Monday, June 30, 2014


The unusual laptop instrument Stevie Wonder was playing yesterday is a harpejji.
The harpejji is an electric stringed musical instrument developed in 2007 by Tim Meeks, founder of Marcodi Musical Products, and is a descendant of the StarrBoard. The instrument aims to bridge the gap in sound and technique between the guitar and the piano. The playing surface has an isomorphic keyboard layout arranged in ascending whole tones across strings, and ascending semi-tones as the strings travel away from the player with a five octave range from A0 to A5. The first harpejji model, the 24 string d1, was produced from January 2008.
How did we answer questions like this pre Google?

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Game of frowns

It is raining. We are catching up with the great Peter Dinklage via online boxed set.

Friday, June 27, 2014

"Whereof One Cannot Speak, Thereof One Must Be Silent."

We brought in a guilty verdict on an indictment of two counts of sexual assault and I have been released from jury service. Sentencing is on August 31.

The details will be kept under my hat.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

By Royal Appointment

There is an advantage to my Surface and the Bomber's XBOX running on the same Microsoft account; now I have bought Game of Thrones from XBOX video the two of us can work through it together and in parallel.

We are up to the end of episode five now, and the deal is that we will reconvene on episode eight this weekend. Truth be told I didn't realise that there would be quite so many boobs and buttocks being quite so vigorously twerked in it when I came up with this scheme for bonding with my thirteen year old.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Calling Occupants

On Sunday, gates will open at midday. The music will start around one hour later and Stevie Wonder will be last on, finishing at around 10 at night.

The main stage times are on and the Pepsi Max stage times are on

The trick, for me at least, is not arriving so early I get over relaxed before the main event. How does aiming to get there to kick off with Paloma Faith sound? She is on at twenty past four, so maybe aim to arrive around ten to?

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Loss of earnings and other expenses

Length of jury serviceTime spent each dayMaximum daily amount you can claim
First 10 days4 hours or under£32.47
First 10 daysOver 4 hours£64.95
Day 11 to day 2004 hours or under£64.95
Day 11 to day 200Over 4 hours£129.91
After day 2014 hours or under£114.03
After day 201Over 4 hours£228.06
Day 2 of jury service. Nobody ever got rich from it that is for sure.

Monday, June 23, 2014

According to the testimony

I shall be reporting for jury service at 9 o'clock this morning.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

The Cloud

"Nobody understand the cloud. It's a fugging mystery!"

A birthday is a day for looking back and getting some perspective. Now that Hollywood is making mainstream sex farces about cloud computing and online voice search, I have to acknowledge that what we do is scarcely esoteric any more. (The technology that is, not the sex.)

Sex tape is released on 3 September.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

99 problems

"Willie John was a senior figure and he said, 'look, I've been out here twice before, we've played pretty well but we've been intimidated and we're going to have none of that. If anybody gets into trouble, you all get involved wherever you are and you all hit the nearest South African to you, the referee can't send off the whole team' and that was what Willie John said to us."
JPR on the '74 Lions
Wales and South Africa kick off again in a couple of hours. History suggests that there is only one language these people understand.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Massive, Underground Trampolines Will Bounce You To The Ceiling Of Caves

The mention of trampolines may bring back fond childhood memories suburban backyards or local YMCAs, but Bounce Below—a set of three enormous trampolines within the Llechwedd caverns in Wales—brings trampolines to whole new terrain...literally.

Located near Blaenau Ffestiniog, a small mining town in Northern Wales, the tourist attraction is set to open on July 3rd, including a triad of giant trampolines with 10-foot-tall net walls and a 60-foot slide that links them. "From the bottom platform you go on a net walkway with a spiral staircase coming out on the other side of the railway line," explained the creator Sean Taylor in an interview.
"It's a one-hour activity where customers get dressed up in a cotton overall and are given a helmet," said Taylor. "They then jump on a train and travel inside the mountain. They then disembark into a cavern twice the size of St. Paul's Cathedral."

To accompany the attraction, the cave will be lit up by an incredible display of lights that morph the walls into surreal hues of purple, turquoise, green, and pink. The lights and trip inside the mountain may be as much of an adrenaline rush as the jumping itself.
This and the NATO Summit in the Principality. My cup overfloweth.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

free burger and chips!

