Thursday, December 31, 2015

It's hard to make predictions, especially about the future

Way back in 2000, the CIA convened a group of experts from outside the Agency. Their mission: to gaze into the near future and predict what 2015 would look like.

The result was a 70-page report covering everything from the rise of nanotechnology through oil shocks and demographic change to the fate of the global economy.

You can read the full document here. On the last day of 2015, I can fairly confidently assert it is a load of rubbish.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

the food here is dégustation, and such small portions

The seven course tasting menu for £45 will in fact get you ten separate and perfectly portioned plates of food (including petit fours and other throw-ins received with much enthusiasm). I am yet to find elsewhere in London with this sort of price-point in exchange for the same finesse of kitchen skill, number of courses and quality of ingredients experienced.
If you haven’t yet eaten at The Dairy, a visit should be high on your priority list. If you have, I suspect your next is already on the cards.
Talking to my brother John over the holidays, I was surprised to learn (God knows how the topic came up) that he has never eaten a tasting menu (sample portions of many different dishes served in several courses for a set price) in a restaurant. I have decided this must be remedied next time he comes up to London, and googled up the review extracted above of The Dairy, which is a short hop up the Northern Line from Colliers Wood to Clapham Common.

The Dairy's website indicates that the £45pp menu is still available so it is all systems go.

Leyla Kazim, who wrote the Wimbledon Guardian piece, says in the first paragraph that she has moved to Colliers Wood, so I have added the RSS feed from her food blog (www.thecutlerychronicles.com) to feedly, the aggregator that I use.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Lemmy Kilmister, Motörhead frontman dead at 70



..... one of those beings whose pace of life was faster and more intense than what is normal. Just as an aeroplane only flies by its speed and pressure against the air, so he flew best and easiest in the hurricane. He was not in complete harmony with the normal.
R.I.P.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Crystal Clear?

After the 23-17 defeat yesterday against the St. Louis Rams.....
the Seattle Seahawks go into Week 17 not knowing whether they'll travel to Washington, Minnesota or Green Bay for the wild-card round.
Depending on what happens next week, they'll be the No. 5 or the No. 6 seed. There are two games to keep an eye on. One is the Seahawks' matchup in Arizona against the Cardinals. The other is the Packers' matchup at Lambeau against the Vikings, which will determine the NFC North champ.
Here are the four possible scenarios, along with what each means for the Seahawks.
If the Seahawks win and the Packers win ...
The Seahawks would be the No. 5 seed and travel to Washington. The Packers would win the NFC North and host the sixth-seeded Vikings. In this scenario, the Seahawks get the tiebreaker over the Vikings on account of Seattle's head-to-head win.
If the Seahawks win and the Vikings win ...
The Seahawks would be the No. 6 seed and travel to Minnesota. The Vikings would win the NFC North, and the Packers would travel to Washington. Green Bay would own the tiebreaker over Seattle in this scenario on account of its head-to-head win.
If the Seahawks lose and the Packers win ...
The Seahawks would be the No. 6 seed and travel to Green Bay. The Packers would win the NFC North, and the Vikings would travel to Washington as the fifth seed on account of having a better overall record than the Seahawks.
If the Seahawks lose and the Vikings win ...
The Seahawks would be the No. 6 seed and travel to Minnesota. The Vikings would win the NFC North, and Green Bay would travel to Washington as the fifth seed on account of having a better overall record than the Seahawks.
Simples!

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Suggs

I caught the tail end of Suggs: My Mad-Life Crisis on Radio 4 as I was driving about over the Christmas break, so I am publishing the link http://bbc.in/1Ul7hW0 to remind myself to catch the rest even though I am going to the staged performance that it is based on in the summer.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Big of him

Dec 2015
June 2011
Ben is with Rayburn in Florida this week on the left. I bet they're going fishing as they did in the Wandle in June 2011 on the right.

That is a lot of growing in four and a half years. I am sure Ray is at least six feet tall, so Ben must be coming up to six two now, regardless of any foreshortening in the photo. (Looking again, why he thinks a Kim Jong-un hair style is a good look is a mystery to me.)

Before he moved to the US, Rayburn (and all his mates come to think of it) were great at taking the Bomber around with them. Fishing or going to an all-you-can-eat buffet with a group of nineteen year olds when you are ten, must feel great. I remember Ben telling me that when they went to the park mob-handed Ray would get him to run and climb Marine Corps style with a rucksack filled with rocks on his back "as training for Muay Thai." I know it sounds a bit like they were taking the Mickey, but the boys always treated him like one of the gang, and he loved being around them. You can't really ask for more.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Season's greetings



I can remember watching this on Top of the Pops as if it was yesterday.

Hat tip: Paul McGhee, a Johnny-come-lately I didn't even meet until 1980.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

five minutes walk and fifty two years ago

Looking at the Beatles' twitter feed yesterday I noticed the tweet above. The Wimbledon Palais was actually on the corner of Mill Lane and Merton High Street; five minutes walk from the Abbey Mills office where I am typing these words.

Heritage: The day The Beatles came to Wimbledon Palais from the local Guardian tells the story of what sounds like a mad day.

And this morning of course, you can stream the Fab Four as you read.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

a very happy Chrimble and a gear Near Year

.... and to think I will get it five hours before Ben in Florida.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

twenty five years and a day ago




According to the Telegraph, the world's first web site went live on 21 December 2015 at http://info.cern.ch/

It's popped into a line-mode browser simulator in an Iframe above. An unlikely looking green-on-black candidate to change the world at first glance, n'est-ce pas?

Monday, December 21, 2015

tube tongues

The Tube map has been reimagined to show which foreign languages you’re most likely to hear at each station.

Oliver O’Brien, a geography researcher at UCL (University College London), crunched the data to produce his Tube Tongues map.

The skinny on Colliers Wood is to the left. Nearly a third of us have a native tongue other than English.

If you read the 'blog regularly, you may suspect that English is my second language as I am not sufficiently fluent to qualify for a first language.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

No stopping them



Since John and I met Shauna last April (Icons passim) the Hang Fire girls have been continuing to conquer the world one rib at a time. It is a privilege to observe them from afar.

 I think perhaps they should be awarded their own label here, but while I thjnk about that why don't we just rekindle singalongablog to mark their interview with Cerys (isn't it boyo).

All together
If all you've got to do today is find peace of mind
Come round you can take a piece of mine
And if all you've got to do today is hesitate
Come here, you can leave it late with me
Yes, Catatonia pretty much summed up work tomorrow, and how I am likely to cope, all those years ago.



Saturday, December 19, 2015

Mount Dora



Jane and Ben have flown out to visit Rayburn in Florida for Christmas and New Year. They are staying in Mount Dora. Look at all the fun they can have.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Thursday, December 17, 2015

One hundred and ten years and two days ago

On 16 December 1905, Wales beat the All Blacks for the first time.

On that great day 110 years ago the Welsh team, led by Gwyn Nicholls, triumphed 3-0 in a fixture that contained a number of notable firsts:
it was the first international match that New Zealand had lostit was the first game played by New Zealand in Walesit was the first, and the only, time Dave Gallaher's 'Originals' lost on their 35 match tourit was the first time Wales sung the National Anthem before a game, in retaliation to the Haka
Gallaher's men had become the talk of the sporting world from the moment they beat the reigning English county champions, Devon, 55-4 in their opening game. Wales were their 28th opponent on tour and they had already beaten Scotland (12-7), Ireland (15-0) and England (15-0).
They hadn't conceded a point in seven and a half matches (10 hours) before arriving in Cardiff, including Test against Ireland and England, and had kept a clean sheet in 22 of their 27 games.



Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Forty years ago



Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody was the UK’s Christmas number 1 in 1975. Forty years later, the song is reinterpreted by a duet from the English National Ballet, a string quartet from the Royal Academy of Music and Trinity Boys Choir, cut with archive footage of Queen’s performance on Christmas Eve in 1975.

I can distinctly remember Kevin describing it to me, before I had heard it, as we walked down to the Countisbury Avenue shops from school at lunchtime. That is along time to remember a conversation about nothing much.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

20 Seconds to Comply

From Amazon - see http://nickbrowne.coraider.com/2015/10/segue-swegway.html
We've received information that your RioRand Two Wheels Self Balancing Electric Scooter with RioRand Bag (Black), purchased through the Amazon.co.uk website: order #111-1111111-1111111, is unsafe for use as this product is supplied with a non-compliant UK plug.
Please dispose of this product in a WEEE certified location as soon as possible. Please follow this link to view the nearest WEEE certified location: www.recycle-more.co.uk. For more information on Recycling Electrical or Electronic Equipment (WEEE), please see our help page, below.
https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/help/customer/display.html/ie=UTF8&nodeId=200142750.
Does this mean that if I fit a compliant UK plug to it all will be well?

http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/dec/14/amazon-pulls-hoverboards-over-safety-fears

Monday, December 14, 2015

The Festival of Me 2016

Entire series of Welsh international football and rugby games have been arranged to celebrate my birthday on June 22 next year.

Euro 2016 football

Saturday, 11 June
Wales v Slovakia (17:00; Stade de Bordeaux)

Thursday, 16 June
England v Wales (14:00; Stade Bollaert-Delelis, Lens)

Monday, 20 June
Russia v Wales (20:00; Stadium de Toulouse)


2016 Rugby Summer tour to New Zealand

Saturday, 11 June
New Zealand v Wales (Eden Park, Auckland, kick-off TBC)

Tuesday, 14 June
Chiefs v Wales (FMG Stadium Waikato, Hamilton, kick-off TBC)

Saturday, 18 June
New Zealand v Wales (Westpac Stadium, Wellington, kick-off TBC)

Saturday, 25 June
New Zealand v Wales (Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin, kick-off TBC)

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Ow



13 seconds against a man unbeaten in a decade. Never seen anything like it.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

football's coming home

AFC Wimbledon has been given permission to build a new stadium close to its spiritual home in Plough Lane.
The League Two club applied to build an 11,000-seater stadium - that could be expanded to hold 20,000 - on the site of Wimbledon greyhound stadium.
Merton Borough Council had recommended it for approval and councillors unanimously approved the plans.
That is good news. It will just be a pleasant stroll along the Wandle Trail from home.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Things are looking up

'At 12.35pm on Thursday, November 5 a man, believed to be aged in his late 20s, was seen to walk around the Boots store in the Tandem Centre, Tandem Way, Colliers Wood without selecting any product.
'The man was caught on CCTV pretending to look at products behind a woman and then put his hand between the woman's legs and take pictures up her skirt on his mobile phone.
'He later returned and took further pictures of the same woman.
'A security guard at the store challenged the suspect, told him to delete the images and asked him to leave the store.
'The suspect is described as a slim, white man, 6ft tall with short brown hair and blue eyes.
'He was seen wearing a white T-shirt with a dark patch at the base and Adidas written across his chest. He wore navy blue tracksuit bottoms and brown shoes.
'Anyone with any information is asked to contact Merton Police on 101, quoting image 195987, or anonymously on Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.'
That is a scarcely credible thing to have happened  anywhere, never mind just round the corner.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

The more I practice, the luckier I get.



I came across a highlight reel of Jack Walsh playing for England 7's, Blackheath and Wasps. He took the Old Ruts U15s for training at the Hub last night as he has been doing regularly lately so I thought I would post it above.

Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Copperhead Road

If we are going to take a serious shot at mastering Southern BBQ, we need to make sure we get all the right equipment: Firefly White Lightning Moonshine.

All together now:
Well my name's John Lee Pettimore
Same as my daddy and his daddy before
You hardly ever saw Grandaddy down here
He only came to town about twice a year
He'd buy a hundred pounds of yeast and some copper line
Everybody knew that he made moonshine
Now the revenue man wanted Grandaddy bad
He headed up the holler with everything he had
It's before my time but I've been told
He never came back from Copperhead Road

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

The Real Mike Phillips



I think this was transmitted as a regional programme on BBC Wales last night and wasn't shown in England, but we can still catch up with it from London via the iPlayer over the course of the next week.

Monday, December 07, 2015

a clean sweep

Cardiff Blues beat Connacht 20-16 on Friday evening. It was Connacht's first defeat in seven Pro12 matches, and the Blues' first win in seven. My only small disappointment was that Rhys Patchell started at full back, so Dan Fish was on the bench.

The Blues’ shock win over the PRO12's leaders opened the door for the Scarlets to go back to the top of the table when they narrowly beat Benetton Treviso away in Italy.

Then wins for the Ospreys and Newport Gwent Dragons yesterday meant Wales' regions completed a clean sweep as all four sides claimed victories over the course of the weekend.

Scrum V Sunday should be a cheery affair when I catch up on the iPlayer.

Also on Sunday evening the Seahawks continued their recovery after a poor start to the season thrashing the Minnesota Vikings 38-7 on the road. They look like a reasonable (though not certain) bet for one of the wildcard places and a Divisional Playoff game now.
Away, for we are ready to a man!
Our camels sniff the evening and are glad.

Sunday, December 06, 2015

AN UNSCHEDULED DETOUR



Jim's 79 year old Dad is rowing the Atlantic. It is difficult to imagine my father doing likewise.

The 'blog today says:
For those of you following the tracker, you’ll notice the latest update shows that 2 Hopes has taken a turn northwards. While both Rob and John are safe, a medical issue has arisen which they feel it would be wise to attend to while still within reach of the islands. They’ve therefore taken the decision to head for El Hierro.
More info when we have it.
I hope everything turns out OK.

Saturday, December 05, 2015

not killed: not stronger

The school U16s won the Surrey Cup yesterday; without the Bomber though who was taken ill during the day and had to drop out.

Adding insult to injury the Surrey RFU have said he can't go to tomorrow's U15 squad trial as he went before, two seasons ago, at U13.

To summarise, the head of rugby in his school, who is a Surrey U15 squad coach and had a team win the county's cup yesterday, trains Ben week-to-week and says he "100%" deserves to be there on Sunday can't even nominate him to be looked at.

Words fail me.

Friday, December 04, 2015

Top 10 budget restaurants in Cardiff

Cardiff offers great places to refuel on the cheap. Updating his 2010 guide, Tony Naylor picks 10 spots where you can eat for under £10
Posted as a reference for if and when I manage to get back over Christmas and the New Year.

