Saturday, January 31, 2015

Charles household 'like Wolf Hall'

The Prince of Wales' household is so riddled with backstabbing and in-fighting it is nicknamed Wolf Hall, a new book has revealed.
Bitter rivalries led to the collapse of a multimillion-pound deal to house all of the Prince's charities under one roof, costing more than £100,000, the book claims.
Charles: The Heart of A King, by Time magazine journalist Catherine Mayer, paints a picture of Clarence House as a household torn apart by turf wars.
In the book, serialised in The Times, she writes: "One former householder refers to Clarence House as Wolf Hall, in reference to the treacherous and opportunistic world depicted by Hilary Mantel in her fictionalised account of the rise of Thomas Cromwell under Henry VIII."
But the book claims that while Charles is dubbed "The Boss" by staff, he is insecure and identifies more with Baldrick, the downtrodden turnip-eating servant in Blackadder.While many employees feel disillusioned and "oppressed" as they feel their jobs and responsibilities are being usurped by Charles' aides, she claims.
She says "Charles hasn't always chosen his sages wisely" and has appointed people who tell him what he wants to hear rather than the truth.
She added: "That factor, combined with his native insecurity, means he doesn't always believe he's earned the praise that comes his way, while criticism has the power to cast him into despair."
She also claimed some of the Prince's ideas only got off the ground because of his status and because aides pay him lip service.
"Charles' ideas-first, feasibility-second approach has never been checked by the realities that affect ordinary start-ups. As soon as he is seized by a notion, he asks several different people to begin work on realising his vision. His position and resources mean that his brainchildren have a better chance of entering the world than if they were conceived by a common-or-garden commoner, and have sometimes been kept alive when other operations would falter and die."
Sometimes only the Daily Mail will do. I may well have a look at this book when it comes out next week.

Friday, January 30, 2015


Occasionally I just past something on:
Yesterday, I was asked to explain to school-children what I liked about reading. I found it very difficult to do, without describing particular books. Recently, for example, I came across a book by the British monk Gildas. It caught my eye, on a shelf, when I should have been doing something else. I opened it, and was suddenly in the presence of a man from the sixth century. He was speaking, directly to me, in the exact words that he had chosen more than a millennium ago, about the state of Britain after the collapse of the Roman Empire. Here it is:
Here it is.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

In the Bleak Mid Season

TeamPWDLFADiffB PtsPtsAdjust
Chipstead U14540112746813250
Warlingham U14s4400159591004240
Old Rutlishians U14430116977924200
Old Caterhamians U14s5212136140-44190
Rosslyn Park U14A520377121-442140
Chobham U14s41125480-262120
Battersea Ironsides U1441033551-162100
Effingham & Leatherhead U14s410382141-59190
Camberley U14510449173-124090
Last Updated: Jan 27 2015 3:45PM

Here's the table after last weekend's fixtures. There are nine teams in the division so each team gets one round off and last week was the Ruts'.

As a result we have slipped from first to third. If we can beat Rosslyn Park by enough to get a bonus point on February 8, however we can go one point ahead of current leaders Chipstead after the same number of games.

Someone from Wimbledon filmed their friendly against the Ruts Bs on Sunday. That is a good idea I think. Part 1 is above. See also Part 2 and Part 3.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

A refund is due on your account

On June 8, 2007 I wrote:
Can you even conceive dear reader of someone so monumentally stupid that he could address a cashpoint machine, slide in his card, tap out his PIN, order £100, retrieve and trouser said card, and then stride away intent on collecting his offspring from school, leaving the hundred uncollected, limp and flaccid in the slot whence it issued?
A letter arrived from the bank yesterday:
Sainsbury's Bank has recently contacted Barclays about an issue they have experienced regarding some transactions undertaken at their ATMs.
It appears, on the 07/06/2007 the full amount of cash requested wasn't received, even though yur account was debited in full by £100.00.
Your account wasn't automatically refunded at the time and Sainsbury's Bank have advised Barclays to credit your account with £11824. This credit reflects the refund, and also includes a an interest payment (compound interest at 2.84%) to reflect the compensation had the funds been in a Savings account from the time the transaction occurred.
Well  I never.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Time To Get Together