The smoker is assembled and I will be back to the white tie nightlife this evening.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014


A charcoal smoker and grill has arrived as an early birthday present. I think I will skip the giddy social whirl for one night only to assemble it. It may then need seasoning, but come the big day it will be ready to go. Pitt Cue Co. - The Cookbook will be cracked open and a  new era will begin.

Perhaps it will get me back in the garden. I'm not saying I've neglected it necessarily but "every minute I stay in this room, I get weaker, and every minute Charlie squats out there, he gets stronger."

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The best possible taste

We won the quiz last night. One year on, according to the WBI time machine, from when I drank myself insensible on 11% proof stout.

Regular readers will now we are off to a Brazilian restaurant tonight to watch the World Cup.

The world’s greatest restaurant festival opens this Wednesday until Sunday!

The Festival of Me just gets bigger and better.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Oh, Mr Porter!

I met up with Andy M yesterday. He told me that Gregory Porter - who has been added to the festival line up for Stevie Wonder on Sunday week - is great live. I must make sure I catch him.

Andy came along to see Kevin Spacey in the one-man show Darrow at the Old Vic. That - as expected - was top stuff. It amused me last week to find that Darrow - a TV movie starring one Kevin Spacey - is also among the horde of DVDs I have bought but never watched over the years.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

South Africa 38-16 Wales

The Bomber has announced that he will not be watching next Saturday afternoon's Wales/South Africa test match.

"There is a primary school summer fair I want to go to."

That is a pretty damning indictment of yesterday's drubbing in Durban.

I will be taking my medicine as usual though.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

beard the lion in his den

Just as England are set to kick off against the All Blacks, here is Bruce Springsteen taking on a Kiwi (Icons passim) at her own game on her own turf. I'm not sure if he comes out on top either which may not be a good omen.

Next up Wales - L Williams; A Cuthbert, J Davies, J Roberts, G North; D Biggar, M Phillips; G Jenkins, K Owens, A Jones, L Charteris, AW Jones, D Lydiate, A Shingler, T Faletau Replacements M Rees, P James, S Lee, I Evans, J Turnbull, G Davies, J Hook, M Morgan (boo!) - versus South Africa.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Word Cup fever

if you dont know a lot about football but you still want to join in with all of the excitement that the world cup awards brings us every year, then here are a few tips and tricks for you to use for yourself to help you blend in more easily and maybe even make yourself look like a actual footballing expert as well.
as soon as the referee blows on his throat flute to get the football match started make sure you say one of these things:
come on football
kick off
lets get this event started
good luck
i think that we are going to be in for a great game
i hope that our football team gets the points that they require
i am enjoying myself
if a player gets a tackle on him shout some of these things as loud as you can:
keep your knees to yourself you italian idiot
put your shorts back on and get up
it is a good job that he has got plastic shin sheets on the bottom of his legs or he would have to be carried home in a wheelchair
this cant be happening
why isnt he moving anymore
great tackle
when a goal is scored take your top off and scream any or all of these things:
what a goal
that is the type of strike that i like to see
he striked that one like he was kicking a ball at a prison
right off the top of his head
slam dunk
homeward bound
that is 1 point for us
kiss my knee
directly into the net
three men and a little lady
climb onto my back

Hat tip Spike.

Also, from the extensive background reading I do on your behalf:
HARRY RENNIE, A SCOT WHO KEPT GOAL for Greenock Morton in the 1890s, toughened up by throwing himself onto wooden boards for half an hour each day. John Burridge, a journeyman who played for 29 clubs in England and Scotland between the late 1960s and late 1990s, sharpened his reflexes by asking his wife to throw fruit at him when he wasn’t looking. Gigi Buffon credits his agility in the goalmouth to the time he spent vacationing with his family—his sisters and cousins would tie his hands behind his back and force him to turn somersaults. “How many knocks on the head I took! But I like to think it was that way that I overcame the fear of throwing myself about, diving on the ground even when there isn’t snow to soften the landing,” he wrote in his autobiography. Ronald Reng describes the Argentinean keeper Germ├ín Burgos’s extreme training to overcome natural survival instinct. To keep from turning his head away from the ball, Reng writes, “the goalkeeping coach tied Burgos’s hands behind his back and shot hard at him from close range; all Burgos had to do was parry the ball with his face, again and again. Sometimes his nose broke.”
The methods were not always so brutal. Peter Shilton sought out a dance teacher to purge wasted movements from his technique, writing that the dancer “taught me to keep my feet light and close to the ground, moving them as if skating on ice.” His goal was to become “like an object which can be seen shimmering through a heat haze.”

