Thursday, July 29, 2021

The Umbrella Academy

The man is genuinely beyond parody even given the high level set at

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Hang Fire Southern Kitchen

Blimey John, we met Shauna of the Hang Fire Southern Kitchen more than six years ago (see Icons passim).

Here's the post I was talking about that explains their decision only to open three days a week until September due to staff shortages.


What a long slow death we are dying.

Tuesday, July 27, 2021


Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick's announcement (outside the Old Bailey of all places) that "everyone in policing feels betrayed,” by PC Wayne Couzens’ murder of Sarah Everard was tin-eared and ludicrously complacent. Apparently his is a crime that “sickened, angered and devastated” London’s policing community. Poor old put-upon Commissioner and poor old put-upon capital policing community eh. What am I supposed to do, pass a helmet around and take a collection for them?

The stark truth is that until the Met takes responsibility for the fact that this heinous crime was committed by a serving police officer the organisation will not be able to take appropriate action to reduce the chances of it happening again. Cressida Dick's attempt to include the force among the victims of PC Couzens is slippery, crass, solipsistic nonsense.

Ditto the Home Secretary's asinine announcement last week of paltry gestures that will "bring together the incredible work of police officers around the country and create a consistent response to ending these appalling crimes". Verbatim quote; my italics. Just take a moment to savour it. If the work is already incredible what will it be like once it has been improved, supercalifragilisticexpialidocious?

I recommend that the Home Office and the Police themselves stop telling us how marvelously competent and sensitive they are, and let the public work it out for itself.

I am currently prescribing a period of modest and sincere self-reflection for UK law enforcement.

You see a lot doctor, but are you strong enough to be able to point that high-powered perception at yourself or are you afraid to?
Clarice Starling to Hannibal Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs.

Monday, July 26, 2021

Play it, Sam

We went to Sam's Riverside last week for the prix fixe menu. £20 for two courses and £25 for three. I plumped for two; rainbow trout with endive, then onglet steak in an oriental sauce with broccoli. It was yummy in my tummy.

I have never had, or indeed heard of onglet before. Herewith the skinny.

What is onglet?

Onglet is the French name for a cut more commonly known in English as hanger steak. This rather forgotten choice is a flat cut from the diaphragm or lower belly. It is very loosely textured, can have a tendon running through it, weighs about 400g/1lb and is also known as butcher’s steak, because it is said butchers recognised its superior flavour and thus never put it on display but kept it for themselves.

The special attraction of onglet is a big beefy flavour but some people find it rather strong because of overtones of liver and kidney. It is especially good to serve with highly flavoured sauces.

Makes sense.

Sunday, July 25, 2021

Ups and Downs

The Lions won yesterday but I have woken this morning to the disappointing news that two-time champion Jade Jones lost in her first match at the Tokyo Olympics to Kimia Alizadeh of the Refugee Olympic Team.

I don't think I have ever heard of the Refugee Olympic Team before, maybe that is because this is the only the second time there has been one. It made its debut at Rio in 2016 -

The 2020 roster is on

Kimia Alizadeh was originally from Iran.

Saturday, July 24, 2021

Jade Jones tomorrow


When is the event?

Sunday 25 July, with the first qualification contest starting at 2am BST.

Which round will Jones compete from?

Jade Jones enters the competition from the round of 16, which starts from 2:28am.

Her fight is 3:52am and will be against the winner of the qualification contest.

The quarter-finals start from 6:12am, while the semi-finals are shortly after 8:04 am and repechages from 11am.

Should Jones go the distance once more, the gold medal contest will be at 1:30pm.

With any luck I will have an appointment with BBC1 early tomorrow afternoon.

Friday, July 23, 2021

Grandad, Grandad, You're Lovely

I watched Jade Jones: Fighting for Gold on the BBC iPlayer last night.  I have been a rabid Welsh fan of hers since she won her first Olympic title in 2012. My transition from someone who had never seen taekwondo before to a conspiracy theorist who thought, before she prevailed, that the judges weren't giving her a fair crack of the whip as I watched it on the telly was a miracle to behold.

I am writing this later than usual as I have been on the road all day. A by-product though is that I heard Jessica Ennis-Hill on Desert Island Discs.

I was very struck that for both if these extraordinary athletes, their maternal grandfather was a high influence and driving force.

