Sunday, July 31, 2011


When I got the Bomber his XBOX 360 I could only get the 4GB version as that was all that was in stock. He says it is full now so I need to add this hard disk expansion pack to my shopping list.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Miss Rhondda Cynon Taf

I'm down in Wales and off the grid today so I am teeing this up on Friday.

In days when books like Bred of Heaven: One man's quest to reclaim his Welsh roots are being published:
Jasper Rees has always wanted to be Welsh. But despite Welsh grandparents (and a Welsh surname) he is an Englishman: by birth, upbringing and temperament. In this singular, hilarious love letter to a glorious country so often misunderstood, Rees sets out to achieve his goal of becoming a Welshman by learning to sing, play, work, worship, think - and above all, speak - like one.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Curiouser and courier

When I got in last night there was a card on the floor saying that a package had been left with a neighbour.

I thought at first it must be another deliver in the great Littlewoods scam, but when I picked it up I could see that it referred to the initial delivery of the TV.

Perhaps I have had my head turned by the rerun of Sherlock, but:

a. I am sure that the card wasn't there in the morning, as I make go through all the junk mail I have acquired each Thursday morning and put it out for recycling.

b. This means the card came through the letter box three days after the delivery had been made.

c. A logical conclusion is that someone had the card, with the intention of picking the parcel up pretending to be me.


Thursday, July 28, 2011

Looking out for myself

Littlewoods are going to pick up the mystery telly today (see Icons Heri).

It seems that some chancer set up an account in my name and ordered it, and other stuff, on the tick.

I am somewhat bemused however, as it is me rather than him who has got the swag.

I have been advised by the retailer that I am a victim of identity theft and to check my credit status at though I haven't yet.

The plot thickens. Watch this space.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Hunt for mystery benefactor

There was a knock on the door last night from a neighbour who had accepted a delivery on my behalf.

I've now got a Murphy 32 inch HD Ready Freeview Slim LED TV ( 2 x HDMI, 2 X Scart, 2 X USB, 1 X VGA and common interface. Gloss Black. Dimensions: H 21.2, W 30.8, D 7.5in).

It is certainly addressed to me but I didn't order it. I even tried logging on to the Littlewoods site to see if I had conjured it over the web and forgotten (though surely even I don't drink that much). There is no account with my email address.

I will try to get to the bottom of this mind-boggler, but in the meantime thank you very much anonymous admirer.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

the law of genre

Breivik penned a 1,516-page manifesto titled 2083 - A European Declaration of Independence, under the pseudonym Andrew Berwick, which he emailed to 5,700 people hours before the attacks.[51] In the foreword, he refers to the attacks as "(...) sacrifices made in relation to the distribution of this book, the actual marketing operation". In the document he describes his background and discusses his political viewpoints.
I haven't read it but here is 2083 - A European Declaration of Independence.

In the foreword, he refers to the attacks as "(...) sacrifices made in relation to the distribution of this book, the actual marketing operation".
Dear God. Am I contributing to the success of massacre as a marketing operation? I don't know what to make of it at all. Suddenly Sean's The Ethics of Writing seems immediate rather than obscure.
Beginning amidst the tombs of the 'dead' God, and the crematoria at Auschwitz, this book, newly available in paperback, confronts the Nietzschean legacy through a Platonic focus. Plato argues in the Phaedrus that writing is dangerous because it can neither select its audience nor call upon its author to the rescue. Yet, he transgresses this ethical imperative in the Republic which has proved defenceless against use and abuse in the ideological foundation of totalitarian regimes. Burke goes on to analyse the dangerous games which Plato and Nietzsche played with posterity. At issue is how authors may protect against 'deviant readings' and assess 'the risk of writing'. Burke recommends an ethic of 'discursive containment'. The ethical question is the question of our times. Within critical theory, it has focused on the act of reading. This study reverses the terms of inquiry to analyse the ethical composition of the act of writing. What responsibility does an author bear for his legacy? Do 'catastrophic' misreadings of authors (e.g. Plato, Nietzsche) testify to authorial recklessness? These and other questions are the starting-point for a theory of authorial ethics which will be further developed in a forthcoming book on the interanimating thought of Emmanuel Levinas and Jacques Derrida. Continuing the mission of the 'returned author' begun in his pioneering book The Death and Return of the Author, Burke recommends the 'law of genre' as a contract drawn up between author and reader to establish ethical responsibility. Criticism, under this contract, becomes an ethical realm and realm of the ethical.

