Friday, October 19, 2018

Chaos Theory

  • The incendiary One for The Road is Pinter at his most terrifying: a ruthless government official interrogates a dissident and his family, but is the torturer more tortured than his victims?
  • The New World Order explores how the abuse of power is legitimised in the name of freedom and democracy, as two brutal interrogators prepare to inflict their terrible punishment on a blind-folded insurgent.
We are all off mob-handed to see the last night of Paapa at the Pinter tomorrow evening. When I booked the tickets these one-act plays seemed to have come out of a time capsule. In the wake of Kamal Khashoggi, less so - to put it mildly.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

And they're off

Wimbledon Bookfest is finished for another year. (Icons passim.)

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Football the only winner

England U19s made it two wins from two games in October, with a convincing 6-2 victory over Macedonia at St. George’s Park.
The Young Lions are preparing for next month’s Euro qualifiers in Turkey and after an impressive 4-1 win in Portugal last Thursday, it was back to base camp for their final warm-up game.
And Keith Downing’s side certainly found their range, as first-half goals captain Callum Hudson-Odoi and a double from Stephen Walker set the Young Lions on their way.
Happy to see Wales beat Ireland yesterday and for Callum to score as well as captaining England U19. I don't recall him officially leading the team in a match before; it is all good.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

The universe is made of stories, not of atoms.

Where I am from:
The lost communities of Cardiff’s docklands are to feature in a new four-part tv series on ITV Cymru Wales.
‘Dock of the Bay’ examines the transformation of the city’s waterfront from Tiger Bay to Cardiff Bay. It also chronicles the history and demolition of Newtown, nick-named ‘Little Ireland’ and Lower Splott, a community that was built in the shadow of the giant East Moors steelworks.
The series celebrates the present day diversity of the Bay and goes behind the scenes of some of the area’s most beautiful buildings as well as capturing the daily life of the docks itself. It is presented by Adeola Dewis, who brought up her family in the Bay. She works with many local groups including the Butetown Carnival.
“The stories are very moving because they are about loss and change,” said Adeola.
“They are also powerful stories because they show how the spirit of those communities has endured.”
Mary Sullivan, Chair and co-founder of the Newtown Association is one of the people featured in the series. She was brought up in ‘Little Ireland’, an area close to Tyndall Street, to the south-east of the city centre.
“My grandmother had 42 grandchildren and 36 of them lived in the same street. So you can imagine there was never any shortage of playmates. We played a lot in the street. Of course, we didn’t have television so we had lots of street games. We were poor, but we didn’t realise that because everyone was in the same boat.
Dock of the Bay will be broadcast by ITV Wales at 7.30pm on Tuesday 16th October and will then be online at:

Monday, October 15, 2018

Seahawk Postcards from Easy Street

What with one thing and another, I have been neglecting my beloved Seahawks lately.

Neglecting them to the extent that I didn't even realise they were playing in London yesterday.

It was then a delightful surprise to stumble on BBC coverage when I got in and switched on the TV. They cruised past the Raiders almost as imperiously as the Old Ruts Colts had cruised past Dorking RFC earlier in the day. available for 29 days.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Fetch me that slab

Nearly six years on (Icons passim) I have been having another crack at Ray Monk's Wittgenstein biography.

Having stumbled on the Beyond the Fringe sketch below however I may not be able to give it the "Well, God has arrived" respect it deserves.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Ecclesiasticus Chapter 3

1 Hear me your father, O children, and do thereafter, that ye may be safe.

2 For the Lord hath given the father honour over the children, and hath confirmed the authority of the mother over the sons.

3 Whoso honoureth his father maketh an atonement for his sins:

4 And he that honoureth his mother is as one that layeth up treasure.

5 Whoso honoureth his father shall have joy of his own children; and when he maketh his prayer, he shall be heard.

6 He that honoureth his father shall have a long life; and he that is obedient unto the Lord shall be a comfort to his mother.

7 He that feareth the Lord will honour his father, and will do service unto his parents, as to his masters.

8 Honour thy father and mother both in word and deed, that a blessing may come upon thee from them.

9 For the blessing of the father establisheth the houses of children; but the curse of the mother rooteth out foundations.