Thursday, December 03, 2015

a dish best served cold

I didn't even know that match was on, but yesterday Ben and Jonnie (year 10) had both turned out for the Year 11 rugby team that beat the Ashcombe School 34-5 in the semi final of the Surrey Cup.

The final is tomorrow against Howard of Effingham at 5pm on the 4G pitch at Rosslyn Park and I will try and get there

Rutlish and H of E at U16 are the same sides who met in the U14 final of the same competition two seasons ago. Effingham edged that 15-12 and Ben played (for the year above) in that game as well.

There's history in the fixture and it would be good to pinch the title in 2016.

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

A man in a hurry



January 30th 2015 marked what would have been the 80th birthday of Edward Brian Hayes, known to the world of jazz as Tubby. A professional jazz musician at just fifteen, by his untimely death at thirty-eight, he had left behind a body of work, that has both stood the test of time and has proven to be an inspiration to many like minded musicians today.
For ten years from the mid 1950s to the middle of 1960s, jazz musician, composer and arranger, Tubby Hayes became a household name in Britain. He had his own shows on national television and he played on some of the most iconic recordings of that era, including the soundtracks to the films ‘Alfie’ and ‘The Italian Job’. Tubby became the first solo UK jazz performer to be invited to play in the United States, where Miles Davis attended his first gig in New York and his services were much in demand here in the UK by the likes of Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, Henry Mancini, Quincy Jones and Dizzy Gillespie.
........... and he went to Rutlish School. Well I never.

This new movie about him only seems to be available on DVD at the moment, and I much prefer streaming or downloads these days. My DVD player isn't even plugged in to the telly.

Contributors include Brian Foster "member of the same school orchestra and friend of Tubby’s at Rutlish School in Merton".

Maybe the Old Ruts could get the makers to do a screening at the club?

Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Memorandum

David Cameron prepares for Syria air strikes as up to 100 Labour MPs plan to defy Jeremy Corbyn in vote - live

If the vote is passed on Wednesday British bombers will begin launching attacks on Syrian targets within hours. Latest updates
Well, here we go again. I haven't read the Prime Minister's thirty odd pages on why this is a good idea yet, but I will. Then in a year or so I will read it again and consider how much of the analysis turned out to be correct. Click on the image of the first page below for the whole thing.



Monday, November 30, 2015

Smoke and Fire

I read over the weekend the Hang Fire girls (Icons passim) are going to be opening a restaurant in Barry early next year, and also:
Hot out the smoker, Hang Fire Smokehouse announce cook book deal
They have been crowned ‘Best Street Food’ by the BBC, were the first to bring slow and low BBQ to Wales, launched Wales’ first craft soda, fed international celebrities and served thousands of plates of American style barbecue at events up and down the country, but things just got bigger for Hang Fire Smokehouse, as they announce a brand new cook book for 2016.
The book will tell the story of their journey across America, including pictures and tales of their adventures, how do build your own smoker, detailed knowledge about grilling and smoking and will contain over 100 the recipes. The book is due for release in spring of next year.
You can't accuse them of sitting on their laurels.

In other BBQ related developments, when I made my excuses and left the pub on Saturday to attend to my smoking brisket in the slow cooker experiment, Kevin G told me about Harrison Ovens - artisan, charcoal fuelled, closed chamber, multi function ovens - manufactured ten or fifteen minutes walk from my house.

Pork belly, slow cooked in the Harrison S using indirect heat. Only one and a half hours to cook to perfection!
Posted by Harrison Ovens on Wednesday, 12 August 2015


Could there be some synergy here? We can dream.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Curate's egg

The seconds lost a home league game to Old Alleynians today, but the firsts beat Farnborough comprehensively in a friendly. I lost track of the score. They must have got over sixty.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

I'm Guy Fieri and we're rolling out..

I very, very rarely get to the bottom of Marlborough Road and turn right so I was later than many finding out that what was once the A. P. Chemist will from tomorrow have reopened as Canedo, a Portuguese cafe and deli. (Sharon has immortalised the A.P in a painting. Click on the image for the Smarts' website.)

I am also reliably informed that there is a new Chinese restaurant, Ding Xiang a little further up the High Street on the left.

|Next, over the railway bridge at The Little Taperia, a south London pet shop has been turned into the home of great tapas.

Just a little past that Tooting Market is now open late on Friday and Saturday evenings; with bars, restaurants and stalls open until 10.30pm.

Myself (shouting from an open top red car): THAT’S ALL HERE, RIGHT HERE ON DINERS, DRIVE-INS AND DIVES.

Friday, November 27, 2015

among the bouquinistes

As I am far too high toned for Black Friday, I have been reading instead in the Grauniard of the upcoming auction of Pierre Bergé's personal library; 1,600 books, manuscripts and scores ranging over six centuries with an estimated worth £30 million.

As an added bonus the piece is written in a breathless, affected and frankly hilarious style.
It was literature that gave the young Bergé his lucky break, although this good fortune was at first well disguised. On his first day in Paris, as he was strolling the Champs-Elysées, a Surrealist poet called Jacques Prévert fell from a window and landed on top of him. A winded Bergé chose to see this defenestration as an augury that the French capital had been waiting for him. He embarked on a career in antique books, truffling for overlooked treasures among the bouquinistes, the bookstalls on the banks of the Seine. In the brilliant young tailor Yves Saint Laurent, he recognised another man with an eye for a silver lining. “Christian Dior fired him, and on the same day, he told me we will set up our own business, the house of Yves Saint Laurent.”
That is right, as he was strolling the Champs-Elysées, a Surrealist poet called Jacques Prévert fell from a window and landed on top of him. What more could you ask for? Read the whole thing here.
“The sun sinks. The cafe teems with life.
Ah, Paris!
A clock in the rue Manet strikes six-thirty, and I think of those words of de Gourmont.”
Beachcomber (be the name still running the game).

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Original Gangstas

Here is the Bomber with Callum back in 2007. I think we had gone to see the 3D version of the Simpsons Movie. The baseball caps were promotional freebies and the glasses were needed for the film experience. Or perhaps the boys actually were eight year old gangsters.

Callum's at the Chelsea academy now and even has a couple of caps for England U16s.

Watch this space.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Baby, It's Cold Outside

Ben and I went along to Caveman BBQ after his orthodontist appointment yesterday as planed a few weeks back. I had burnt ends and he had a pulled pork sandwich.

This has encouraged me to try my hand at US style barbecue again. It's a bit chilly to get out in the back garden with the smoker at this time of year, but someone has come up with a scheme for smoking meat in a slow cooker that another blogger has tested and approved.

I've already got Jim Beam oak barrel smoking chips. The trick appears to be to give these a long soak, drain them, wrap in parchment or foil which you then perforate, and then place the packet in the bottom of your crockpot and popped the rubbed joint on top.

I'll probably try it on the weekend.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Useless Box



A comment has appeared (passim) on a decade old post alerting me to a fresh source of Beachcomber at http://beachcomber.weebly.com. I am grateful.

If I can only put down Dr Strabismus' mancan of wine, and tear myself away from Charlie Suet's Useless Box, I will check it out.

J.B. Morton, once a satirist, now an elegant weapon for a more civilised age.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Mr. Calzaghe



I'm hearing nothing but good things about this new, theatrically released, Joe Calzaghe movie. I was at his both his professional début and, with with both my brothers and my Dad, at the Kessler fight that he considers his finest performance. I've even got a boxing glove signed by him on the wall in my office for goodness sake, so I have to see it.

