Thursday, February 28, 2013

A Life in the Day of ...

I was just sitting here with the end of the month looming, leafing through contracts and wondering why so few of our clients seems to feel they have to pay us these days, when I was rudely interrupted by some bottom-feeder trying to hack the auction system.

Around this time last year, Ben's rugby team got knocked out in the semi finals of a tournament despite not conceding a single point all day, Liverpool beat Cardiff City in the FA Cup final and the ceiling in my house collapsed due to a leak from a corroded pipe.

Such fun.
The boy stood on the burning deck
Whence all but he had fled;
The flame that lit the battle's wreck
Shone round him o'er the dead.
Yet beautiful and bright he stood,
As born to rule the storm;
A creature of heroic blood,
A proud, though child-like form.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Video Nasty

The upcoming Monsters University has reminded that when the Bomber was a toddler he was absolutely terrified by the opening credits (above) to Monsters Inc. He was fine with the movie itself but the first few minutes of innocuous doodles seemed to scare the living bejaysus out of the little tyke.

The video below is the sort of thing that frightens me these days.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Same Old, Same Old

David Bowie and Prince are hawking new product, while Swansea City AFC have a seat at football's top table. I think it might actually be 1982 again in some strange sort of Groundhog Day development.

Which reminds me Danny Rubin, who wrote Groundhog Day, has been known to joke that they plan to re-release it unchanged as a sequel.

Monday, February 25, 2013


It is rare for me to bid on our own auction site, bit I have had a punt on an Epiphone Les Paul Studio guitar this morning.


Sunday, February 24, 2013


Over eighty years, Esquire has published nearly a thousand issues, packed with work from the greatest writers of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Ernest Hemingway, Tom Wolfe, Arthur Miller, Dave Eggers, Ralph Ellison, C. J. Chivers, Nora Ephron … the bench goes deep, and deep, and deep … Philip Roth, Tom Junod, Norman Mailer, Truman Capote, Stephen King, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Chris Jones …

In honor of its eightieth anniversary, Esquire has mined the archives to publish its eighty greatest stories of all time. The first volume, “Great Men”, features epic profiles of eight men who helped invent our world, by eight of the greatest magazine writers of our time.

There’s Gay Talese’s New Journalism masterpiece “The Silent Season of a Hero,” about Joe DiMaggio, next to Tom Junod’s unforgettable profile of Mister Rogers. Tom Wolfe examines the life and influence of Robert Noyce, inventor of the integrated circuit, while the legendary Garry Wills journeys to Martin Luther King’s funeral.

Then comes Scott Raab’s rousing, groundbreaking profile of an aging Paul Newman; Michael Paterniti’s exploration of the world of Ferran Adrià, who taught us how to eat; and Chris Jones’s piece on Roger Ebert, who, even after losing his trachea, speaks with a braver voice than most men will ever know. The volume concludes with two stories that bookend the career of Steve Jobs, by Joe Nocera and Tom Junod.
I picked up Great Men: The Eighty Greatest Esquire Stories of All Time, Volume 1 on Kindle for £2.65. A volume a month for the pretty much the rest of the year ought to keep me diverted during my lunch time recline bike sessions at Virgin.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

At last a rhyme for orange!

The Bomber has got back from skiing in Austria early so we will be able to watch the Wales Italy game together this afternoon and debrief. That is a pleasant surprise.

The venue will be the family friendly Cinema Room downstairs in the Gorringe Park.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Siberian wind to strip away your tawdry delusions: Met Office

A BITING wind from the haunted, barren plains of Siberia will expose the lies you tell yourself, the Met Office has confirmed.
Forecasters said the unrelenting wind will search deep inside you, burrowing into you and uncovering the shame that corrodes your soul, as temperatures drop to -11, making the UK colder than St Petersburg.
A Met Office spokesman said: “You cannot hide from it. Even if you shelter behind closed doors, you will hear its whisper and it will say ‘I know who you are’.”
The forecasters said the wind will be a passionate, wild-eyed interrogator of the human condition, forcing you to confront one monumental truth after another.
The spokesman added: “Do not prepare yourself for there is nothing you can do. It will howl at you until you say ‘no’ and ‘yes’ in the same desperate, elated breath.
“Particularly those in central and northern Scotland.”
Goodness me it's chilly this morning, Hat tip, Simon.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Adventures in Motion Pictures

I rather fancy that the motion poster is yet another marketing innovation that is unlikely to outstay its welcome.

Prodnose: So, shall we begin?

Myself: No thanks, if it's all the same.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Head in the clouds

Our Auction site got plugged on an email from today that goes out to eight million people.

After a little teething trouble caused by underestimating the demand this would put on the servers we are now coping fine. Well enough in fact for me to be planning to stroll out to lunch after I publish this.

The facilities that I dreamed of back in 2008 (see Icons passim) when there was a film about our auctions on the BBC One Show that generated more traffic than we could handle are now in place, so in 2013 Amazon Web Services has saved the day.

