Saturday, August 30, 2008

A Pub Computer

I remember some time ago that The Burglar and I came up with a form factor for the pub computer; small and robust enough to take down the boozer, useful in the age of ubiquitous wi-fi, yet cheap enough not to break your heart if lost.

This is being written in GJs as I test the Aspire One against it. I've had to ask for the wireless network password behind the bar, but that should be a one-off now that the network is configured.

All seems well, though a pub computer is still not cheap enough to chance leaving behind on the bar when you pop to the gents.

This is being written on Friday, but I will set it to publish on Saturday as the bomber and I are off to Wales until next Wednesday evening.

I'll be offline until then unless I can ponce a connection somewhere.

Friday, August 29, 2008


I've finally come out of my Windows safety zone and I'm typing this on a dinky Acer Aspire One ultraportable running Linux.

The end of an era?

Thursday, August 28, 2008


"Eat Your Way Around the World in London" got back on the road last night. We tried to go Ukrainian, but the restaurant was closed for a private function, so we wandered about looking for an alternative (a tricky exercise as we've already done 44 cuisines) until we found the Taiwanese Leong's Legends.

We had landed on our feet according to Time Out:

There’s something conspiratorial about the whole thing. Just when you thought the Chinatown dining scene was torpid, two outstanding restaurants – first Baozi Inn, and now Leong’s Legends, both boasting relatively unknown regional cooking – burst on to the scene with the stealth and cunning of bandits. Which, if you think about it, is a fitting metaphor for the title of this Taiwanese newcomer.

The name refers to the popular classical Chinese novel ‘The Water Margin’, which revolves around the rebel Song Jiang and his 107 comrades (sometimes referred to as ‘Liang’s legends’) who rise up against a corrupt government during the Song dynasty, while taking refuge on Mount Liang (aka Leong).

Good food, but I drank and didn't take any notes. Here is the skinny from Wikipedia (authenticity is implied by the fact that we certainly had the beef noodle soup from paragraph one).

Follow the links for our real and imaginary destinations as we eat our way around the world in London.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

gross anatomy

The Daily Beast is raging:
A bizarre Government-funded campaign is being launched to encourage people to exercise while they’re waiting for a bus.

According to the campaign’s organisers, those minutes spent at the bus stop watching the traffic go by could be spent more usefully – by standing on one leg, pointing your toes or clenching your buttocks.

But the latest attempt to get Britain fit has been slammed by an MP as ‘a shocking waste of taxpayers’ money’.

As a regular exerciser, diagnosed by a personal trainer 30 months ago as mildly kyphotic, let me have my tuppenny worth.

I understand that it is important to clench your buttocks (or fire your glutes as we say in the business).
A common reason for lack of glute function is tight hip flexors. Tight hip flexors are easy to get, and extremely bad for glute activation. When your hip flexors are firing, they turn off your glutes, and make it very hard to activate them, and they end up pretty weak. This is known as reciprocal inhibition. When a muscle is tight (hip flexors) and firing when it shouldn’t be, the opposite muscle, the antagonist (glutes) tends to want to turn off and not work. If you are activating your hip flexors when you shouldn’t be, this is going a long way towards your inability to get the glutes firing. Your hip flexors get really tight from sitting down for a long time.

I'm a slouching desk jockey just like you, and to cut a long story short, we need to stretch our hip flexors as well as toning our derrieres. To do that why not combine a pelvic thrust with the buttock clench?

Next time you are at the bus stop, put your hands on your hips and then - as you clench your butt cheeks - drive and jerk your pelvis forward. Relax and repeat. Relax and repeat. Wave to anyone else at the stop, or even to passers-by, and invite them to join you.

Prodnose: Will you visit anyone who takes you up on this in prison?

Myself (holier than thou): When saw I thee hungered, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?

Prodnose: I give up.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Freebie and the Bean

I don't think I've written before of the Bomber's peculiar and precocious appetite for American indie movies. (He also likes European pictures and is currently pressing Pan's Labrynth on me though I haven't got round to watching it yet.)

Last night (as there was no Muay Thai on a Bank Holiday) we trotted off to the Odeon to see Steve Carell and Alan Arkin (from his beloved Sundance Film Festival breakout Little Miss Sunshine) reunited in the mainstream Get Smart.

We laughed like drains. There is a great cameo from Bill Murray that I recommend unto you.

There's also a supporting role for James Caan. In a scene with him and Arkin, I realised that it was a Freebie and the Bean reunion 34 years on.

Standard fayre on BBC2 when I was growing up, but unavailable on DVD for a new generation. The F&B revival campaign starts here.

Monday, August 25, 2008


Trivial as it may be in the scheme of things I've been wondering if Fedor Emelianenko's huge popularity with MMA fans in the States may have some geopolitical implications.

He looks like a redneck's best friend who'd stop off for a few drinks after work, watch your back in a punch up, and never steal your girlfriend.

