Wednesday, December 31, 2014

You've got to get your first tackle in early, even if it's late

When the Seahawks beat the Rams last weekend they became just the third Super Bowl champ to earn a No. 1 seed in the playoffs the next season since 1998. I have no idea how they did it or what a No.1 seed may mean.

Their first playoff game will be Saturday, Jan. 10, at Century Link Field. The opponent will be the lowest seed that survives the two NFL wild-card games next weekend, either the Arizona Cardinals-Carolina Panthers winner or the Detroit Lions if they win at the Dallas Cowboys. I am bewildered. They have already beaten Arizona twice and they are playing one of three possible teams in the next round?

I am pleased to see though that the best defence in the NFL is not too proud to hone its tackling technique by learning from rugby.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel

I broke my kindle over the weekend. This link will take you to the previous occasion I broke one and that, in turn, will take you to the time before.

Kudos to Ben and Frankie who bought me physical books for Christmas that I have been able to use to plug the hole.

I called Amazon this morning on the off chance - remembering the out of warranty replacement they gave me at a discount in 2011 - and this time they are going to send me a like-for-like new unit free of charge. It may be because the model has been discontinued but I am still very impressed. Further it will be delivered tomorrow before 1 o'clock. Considering it needs to be personalised for me before it is dispatched that is astounding.

Monday, December 29, 2014

the more things change

this is too small to read (though you can click on it, which improves things).
The Washington Post has published this look back at web dominance over the past two decades, built by compiling data from comScore showing the 20 most popular websites in December of every year from 1996. The chart is a fascinating look at more than 15 years of tech giants rising, falling, and consolidating as the web evolved, and particularly so for me as we formed our company in 1996, or at least that is what I think I recall.

The chart deserves a careful look, as those faint lines can explain the confusing mess of who bought whom and why certain names vanish from the board. AOL didn't disappear—it became part of Time Warner for a while. Ask Jeeves became just Ask. CNET became part of the CBS empire.

Yahoo has been first or second every year from 1997 to 2013. I am astounded. As I am by Microsoft appearing at three in 2013.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Grand American Jazz, Blues and Food Tour

Enjoy 2 nights in Chicago discovering the city's fabulous architecture and pulsing blues bars before boarding the City of New Orleans for a musical journey from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico with stops in Memphis and New Orleans. Visit Graceland, the fabled home of Elvis Presley, take a tour of Sun Studios where Johnny Cash and Jerry Lee Lewis recorded their hits, look out for basking alligators in the Louisiana Bayou and then sample the delights of New Orleans' French Quarter.
As I recall, the last time we went to New Orleans we flew in to Chicago and changed there. It would be a pity to miss it if it still a hub for regional flights in the States Maybe there is something to be said for a Chicago>Memphis> New Orleans itinerary like this. is worth a look as well.

By the way, the recipe associated with Mondo Bongo is a new old-fashioned cocktail. I'll have to make my own orange bitters to fix one though.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

all presents and correct

My brother John got me John Currence's "Pickles, Pigs & Whiskey: recipes from my three favourite good groups and then some" for Christmas. I got him a jar of Nishaan Fried Onion Curry Base which means he spent more than ten times as much as me, but what I want you to take from the exchange is not my what a skinflint I am but rather the shared culinary theme.

Pickles, Pigs and Whiskey is an unusual cookery book. Elvis Costello weighs in with praise on the dust jacket, and each recipe is accompanied by a song suggestion. (They have been gathered together in Spotify playlist that I am listening to as I write.)

The City Grocery in Oxford Mississippi is where Currence plies his trade. John and I also watched Jon Favreau's movie "Chef" on Christmas Day.

Throw the Foo Fighter's Sonic Highways into the mix (I've caught it on the BBC iPlayer - it is a documentary series in which the band discover the musical heritage and cultural fabric of eight American cities, recording their eighth studio album along the way) and we can only conclude that the universe is sending us a message and a food and music trip to the States is in order.

It will be a sequel to our New Orleans trip. I don't know what year that was because it happened before I blogged. I must sit down and work it out one day.

As I sign off the universe is having its tuppence worth again. Mondo Bongo by Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros has just popped up on the Pickles, Pigs and Whiskey playlist. I will look up the associated recipe later, but that song is one on the Bomber's very favourites. He discovered it on the Mr & Mrs Smith soundtrack.

We have to go eating and drinking along the Mississippi after that omen. Maybe start off  in Memphis (convenient for the City Grocery) and work our way south.

Friday, December 26, 2014


Driving down from Mum and Dad's to John's on Christmas Eve, I caught the tail end of frontrow on BBC Radio 4.

The episode was John Kander on Cabaret, The Scottsboro Boys and Chicago.

This post is a note to myself to listen to the whole thing.

Kander sits at the keyboard, talks about and illustrates how they used to develop songs around vamps and from what I heard it is very much (Icons passim) how I imagined it worked.

Thursday, December 25, 2014


I got an email from Rod yesterday. He is in Luhansk for Christmas with the  OCSE (Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe) monitors. It is twinned with Cardiff so he invited me over. The jury is out though.
 During the 2014 protests in Eastern Ukraine, separatists seized governmental buildings in the region proclaiming the Lugansk People's Republic. An independence referendum was held on May 11, 2014. The legitimacy of the referendums was not recognized by mosts governments.However, Lugansk People's Republic was recognized by South Ossetia. Ukraine does not recognize the referendum, while the EU and US said the polls were illegal.
His note signs off "lots of loud noises as I write, many scenes from war films only real. We are trying to persuade hotel to provide some kind of festive meal tonight."

Luhansk governor reports intensive shelling of Luhansk by Russian-backed insurgents may explain the "loud noises.

I will raise a glass to him over my turkey later.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Passing the torch

Joe Cocker is a sad loss. Play his early 70s track Woman to Woman above then 2Pac featuring Dre below to hear his unlikely but cheering influence on hip hop.

Here's my favourite story about him.
On 14 October, 1972, Adelaide police arrested Cocker and five members of his touring entourage for marijuana possession – they claimed to have found “Indian hemp” in his motel room. The musicians pleaded guilty. After a few hours in jail, the six accused were fined $300 each and released on bail. One tale has it that when asked by police if he had any marijuana, Cocker politely replied: “There’s some around here somewhere.”

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Beast Mode

Last weekend:
Seattle (11-4) moved into a tie with Arizona (11-4) for first in the NFC West and holds the tiebreaker by virtue of two wins over the Cardinals.
A Seattle win at home over St. Louis in next weekend's regular-season finale would clinch the NFC's No. 1 seed in the NFC. That would have the Seahawks at home throughout the playoffs, until they'd come back to this same Arizona stadium for the Super Bowl.
It is my first season watching Seahawks, and I have no very clear what the paragraphs above mean except that we are doing well. Spike - who support the Chicago Bears - tried to explain it to me at the pub quiz last night but I gave up even trying to understand the playoffs when he told me there were four semi finals.

