Thursday, September 30, 2010

Spice Boy

The Bomber is ten today.

I bumped into the life guard from the Virgin Active pool yesterday. When she asked after him, it reminded me that there's a swimming certificate on his bedroom wall from all they way back in 2006.

Tempus fugit.

He wants to go to Jimmy Spice tonight (eat your way around the world in one room), and he's having a party on Saturday.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


1. How is it made?
Crabbie’s Alcoholic Ginger Beer is made from a fermented ginger base. Crabbie’s is made with real Ginger powder and root extract by steeping for 6 weeks, to infuse the liquid with a real ginger flavour. The Crabbie’s recipe is a traditional and guarded one with four 'secret' ingredients added to it.

The product is all natural in terms of its flavoring components.

2. What is the ABV?
4% ABV

3. Who makes it?
Crabbies is still made in Scotland but is wholly owned by Halewood International – who are based in Huyton

4. How many units of Alcohol are there in a 500ml bottle?
2 Units

5. What supermarkets/ stores are stocking Crabbie’s?
Waitrose, Sainsbury, Morrison’s, Booths, Netto, Bargain Booze, Nisa, Select & Save, Spar (Appleby Westward, capper, James Hall) & Botterills (Scotland).

6. Is it vegetarian ?

7. Is it gluten free ?

8. What pubs/managed bars/ bar chains are stocking it?
JD Wetherspoons, Mitchells and Butlers, Marstons, Belhaven Pub company, Yates, Hogshead and many independent bars. Bold

9. What wholesalers/cash & carry’s can I buy from?
Nationally available through Bookers, Matthew Clarke, Classic Drinks, St. Austell Brewery, Parfetts, Batleys, Bestway, Bellevue, LWC, Makro, JW Filshill, United Wholesale, Hyperama, AF Blakemore, Inbev, Global Cash & carry, Morcambe Bay Wines, Molson Coors, HB Clark, Goldspot Cash & carry & many many more.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Monday, September 27, 2010

Our Kath

Katherine Jenkins started the Swansea Bay 10k yesterday and then ran the course with John, me and a few thousand others. I believe it is now compulsory for her to officiate at all public events in the Principality.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

a flawless business model

We sold £1 for £2.

If I could scale that sort of transaction up by a few orders of magnitude we'd be laughing.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

if you're a wild eyed loner

Prodnose: Hey you know there's a lot of talk going around about this hip and hep jive. Lots of people are going around saying "hip." Lots of squares are coming out with "hep." Well the hipster is here to inform you what the jive is all about.

Myself: Today I'm going to the the Great British Cheese Festival in Cardiff, and tomorrow I'm doing the Admiral Swansea Bay 10k run. It's the 30th anniversary you know.

Prodnose: What're you rebelling against, Johnny?

Myself: Nothing really.

Prodnose: But it's a road trip!

Myself (humouring him as the path of least resistance): It begins here for me on this road. How the whole mess happened I don't know, but I know it couldn't happen again in a million years. Maybe I could have stopped it early, but once the trouble was on its way, I was just goin' with it. Mostly I remember the girl. I can't explain it - a sad chick like that, but somethin' changed in me. She got to me, but that's later anyway. This is where it begins for me right on this road.

Prodnose: You The Man!

Myself: Who The Man? No! You The Man!

Prodnose: No, No! You the Man!

(repeat to fade)

Friday, September 24, 2010

Gi Whizz

Coming soon... the new IJF approved Fighting Films Superstar. As worn by 2010 World bronze medallist Euan Burton and Commonwealth Games Champion Winston Gordon.

I'd promised the Bomber a new judo suit for his birthday, but when it arrived it was the wrong size due to some sort of mix up. Fortunately Winnie managed to sort him out last night from some stock he had so Ben will be unwrapping a new gi next week.

In an amazing coincidence, I noticed on Facebook that Fighting Films had uploaded a YouTube video featuring Winston promoting their new suit on the very same day. Beyond cool for a nine nearly ten year old to get it from him.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose

This is the advice we are giving our public sector clients as they go through the arduous process of updating their policies to reflect the sea change from New Labour to the Lib-Con Coalition.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

the knack of happy accidents

I stumbled upon what was - to me at least - the great lost Viv Stanshall album on Spotify last night.

Here is the link.

Looking at Amazon, it seems finally to have made it to CD last month; deep, deep joy.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


Earlier this week, our commanders handed over responsibility for Sangin (the volatile town that has claimed 106 British lives, a third of the total killed in Afghanistan) to US troops.

Dozens of British soldiers were killed earlier this year when men of the 3 Rifles battle group pushed along the road running north to south of the town in Helmand province to build 22 patrol bases.

But the Americans decided to abandon the posts, instead concentrating their troops in four major bases from which they could conduct operations.

We conclude therefore that the blood spilled in setting up the patrol bases was wasted. Nothing is gained by the Prime Minister paying tribute to "huge achievements." Solemnity is required not gloss; see Icons passim.

I could not dig, I dared not rob,
And so I lied to please the mob.
Now all my lies are proved untrue,
And I must face the men I slew.
What tale will serve me here among
Mine angry and defrauded young?

