Wednesday, April 30, 2014

For everything there is a season

I got a text earlier this week asking if the Bomber could turn out for the Harriers in their Youth Development League fixture at Southampton on Saturday. He can't because he is away in Somerset at the Brean Sands rugby festival.

I am surprised and pleased they asked though. Last year (see Icons passim) the U13/15 boys and girls teams won their Youth Development League Division so that next year will be amongst the elite top six clubs in the South. The Bomber hasn't trained in athletics at all this year, as he is still in rugby mode and will be competing - this season in athletics - at U15 for the first time as he is just the wrong side of the age barrier. That is right, he turns out for the U13s at rugby on Saturday, but would be U15 at athletics on the same day.

There is a Herne Hill Harriers Open meet on Bank Holiday Monday. Maybe I can persuade him just to do the javelin at that. We are driving back from Somerset in the morning, but the event is not until quarter to four in the afternoon.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Riding High in April

We won the Antelope quiz for the first time in a while last night.

Hats off to us.

On Sunday the Bomber and I went to see the Old Ruts U13 B team play the - top of the table - Old Emanuel Lions in their last league game of the season and absolutely slaughter them. The match was stopped with 12 minutes remaining on the clock at 41-0. We continued unofficially and it finished at 64-5.

Hats off to Emanuel for hanging in and getting on the scoreboard.

Hats off the the Ruts Bs who after a shaky start to the season have been on fire for the last few games.

Monday, April 28, 2014

A Public Service Announcement

The tube strike is due to start at 9.30pm on Monday evening, and services will not resume to normal until Thursday 1 May.
* Northern line - service to run across the whole of the line, serving both the Bank and Charing Cross branches with tubes running every five minutes.

However tubes will not stop at the following stations: Angel, Borough, Chalk Farm, Charing Cross, Clapham North, Clapham South, Colliers Wood, Embankment, Goodge Street, Hampstead, Leicester Square, Mill Hill East, Mornington Crescent, Old Street, Oval, South Wimbledon, Tooting Bec and Warren Street.
Thus I will have to walk to Tooting Broadway, if I need to catch the underground over the next few days.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

New Orleans Party

Hideaway is throwing a big New Orleans party...and there is no-one better than Dom Pipkin to lead the funkin’ second line vibes! Pianist Pipkin is Paloma Faith’s MD and he drives the Ikos through a Crescent City party of Authentic New Orleans piano R&B grooves and funk. Expect music from Dr John, The Meters and more as Hideaway gets steamy - oh and a special soul food menu too!

Oh and I've booked our tickets too. I did a trial run yesterday. It is five minutes on the train from Tooting, and when you come out of the station and the venue is on the left on the other side of the road. I had a crafty beer in their cafe (just to be sociable) and then came home on the 57 bus. The stop is just over Streatham Green by the Manor Arms and the service runs 24 hours a day.

Why have I never been before?

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Full Back

The RFU made a film of the day that Mike Brown came to coach Graveney U15s (who are to all intents and purposes Old Ruts U15s as well) at Poplar Road.

Were away on tour at Brean Sands next weekend. The boys that Brown came to coach won that tournament as U13s two years ago. The final in which they beat Bridgend is one of the best boys's games I ever saw. Come to think of it our U13s won it last year. No pressure for the Bomber, Alex, Jonnie and chums then.

Friday, April 25, 2014

The Festival of Me

I have decided the extend my birthday celebrations by another day or so. Previously they were to begin on the evening of Sunday 15 June at the Old Vic, and extend until the end of Stevie Wonder's show in Clapham on 29th.

Now they officially start at 5pm on Saturday, 14 June just before Wales kick off against South Africa at King's Park in Durban, and also include the game a week later at Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit.

I am confident more events will be added during the next few weeks. Please leave a comment if you are interested in sponsorship opportunities.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Tooting your own horn

The Indescribablyboring:
For seven years, I was Food & Drink Editor on The Independent's magazine – and it was a job to die for. I tinkered with the luminous words of Tracey MacLeod, Mark Hix and John Walsh; my desk was piled high with delicious freebies; I dined at fancy restaurants and stayed at posh hotels. So why did I give it all up in order to start a tiny bar on a scruffy strip in Tooting, south London, near where I live?
Good stuff. I will try and get to The Little Bar, 145 Mitcham Road, London SW17; @LittleBarSW17

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Write here, write now

I have finished reading The Rosie Project and am about to start Michael Lewis' Flash Boys having read Liar's Poker and The New New Thing back in the day.