You the man, Jeff Bezos!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013


The World's First Unattended City Shop is housed in a double decker bus that is now parked up at the Mills.

Nearby, “out of control” offending by gangs on an estate has been dramatically reduced thanks to changes in policing techniques, the borough’s top cop has claimed.

We await developments.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Barnaby Conrad

When Barnaby Conrad was nearly killed in a 1958 bullfight, his celebrity pals were buzzing about it at Sardi's in New York.
"Did you hear about poor Barnaby?" Eva Gabor asked Noel Coward in her thick Hungarian accent. "He was terribly gored in Spain."
Shocked, Coward soon realized he'd misheard.
"Oh, thank heavens," he sighed. "I thought you said he was bored."
That would have been a surprise.
Barnaby Conrad Jr. — bullfighter, bon vivant, portrait artist, saloonkeeper to the stars, author of 36 books, and founder of the Santa Barbara Writers Conference, led a life that was anything but boring. Ninety years old, he died Tuesday in his Carpinteria home after a battle with congestive heart disease.
"He wasn't necessarily the world's best novelist or the best bullfighter or best artist or best piano player or best nightclub owner, but he was very good at all of them," said his son Barnaby Conrad III. "He was like a pentathlete.
Bedridden but still sharp, he was reading a book when his doctor told him he had just three or four weeks to live."I guess I'd better read faster," he said.
I'd never heard of him before, but I'm proud to have shared the planet with him from the day I was born until the day he died. Here's the LA Times obit. I'm sure I will be digging deeper.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Revolt into Style

Due to my general idleness images hosted on a decommissioned server have disappeared from early blog entries.

One of the missing illustrations from 2007 (see Icons passim) is of Swansea's own Rockin' Sikh Pete Singh.

I can make amend for that to an extent today as the, increasingly invaluable, Babylon Wales has published a picture of him with The Clash from back in the day.

He is the one with the turban. Did I ever tell you about the time that Topper Headon, reduced to driving a cab, picked Neil up as a fare in Hammersmith?

Onwards and upwards: YouTube has also jumped aboard the Pete Singh express since last time I looked.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Rite of Passage

The Bomber will be off on a skiing trip without me for the first time today as he is going with the school. The coach is leaving at half past three and taking them all the way to the the Salzburg Sportwelt in Austria.

The WBI time machine reminds me that his first two trips were to Austria as well Zell am See in 2008, then Kitzbühel in 2009. After that we went to Cevinia in 2010, Borovets in 2011 and then Andorra last year.

2008 Zell am See
2009 Kitzbühel
2010 Cervinia

2011 Borovets
2012 Andorra
Best passed over in silence

Friday, February 15, 2013

Help, Help

There are two alternative trailers for the forthcoming HBO Phil Spector biopic which stars Al Pacino and Helen Mirren, and is written and directed by David Mamet. I think I prefer the second one.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Whom the gods would destroy

Capote Classic 'In Cold Blood' Tainted by Long-Lost Files.

Ooops. It seems I tempted providence yesterday in praising Truman Capote's non fiction.

Never mind. Try The Duke in his Domain for size. Talent's talent.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

a broken arrow

The man who shot and killed Osama bin Laden sat in a wicker chair in my backyard, wondering how he was going to feed his wife and kids or pay for their medical care.
It is a strange world. The last issue of Esquire contained an interview with Megan Fox (Icons passim) that ploughed new depths of puerile, jejune, cod-literary banality.

This month there is a piece that could take its place in the company of work from Tom Wolfe, Truman Capote, Hunter S. Thompson, Norman Mailer, Joan Didion, Robert Christgau, Gay Talese etc. from the long-ago golden age of long-form magazine writing.

Dramatisation, intensive reporting, empathy and acknowledged subjectivity are deployed in the exposure of something dark in the American heart. Enjoy isn't the right word, but it is a rewarding read.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

North Star, Nos Da

Follow the link and watch the video.

The Welsh fan who ran onto the pitch on Saturday to celebrate George North's try and got bundled off by stewards for his troubles is the winger's father.

Anyone who isn't charmed can never be my friend.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Pope Benedict XVI resigns

Dear Brothers,
I have convoked you to this Consistory, not only for the three canonisations, but also to communicate to you a decision of great importance for the life of the Church. After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry.
The last time a pope resigned was in 1415. Pope Gregory XII did so to end the Western Schism, at a time when there were three claimants to the papacy.

Stalin memorably asked, apropos influence, how many divisions the Pope had.

The Soviet Union lasted from 1922 to 1991. Just short of three score years and ten.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

the sixth day

Wales beat France away and then Johnny Boon won the first fight he has had in twelve years in spectacular style yesterday (as you can see).
And God saw everything that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.

Saturday, February 09, 2013

Playing the French away

"Go the whole hog, Mog!"

Nothing ever really changes.

Friday, February 08, 2013

What I would have told the Treasury Select Committee

1. Taking into account your £250,000 housing allowance, your pay is to be set at £874,000 a year, or 33 times the national average and more than double what the present incumbent, Sir Mervyn King earns. Are you worth it?