There's more than a hint of the Old Ruts' Sid about Marshawn Lynch's 79 yard touch down above don't you think? Lynch is the original Beast Mode it seems, with his own clothing line which is why Adebayo Akinfenwa's (Icons passim) has to be distinguished as Beast Mode On. So now you know.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Sam Smith to Dr. Evil

Prodnose: In December 2014, Smith was nominated for six Grammy Awards, including Best New Artist, "Stay with Me" for Record of the Year, Song of the Year, Best Pop Solo Performance, and In the Lonely Hour for Album of the Year and Best Pop Vocal Album. Do you reject him?
Myself: I do.

Prodnose: And all his works?
Myself: I do.

Prodnose: And all his empty promises?
Myself: I do.

Although I should be above such things I cannot bleedin' abide Sam Smith and the godawful, caterwauling racket he generates.

It is good to see SNL putting the boot into him, but even better to have that segue into Dr. Evil putting  the boot into North Korea.
"You're one of the most evil countries in the world and your act of war is to kill a movie? It's easy to kill a movie. Just move it to January."

Sunday, December 21, 2014


D’Angelo Debuts Long-Awaited Album, Featuring Pino Palladino.

The first time I listened to Black Messiah, the new D'Angelo album I found myself thinking Prince could have knocked it out in fifteen days, never mind fifteen years. Now I've spent a bit more time with it I am starting to realise how dense and intricate it is; a grower I think.

Pino Palladino has bass, writing and production credits on the record as far as I can tell from casting round the interwebs for background.  (I have no idea how to conjure up this information in iTunes. Back in the day I was an avid reader of LP liner notes but these days they seem to have disappeared into the ether making it very difficult to tell who is actually playing on anything.)

"Born in Cardiff to an Italian father from Campobasso, Umberto Palladino and Welsh mother Ann Hazard" in 1957, I have always been aware of Pino P and I am amazed I have never written about him here.

He has played with everyone see I don't have room on the  'blog even to begin to cover it, You'll have to read up on him. A new and true Welsh Born Icon.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