Monday, September 20, 2010

Sunday, September 19, 2010

just simple lines intertwining, you know

In his book The Highland Clans, Iain Moncreiffe of that Ilk claimed that Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom "is the lawful Jacobite sovereign of this realm". Moncreiffe made the following argument:

... by the fourteenth century it had become common law (in both England and Scotland) that a person who was not born in the liegeance of the Sovereign, nor naturalised, could not have the capacity to succeed as an heir .... In Scotland, this law was modified in favour of the French from the sixteenth century, but was otherwise rigorously applied until the Whig Revolution of 1688, after which it was gradually done away with by the mid-nineteenth century. It was precisely because of this law that Queen Anne found it necessary to pass a special Act of Parliament naturalising all alien-born potential royal heirs under her Act of Settlement of the throne. But, of course, from the Jacobite point of view, no new statute could be passed after 1688 .... The nearest lawful heir of the Cardinal York in 1807 was, in fact, curiously enough, King George III himself, who had been born in England (and therefore in the technical liegance of James VIII).

Good to get that sorted out eh?

Saturday, September 18, 2010

The Samurai Of Ayothaya

Deranged Thai action movies (see icons passim) are becoming one of the great consolations of my declining years. "The Samurai Of Ayothaya" looks very unlikely to let me down.

Martial prowess not withstanding - the other requirements of the elite guard of the king appear to be bristling Edwardian moustaches and Tony Curtis haircuts.

That is one minute and ten seconds into the trailer if you don't have the patience for the whole thing.

Friday, September 17, 2010

River and Cloth

Facebook Places has launched in the UK.

I went to and - to be frank - I can make neither head nor tail of it.

I'm in the same postcode however as:

River and Cloth

The Marquee, Merton Abbey Mills, Watermill Way, London, SW19 2RD

17 – 23 September, 10.00am – 5.00pm daily

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Mr Nice

While I can't endorse freelance pharmaceutical distribution, Rhy Ifans' elevation to the rank of the Welsh Born Icon is overdue.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The King Over the Water

Inspired by the visit of the Pope I have been looking at the Jacobite Succession, which is the Catholic line through which the crown in pretence of England and Scotland has descended since the flight of James II & VII from London at the time of the Glorious Revolution.

A particular highlight is Henry Benedict Stuart (11 March 1725 – 13 July 1807) the younger brother of Bonnie Prince Charlie who was, handily, one of the longest ever serving Roman Catholic Cardinals, as well as the fourth and final Jacobite heir publicly to claim the thrones of England, Scotland, and Ireland.

In his youth, Henry's father made him Duke of York (in the Jacobite peerage), and it was by this title that he was best known. Upon the death of his brother in 1788 Henry became known by Jacobites, and within his personal entourage, as Henry IX of England.

Notably, the Cardinal-Duke of York was the last claimant to the English throne to touch for the King's Evil. That is to attempt to cure, say, tuberculosis by divine right through by laying on of hands.

Eat your heart out, Umberto Eco.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Geo Loco

Point "Google's World"

One of these days someone is going to bring such post modern ironic distance to their perspective that the universe will start folding itself up around a strange attractor brought into being by the sheer reflexivity of it all.

And then where will we be?

Monday, September 13, 2010

forgotten your password?

Let us bring up our children. It is not
the place of some official to hand to them
their heritage.
If others impart to our children our knowledge
and ideals, they will lose all of us that is
wordless and full of wonder.
Let us build memories in our children,
lest they drag out joyless lives,
lest they allow treasures to be lost because
they have not been given the keys.
We live, not by things, but by the meanings
of things. It is needful to transmit the passwords
from generation to generation.
Prodnose: So you've booked to go skiing with the Bomber again! Don't you think you're being a little melodramatic?

Myself: OK, point taken. In my defence I'm not taking him out of school this time. We're going at half term with Andy and Jonnie, another father and son team who did Richmond to Windsor with us.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

the parable of the talents

Oh man... the bullshit piled up so fast in Vietnam, you needed wings to stay above it.

I've been spending some time thinking about Facebook lately on behalf of a client. When I was looking at Twitter last year, Downing Street was the best example I could find on how not to go about it.

With Facebook however, the new regime has excelled itself. Contrasting the hubris of the pathetic "web conference" above between the Prime Minister and Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg with Number 10's own ridiculous Facebook application which hasn't been updated since July would be funny if it wasn't for the fact that this really is the government.

Please pass all future Government announcements on efficiency through a prism informed by the gap between their own aspiration and delivery in this comparatively trivial and potentially easily managed area.

The "latest news" according to Number 10 on Facebook is:

Health Secretary Andrew Lansley in live Q&A 22 Jul 09:31

What price NHS IT with this shower?

As for Andy Coulson - David Cameron's communications director - who is currently under seige for other matters, what do we think?

1. 'Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things.


2. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Friday, September 10, 2010

at a stretch

I have previously pleaded guilty to reading "Eat, Pray, Love" I grant you, but I have embarked on a recovery programme based on:

  1. Stretch: The Unlikely Making of a Yoga Dude
  2. mindful drinking
  3. bhangra Sex Pistols covers.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

In our Age

The Church regards with esteem also the Moslems. They adore the one God, living and subsisting in Himself; merciful and all- powerful, the Creator of heaven and earth, who has spoken to men; they take pains to submit wholeheartedly to even His inscrutable decrees, just as Abraham, with whom the faith of Islam takes pleasure in linking itself, submitted to God. Though they do not acknowledge Jesus as God, they revere Him as a prophet. They also honor Mary, His virgin Mother; at times they even call on her with devotion. In addition, they await the day of judgment when God will render their deserts to all those who have been raised up from the dead. Finally, they value the moral life and worship God especially through prayer, almsgiving and fasting.

Since in the course of centuries not a few quarrels and hostilities have arisen between Christians and Moslems, this sacred synod urges all to forget the past and to work sincerely for mutual understanding and to preserve as well as to promote together for the benefit of all mankind social justice and moral welfare, as well as peace and freedom.
In a week when Pastor Terry Jones, of the Dove World Outreach Center, plans to put copies of the Koran in a bonfire and a week before the Pope lands in the UK, I thought I'd remind you what the Catholic Church actually teaches about interfaith relations.

Prince wrote a song called "Pope" and it goes like this:
Your car got mags that be dippy dippy dope
But the whole damn nation got the same
Honey only flock 2 the bee that's the Pope
Not the President with government lame

Put me on a slow movin' parlimentary hackin' bandwagon
U could put my little ass in the grave
Everytime u want it I'll be live, bring a date
I mean computer when its over press save
Frankly I'm none the wiser.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Top of the world

Judo's 2010 World Championships start in Tokyo at 1am GMT tomorow morning, with EB Phoenix's Winston Gordon among the 21 strong British team.

What a thing it has been to see him fight his way back to competing at the highest level after a career threatening injury.

The Bomber and I wish him all the best.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010


Myself: I was working in the lab late one night, when my eyes beheld an eerie sight, for my monster from his slab began to rise and suddenly to my surprise ..

Prodnose: He did the mash?

Myself: He did the monster mash.

Prodnose: The monster mash?

Myself: It was a graveyard smash.

Prodnose: He did the mash?

Myself: It caught on in a flash.

Prodnose: He did the mash?

Myself: He did the monster mash.

Tempting as it might be to imagine that something like "A Hard Rain's a-Gonna Fall" was the soundtrack to the Cuban Missile Crisis, it was in fact Bobby Pickett's "Monster Mash" that topped the charts while the world held its breath.

I find this curiously reassuring. "Now everything's cool, Drac's a part of the band and my monster mash is the hit of the land."

Monday, September 06, 2010

..and the Windsor is

I did the Richmond to Windsor Bike ride yesterday along with a debuting Bomber, Jonnie and his Dad Andy, and a lot of the Whitton crew that Ben knows from skiing.

Huge fun. When we got to the Sunbury stop a lot of the boys were drinking from a case of beer. When I asked Bondy where it came from, he said that Darren had driven the route the night before stashing supplies at convenient locations.

Much respect to the Bomber and Jonnie for finishing the course at a tender nine years of age.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

the world's strangest rock band

I'm gettin' bugged driving up and down the same old strip
I gotta finda new place where the kids are hip

My buddies and me are getting real well known
Yeah, the bad guys know us and they leave us alone

Friday, September 03, 2010

Down with Skool

The Bomber makes the best of yesterday's INSET day, climbin' trees and scrapin' knees. Back to school, nose to grindstone, shoulder to wheel etc. at the beginning of next week.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Toper Tony

“I was clearly at the limit. A whisky or a gin and tonic before dinner, then one or two glasses of wine, even a half-bottle.”
We are admittedly spoiled for choice, but is there any more egregious example of Tony Blair's indestructible self regard than the "revelation" about his drinking above? He could drink that much every day for the rest of his life with no problem at all. Does he imagine there's a whiff of Devil may care glamour about it? Does he wear pajamas, leave the toilet seat up? The public has a right to know.

According to a breathless report in the Daily Mail, even Cliff Richard (the Peter Pan of pop whose home the Blairs borrowed for holidays a couple of times) finds room for a daily glass of wine or two in his never ending diet.

While Sir Cliff stands a good chance of drinking you under the table you're still a little way from skid row.

It's pathetic; the posturing of a milk monitor down for his 'hood.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Appeasement on the Help Desk

Chamberlain: Arthur Neville Chamberlain. Talk to me.

Caller: My computer deleted my entire hard drive overnight. All of my files are gone. It must’ve been some kind of virus.

Chamberlain: I can sense the pain and longing in your voice. You’re angry, seeking revenge for your loss, perhaps.

Caller: My dissertation was on this thing!

Chamberlain: In the short term, I can offer no salve for your pain. But let us look, for a moment, through the long lens of history, where aggression is rarely rewarded and retribution brings only further misery. In the face of such difficulties as yours, it is important to remain principled. This is an evil machine — one that uses brute force, bad faith, injustice, oppression and persecution — and against it I am certain that the right will prevail in the end.

Caller: So can you help me retrieve my dissertation or not?

Chamberlain: We cannot risk this fragile peace.
A companion piece to the medieval