And while I have got my rugby head on, the school year 10 team (featuring the year 9 Bomber) got a shut out on the England Rugby website for doing so well in the NatWest Cup. Ben told me that they made it further than any other state school.
But recognition is also due to a London comprehensive, The Rutlish, based in Merton, who reached the sixth round for the first time.
Though beaten 57-12 by Brighton College, Rutlish defeated some esteemed rugby schools in the earlier rounds, including a 21-17 win over Hampton and 5-0 victory over King’s College, Wimbledon.
Liam Shanahan, a former Scotland Under 18 player, is the coach who helped launch rugby properly only three years ago. “We are established now and the boys are enjoying the sport. They train and play mostly in their own time which shows how committed they are,” he said.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Mad-Ass Entire

This being the morning after the night before I hate the Cronx Brewery with all my heart and soul. Mad-Ass Entire Chilli Porter indeed: "Impetuous. Homeric!"

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Live Hard

Lord I swear the perfume you wear

Was made out of turnip greens
And every time I kiss you girl
It tastes like pork and beans
The Lockhart is booked for lunch on Saturday Feb 7. My brother John is taking a half day so he can get here in time to watch the Wales England game live with me and the Bomber on Friday night (would the Ruts be a good place to do that?).

Love it when a plan comes together.

It would be good if John and I (Southern boys) could get along to the Saturday matinee of The Scottsboro Boys after lunch, but that starts at 2:30. As the bar in the Lockhart is open until three it might be a bit of a stretch.

Friday, January 23, 2015


That's good porridge: restaurant voted best in Cardiff is... in the prison
The Clink Restaurant at HMP Cardiff is staffed entirely by prisoners... and has been voted the city's best restaurant on TripAdvisor
That is fascinating stuff. I must try and get there next time I am back.

On Thursday 26th February 2015, 6pm to 9.15pm, The Clink Restaurant at HMP Brixton will be celebrating its first year of business with an Indian themed fundraising dinner hosted by chef ambassador Cyrus Todiwala OBE DL..........Open to the general public, guests will be greeted with a non-alcoholic fruit cocktail before enjoying an incredible evening of food that will feature authentic flavours from an assortment of Bombay street food, Goan and North Indian inspired dishes with an exotic dessert, coffee and petit fours to finish.
Brixton is only a tube ride away, though the non-alcoholic fruit cocktail implies it isn't licensed. Then again, I didn't drink any booze at all yesterday.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Royal Commend Performance

Graduates and stars of the Royal Court Theatre, 1969. Standing (left to right): David Cregan, playwright; Jack Shephard, actor; Sir Laurence Olivier; Anthony Page; John Osborne. Seated: Christopher Hampton, resident dramatist; Joan Plowright; Peter Gill, Jill Bennett, Victor Henry (Jimmy Porter in the revival of Look Back in Anger), Edward Bond. On Floor: Kenneth Haigh, the original Jimmy Porter.
We got a "Drama Commendation" letter from the school earlier this week; a five star review for the Bomber.
I wish to take this opportunity to commend your son for his hard work and continued success in Drama. To date, he has demonstrated discipline, dedication and commitment, and has consequently produced work of an exceptionally high standard!
You could have k'd me d with an f. I would have thought that a "Drama Condemnation" letter would be more his style. Couple that with the fact that I am meeting someone in Sloane Square this evening, so the Royal Court bar seems like a good venue, and Peter Gill, the only relative I know in the theatre dodge has sprung to mind. The image above has disappeared from the original post I made of it, and thus I present it again for your viewing pleasure.

