Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Royal Wedding

Even weirder than the Daily Mail, if such a thing can be imagined.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

The Year of Lear

The last book I read was Year of the Mad King: The Lear Diaries by Antony Sher. Currently I am about half way through 1606: William Shakespeare and the Year of Lear by James Shapiro.

I have found out today that a new version of Lear with Anthony Hopkins is going to on the TV at half past nine on Monday. I definitely need to check that out.

It is a BBC2/Amazon co-production, though I have no idea what that will mean for its release on Prime and/or the iPlayer.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Henry Kissinger on Artificial Intelligence

We must expect AI to make mistakes faster—and of greater magnitude—than humans do.
Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that I would ever type the phrase "Henry Kissinger on Artificial Intelligence."

That said, How the Enlightenment Ends is well worth a read.
Philosophically, intellectually—in every way—human society is unprepared for the rise of artificial intelligence.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

A Very English Scandal

Anthony O'Donnell (Icons passim) played Leo Abse (Icons passim) in  the tremendous A Very English Scandal tonight.

Too much perspective.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Destination Wedding

I may be shallow, but this does make me laugh.

Friday, May 18, 2018


I have finally given up on TuneIn, the baked-in skill that Alexa uses for Podcasts, so I am trying out AnyPod.

Very happy with it so far:
AnyPod keeps track of what you've listened to. When you ask for a podcast you’ve heard before, it will play whatever episode you were listening to last time. When playing an episode you’ve heard before, AnyPod will pick up within the episode wherever you left off. (If it’s been awhile since you’ve played a podcast, AnyPod may ask if you want to hear the newest episode. If not, AnyPod will continue playing where you left off before.)


Thursday, May 17, 2018

Tom Wolfe

Tom Wolfe, journalist, novelist, contrarian, man of many verbal tics and white suits, is dead. He was 88... Louis Menand... Dwight Garner... Kurt Anderson.... Laura Miller... The Paris Review... Christian Lorentzen... Paul Elie... Graeme Wood... Christopher Bonanos... Elon Green... Adam Gopnik..
I used to buy Bantam paperback editions of Tom Wolfe from Lear's in the Royal Arcade. It felt incredibly glamorous.

Try 15 Great Articles by Tom Wolfe; classic reads from a journalistic pioneer, all free to read online.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

I'm in the dark

Describing the terrifying yet valiant experience to his fellow battalion members, Israel Defense Forces soldier Yossi Saadon recounted Tuesday his harrowing, heroic war story of killing an 8-month-old Palestinian child during a violent attack against protesters. “It was a heart-pounding experience—there was smoke and gunfire all around me, and I made a split-second decision to hurl that canister of tear gas at the encroaching infant cradled in her father’s arms,” said Saadon to the group of awed soldiers, describing the chills that went up and down his spine as he realized that all he had was his M16 assault rifle and some tear gas to defend himself against the unarmed Palestinian family standing only dozens of yards away. “I could see the whites of the baby’s eyes and hear her terrifying cries, and I knew it was either her or me. And this wasn’t some newborn infant, you know? This was a baby who could probably sit up independently. I was scared, but I acted quickly to throw that tear gas at her and her older sister. And who knows how many lives I saved when I shot the women trying to help her?” At press time, Saadon’s battalion commander informed him that he was submitting his name for the Medal of Valor, the IDF’s highest honour.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Carillion displayed utter contempt for suppliers – Frank Field

Carillion used suppliers to “prop up a failing business model” and conceal true levels of debt, say MPs investigating the failed government contractor.
The parliamentary inquiry into the collapse of a company that provided a host of vital public services, including catering in schools, prison maintenance and construction of new NHS hospitals will conclude on Wednesday with the publication of the MPs’ final report. It is expected to name and shame those responsible for the failure of the listed company, which had a UK staff of nearly 20,000 when it crashed into administration in January.
In a taste of what is to come, the work and pensions committee chairman, Frank Field, said: “Carillion displayed utter contempt for its suppliers, many of them the small businesses that are the lifeblood of the UK’s economy.
“The company used its suppliers as a line of credit to shore up its fragile balance sheet, then in another of its accounting tricks ‘reclassified’ this borrowing to hide the true extent of its massive debt.”
See Icons passim.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Cardiff Blues

Tonight at 8pm, in the first programme of the new look Blues Show, presenter Cerys Matthews is joined by Sir Tom Jones to chat about their deep, shared love of the blues.

Sir Tom selects some of the tracks which have inspired him over the years and shares stories of singing the blues with Elvis, duetting with Janis Joplin and encountering the blues singers who shaped the way he sings today.

For all that I can't stand Janis Joplin, this will be worth listening to on catch-up when I get back from the quiz.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Be careful what you wish for

During the season I joked that the best possible outcome would be for Cardiff City to be promoted to the Premiership while the Swans were demoted to the Championship. Now it has actually happened I feel strangely flat and sorry for Swansea.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Childish Gambino - This Is America

I think this is great, but I don't know why.

Friday, May 11, 2018


The completely self-powered, manual WOODWAY Curve Treadmill offers a one-of-a-kind workout experience that requires zero electricity.
I noticed this intriguing piece of kit in the gym this morning and did a minute on it even though it's a resistance rather than cardio day.

I think I will do half an hour on it next time I am in.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

I've done the maths because you are too depressed to

Swansea City are on the brink of relegation from the Premier League after Huddersfield secured their safety with a 1-1 against Chelsea.

The Terriers needed a point to move out of reach of Carlos Carvalhal's side - and achieved that despite Marcos Alonso canceling out Laurent Depoitre's opener.

Huddersfield moved to 37 points with the draw at Stamford Bridge, taking them out of the reach of Swansea's 33.

It means that Swansea can now only catch Southampton on the final day of the season - but an inferior goal difference makes that scenario highly unlikely.

The Saints are three points clear of the Swans - with Mark Hughes' side sitting on 36 points.

It all means that if Swansea City are to stay in the Premier League for next season, they need to beat Stoke on the last day and hope that Southampton fail to move off that 36 points mark.

That would see Carvalhal's side move level with the Saints on points and then it would be down to goal difference.

The Swans have a goal difference of -27, a considerable way off Southampton's -18.

If they were to draw level on points with Southampton on the final weekend, they'd need to overcome a goal difference gap of 9 goals.

While the Saints are playing champions Manchester City, the odds are against the Swans staying up at Southampton's expense.

Though if the Swans beat Stoke 5-0 and Man City beat Southampton 5-0 the sun may come through the clouds.
It may be that the race is not always to the swift, nor the battle to the strong—but that’s the way to bet. Damon Runyon

Wednesday, May 09, 2018

Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination,

The Met
The Costume Institute's spring 2018 exhibition—at The Met Fifth Avenue and The Met Cloisters—will feature a dialogue between fashion and medieval art from The Met collection to examine fashion's ongoing engagement with the devotional practices and traditions of Catholicism
Serving as the cornerstone of the exhibition, papal robes and accessories from the Sistine Chapel sacristy, many of which have never been seen outside The Vatican, will be on view in the Anna Wintour Costume Center. Fashions from the early twentieth century to the present will be shown in the Byzantine and medieval galleries, part of the Robert Lehman Wing, and at The Met Cloisters.
It doesn't happen all that often,  but words fail me.