10 Glory not in the dishonour of thy father; for thy father's dishonour is no glory unto thee.

11 For the glory of a man is from the honour of his father; and a mother in dishonour is a reproach to the children.

12 My son, help thy father in his age, and grieve him not as long as he liveth.

13 And if his understanding fail, have patience with him; and despise him not when thou art in thy full strength.

14 For the relieving of thy father shall not be forgotten: and instead of sins it shall be added to build thee up.

15 In the day of thine affliction it shall be remembered; thy sins also shall melt away, as the ice in the fair warm weather.

16 He that forsaketh his father is as a blasphemer; and he that angereth his mother is cursed: of God.

Ecclesiasticus Chapter 3 pretty much covers the Cardiff situation at the moment. It is strange, I saw the 86 year old Humphrey Burton on Leonard Bernstein at the Wimbledon Bookfest last night and Mr Burton was still gracious and bright as a button.

Friday, October 12, 2018


Painted from Memory is one of my very favourite albums, so I must catch up with this BBC show. Note to self: I still don't seem to have come up with a satisfactory Alexa podcast subscription solution.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

The law of unintended consequences

Hat tip: The Torygraph.
The EU’s​ General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) risks abuse by granting hackers a way to access more detailed information than ever before.
The rules allow consumers to download the information a company holds on them so they can move it to another service if they wish. Prof Yang said some of the largest organisations ­including Uber, Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook and Google have been forced to add in a “super-dangerous” data download feature to comply with GDPR, which came into effect in May.
She said: “There’s more at stake when hackers get into accounts because they can now request all of your data, or they can request to delete your data.”
A hacker gained access to Yang’s Spotify account and her birth date, gender, postcode, mobile number, redacted credit card number and credit card expiration dates. Such information enables “jigsaw identification”.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

The price of fame

I can confirm that Callum is not going through an "If I've only one life, let me live it as a blonde" stage regardless of what you might see on FIFA 19

Tuesday, October 09, 2018

Mad Props

We came second in the Antelope quiz last night, so we have got a £25 bar tab for next week.

A fairly recent member of our team, presses a valve on his neck to speak, in a manner reminiscent of how I am sure I remember Jack Hawkins talking on Parkinson years and years ago.

I would never presume to ask him about it, but I have consulted the interwebs today.

He must have a tracheo-esophageal puncture (or tracheoesophageal puncture); a surgically created hole between the trachea (windpipe) and the esophagus (the tubal pathway between the throat and the stomach) suggesting he has had a total laryngectomy, a surgery where the larynx (voice box) is removed.
To speak with a TEP, you take a deep breath and then cover the stoma so that when you exhale, the air that would normally come out of the stoma is shunted through a little prosthesis (a TEP valve). The air goes through the one-way valve of the prosthesis, then up your esophagus, where muscle vibrations help to produce voice. You can either cover your stoma with your finger when speaking, or you can get a "hands-free" tracheostoma valve.
Would you be brave enough to socialise down the boozer competing to answer questions if you had a TEP? Me neither.

Monday, October 08, 2018

Now I can die happy

Tom Jones and Ed Sheeran busking Prince live.

Sunday, October 07, 2018

The terrors of the earth.

Only days ago (Icons passim) I was writing about how uncannily I an McKellen's King Lear  echoed my poor reduced father. Then went to see him on Friday he was so furious that he all but paraphrased the Act 2, Scene 4 quote below.
I will have such revenges on you both,
That all the world shall--I will do such things,--
What they are, yet I know not: but they shall be
The terrors of the earth.
It was heart-wrenching.

My niece who did Lear at A-Level this year,  said that Simon Russell Beale was very interesting on Lear's dementia and said there was an NT You Tube video I should watch. I wonder if it is the one below?

Saturday, October 06, 2018

What with one thing and another.

The stuff about nuclear families, extended families, and affluence bringing social isolation (just under  two minutes into this is) interesting and relevant to things John has been saying to me lately.

Friday, October 05, 2018

And they're off

Wimbledon Bookfest is up and running for another year.

Thursday, October 04, 2018

Lola Sapola steps in with the punch, so there is plenty on it.

Megan Abbott: A great entertainer! A great Humanitarian, and - since I see her with John Currence on Anthony Bourdain's show - my dear friend of 25 years...

Wednesday, October 03, 2018

Charles 'Asnovoice

Charles Aznavour is dead at 94. I saw him interviewed on TV not too long ago and he was still as sharp as a tack. I have always been astounded by the quality of his lyrics in English, Let's have the greatest ever Ageing-Curmudgeon-Confronts-Mortality song as a tribute.