So now you know. Fascinating eh?

I also stumbled on a site called The Electric Typewriter which seems like a good source of essays and long-form journalism.

So now you know. Fascinating eh?

Monday, April 21, 2014

11:57 it is then

I finished reading Yeah Yeah Yeah: The Story of Modern Pop yesterday. I thought it would never end. Digging on Amazon I found that the physical version weighs in at 800 pages. I'm oblivious of issues like this on a Kindle.

I've started on a book called The Rosie Project now. The internal dialogue of its borderline autistic protagonist has helped me understand why Jane was laughing at me on Friday when I was rearranging the time I was to pick up the Bomber so I could take him to lunch at Rock Star Sushi. I am generally running against a timetable calibrated practically to the minute.

Maybe its not always a good thing. I should schedule some time to be more spontaneous.

Sunday, April 20, 2014


Alan Bissett recalls the intense experience of growing up next to one of Europe's largest petrochemical plants and the harrowing experience of an explosion that temporarily deformed his father.

I was working on installing a distributed control system on the Grangemouth refinery when it blew up.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

this tumult in the clouds

I went to see Calvary yesterday; relentless darkness closes around a priest who is a decent man. What could be Gooder Fridayer? Brendan Gleeeson (whose head, appropriately, looks like it should be on Easter Island) is extraordinary in it.

I must seek out The Guard and In Bruges. and investigate John Michael McDonagh (who wrote and directed Calvary and The Guard with Gleeson) and his brother Martin McDonagh, who did the same with In Bruges.

I am pretty sure that In Bruges is one of those DVDs I've bought but never got round to watching

Friday, April 18, 2014


On June 29th, one week after my birthday on the 22nd I am going to see Stevie Wonder in Clapham. That's right I am going to see Stevie Wonder at a venue I can walk home from.

I've now booked tickets on June 15th (a week before my birthday) to see the last night of Kevin Spacey as Clarence Darrow at the Old Vic.

The last half of June is essentially turning into a fortnight's festival of me.

(Strange to think that if I hadn't gone to see the Entertainer at the Old Vic with Kim and Chris seven years ago I wouldn't be on the email list that got me the "new release of Clarence Darrow tickets available now" message this week or into the once-in-a-lifetime Tom Jones in the vaults gig a couple of years ago.)

Thursday, April 17, 2014


When the Bomber logged into his XBOX One last night at my gaff he got an invitation from his brother in Florida to play Titanfall.

I don't, truth be told, really have much idea what is going on in first-person shooter, online multiplayer video games, but it was still an amazing thing to watch them chatting and playing together on opposite sides of the Atlantic.

Heart warming and miraculous.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

tidal surge

The Bomber came back from the Italy tour with a stiff back, so I booked him into Abbey Mills Thai Yoga Massage yesterday. It seems to have done him a power of good. He said the masseuse, at one stage even braced her knee against his spine and bent him backwards over it. Do I have the nerve to go along and try it our myself I wonder?

I remember that it was recommended to my by Mark, Joe's Dad. When I asked him about it on Sunday when the boys were training, however he seemed to deny it outright. I thought I was going off my head so I put it to him again. "Oh yes, Thai massage," he said. "I thought you said tidal surge."

Perhaps my massage budget would be better spent on elocution lessons.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

I Never. Well I never

From The Indescribablyboring

Dankly atmospheric European-fringe landscapes? Check. Murder detectives? Check. Subtitles? Check. BBC4? Check. And yet Hinterland, the latest drama to follow in the hallowed footsteps of The Killing, The Bridge and Wallander is not set in Denmark or Sweden but in the peat bogs and ancient woodlands of Ceredigion in Mid Wales. Filmed simultaneously in English and Welsh, the S4C detective drama known in its native tongue as Y Gwill stars Merthyr Tydfil-raised actor Richard Harrington as a troubled policeman newly transferred to Aberystwyth from the Met.