The forty rules of love

Recently when running the slide rule over my portfolio I found that I was light on modern female Turkish novelists. The subsequent rebalancing is how I have come to be reading Elif Şafak, and how, in turn, in the week of the unspeakable Peshwar school attack I can at least comprehend how utterly alien that was to the Islam that gave us Shams of Trabiz's 40 Rules of Love.
  1. How we see God is a direct reflection of how we see ourselves. If God brings to mind mostly fear and blame, it means there is too much fear and blame welled inside us. If we see God as full of love and compassion, so are we.
  2. The path to the Truth is a labour of the heart, not of the head. Make your heart your primary guide! Not your mind. Meet, challenge and ultimately prevail over your nafs (self, psyche, soul) with your heart. Knowing your ego will lead you to the knowledge of God.
  3. You can study God through everything and everyone in the universe, because God is not confined in a mosque, synagogue or church. But if you are still in need of knowing where exactly His abode is, there is only one place to look for him: in the heart of a true lover.
  4. Intellect and love are made of different materials. Intellect ties people in knots and risks nothing, but love dissolves all tangles and risks everything. Intellect is always cautious and advises, ‘Beware too much ecstasy’, whereas love says, ‘Oh, never mind! Take the plunge!’ Intellect does not easily break down, whereas love can effortlessly reduce itself to rubble. But treasures are hidden among ruins. A broken heart hides treasures.
  5. Most of problems of the world stem from linguistic mistakes and simple misunderstanding. Don’t ever take words at face value. When you step into the zone of love, language, as we know it becomes obsolete. That which cannot be put into words can only be grasped through silence.
  6. Loneliness and solitude are two different things. When you are lonely, it is easy to delude yourself into believing that you are on the right path. Solitude is better for us, as it means being alone without feeling lonely. But eventually it is the best to find a person who will be your mirror. Remember only in another person’s heart can you truly see yourself and the presence of God within you.
  7. Whatever happens in your life, no matter how troubling things might seem, do not enter the neighbourhood of despair. Even when all doors remain closed, God will open up a new path only for you. Be thankful! It is easy to be thankful when all is well. A Sufi is thankful not only for what he has been given but also for all that he has been denied.
  8. Patience does not mean to passively endure. It means to look at the end of a process. What does patience mean? It means to look at the thorn and see the rose, to look at the night and see the dawn. Impatience means to be shortsighted as to not be able to see the outcome. The lovers of God never run out of patience, for they know that time is needed for the crescent moon to become full.
  9. East, west, south, or north makes little difference. No matter what your destination, just be sure to make every journey a journey within. If you travel within, you’ll travel the whole wide world and beyond.
  10. The midwife knows that when there is no pain, the way for the baby cannot be opened and the mother cannot give birth. Likewise, for a new self to be born, hardship is necessary. Just as clay needs to go through intense heat to become strong, Love can only be perfected in pain.
  11. The quest for love changes user. There is no seeker among those who search for love who has not matured on the way. The moment you start looking for love, you start to change within and without.
  12. There are more fake gurus and false teachers in this world than the number of stars in the visible universe. Don’t confuse power-driven, self-centered people with true mentors. A genuine spiritual master will not direct your attention to himself or herself and will not expect absolute obedience or utter admiration from you, but instead will help you to appreciate and admire your inner self. True mentors are as transparent as glass. They let the light of God pass through them.
  13. Try not to resist the changes, which come your way. Instead let life live through you. And do not worry that your life is turning upside down. How do you know that the side you are used to is better than the one to come?
  14. God is busy with the completion of your work, both outwardly and inwardly. He is fully occupied with you. Every human being is a work in progress that is slowly but inexorably moving toward perfection. We are each an unfinished work of art both waiting and striving to be completed. God deals with each of us separately because humanity is fine art of skilled penmanship where every single dot is equally important for the entire picture.
  15. It’s easy to love a perfect God, unblemished and infallible that He is. What is far more difficult is to love fellow human beings with all their imperfections and defects. Remember, one can only know what one is capable of loving. There is no wisdom without love. Unless we learn to love God’s creation, we can neither truly love nor truly know God.
  16. Real filth is the one inside. The rest simply washes off. There is only one type of dirt that cannot be cleansed with pure waters, and that is the stain of hatred and bigotry contaminating the soul. You can purify your body through abstinence and fasting, but only love will purify your heart.
  17. The whole universe is contained within a single human being-you. Everything that you see around, including the things that you might not be fond of and even the people you despise or abhor, is present within you in varying degrees. Therefore, do not look for Sheitan outside yourself either. The devil is not an extraordinary force that attacks from without. It is an ordinary voice within. If you set to know yourself fully, facing with honesty and hardness.
  18. If you want to change the ways others treat you, you should first change the way you treat yourself. Unless you learn to love yourself, fully and sincerely, there is no way you can be loved. Once you achieve that stage, however, be thankful for every thorn that others might throw at you. It is a sign that you will soon be showered in roses.
  19. Fret not where the road will take you. Instead concentrate on the first step. That is the hardest part and that is what you are responsible for. Once you take that step let everything do what it naturally does and the rest will follow. Don’t go with the flow. Be the flow.
  20. We were all created in His image, and yet we were each created different and unique. No two people are alike. No hearts beat to the same rhythm. If God had wanted everyone to be the same, He would have made it so. Therefore, disrespecting differences and imposing your thoughts on others is an amount to disrespecting God’s holy scheme.
  21. When a true lover of God goes into a tavern, the tavern becomes his chamber of prayer, but when a wine bibber goes into the same chamber, it becomes his tavern. In everything we do, it is our hearts that make the difference, not our outer appearance. Sufis do not judge other people on how they look or who they are. When a Sufi stares at someone, he keeps both eyes closed instead opens a third eye – the eye that sees the inner realm.
  22. Life is a temporary loan and this world is nothing but a sketchy imitation of Reality. Only children would mistake a toy for the real thing. And yet human beings either become infatuated with the toy or disrespectfully break it and throw it aside. In this life stay away from all kinds of extremities, for they will destroy your inner balance. Sufis do not go to extremes. A Sufi always remains mild and moderate.
  23. The human being has a unique place among God’s creation. “I breathed into him of My Spirit,” God says. Each and every one of us without exception is designed to be God’s delegate on earth. Ask yourself, just how often do you behave like a delegate, if you ever do so? Remember, it fells upon each of us to discover the divine spirit inside and live by it.
  24. Hell is in the here and now. So is heaven. Quit worrying about hell or dreaming about heaven, as they are both present inside this very moment. Every time we fall in love, we ascend to heaven. Every time we hate, envy or fight someone we tumble straight into the fires of hell.
  25. Each and every reader comprehends the Holy Qur’an on a different level of tandem with the depth of his understanding. There are four levels of insight. The first level is the outer meaning and it is the one that the majority of the people are content with. Next is the Batin – the inner level. Third, there is the inner of the inner. And the fourth level is so deep it cannot be put into words and is therefore bound to remain indescribable.
  26. The universe is one being. Everything and everyone is interconnected through an invisible web of stories. Whether we are aware of it or not, we are all in a silent conversation. Do no harm. Practice compassion. And do not gossip behind anyone’s back – not even a seemingly innocent remark! The words that come out of our mouths do not vanish but are perpetually stored in infinite space and they will come back to us in due time. One man’s pain will hurt us all. One man’s joy will make everyone smile.
  27. Whatever you speak, good or evil, will somehow come back to you. Therefore, if there is someone who harbours ill thoughts about you, saying similarly bad things about him will only make matters worse. You will be locked in a vicious circle of malevolent energy. Instead for forty days and nights say and think nice things about that person. Everything will be different at the end of 40 days, because you will be different inside.
  28. The past is an interpretation. The future is on illusion. The world does not move through time as if it were a straight line, proceeding from the past to the future. Instead time moves through and within us, in endless spirals. Eternity does not mean infinite time, but simply timelessness. If you want to experience eternal illumination, put the past and the future out of your mind and remain within the present moment.
  29. Destiny doesn’t mean that your life has been strictly predetermined. Therefore, to live everything to the fate and to not actively contribute to the music of the universe is a sign of sheer ignorance. The music of the universe is all pervading and it is composed on 40 different levels. Your destiny is the level where you play your tune. You might not change your instrument but how well to play is entirely in your hands.
  30. The true Sufi is such that even when he is unjustly accused, attacked and condemned from all sides, he patiently endures, uttering not a single bad word about any of his critics. A Sufi never apportions blame. How can there be opponents or rivals or even “others” when there is no “self” in the first place? How can there be anyone to blame when there is only One?
  31. If you want to strengthen your faith, you will need to soften inside. For your faith to be rock solid, your heart needs to be as soft as a feather. Through an illness, accident, loss or fright, one way or another, we are all faced with incidents that teach us how to become less selfish and judgmental and more compassionate and generous. Yet some of us learn the lesson and manage to become milder, while some others end up becoming even harsher than before…
  32. Nothing should stand between you and God. No imams, priests, rabbis or any other custodians of moral or religious leadership. Not spiritual masters and not even your faith. Believe in your values and your rules, but never lord them over others. If you keep breaking other people’s hearts, whatever religious duty you perform is no good. Stay away from all sorts of idolatry, for they will blur your vision. Let God and only God be your guide. Learn the Truth, my friend, but be careful not to make a fetish out of your truths.
  33. While everyone in this world strives to get somewhere and become someone, only to leave it all behind after death, you aim for the supreme stage of nothingness. Live this life as light and empty as the number zero. We are no different from a pot. It is not the decorations outside but the emptiness inside that holds us straight. Just like that, it is not what we aspire to achieve but the consciousness of nothingness that keeps us going.
  34. Submission does not mean being weak or passive. It leads to neither fatalism nor capitulation. Just the opposite. True power resides in submission a power that comes within. Those who submit to the divine essence of life will live in unperturbed tranquility and peace even the whole wide world goes through turbulence after turbulence.
  35. In this world, it is not similarities or regularities that take us a step forward, but blunt opposites. And all the opposites in the universe are present within each and every one of us. Therefore the believer needs to meet the unbeliever residing within. And the nonbeliever should get to know the silent faithful in him. Until the day one reaches the stage of Insane-I Kamil, the perfect human being, faith is a gradual process and one that necessitates its seeming opposite: disbelief.
  36. This world is erected upon the principle of reciprocity. Neither a drop of kindness nor a speck of evil will remain unreciprocated. For not the plots, deceptions, or tricks of other people. If somebody is setting a trap, remember, so is God. He is the biggest plotter. Not even a leaf stirs outside God’s knowledge. Simply and fully believe in that. Whatever God does, He does it beautifully.
  37. God is a meticulous clock maker. So precise is His order that everything on earth happens in its own time. Neither a minute late nor a minute early. And for everyone without exception, the clock works accurately. For each there is a time to love and a time to die.
  38. It is never too late to ask yourself, “Am I ready to change the life I am living? Am I ready to change within?” Even if a single day in your life is the same as the day before, it surely is a pity. At every moment and with each new breath, one should be renewed and renewed again. There is only one-way to be born into a new life: to die before death.
  39. While the part change, the whole always remains the same. For every thief who departs this world, a new one is born. And every decent person who passes away is replaced by a new one. In this way not only does nothing remain the same but also nothing ever really changes. For every Sufi who dies, another is born somewhere.
  40. A life without love is of no account. Don’t ask yourself what kind of love you should seek, spiritual or material, divine or mundane, Eastern or Western. Divisions only lead to more divisions. Love has no labels, no definitions. It is what it is, pure and simple. Love is the water of life. And a lover is a soul of fire! The universe turns differently when fire loves water.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Entertaining Entertainers