If the guys in the flyover states imagine a Russian Army made up of fellas like that, the new Red menace is gonna be a harder sell.

Sunday, August 24, 2008


I went along to Hadrian Empire and Conflict at the British Museum yesterday.

Did you know that he were a gayer?

More seriously, it is fascinating and wonderfully curated stuff.

Comparing the Pantheon to the Round Reading Room in which the exhibition is mounted is a highlight.

The Emperor casts a long shadow. After the Second Roman-Jewish War, in an attempt to erase the memory of Judaea, he renamed the province Syria Palaestina.

The jury is still out on that one.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Friday, August 22, 2008

Roll of Honour

Nicole Cooke, Women's road race cycling - GOLD
Tom James, Coxless fours rowing - GOLD
Geraint Thomas, Cycling team pursuit - GOLD
Tom Lucy, eight-man rowing - SILVER
David Davies, 10km open-water swim - SILVER

These are turning into a fine Olympics for Wales. You can read the whole history at

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Leo Abse: F&M

Abse was a prolific author. His publications included Private Member: a psychoanalytically orientated study of contemporary politics (1973), which sought to relate MPs' behaviour and attitudes to their childhood and sexual experiences; Margaret, daughter of Beatrice (1989), a "psychobiography" of Margaret Thatcher; Wotan, my enemy: can Britain live with the Germans? (1994), which won the Wingate Prize from the Jewish Quarterly; The Man Behind the Smile: Tony Blair and the politics of perversion (1996) and, in 2003, a new edition called Tony Blair, the man who lost his smile.
In 2000 he published Fellatio, Masochism, Politics and Love, which purported to be "an analysis of the repressed homosexual components of the relationship between Gordon Brown and Tony Blair"; and in 2006 The Bisexuality of Daniel Defoe: a psychoanalytic survey of the man and his works.

Leo Abse - lawyer, politician, and brother of Dannie - has passed on aged 91. Strange to remark, not one of his books has a berth in my library.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

O'Rooney McVoughtie O'Zoot

"Hipster, flipsters and finger poppin' daddies: Knock me your lobes; I came here to lay Caesar out, not to hip you to him. The bad jazz that a cat blows wails long after he's cut out, the groovy are often stashed with their frames; so don't put Caesar down. The swingin' Brutus hath laid a story on you that Caesar was hooked for power: If it was so it was a sad drag, and sadly hath the Caesar cat answered it..."

I'm off to An Audience with Lord Buckley - the last theatrical flourish of this year's AbbeyFest - tonight.
Pray silence for His Lordship's takes on the Bard of Avon (Willie the Shake), Jesus of Nazareth (The Naz) and Charles Dickens (Old Scroogy Scrooge). You dug him before, re-dig him now!

From what I recall of my (mercifully brief) Slim Gaillard period - around the release of Absolute Beginners - I am likely to be talkin' jive for the next week or so. Apologies in advance.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

A prophet without honour

The Met have launched a beta version of a crime mapping site based on Google maps more than three years after I was mulling it.

This morning, the Telegraph is boosting "Predicting the future - with the power of betting", the same three years after I deprecated the US for dropping a plan to create a futures market to help predict terrorist strikes.

Strange how things come around.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Fruit Shoot

I took the Bomber and a couple of his mates to see Clone Wars yesterday at the Odeon.

For the first time in I can't remember how long there was no spoof Orange advert, so here for you viewing pleasure is the great Darth Vader episode from a few years back.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

In the red

The Bomber and I opened his first bank account yesterday.

It was the first time he has ever had to sign a document, which put him in some sort of predicament has he hadn't designed a signature. I seem to remember that I was already practicing autographs at that sort of age, though no one has ever asked me for one.

Saturday, August 16, 2008


Carlos from Jackapong is fighting on the Muay Thai Legends bill at Croydon today but I can't make it as the Bomber and I are long promised to a BBQ afternoon and evening. (I'm marinating jerk chicken, you have been warned.)

Boony vaguely alluded to the fact (and My Muay Thai confirms) that Somluck Khamsing who is on the bill, won a gold medal at boxing in the 1996 Olympics.

I'm staggered. This is exalted company.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Merde! He Wrote

A giant inflatable dog dropping created by the American artist Paul McCarthy was blown from its moorings at a Swiss museum, bringing down a power line and breaking a window before landing in the grounds of a children's home.
The exhibit is the size of a house and has a safety system that is supposed to
deflate it in bad weather.
It is part of an exhibition called East of Eden: A Garden Show, which features sound sculptures in trees and a football ground without goalposts.

An exhibition curated by Dr Strabismus (Whom God Preserve) of Utrecht?

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Enter Stage Write

After sitting the last production out, I went along to this week's AbbeyFest Theatre last night. It was a production of Two which (everyone's got a website these days) was written by and featured and

It was good stuff.

