Sunday, February 28, 2010

Tudor Parfitt

As he entered the sacred cave, a deafening roar filled the air. It was the dead of night in deepest Zimbabwe. The lone explorer reached for his gun, the beam of his torch wavering as he battled his nerves.

This was Dumghe mountain, the spiritual home of the mighty Lemba people. In this cave lay the secrets of their ancestors. A real-life Indiana Jones was determined to reach into its closely-guarded depths.

The renowned Welsh academic Tudor Parfitt had been told of a previous hapless researcher who had wandered too far down forbidden paths leading to this den of treasures. He had been brutally circumcised by the tribe. Village elders spoke of two-headed snakes which resided in the cave.

Tonight was Parfitt's opportunity to put ancient questions to rest once and for all. He had left the Lemba drinking chibuku - home-brewed maize beer the consistency of porridge - at their chief's hut, their naked women ululating and dancing to encourage the gods to bring rain.

Later, they would collapse into an alcohol-induced slumber,
the cave momentarily unguarded .........
Tudor Parfitt, a Welsh Born Icon, and his Remarkable Quest for the Legendary Ark

Saturday, February 27, 2010


Myself (thumbing the Ready Rubbed into the bowl of a briar): Praxis is the process by which a theory, lesson, or skill is enacted or practiced. It is a practical and applied knowledge to one's actions. It has meaning in political, educational, and spiritual realms.

Prodnose: OK, so you've had a drumming lesson. Enough already!

Myself: I would prefer to classify it as behavioural intervention to enhance brain health and plasticity, but yes you're right.

Prodnose: If this page took a shower, this is what it would sing: Meditate on that load of old cobblers.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Among the poetry anthologies

We Used to Be Wives: Divorce Unveiled Through Poetry
Language Poetries: An Anthology
Unsettling America: An Anthology of Contemporary Multicultural Poetry
Intimate Kisses: The Poetry of Sexual Pleasure
Place of Passage: Contemporary Catholic Poetry
American Diaspora: Poetry of Displacement
How Much Earth: An Anthology of Fresno Poets
Christ in the Poetry of Today
Sanctified: An Anthology of Poetry by LGBT Christians
Taste: An Anthology of Poetry About Food
Kindness: A Vegetarian Poetry Anthology
Sweet Nothings: An Anthology of Rock and Roll in American Poetry
Rubber Side Down: The Biker Poet Anthology

All genuine accoring to The New Math of Poetry; no itches here that require scratching in my Amazon Wish List.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Wales the True Taste

Now in its second year, the True Taste Welsh Produce Market is back, bigger and better than before, bringing fresh produce from Wales’s farm gates to Londoners’ plates. The market will be held on Friday 26 February 2010 between 11am and 7pm at Golden Square, London, W1 (just off Regent’s Street).

Launched in 2009 the True Taste Welsh Produce Market featured 12 producers and proved a huge success. London residents and commuters flocked to the one-day event, increasing the footfall to St Christopher’s Place (where the market was held in 2009) by 48% on the Friday of the previous week, and by 63% on the same Friday the previous year.

This year the market has moved to a larger location to allow Londoners to be able to sample and buy produce from double the number of stall holders. Golden Square in the heart of London’s West End will host up to 24 True Taste award-winning producers selling a plethora of food and drink from artesian cheeses and exquisite smoked meats and pâtés, to mouth-watering chocolate brownies and fresh fruit, vegetables and meat from local Welsh farm shops.
I can't make it myself, but I pass the information on as a public service announcement.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

In a world where .....

The video above is apparently a computer animation of Gordon Brown's "bullying" from the news coverage in Hong Kong.

It is very possibly the funniest thing I have ever seen. A new action hero is born.

(I start it 35 seconds in by the deft addition of the parameter &start=35 to the URL.)

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Head swells; nose runs

Just a fortnight after winning it last, the bomber has come home with the Golden Boot awarded to the week's best rugby player.

I didn't take him on Sunday. "How many tries did you score?" I asked him when I picked him up from school yesterday.

"Six," he replied deadpan.

In another development, the Sunday Express has reported that "the Queen is a massive internet star." The Household must be getting good advice.