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Feed Me!

Feedly is currently suffering a DDoS (distributed denial of service) attack, it announced earlier this morning on its blog.
You may have noticed that you can’t access the website or load any of your feeds via the app. Feedly explained in a short message two hours ago that the DDoS perpetrator is holding Feedly to ransom and asking for money to stop the attack, Feedly has refused to comply.
CEO of Feedly, Edwin Khodabakchian, said in a short statement: “Criminals are attacking feedly with a distributed denial of service attack (DDoS). The attacker is trying to extort us money to make it stop. We refused to give in and are working with our network providers to mitigate the attack as best as we can.”
This is quite incredibly inconvenient to me and my daily checks. Actually it is ridiculous to be so dependent on it.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

crossing the river through feeling the stones

Impressive displays from Matthew Morgan and James Hook make it mission accomplished for Warren Gatland as South Africa Tests beckon
The Bomber and I watched Wales 32-12 victory over Eastern Province Kings in Port Elizabeth on the Sky Now Box last night. So far so good as far as the tour is concerned, though I still roundly boo the usurper Matthew Morgan whenever he touches the ball. I don't know how long I will be able to keep that up if he continues to play so well but I will do my best.

Roll on Saturday. The Bomber's schedule for that is All Blacks v England 8am, South Africa v Wales 4pm, and then England Italy in the World Cup at 11pm. I may well bale for the last fixture.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Rik Mayall RIP

Hey kids, stop snogging and pay attention to me. If you're a wild eyed loner standing at the gates of oblivion, then hitch a ride with us,'cause we're on the last freedom moped out of nowhere city, and we haven't even told our parents what time we'll be back!
Gosh, I guess we're not the young ones any more.

Monday, June 09, 2014

Ben Waters

Unless you have already booked, you can't see Ben Waters at Ronnie Scott's this weekend as the gig has sold out. There are still some tickets left for his performance at the Old Ruts on Friday though.
He has played alongside many of rock 'n' roll's true legends including Jerry lee Lewis, Chuck Berry, The Rolling Stones, Procul Harum, Mick Hucknall and Ray Davies as well as appearing on Jools Hollands’ “Later” several times.
Travelling the world for over 20 years has seen Ben play in every type of musical venue possible from seedy clubs to major festivals and the Royal Albert Hall and he is now fulfilling a lifelong ambition to play at the legendary Old Ruts!

Ben & the band will play 2 x 45 minute sets and a curry will be served between sets
Funny old world. I am as surprised as you are.

Sunday, June 08, 2014

Hotter than July

Stevie Wonder's song Another Star will provide the theme tune for the BBC's Fifa World Cup coverage.
The song, with its Latin American vibe, will be used as the opening sequence for all of the BBC's World Cup programmes for Brazil 2014.It is the first time the musician, 64, has given his approval for one of his songs to be used in this way.
It's all coming together. Here's a video of a trbute version at my local, The Hideaway.

My revision in peparation for June 29 continues apace. It turns out that the author of Groove and Flow: Six Analytical Essays on the Music of Stevie Wonder is an academic at Surrey University now. Can he expect a call?

Saturday, June 07, 2014


Hero's welcome for runaway D-Day veteranThe 89-year-old war veteran who slipped out of his care home to attend D-Day commemorations in Normandy has arrived back in the UK to a hero's welcome.
This Torygraph story has tickled me this morning as I'm 66% of the way (thanks kindle) through reading The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared.

Friday, June 06, 2014

“A classico is a classico and vice versa.” Mario Jardel

On the way to the William Morris for a sun-downer last night, I popped into Katavento (our very own Brazilian Icons passim) to  check on their plans (having been tipped off by Suely) for the World Cup and was told they are going to be showing the games on a big outdoor projector TV while serving up a barbecue. Churrascaria I hope and booking advised.