Monday, July 25, 2011

I Don't Want to Be Right

A sombre WBI time machine powered reflection this morning; on August 25, 2007 I wrote:
There's a guy in an office on our floor editing a documentary about Amy Winehouse that is being put together by the record company as an extra for a live concert DVD. That is an insignificant thing in itself, but it has made me read the press on the apparent maelstrom of her private life with a little more attention than I might otherwise muster, and with the appreciation that there is a flesh and blood human being at the centre of it.

Reading like that it is so clear that the press cares for nothing but the spectacle itself, and would be vicariously delighted if she did manage to kill herself, that I can't help but feel grubby just following the coverage.
The word turns on its head as Russell Brand (whom I previously considered - without ever watching or reading him - as an ass) writes movingly and with some little insight and compassion about her life and death.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Sat Bains

I have fallen into the habit of playing cookery shows in the background on the BBC IPlayer while I am rattling the pots and pans.

Today I came across Sat Bains' chorizo eggs with scallops and coriander salt on Saturday Kitchen as I was conjuring an old-school Irish Stew. (Irish Stew in the name of the law!)

I haven't even tasted his dish yet and I want to have it for brunch every weekend for the rest of my life.

Love at first sight.

Friday, July 22, 2011

The Day Today

I have to run out of the door to Buckingham Palace now, then go to Surrey Police this afternoon, before coming back for AbbeyFest so I have not time to tug on your sleeve today.

Did you know that Surrey Police named their HQ "Mount Browne" after me? Modesty forbids.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Great Technology

Here's the technology problem: you've got a warm, moisture-emitting object that also contains relatively dry components that you need to get from Point A to Point B with their form, heat, and chemical composition intact. Oh, and the top of the object is covered with a sticky, viscous substance. And you need to be able to do it by the millions, so the solution has to be cheap and mass producible.
The Bomber and I tried out at the bottom of the road last night. Who knew there was so much to it?

(None of it seems to be a NASA spin-off, unfortunately on this day of days.)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


Uncle Jimmy died last night; a sad day for the family.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Plot Spoiler

The Bomber and I, like everyone else in this quadrant of the galaxy, went to see the latest and last Harry Potter movie over the weekend.

"There was more to Snape than an unchanging costume." Indeed, but - hands up - I did have an inkling.

Monday, July 18, 2011

the beginning of the end

“Let me turn to the reported displeasure of the Prime Minister and the Home Secretary of the relationship with Mr Wallis.
“At the time [I had] no reason for considering the contractual relationship to be a matter of concern.
“Unlike Mr Coulson, Mr Wallis had not resigned from the News of the World or, to the best of my knowledge been in any way associated with the original phone hacking investigation.”
No doubt that Sir Paul Stephenson was unwise to recuperate from an operation with a luxury freebie at Champneys, but he's certainly drawn blood from the PM with the paragraphs above. I am starting to wonder if the whole sorry saga might even bring down the government.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Judy in Disguise

Les paroles de la chanson Judy In Disguise (With Glasses) de John Fred & His Playboy Band:
Come to me tonight, come to me tonight.
Taking everything in sight, except for the strings to my kite.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Son of Strelka

A guy the States has cut up the 2007 audiobook version of Barack Obama reading Dreams From My Father to create a whole new story.
In it—I will try to limit the spoilers—a demigod is born from a fruit tree, sets about creating the world, and eventually mates with a human woman to produce a son, called Stanley. "I was different, after all," explains the god-child. "A big yellow dog with a baleful howl, the body of a man, with well-defined thoughts." Stanley's journey is marked by armies of singing children, talking creatures with beating wings, wise Buddha, and apocalypses of falling buildings and burning skies.
I just want to hug my knees in delight whenever I think about this.

Thursday, July 14, 2011


The Bomber pulled his first solo effort out of the Wandle yesterday. Though the picture is gone (see Icons Passim), the WBI time machine can still surprise me with the fact that it is five years ago that he first cast a line with John and family in a pool near The Barn.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Hide in plain site

“C.I.A. John,” the AP-profiled analyst-of-mystery responsible for tracking Osama bin Laden for more than a decade, has been spotted in a photo posted to the White House’s Flickr account.

Read the whole thing here:
It seems that although the man’s face was cropped out of the famous Situation Room photo, his pale yellow necktie was not. He also appeared to be unusually tall. The White House, as part of an all-out effort to trumpet its signature intelligence triumph, had released a number of photos on that day to media outlets around the world. Mr. Young simply checked the administration’s Flickr feed for shots of a man with the same build and taste in neckwear.

And there he was.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Restaurant Inspector

Series 1 - Episode 6: Mamma Rosa.

The Mills' Italian appeared on a reality makeover show on struggling British restaurants last night. Fernando Peire, the director of London's Ivy restaurant, went undercover to sample the venue, food and service before revealing his identity and offering advice.