Tuesday, May 08, 2018

London Mithraeum

The mysterious cult of Mithras first appeared in Rome in the 1st century AD. It spread across the Empire over the next 300 years, predominantly attracting merchants, soldiers and imperial administrators. Meeting in temples which were often constructed below ground, these were private, dark and windowless spaces. The mythological scene of Mithras killing a bull within a cave, the ‘tauroctony’ is at the heart of the cult, and its full meaning is subject of much speculation.
And I am off to one this afternoon.

Monday, May 07, 2018

Chelsea starlet Callum Hudson-Odoi wanted by Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus

The Sun
Blues wonderkid has attracted the attention of European giants with stunning campaign at youth level
While the world keeps publishing these extraordinary things, I will keep taking note.

Saturday, May 05, 2018

“Travelers never did lie, though fools at home condemn them“

I went to the Noel Coward Theatre in the West End on Wednesday, left just after ten and got the tube home arriving at twenty five to eleven.

Yesterday, I went to the Rose Theatre in Kingston, which you might think was more local, left my house at twenty to six, jumped on a number 131 bus and arrived an hour and ten minutes later.

I am sure there is a life lesson there, but I don't know that I am up to articulating it this morning.

Anyway, Much Ado About Nothing was good and we spied Jenny Agutter (as well as Hugh Dennis) in the audience.
Prodnose: Good Lord, lucky old you.
Myself: Jenny Agutter was in Avengers Assemble which was directed by Josh Wheedon. Josh Wheedon also filmed a version of "Much Ado about Nothing," in 2012.
Prodnose: Well I never. Will wonders never cease?

Friday, May 04, 2018

In a world where ....

In Codice Ratio is a research project that aims at developing novel methods and tools to support content analysis and knowledge discovery from large collections of historical documents. The goal is to provide humanities scholars with novel tools to conduct data-driven studies over large historical sources. The project concentrates on the collections of the Vatican Secret Archives, one of the largest and most important historical archive in the world. In an extension of 85 kilometres of shelving, it maintains more than 600 archival collections containing historical documents on the Vatican activities, such as, all the acts promulgated by the Vatican, account books, correspondence of the popes, starting from the eighth century.
Am I the only one who sees a movie here? Get me Harvey Weinstein on the phone now! And tell Nic Cage he can't retire, at least not yet.

Prodnose: It's a transmitter. It's a radio for speaking to God. And it's within my reach.

Thursday, May 03, 2018

School Dispersal Zone in effect

I have heard a rumour that that this timely intervention by the police was prompted by tensions between Ricards Lodge and Ursuline High, our two local girls secondary schools. For all the tears of laughter this provoked, we hear a lot of talk about entitled millennials but I, for one, will sleep more soundly in my bed knowing that the next generation on the distaff side owe more to Boudica than they do to the Kardashians.

“the march of civilisation has given the modern girl a vocabulary and an ability to use it which her grandmother never had”
P.G. Wodehouse, master of understatement.

Wednesday, May 02, 2018

Who's got Wood?

The Sultan is London's most loved pub and Coffee in the Wood is the runner up as London's most loved coffee place if Time Out is anything to go by.

Good place to live.

Tuesday, May 01, 2018

if he keeps his feet on the ground and matures properly

Binned the Antelope quiz last night when I found out that the FA Youth Cup final was on ITV4 and was rewarded by two goals from Callum.

Monday, April 30, 2018

Much ado about nothing

I am off the Rose Theatre in Kingston on Friday; definitely on something of a theatre jag lately.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Time Flies

It was the last rugby game of the year for Ben and the Old Ruts colts today.

They lost to Cobham in the final if the Quins Cup.

He narrowly missed out on a try and it was a good achievement to get as far as they did.

Next year will be his tenth year at the Club and his last before senior rugby.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Friday Evening Events

It turns out that we were at the Deli Boutique n St John's Hlll last night.

As a rule they close at 6pm, but once a month on a Friday night, they pay tribute to a region of France, with a two course menu with wine.

One for the diary.

Friday, April 27, 2018

carte du jour

Lobster Menu
Friday 27th April
Menu @ 25
Fresh Goat Cheese, Smoked Salmon & Cucumber Salsa on Toast
Complementary Starter
Grilled whole Lobster with Deli Boutique sauce,
Roasted potatoes.
French Cheese Selection Platter (£ 5)
Fresh Raspberry Tart with Vanilla Whipped Cream (£ 5)
Wine List
Sauvignon gris, (Family Wine, Loire Valley Vineyard) White. £21.90/£ 5.50 (175ml)
Classic Ventoux, Provence, Red £21.90/£5.50 (175ml)
Orca, Ventoux, Provence, Red £ 26.90
Pey blanc”, Provence, Rosé. £27.90/£6.50 (175ml)
Sparkling Wine (Family Wine, Loire Valley Vineyard) £ 26.90/ £ 6.50 (175 ml)

This evening's bill of fare does look nice. If only I could claim to have the slightest idea where on earth we are supposed to turn up to consume it.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Da Capo al Fine

I drove past the aftermath of this last Friday, early in the morning on my way to pick Ben up to take him to the dentist. He would have walked past it the night before when he got the tube back after curling.

Repeat to fade.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Four teens have been jailed for a total of 85 years for the murder of Mahamed Hassan in April 2017

Kishon Allen, 19 (28.10.98) of Mount Road, Mitcham was sentenced to 21 and a half years after being found guilty of murder and violent disorder.
I used to see Kishon all the time at rugby and athletics (Icons passim). Is this the world we created?

Tuesday, April 24, 2018


I am off to see this in the Noel Coward Theatre next Wednesday.

Monday, April 23, 2018

in a bind

People seem never to tire of telling me that the word yoga, is from the Sanskrit word yuj means to yoke or bind.

Then again, there is a also school of thought that speculates that the etymology of religion lies with the Latin word religare, which means “to tie, to bind.”

Nothing new under the sun.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Judging a Book by Its Recovery

To what extent is inspiration entangled with intoxication? When it comes to writing and alcohol, it's comforting to think it's always better to be sober. But is it?... more »
As good a way as any to sum up the day.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

An Antidote to Chaos

As I was half asleep on the back seat of the minibus on the way home from curling I heard Ben telling Jonnie that he was reading Jordan Peterson's 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos.

I wasn't aware that he read or, indeed, had any internal life at all, never mind quaffing "the most influential public intellectual in the Western world right now" (New York Times).

Last December (Icons passim), I blogged that a Jordan Peterson lecture seemed to be about "the Bomber and his mates" which is pretty much means Ben and Jonnie.

"You know, just simple lines intertwining," as Nigel Tufnell has said.

Friday, April 20, 2018

England's only dedicated Ice Curling Rink near Tunbridge Wells in Kent

Yesterday was the hottest April day for nearly 70 years, with the mercury soaring to 29.1C (84F) in St James' Park in London, so naturally - in the evening - we went curling near Tunbridge Wells.

