Tuesday, October 31, 2017


He sings his radio-honed soul paeans as though he lost a Tiddlywink up both nostrils as a toddler, or someone’s permanently holding a pillow to his face......
Not so much nu soul as flu soul........
His vulnerability is endearing; unfortunately the sentiment of tunes such as Burning was dampened by such clog-nosed falsettos that we wondered if, somewhere backstage, a mic’d-up gannet was drowning.
At last someone else who hears the same appalling racket that assaults my ears whenever Sam Smith opens his gob.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Cometh the hour, cometh the man

The England v Spain U17 World Cup final is poised on a knife edge at two goals each as the Telegraph takes up the tale.
In the 68th minute, Hudson Odoi rushed through Spain’s defence and squared to Foden for the midfielder to make it 3-2.

England’s captain Joel Latibeaudaire, had a commanding game and was involved in England sealing the win. A foul on Hudson-Odoi saw the winger take the free-kick himself, nodded down by the skipper and it was finished off by defender Marc Guehi of Chelsea.
When the fifth goal came in the 87th minute, again it was Hudson-Odoi linking up with Foden and again it resulted in a wonderful goal.
England 5 Spain 2; notice a theme in the last three goals? My italics.

Saturday, October 28, 2017


There seems to be nothing in the papers, on the airwaves, or going interwebly viral about the most crucial aspect of the constitutional crisis in Spain over Catalonia. To whit, what impact will it have on the Spanish U17 team who are playing England in the World Cup Final this afternoon?

The game is going to be shown live on BBC2 - 3:20 for a 3:30 kick off - rather handily saving me from having to fork over £6.99 to Eurosport.

Steve Cooper - England's manager -was born in Pontypridd, lives in Wrexham and describes himself as a "proud Welshman." So we have got skin in the game with him as well as Callum.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Ho-Ho Very Satirical II: Barcelona

26 October 1987: Freddie Mercury and Montserrat Caballé release Barcelona.
Exactly 30 years later Madrid tries to take it back into custody.

Thursday, October 26, 2017


Not only did Nissan debut a new concept vehicle at the 2017 Tokyo Motor Show – it also surprised the crowd with the introduction of “Canto,” the future sound of Nissan’s electrified vehicles.
“Canto” is derived from Latin for “I sing.” The sound varies in tone and pitch depending on whether the vehicle is accelerating, decelerating or backing up. The sound is activated at speeds of up to 20 to 30 kph, depending on marketplace requirements.
Nissan created “Canto” with the goal of developing an alert sound as the priority. However, it is also designed to enrich the aural environment of the typical city street with a distinct Nissan flair. The level of the sound will be clearly audible, without being overly disturbing to pedestrians, residents and passengers.
I am pretty sure we are not having our legs pulled here. It’s played out using speakers that will be integrated into the exterior of the car’s body.

“An important element of Nissan Intelligent Mobility is how the vehicle integrates with society, and a crucial component of that is sound,” said Dr Strabimus (whom God Preserve) of Utrecht.

″‘Canto’ has been developed to help with pedestrian safety. As well as to provide a distinct Nissan sound – one that is energizing and confident, authentic to our brand and representing our unique position in the electrified marketplace.”

The Tesla, as far as I know, remains silent as a smelly one.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

1,000,000 Callum Fans Can't Be Wrong

FIFA site goes into meltdown as over ONE MILLION fans try to buy tickets for relocated Under-17 World Cup semi-final between England and Brazil
More than one million football fans tried to purchase tickets for Wednesday's Under-17 World Cup semi-final between England and Brazil in Kolkata, leading to the meltdown of FIFA's online ticketing system.
A decision was made to switch the highly-anticipated semi-final to Kolkata after the two teams refused to play on the heavily waterlogged pitch at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium in Guwahati.
With over 1,000km between the two cities, the vast majority of fans who had purchased tickets in Guwahati were left cursing the torrential rain that ruined their chance to see the spectacle.
But it was a bonus for fans who lived in Kolkata, with the Salt Lake Stadium set to stage its ninth game of the tournament on Wednesday lunchtime UK time.
However, many who logged on to FIFA's ticket portal to buy one of the 66,000 tickets placed on sale at short notice were to be left disappointed.
FIFA have confirmed that over one million fans logged on to attempt to buy tickets when they went on sale on Monday, with many confronted with messages saying they were behind as many as 100,000 in the queue.
To put this into some perspective, around 3.5million football fans globally requested tickets in the first sales phase for the entire World Cup in Russia next year.
Crikey! See Icons Passim. I may not be 100% focussed on work from 12:30 today.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Ho-Ho Very Satirical!