À propos, he directed Rosamund Pike in Gaslight at the Old Vic in 2007, and this year she has bagged best actress Oscar nod this year; exalted company.
Are you Theatre?
Whenever I carry my spearta the theatre, to do Hamlet,
I ask it this question.
It says nothing.
Except, 'I don't know.
Ask Vanessa Redgrave!'
But I don't know Vanessa Redgrave!
And neither do you, Theatre.
Or do you?
As Rik Mayall shrewdly observed.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

awkward squad

The 34-man Wales squad that Warren Gatland announced yesterday for the 2015 RBS 6 Nations includes four uncapped players, one of whom is the Blues' Gareth Anscombe, who was signed from the Waikato Chiefs in New Zealand recently, can play fly half or full back, and is qualified for Wales through his mother.

The Cardiff Blues also signed Argentina international full back Lucas González Amorosino in September 2014. Since November Dan Fish doesn't seem to have got much of a look in and can be found turning out for Cardiff RFC under permit while still in the Blues' first team squad.

When you think that Dan (a relative of ours) was playing full back for the Possibles against the Probables last June in the final trial for the Welsh party that toured Australia in the summer, going from that to what looks like the fringes of the Blues squad in six months or so shows what a tough environment professional rugby is.

As a postscript, Fish and Josh Navidi (a man widely regarded as unlucky not to make the cut with Wales yesterday) both signed for the Blues from Glamorgan Wanderers at the same time.

'The old rugby game?  Hardest game in the world. Done it meself, you see.'

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

a week is a long time

The world's my oyster, except for the fact that I just rammed a wooden stake in my brother's heart because he turned into a vampire, even though I don't believe in vampires. Aside from that unfortunate business, everything's hunky-dory.
After last week's sub-par outing we stormed back to a reasonably comfortable win in the quiz last night.

We got an unprecedented fifteen out of fifteen in the music round but on the other side of the ledger I was overruled assigning the movie-round quote above to From Dusk till Dawn when groupthink implanted a false memory in certain minds of having heard it The Lost Boys.

There is a family resemblance I will grant you to "Look at your reflection in the mirror. You're a creature of the night Michael, just like out of a comic book! You're a vampire Michael! My own brother, a goddamn, shit-sucking vampire. You wait 'till mom finds out, buddy!" so it just goes to show what an exalted level we operate at.

Monday, January 19, 2015

the five stages

16-0 down at half time - denial.

16-7 down with two minutes and nine seconds left - anger.

22-22 at full time - bargaining.

28-22 after overtime - Packer depression, Seahawks acceptance.

I will be staying up late on February 1, when the Seahawks kick off against the Patriots  at 23:30 British Summer time in the 2015 Superbowl.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Je suis Keith

I may have found the backing track for my long delayed Christmas single without having to record it myself.

Update 16:40 Another contender

Friday, January 16, 2015

Route 55 in London


Take a look at:
Feel-good food from the Deep South
Pork chops, a slow roast, and unbeatable cornbread: nothing soothes the soul quite like the food of the Deep South…
It seems to me that The Lockhart ought to be on the agenda next time you make it up to London.
The chef Brad McDonald is from Mississippi and everything tasted even better than it sounded: smoked pork belly with spiced pumpkin purée, dirty rice with crab, crawfish dip with cream cheese (that last one might seem pretty ordinary, but you could sup it with its accompanying toast until it was time to go to heaven). This food had the Southern spirit of my imaginings.
They do Brunch on Sunday from 11AM with last orders at 2:30PM and it is only a mile from Paddington Station.

Thursday, January 15, 2015


I went to Virgin Active before work this morning, and found that a strange new structure of poles and rods had been assembled. I had no idea at all what exercises it could possibly support. It bore a logo that let me to and frankly I am not sure that I am convinced. I'll be surprised if Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgesen prepared for the Dawn Wall on it.


Queenax: the system that turns your space into a tool.

Queenax is designed to meet the problems and needs of space inside the clubs.
It is conceived further more to accommodate the new trends of training, such as
the suspension training and the functional training.
With Queenax the space around you becomes a tool: ceiling, floor and walls
become new partners for your training.

Queenax for Antigravity Training.

The ideal support to facilitate suspension activities; an easy and safe system
for training according to the principales of the current most popular activity.

Queenax for Functional Training.

A structure created to facilitate functional training: paths, equipe zones, and special stations.
The best solution for a different and funny training...