It can't be explained in terms of cause and effect.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Turn on HTTPS for your blog

I just turned on Https for as explained in

I was amazed google could offer it on a domain it didn't own.

Maybe that  is why it isn't working.

It is now.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Greatest UK boxer of all time?

Jeff Mayweather asks some of the guys inside the Mayweather Boxing Club who they think the greatest boxer to ever come out of the UK was
Lots of love here, from people in the know, for Joe Calzaghe - whose signed glove sits near me in the office as I type.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

When they built you, brother, they broke the mold

John came back with me from Cardiff on Sunday as he had to attend a course at the Chancery Lane office on Monday and Tuesday. He is going straight back on the train from Paddington after it finishes this afternoon.

It's been fun.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Go in peace to love and serve the Lord

When I am back in Cardiff I take mum and dad to six o'clock at St Joseph's. The Archbishop was there this weekend. Mass these days though, as Vincent Vega would say, "it's's just, there it's a little different."

Here is Dave Holmes in Esquire, on being thrown off the beat by little changes.
I can still recite the Nicene Creed from memory: “We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, Creator of Heaven and Earth, of all that is seen and unseen ..."
It’s a declaration of the Catholic faith, and if you are a kid in church with his parents, it’s a signal that the Sign of Peace— the seventh-inning stretch of the Catholic Mass—is moments away. Your freedom is imminent.
My father had a special cadence during the Creed, especially in those final few lines, each one building on the last, like he was ticking items off a to-do list. Upspeak, before we had a word for it:
We believe in one Catholic and apostolic church?
We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins?
We look for the resurrection of the dead?
And from that peak, he would descend:
N’ the life of the world to come Amen.
It got on my nerves when I was a teenager and everything your parents do gets on your nerves. Once I moved away and was only going to Mass with my folks a couple of times a year, I’d lean in a little bit so I wouldn’t miss it. It was like a good old song, and his version was my favorite.
Now he’s gone, and the Creed has all sorts of new words in it. Now you’re supposed to bow your head at certain points; There’s choreography. Pope Benedict changed it more than a decade ago, and I’m always a step behind. “And with your spirit” catches me off guard every time. All us other twice-a-year Catholics can identify each other when we all say: “And also with y…oh.”
I hear you brother.

Sunday, April 15, 2018


I've been in Cardiff since Friday and I'm due to eat with Ben and John in Corleone tonight.

This means that heroic measures will be required to get through my weekly organic fruit and veg box before the next one arrives.

It seems to me that Romy Gill's red lentil dhal with wild garlic will  inevitably form part of this mopping up exercise.

What have I become?

Saturday, April 14, 2018


I finally managed yesterday, at the umpteenth time of asking, to climb out of my pit and get to the 6;30 am class at Wimbledon Hot Yoga. I have pretty much got 6:30 on Thursday dialled in as I go with Kevin from round the corner and I know he will be outside my door at six prompt.

If I manage to get along to Elite Fitness at 10 o'clock this morning, that will be three in a row. Could Thursday, Friday, Saturday be the new paradigm?

It’s 6 AM on the third day of my vacation in this Instagram-perfect corner of Southeast Asia but instead of sleeping peacefully I have stretched myself into I don’t even know what shape and I am miserable.
All I wanted for this much-needed trip was to lie on a beach and then take a boat to another beach where I would lie out some more and drink 300 Pina Coladas and then take another boat to another beach and eat and eat and eat and lie out again. But after seeing so many dumb stock images of beaming women doing the pigeon pose in the middle of lush mountains or secluded beaches, I convinced myself that, “Yes, that could be me,” and booked this fxxking sunrise yoga class.
Read on ............

Friday, April 13, 2018

So the last shall be first

Back in 2012 we  watched Annie Last, Debs' niece, in the London Olympics (see Icons passim).

Yesterday England won their first ever Commonwealth Games medals in women's mountain biking as favourite Annie Last took gold ahead of team-mate Evie Richards on the Gold Coast.

Hoorah! Someone other than Callum or Paapa to write about plus Laxt/First wordplay aplenty.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Sign of the Times

After ‘Hamlet’ and ‘King Lear,’ Where Else Can Paapa Essiedu Go?

LONDON — No one from the Royal Shakespeare Company was sure if Paapa Essiedu would have time for an interview recently. He was busy rehearsing the title role in “Hamlet” while also preparing for “King Lear,” in which he is playing Edmund alongside Antony Sher.
Both productions were about to travel to the United States: “King Lear” runs through April 29 at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, and “Hamlet” arrives at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., on May 2. But eventually Mr. Essiedu was able to find a time to talk, between the cool-down from one play and the warm-up for the other. He wasn’t being difficult; this was just how it was.
Daily Mail:
Chelsea U18s 4-0 (7-0 agg) Birmingham City U18s: Jody Morris' side reach seventh successive FA Youth Cup final after comfortable win
  • Chelsea's youth side were 3-0 up from the first leg away from home last week
  • Callum Hudson-Odoi scored two goals either side of Charlie Brown's strike
Writing here feels like keeping a scrapbook about these two lately

Wednesday, April 11, 2018


More footage of  Ben and Ray.

It is a pity they are in Florida rather than Pennsylvania.

Given the Abraham Lincoln face furniture Ben is sporting he could have pulled on a frock coat and gone undercover with the Amish completely undetected.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Thinking out loud

We won the quiz at the Antelope in Tooting last night, which means we will have a £50 bar tab for next Monday. My brother John will be up for that.

Ben doesn't land in Heathrow on the way back from Florida until Saturday morning which means he will be too jet lagged to play rugby on Sunday morning.

That, in turn, means that I can drive back from Cardiff later than usual and I can give John a lift up to town. If the weather is OK though, I think we should try and get to SW19 in time to catch The Steve Whalley Band on the bandstand and promoted by the Apprentice at 3pm.

Thence to Corleone for dinner (Ben will come) which is open from noon until 10pm on Sundays.

Monday, April 09, 2018

Tender Loving Scare

Anyone who tells you that the TLS protocol upgrade is not causing any problems with e-commerce behind the scenes is fibbing.

Thanks for listening.

Sunday, April 08, 2018

Ryan Reeves

I think that over the last year or so I have learned more from Ryan Reeves' YouTube channel than almost anything else.

Start with the Early and Medieval Church History playlist.

It is s bit more rigorous than our scripture lessons in St Illtyd's with Brother Luke.

Saturday, April 07, 2018

apt to be very sporting and unpredictable

I watched the Cardiff Wolves game in the Standard last night. City lost 1-0 after squandering two penalties in extra time. Not a dry eye in the house.

I'm off to Kempton Park this afternoon if you have got any tips.

Sky Sports think Callum may get his first Chelsea start against West Ham on Sunday. If that happens I will be in the Standard again at half past four.