I'll pencil in watching it with Ben on Thursday.


Sunday, November 22, 2015

all the romance of the novel

A first win in a league game in the Surrey top flight for the Old Ruts U15s today as the boys beat Richmond 24-21 away in a seven try thriller.

We went 7-0 up then 14-0, were pegged back to 14-7 then 14 all, went 19-14 up and then conceded another try (the conversion of which was disputed) to go 21-19 down with minutes to go, only for Silas to touch down in the last move of the game to give us a  24-21 win (and a four try bonus point).

I think it is the best team performance I have ever seen from them. It was very gratifying to see early season weaknesses that KCS had exposed comprehensively addressed and even turned (the breakdown for example) into positive strengths. Richmond came third in division one last year. This is a mighty scalp.

I am off down the pub shortly. The Ruts bonus point translating to bonus pints for me.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Oxford American


ISSUE 91: 17TH ANNUAL SOUTHERN MUSIC ISSUE and CD – GEORGIA

I think we will need a copy of this each, John.
The Oxford American’s 17th-annual music issue features the state of Georgia! The magazine comes with a 25-song CD compilation that showcases music by Georgia artists such as James Brown, Sandy Gaye, Gram Parsons, Otis Redding, OutKast, Indigo Girls, Drive-By Truckers, the Allman Brothers Band, and many more. Browse the table of contents below.
GEORGIA ON MY MIND
Listening
The Music of Georgia
Editors’ Note
There’s nobody like Blind Willie McTell
by Peter Guralnick

The moony lyricism of Johnny Mercer
by John Lingan

Pondering the Indigo Girls, awaiting clarity
by Jamie Quatro

DA ART OF STORYTELLIN’ (A PREQUEL)
OutKast’s Southern Stank
by Kiese Laymon


FABLES OF THE RECONSTRUCTION
Innovation

Gram Parsons’s prophetic Nudie suit
by Elyssa East

The Skillet Lickers’ pickin’ picnic
by Greg Reish

MC Shy D, an original ATLien
by Will Stephenson

Thomas A. Dorsey unites gospel and blues
by Dom Flemons

THE ROAD GOES ON FOREVER
The Allman Brothers’ wild South
by Amanda Petrusich



THE DIRTY SOUTH
Scenes

Savannah, metal, and mourning
by Bill Dawers

Hip-hop and black history in Albany
by Regina N. Bradley

Atlanta’s Sweet Auburn soul
by Brian Poust

WHEN THE FIRE BROKE OUT
Life and Death in Cabbagetown
by Abigail Covington



ATHENS X ATHENS
Why Athens?
by David Barbe

Welcome Hinges
by Art Rosenbaum

The Cos-mo-pol-i-tan Sound
by Patterson Hood

Plus: anecdotes, images, and memories from around town



ENLIGHTENED ROGUES
Legends

Calling Little Richard
by David Ramsey

Beverly “Guitar” Watkins at seventy-six
by Rachael Maddux

Bessie Jones, vision and voice
by Nathan Salsburg

In defense of Dave Prater
by Jonathan Bernstein

Fiddlin’ John Carson’s darkest murder ballad
by Christopher C. King

Ray Stevens remembers a comedy song
by Jewly Hight

SUGARFOOT STOMP
The genius of Fletcher Henderson
by Cynthia Shearer



OH, MAKER
Visionaries

Rico Wade’s Dungeon Family reunion
by Rodney Carmichael

Sharon Jones comes home
by Maxwell George

In the cosmic mind of Col. Bruce Hampton
by Lance Ledbetter

Killer Mike turns forty
by Austin L. Ray

Janelle Monáe looks toward the future
by Brit Bennett

AN UNFINISHED STATE
Dust-to-Digital’s unheard magnum opus
by Wyatt Williams

Friday, November 20, 2015

Peter O’Brien

18th November: The committee, members and friends of St. Peter’s RFC, would like to send their sincere condolences to the family of Peter O’Brien who died this morning. Peter was a well loved and exceptionally popular member, who represented the club in baseball and rugby. He was a founder member and current (three times) club champion of St. Peter’s Bowls Club. Peter was a family man. Husband to Marie and father of Keiran, Hannah, Sean, Rachel, Martha and Dominic; son of Sheila and Bart; brother of Bernard, Kevin and Catherine. He will be sadly missed.
Two workers who died in an explosion at a Cardiff steelworks have been named as Peter O'Brien and Mark Sim.

I didn't know Peter, but I was in university with his brother Bernard. I guessed the relationship when I heard the news yesterday, and had it confirmed by my brother Vince this morning.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

This Sort of Thing Is My Bag Baby



I must get along to this exhibition at the Wellcome Collection in Euston some time between today and the end of February ............ and - in the interests of balance - to the Old Rutlishians' Wine and Cheese Evening on December 4th.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Jonah Tali Lomu, MNZM (12 May 1975 – 18 November 2015)



RIP Jonah Lomu. I was in Hong Kong (Dickie and I were visiting Kev) for the 1994 Sevens where he burst onto the international rugby scene.

I also remember that his brother ended up playing in Cardiff for the Old Illtydians and that I met him down the club in Splott. I could never quite get my head around how that might have happened, but happen it did.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

La Marseillaise

Allons enfants de la Patrie,

Le jour de gloire est arrive!

Contre nous de la tyrannie,

L'etendard sanglant est leve,

Entendez-vous dans les campagnes

Mugir ces feroces soldats?

Ils viennent jusque dans vos bras

Egorger vos fils, vos compagnes!

Aux armes, citoyens,

Formez vos bataillons,

Marchons, marchons!

Qu'un sang impur

Abreuve nos sillons!
Arise children of the fatherland

The day of glory has arrived

Against us tyranny's

Bloody standard is raised

Listen to the sound in the fields

The howling of these fearsome soldiers

They are coming into our midst

To cut the throats of your sons and consorts

To arms citizens

Form your battalions

March, march

Let impure blood

Water our furrows

Spelling out the lyrics of the French anthem in English shows how eerily apt and prophetic it is as a response to Friday. I hope the home fans sing it along with the visitors at the France-England football match at Wembley tonight.

Monday, November 16, 2015

It's the Arts

After we got back from the Winchester game yesterday, I took myself off to catch the tail end of the Open Studios Art Show. I hadn't even heard of the Wimbledon Art Studios until Andy posted in Facebook that Sharon was exhibiting. "It Just Shows to Go Ya," when one considers that it is only a mile and a half away from my house.

I was quite staggered by the scale of the thing. Reading Sharon's potted biography among her paintings I found that she graduated from Camberwell College of Art.

Ben's art teacher in school has been trying to persuade him to take classes there on Saturday mornings but to no avail. If we are ever at a social event that the Smarts are attending as well I ought to introduce him to Sharon. Maybe she could enthuse him? She and Ben are the only two people that I know who carry sketch books. They would have that in common, and it is more than you can say for me.

Here's a video of the last Open Studios, back in May.





Sunday, November 15, 2015

It pays to increase your word power

There was more Marquis of Queensbury than we are used to in the Ruts away game at Winchester earlier today. An hour and a half down the A3 for a punch up seems a bit extravagant. I could have just gone into Ben's room this morning, tuned him with the business end of a baseball bat and saved on petrol.

