Tuesday, February 28, 2017


Police were called to break up a fight on a train as rowdy passengers repeatedly placed bagels on other travellers' heads.
Officers arrived at Potters Bar station in Hertfordshire just after 1am on Sunday after being alerted to passengers fighting and intimidating others.
The 00.54am Great Northern service from King's Cross to Huntingdon was held for 18 minutes while the officers took statements before the train continued its journey.
A video on Twitter, which has been liked more than 17,000 times, showed bagels on top of two passenger's heads. Viewers are warned the clip contains strong language.

Female passengers appear in the footage placing partial and whole bagels on the head of the man sat in front of them.

He is then seen to take the chunks off his head before throwing them out of the carriage window, and later shouting.

Amid the ensuing cacophony a group can be heard singing "he's got bagel on his head".
The footage then cuts to two officers boarding the train, with one asking: "Has anyone seen anything, anyone know who's involved? The train will not move until I find out."
The video also shows brawls in the carriage and outside on the platform. It is not known if these were connected to the bagels.
It is Shrove Tuesday. I, for one, will give up bagels on my head for Lent.

Monday, February 27, 2017

I met my wife on the number 37 bus on the Twickenham High Street

RIP Bill Paxton. Having lived there for a good while myself, I always liked the idea that he met his wife of 30 years on a Twickenham bus. The video above is really about that rather than Mindy Kaling, of whom I have never heard.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Friday, February 24, 2017

Voice purchasing

How does shopping work?
Prime members can ask Alexa to order eligible products they've ordered before and many Prime products. We'll use your default payment and delivery settings  to place your order. You can require a speakable confirmation code, turn purchasing off, and see the product and order details in your Alexa app.
I just ordered another Hive Active Light Bulb. It was a repeat purchase so I set up a confirmation code and tried Alexa voice purchasing. I'm not sure how often I will be doing it in the future, but it certainly was easy and convenient.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Daily Meditation Really Helping Man Stay Self-Centered

ELLENSBURG, WA—Claiming that the introspective practice has completely changed his life, local man Simon Trimur told reporters Wednesday that his daily meditation routine was really helping him stay self-centered. “Practicing meditation every morning allows me to settle down and really focus on myself,” said Trimur, claiming that just 15 minutes of breathing exercises before work has markedly improved his ability to silence the distracting voices of those around him and foster an enduring sense of egotism. “Before I know it, the needs and wants of others melt away entirely. The weight of their problems just disappears, and all that remains is the peaceful sense that the universe is made for no one but me.” Trimur added that after skipping even a day or two of meditation, he suddenly finds himself infuriatingly distracted by the fact that other people exist.
I was at yoga at half past six this morning. An object can be subtle to the point of indefinability.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

play it forward

Last year, Bruce Springsteen recalled being a kid:
I had a fantasy of Mick Jagger getting sick before his show at Asbury Park Convention Hall and the Stones needing me, of course, to get up there and take over, which of course I would do, pimply faced kid.
And all of the crowd of course goes insane and they’re not so anxious to have Mick back. So I was dreaming about that when I was 15.
It does my heart good to see him still keeping it in mind, pulling a teenager up out of the audience to jam with the band.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Glam Slam, thank you mam

This Saturday evening at the Mills, Pete Lincoln is playing in the Colour House Theatre, and The Steve Whalley Band is playing about thirty feet away in the Merton Apprentice.

In 2005 Pete Lincoln joined The Sweet, and is still touring extensively with the band as lead vocalist and bass player.

Steve Whalley replaced Noddy Holder as the front man for the ‘70s super-group Slade, touring with them for more than 15 years.

It looks like a Glam Rock Mexican Stand Off. Would you say I had a plethora?