I know too many of the people who appeared in the programme to venture an opinion here without taking my life in my hands.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Head in the cloud

I finished Josh Waitzkin's The Art of Learning yesterday. It is an interesting hybrid of memoir and self-help book by someone who has competed at the highest level in two contrasting fields.
Josh Waitzkin knows what it means to be at the top of his game. A public figure since winning his first National Chess Championship at the age of nine, Waitzkin was catapulted into a media whirlwind as a teenager when his father's book Searching for Bobby Fischer was made into a major motion picture. After dominating the scholastic chess world for ten years, Waitzkin expanded his horizons, taking on the martial art Tai Chi Chuan and ultimately earning the title of World Champion. How was he able to reach the pinnacle of two disciplines that on the surface seem so different? "I've come to realize that what I am best at is not Tai Chi, and it is not chess," he says. "What I am best at is the art of learning."
I read a lot of it on my kindle on the Tube as I traveled to and from the West End on Saturday and then finished it on the netbook Sunday morning before I got up; the kindle software conveniently synchronizing how far I had read between the different platforms.

As I was reading I was naturally intrigued by the Searching for Bobby Fischer movie. Searching on Amazon, it wasn't easily available on DVD in the UK, but I could have got it as an ITunes download for £6.99, and think I probably would have if I had some sort of ITunes/TV connection set up, or perhaps if I was reading it on the IPad.

The days of books and DVDs are numbered.

Sunday, July 10, 2011


I worked with DEC on the Haiti appeal (Icons passim), they are good people. Someone suggested to me yesterday that the BBC's coverage of the drought was pandering. I was disgusted. Pandering of what to whom?

(I'm aware that it is an intransitive verb, I just got carried away.)

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Fings Ain't Wot They Used T'Be

Last night's post AbbeyFest party having degenerated into a spectacularly ill advised impromptu arm wrestling competition, I can hardly raise my coffee to my lips this morning.

None of us is getting any younger: Exhibit A

None of us is getting any younger: Exhibit B

The Expendables 2 can't come soon enough.

Friday, July 08, 2011

Mystic Meg should have seen this coming

Hat tip, "Skinny" O'Brien for the title and the video.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

a terrible miscalculation of scale

It occurs to me that I may have started to harvest my potatoes a little prematurely.

........... They crossed vast reaches of space in a journey lasting thousands of years before reaching their target where they attacked the first planet they encountered, Earth. Due to a terrible miscalculation of scale the entire battle fleet was swallowed by a small dog. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy states that this sort of thing happens all the time.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Deal of the Day

After picking up a festival ticket from Kelkoo over the weekend (Icons passim), I got a 10 class Bikram Yoga pass for the new Wimbledon studio at a bargain basement £35 (as opposed to £125) yesterday.

Maybe the daily deal sites are here to stay as mashable suggests.

That said, I am unmoved by today's "Invisible STb Lingual Braces For Upper Or Lower Front Teeth for £995 from Behind Your Smile, Harley Street (£2700 Value)" proposition.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Vic & Bob's Afternoon Delights

New sketches from Vic and Bob, online courtesy of Fosters and not a TV channel in sight. It's a new world; slightly rippled with a flat underside.

Monday, July 04, 2011

Monday Morning Blues

Life Hacker: Now you can get away with cruising around Facebook at work, even when your boss is peering over your shoulder. Well, as long as the boss doesn’t look too closely. Even the laziest slacker can look busy in a jiffy with this interactive adaptation of many of Facebook’s functions. Simply go to, click “Gimme Dem Spreadsheets,” enter your Facebook credentials, and there’s your Facebook newsfeed, all done up to look exactly like an Excel spreadsheet.

Management Today: Never mind the austerity: UK CEOs are expecting to grow much faster than the economists seem to think.

Sunday, July 03, 2011

The Big Feastival

I took the Bomber and a couple of his mates along to The Big Feastival in Clapham yesterday.

They got in free as under 12s and I had got a £35 ticket for £14 from which is a price comparison website of which I had never previously heard.

Saturday, July 02, 2011

a shaving from the bench

Myself: So gives me:
id: "680543528",
name: "Nick Browne",
first_name: "Nick",
last_name: "Browne",
link: "",
username: "AWelshBornIcon",
gender: "male",
locale: "en_GB",
type: "user",
Prodnose: Why are you telling me?

Myself: It's a conversation starter.

Prodnose: That's a lousy conversation starter.

Myself: Oh, is it? We're conversing. Checkmate.

Friday, July 01, 2011

Time flies

AbbeyFest 2011 starts a week today with jazz on the band stand.

I have been astounded to realize that we are sponsoring it for the fifth consecutive year (Icons passim).

Come along one Friday or other.