Nullam, Vare, sacra vite prius severis arborem
circa mite solum Tibruis et moenia Catili;
siccis omnia nam dura deus proposiuit neque
mordaces aliter diffugiunt sollicitundines.
I got a note from Mark (see Icons passim) earlier this week.
Are you free on Friday night? It’s my last day in London before Christmas, so I’d like to invite you to join me for a drink to celebrate. I will be at the Phoenix Arts Club [charing cross road] from 8pm on this Friday evening – the 19th.
Am inviting a very small, select group along, fine people like yourself.
If you are free would be excellent to see you and to raise a toast to … well, I’m sure we’ll think of something.
The Phoenix Arts Club looks like an interesting venue. You have to be a member to get in after 9pm - which explains the eight o'clock kick off. It is open until 2:30 in the morning, which means that the N155 night bus might well have to take the strain getting me home and I should be wary of scheduling any appointments for Saturday morning.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Beast Mode On

Adebayo Akinfenwa, the AFC Wimbledon striker, is an old school English striker. He’s a journeyman in the truest sense of the word and it’s fair to say his game relies quite heavily on physical presence. While not the tallest (5 ft 11 in), Akinfenwa weighs around 16 stone. Big unit doesn’t even come close.
The 32-year-old has become an iconic figure largely by virtue of his unique physique. He is ranked as the strongest footballer in the world on most editions of the FIFA computer game series and was actually invited to attend the launch of FIFA 15, alongside more illustrious names like Rio Ferdinand and Lethal Bizzle.
Now, as part of the 2014 Dons Trust Auction, you have the chance to spend an hour in the gym with a man who can bench press 180 kg, almost double his own body weight. All you have to do is bid for the pleasure and the big man will be your personal trainer (for 60 minutes).
Akinfenwa runs a clothing label called “Beast Mode On”and the club are advertising the auction with the same phrase. It closes at 14.30 today and for more details you simply need to click here.
John, if you were planning a run last night but binned it in favour of wine fuelled present wrapping while watching West Wing season 2 reruns just because a few drops of rain fell, you are short of motivation. Why not put a bid in for the offer above? You can stay at mine if you win.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Hello Goodbye

Yesterday's school game was cancelled, so that is rugby football done and dusted for 2014.
Old Cats had a big reality check up at Park Rd yesterday against an accomplished Old Ruts team who attacked both at close quarters and wide out to devastating effect finding numerous holes in the home defence and exploiting them with deadly precision. Whilst a defeat like this one can be a bit chastening it should mean that we all take stock about where we are as a team and how we can improve for the rest of the season.
I got a text from Martin this morning saying that there was a report on the weekend's game on the Old Cat's website. That is the first paragraph above and you can read the rest here. Sid and Silas actually get name checked in the report, which is quite a testament to their influence on the game. I also learned that the Cats' boy Seb who went off had broken his collar bone so I wish him a speedy recovery

Old Cats topped their division last season, winning all six games. They scored 203 points in the process and conceded 60, so you can understand how the 60 the conceded to us in one match might be considered "a little bit chastening."

We are second in the league this morning, but Ruts' nemesis Warlingham are only two points behind and have a game in hand.

Monday, December 15, 2014

The Smile Revoluton

In 1787 critics of the Paris Salon were scandalised by a painting exhibited by Mme Vigée Le Brun. The subject was conventional enough: a self-portrait of the artist cradling her small daughter. The problem was that Vigée Le Brun was depicted smiling. You could even see her teeth. This was, as one critic put it, ‘an affectation which artists, connoisseurs and people of good taste are unanimous in condemning’.
The Bomber is currently rocking a fixed lower brace and a removable upper one that he has to adjust each Sunday. On our next visit in the new year, they are to be connected by rubber bands. I can't help but wonder if the unnamed Eighteenth century critic above might have had a point.
Smiles are fleeting, says Mary Beard, and hard to pin down. The perfect smile is a modern obsession. Blame the dental-industrial complex... more»

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Forwards win games, backs decide by how much

I think we beat Old Caterhamians by 60 to 36 today with three tries each from Silas and Sid, along with one each from Ben, Lee and Joe of which five were converted courtesy of Sid.

The game, however was played at such a breakneck pace that it was hard to keep up; corrections may emerge.*

When Ben plays against Emmanuel School tomorrow it will be his fourth game in six days. He deserves to put his feet up over Christmas.

* Correction 1: As conversions are worth two points not three, it seems more likely we got ten tries. I am guessing Joe or Sid for the missing effort. Watch this space.

Saturday, December 13, 2014


As I waited in the bar of the Gore Hotel on Monday, I heard a song, sung in French, that struck me because the first four bars bars of the chorus are exactly the same as a song I wrote years ago.

Yesterday, when I was in the dentist's waiting room with Ben before he had braces fitted on his lower jaw, I heard it again so I asked what it was. Which is how I come to present Pink Martini's Sympathique for your listening pleasure above.
In 1994 in his hometown of Portland, Oregon, Thomas Lauderdale was working in politics, thinking that one day he would run for mayor. Like other eager politicians-in-training, he went to every political fundraiser under the sun… but was dismayed to find the music at these events underwhelming, lackluster, loud and un-neighborly. Drawing inspiration from music from all over the world – crossing genres of classical, jazz and old-fashioned pop – and hoping to appeal to conservatives and liberals alike, he founded the “little orchestra” Pink Martini in 1994 to provide more beautiful and inclusive musical soundtracks for political fundraisers for causes such as civil rights, affordable housing, the environment, libraries, public broadcasting, education and parks.
One year later, Lauderdale called China Forbes, a Harvard classmate who was living in New York City, and asked her to join Pink Martini. They began to write songs together. Their first song “Sympathique” became an overnight sensation in France, was nominated for “Song of the Year” at France’s Victoires de la Musique Awards, and to this day remains a mantra (“Je ne veux pas travailler” or “I don’t want to work”) for striking French workers.
Well I never.

Their equivalent of my

You can keep the open air
Give me subway savoir fayre
Je ne veux pas travailler
Je ne veux pas déjeuner.

I am clearer on the meaning of the latter than the former and it is in French. That is probably not good.

In my version I was trying to write a sort of Kander and Ebb vamp. It goes Cm, Cm, Cm/B♭, Cm/B♭, A♭, A♭, G, G. So now you know.

The issue of how much of a tune a passage that largely consists of the same note played on the beat represents may also be relevant.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Keep the Track Running

As promised, here is an update on last night’s Full Council Meeting at Wandsworth Town Hall.

I mentioned in my last email that #keepthetrackrunning campaigners Councillors Leonie Cooper, Candida Jones and Fleur Anderson had succeeded on getting the future of the track onto the full council agenda, and last night ALL councillors met to vote on the future of the track.

I am pleased to say that Leonie, Candida and Fleur all made emotive speeches on the campaign’s behalf; outlining the importance of protecting the future of the track, making sure the services remain affordable to local people, and stressing the need to consult local people before the running of the track is handed over to an outside organisation.

Whilst it is frustrating that the council failed to consult the local community on their decision, I am delighted to report that last night Wandsworth Council did commit to keeping the services at the track affordable! There is no doubt about it, our campaign not only secured assurances that the track will remain open, but it put the issue of affordability on the agenda, and prevented Wandsworth Council from either selling off the track or quietly handing over the running of it without a thought to its future users.