Monday, February 20, 2017

The Pull of Putin

Why do populist politicians across the West want warmer relations with Russia? Are they just Kremlin agents? Or are they tapping into a growing desire to find common cause with Moscow - and end East-West tension? Tim Whewell travels from Russia to America and across Europe to unravel the many different strands of pro-Moscow thinking, and offer a provocative analysis which challenges conventional thinking about the relationship between Russia and the West.
I heard about this radio show in the car on the M4, and I must catch up with it on the BBC iPlayer. I am baffled by coverage of Russia in general, and just can't understand why it is always so negative. Ditto Iran, to be frank.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

I saw the rain-dirty valley. You saw Brigadoon.

I am back from Cardiff, on the way down I tuned into Radio Wales to find Adrian Hadley talking about whether Robert Jones should have been preferred to David Bishop (Icons passim) at scrum half for Wales, a debate that is at least three decades old.

Sometimes driving over the Severn Bridge is like arriving in Brigadoon. And that is no bad thing as far as I am concerned.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

The Cardiff Bus Song

There’s a place that’s always been for me,
On Cardiff’s streets is where I loves to be,
And every stop I make, I make a new friend,
Can’t wait for long, just hop right on, and we’re gone again.

Maindy, Tremorfa, Pontcanna, Adamsdown,
This Cardiff Bus is taking us to town.

Route 95 would take us to Barry,
But then it rained so we took the 53,
And if you’re going out drinking for the night,
Just grab the bus, chips 'n' curry sauce, don’t have a fight!

Llandaff, Gabalfa, Llanederyn, Cardiff Bay,
For three quid forty I can ride the bus all day.
And every stop I make, I make a new friend,
Can’t wait for long, just hop right on, and we’re gone again.

Maindy, Tremorfa, Pontcanna, Adamsdown,
This Cardiff Bus is taking us to town.

On sunny days in Roald Dahl Plass I’ll be,
When I gets old I’ll ride the bus for free,
Down in ol’ Tiger Bay and Riverside,
The bendy buses take more of us for a ride.

Splott, Canton, Ely, Llanrumney, Roath Park Lake,
Oh, Cardiff Bus is the only one I take.

The 62 goes to Pentrebane,
The 85 take you to Lisvane,
And every stop I make, I make a new friend,
Can’t wait for long, just hop right on, and we’re gone again.

Maindy, Tremorfa, Pontcanna, Adamsdown,
This Cardiff Bus is taking us to town.
And every stop I make, I make a new friend,
Can’t wait for long, just hop right on, and we’re gone again.

Splott, Canton, Ely, Llanrumney, Roath Park Lake,
Oh, Cardiff Bus is the only one I take.

Guess where I am today.

Friday, February 17, 2017


Prince Charles, who recently advertised for someone to replace one of his two-strong digital team, is the social media royal pioneer. His @ClarenceHouse Twitter account, which has 605,000 followers, and his Instagram page, which has 191,000 followers, were royal firsts and are both enjoying 20% year-on-year growth in terms of followers.
@ClarenceHouse Joined October 2010; @RoyalFamily Joined April 2009. I happen to know because we launched the latter. Does anything get sub-edited or checked in papers these days?

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

The Martin Lewis Money Show

Our auction system was very busy from Monday evening and through Tuesday.

Most of the traffic was direct so I couldn't deduce the sauce from a referral, but I have found out today that we were mentioned on the Martin Lewis Money Show.

I must catch up with that on http://www.itv.com/hub/the-martin-lewis-money-show/2a1827a0050 when I get a minute.

Come to think of it, the ITV player on the Amazon Fire Stick will probably be able to serve it up.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

modesty forbids

Ben and Nick, thank you so much..........

Very generous of local (Wimbledon College) boy made good, Tom Holland, to give a shout out to me, along with the son and heir, when he won his Rising Star BAFTA even if he did get a dig about England beating Wales at rugby in.

I'm only pulling your leg, but press play above. I think it is pretty convincing.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Valentine Gift Idea

Amazon Rekognition is one of AWS' artificial intelligence services. In addition to detecting objects, scenes, and faces in images, Rekognition can also search and compare faces. Behind the scenes, Rekognition uses deep neural network models to analyze billions of images daily.