Queenax for 4D Training.

Fitting out your club with Queenax philosophy opens the doors to new training sceneries,
you will be able to interact with all the spaces around you.
Find out the endless possibilities of four dimension training.

Queenax to stimulate your imagination.

Are you a creative trainer, or do you want to give way to your ideas?
Queenax is the right solution for you: an advanced structure that gives rise to new
and exiting training solutions.

Queenax to multiply your space.

The only system in the world with patented technology
that multiplies the space available within your room.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Enjoy Yourself (It's Later than You Think)

U14 League 2
TeamPWDLFADiffB PtsPtsAdjust
Old Rutlishians U14430116477874200
Chipstead U1443018439452190
Warlingham U14s330012342813180
Old Caterhamians U14s4211119104154180
Rosslyn Park U14A42024871-231120
Chobham U14s31115465-112110
Camberley U14410342130-88080
Battersea Ironsides U1430032051-31250
Effingham & Leatherhead U14s300332107-75030
Last Updated: Jan 12 2015 2:12PM

Warlingham are lurking in third with a game in hand. We should make the most of being top of the table while we have the chance.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

"une complète liberté de vêtements"

FASHION WEEK - Pourquoi faire appel à des mannequins quand on a à sa disposition des gymnastes médaillés olympiques? C'est en tout cas le pari artistique sur lequel Paul Smith a misé pour présenter ce lundi 12 janvier sa nouvelle collection intitulée "a suit to travel in", "un costume pour voyager". L'idée est de démontrer le confort de ses créations.
Yours for £715. "They walked on their hands, stood tall on each other’s shoulders and spun around the floor in a giant hula hoop and not a crease was to be seen".

I see Dr Strabismus (Whom God Preserve) of Utrecht everywhere.

Monday, January 12, 2015

It's behind me!

As ever, we went to the last performance of this season's Wimbledon panto and added Linda Gray (Dallas' Sue Ellen) to the list of eccentric US imports I have seen in it: Priscilla Presley, David Hasselhoff etc.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

two out of three ain't bad

Don't worry it gets better.

The school crashed and burned against Whitgift on Thursday. The official result hasn't been posted yet, but someone who was there has reported it to me as 48-0 with the proviso that my informant "may have lost count."

Since then, however, the oval ball has been kinder.

Last night I went to Hugh's 60th birthday party at Stokes and Moncreiff in Twickenham.
‘Why Stokes and Moncreiff?’ we hear you ask. Well....On the 27th March 1871 at Raeburn Place, Edinburgh the first ever recorded Rugby International game was played infront of 4000 spectators. The match was between England and Scotland, and the two men leading out their teams - Frederick Stokes and Francis Moncreiff.
Hugh's party went on until one o'clock in the morning. At quarter past my beloved Seahawks kicked off against the Carolina Panthers. They won 31-17 which means that they are now in the NFC Championship game. I have no idea what that means. Nor do I understand more than 25% of what on earth this thrilling match report is telling me.

Now, to the meat in the sandwich.

The Ruts slaughtered Effinghham and Leatherhead this morning. Last year we went down 36-24 to them. Today, the game finished early in the second half when we went 47-5 up. (In Surrey League rules a 40 point lead ends the game as a competition.) The E&L's gamely agreed to play the rest of the allotted time as a friendly but remained "flies to wanton boys". The Bomber got two tries in this extended period, though none in real time. I have tough-love-told him they don't count.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Good morning America how are you?

"City of New Orleans" is a folk song written by Steve Goodman (and first recorded for Goodman's self-titled 1971 album), describing a train ride from Chicago to New Orleans on the Illinois Central Railroad's City of New Orleans in bittersweet and nostalgic terms.
While I was rustling up Stewed Okra and Tomatoes from Pickles, Pigs & Whiskey last night I somehow Spotify-stumbled on the Willie Nelson song above, so 2016's proposed trip now has a theme song.