This is a great success, and I would like to thank every one of you for signing the petition, encouraging your friends and family to do the same, and standing up for our track. Thanks also to those of you who came to the public gallery last night to see the debate. It just goes to show that if we really are stronger when we work together, and we can have an impact on the decisions that affect everyone in our community.

Going forward I will be monitoring Wandsworth Council’s tendering process very carefully to make sure the council honour their commitment, and that the track really does keep running.

I will be sure to be in touch in the New Year, to keep you updated.

In the meantime, Merry Christmas.

Best wishes,

Sadiq Khan


Thursday, December 11, 2014

Boys, our troubles are over

A curry base is the foundation of all curries. It is a blend of fried onions with a hint of garlic, ginger and tomatoes. This jar provides you with this authentic curry base by fitting all these wonderful flavours into one jar.
I stumbled on this in Tesco last night. I know how to make it from the invaluable The Curry Secret: How to Cook Real Indian Restaurant Meals at Home, but it takes an age and you have to knock up industrial quantities. A new store cupboard staple is born.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

a work in progress

The U14s beat St Paul's School 45-17 yesterday with three tries from the Bomber. I thought that the plan had been to rest him for that game so that he was fresh for the Cup game for the U15s in Brighton today but apparently circumstances conspired against.

Expect to see the score for that game here some time after around four this afternoon.

No other details yet, but I see the boys went down 57-12 to Brighton this afternoon so that is the end of the cup adventure for this season. Himself will probably need Mrs. Dreyfuss' chicken soup tonight.

Come Sunday though it will be "Pick yourself up, Take a deep breath, Dust yourself off. And start all over again" away at Old Caterhamians. They were promoted to our division last year so we don't really know them.

The URL however (while it is not linked on the Surrey Rugby website) still works and tells a tale of of played 6, won 6 , 203 points for, 60 against and five bonus points for them last season, so they are unlikely to be mugs.

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Monday, December 08, 2014

Note to self

Monday 8 December 2014 - 7:30 PM
The Royal Albert Hall will host the world premiere of The Godfather Live, a celebration of the crime classic regularly cited as one of the greatest films ever made.
Francis Ford Coppola's timeless masterpiece The Godfather, starring Marlon Brando and Al Pacino and winner of three Academy Awards, will be shown on the big screen whilst Nino Rota's immortal score is performed simultaneously by the Philharmonia Orchestra conducted by Justin Freer.
the Godfather, released in 1972 to popular and critical acclaim, tells the story of the Corleones and their rivalry with other New York crime families between 1945 and 1955, as the title character (Marlon Brando) hands over the reins of power to his youngest son (Al Pacino).
In 2008, an Empire magazine vote saw The Godfather named as the greatest film ever made, a distinction also awarded to the film by Entertainment Weekly and Metacritic. It came second in Sight & Sound's 2002 list and Time Out's 2003 readers' poll, and is currently ranked at number two in IMDb's all-time list.
"It's the Godfather Live not The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Audience Par-Tic-I-Pation Album. You know the screenplay, your Don Corleone impression is a thing of beauty and a joy forever, but - for God's sake - don't chant the dialogue along with the movie."

Sunday, December 07, 2014

there is no effort without error and shortcoming

The Bomber confided after club training today that he is starting to feel the pressure ahead of Wednesday's cup game away at Brighton. "I know it is an honour to be picked for the year above," he said, "and I don't want to let them down." There is talk it seems of the fasted kid in Surrey for the age group lining up against Ben.

Nobody can be let down no matter what happens on the South coast in three days time. They have overachieved getting as far as they have. Over a thousand schools entered and they are in the last thirty two. Whitgift and Wimbledon College who consider themselves the top dogs around here both went out in the last round. Rutlish have the Sarf London bragging rights already, no matter what.

Teddy Roosevelt is trotted out for the third time in my blog.
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

Saturday, December 06, 2014

I'm still your oven man

I don't mind the cold and rain where I'm waiting
I'm holding on to your mem'ry as tight as I can
And silver wings are bringing you back so I can hold you
And let me know that I'm still your oven man
It being the time of year, there is a beef stew meditating in the slow cooker as I type this. The idea is that it will help to take the chill off with a minimum of poncing about when I get in later, especially if I have the presence of mind to pick up some crusty bread on the way back and to leave the butter out of the fridge.

I've often thought that the trusty crock pot might be ideal for mulling wine. Perhaps I'll pick up some whole spices from the Sri Lankan at the bottom of the road and give that a crack as well.

Friday, December 05, 2014

It's the Arts

I went to the Wimbledon BookFest Christmas Drinks in a house on Westside Common next to the Cannizaro House Hotel last night.

Walking past the Colour House Theatre on the way I saw Pete - who runs it - and Mark - of Cocktail Hour fame - outside so I sat down and had a sneaky lager with them.

All in all I felt like I was in a good place to live and where I belonged.

Speaking of local arts it seems that James Franco - as well as Stephen Sondheim but on a different night - turned up at the site-specific version of Sweeney Todd up the road at Harrington's pie shop.

He is the beanie hat and 'tache

Thursday, December 04, 2014

The Moon Cannot Be Stolen

The landlord sent workmen into the offices this morning to install new lockable handles on the windows.

Apparently there is a cat burglar operating in the site.

Mick has seen him on CCTV;  a shadowy, hooded figure shimmying up drainpipes and the like.

I'm disappointed that we are not protected by a mesh of laser beams he would have to try and navigate as a contortionist, but you can't have everything.

All very exciting.

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

On Your Mark. Get Set. Slosh.

There’s a new competition raging among elite runners: the beer mile, in which you do four laps around a standard track, chugging a 12-ounce brew at the start of each loop. If you can do it in under five minutes—without hurling or passing out—you’re not just fast. You’re a hero. ...... read more ......

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Have charity towards the world, my pet.

Now that is extremely cool.

Herewith the skinny on the production:
This revival of the classic Stephen Sondheim musical, courtesy of Tooting Arts Club, is extraordinary. Presented in London’s oldest pie and mash shop, a venue that can accommodate just 32 people, it feels thrillingly intimate.  ..... read on .....

Monday, December 01, 2014

bro science

I didn't manage to make it to the gym before taking the boys to rugby yesterday morning.

After I dropped them off, I took the car back home and returned on the tube. The thinking behind this was that as the B team was kicking off at 11am at the club, and the As were following them on the same pitch at half past twelve, I could have a few sneaky pints once the bar opened at noon.

This is how I came to be at Virgin Active on the recline exercise bike later in the afternoon after four pints of Guiness, demonstrating that you can do steady-state cardio after you've had more to drink than would allow you to drive safely.

This, let's be frank, is empirically derived advice that you would be less likely to get from more conventional coach.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

this means Warlingham

The boys went down 36-22 to Warlingham today. It was a terrific game though, and the score flatters the oppositions who got two converted tries at the death; one from an interception of a pass from Charlie at scrum half, and then another opportunistic effort when our heads went down realising that the game was probably beyond us.