Brazil play Mexico at 8pm on Tuesday June 17th. I'll see who else wants to come, but it is certainly another day ticked off in the fortnight Festival of Me.

Thursday, June 05, 2014

a class act

That is a wonderful gesture. I may even support Holland in the World Cup now, even though they beat us 2-0 last night.

London Welsh got promoted in the rugby though. It wasn't all gloom.

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

I can make it at home for nothing

<injoke>That's you at the farmers' market that is Johnny boy</injoke>
Oh, and your decking has been up for seven years (Icons passim though the pictures have disappeared).

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

an edgier version

BY DAY he’s a respected city architect – but by night he’s a lethal weapon.
At the age of 46, Stephen Franks, of Splott, Cardiff, has just become the unlicensed boxing British Heavyweight Champion.
Like professional boxing, unlicensed boxing has regulations – there is a referee, a round system, gloves and Queensberry rules – the difference being that it is not covered by the British Boxing Board of Control. Supporters say it is an edgier version. There are also fewer controls relating to age and ability.
In his day job, Stephen is a partner in the Cardiff branch of HLM Architects, but in his spare time he has won each of his nine boxing clashes and has now been crowned champion after beating 31-year-old Londoner Mark Smith at a fight in Weston-super-Mare.
Steve Franks was a class mate of my brother Vince. That's St Illtyd's for you; an edgier version of school.

Monday, June 02, 2014

Everything is everything

Warren Gatland says his squad selection for Wales’ tour of South Africa shows that size isn’t everything.
The Kiwi coach has been renowned for picking big players during his reign, in particular packing his back-line with giants like George North, Jamie Roberts and Alex Cuthbert.
But now he has bucked that trend by selecting the diminutive Matthew Morgan - all 5ft 8ins, 11st 7lbs of him - following the Bristol-bound back’s scene-stealing display in Friday night’s trial match.
And he has also included 5ft 8ins, 12st 10lbs Scarlets winger Jordan Williams, who scored two tries for the Probables in their 55-7 victory at the Liberty Stadium.
“I’ve been criticised in the past for picking big players,” said Gatland.
“But it’s never been about that. It’s always been about picking what we think are the best players.
“Sometimes at the highest level if you are big and you are fast and you are skilful you are probably always going to have the advantage over someone who is a little bit smaller.
“But I thought Matthew Morgan came on in the second half and made a massive impact.
“He was the most dangerous player on the field during that period, so you have got to sit up and take a bit of notice. He was one of the last names added to the squad, but he deserved it and good luck to him.
“He’s definitely got something to offer. He can change a game.
“The beauty about it was he came from nowhere when he came on. I suppose that’s the romance of the trial.
“Someone can produce something, do something and get their name on the touring sheet and I thought that was special about Friday night.
“He was definitely an outside bet, but he came on and lit the place up.
“The way the game opened up a little bit in the second half you saw some of his skills really come to the fore to be able to do what he did to catch the eye. It wasn’t just catching the eye of the coaches and the selectors, but also the crowd as well. They were really getting behind him.”
Morgan, 22, has played the bulk of his rugby at fly-half for the Ospreys, but it was as a replacement full-back that he shone for the Possibles.
“He has played a lot at 10, but maybe full-back gives him a little bit more time and space on the ball,” said Gatland.
“You put someone like that in the team and you’ve got to use his attacking ability and encourage him to bring the ball back.

“You have to exploit the ability he does have when the game breaks up. You know you have to play a bit different if he is involved and try to let him use the skills he has got.
“There are one or two players carrying knocks and that has given him the opportunity.
He has to make the most of it. Go out there and make an impression.”
I'm struggling to find this Matthew Morgan fairy tale as romantic as everyone else, because it was Dan Fish he came on to replace as the Possibles' full back at half time.

Sunday, June 01, 2014

thicker than water

Arriving back in Cardiff I was delighted to discover that Dan Fish, the possibles full back, was my cousin's grandson and thus - according to some quick internet research - the second cousin once removed of the Bomber (also a full back). He also has an old school CV of St Illtyd's College, St Albans RFC and Glamorgan Wanderers before graduating to the Blues and Wales U20s and Sevens.

He didn't make the cut but it added a wonderful frisson to the game.