"Hier Encore" in French, subsequently released in English as "Yesterday, When I Was Young", in Italian as "Ieri Si", in Danish as "Hvor tiden går", in Japanese 帰り来ぬ青春, and in Spanish as "Ayer Aún", "Eilen kun mä tiennyt en" in Finnish.

Tuesday, October 02, 2018

I thought we were an autonomous collective


Normally collected on Tuesday every other week. The next scheduled collection is 09/10/2018.


Normally collected on Tuesday every other week. The next scheduled collection is 16/10/2018.


Normally collected on Tuesday every other week. The next scheduled collection is 09/10/2018.

Food waste

Normally collected on Tuesday every week. The next scheduled collection is 09/10/2018.

What could be simpler? I was still in when they collected this morning. My carefully separated food waste and recycling certainly all got thrown in the same hopper.

I am not yet as vexed by this as Adrian. He produced a poem of protest he had written at the pub quiz last night. This is possibly over-egging the pudding.

Sunday, September 30, 2018

I'm eighteen

Lines form on my face and hands
Lines form from the ups and downs
I'm in the middle without any plans
I'm a boy and I'm a man
I'm eighteen
And I don't know what I want
I just don't know what I want
I gotta get away
I gotta get out of this place
I'll go runnin' in outer space
Oh yeah
I got a
Baby's brain and an old man's heart
Took eighteen years to get this far
Don't always know what I'm talkin' about
Feels like I'm livin' in the middle of doubt
'Cause I'm
I get confused every day
I just don't know what to say
I gotta get away

Ben is eighteen today. I can remember covering Alice Cooper's eighteen with Sean Burke, Tim Parry and David Dole when the prospect of being as old as eighteen was a distant and glamorous prospect. I think I am likely to spend a considerable portion of today looking at what I have written here on September 30th over the years, lost in reverie.

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Cassoulet á la Bourdain

As it is Ben's birthday tomorrow, I am not going back to Wales to see how mum and dad are getting on. I will be there next weekend, so John and I intend to keep working through "the big classics" chapter in Anthony Bourdain's Les Halles Cookbook with cassoulet.

The recipe specifies four confit duck legs, which I don't think we will have time to do. I propose that Larnaudie (fulfilled by Amazon) take the strain.
Une spécialité entrée dans la légende culinaire du Sud-Ouest de la France.

Confit de Canard : Nos cuisses de canard sont cuites (ou confites) dans la graisse de canard pendant 1h30, permettant d'avoir une chair tendre et savoureuse.

Conseils de préparation : Réchauffez au four ou au grill pendant quelques minutes. Accompagné de pommes de terre sautées et de quelques champignons, le plaisir est complet…
Does that sound about right?

Also, as the clock will be ticking, I think it best to do the beans, pork belly, quartered onion and bouquet garni in the slow cooker overnight as Friday evening resolves into Saturday morning.

Mise en place, I think it is called. Does that sound about right?

Friday, September 28, 2018

draw the curtains: so, so, so

And so, last night, to the NT Live version of Ian McKellen's King Lear.

In one scene - just like my dad - he drew comfort from obsessively folding his handkerchief. In Act 3, Scene 6 - just like my dad lately - he imagined he was in a court trial. Brilliant acting and brilliant writing that must have been drawn from life. Disturbing and hauntingly relevant all the same, though John has called this morning to say he took dad out last night, and he was happier than he'e been lately.

Prodnose: What is next on the NT Live Roster?

Myself: Allelujah! by Alan Bennett.

Prodnose: Set in the geriatric ward of a Yorkshire hospital, the Bethlehem, threatened with closure. That'll cheer you up and take you out of yourself, then.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

One Year On

One year ago, we heard that Callum was in the England squad for the U17 World Cup; an event he and they went on to win.

Above - in 2018 - is a light hearted football challenge that finishes Callum 7, Morata 5, and Jorginho 4. Just think about that.

He was on the bench for the cup win against Liverpool last night, but didn't get on. They substituted some called Eden Hazard for Willian instead.

Chelsea’s Eden Hazard fires spectacular winner to knock out Liverpool, said the Graunuiard this morning.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018


I watched Netflix's new documentary about Quincy Jones last night. For all that he seems to have been something of a goat when it comes to the ladies, he appears widely loved by his friends and family. An Ageing-Sweetheart-Confronts-Mortality movie perhaps?