Up until then it had been nick and tuck. We got four tries - including one for the Bomber - so we'll get a bonus point and the team  will learn more from this than they did from spanking Camberley a fortnight ago.

I can't resent Warlingham. They seem like decent folk. One of their players came and put an arm around Charlie's shoulders when he was disconsolate about giving away the penultimate try. I thought that was a noble gesture.

Chris Robshaw started out at Warlingham by the way, trivia fans.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

'nuff said

Wales 12 South Africa 6: Warren Gatland's men beat southern hemisphere team for first time in 23 games

Friday, November 28, 2014

There has been an awakening. Have you felt it?

If you look at the Telegraph online today you will see a report on the fifth round of the NatWest Cup nestled between Stuart Lancaster's thoughts on Sam Burgess's potential debut for Bath tonight and Warren Gatland's musings ahead of Wales' game against South Africa tomorrow.

The last two paragraphs on the NatWest cup are as follows:

At under-15 level the story of the round involved Rutlish, a comprehensive in south-west London which only started playing rugby four years ago. They managed to defeat a school with a mighty rugby pedigree in Hampton. They won 21-17, with scores from hooker Sonny-Bryant-Winning, lock Diell Zejunhlla and wing Khush Akhtar.
Liam Shanaham, head of rugby, said: "We are due to play RGS Guildford or Brighton College away in the next round, and with regards to expectations the boys have overachieved getting this far. As a state school who only train once a week with no compulsory games afternoons, so they have performed outstanding."
Regular readers will know that the Bomber played in the Rutlish game even though he is a year below in school.

Looking at the tea leaves on the Schools ruby website, Hampton School - who the boys beat in round 5 - beat RGS, Guildford 29-5 away earlier in the season, and Brighton beat Reeds School 35-21 in September but Rutlish put Reeds out of the Cup in round 2 by 42-17. There's not a lot of difference in the latter but we may dare to dream.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

How we live now: part the umpteenth

The Bomber left his jacket behind in training last night, so he cooked our dinner as I drove back to the Hub to pick it up. How remarkable to think he could fry a couple of gammon steaks using a pan that didn't transmit feed back to his iPhone.

I should get him a present as a reward. How about this training gear?
Athos's new EMG shorts ($99, plus $199 for a plastic core that transmits to a free iPhone app). EMG stands for electromyography, a method of measuring the electrical signal that motor nerves send to muscle fibers to make them contract. The stronger the signal, the more muscle fibers are being recruited, and the harder the muscle is working. EMG is normally available only to elite athletes, but Athos has worked it into a pair of shorts for regular humans. Once the shorts are on and calibrated, a tiny, light-up version of your body appears on the app. As your muscles work harder, the inner and outer quads, hamstrings, and glutes on the screen change color, from blue to red.

The app can show you, in real time, how tiny imbalances in form and strength can wreak havoc across your entire muscular system—as well as how to fix them.

File under: Dr Strabismus (whom God preserve) of Utrecht.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Hugh Jampton

Rutlish Year 10 (including year 9's Ben) beat Hampton School 21-17 yesterday, making it to the last four in the region in the NatWest Cup.

They will face whoever wins when RGS, Guildford play Brighton College next. I am not sure exactly when that game is, but all the fixtures in this round should be played by the end of the week.

There is a friendly against RGS, Guildford this Saturday morning that will be very interesting if Guildford manage to turn Brighton over, though I imagine Ben will be playing in the U14 rather than U15 version of the fixture.

While we are on the subject of rugby Jack Walsh, the England 7s scrum half, is due to be taking the U14s club training session tonight having started off at the Old Ruts himself.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

In the pink

I went to Virgin Active with the Bomber yesterday for the first time since he was a toddler learning to swim. He has rejoined and done his induction so he can use the gym unaccompanied now as long as I am on the premises.

They weighed and measured him as part of the assessment so at 1.83m he is now officially just over six feet tall.

He has got three rugby games again this week; the next round of the NatWest Cup today with year 10, a year 9 game on Saturday and a league game on Sunday.

I went to yoga for the 300th time this morning. A Bikram class being ninety minutes long, that is four hundred and fifty hours I have done in hot room. I shudder to think how much sweat that represents.

Monday, November 24, 2014


I blew up my juicer a little while ago, so I replaced it with a NutriBullet from Argos yesterday.

The promise is that "unlike everyday juicers and blenders, the NutriBullet completely breaks down ingredients in to their most nutritious, most absorptive state!"

That is as may be, but it certainly makes it a lot easier to clean, you just rinse the cup and the blade attachment.

A pear, some blueberries and a handful of nuts went into it this morning with pleasing results.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Wales 16 New Zealand 34

A run that now stretches back 26 matches and 61 years and continues to lengthen; the psychosis runs ever deeper. Therapists in the south Wales region will be licking their lips at the prospect of some new clients after 72,000 wandered, stunned, out into the Cardiff night.

I dared to dream when we were winning with thirteen minutes left on the clock but it wasn't to be.

Saturday, November 22, 2014


I am also reading Tunesmith: Inside the Art of Songwriting by Jimmy Webb who ought to know if anyone does.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Rod in the Ukraine

Britain is to send 10 armoured vehicles to bolster the international monitoring mission in eastern Ukraine amid renewed tensions between the pro-Russia separatist rebels in the government in Kiev.
Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said the vehicles would enable the monitors from the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to operate safely in the more volatile parts of the country.
At the same time, Britain is expanding its contribution to the OSCE mission staff, with eight additional monitors arriving last week, and three more due to join them at the end of the month.
Rod sent me this link to the Indescribablyboring yesterday, so I guess he is one of the OSCE monitors.

I googled the OSCE. Here's its website.

Under Google's news tab I found Ukraine Crisis: Soldiers Open Fire on OSCE Convoy in 'Rebel Provocation'. Either the Ukrainian army or rebels pretending to be them are shooting at the monitors.

Out of the frying pan and into the line of fire goes MacKenna once again.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Jimmy Ruffin RIP

One of the greatest ever Motown singles without a doubt.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

A solid start

The Old Ruts U14s are sitting pretty at the top of the league after they absolutely slaughtered Camberley on Sunday.

The result has gone down as 40-0, but the competition has a wise rule that games are stopped before they turn into an embarrassment for the losing side.

This is very encouraging as we only beat them 15-5 last year (Icons passim) and just nudged above them in the final league table as we had one more bonus point.

There was a scare early on when a boy the Bomber tackled didn't get up from the resulting ruck or maul. An ambulance was called but luckily we heard from the Camberley coach later.
" He has had x-Rays and a CT scan which have just come back as ok. The X-ray showed an area of concern hence the CT but the scanning centre and Dr were happy he is ok, if not a little sore."
Ben was a lot more worried than he let on. When we got back to watch the B team in league 5 (we didn't know what the hospital verdict was then) he just walked home lost in his thoughts. Jane told me how anxious he was in a text message.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Random local news

Coffee in the Wood was anointed as one of the top local cafés and coffee shops in London at the Time Out Love London Awards 2014 last night.