Friday, April 06, 2018

Let me stand next to your fire

It is pretty much exactly three years (Icons passim) since John and I met Shauna. Amazing to think that her TV series starts at half past seven next Monday on BBC One Wales. More information than you need, but I will have to catch up with it on the iPlayer after the Antelope quiz.

Thursday, April 05, 2018

Lana De Ray (geddit?)

Ben with his niece in Florida

Wednesday, April 04, 2018

Late on parade

I am late with my slice of life today as I left at the crack of dawn to visit Warwickshire Police and then Nottinghamshire Police. I am going to need to make this trip reasonably regularly now.

I couldn't help but notice Stratford Upon Avon is in Warwickshire. Perhaps I could combine business with a visit there some time in the future, given my current Shakespeare jag and the fact I've never been.

Tuesday, April 03, 2018

Another piece of the jigsaw

We ain't got no history
Trailing 3-1 and badly in need of offensive firepower against Tottenham on Sunday, in the 88th minute Antonio Conte brought on... 17 year-old Callum Hudson-Odoi.
As this gets more commonplace, we need to keep reminding ourselves how remarkable it is.

Monday, April 02, 2018


Eight years and seven months since the first time, I did my 500th yoga class yesterday.

Sunday, April 01, 2018

Moby Dick - Rehearsed

Kevin G's parents were among the party at yesterday's Hamlet matinee. Over a spot of lunch before the event, Kev's dad told us he had seen Orson Welles on stage in Moby Dick in the 50s.

"Was he playing the whale?" I deadpanned.

No such luck we were told. Welles was Ahab. Kenneth Williams was in it as well, and it was performed with little in the way of props on a bare stage. "They mimed harpooning the whale in the orchestra pit."

At this stage, quite frankly I was beginning to suspect that Godding pere had lost the plot.

Not at all. See

The original cast included Welles, Christopher Lee, Kenneth Williams, Joan Plowright, Patrick McGoohan, Gordon Jackson, Peter Sallis! Let's just savour that.

An ingenious idea is employed to accommodate the sweep of this classic story on the stage. A Shakespearean company puts down their rehearsal sides of Lear and curiously take up those of a new play entitled Moby Dick.
King Lear! As our own tragedians are off to do it in New York. "The wheel is come full circle, I am here."

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Bare ruined choirs, where late the sweet birds sang.

We are off to the matinee of Paapa's Hamlet today. Visit two, but he tipped us the wink on a special RSC discount code.

Steve, who has got a degree in theology is coming. Here is how I intend to disconcert him.

Hamlet arrives from Wittenberg, where Luther nailed his 95 theses to the cathedral door, to find the ghost of his father in purgatory.

Article XXII of the Thirty-Nine Articles of the Anglican church (already established when Hamlet was written) states that "The Romish Doctrine concerning Purgatory . . . is a fond thing, vainly invented, and grounded upon no warranty of Scripture, but rather repugnant to the Word of God." Prayers for the departed were deleted from the 1552 Book of Common Prayer because they suggested a doctrine of purgatory.


Friday, March 30, 2018

I am a very foolish fond old man

Ben's in the air at the moment, flying to New York on his way to Florida.

I found out this morning that Paapa's off to the Big Apple on Monday as well.Gregory Doran’s critically-acclaimed production of King Lear travels to New York with Antony Sher reprising the title role and Mr Essiedu as Edmund; Brooklyn Academy of Music from 7th to the 29th of April.

After that (as we know) he is returning to Hamlet in Washington DC. How on earth he imagines he is going to have any chance of getting in our Monday night pub quiz team in Tooting at this rate I have no idea.

Actually, quite a few of the Hamlet cast seem to be in Lear as well, including Mimi Ndiweni and Clarence Smith, both of whom I particularly admired at Hackney last week.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Lupesoliai La'auli

WBA 'super' and IBF champion Joshua insisted the smart money should be put on him to defeat Parker by knockout, but the Kiwi had a simple message to anyone who is betting on the fight.
Parker said: "Bet on him? Bet on me, and make some money."
I have managed to get a few quid on Parker to win at 6-1. Interesting to note that the odds on him winning have shortened since last time I looked.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

The next chapter

England U18s ended a successful week by making it three wins from three games with a 2-1 victory over Belarus.
Neil Dewsnip’s side had previously seen off opposition from Qatar and Argentina in their first two games before returning to St. George’s Park for Monday evening's match.
And Ian Poveda-Ocampo of Manchester City completed an impressive week with his third goal in three games to put England ahead after 11 minutes, having previously struck against both Qatar and Argentina.
Belarus kept the Young Lions at bay until after the break, when Chelsea's Callum Hudson-Odoi doubled the advantage after 55 minutes.
The visitors made it an interesting end to the game when substitute Kirylenka Kiryl made it 2-1 in the 71st minute, but they couldn’t find an equaliser leaving Dewsnip and his players with plenty to be proud of after their week's work.
A goal for Callum at England U18 level after winning the World Cup with the U17s previously.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Time Team 2002

Abbey Mills 16 years ago.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Now that was a good night, sweet prince

Off to the Hackney Empire last night (I've never been there before) to see Paapa's RSC Hamlet. It is great. He is great. Practically everyone is great to be honest but let's have a particular shout out for Mimi Ndiweni's Ophelia and Clarence Smith as Claudius. The production is going to the Kennedy Center in Washington DC next.

Black Panther is still setting box office records over in the States, so I think a Hamlet in which Elsinore is in a modern African county is going to be plugged right into the zeitgeist; I wouldn't be surprised by rave reviews and press and telly opinion piece ubiquity.

Black Panther

Friday, March 23, 2018

China 0 - Wales 6

Ryan Giggs started his reign as Wales manager in spectacular style with Gareth Bale scoring a hat-trick in a 6-0 thrashing of China to become the nation's leading goalscorer.
How many times in my life are Wales gonna score 6? I think I was in my teens before they scored six in total. I though they were called "Wales nil" until I was in secondary school.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

To share is precious, pure and fair

I went, as usual on a Thursday, to Bikram Yoga at half past six this morning. I am a big fan of it as a physical discipline, but regularly find I could do with a bit less of the cod-spirituality that often sneaks in to the dialogue. So when Shona, the instructor, asked me for a yoga-talk quote she could use for uplift I challenged her to sneak
We’re all sensitive people with so much to give
Since we got to be, let’s live
from Let's Get it On by Marvin Gaye into the mix.

Game girl that she is she encouraged us with it in Dandayamana-Bibhaktapada-Janushirasana while keeping a straight face. For myself I nearly fell out of the pose laughing.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

List: Church Fathers or Pokémon

The Church Fathers, Early Church Fathers, Christian Fathers, or Fathers of the Church are ancient and generally influential Christian theologians.

Pokémon are creatures of all shapes and sizes who live in the wild or alongside humans in video games. For the most part, Pokémon do not speak except to utter their names. (Would that more theologians had done the same.)
  1. Polycarp
  2. Magikarp
  3. Aphrahat
  4. Abomasnow
  5. Tertullian
  6. Archeops
  7. Irenaeus
  8. Magmortar
1, 3, 5, 7: Church Fathers
2, 4, 6, 8: Pokémon

Time spent on Historia Ecclesiastica is never wasted.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

how infinite in faculties

We won the quiz last night, so after yesterday's stumble all is well with the world once more.