Perhaps kicking off the Harvey Weinstein Class Action Suit with an open meeting wasn't such a good idea after all

Monday, October 23, 2017

Living with the Gods

This autumn, Radio 4 and the British Museum embark on their fourth public service partnership exploring the role and expression of beliefs in lives and communities through time and around the world.
Neil MacGregor, former Director of the British Museum, returns to Radio 4 to present this landmark 30-part series, beginning on 23 October 2017.
The British Museum will also present a major exhibition on this theme, opening on 2 November 2017.
Throughout the radio series, Neil draws upon objects and curatorial insights from the British Museum and beyond, with a focus on two or three objects in each programme. As with his last Radio 4 series, the multi-award winning Germany: Memories Of A Nation, Neil also travels to key locations - from experiencing the winter solstice in the ancient passage tomb at Newgrange, Ireland, to the waters of the Ganges in India, from Salisbury Cathedral to the Vatican.
Objects that feature in the series include the Lion-man, a prehistoric ivory sculpture which is determined to be between 35,000 and 40,000 years old; a 1682 noticeboard from Japan, which listed rewards for information on Christian priests, believers and sympathisers; the Lampedusa Cross, made from pieces of a boat that was wrecked off the coast of Lampedusa, Italy in 2013 and the largest silver objects in the world, two silver vessels from Jaipur which were created between 1894 and 1896 for Maharaja Sawai Madho Singh II.
Across the series, the focus moves from daily and weekly practices, festivals, pilgrimages and sacrifices, to power struggles and political battles between beliefs, and between faiths and states.
Just starting. Sounds right up my alley.

Sunday, October 22, 2017


Praise from the RFU and an award for the Old Ruts work with kids. I will toast it at the bar later as I  will be at the club lunchtime today watching Ben playing for the Colts.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Everything you have been told is wrong

England beat Japan on penalties on Tuesday (not Wednesday as I said) so they play the USA in the quarter final of the FIFA U17 World Cup at 3:30 this afternoon (not 8pm as I said). Sometimes I wonder why I bother.

Coverage starts on Eurosport 2 at 3:15. Herewith the highlights of the Japan game. Callum slotted his penalty home though it is not on this reel. There were 53,000 spectators there by all accounts.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Where I will be on November 4.

Another Girl, Another Planet came out in 1978! Man we are getting old.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Who'd a thunk it?

9pm tonight ITV: "Gordon Ramsay on Cocaine." Maybe I should pitch "Nick Browne watching the footie down the pub?"

Monday, October 16, 2017


Now that England have won their group and made it to the knock out stages of the U17 FIFA World Cup, is it time for me to tempt fate and pony up for Eurosport on Amazon Prime Channels I wonder?

The last 16 game is against Japan at half past three on Wednesday afternoon.

If they get through that they will be up against the winner of the Paraguay v USA game that is on as I type and will be playing at 8pm Saturday night.

Win that and there will be a semi 5pm Wednesday week, get through again and the final is 8pm Saturday 28th.

www.amazon.co.uk/channels/eurosport‎ for a seven day free trial and £6.99 a month subsequently.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

The O2 Arena is now in my life

We went to the Erdinger Oktoberfest yesterday. It was held at the Greenwich Peninsula next to the O2 arena along the Thames.

I had no idea it was so easy to get to; Northern Line to London Bridge then Jubilee to North Greenwich.

Piece of cake; I will keep an eye on https://www.theo2.co.uk/events/venue/the-o2-arena in future.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Liam Gallagher as Darth Vader

I was walking along and this chair came flying past me, and another, and another, and I thought, man, is this gonna be a good night.
A highlight of yesterday evening's entertainment. I fell asleep during the main event.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Getting a load off

I just want to make one thing clear right off the bat: I wholeheartedly condemn the horrible, disgusting murders committed by Jack the Ripper. Mr. Ripper is the most powerful man in London to be categorically identified as a murderer, but he’s certainly not the only one. We all need to come together and expel these sorts of depraved monsters from our society. However, I do feel like I need to open my dumb gullet and ask everyone a simple question: Why didn’t more of the women murdered by Jack the Ripper simply come forward and denounce his behavior?
Again, I totally understand how horrible Jack the Ripper’s actions were and believe they should absolutely be condemned. At the same time, I feel a need to condemn the victims of his murders for not doing more to speak out. Isn’t that the most important thing to do as soon as we identify a monster who used his immense power for even more immense evil? At times like these, we need to come together and blame the women who were completely powerless because they were dead. I am a bed-wetting coward and I want to find a way to ultimately blame women instead of the man who murdered them.