I have a stinking cold this morning, but on reflection the ledger is in balance.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Ukraine's Got Talent

Kseniya Simonova is an artist who won Ukraine's version of "America's Got Talent." She uses a giant light box, dramatic music, imagination and "sand painting" skills to interpret Germany's invasion and occupation of Ukraine during WWII.

I've never seen anything quite like this.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Shady URL

Don't just shorten your URL, make it suspicious and frightening.

Saturday, February 20, 2010


A friend and I are wandering through the lush gardens of a grand country home. “Wouldn’t it be wonderful to live somewhere like this?” I ask, stopping to admire the view of the house over its lake. “Summer days on the lawn, grand parties, cocktails.” My friend mutters something about having a social conscience, but I’m not listening. “Lazing about,” I continue. “Wonderfully bored.” My friend’s face swivels towards me like the ventriloquist’s dummy in Magic. “Bored? How could you be bored if you had all that?” he exclaims.

I have always fancied being bored on a huge and stylish scale. I’m talking Great Gatsby boredom, with everyone lying around in white clothes and floppy hats, sipping long drinks with cooling names, and being utterly and divinely bored. How sophisticated can one get, goes my thinking, that even when surrounded by the best things in life, it’s not enough? Boredom wins through.

Why not take it easy this weekend? Is another occasional series born - Icons passim?

Friday, February 19, 2010

On Green Dolphin Street

I wandered back into the front room last night after being distracted doing stuff (yes, I'm pretty sure it was stuff) to find a networked new ninja bomber plus pal Jonnie racing some kids in Japan in a Super Mario Wii game while listening to "On Green Dolphin Street" via Spotify.

This is range that would have been inconceivable to me when I was nine. I don't know what effect it will have on them in the long term, but I will be astounded if it makes them dumber, less empathetic, or incurious in general.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Joseph Conrad in Cardiff

78 Cathedral Road to be precise.

View Larger Map
Just passing the information on from here.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Eccentric Club

From the Royal Diary via Twitter:

On 17 Feb: The Duke of Edinburgh - Patron, will attend a Dinner at the Eccentric Club's newly found Club House, 40 Dover Street, London.

Looking at I find that I am delighted by this development.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

ZZ Stop

There was a Brad Pitt with a beard,
Who said, 'It is just as I feared!
Angelina (not Jen),
and our tribe of children
Have all built their nests in my beard!'

Apologies to Edward Lear.

Part of an occasional series on face furniture - see Icons passim.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Dick Francis

LEGENDARY Welsh jockey, thriller writer and wartime Spitfire pilot Dick Francis has died at his Caribbean home aged 89.

The writer, born in the Pembrokeshire village of Lawrenny, near Tenby, died in Grand Cayman at the weekend.
Well I never. Dick Francis was Welsh. The first WBI of the new decade is hereby inaugurated.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

The Golden Boot

I see from Icons passim that the bomber won his first golden boot back in October. He won his second last weekend and asked me today when we were handing it back how long it was since he won it last.

I found the answer from the blog, so I am recording it here so I can answer the question should it occur a third time.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Friday, February 12, 2010

Swansea Love Story

In 2009, Swansea drug agencies reported a 180 percent rise in heroin use, and it’s visible on the city’s streets. Early one morning we meet a young, homeless couple named Amy and Cornelius in a city centre alley. As heroin-addicted alcoholics, they’re smack in the middle of two of South Wales’s most ever-present epidemics.
I haven't seen this yet, I just read about it in Time Out this morning. VBS.TV is the place to go apparently.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Yellow Drawing Room

Like the Chinese Dining Room, the Yellow Drawing Room was intended to contain some of the more extravagant fixtures and fittings from Brighton Pavilion. It occupies the south-east corner of Blore's new wing at first-floor level, looking out over the forecourt and interconnecting with the adjoining suite of visitors' bedrooms and dressing rooms. The magnificent chimneypiece, designed by Robert Jones, came from the Saloon at Brighton, as did the pair of mounted Chinese celadon candelabra on it. The 'Rock Clock' however was originally in the Music Room at Brighton, as were the pair of Chinese porcelain pagodas on Spode bases, matching a larger set of four. Either side of the chimneypiece stand a pair of chinoiserie tables, one French, c.1780 and originally from the Chinese Room at Carlton House, the other an English copy made by Edward Bailey in 1819 for the Music Room Gallery at Brighton. From the Banqueting Room Gallery came the set of chairs by Bailey & Sanders, and from the Banqueting Room itself came the Spode lamp in the far corner. Between the pagodas stands a centre table with pietra dura top made by Morel & Seddon for the Crimson Drawing Room at Windsor.