Already screened on S4C, the publicly funded Welsh-language television channel based in Cardiff, and BBC Wales, the drama has also proved a hit domestically and internationally – having been snapped up by broadcasters in various countries, none more eye-catchingly than by DR, the Danish state broadcaster who make The Killing and Borgen. And now, The Independent can exclusively reveal, Netflix, the online streaming giant responsible for House of Cards, has purchased Hinterland for broadcast in North America and Canada. Little wonder that S4C have simultaneously announced that a second series will start filming in September.

Monday, April 14, 2014

the “insurgency narrative”

I think  Mike Martin's An Intimate War: An Oral History of the Helmand Conflict will be a significant book if the powers that be let us read it.

According to the “insurgency narrative” widely espoused by Western governments, a legitimate Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan (GIRoA), which is recognised and supported by the international community, is violently opposed by a movement of insurgents, called the Taliban, who have sanctuary in Quetta, Pakistan.
Thus, the Taliban are religiously inspired insurgents who are opposed to the democratic and women’s rights that the GIRoA embodies and promotes. But this “insurgency narrative” does not fit with my experiences as an officer. I went to Helmand several times (in and out of uniform), with appropriate gaps between visits for study and reflection, and this analysis seemed further and further from the events that I was observing and participating in. In my view, the Taliban are not the main drivers of conflict; and earlier periods, including the Soviet, the civil war and the Taliban eras, have been similarly misconstrued.
Today, much of the violence is mischaracterised as “Taliban” insurgent violence, when in fact it is not linked to the Taliban or the GIRoA, but is driven by local dynamics between groups and individuals on the ground. The Helmandis describe the conflict as pshe-pshe. This literally translates as “leg-leg”, but refers to the different legs of a tribe or clan (the English term would be “branch”). So, metaphorically, the phrase pshe-pshe means group-on-group warfare. It is a (micro) civil war.
Just like Rory Stewart's "description of an absence;" Icons passim.

Sunday, April 13, 2014


The Bomber is back from Italy. They won all three of their games and he got five tries at outside centre. Not bad as there were only three year eights (him, Bill and 'Diq) in a combined Year 8 & 9 squad. He was asked to play for the Ruts U14s today, but had to opt out as he is carrying  bit of a sore back after three games in as many days in Europe.

He did train with the U13s this morning though. That gave me two hours in the fresh air so I don't have to feel guilty about festering indoors this afternoon watching Liverpool v Man City then the Swans play Chelsea.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Drimble Wedge & The Vegetations

Windows 8.1 Update has installed itself on my Surface Pro 2. Peter Cook channels my reaction above.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Poor but happy

I have got Stevie Wonder tickets for June 29th and paid my deposit for skiing next March, making me poorer but happier than yesterday.

Thursday, April 10, 2014


(also schtum)
• informal

Silent; non-communicative:

He kept shtum about the fact that he was sent down for fraud
He kept shtum and didn't embarrass her once for the following 11 years and, instead, contented himself with being an almost mute second fiddle to a woman of whom he was inordinately proud.
I kept shtum that I had just completed a Politics degree under an America-obsessed Prof.
I know you complain about me posting way too much for you to read, so, other than significant breaking news, I will keep shtum until at least Friday afternoon.

VERB (shtums, shtumming, shtummed)
Be or become quiet and non-communicative:

You start to say something and then just when it’s getting interesting you shtum up
This source was schtummed when Julia posted a scathing rebuke on the thread, really very angry.
The possible risk being that she schtums and won't tell me the truth or just laughs in my face when I bring it up because it's apparently trivial.
It's when it gets to the literature type of questions which totally schtums me, I mean I haven't got a clue.

1950s: Yiddish, from German stumm.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Stevie Wonder to perform in Clapham Common

Stevie Wonder was today announced as the headline act for the closing night of this summer’s Calling Festival at Clapham Common.

It will be the first time the soul legend has performed in London for four years.
The singer, 63, who will perform at the festival on June 29, has enjoyed a career spanning almost 50 years having released his first album when he was just 11 years old.
Tickets go on sale on at 9am on Friday 11 April 2014 and are priced at £62.50 plus booking fee. Tickets are available at or
June 29 being exactly a week after my birthday, I think I see my present to myself on the horizon.

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Patter of tiny feet

Three and a bit months on from the wedding, my youngest sister is pregnant and the baby is due on October 5; quick work.

I will tell her that the pattering feet don't stay tiny long. Here's the Bomber before the ceremony last December. I had to get him size 11 boots for his thirteen your old feet to wear on the Italy rugby trip.