Thursday, July 22, 2021

In Audible

 This month's Audible credit has gone on The Tender Bar: A Memoir by J. R. Moehringer.

At 8 years old, suddenly unable to find The Voice on the radio, J. R. turned in desperation to the bar on the corner, where he found a rousing chorus of new voices. The alphas along the bar - including J. R.'s uncle Charlie, a Humphrey Bogart look-alike; Colt, a Yogi Bear sound-alike; and Joey D, a softhearted brawler - took J. R. to the beach, to ballgames, and, ultimately, into their circle. They taught J. R., tended him, and provided a kind of fathering by committee. Torn between the stirring example of his mother and the lurid romance of the bar, J. R. tried to forge a self somewhere in the center. But when it was time for J. R. to leave home, the bar became an increasingly seductive sanctuary, a place to return and regroup during his picaresque journeys. Time and again the bar offered shelter from failure, rejection, heartbreak - and, eventually, reality. 

I wonder why that spoke to me? (I had never heard of JR Moerhinger until it emerged that he will ghost write Prince Harry's magnum opus due next year.

During the month (when I also bought some more credits to pick up the latest Fry Wodehouse) I also picked up The New Testament: A Translation by David Bentley Hart.

The early Christians' sometimes raw, astonished, and halting prose challenges the idea that the New Testament affirms the kind of people we are. Hart reminds us that they were a company of extremists, radical in their rejection of the values and priorities of society not only at its most degenerate, but often at its most reasonable and decent.

"To live as the New Testament language requires," he writes, "Christians would have to become strangers and sojourners on the earth, to have here no enduring city, to belong to a Kingdom truly not of this world. And we surely cannot do that, can we?"

I wonder why that spoke to me?

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Letters from Baghdad


I watched this movie on Prime the night before last.  Even if you haven't got Prime you can rent it for 99p. Gertrude Bell's story is remarkable in itself, but the images and footage are also very resonant as we work our way through the Arabian Nights.

When I was round the Hendries' last night, there was a question about Ms Bell on the quiz show playing on the kitchen TV in the background. You may say:
a. That I aced it.
b. That I didn't tell them I had watched a 90 minute documentary about her the day before.

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Down By the Riverside

I guess that was due to go in after "Happy Days" which we saw on Sunday closed. It must be a body blow to the Studios.

Killing time on Sunday, I was waiting in front of a screen that was scrolling through highlights from the Riverside's archive, and discovered that  John Sessions' satirical solo The Life of Napoleon played there in 1987. Thirty four years ago! Blimey, I can remember going to see it as I was working around the corner at Wimpey. I can even recall talking to John Sessions after it in the bar. 

Today's other theatrical revelation is that I know now the name (see Icons passim) of the son of a cousin who went to RADA giving the family a London hat trick of that, Central and Guildhall when you add in my nieces. He is called Bart Lambert.

Monday, July 19, 2021

Spike Lee for President

We saw  Lisa Dwan as Winnie in Happy Days at Riverside Studios yesterday. It was terrific. That is my whole review. I also find that I am very much in favour of Sunday matinees.

Spike Lee commented as follows when he made a mistake at Cannes and announced the winner of the Palme d'Or prematurely,  'I have no excuses, I messed up. I'm a big sports fan. It´s like the guy at the end of the game who misses the free throw.' 

If we had politicians with the cojones to say 'I have no excuses, I messed up" occasionally we would be a lot better off.

Sunday, July 18, 2021


 I pretty much always catch the news on Radio 4 at six in the morning.

On Sundays there is a fifteen minute called Profile (an insight into the character of an influential figure making news headlines) on before it.

Today's was about Mark Cavendish, and I caught maybe the last five minutes of it. 

I had no idea that his achievements at this year's Tour de France came after illness and injury, or that he only secured a place in the team at the absolute last minute.

I might start setting the alarm a quarter of an hour earlier.

Saturday, July 17, 2021

a smiple favour

I had to walk Ollie back home from the pub last night. Her arm is in a sling and there was stuff we needed to transport.

When we got there Andy offered me a drink and - it being rude to decline - I accepted.

We watched the start of a film called "A Simple Favour" on BBC. I was rather taken with it so I have added to my Amazon wish list.

I think that she killed both her husband and her missing "friend" but don't tell me if I am right or wrong.