The Yellow Drawing Room was redecorated and hung in richly figured yellow silk for the State Visit of the Emperor Napoleon III and the Empress Eugénie in 1855. The imperial couple spent three days at Windsor before moving on with Queen Victoria for a further three days at Buckingham Palace. In the years after the First World War, Queen Mary rearranged the room and installed a fine early nineteenth-century Chinese wallpaper that she had discovered in store. Today the room is frequently used by Her Majesty The Queen and other members of the Royal Family for portrait sittings.
I went to a meeting there yesterday. How cool is that?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Hide in Plain Sight

Not since Barclays Bank in Camden Town became the Jazz Café in 1990 has London seen a new, purpose-built jazz nightclub.

South London, a jazz desert relieved only by occasional oases inside Victorian pubs, has never had one. Until now, that is.
The Hideaway, brainchild of businesswoman Frances Strachan, will change all that. Formerly a snooker hall secreted down an alley opposite Streatham overground station, it has been spectacularly transformed into the spacious and smart clubrooom, restaurant and bar launched by tenorist Ed Jones last Friday and diva Mica Paris the following night.

Excellent, and only a short hop away in a cab or on a 57 bus.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Sweet FATV

The FA Cup Fifth Round tie between holders Chelsea and 2008 Finalists Cardiff City will be streamed live on

At noon on Saturday 13 February, fans will have the opportunity to see the match for free on FATV.

It's the first FA Cup meeting between the two clubs for 83 years. The 1927 Sixth Round tie finished 0-0 at Stamford Bridge, and the Welsh side triumphed 3-2 in the replay. That season, Cardiff went on to win The Cup, beating Arsenal 1-0 at Wembley.

A 1986 League Cup game was the last time the two clubs met. Ninian Park hosted another win for the Bluebirds (2-1), but overall the record between the sides is equal with 15 wins apiece.

This is an interesting development. I am pretty sure that no cup tie has been streamed like this before, so I will be tuning into at noon on Saturday.

Can't help but notice that it is immediately followed by the Wales Scotland Six Nations game at 2pm. After that we have to wait until the evening for the next important Welsh event when Nathan Cleverly goes up for the European light heavyweight crown.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Terry's Song

Well they built the Titanic to be one of a kind, but many ships have ruled the seas
They built the Eiffel Tower to stand alone, but they could build another if they please
Taj Mahal, the pyramids of Egypt, are unique I suppose
But when they built you, brother, they broke the mold

Now the world is filled with many wonders under the passing sun
And sometimes something comes along and you know it's for sure the only one
The Mona Lisa, the David, the Sistine Chapel, Jesus, Mary, and Joe
And when they built you, brother, they broke the mold
When they built you, brother, they turned dust into gold
When they built you, brother, they broke the mold

They say you can't take it with you, but I think that they're wrong
'Cause all I know is I woke up this morning, and something big was gone
Gone into that dark ether where you're still young and hard and cold
Just like when they built you, brother, they broke the mold

Now your death is upon us and we'll return your ashes to the earth
And I know you'll take comfort in knowing you've been roundly blessed and cursed
But love is a power greater than death, just like the songs and stories told
And when she built you, brother, she broke the mold

That attitude's a power stronger than death, alive and burning her stone cold
When they built you, brother....

I am apparently now signed up to play this at my brother's funeral if he predeceases me. The combination of alcohol and sentimentality is a powerful thing.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Dave Alvin

After an introduction by my visiting n'er-do-well brother, AWBI now officially gets Dave Alvin.