Amazon Rekognition returns an array of attributes for each face that it locates in an image. On February 10th the service added a new attribute, an estimated age range. This value is expressed in years, and is returned as a pair of integers. The age ranges can overlap; the face of a 5 year old might have an estimated range of 4 to 6 but the face of a 6 year old might have an estimated range of 4 to 8. You can use this new attribute to power public safety applications, collect demographics, to assemble a set of photos that span a desired time frame, or just for fun and games.

Try it on https://eu-west-1.console.aws.amazon.com/rekognition/home?region=eu-west-1#/face-detection.

Why not surprise your beloved with an estimated age range tomorrow? You will also get suggestions (expressed as confidence in percentages) of whether she "appears to be female" and "appears to be happy."

Let me know how you get on.

Sunday, February 12, 2017


Prevenge is a film is about a pregnant woman - Ruth - who becomes convinced that her foetus is compelling her to murder people implicated in the accidental death of her partner.

When I heard it was shot in Cardiff I initially assumed it was a documentary.

In cinemas now.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

아는 길도 물어가라

My brother John is up this weekend so I am queuing this post up on Friday as the schedule is busy, involving seeing Guy Pratt on Friday night, heading off to New Malden today for Korean food, and then hurrying back to the 'Wood to watch the Wales England Six Nations game in the boozer.

In the video above, a luthier - profiled by Anthony Bourdain - makes electro acoustic bass for Andy Rourke of The Smiths. Andy Rourke is in Guy Pratt's book, John and I are making a bass, Bourdain digs on Korean grub etc. etc.

Raw Craft episode 9, therefore, stands for the principled aspirations of the weekend as opposed to the quotidian reality of the mess we will be in by this evening.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Leah Chase: The cook who changed America

Meet 94 four year old Leah Chase. For seventy years she has led the kitchen at New Orleans famous Dooky Chase restaurant. During her time she's hosted US Presidents, and civil rights activists, and music legends from Ray Charles to Michael Jackson. Her specialty is serving creole food specialties like gumbo, fried chicken and sweet potatoes. Dan Saladino sits down with Leah as she tells her story through the food she's cooked and asks whether a restaurant can change the course of a country.
I know there are supposed to be no second acts in American lives, but the episode of the Food Programme that preceded yesterday's Gumbo is well worth a listen as well.

Thursday, February 09, 2017

Alexa, play The Food Programme on Tune In

What can one single dish can tell you about America's history? One particular bowl of soup gives us an insight about the future of cultures that convene around it. Gumbo is eaten by nearly everyone in New Orleans, but its past speaks of the deep inequalities in American history that still resonate to this day. The BBC's Dan Saladino looks into the origins of this dish and discovers influences from Native Americans, slaves from West Africa, settlers from Nova Scotia, and European immigrants from Spain, France and Italy. Dan tries to track down the perfect recipe for one of Louisiana's most famous dishes, and discover how the politics of which food belongs to whom, is still at play, hundreds of years later.
Normal service is resumed.

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Planning application 17/P0390

Demolition of the Pavilions at Merton Abbey Mills and building of a five story office block with ground floor retail units.
I need to keep an eye on this. It may rob me of Garfield's Ting 'n Ting. A prospect that makes me shudder.

It will also rid me of the view from the office of the block of flats behind, though I can live with that.

We'll also lose quite a bit of parking, which won't be good.

Comments Until 04-03-2017

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

You're going out a youngster but you've got to come back a star!

Sweeney Todd in New York: How Rachel Edwards Brought Her Show To Town
It's a long way from South London's urban, multicultural melting pot district, Tooting, to New York, but the demon barber once traversed the globe, so should we be surprised? Probably, says Gary Naylor, who tracks the production's unlikely journey here.
See Icons passim. Once my hip injury heals sufficiently, I am going to kick myself for missing Sweeney Todd up the road at Harrington's pie shop in 2014.