Sure, yes, Jack the Ripper’s long spree of murders is bad. But, isn’t the silence of his many female murder victims way worse? The silence of these murdered women allowed Jack the Ripper to continue to galavant through the streets of London, murdering with impunity. Let’s not get bogged down by the actual murders themselves. By doing so, we’ll just end up discussing the blatant culture of murder that has poisoned our society and kept women from speaking out for fear of retaliation. The point is, we can blame Jack the Ripper all we want, but it just doesn’t feel as good as doing some good old-fashioned victim-blaming..............

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Lost Soul: The Doomed Journey of Richard Stanley’s Island of Dr Moreau

In 1995, visionary writer/director Richard Stanley (HARDWARE, DUST DEVIL) got the green light for his dream project: An epic adaptation of H.G. Wells' THE ISLAND OF DOCTOR MOREAU starring Marlon Brando and Val Kilmer. But only days into production, an unprecedented storm of natural disasters , monstrous egos and disturbing imagery - along with chaos, insanity and witchcraft - would trigger perhaps the most infamous behind-the-scenes catastrophe in modern movie history. Now director/producer David Gregory (THE THEATRE BIZARRE, PLAGUE TOWN) reveals the untold story behind "one of the all-time greatest cinematic train wrecks" (Variety) in this "wonderfully weird and gripping" (Entertainment Weekly) documentary featuring never-before-seen footage, startling new interviews with actors Fairuza Balk, Marco Hofschneider and Rob Morrow, studio executives, crew members and - for the first time ever - the notoriously reclusive Stanley himself.
My brother John is visiting this weekend. This is what I will crank up on Amazon Prime Video when we get back from the pub on Friday. He is the only person I can think of who will be just as keen to see it as I am.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

And there's more

Callum scored the first goal five minutes in to England's 4-0 win over Chile in the U17 World Cup. You can see it above.

The second pool game is against Mexico at lunchtime today.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

The Bad and Lowdown World

Personally, as a child of the 60s,  I am attempting to cope with last night's harrowing loss for Wales against the Republic of Ireland by channeling 80's band The Kane Gang.

First we have the nostalgic, wistful, bittersweet Closest Thing to Heaven. Four minutes fifty of hiraeth.

Can't try, can't try
Any harder

This could be
The closest thing to heaven
I have ever known
I've ever known

After wallowing in that, we pick ourselves up - underdogs again and forever - with Small Town Creed.

Monday, October 09, 2017

Who lost, Russia?

I went to my first Wimbledon Bookfest 2017 event yesterday; Peter Conradi on Russia: A New Cold War.
When the Soviet Union collapsed on 26 December 1991, it looked like the start of a remarkable new time of peace and co-operation. Peter Conradi argues that we have consistently failed to understand Russia and its motives. In doing so, we have made a powerful enemy. Peter witnessed the USSR’s collapse first-hand as foreign correspondent in Moscow. Peter Conradi is foreign editor of The Sunday Times. He co-authored The King’s Speech, which inspired the Oscar-winning film.
Part of my trouble with the pervasive Russia-the-enemy meme dates back to June 20th last year when Wales played them in the Euros.

We beat them three nil, but - more significantly in this context - there were no incidents at all of trouble between fans before, during or after the game. This after the press had tried to terrify us with tales of paramilitary, neo-fascist ultras; the Russian hooligans who had apparently clashed with England fans in Lille.

Secondly, although the competition's draw mandated that Wales should wear their away kit, the Russian FA agreed to wear their white away strip to allow us to play in our sentimentally important red jerseys. A small thing you might think. but a very sporting gesture in my eyes, and one that I couldn't imagine many other international sides making.

It doesn't sound like they are maniacs to me.

Sunday, October 08, 2017

It breaks down like this

After our 1-0 win in Georgia, Wales remain right in the hunt to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

As far as our own group is concerned, Wales (on 17 points) remain in second spot after the game in Tbilisi but are now crucially just a point behind leaders Serbia who suffered a 3-2 defeat to Austria in Vienna.

That means we can nick top spot in the final round of fixtures on Monday night if Wales beat Ireland and Serbia fail to beat Georgia in a match that will be played at the same time, though a Serbia win would end any hopes of us  qualifying automatically.

But Wales could even claim top spot with a draw against Ireland, as long as Serbia lose to Georgia by two or more goals.

Had results gone their way on Saturday night, Wales could have gone into Monday's clash knowing a point would be enough for a play-off spot. Now, we have no such luxury - with Greece's win over Cyprus in Group H meaning that the second-place team from that group could still grab a play-off place in the mini league.

In the rather convoluted qualifying system which sees eight of the nine second-place teams go into the play-offs, had Greece failed to win on Saturday night - it would have meant that they could only have matched Wales' mini-league points tally of 11. Now, Wales have to win to overtake Greece in the mini-league.