One particular donnybrook after a late tackle is lodged in my mind. An aggrieved Winchester prop came up off the floor and gave Sid the time-honoured two palm to the chest who-the-fxxx-are-you shove that we have all delivered when wronged, only to find he was pushing an immovable object and succeeding in nothing more than bouncing back and knocking himself down again. A one-in-all-in mêlée ensued, but an atavistic part of me thrilled as the ref sent him scowling and gesticulating to the touchline.

Prodnose: Donnybrook?

Myself: Named from Donnybrook Fair, a notoriously disorderly event, held annually from 1204 until the middle of the 19th century. A brawl or fracas; a scene of chaos.

Prodnose: Atavistic?

Myself: Relating to or characterized by reversion to something ancient or ancestral.

Prodnose: OK. I'd still prefer to have it in English though.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Kalashnikov, grenade and suicide attacks across French capital.

I was at the Guardian Centre in Colliers Wood last night, at a quiz to raise money for MertonVision, who, this year, celebrate 50 years of providing services, information and support to residents of the borough with a visual impairment.

Just as I was starting to think what a comfortably heart-warming evening it was social media reports started coming in via peoples' mobile phones of the atrocities in Paris.
Paris terror attacks: Isil terrorists gunned down disabled people as woman held dying Briton in her arms
Us and them. How can we be the same species as the people who did this? Words fail me.

The last book I read was The Gun: The Story of the AK-47. I have been thinking about it a lot today.
The AK-47, or 'Kalashnikov', is the most abundant and efficient firearm on earth. It is so light it can be used by children. It has transformed the way we fight wars, and its story is the chilling story of modern warfare.
C. J. Chivers's extraordinary new book tells an alternative history of the world as seen through these terrible weapons. He traces them back to their origins in the early experiments of Gatling and Maxim, and examines the first appearance of the machine-gun. The quest for ever greater firepower and mobility culminated in the AK-47 at the beginning of the Cold War, a weapon so remarkable that, over sixty years after its invention and having broken free of all state control, it has become central to civil wars all over the world.
The Kalashnikov is the main tool that was used in yesterday's massacres. It is estimated that 100 million Kalashnikov-family weapons have been built of which 75 million are AK-47s,

That genie is not going to be stuffed back into the bottle God help us.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Move Along, Nothing to See Here

I hurried along to http://www.gigsandtours.com/tour/prince at 10 sharp this morning only to read:
The on sale of Prince - Piano & a Microphone tour has been postponed and will not be going ahead at 10am this morning.
More details regarding purchasing tickets to follow.
So that is that then, at least for the time being.

In other mind-numbingly tedious news, I have discovered that the key ingredient in the pork pibil, Ben and I enjoyed recently is aciote paste and I can get it from http://www.mexgrocer.co.uk/Achiote-Paste.html.

Wahaca - Mexican Food at Home has been added to my wish list as well, for what it is worth.


Thursday, November 12, 2015

SPOTLIGHT... PRINCE PIANO & A MICROPHONE.

It was initially reported that the tour was announced during a press conference at Prince's Paisley Park studios in Minnesota over the weekend.
Prince allegedly told attendees: "Why do this now? For several reasons. For starters it is a challenge. I rarely get bad reviews because this is something that's been perfected for over 30 years. You have to try new things. With the piano it is more naked, more pure. You can see exactly what you get."
Friday 27th November – Glasgow Royal Concert Hall – Doors: 17:00
Friday 27th November – Glasgow Royal Concert Hall – Doors: 21:00
Sunday 29th November – London Theatre, Royal Drury Lane – Doors: 15:00
Sunday 29th November – London Theatre, Royal Drury Lane – Doors: 19:00
Tuesday 1st December – Birmingham Symphony Hall – Doors: 17:00
Tuesday 1st December – Birmingham Symphony Hall – Doors: 21:00 
Tickets on sale 10am, Friday 13th November at gigsandtours.com
- NO PHOTOGRAPHY ALLOWED
- ONLY 2X TICKETS PER PERSON
- PHOTO ID REQUIRED FOR LEAD BOOKER
You will have to excuse me at 10am tomorrow as I try and snaffle a couple of tickets for a London show at http://www.gigsandtours.com/tour/prince. The earlier one may be easier to swing than the later.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

I just kept plugging away

I read a Guardian interview with Henry Slade (one of the guys who emerged with credit from England's World Cup disappointment) yesterday. He says
“I went to the Devon county trials as an under-15 and I didn’t get in because they said I was too small. I was gutted but I reminded myself that you usually end up being taller than your mum and she was 5ft 11in. So I had hope.”
Does Slade believe English rugby is too caught up in physicality, at the expense of skill?
“From my experience, yeah, in the lower age groups. Other boys had a lot of skill and they weren’t picked for the county side because they weren’t big or powerful – even if you could see the smaller kid would be better in the long run. A lot were lost but, in my case, I just kept plugging away. It comes down to mentality, doesn’t it? If you’ve got that competitive edge it makes you stronger. I kept trying and trying and it paid off eventually. But it was a long road.”
Food for thought. Especially as I got an email in the afternoon from Surrey Rugby saying that Ben has been nominated, by the head of rugby at his school, for the U15 County Player Development Programme and inviting him to an Assessment Day early in December.

"I just kept plugging away."

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

The story of the first Sex Pistols gig



Forty years ago. Goodness me.

We have to wait until December next year for the 40th anniversary of the Sex Pistols in Caerphilly though. See http://www.bbc.co.uk/wales/music/sites/history/pages/sex-pistols-caerphilly.shtml for the skinny on what was the talk of the playground in St Illtyd's.

Monday, November 09, 2015

Cassandra

David Davis looks tired and puffy-eyed. It’s the morning after Theresa May’s unveiling of the government’s flagship investigatory powers bill, and he has spent the night getting to grips with its 296 pages. The battle over the bill is going to last for months and Davis, who from the Conservative backbenches has become one of the foremost defenders of civil liberties, will be leading the critics, but he knows this initial period is crucial in shaping public attitudes.
“The government had the most amazing propaganda blitz,” he says. “GCHQ had a three-day advertorial in the Times with gushing pieces from young journos, so we knew we were going to get some sort of heavy-duty spin on all of this, and the spin was in my direction – we’re going to be more transparent, we’re going to have more accountability, we’re going to bring in the judiciary, we’re going to limit it. All of it turns out to have been overstated. They’re making lots of rhetorical moves in the right direction, but the substance doesn’t add up. There are loads and loads of holes in it. My impression is they didn’t finish writing the bill until the day before they published it.”
Two and a half years on (Icons passim) David Davis is still fighting the good fight; Tooting's finest. If I agreed with him 100% before, I agree with him 110% now.

Sunday, November 08, 2015

"The whole game is Beast Mode"



The Ruts away game at Hove was cancelled today due to waterlogged pitches. It is pity that I didn't know on Friday as I could have gone back to Cardiff to check on Mum and Dad.