Optimus Prime is the leader of the Autobots, a faction of transforming robots from the planet Cybertron.

2. Should the Bank of England’s inflation target be abandoned and replaced with something else?

The first generation Optimus Prime transforms into a Kenworth K100 cab over truck. Within his chest is a mystic talisman, known as the Autobot Matrix of Leadership or the "Creation Matrix", carried by all Autobot leaders.

3. Is there much more the Bank of England can do to stimulate the UK’s moribund economy, and if so what?

When Optimus transforms, his cab becomes an ion blaster and his trailer disconnects, forming a combat deck.

4. Where did the Bank of England go wrong in the lead up to the crisis and in its response to it?

Across the assorted continuities of the original Transformers universe, there have been various interpretations of Optimus Prime.

5. Will you adopt an easier approach to the banks in an attempt to stop them deleveraging and get credit flowing again?

Prime is secretly plagued by self-doubt and a conflicted sense of pacifism that often makes him an extremely reluctant warrior.

Thursday, February 07, 2013


Haws Galvanised Green Bucket Threesome

These buckets are manufactured from heavy gauge steel, hot-dip galvanised to prevent rust and painted green and feature hard wood handles. Can be used for a wide variety of purposes in the home and garden.
This sexy threesome is the perfect gift for your loved one this Valentines Day
Free bar of Divine Fair Trade chocolate with every purchase
Price £ 25.99 inc. VAT

I bought a wormery a few years ago though I didn't really ever get the hang of it. I'm still on the supplier's email list. The Valentines Day line they are promoting represents the very apotheosis of romance.

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

In Memoriam Reg Presley

So. Farewell
Reg Presley

The Troggs Tapes
Made me laugh
So hard I thought
I'd die myself

Angelina Jolie's uncle Jim
Wrote Wild Thing

That makes my heart sing
And makes everything

EJ Thribb

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

ARM fine. How're you?

The only shares I own are doing very nicely thanks.
(Reuters) - British chip designer ARM reported a better-than-expected 16 percent rise in fourth-quarter pre-tax profit as it rode the wave of soaring sales of smartphones and tablets, nearly all of which contain its technology.
The Cambridge-based group licenses its technology to chip makers and receives a royalty on each chip shipped in devices from the likes of Apple and Samsung.
Consumers around the world are increasingly using the Internet on mobile device rather than on PCs that are powered by Intel processors.
"Five years ago an ARM processor could be found in just over a quarter of devices that you could use to browse the internet," finance director Tim Score told reporters on Tuesday.
"Last year, in 2012, three quarters of Internet connected screens and devices used an ARM processor in the main chip."
Shares in the group rose to a 12-year high after it said it would at least meet analysts' expectations for revenue in 2013.
They were trading up 6.3 percent at 948.7 pence by 0822, leading the FTSE 100 index.
The newest smartphones and tablets typically contain multiple ARM-based processors and increasingly ARM graphics as well, helping royalties for the quarter rise 19 percent to $136.8 million (86.8 million pounds), strongly outperforming the market.
The company recognizes royalties a quarter in arrears, so the royalty income came on 2.5 billion chips shipped in the third quarter of the year.
Licensing revenue rose 28 percent to $100.6 million, with 15 licences signed for ARM's latest Cortex-A processors designed for mobile computing, servers and enterprise computing.
ARM said it expected to continue to outperform the wider semi-conductor market in 2013.
Analysts' current revenue expectations for 2013 stand at $1.03 billion, Score said.
ARM reported pre-tax profit of 80 million pounds on revenue of 164.2 million pounds, equating to earnings per share of 4.08 pence for the fourth quarter.
Analysts were expecting the group to report pre-tax profit of 75.6 million pounds on revenue of 152.2 million pounds.
I wonder where I put the certificate?

Monday, February 04, 2013

The Tooting Popular Front

Pup quiz in the Antelope tonight. Tooting is remarkably unchanged since the days of Wolfie Smith.

Sunday, February 03, 2013

"Don’t you call me ‘old sport’!"

After failing to make it to Wilton's last December (see Icons passim) I've just booked some tickets for an "immersive" production of The Great Gatsby which they are reviving. I count myself something of a fan of site-specific theatre since I saw a promenade production of Romeo and Juliet here at the Mills in 2009 (see further Icons passim).

Saturday, February 02, 2013


This clever and charming animated film appears to star Ben. I suppose it is a step up from appearing to star in Diary of a Wimpy Kid.

Friday, February 01, 2013


For all my advice to convalesce until after he gets back from skiing, the Bomber has decided to turn out at full back this afternoon against Wilson's School.

Ah well, whatcha' gonna' do? I imagine this means he'll play for rugby the club on the weekend as well, just as I was getting used to taking it easy of a Sunday morning.

Reflecting on my parenting skills, we also agreed that he would come to my office after school if he had homework to get it out of the way and I haven't seen him here for that for the last three weeks, though I have been presented with some elaborate excuses.