Regarding theatre, the Wimbledon bookfest writing competition for this year is asking for scripts. Ideally I'd like to have a crack at it, but an August 31 deadline is a bit of a challenge given my workload and giddy social whirl

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


I used to know MC Jabber (aka Scott Martingell), via his sister, way back in the day, and certainly at least a decade or so ago.

As I recall I gave him a lift to Victoria where he got a bus to the continent, and it seems in time hooked up with a band called Blue Foundation and ended up on the Miami Vice movie soundtrack. Fancy that.

Here he is in his solo beardy glory on YouTube. You'll have to follow the link, embedding is disabled. He looks unchanged since the 90s, as does his jumper.

"Every man's memory is his private literature".

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Greenwich Mean Time

Here is a record of my little fella doing his thing in the ring last weekend for Thai @ Zero Longitude 2008 - the first Thai festival taking place in the oldest Royal Park(?) - just two weeks shy of two years training.

Just as when he first started it took encouragement to persuade him to climb in, but he had a great time once on board and spoke of little else yesterday.

Speaking of Muay Thai, The Contender Asia (renamed "The Contender: Kickboxer) is currently showing in the UK at 9pm Monday and Tuesday nights on ITV4.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Welsh Gold

By the time Nicole Cooke reached the Great Wall of China on her way to winning a gold medal in the women's cycling road race yesterday, it was raining cats and dogs. A thick mist mantled the sharply pointed hills above the Ju Yong pass and the temperature had dropped far enough to mock her decision to wear a thin Lycra skinsuit rather than the normal jersey and shorts. It was, in fact, just like home.

Cooke, 25, is from the Vale of Glamorgan, where wet weather is hardly uncommon. But the conditions had little to do with the Welshwoman's achievement in becoming the first British cyclist, man or woman, to win the Olympic road race. Two years ago, in baking heat, she was the first British rider to win the women's Tour de France.

Nicole Cooke is a gold-plated Welsh Born Icon

Sunday, August 10, 2008

How do you find yourself this morning?

The corporeal instruments of action being strained to a high pitch . . . will soon feel a lassitude.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

The New Great Game

The Caucasus go up in smoke and I haven't the foggiest.

I bought The New Great Game: Blood and Oil in Central Asiafrom Amazon a couple of years ago but never got round to reading it. I'll have to ingest at least chapter 3 " Stalin's Legacy: Georgia" and get back to you.

Caucasians eh?

The end of history eh?


Friday, August 08, 2008

Diabolus in Musica

I heard an advert for a touring version of West Side Story on the radio this morning, which reminded me of something that has long puzzled me.

How can the diminished fifth (an interval with which the whole score is drenched - think "Maria") have been deprecated as "Diabolus in Musica" in the Middle Ages and caused controversy when Dizzie Gillespie et al started be boppin' it in the 40s, sound so innocuous to us today? It is at the heart of the perky theme to The Simpsons for goodness sake.

I do however promise not to worry about it excessively.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Will the circle be unbroken?

Back in 2005 I blogged a story about the Herculean labours of a guy called Peter Verney who worked for Save The Children in Sudan in the 80s.

If you scroll down to the bottom of the post, you will see that he left a comment on it in the early hours of this morning.

He's still doing what he can, and says "personally I haven't surrendered: a bit broke these days, maybe, but the resilience of the Darfur people I meet is still humbling".

I'm humbled to hear from him.

Save the children. What a world.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Stitched Up

I been planning to go to the AbbeyFest theatre tonight for Stitching, but I have been saved by Google.

From The Guardian in 2002:
Barely one day into the Edinburgh festival, audiences known for their cast-iron stomachs have staged their first walkouts on grounds of taste.

People left Stitching, a new play by the Scottish writer Anthony Neilson that describes a man masturbating over pictures of women being herded into a gas chamber in Auschwitz. A character fantasises about re-enacting the Moors murders, filming her partner sexually abusing the victims' mothers and putting the footage on the web. She mutilates and stitches up her vagina to the strains of "We will stitch it" from the soundtrack to the children's TV programme Bagpuss.

I think I can do without that particular catharsis, though it seems to be doing well in New York. How unsurprising to find that the useless Mark Ravenhill is a friend and fan of the author.

Festival sponsor I may be, but "include me out".

P.S. Regarding the play's needlework, I seem to recall Ornella Muti had the same idea in 1981's Storie di ordinaria follia, so it's not as if it's even particularly original. Gimme Ms Muti as Princess Aura in 1980's Flash Gordon any day.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008


The Bomber and I attended the Emirates Cup on Saturday for the second year in a row, as illustrated by the photo above that he took from our seats (cf. my photo of the boss at the same venue).

Watching Aaron Ramsay (late of Cardiff City) running out for Arsenal against Real Madrid is a treat indeed.

Queuing up for half an hour in the pouring rain to get the tube home afterwards while being partonised and obstructed by mounted police; less of a treat. What would it have cost PC Witling just to be polite?