With only Scotland and Croatia below them on the mini-league table, a draw for Wales would see them rely on Croatia and Ukraine - who are tied on points in Group I - drawing with the same or fewer amount of goals scored on Monday night as Wales.


Saturday, October 07, 2017

Georgia on my mind

The interwebs not having penetrated as far as my mother and father's house I am typing and scheduling the post before setting off to Wales.

By now we will know the result of last night's Georgia v Wales World Cup qualifier in Tbilisi.

Celebrating (Feast Like a Georgian: A Food Guide to the Caucasus) or drowning our sorrows (Zero Compromise: A (Georgian) Natural Wine Story)?

Friday, October 06, 2017

Boyz n the Wood

Day three of local news and events. It is certainly not boring around here lately. (I was at Chipstead for the Old Ruts rugby so I have got an alibi.)

Thursday, October 05, 2017

After yesterday .... more local talent

A message from the Bomber:
A new song just came out by this South Wimbledon and Colliers Wood music group called 19inerz. The video is filmed at Abbey Mills and the estate in South Wimbledon. At 3 minutes when Big Mikes comes in, they are literally on the stairway that leads to your office.
So it did. So they are. Delightfully, Kane - who went to nursery with Ben - is in it as well.

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

All they have in common ...... is me

Screen International has revealed its Stars of Tomorrow 2017, spotlighting the hottest up-and-coming actors and filmmakers in the UK and Ireland including Paapa Essiedu. I've met him at the Antelope quiz since this.

Previous Stars of Tomorrow include Benedict Cumberbatch (2004), Oscar-winner Eddie Redmayne (2005), Suffragette star Carey Mulligan andStar Wars: The Force Awakens actor John Boyega (2011). Last year’s Stars of Tomorrow included Florence Pugh (Lady Macbeth), Fionn Whitehead (Dunkirk) and Josh O’Connor (God’s Own Country).

From Vinicius Júnior, who has already signed for Real Madrid, to 'the Romanian Donnarumma' the Guardian has identified 60 of the best football players in the world born in 2000. Callum Hudson-Odoi (Icons passim) is there.

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

‘No Way To Prevent This,’ Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens

LAS VEGAS—In the hours following a violent rampage in Las Vegas in which a lone attacker killed more than 50 individuals and seriously injured 400 others, citizens living in the only country where this kind of mass killing routinely occurs reportedly concluded Monday that there was no way to prevent the massacre from taking place. “This was a terrible tragedy, but sometimes these things just happen and there’s nothing anyone can do to stop them,” said Iowa resident Kyle Rimmels, echoing sentiments expressed by tens of millions of individuals who reside in a nation where over half of the world’s deadliest mass shootings have occurred in the past 50 years and whose citizens are 20 times more likely to die of gun violence than those of other developed nations. “It’s a shame, but what can we do? There really wasn’t anything that was going to keep these individuals from snapping and killing a lot of people if that’s what they really wanted.” At press time, residents of the only economically advanced nation in the world where roughly two mass shootings have occurred every month for the past eight years were referring to themselves and their situation as “helpless.”

Monday, October 02, 2017

Our very own Androcles

There was an incident with a lion, but in fairness it was nothing to do with the lion. He did bite Scott but when you put your hand in a fence where there is a lion then expect to get bit. And he's had plenty of warning, so it's pretty stupid on Scott's behalf and he's pretty lucky. But again, it's nothing to do with where we were, it was a good environment, we'd been told how far back to stand. But I don't know what kind of wildlife programme Scott's been watching where you can pat a lion on the head as if it's a kitten.
It is Steve Tandy's dry-as-dust delivery that turns this into comedy gold, but Scott Baldwin is now guaranteed to be an Ospreys' legend for ever.

Life lesson; a lion (or lioness) is not more afraid of you than you are of him (or her).

Sunday, October 01, 2017

The Vietnam War

Referencing Apocalypse Now yesterday, leads me to the new US PBS Series "The Vietnam War."

The BBC has got it in the UK and it is unfolding on BBC4 and the iPlayer.
Ken Burns and Lynn Novick’s ten-part, 18-hour documentary series, THE VIETNAM WAR, tells the epic story of one of the most consequential, divisive, and controversial events in American history as it has never before been told on film. Visceral and immersive, the series explores the human dimensions of the war through revelatory testimony of nearly 80 witnesses from all sides—Americans who fought in the war and others who opposed it, as well as combatants and civilians from North and South Vietnam. Ten years in the making, the series includes rarely seen and digitally re-mastered archival footage from sources around the globe, photographs taken by some of the most celebrated photojournalists of the 20th Century, historic television broadcasts, evocative home movies, and secret audio recordings from inside the Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon administrations.