How long it will last though I can't say. Since I posted about Franklin's Barbecue, John has got some sort of a Texas Jones. He is tugging on my sleeve about THE 50 BEST BBQ JOINTS: a definitive, soot-stained guide to the best purveyors of smoked meat in Texas—which is to say, the best purveyors of smoked meat on earth in general, and the John T. Floore Country Store in particular.

Chicago to New Orleans may not remain up to the grandeur of the evolving conception.

Friday, January 09, 2015

the game's afoot

Competitive rugby is back for the Bomber after the Christmas break , or at least that is the theory.

The school was supposed to play City of London Freeman's at home yesterday afternoon, but that was cancelled, and they are away at Whitgift tomorrow. I disdain Whitgift with Caligulan adiatrepsia since they failed to lend Rutlish a player and rubbed their one man advantage in with substitutions when one of  our boys didn't turn up last season (Icons passim).

The club has got Effingham and Leatherhead at home on Sunday. They beat us last time the teams met in the league - though we were forced to field a weakened side - so the Old Ruts will be looking for revenge. I hope this game goes ahead. We have already been forced to move it from Elmbridge to Farm Road because of waterlogged pitches.

Thursday, January 08, 2015


Wandsworth Council are planning to close Battersea Sports Centre.

Its loss would be widely felt. The outdoor football pitch is often used by local teenagers and young adults, who tell me they could not afford the higher commercial rates charged at Battersea Park.

The Kinghan Report into the Clapham Junction riots recommended the council should focus on the provision of sports facilities for young people. Lots of local people have told me they want more sports facilities, not less.

Everybody should have the chance to live a healthy active life - so please join me to fight the closure of Battersea Sports Centre by adding your voice to the petition.
As for the Charlie Hebdo massacre yesterday, I have nothing to add: See Icons passim.

Wednesday, January 07, 2015


A mere 500 miles west of N'awlins.........

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

I don't like Mondays

Neal Ardley reckons with a little extra nous, AFC Wimbledon could have been jumping for joy last night.
A Steve Gerrard brace broke Dons hearts as Liverpool returned to Merseyside with a 2-1 win and a place in the fourth round of the FA Cup.
Adebayo Akinfenwa’s first half equaliser had given the home faithful hope and Dons certainly pushed their Premier League visitors all the way.
It's a pity they couldn't have nicked a draw and got a reply at Anfield, but them's the breaks I s'pose. I couldn't watch the game as I was at the Antelope. Depleted by the teams'AFC Wimbeldon season ticket holders, we came third in the quiz (one point behind two teams who tied) which means we were out of the prize money and I will have to pay for my own beer next week. I would put a sad-faced emoticon here, but I don't know how.

Monday, January 05, 2015

this is what's happening in your world tonight

"Frat Pack" movie questions aplenty.
It's called Sex Panther by Odeon. It's made with bits of real panther, so you know it's good. They've done studies, you know. Sixty percent of the time, it works every time.

Sunday, January 04, 2015


Do you seen what they have done? Marvel have made an ant-sized trailer for the new Ant-Man movie that they have in the pipeline. Hilarious eh?

If you live in the States you can see the full-size version during the première of Agent Carter tomorrow. It stars Hayley Atwell (Icons passim) whose purpose in life is to make me feel old, by having been a school girl at Sion Manning when Jane worked there.

Saturday, January 03, 2015

My theory

We went to see The Theory of Everything in the Odeon last night, because Ben is so much more serious minded than I am. That said, it is very good.

Friday, January 02, 2015


The Bomber has wangled himself an Amazon Prime account somehow or other, and his aunt Sara got him the Amazon Fire TV streaming media player for Christmas.

I am actually quite impressed by what is available on Prime Instant Video for no extra charge. Admittedly we watched Stallone and Schwarzenegger in Escape Plan yesterday but there is a surprising selection of quirkier stuff like Mood Indigo that I missed in the cinema but remain on a tentative, inchoate mental to-watch list.

Thursday, January 01, 2015

Shut up and deal

One day I may explain to you why I think Dr and Mrs Dreyfuss next door are one of the great creations of cinema, but for today here is New Year's Eve done right, courtesy of the Apartment.