Alex has come back home with Ben after training to check out Call of Duty: Black Ops III - an early Christmas present I have been talked into.
IN THE YEAR 2065, cybernetic advancements give rise to augmented human soldiers, a new breed of badass charged with preserving our way of life. Their mission leads them to a seedy bar in Singapore, where they encounter an underworld boss and his elite squad of mercenaries. Among them is a 5-foot-11, 215-pound battering ram of a man who's exactly like the world's most ferocious running back circa 2015: the Seahawks' Marshawn Lynch.
OK. Now that we have the Seahawks/ Ben on the XBOX connection sorted, my life is starting to look more coherent, (52 seconds into the trailer is where we start making sense.)

Saturday, November 07, 2015

#HelloJetman



Now that is something that should have been in SPECTRE!
The carefully choreographed aerial showcase involved the world’s largest passenger aircraft flying at 4,000 feet in two holding patterns. The A380 aircraft was then joined by the Jetman Dubai duo, experienced pilots and operators of the smallest jet propelled wing, who were deployed from a helicopter that hovered above the aircraft at 5,500 feet. The duo conducted formations on both sides of the aircraft and joined to one side thereafter before breaking away.
Can I have a jet propelled wing as a combined Christmas and birthday present?

Sticking the boot in to James Bond's latest outing has reminded me that last night I realised that a major plot twist is, to all intents and purposes, lifted - postmodern self referentiality ahead - from Austin Powers in Goldmember.

Friday, November 06, 2015

A Spectre is haunting Europe

Ben and I went to see the new James Bond film in the Wimbledon Odeon last night, and both of us found it - for all its UK box office domination - rather dull.

What wasn't dull though, was the adventurer's selection menu that we shared at the branch of Wahaca (Thomasina Miers' Mexican market food chain) downstairs in the same building before the showing.

I am recording it here so I can work through versions myself over time at home:

Salmon sashimi tostadas
Pork pibil tacos
Chipotle chicken quesadilla
Rajas tacos
Huitlacoche empanadas
Smoky cauliflower cheese
Sweet potato

Churros y chocolate to share

The tacos were particularly good, though the churros were a bit heavy for my taste. To think that we went straight from this great grub to a Bond film whose first sequence is set in Mexico City on the Day of the Dead, and even that couldn't save the movie for us.

I have another Spectre tie-in. Last week I was downstairs writing (fuelled by loathing of Sam Smith) my own James Bond song at the piano, when I decided to take a sandwich up to Ben in his room. When I arrived he was drawing in his sketch book.

"What's that?" I asked.

"A steam punk cat."

And sure enough it was, complete with leather flying goggles and an intricately detailed bronze exoskeleton.

The design is available for license, if Barbara Broccoli is looking for a new villainous hench-pet for Bond 25.

Thursday, November 05, 2015

While the world burns

Exhibit A: Hi-tech backpack that becomes a frontpack invented by British engineer

Exhibit B: London bar to sell world's first transgender beer brewed from hermaphrodite hops

The New British Empire
Like the industrial revolution before it, our postwar culture is a success story built on geographical opportunism and an indefatigable entrepreneurial spirit. Just as the industrial revolution transformed British society, creating new wealth and a thriving mill-owning middle class, so too have money, marketing flair and creative invention underpinned our cultural development. It is, after all, a development that has been driven by a handful of inventive, single-minded, and savvy entrepreneurs.
Up to a point, Lord Copper. Dr Strabismus has the floor.


Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Deep South

I am just off to Virgin Active where I will be continuing with Paul Theroux's Deep South: Four Seasons on Back Roads on my kindle while I knock out half an hour on the static recline bike.

Travelling with him through North and South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama and Arkansas, and from soul food cafe to soul food cafe has made me wonder how John and I let our Route 55 trip  go off the boil.

I got a text from the latter over the weekend:
I was looking to see what the Hang Fire girls were up to and stumbled across The Smoke House in pontcanna. Worth a visit I suspect. Good
luck to Ben and the Ruts.
He is obviously still as interested in BBQ as I am and https://www.facebook.com/SmokeHouseWales goes on the to-do list for next time I am back visiting mum and dad.

My own peregrinations have pooted forth Caveman BBQ in Great Bookham. It is just down the road from the practice where I take Ben each month for his orthodontist treatment. The next appointment is on November 24 (Vince's birthday) so we will pop in for some brisket when we are there.

It is also just round the corner from Howard of Effinhgam school where Ben and Rutlish have an away game on Friday in the County Cup. (Addendum: This game is actually on Nov 20th.)

Deep South; past the Fortnum-Mason line, y'all.

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

tada!


Prodnose: So that is what it is, how remarkably uninteresting.

Monday, November 02, 2015

Sonny Bill



It seems like the entire world (including me) fell head over heels for Sonny Boy Williams after he gave his World Cup Winners medal to a young fan who had been clotheslined by an over zealous steward.

SBW was playing rugby league in 2014 and has signed on to play sevens for New Zealand next year targeting the Rio Olympics. England would never have selected someone with such an independent cast of mind for their World Cup squad. Quod Erat Demonstrandum.

It is also quite striking that neither he, nor Nehe Milner-Skudder, nor Steve Hansen (who wanders over to see what is happening) overreact to the guy who knocked the kid down. Play what's in front of you and don't fret about what led up to it.

Sunday, November 01, 2015

the Strabismo desk


I have popped into the office on the way back from the Brighton game. We lost but it was a useful friendly and I thought Ben played well.

It is odd to be here on Sunday, but if I had one these new desks that the heirs of Dr Strabismus have been working on I might never leave.





Saturday, October 31, 2015

My verdict is final

Ahead of today's showdown with Australia, World Rugby has ruled, as a tribute in light of his likely retirement, that as throughout his career Ritchie McCaw has spent so much time during test matches in areas of the pitch where the other countries are supposed to be trying to play, he is to be officially eligible to be included in the all time best 15 of every other international side as well as New Zealand.

Ho ho, very satirical. I'll be watching the game in the Charles Holden later if any of my showbiz pals fancy it.

The most intriguing rugby news this weekend though is that the Bomber is scheduled to start at outside half tomorrow against Brighton after years in the back three at full back or on the wing,

Friday, October 30, 2015

Go, get the butter

Listen to Me Marlon, of which more perhaps another day, was released on fewer screens than Spectre this week but it is showing in the Clapham Picturehouse so that is where I took myself off last night.

Remembering that Bodean's is round the corner, I had a look at www.bodeansbbq.com and found I could get a free movie ticket thrown in if I ate their baby back ribs and pulled pork combo first for a total of £15.

When you consider that the price on the menu for the combo alone is £15.45 and it meant I could get half a bar off my dinner before I went to the movies for free. So that is what I did.

It only takes me ten minutes to get to Clapham Common on the tube. Why don't I get along there more? I haven't been to Bodean's since I took the Bomber there in July last year, and - according to the WBI time machine - the last time I rocked up at the Picturehouse was 2007.

Time is a funny thing.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

NIHILISTIC PASSWORD SECURITY QUESTIONS.