Monday, April 07, 2014

Bill Travers

Impressive bloke Bill Travers. I looked him up on Wikipedia:
Travers enlisted in the British armed forces at eighteen, a few months after the outbreak of World War II, and was sent to India. Within a year he had advanced to the rank of Major. He also served in the 9th Gurkha Rifles in Burma, attached to General Wingate's staff, during which service he came to know John Masters who was his Brigade Major (Travers was later to act in Bhowani Junction, a tale written by Masters). When stricken by malaria, he was left behind in a native village. In order to avoid capture he disguised himself as a Chinese national, walked hundreds of miles through jungle territory until he reached an allied position, parachuted into Malaya, and worked there with the resistance forces until the end of the war.
Considering he was a movie star signed to MGM in the 50s, it does seem a bit odd that "he couldn’t be traced by the War Office."

Sunday, April 06, 2014

But in battalions

Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says Cardiff need a "miracle" to avoid relegation from the Premier League after they lost 3-0 at home to Crystal Palace.
Promoted from the Championship last season, Cardiff are six points adrift of safety with five games remaining.
"We need to produce a miracle to stay up now," said Solskjaer.
The Palace supporting Burglar will be insufferable this week.

It seems a long time ago that the Bluebirds opened their home campaign with a dramatic 3-2 win over one of the title favourites Manchester City.

I hope my current sports bad spell doesn't extend from the Bomber and Cardiff City to Arsenal when they kick off against Everton in an hour or so.

Saturday, April 05, 2014

Muddied Oafs

I had to get up in the middle of the night to take the Bomber to school. Football and rugby teams from a combined year 8 and 9 squad are off to Italy on tour and the coach left at quarter to four in the morning. They are flying into Milan and staying somewhere around Lake Garda. I have asked him to say hello to George Clooney for me.

We also found out yesterday that he hadn't made the cut for the Surrey U13 Development squad. When I look at some of the kids who did (entre nous) I am frankly amazed, but them's the breaks I s'pose. They switched him from full back to centre (a position he hasn't spent a lot of time at) in the assessment.Could that have contributed to a sub-par showing?

He did play the whole game on the wing for Year 9 (he's in Year 8) for the school in the County Cup final last weekend, but they were narrowly beaten.

Perhaps it is good after a couple of disappointments for him to get away with the lads for a week of sport and high jinks? My faith in him is undimmed, for what it is worth.

Friday, April 04, 2014

Good artists copy; great artists steal

London Evening Standard
A London food blogger is on a mission to eat in a restaurant from every country in the world - without setting foot outside the capital.
Charlie Thornberry, 37, who lives in Hammersmith, has so far visited more than 50 restaurants, each serving food from different countries including Georgia, Azerbaijan, Macedonia and Iran.
Mr Thornberry, who works as a consultant for an aviation company by day, started his blog, called Restaurants Of The World Unite! — or ROTWU! for short— just over a year ago.
It's a wonder no one though of it before: Eat Your Way Around The World in London.

Thursday, April 03, 2014

How we roll

From Esquire in the US:
It has been noted that March was the first month in 11 years in which no American soldier was killed in either Iraq or Afghanistan.
The architects of this policy are now spending their 11th year of book tours, lecture fees, television appearances, and not being called to account in any serious way.
Casualties among the native populations are not noted, because that's the way we roll.
In the UK, British troops have just left Helmand Province, whence they were ordered in 2006 on a mission of pacification, construction and reduction in the opium trade and in the hope that ‘not a shot would be fired’. Only two British soldiers had died in combat in Afghanistan before this. The figure is now 448.

We leave a record opium crop and Taliban control of most of the province.

John Reid, Baron Reid of Cardowan, who as Secretary of State for Defence committed 3,300 troops to Helmand January 2006 is available (over by yer) for After Dinner Speaking, Keynote Speaking and Motivational Speaking at £6k to £10k a pop.

How he has the nerve so show his face in public at all is beyond me.

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

The undiscover'd country

As was inevitable, Paul's sister passed on last night.

Poignantly, up until now he has left the consolation cards people sent him here in the office, when I prematurely told people she was already gone, unopened for the last week or so.

Maybe he'll look at them next time he is here; now that they apply.

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Goat Simulator

It's April the first. Tell me this is a joke.