result is predictably excessive, noisy and more than a little exhausting. But mostly in a fun way, as long as you’re not bothered by gratuitous violence, incoherence and a deep streak of silly.

The setting is some kind of future Earth/parallel universe/post-apocalyptic zona – the why and when is not really important – that’s a mashup of neon-streaked Tokyo fleshpot and Mad Max-style wild west dystopia. A warlord called the Governor (Bill Moseley, hamming it up almost as much as Cage) runs a brothel-prison from which one of his favourite “granddaughters”, Bernice (Sofia Boutella, underused), escapes with three other comfort women. So the Governor hauls our nameless hero (Cage), a former bank robber, out of pokey and sends him off to find Bernice. But first he zips the hero up into a leather jumpsuit rigged with tiny bombs that will blow bits of his anatomy up should he try to hurt her, including explosives attached to each testicle.

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Thinking out loud

I was moaning to Andy and Ian when we were at Ronnie Scotts' on Saturday about how time consuming it has been for me trying to transcribe my musiic by clicking on a stave with a mouse. They said I ought to be able to link MuseScore up to a MIDI keyboard. 

OK my digital piano is a Kurzweil RG100 that has to be twenty and more years old. Here's the manual and there are MIDI out and MIDI in sockets.

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

The Fortune Men

The Fortune Men
By: Nadifa Mohamed
Narrated by: Hugh Quarshie
Length: 10 hrs and 32 mins
Unabridged Audiobook
Release date: 27-05-21
Language: English
Publisher: Penguin Audio
Shortlisted for the Booker Prize 2021.

The story of a murder, a miscarriage of justice and a man too innocent for his times....

Mahmood Mattan is a fixture in Cardiff's Tiger Bay, 1952, which bustles with Somali and West Indian sailors, Maltese businessmen and Jewish families. He is a father, chancer, petty criminal. He is a smooth talker with rakish charm and an eye for a good game. He is many things, but he is not a murderer.

So when a shopkeeper is brutally killed and all eyes fall on him, Mahmood isn't too worried. Since his Welsh wife Laura kicked him out for racking up debts he has wandered the streets more often, and there are witnesses who allegedly saw him enter the shop that night. But Mahmood has escaped worse scrapes, and he is innocent in this country where justice is served. Love lends him immunity too: the fierce love of Laura, who forgives his gambling in a heartbeat, and his children. It is only in the run-up to the trial, as the prospect of returning home dwindles, that it will dawn on Mahmood that he is in a fight for his life - against conspiracy, prejudice and cruelty - and that the truth may not be enough to save him.

This month's audible book really was a shoe in.

Monday, September 20, 2021

Oh really? No, O'Reilly

I got a message from Rebecca yesterday morning telling me that Ancestry have revised their ethnicity estimates as they do regularly. I have looked at my updated profile and I am now 100% Irish up from 98.

I think that I should be able to drink in the Standard free for ever.

Sunday, September 19, 2021



To Ronnie Scott's with Andy and Ian to see Kurt Elling featuring Charlie Hunter last night. What a great evening!

Charlie Hunter plays hybrid guitar. It is difficult to explain see My view of him was slightly obscured so I was absolutely baffled where the bass was coming from as there was only one person with a stringed instrument on stage though I seemed to be hearing bass and guitar.

Saturday, September 18, 2021

‘Kamikaze pigeons’ trained to intercept suspicious drones

 American researchers are examining whether the flocking instincts of pigeons can be harnessed to counter armed drones as the rapid development of ‘swarm’ technology prompts warnings that the emerging UAV threat is difficult to contain

Imagine several terrorist drones carrying primed hand grenades buzzing towards a civilian or military target, leaving its defenders with just moments to deploy their state-of-the-art countermeasure. With a furious beating of wings, the precision weapon designed to send the deadly machine crashing to the ground is launched – a squadron of kamikaze pigeons. 

Far-fetched as it may sound, the idea is one of those being explored by American researchers as the defence and security sector scrambles to respond to the extraordinary pace of development in drones – or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) – which is seeing robotic and increasingly capable autonomous aircraft move rapidly from the purview of state militaries into the technological and commercial mainstream. 

The pigeon research, being carried out by an unnamed private US company according to an industry expert, aims to harness the birds’ natural flocking instincts and acute vision to draw them towards the particular sound and motion of a “quadcopter” drone. The birds will be trained to fly at a machine or machines en masse, neutralising an attack on a potential target from an airport to an open-air concert at the cost of their own lives. 

,,,,,,, read on .....

Life is now wierder than anything Beachcomber ever invented.

Friday, September 17, 2021

Read all about it

A books and reading round up today.

The Wimbledon Bookfest Sunset Festival is on and I went to see the Georgia Prtichett event last night. 

My next Audible credit drops in three days time. I see that there is an unabridged version of The Fortune Men available so I will get that: Booker shortlisted and Cardiff set.

A rave review in the Telegraph for First Casualty: The Untold Story of the Battle That Began the War in Afghanistan by Toby Harnden. His Dead Men Risen: The Welsh Guards and the Defining Story of Britain's War in Afghanistan (Icons passim) is one of the definitive books about our experience over there, so his new one goes straight to the top of my reading list.

Thursday, September 16, 2021

iPhone? If I'm paying, it is a MyPhone


I ordered Ben a new 64GB iPhone SE on the weekend. It arrived on Tuesday and we set it up in the evening. It is just a coincidence that the new model was announced at the same time.

His old handset had disintegrated. It was five years old after all. The contract I was signed up on could have got him a new one three years ago with - to all intents and purposes - nothing extra to pay.

I am writing these words here as a back stop so I don't make the same mistake again.

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

National Health

Paul had his stoma surgery for suspected bowel cancer on Monday. It took six hours, but he managed to get up for a brief walk yesterday, plus ten minutes on Skype. 

His sister told me that they are waiting to see if the the growth removed had spread into the nearby bowel membrane, which was removed with it.  This will decide whether he will need chemotherapy or not.

Neil, our mutual friend, has had a similar gut operation and is now fully recovered. I think talking to him has been very useful for keeping Paul positive.

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

HRH Pat Geary

I wasn't there.

If I was there I didn't do it.

If I did do it, it is protected by a non-disclosure agreement.

The papers that were served had a semi-colon rather than a comma on page 298 rendering them invalid.

Actually I am not even here, because I don't exist.

Monday, September 13, 2021

Dropping a name from the top of a ladder

 When I went round to PG's yesterday he said, "I saw Trevor (Nunn) at the Riverside in the week so I told him you liked his production of Beckett's Happy Days. He says thank you very much and sends his regards."

Sunday, September 12, 2021

Phoning it in

 I went round to Morden to see Ben this morning as we hadn't met since we had a pizza with Mia, and his phone is on the blink. Jane was there, back visiting and told me he is re-entangled with Niamh.

I have ordered him a new iPhone that should arrive on Tuesday. I will have to work from home until it turns up as it needs to be signed for.