What is the name of your least favorite child?
In what year did you abandon your dreams?
What is the maiden name of your father’s mistress?
At what age did your childhood pet run away?
What was the name of your favorite unpaid internship?
In what city did you first experience ennui?
What is your ex-wife’s newest last name?
What sports team do you fetishize to avoid meaningful discussion with others?
What is the name of your favorite canceled TV show?
What was the middle name of your first rebound?
On what street did you lose your childlike sense of wonder?
When did you stop trying?
I have just stopped trying now.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

The Rules of Mr Robot

I watched the first four episodes of Mr Robot last night. Talk about wearing your influences on your sleeve.
1st RULE: You do not talk about FIGHT CLUB.
2nd RULE: You DO NOT talk about AMERICAN PSYCHO.
3rd RULE: If someone says "stop" or goes limp, You do not talk about TRAINSPOTTING.
etc.
I'll still watch the rest of the series though. Or at least that is the plan. I haven't really got a boxed-set level attention span. I've only ever watched the first episode of The Wire, and I bought that over six years ago.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Spoonfest



You have missed Spoonfest 2015, which ran from July 28th to the 30th, but you couldn't have gone anyway as it was a sell out.

Myself: Oh dear. How sad. Never mind.

Richard Benson: Gentlemen, I have seen the future, and it is spoon-shaped.

Monday, October 26, 2015

“How could you have had such a wonderful life as me if there wasn't a God directing?”

I read this morning that Maureen O'Hara died on Saturday. I wonder if that is why The Quiet Man turned up on TV that afternoon. I'm glad I watched it again.

I must schedule How Green Was My Valley and Miracle On 34th Street as well.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

If you knew your country's history as well as you claim to know it



The Quiet Man is just starting on More 4. I am unavailable until half past two, then I will be off to watch the World Cup semi.

Unless its only a mirage brought on by my terrible thirst.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Segue Swegway


His hover board has arrived. All we need now is for someone to invent a belt and he will be able to tuck his bleedin' shirt in.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Strike Price

We are living through a week in which our government is allowing the British steel industry to go to the wall because it has to pay twice  as much for energy as competitors in, say, France and can't match the prices at which China is dumping excess capacity on us, while simultaneously agreeing to pay the French majority publicly owned EDF and the state-owned China General Nuclear Power Corporation (CGN) twice the going rate for electricity from a nuclear power plant they will build at Hinkley Point in Somerset.

This is strategically and economically insane; practically treason to put it bluntly.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Spotted on the tube


Shoes for bees, edible hats, suede binbags, pasta tent, the Hover Kettle and waterproof jam. I've said it before but it's Dr Strabismus's world, we just live in it.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

The Fields of Athenry

About an hour into the New Zealand France quarter final at the World Cup I was astounded to find the stadium ringing to the sound of thousands of Irish fans singing a song that I have now discovered is called The Fields of Anthenry. This came as something of a surprise to me as Ireland weren't due to play until the next day.

Wikipedia
"The Fields of Athenry" is an Irish folk ballad set during the Great Irish Famine (1845–1850) about a fictional man named Michael from near Athenry in County Galway who has been sentenced to transportation to Botany Bay, Australia, for stealing food for his starving family. It is a widely known and popular anthem for Irish sports supporters.
It was actually written as late as the 1970s,and the most successful version was released by Paddy Reilly in 1982. So now we know. All together now.......

Monday, October 19, 2015

My regular shows



"Cyber-conspiracy thriller Mr Robot (Amazon Prime) has been US TV’s most talked-about new drama of 2015. Bafflingly, it took months for a UK broadcaster to snap up the rights. When someone eventually did, it was Amazon’s streaming service, where it’s likely to attract only a niche audience. A shame, as this is edgily exciting stuff." says the Telegraph, so I cued it up when I got in yesterday.

Having watched the Ireland Agentina quarter final at the Ruts and Australia versus Scotland in the Charles Holden though, I promptly fell asleep so I can't report on it.

My niece, Jazz, having hipped me to the Regular Show over the weekend, I was also pleased to see I can get the first two series of that free at the point of delivery on Prime.
The series revolves around the lives of two friends, a blue jay named Mordecai and a raccoon named Rigby—both employed as groundskeepers at a local park. Their regular attempts to slack off usually lead to surreal, extreme, and often supernatural misadventures. During these misadventures, they interact with the show's other main characters: Benson, Pops, Muscle Man, Hi-Five Ghost, Skips, Thomas, Margaret, Eileen and CJ.
Hi-Five Ghost: What's not to like?

Sunday, October 18, 2015

away from the numbers

  • Old Rutlishians U15A 0-43 KCS Boys U15A
  • Ireland 20-43 Argentina
  • Australia 35- 34 Scotland
  • Carolina Panthers 27-23 Seattle Seahawks 23
You may safely say that the Ruts, the entire Northern hemisphere and my fledgling North American interests have had better days than today. Don't even get me started on Wales even though I was lucky enough to be at the Millennium on Saturday evening for the All Black master class.

Brian More says:
The joke started with an Englishman walking into a bar to find no Welsh, Irish, Scottish or French counterparts – they were all out watching their teams in the Rugby World Cup 2015. Well now they are all there but cannot get served because the Aussie barmen are watching all the semi-finals.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

This is a low, but it won't hurt you

On 27 June 1998 at Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria South Africa beat Wales 96–13 at rugby. Almost exactly a year late, on 26 June 1999, we beat them 29–19 at the Millennium Stadium.

A fallow period followed but we beat them there again last November and, with a bit of luck will prevail again at Twickenham in the World Cup Quarter final in Twickenham this afternoon.

That ought to give us some perspective on the school losing 90-7 to Dulwich College yesterday. (I note that 'Diq was out, and Bill came off injured. You can't really afford to lose your only two Surrey squad forwards.)

As I watched Invictus on Amazon Prime lately I offer:
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Prodnose: Thought you were smart when you took them on,
But you didn't take a peep in their artillery room
All that rugby puts hairs on your chest
What chance have you got against a tie and a crest?

Friday, October 16, 2015

fried chicken vs. coffee shops

From the Strabismus Research Institute:
With the assumption that the ratio of coffee shops to chicken shops is an indication of future prosperity (with a resultant uplift in house prices), then the following characteristics make an area “legitimately” up and coming:
High density of coffee shops
Low density of chicken shops
Low house prices
And the results say…
Move to Peckham!
As well as Peckham, other areas of interest for property buyers on the hunt for the next best thing are: Southwark, Woolwich, Isle of Dogs, Colliers Wood, and Willesden Junction.
With the first report into how to predict London house prices complete, further investigation into other factors can duly follow.
Currently in the pipeline, are studies of the ratio of £1 stores: bicycle repair shops, fluctuations in the street price of coriander, and the density of shops selling quinoa…
Coffee in the Wood is putting pounds in my pocket it seems.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Viv S Section



I've been on Amazon Prime for a while now and it is starting to recommend music to me. Over the last couple of weeks it has brought two Viv Stanshall albums to my attention: Men Opening Umbrellas Ahead and Sir Henry at Ndidi's Kraal.

I am old enough to remember when theses where hard to obtain rarities - they were certainly too hard for me to obtain - yet now I can add them to my library at no marginal cost at all. The sun has got his hat on, hip hip hip hooray!

Note to self: I must also listen to http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00pcklz

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

some are innies and some are outies

← Geoff Parling (England)
→ Kane Douglas (Australia)

← Jonathan Joseph (England)
→ Matt Giteau (Australia)

← Konstantin Mikautadze (Georgia)
→ Lood De Jager (South Africa)

← Vereniki Goneva (Fiji)
→ Keith Earls (Ireland)

I have made the swaps above to rid my squad of players whose teams haven't made it to the quarter finals, and I am still hanging on at the top of the leader board in our Ruts fantasy rugby world cup competition on SuperBru.