Monday, March 19, 2018


I forgot to write anything today. It's not like me. This is just a stop gap from my phone.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

the humble chickpea

I have decided to read Robert Harris' Imperium next. It is the first novel in his trilogy about Cicero.

From wikipedia:
Cicero's cognomen, or personal surname, comes from the Latin for chickpea, cicer. Plutarch explains that the name was originally given to one of Cicero's ancestors who had a cleft in the tip of his nose resembling a chickpea. However, it is more likely that Cicero's ancestors prospered through the cultivation and sale of chickpeas.
Never mind "the influence of Cicero upon the history of European literature and ideas greatly exceeds that of any other prose writer in any language," it is stuff along the lines of:
The famous family names of Fabius, Lentulus, and Piso come from the Latin names of beans, lentils, and peas, respectively. Plutarch writes that Cicero was urged to change this deprecatory name when he entered politics, but refused, saying that he would make Cicero more glorious than Scaurus ("Swollen-ankled") and Catulus ("Puppy")
that floats my boat.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

That's entertainment, that's entertainment

I will definitely have a basin full of this Thursday week. It seems so wonderfully unlikely.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Uncle Simon is your brother?!

Five Latest Angelina Jolie Stories That Are Fake News
3. This week, NW claimed Jolie was developing a romance with a 20-something “boy toy.” The publication identified the purported beau as Oscar Crane, who worked on both By The Sea and First They Killed My Daughter. That professional relationship had now “progressed to a much more personal level,” the tabloid alleged, suggesting a “romance could soon be [in] the cards.” But the tabloid showed it was clueless by featuring a picture not of Oscar, but his brother Oliver. The siblings, along with their father, are longtime family friends of Jolie, Gossip Cop learned. That was just part of key information that was missing from the error-filled article. Jolie has a working relationship and family-focused friendship with the Cranes, not one that has anything to do with her love life.
Ollie - Oscar and Oliver's aunt - told me about this last night. Eleven and a half years on from "you mean Uncle Simon is your brother?!" A gift that keeps on giving.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Sky Now and Then

I've had my Sky TV Box for nearly four years now (see Icons passim). It doesn't get a lot of use these days, but I have discovered that you can also get Sky Box office on it. (You need to download an app.)

I am pretty much certain you couldn't do that last time I looked, and it does mean that I can watch the Anthony Joshua - Joseph Parker fight on March 31 if I pony up £19.95 (

I may well do that as I am rather tempted by a wager on Parker if I can get 6 to 1 odds. That's an extraordinary figure for a two horse race.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

When Particle Size Matters

The Bomber is doing his work experience next week at a company in the industrial park just around the corner.
Endecotts are the world's leading manufacturer of quality laboratory test sieves, sieve shakers, and related laboratory equipment.
Our sample analysis equipment is used by laboratories in all four corners of the world. Endecotts was founded in 1936 and has over 80 years established an enviable reputation for quality and accuracy.

Endecotts test sieves are available in a wide range of sizes to meet every national and international standard and virtually every specification.
Whether it is agriculture, engineering, mining, pharmaceuticals or some other critical area where accurate analysis is vital, our customers know they can rely on the name Endecotts.
With agents and distributors in over 80 countries worldwide and on every continent we can quickly supply a wide range of high quality, sample analysis to our customers around the globe.
It does my heart good to hear about an independent company manufacturing locally and exporting round the world. Journalists drone on and on about German SME engineering success but never breathe a word about it happening in my back yard.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Tickets for The York Realist are very limited

I switched radio 2 on in the car on Saturday on my way to Sainsburys and heard someone (Ben Batt perhpas) promoting a Donmar Warehouse production of The York Realist on the Graham Norton show. It is practically sold out but - Peter Gill completist that I am- I managed to get a ticket for last night.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Professor Yaffle Chuckabutty, Operatic Tenor and Sausage Knotter

Tatty-bye, everybody, tatty-bye!
I may not have enjoyed every moment of British seaside holidays when I was a kid, but I did get to see Ken Dodd at an end-of the-pier show somewhere or other. He was quite, quite brilliant.

Sunday, March 11, 2018


The handle store
When selecting an espag window handle you will need to know the measurement of the spindle length - this is the length of exposed spindle that leaves the back of the handle and goes inside the window. It can be anything from 10mm upto 55mm. A common mistake is to measure the entire spindle length of a handle in its broken state and this will be too long as you only need the length that is exposed when the handle is together in its unbroken state. Espag handles typically break around the spindle pivoting area of the handle as this is the weakest point. When replacing a handle it will usually be be for this reason so look out for poorly riveted or sub-standard manufacturing.
I am back from Mum and Dad's with another job on my list (downstairs toilet). The trick will be to work out the spindle length as it is broken off. Also noticed that the outdoor night light with motion detection isn't working and the sitting room dimmer switch is sticking.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

On the road and in a rush

I belong to the blank generation, and I can take it or leave it each time. I belong to the generation, but I can take it or leave it each time
Repeat and fade. There is an invisible tag joke above trivia fans.

Friday, March 09, 2018

57 Varieties

Yanis Varoufakis is speaking at the Rose Theatre later this month. I may try and get along as I was impressed by his book "And the Weak Suffer What They Must?: Europe, Austerity and the Threat to Global Stability" which I read last year.

With the Kingston's Rose Theatre at one end the route, Streatham's Hideaway jazz club at the other, and a stop at the bottom of my street I could lead a full life just taking the 57 bus hither and yon.

Thursday, March 08, 2018

Darn Tooting

I didn't have a clue about this and I only live a short walk down the A24 in the 'Wood.

Wednesday, March 07, 2018

bounded in a nutshell

Paapa's Hamlet reached the Hackney Empire last night. We are going on March 23rd.

Tuesday, March 06, 2018

swipe left

We came second in the Antelope quiz last night, beaten by a single point but still the proud recipients of a £25 bar voucher for next week.

In the picture round I guessed that Tinder's pink and orange flame logo belonged to British Gas's Hive, the app I use to run my central heating and hot water; hilarity ensued.

Empirical evidence that I have reached the stage in my life where nice and cozy out ranks hook up culture.

Where are my slippers? Wake up, boiler!

Monday, March 05, 2018

Things to do in London this weekend

A rare sight of a frozen Roath Park. Credit: Liam Ellis
I think it was probably a good idea for me to postpone my trip to Cardiff on Friday.

Sunday, March 04, 2018

The dog ate my homework

I am sorry I am late. When I picked my coat up from the back of a dining room chair the high E string on a nearby guitar had managed to inveigle its way inside the slider of the front zip.

I don't think this can be explained without resorting to quantum entanglement. Classical mechanics aren't up to the job.

I tried to ease guitar and jacket apart for a while, but finally gave up and cut the string with some scissors. Until I get a replacement I will probably retune to G-D-G-B-D and entertain the neighbours with covers of The Rolling Stones' "Honky Tonk Women", "Brown Sugar" and "Start Me Up"

Saturday, March 03, 2018

You know why? Because you’re afraid of the NRA.