Monday, February 06, 2017

My hat's on the side of my head

Wales are top of the six nations, and I am on the mend. All together now:
Yesterday I was so blue
Bluer than the deep blue sea
Now I'm singing
Whistling a tune
All the livelong day
If you want to know just why
I can truthfully say;
I've got a feeling I've found her
It was something she said
She's got me walkin' on
The tip of my toes and my hat's
On the side of my head.
All my troubles are mended 
Cause she's my needle and thread 
She's got me walkin' on the 
Tip of my toes and my hat's 
On the side of my head. 

Sunday, February 05, 2017

same old same old

I'm still bad today.

England were bad yesterday as well. Very lucky to nick the game against France I thought.

Saturday, February 04, 2017

Spira, spera.

A one-eyed man is much more incomplete than a blind man, for he knows what it is that's lacking.
I went to bed at nine last night and rose at noon today.

When it takes as long as it took me to get your clothes on it is difficult to decide to divest yourself of them and jump into the shower.

Here I am then, lame, stale in gear I've had on for three days, and sporting a damp crotch from icing my injury.

On reflection I think I'll stay in.

Friday, February 03, 2017

achingly hip

My right hip is much worse today. It took me about half an hour to put my pants and socks on. I will not describe lowering myself onto the WC in deference to your sensibilities.

Getting in and out of the car was interesting as well. In my imagination I was Chuck Yeager sealing the hatch the X1 with the end of a broom handle rather than abandoning the test flight due to fractured ribs.

I have self-diagnosed a strain on the psoas around the tendon that connects it to the top of the femur, and self-prescribed Rest, Ice and Elevation.

I've cancelled my Cardiff trip, and I think I'll quit the office soon. If you happen to be passing the house and look into the front window as you go by, the unpleasant sight awaiting you will be me lying on the couch and holding a pack of frozen vegetables against the side of my groin. There is no need to read anything more into it than that.

I will probably be watching The Right Stuff.

Thursday, February 02, 2017

Burmese Python Shocked At Amount Of Stress Man Holding In His Neck

HOMESTEAD, FL—Marveling at the amount of tension his prey seemed to be carrying around with him, a 12-foot-long Burmese python was reportedly shocked Wednesday at how much stress a local man was holding in his gradually constricting neck. “Geez, it’s like one huge knot in there,” said the 300-pound reptile, also noting as it coiled itself with increasing force around the man’s torso that his shoulders were “like rocks—just giant lumps of tightness.” “He must be having a tough time at work or something. This can’t be healthy. Seriously, this is the kind of stress that gives you a heart attack at age 40.” At press time, the python expressed relief that the man seemed to have very abruptly become completely relaxed.
I went to my 400th yoga class this morning and suffered throughout with the same tight hips that I had when I started in September 2009 (Icons passim).

I sometimes wonder why I bother, even though I think the actual damage was done yesterday with Ido Portal deep squats.

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

strange times make strange bedfellows

One of the reasons (Icons passim) that I voted to leave the EU was that I believed "that the ECB's position over the terms for a Greek bailout made it a proxy for a German extortion racket."

From the FT yesterday:
Trump’s top trade adviser accuses Germany of currency exploitation
Berlin is using a ‘grossly undervalued’ euro to gain advantage over trading partners, says Navarro.
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard elaborates in the Torygraph this morning; Trump is right: Germany is running an illegal currency racket.
As a matter of strict objective fact, Donald Trump’s trade guru is correct. Germany is the planet’s ultimate currency manipulator.
The implicit Deutsche Mark is indeed “grossly undervalued” The warped mechanism of monetary union allows Germany to lock in a permanent ‘beggar-thy-neighbour’ trade advantage over Southern Europe, inflicting mass unemployment on the victim countries and blighting their futures.
Looks like I'll be eating alone in the bien pensant canteen at lunchtime again.