This, and Andy S having to go an see his offspring in a school play, reduced the pub quiz team to me, Raph and Spike. They are both in their twenties and don't drink  (or perhaps drink so little and rarely that there's little or no difference). This bizarrely made me start to feel like something of a lemon as the evening wore on and I got more lubricated.  Perhaps, and after the lost weekend, a dry spell is in order? Tricky during the autumn internationals though.

I have also discovered that Raph's brother Carl is in the the critically acclaimed The Scottsboro Boys which has transferred to the West End following a sold out run at the Young Vic. I should try and catch it.

Monday, November 17, 2014

This one will run and run

Daily Mail faces £3m bill after libel battle with businessman Andy Miller
• Friend of former Met chief pursued claim over six years
• Newspaper could face Ipso after supreme court defeat
See Icons passim.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Should my kid lift?

The Year 9 Bomber played the whole of the Year 10's NatWest cup tie yesterday. They came away with a very handy 43-0 win that puts them into the last eight of the 75 teams that started in their London & SE region.

This is call good, and probably doing wonders for him socially and psychologically. As I noted yesterday however three games in four days is a lot, and he wants to start going to the gym as well.

Here are a couple of articles I picked up to help me make sure everything stays on the straight and narrow.

Should my kid lift? Part 1: The science says yes

Should my kid lift? Part 2: Principles for developing fitness in children for sport and life

Advice for fourteen and fifteen year olds is "progress to more advanced resistance exercise programs, add sport-specific components, emphasize exercise techniques, increase volume," but the money quote is:
Notes: Any kind of CNs training should NOT come close to leaving a child exhausted, beat up or excessively tired and drained. If this is a regular occurrence, check in. Especially if your kid also plays a sport.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

"ὁ τὸ μὲν σῶμα ὑγιής, τὴν δὲ ψυχὴν εὔπορος, τὴν δὲ φύσιν εὐπαίδευτος"

Reading a poster in Virgin Active, I have noticed that, now he is 14, the Bomber - once he has done an induction course - can go onto the gym floor unaccompanied and use everything bar the free weights. I think that last restriction is valid. There are barbell exercises that appear to consist of throwing the heaviest weight you can overhead and jumping underneath to catch it; I can imagine safer things. We have agreed I will join him up again. He used to be a member when he was learning to swim years ago.

Given that he has three rugby games in the next four days however (U15 NatWest Cup today, U14 school game Saturday and U14 Club League match Sunday) I think it can wait until later next week.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

For all your key ring needs

As a rule when I bring my ever more selective audience's attention to the innovations of the Strabismuses (Strabismi?) of the world there is often (whisper it) an unworthy satirical intent.

Let's be entirely clear though, when it comes to hot sauce on my key ring (, ‘tis a consummation devoutly to be wished. I could have done with it trying to work my way through the radicchio I insinuated into yesterday's lunchtime wrap, I can assure you of that.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014


The TV remote control is still missing. I have had to order a new one.

My iPad fell out of the locker in the gym and the screen is cracked.

My Microsoft Surface Pro froze on the log in screen last night.

There is something wrong with the battery in my iPhone and it completely discharges over night.

My brother can't connect his laptop to the internet over the new WiFi network in his house.

The lock on the office front door keeps sticking.

I got some radicchio in my vegetable box this week. It tastes absolutely disgusting.

Apart from that everything is fine. I wonder what surprises today has in store for me.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Keep Tooting Bec Athletics Track running

Papers belonging to the Wandsworth Conservatives were recently leaked, revealing secret discussions to close Tooting Bec Athletics Track.
Now it looks like our worst fears have been realised. Just as the leaked document suggested, Wandsworth Council have announced plans to cut funding for the Athletics Track and hand over management to an outside organisation.

The track has been, and continues to be used by people of all generations; schools, running groups, other exercise groups and many more. There are serious concerns that proposals to hand over the running of the track could see it fall into the hands of a private company, and many local people and organisations priced out of using the facilities.
Therefore, we the undersigned call on Wandsworth Council to protect the current level of services at Tooting Bec Athletics Track and ensure it remains open and affordable to all local residents.
I have signed this petition on the website of Sadiq Khan is the Member of Parliament for Tooting. I know the track well from the Bomber's adventures with the Herne Hill Harriers. It would be a calamity for the area to lose it.

Remind me again about the Legacy of the 2012 Summer Olympics. "Continuing elite success, development of more sports facilities and encouraging participation in schools sports and wider." Yes, that was it.

Sunday, November 09, 2014


Luxor Smart TV Remote application can be used to control your Smart TV over your mobile devices. By using the properties of your mobile devices such as touch screen and motion sensors, Luxor SmartRemote application offers a more comfortable, convenient and improved way to control your Smart TV.
My TV remote control has disappeared. The Bomber is in the frame as far as I am concerned. There aren't any buttons on the device itself so I hope the iPhone app above can take the strain until the original reappears from the anomaly in the space and time continuum that swallowed it up. Failing that will have to take the strain.

Saturday, November 08, 2014


Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.
That is if you are Welsh, or English for that matter. If you're Irish feel free to dance a jig after a famous win over South Africa.

Friday, November 07, 2014

Thirty Years' War

I was down in Cardiff yesterday to see my new nephew Oliver "Wyatt" West.

The Bomber and I will be sitting down to watch the Wales v Australia game tomorrow.

The combination of these events has given me the inspiration to dig up David Bishop's try for Wales against Australia thirty years ago.

David Bishop having been been in school with me in Cardiff in the 70s, I have mentioned this to Ben before. Here is evidence that it is not a fairy story. We will watch it before the latest kick off for luck.

Thursday, November 06, 2014

At last - A Wormery that will grace your kitchen work top

Hello Nick Browne,
Stainless Steel Indoor Wormery
When we developed the very first domestic Wormery way back in the 1980's we described it as suitable for indoor or outdoor use. This was and is strictly true and as such the description has been copied by virtually all of our subsequent copiers and competitors. Whilst what we and they said and meant is technically correct, in practical terms inside was in all probability, a shed, garage, outhouse, utility room or at best a kitchen cupboard. Nothing wrong with this at all, but now we have finally moved to the next stage. This hygienically designed Wormery, will work well, fit into and above all look somewhere between good and stunning in your kitchen!
Large enough to deal with the typical kitchen generated organic waste of a family of two or three (get two if in doubt) this new and unique Wormery is only available from Original Organics and represents the functional and aesthetic leading edge in the world or indoor Worm Composting.
Made of Stainless Steel our Indoor Wormery boasts;
  • A generous 30 litre capacity with single chamber composting
  • Integral drainage platform and sump
  • A built in stand
  • An ergonomic stainless steel tap
  • A close fitting lid with long life clear rubberised plastic gasket seal
  • Triple pressure clip points and side handles for easy mobility
  • And a central fine mesh brass aeration vent
This Deluxe Wormery proves that style and substance can be achieved!
Starting at only £64.95, our Indoor Wormery includes everything you need to start it off and keep it going;
  • 1 pack of Tiger Worms
  • Coir Worm Bedding
  • 1.5kg Lime Mix
  • And Detailed Instructions
For only £10 more you can upgrade to the Deluxe Kit and get all of the above plus the following extras;
  • 1.5kg Worm Treats
  • 1 Moisture Mat
  • And a Composting with Worms Book by George Pilkington
With Christmas only seven weeks away, this Indoor Wormery would make the perfect gift. It's unique, new on the Market and exclusive to Original Organics.
We expect this Wormery to be one of our Best Sellers this Christmas Season, to avoid any disappointment come the big day, order early and avoid any potential stock outs.