When Kevin showed me this video on his phone I just assumed it would be because Trump embarrassed himself. In fact it is nothing of the sort. Maybe his bull-in-a-china-shop persona will give him the cojones to do something about the USA's gun madness. Wouldn't that be a turn up for the books?

Friday, March 02, 2018

Wake Up Boiler!

I have cancelled my trip to Avon and Somerset Police today - and thence to Cardiff - in light of the weather warnings precipitated by the collision of Storm Emma and the Beast from the East. Thus I am in the office. The friggin' heating is off again; brass monkeys mate. Plumbers are on premises and we await developments.

I will be in the Standard tonight where people will be talking like this.

Thursday, March 01, 2018

Ugly Delicious

The New Yorker
What makes “Ugly Delicious” compelling, ultimately, is Chang’s commitment to rejecting purity and piety within food culture. “I view authenticity like a totalitarian state,” Chang declares, in the show’s first episode, adding, “It’s not that I hate authenticity, it’s that I hate that people want this singular thing that is authentic.” In food culture, particularly American food culture, the concept of authenticity is wielded like a hammer: This pizza, made with San Marzano tomatoes and mozzarella di bufala and a yeast-risen dough, blistered in an ultra-hot wood-fired oven for less than a minute, is authentic; that pizza, ordered on the Domino’s Pizza Now™ mobile app, dressed with toppings that arrive at a franchise location pre-sliced in a vacuum-sealed bag, passed through an industrial conveyor-belt oven, is not. The problem with such rigid categorizations, according to “Ugly Delicious,” is, for one thing, creative stagnation. Chang, after all, made his career on an exuberant disregard for convention. His restaurants—with their Japanese names, Taiwanese pork buns, Korean rice cakes, Continental flourishes, and intellectual-bro Americana twists—remix and subvert everything from ancient culinary traditions to standard restaurant-service expectations.
The fridge and larder yesterday were quite frankly not at their brightest and best. But then a forlorn supermarket coriander plant, pate bought from Chadwick's on Saturday, a stray roast chicken thigh, wilting chilli, plus sad carrots and my brother's pickling brine screamed banh mi at me.

A Co-Op baguette later Franco-Vietnamese fusion life was good and I settled down to binge watch this fine new Netflix series nodding with approval: Eat it all let God sort 'em out.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Kit and caboodle

Amazon Echo owners in the UK can now use Alexa to control Fire TVs. I tried this last night downstairs and it worked pretty well. I may set a monitor up in the bedroom with my first generation Fire TV stick and hook that in to the bedside Echo dot.

Also my GT-5 guitar effects pedal has got a HEADPHONES Jack (Stereo Mini Type) output. I may dig up the old Beats Pill and run it though that for the time being.

Now you know two things I may do. Lucky old you.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

The Beast from the East

Heavy snow and freezing conditions are expected along the east coast of the UK and south-east England, causing disruption on the roads, railways and in the air, as the “beast from the east” envelops the British Isles.
Meanwhile at Coraider central there is no water supply to the office and hence no heating from the building's boiler. Wake Up Boilers! Christmas has come later. (In-joke.)

Monday, February 26, 2018

New to Tooting

John and I walked up to Tooting on Saturday. I hadn't been there for a while; joint was jumpin'.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

All Out!!

Old Ruts Colts went out against London Irish in the semi-final of the Cup yesterday, then Arsenal got blown away by Manchester City in the League Cup Final.

I have had better afternoons to be honest.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Like a GT5, like a GT5

I bought one of these at auction. Here manual. Thanks the Lord you don't live next door.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Oxfam: ‘Your Donation Will Help Us Protect Impoverished Girls From Our Employees’

International nongovernmental organization Oxfam announced a new pledge campaign Thursday requesting help in their effort to protect impoverished girls from sexual predation at the hands of Oxfam employees. “Your donation can make a difference in the lives of girls in countries suffering from the effects of war, natural disasters, economic exploitation, or the unwanted sexual advances of our aid workers,” Oxfam executive director Winnie Byanyima said in a statement encouraging potential donors to sponsor a girl directly to ensure her continuing safety. “Our work in some of the world’s poorest, most harassed regions would not be possible without the generosity of people like you. Your donation can bring hope to girls suffering at the hands of our most debauched staff members.” Byanyima added that more than anything else, Oxfam was seeking committed, enthusiastic volunteers to help them combat further injustices.
Back in 2010 (Icons passim) I helped out, at the behest of the Royal Household with the Disaster Emergency Committee when it was working on the Haiti earthquake. I was really impressed with the people and the processes. Oxfam is a member of DEC and I am staggered by the revelations of what was going on.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Cat On A Hot Tin Roof

I am off to see NT Live: Cat On A Hot Tin Roof at the Odeon tonight. A Streetcar Named Desire; same author, same director and same venue, was the first NT live presentation I ever went to in the movies back in 2014 (see Icons passim).

Running time 193 minutes: Crikey!

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Get high, get lit, get drunk, get wavey, get wavey

Today I will mostly be listening to Wavey by CLiQ ft. Alika.

I realise it is unlikely and, frankly I don't think anyone is more surprised than I am. Tune popped up on the radio as I was driving home and earwormed its way into my life.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Hi Dad - I'm in Jail

Was (Not Was); accept no dubstitute. "What Up Dog?" is one of my favourite albums of all time.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Sunday, February 18, 2018

The Glamorous Life III

I am back from Northamptonshire with an Adam Black Libra Guitar. More information perhaps than you needed but some people asked,

Saturday, February 17, 2018

The Glamorous Life II

Hello, is that reception? Susan? Oh, hi. Can you make pornography come on my telly please? Oh, that’s very nice of you.
I have woken in the Mansfield Travelodge.  I am Alan Partridge.

Friday, February 16, 2018

The Glamorous Life

There is a new Co-op at the bottom of the road. It opened yesterday in what used to be GJ's. I bought an onion and some stock cubes there last night.

This afternoon I am going to Mansfield.
Dying by inches every night—
What a glamorous life!
Pulled on by winches to recite—
What a glamorous life!

Thursday, February 15, 2018

The Fall of Man

Seven weeks into 2018, there have been eight shootings at US schools that have resulted in injury or death. Seventeen people have been confirmed dead in the latest shooting in Parkland, Florida, on Ash Wednesday.

Ash Wednesday is a Christian day for peace and the first day of Lent, which is six weeks of repentance before Easter. It derives its name from the placing of repentance ashes on the foreheads of participants to the dictum "Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return."

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

had we but world enough and time

Today is Ash Wednesday and Valentines' Day.

If I had more leisure I would write a bitter-sweet reflective sonnet about an apparent but illusory in the world but not of the world contradistinction. Luckily for you I am too busy and have to crack on with work and earning a living.


Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Man jailed for life after stabbing teen outside nightclub

A man who stabbed a teenager to death outside a nightclub has been handed life imprisonment.
Dickson Tangu was found guilty of the murder of Daniel Namanga after he fatally stabbed the teenager late at night.
Daniel was only 19 years old when he went to Afrikiko Bar on Old Kent Road on August 8 with friends for a night out.
Daniel Namanga (Rutlish and Old Ruts); see Icons passim.

And then of course we have Kishon's tragic fall from the promise of 2013 to the pit of 2018.

Monday, February 12, 2018

The Crazy Nastyass Honey Badger

Ben is staying with me at the moment. Last night we watched YouTube videos about Honey Badgers.

The Chuck Norris of the animal kingdom. No bigger or faster animals ever give the honey badger crap. If they did, they wouldn't get the chance to regret it.

When the Tasmanian devil goes to sleep, he checks under his bed for the honey badger.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Don' tell me that wasn't a try

In my moral universe this was awarded and converted so Wales won 13-12.

Also, Ben and I have decided to go to one of the Autumn internationals in the Principality later this year, tickets and accommodation to be confirmed.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

A guilty secret

I saw Sam and Shauna of the Hang Fire Southern Kitchen inside the stadium at the Wales Scotland international last weekend.

They were too far away for me to say hello, but even if they hadn't been I don't think I would have been brave enough to tell scratch-makers like them that canned smokey BBQ pulled pork has become a kitchen cupboard staple at Browne acres.

As long as you drain the gunk off, it ain't too bad at all (£1.80 from Sainsbury).

Friday, February 09, 2018

coincidence is God's way of remaining anonymous

Another day, another batshit Quincy Jones interview; my cup runneth over.

Long may it continue. He set the bar high in a recent GQ effort but this rich run of form shows no sign of petering out.

Thursday, February 08, 2018

Sublime and Ridiculous

Colliers Wood yesterday: "All human life is here, but the Holy Ghost seems to be somewhere else."

Wednesday, February 07, 2018


I had a ganglion cyst on the first knuckle of the middle finger of my left hand drained with a syringe at an outpatient appointment in hospital in Roehampton this morning.

Tuesday, February 06, 2018


I found out last night that Paapa is featured in this, so I will try and catch up with it on 24 days left.

Monday, February 05, 2018

opioids (for pain) and benzodiazepines (for anxiety)

Neil and Caroline, who put us up over the weekend, having started their careers as pharmacists I mentioned on Saturday evening that it had emerged that Tom Petty (like Prince before him) had died of a Fentanyl overdose. This led me to recommending the book Dreamland: The True Tale of America's Opiate Epidemic to them, and to realising - when I attempted to say Oxycontin and Fentanyl - that I still read and recognise new words in my head as patterns of letters rather than sounds, so that I trip up the first time I try to utter them aloud.

Ben piped up with a reference to counterfeit Xanax bars pressed by gangs; something else to worry about.

Vice - How Xanax Became the British Teenager's Drug of Choice.

Sunday, February 04, 2018

Wales 34-7 Scotland

Ben's first time in the Principality Stadium for Six Nations rugby and a satisfying win for Wales yesterday. Thanks to siblings John and Caroline for tickets and hospitality. We saw Liam Williams afterwards. He seems like a top-class, modest and self-effacing bloke.

Saturday, February 03, 2018

How yesterday went

I was in analysis. I was suicidal. As a matter of fact, I would have killed myself, but I was in analysis with a strict Freudian and if you kill yourself they make you pay for the sessions you miss.
In years to come I will remember what I meant by this, but you won't have a clue.

Friday, February 02, 2018

In one era, out the other

Callum has made his Premier league debut for Chelsea now. They got beaten 3-0 and, frankly, his toilet brush haircut could be improved, but I still hug myself inside every time I think of his journey from Singlegate.

I imagine I will maintain radio silence now until the first time he starts a headline game, but I will still be following his career as closely as ever.

Thursday, February 01, 2018

Shaking the Magic Money Trees
During last year's general election, Theresa May argued there was "No magic money tree" to pay for the things some voters wanted. Although she was chided for being unsympathetic to various worthy spending claims, a more fundamental criticism could have been levelled at the Prime Minister: There is indeed a Magic Money Tree!! Since the financial crisis, no less than £435billion of new money has been created through the policy of "quantitative easing", equivalent to a fifth of Britain's annual GDP. In this programme, financial journalist Michael Robinson finds out what happened to this staggering sum of money, and evaluates its effect on the lives of us all.
With the help of expert testimony, Robinson explains how this controversial policy works, effectively creating money at the push of a button. But as he also finds out, the new funds are only indirectly injected into the wider economy, typically through big institutional investors lending to companies. Few of these transactions, it turns out, have involved the kind of 'real world' investment that might be expected to stimulate the productive economy and generate growth. Indeed, almost all of them have been within the financial sector itself, and many people argue that the returns on QE have been astonishingly small.
Moreover, the influx of cash has inflated the price of assets, and led to a relative widening of the gap between rich and poor, which now threatens to upset our economic and political order. Even QE's deliberate objective to lower interest rates has also served to make homes and shares more expensive, while those already holding such assets have seen the greatest benefit. Britain's own 'Magic Money Tree' might have saved the economy from meltdown almost a decade ago, but it seems its many side-effects might have been far less beneficial.
Kevin recommended this BBC Radio 4 show to me on the way to yoga this morning. It is a pity the BBC Alex skill is not up to playing it.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018


I went to see the dentist yesterday. She told me I have been biting my tongue. No one I met in the evening could believe it.

Goodnight folks, I'm here all week! Be sure to tip the waitress.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

an aha moment

How to Build Private Alexa Skills with Alexa for Business
If you intend to publish your skill as a private skill, add the "distributionMode": "PRIVATE" line in the publishingInformation block of your skill manifest.

Monday, January 29, 2018

And so it came to pass

Congratulations to Callum

Sunday, January 28, 2018

A throne is only a bench covered with velvet.

Callum is among the subs for the Newcastle game. Will this be the day he finally gets on?

Friday, January 26, 2018

Thinking of you

If you ever think of me, I'll be thinking of you. Through thick and thin I bear it and grin, and never give in
I could be the one thing there in your hour of need. So if you decide to change your views I'm thinking of you
Terry Hall: God-like genius.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

What is the point of it?