I've still got another couple of transfers left but I don't have to finalise my squad and starting line-up for another four and a bit days so I will wait for team announcements before my last tweaks.

I still have not the faintest idea how points are awarded though.

Prodnose: Take a look at http://www.superbru.com/rwcfantasy/how_to_play_scoring_fantasy.php.

Monday, October 12, 2015

"Charles III" II

I read in Vanity Fair that the Charles III, a play that imagines what might happen when the Prince of Wales ascends to the throne is to open on Broadway.

I saw it twice last year in the West End. The first time Melvyn Bragg was sitting next to me, and the second time I took a member of the Royal Household. I must have been an insider 2014. Now it's 2015 I am outside looking in again.

You know the Welsh football and rugby results from the weekend: two defeats but we are still through in both competitions. As I store memories here I will also record that the school lost 19-10 to the London Oratory and the club beat Bromley 19-7. Ben is off school sick today. I hope he is better in time for the Dulwich College game on Thursday.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

She' s so modern

Peerage authorities have been called upon to determine if genetic material could be used to determine who should inherit the Pringle of Stichill baronetcy.
The Queen herself referred the case to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. 
The little-known court of top judges will rule on whether DNA evidence can lawfully be used to settle the issue of the hereditary title.
If approved, the use of DNA evidence in cases relating to hereditary titles could have far reaching consequences if 'pretenders' with genetic evidence of their birth right begin to emerge.
And to imagine Jeremy Corbin wasn't thrilled with the opportunity to join the Privy Council.

The Glidd of Glood, quite frankly, sounds less ridiculous, than the Pringle of Stichill.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Fixture Pile Up

This weekend I will be anxiously watching the following:

Sat 10:30 Rutlish School U15A v London Oratory School U15A: Friendly
Tony Blair and Nick Clegg sent their boys there. Will Rutlish send them packing?

Sat 16:45 Wales v Australia Rugby World Cup Group A
Both are already through to the quarter finals, but bragging rights and a potentially smoother path the final are at stake.

Sat 19:45 Bosnia-Herzegovina v Wales European Championship Qualifying Group B
Chris Coleman's side are unbeaten at the top of Group B as they bid to reach the finals of a major tournament for the first time since the 1958 World Cup. Wales need but a single point to reach next summer's European Championship finals in France.

Sun 11:00 Old Rutlishians U15 v Bromley RFC: Friendly
I am unfamiliar with Bromley but they beat Westcombe Park 38-10 in the first round of their cup competition so they are very likely no mugs.

I won't be able to watch the England Uraguay game as it clashes with Wales' football.

England Prepare For Quarter finals

Friday, October 09, 2015

Pacific Warriors



I am going to be watching the New Zealand v Tonga game in the Charles Holden this evening with the Colliers Wood Kiwi contingent, so Ben and I rented Pacific Warriors last night (you can get it on iTunes or Amazon Instant video) as part of my "we can be Tongan, just for one day" revision.

There is an interview with a guy called Jed Thian interspersed through the documentary which seems to have been filmed in the Old Ruts changing rooms as they were before the club was renovated. Another clue is the badge on the hoodie that is hanging behind him. Ben noticed it. I was oblivious as usual.


I knew there was a Ruts connection to the producer but I had no idea it went this far. I can't help but wonder if some of the other interviews were filmed in the bar now I replay it in my mind.

It is a great film by the way, and well worth a look.

Thursday, October 08, 2015

today's selection news

In no particular order of significance.

1. The Nobel Prize in Literature for 2015 is awarded to the Belarusian author Svetlana Alexievich, "for her polyphonic writings, a monument to suffering and courage in our time." I've never heard of her either.

2. Warren Gatland has ripped his Wales side apart to face Australia in the World Cup pool of death decider, making six changes from the XV that started against Fiji. In a series of shock selections, Gareth Anscombe starts at full-back, George North moves from wing to outside-centre, Justin Tipuric comes in to the back row at openside flanker - with captain Sam Warburton moving to blindside - and Paul James is preferred to Gethin Jenkins at loosehead prop. There is also a return for Liam Williams, with the Scarlets man coming on to the left wing to accommodate Anscombe in the No.15 jersey. Samson Lee also starts at tighthead and there's a change in the second row with Luke Charteris partnering Alun Wyn Jones instead of broken nose victim Bradley Davies.

Wales: G Anscombe; A Cuthbert, G North, J Roberts, L Williams; D Biggar, G Davies; P James, S Baldwin, S Lee; L Charteris, AW Jones; S Warburton, J Tipuric, T Faletau.

Reps: K Owens, A Jarvis, T Francis, J Ball, R Moriarty, Ll Williams, R Priestland, J Hook.

Australia: Israel Folau, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Tevita Kuridrani, Matt Giteau, Drew Mitchell, Bernard Foley, Will Genia, Scott Sio, Stephen Moore (captain), Sekope Kepu, Kane Douglas, Dean Mumm, Scott Fardy, Sean McMahon, David Pocock.

Reps: Tatafu Polota-Nau, James Slipper, Greg Holmes, Rob Simmons, Ben McCalman, Nick Phipps, Matt Toomua, Kurtley Beale.

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

What would Henry Newbolt say?

Ye that with me have fought and failed and fought
To the last desperate trench of battle's crest,
Not yet to sleep, not yet; our work is nought;
On that last trench the fate of all may rest,
Draw near, my friends; and let your thoughts be high;
Great hearts are glad when it is time to give;
Life is no life to him that dares not die,
And death no death to him that dares to live.

Draw near together; none be last or first;
We are no longer names, but one desire;
With the same burning of the soul we thirst,
And the same wine to-night shall quench our fire.
Drink! to our fathers who begot us men,
To the dead voices that are never dumb;
Then to the land of all our loves, and then
To the long parting, and the age to come.


Attention English press and English people. All this bitching and moaning about your rugby side when you still have a game to play is embarrassing and unseemly. You should all get together to offer full-throated support to England in their last World Cup game against Uruguay. You owe them at least that before moving on to the inevitable time-honoured tradition of ritual human sacrifice that accompanies the passing of the torch in any of your national teams.

Prodnose: So there!

Myself: That'll learn 'em.

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

When memory disappears

Life with dementia — misery, anger, sadness, dark comedy — is an awkward teeter between despair and hope ... more »

Monday, October 05, 2015

Football Echo

Yesterday afternoon, I managed to secure the only spot in the Royal Standard (and perhaps in Colliers Wood) from which I could follow the first half of Ireland sneaking past Italy on a TV in the bar at the same time as the second half of Arsenal 3 - Manchester Utd 0 on a telly in the lounge.

I am still top of the Ruts SuperBru fantasy rugby contest after round 2, but with less of a lead.

I was thinking this morning that I would have to transfer my England players before the start of round three, forgetting - such is their humiliation - that they still have a pool game against Uruguay.

I am off to see Brian Moore and Michael Lynagh at Bookfest tonight. That should be interesting in light of last weekend's England Australia game. The ex-England hooker calls for calm in the Telegraph this morning.