Christmas or (see Icons Passim) Valentine's Day, I can always rely on Original Organics pinging my inbox with gift idea upon gift idea that I am unlikely to find anywhere else.

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

In which pigeons come home to roost

When I regaled the quiz team last night with my story of sitting next to Melvyn Bragg in the theatre I was instantly shot down in flames as Andy H had trumped me by sitting behind David Beckham at the Emirates over the weekend.

Later I lost the tie breaker by being beaten to the punch on a Batman question after putting the boot in to Raph for the same failure a fortnight ago.

At least I didn't have to take the long way back to avoid ebola at St George's.

Small mercies.

Monday, November 03, 2014

Here's some stupid for lunch

While it is unquestionably true that we live in a golden age of idiotic inventions (see many, many Icons passim) it is important not to underestimate the sterling work done by our forefathers.
Inventions that Didn't Change the World is a fascinating visual tour through some of the most bizarre inventions registered with the British authorities in the nineteenth century. In an era when Britain was the workshop of the world, registration of designs was quicker and cheaper than the convoluted patenting process, and all manner of bizarre curiosities were painstakingly recorded in beautiful color illustrations and well-penned explanatory text, alongside the genuinely great inventions of the period. 
This book introduces such gems as a ventilating top hat; an artificial leech; a design for an aerial machine adapted for the arctic regions; an anti-explosive alarm whistle; a tennis racket with ball-picker; and a currant-cleaning machine. Here is everything the end user could possibly require for a problem he never knew he had. 

Sunday, November 02, 2014

Then, happy low, lie down.

MacKenna being between West Africa and Eastern Europe we went along to the Whyndam's theatre yesterday to plug him back into the UK's Zeitgeist with Charles III.

Guess who sat down next to me in row H of the stalls, only Melvyn Bragg, Baron Braggadocio, the Melvster, the South Bank Showstopper, for it is his time not ours he just lets us in it.

Rod was suitably impressed. Apparently they only get the lame like of Ben Affleck and Angelina Jolie at the UN in Kinshasa.

Saturday, November 01, 2014

Though much is taken, much abides

I got a call from MacKenna last night met him around Leicester Square. He is in town back from the Congo with the UN, and shortly to depart for the Ukraine* with the Foreign Office.

There is more than a whiff of Universal-Exports-Pay-Attention-007-Ah-Mr-Bond-I-have-been-expecting-you about all of  this.

There is a plan to lay waste to more of Central London today. It may not be like thirty years ago for:
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are,
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.
But it'll be close.

*Six years ago, when he was staying with me, we couldn't get into a Ukrainian restaurant as the was closed for a private function. (See the WBI time machine.) Perhaps we can try it again today?
Mr Bond, they have a saying in Chicago: 'Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. The third time it's enemy action'.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Trapped in a Tom Waits Song

Did I dream the special offer on bourbon in Sainsbury's?
There is a saw playing in the background no matter where I go in the forest.
I fell asleep standing up in a tenement doorway.
I have a police record in an Asian port city for fighting a sailor over a dice game.
It is after 2 AM and I am washing dishes in a dance hall.
It is my belief that the only good things in this world are alcohol and a lady that I knew but briefly, and only as Tallulah.
In my opinion there is nothing wrong with storing your money, your gun, and your tragic love letters in the same shoe box.
One of my friends is a dwarf and he has killed somebody, probably at a sleazy circus.
When I hear a church bell I just shake my head because I know that everyone is evil and we're all going to hell. A hell which I ridicule but also believe in, because I have met the devil.
When he devil appeared to me, he spoke by growling through an old megaphone.
I occasionally fantasize about opening a combination greasy spoon diner and piano bar, like Coffee in the Wood.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Olden Days

The Bomber stayed at a school friend's last night.

I wish he had told me or decided earlier, I could have rushed down the M4 and gone the see STEVE CROPPER IN THE GLOBE in Albany Road just down Penylan Hill from Mum and Dad's.

I didn't even know the Globe was a music venue. For me it will always be the flea-pit movie house legend of the late Seventies and early Eighties and always showing Easy Rider as the second feature.

When I got home I switched on the TV to find that Alan Ladd's risible 1954 The Black Knight was playing, but had to watch at least a bit of it to try and spot Castell Coch where it was filmed. That is right, 60 years ago Hollywood came to a steep hillside high above the village of Tongwynlais just north of Cardiff.

Later in the evening there was a show called Freshers on ITV: "Cameras follow the fortunes of a new batch of freshers at Swansea University in South Wales, including politics student Chloe, rugby-mad James and super-geek Michael". I couldn't watch that, the wounds of 1979 are still too raw, but the universe seems to be telling me something about getting back to South Wales.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

get your fee, with Route 53

I had a couple of existing domain names transferred from another registrar to be managed by Amazon Web Services' Route 53 yesterday. It didn't offer registration until comparatively recently.

I will gradually transfer all of our, and our client's registrations over as they come up for renewal.

When it is complete I will be managing all our IT requirements with the exception of PCs, tablets and phones we own and broadband subscriptions in AWS.

Amazon Web Services was launched as a limited beta just over eight years ago.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014


The Bomber is staying with me over half term so I stayed in with him last night rather than going out quizzing and watched episode 3 of Gotham. Coincidentally, the quiz tie break question last week, which Raphael failed to nail despite my mugging and miming from the sidelines, was about the character that Sean Pertwee (top right hand corner) plays.

It is good to see Erin Richards (1986 Penarth, bottom left hand corner) flying the flag for Wales, but astounding to see what appears to be my Auntie Anna (centre bottom, and I invite my family to agree) as Fish Mooney, an imposing, hotheaded and notoriously sadistic gangster boss and nightclub owner.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Now let's go, just gimme the signal

By the miracle of Windows Movie Maker and YouTube, yesterday's photos come to life.

Oh, and the Seahawks snapped snapped their two-game losing streak to beat the Carolina Panthers 13 - 9. Life is good.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

That's my boy

Jane managed to take 30 pbotographs in the seconds it took the Bomber to get his solo try against Reeds Weybridge. Her fingers must work nearly as quickly as his legs.

If you click on the first one you can stop through them like an animation.