Adjust your playlists accordingly. every night about this time.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Royal Diary

From Twitter:

On 6 Feb: Prince William - Vice Patron, the Welsh Rugby Union, will attend the England versus Wales rugby match at Twickenham Stadium, Twickenham, Middlesex.

On 6 Feb: Prince Harry - Vice Patron, Rugby Football Union, will attend the England versus Wales rugby match at Twickenham Stadium, Twickenham, Middlesex.

William for Wales and Harry for England then. Who knew?
On 6 Fed: Nicky B - Aspiring Patron of the Match, will likely lurk outside Twickenham Stadium in a fruitless attempt to boost a ticket before being moved on by the police, and retiring to watch the game in the pub with his equally long suffering brother.

Friday, February 05, 2010


You don't need to take drugs to hallucinate; improper language can fill your world with phantoms and spooks of many kinds.
I've been looking for a while for a word for the simple error of imagining that something exists just because there is a word or phrase for it; I'm pretty sure that almost every syndrome we're nagged about will turn out to be a chimera and bemuse generations to come.

Reification, the treatement of an abstraction (abstract belief or hypothetical construct) as if it were a concrete, real event, or physical entity, is close, but I'm not entirely sure it is on the money.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Rocky of the Rovers

Crystal Palace defender-turned-striker Danny Butterfield still bemused after stunning six-minute hat-trick against Wolves in the FA Cup.

I was lucky enough to see it (on the TV in the pub as it happens). As a story of a persistent underdog winning through against the odds, it was like having Rocky played out in front of your eyes for real.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Embarrassing Bodies

Season 3 Episode 1 of 9
New series. The medical team returns with a new tour of the UK looking to help those reluctant to visit a doctor. Dr Pixie McKenna and Dr Dawn Harper take the mobile clinic to Cardiff, where they offer advice on flatulence and, with half of the Welsh population failing to visit the dentist regularly, they are also joined by Dr James Russell and his pop-up dental clinic. Also, Dr Christian Jessen advises a man with a tricky problem
Category General Education/Science/Factual Topics
Director Karen Richardson
Executive Producer Steph Harris
Producer Karen Richardson
Channel 4 9:00pm-10:00pm (1 hour ) Wed 3 Feb

Set your videos, "the old home town looks the same, as I step down from the train."

Is the Cardiff fart more or less offensive than the unflossed Cardiff gob? Discuss.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Northern Lion/ Social Line

Most of the Northern Line could be shut from 8.30pm on weekdays for more than a year to allow for engineering works, causing further disruption for passengers on one of the most congested lines on the London Underground.

The plans have put the last surviving contractor in the public private partnership to upgrade the tube network on track for another showdown with Boris Johnson. Tube Lines and the London mayor's transport authority, Transport for London, are wrangling over plans to introduce faster and more frequent services on the Northern Line. Sources close to the talks say Tube Lines wants to do the work from 11.30pm between Sunday and Thursday for 16 months, starting next month. According to TfL, this would mean closing the line north of Stockwell from 8.30pm onwards to get trains back to depots.

Bad news from The Grauniard. Am I to have no option other than taking to my bed with a mug of Horlicks and an improving work every day except Friday and Saturday into 2011?

Monday, February 01, 2010

A touch of Zen

When, one evening in 1976, Philip K. Dick invited Tim Powers to his Fullerton apartment, the Cal State student expected the kind of night he often passed with the science-fiction titan: a wide-ranging conversation, fueled by wine and beer, about religion, philosophy and Beethoven.

The night began the usual way. But it took a strange turn as Dick's wife, Tessa, and her brother began grabbing lamps and chairs. "She and her brother were carrying things out of the house," recalls Powers. "I said, 'Phil, they're taking stuff, is this OK?' "

" 'Powers, let me give you some advice, in case you should ever find yourself in this position,' Dick said. 'Never oversee or criticize what they take. It's not worth it. Just see what you've got left afterward, and go with that.'

"And then," Powers recalls, "her brother said, 'Could you guys lift your glasses? We want the table.' "

Dick was an old hand at marital dissolution.
Considerable elan, though there is a darker underside.