It looks like I am going to have to wrap my head around it then. Herewith the skinny from the rules page of the Six Nations site. Rule 3 is what we are interested in.
1. The NatWest 6 Nations Championship is contested each season over seven weekends during February, March and sometimes April by the international sides of France, England, Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales.
2. Each team plays the other five once per season with home advantage in alternate seasons (eg England hosted France in 2003, and so France host England in 2004), giving a total of 15 matches per Championship.
3. The following points will be awarded based on the results of each Match (such points to be referred to as "Match Points" to distinguish them from points scored on the field of play):
(i) The Union that wins the Match shall be awarded four Match Points or (if it scores four tries or more in the process) five Match Points. 
(ii) The Union that loses the Match shall be awarded no Match Points or (if it scores four tries or more in the process or loses by a margin of seven points or fewer) one Match Point or (if it scores four tries or more in the process and loses by a margin of seven points or fewer) two Match Points.
(iii) Unions that draw a Match shall each be awarded two Match Points and any of them that scores four tries or more in the process shall be awarded a further one Match Point.
(iv) A Union that wins all five of its Matches (a "Grand Slam") shall be awarded a further three Match Points.
4. If in winning the Championship a team also wins all of their five matches, they are given the title of 'Grand Slam' winner.
5. There is also the title of 'Triple Crown' competed for each season, which is awarded if a team from the 4 Home Unions (England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales) beats each of the other 3 Home Unions.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

A Welsh Born Iconette

Wales have named 11-year-old table tennis player Anna Hursey in their squad for the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
Hursey is believed to be the youngest person to represent Wales at any sport at senior level, or compete at a Commonwealth Games for Team Wales.
Last year, aged just 10, she became the youngest player to represent Wales' senior table tennis team in a European Championship.
I am not sure I can get my head around this:

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

The book of Job

Google Maps thinks I was in Wagamama in Kingston from half past three until stumps were pulled tonight.

Let's just leave it at that shall we?

Monday, January 22, 2018

Icons passed

Ollie's mum died last night, nine years after her dad (Icons passim). It had been on the cards for a while, but it is still terrible news.

I remember that I walked her back to the taxi rank from a pub that had been booked for a party once. Out of the blue, and to break the ice, I said "tell me a wonderful story."

"By the time I was twenty I had finished working for MI6 in Singapore" she replied without missing a beat; a class act.

John Clement's funeral (Icons passim) will be on Valentine's Day. It's a way off but it's the day he met his wife. It's also Ash Wednesday this year. I've heard that on his deathbed he said, "tell Nick at least he won't have to print off any more timesheets for me to fill in." I find that inexpressibly brave and moving; another class act.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test

There are going to be times when we can't wait for somebody. Now, you're either on the bus or off the bus. If you're on the bus, and you get left behind, then you'll find it again. If you're off the bus in the first place — then it won't make a damn.
I met John and Lorraine in Borough Market yesterday. They were chilling after seeing  Girl from the North Country on Friday night. They did the trip on the bus.

I'm finally convinced enough to reciprocate. Ben and I will do the same for the Wales Scotland game. Out from Victoria 4pm on Friday and back from Cardiff half past seven Saturday night,

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Kryptonite to Corbynite

Is Corbyn friends with any Tories?
“I have a civilised relationship with a number of Tories – I discuss issues with them. Listen, David Davis and I worked very closely to try to get Shaker Aamer back into this country,” he says of an effort to get a British resident freed from Guantánamo Bay. “Indeed we went to Washington together – Andrew Mitchell, David Davis, Andy Slaughter and me – and we succeeded.”
Jeremy Corbyn gives props to David Davis for his record as a doughty supporter of civil liberties. Well done sir.

Friday, January 19, 2018

“A bit too early for coffee ... I think I’ll have Scotch.”

Peter Wyngarde, aged by the best estimates 90, has died. Can you really die if you are larger than life? Bootstrapped himself up from a Japanese internment camp (fellow inmate J.G. Ballard) to the inspiration for Austin Powers. 'Nuff respect.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Wales squad for the 2018 Six Nations

Forwards: Rob Evans (Scarlets), Wyn Jones (Scarlets), Nicky Smith (Ospreys), Scott Baldwin (Ospreys), Elliot Dee (Dragons), Ken Owens (Scarlets), Tomas Francis (Exeter Chiefs), Samson Lee (Scarlets), Dillon Lewis (Cardiff Blues), Adam Beard (Ospreys), Bradley Davies (Ospreys), Seb Davies (Cardiff Blues), Cory Hill (Dragons), Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys, capt), James Davies (Scarlets), Taulupe Faletau (Bath), Ellis Jenkins (Cardiff Blues), Ross Moriarty (Gloucester), Josh Navidi (Cardiff Blues), Aaron Shingler (Scarlets), Justin Tipuric (Ospreys).
Backs: Aled Davies (Scarlets), Gareth Davies (Scarlets), Rhys Webb (Ospreys), Gareth Anscombe (Cardiff Blues), Dan Biggar (Ospreys), Rhys Patchell (Scarlets), Rhys Priestland (Bath), Hadleigh Parkes (Scarlets), Owen Watkin (Ospreys), Owen Williams (Gloucester), Scott Williams (Scarlets), Josh Adams (Worcester Warriors), Hallam Amos (Dragons), Alex Cuthbert (Cardiff Blues), Steff Evans (Scarlets), Leigh Halfpenny (Scarlets), George North (Northampton Saints), Liam Williams (Saracens).
Food for thought on the day that my tickets for the opener against Scotland have definitely come through.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Before the dawn

Off to the HMV Curzon to see Darkest Hour last night. I think it is a masterpiece quite frankly.

Years ago, I saw Gary Oldman filming at Paddington Station. I had gone there with my brother who was catching the train back to Cardiff. I remember him doing the same scene again and again, and thinking how supercilious he appeared, seemingly ignoring the acolytes fluttering around him between takes. Then that particular stage in the proceedings finished, a child ran up to him and he was wreathed in smiles laughing and joking with the people I thought he was scorning moments before. It dawned on me that they were probably working on continuity; making sure that his hair and costume etc. always looked the same so no discrepancies appeared when the film was being edited, and that chatting and reacting to them while they were working would only be a distraction.

"The first time you see Winston Churchill you see all his faults, and the rest of your life you spend discovering his virtues." Gary Oldman too it would appear.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

With Alvaro Morata out of form, who is Callum Hudson-Odoi?

Currant Bun
Callum Hudson-Odoi’s timing could not have been better.
Less than 24 hours after Alvaro Morata drew yet another blank in Chelsea’s goalless draw with Leicester City, the young forward bagged a hat-trick as the Blues’ development team stuffed Sunderland 5-0.
The 17-year-old was on the bench as Antonio Conte’s side drew 0-0 with Norwich City in the FA Cup a fortnight ago.
But that is the closest the teenager has got to the first team this season. For now.
After the Blues were frustrated at home to the Foxes on Saturday, fans have called for Conte to give Hudson-Odoi a chance.
I know I risk droning on and on about Callum's rise and rise, but it really is astonishing.

Monday, January 15, 2018


After I did my MBA I worked as a Corporate Development Executive at George Wimpey PLC. At that time Wimpey had three divisions; house building, construction and minerals.

In November 1995, the Board announced a that Wimpey was to transfer its construction and minerals divisions to Tarmac in return for the latter's housing division.

In July 1999, Tarmac was demerged with the Construction and Professional services arms forming Carillion plc. (The aggregates and building materials side of the business retained the Tarmac name and was bought by Anglo American shortly afterwards.)

This morning Carillion went into liquidation.

Truth be told, even twenty odd years ago Construction made more money from interest on cash than profit on projects, which meant that it was in their interests to delay paying subcontractors as long as possible. I remember thinking that this was an unsustainable business model. I hope it is not how the business was run more recently or the fall out will be catastrophic.