We will be back to the Ageing-Curmudgeon-Confronts-Mortality trope with a vengeance tomorrow at the NT Live showing of Ian McKellan's Lear.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

What the FL is this?

Following on from yesterday's gnomic announcement, it turns out that the Drake underwater effect is a thing not the product of my imagination.

It is a Lo-Pass Filter Sweep and here is how you do it in FL Studio 12. (FL Studio 11 is on the machine I am typing on at the moment. Ben introduced me to it in 2013, see Icons passim, awwwww).

Monday, September 24, 2018

The New Aphorisms Part 1

Underwater everything sounds like a cut from a Drake album.
I've no clear idea what I am implying, but I think the profundity will gradually reveal itself.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

bite me

I am going to the dentist tomorrow morning to start the process of fitting a guard that will stop me grinding my teeth and biting the insides of my cheeks when I am asleep.

Thus proving I am not under any stress whatsoever.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

sushi life

Greetings from Penylan, where I am down checking in with mum and dad.

Wales online says that the obscure Cardiff restaurant voted the best in the city on TripAdvisor is little-known sushi place in the Globe Centre on Wellfield Road; only a skip and jump away from the family home.

Sushi Life leaps onto the to-do list for next time I am down.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Triple Tipple

These spindrift pages have been following Gareth Evans' career since 2009. Judging by the trailer for his latest, I will be watching it scared witless through my fingers when in debuts on Netflix later this month.

Filmed in Wales and featuring Michael Sheen. To save time let's anoint the movie, Sheen and Evans simultaneously to Welsh Born Iconhood.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Matthew Rhys

Mathhew Rhys (born Matthew Rhys Evans in Cardiff in 1974) broke out his Welsh accent after collecting the best leading actor in a drama series trophy at the 70th Emmy Awards. You can see it one minute and fifty seconds into the video above.

We have a new Icon.

Just for completeness, please note that when we saw him in New Theatre on tour with Peter Gill's National Theatre touring production of Cardiff East 1997, it was his debut professional stage engagement. Mum and dad saw that as well. There is no getting away from them lately.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

The Meyerowitz Stories

John thinks that we should take the old man out for a drink when I am back this weekend. It was good for him to get out of the home on Sunday, and also means a collective-noun of Brownes aren't crowding into his room or infesting communal spaces to the bemusement of others.

Candidate establishments as far as I can see are
  • The Four Elms (the nearest)
  • The Royal Oak (not much further away while featuring Peerless Jim Driscoll and Joe Erskine boxing anecdotes and memorabilia)
  • The Claude (reachable and where I have been meeting up with Tim and Phil for the last year of a Friday when I am back)
I have watched Kodachrome (Icons passim) on Netflix now. Given Dustin Hoffman's appalling ("Dad, what the fugg!) public booze-snatching behaviour in the trailer I think that the Ageing-Curmudgeon-Confronts-Mortality movie baton can be safely passed on to The Meyerowitz Stories.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Babette's Feast

Dad's been in to see mum in hospital. He didn't recognise her. What more is there to say?

Cooking at Bronwydd Avenue on Saturday night (Icons passim) worked as therapy for me and John last weekend; good for us, and for breathing a little life back into a house that had been empty for a week.

We'll do the same this weekend with Anthony Bourdain's Boeuf Bourguignon. Still from the book Ma got me for my birthday thirteen years ago, and also I noticed inscribed. Once again there is a legit copy of the recipe online here in the Washington Post for my brother to peruse. (Amazon and Knorr will have to take the strain with the demi glace however. "Had we but world enough and time.")

Monday, September 17, 2018

Russell Wilson Asks Seahawks To Modify Play Where He’s Immediately Tackled By Six Players

The Onion
SEATTLE—Expressing some reservations about allowing the defense instant, unfettered access to the backfield, Russell Wilson asked the Seahawks Tuesday to modify a read-pass-option play where he’s immediately tackled by six players after receiving the snap. “I’m happy to run whatever the coaching staff draws up, but I think we can adjust this play a little so I can take more than three steps without getting pounded into the turf,” said Wilson, explaining to his coaches that perhaps one of the Seahawks’ offensive lineman could attempt to stand in the way of the oncoming pass rushers. “There is a lot to like about this play, but we could try working in some play-action or a quick slant pass before the pocket dissolves and I’m hit from three different angles. At the very least, we should only call the plays where I get sacked before I can start my progression reads a few times per game.” At press time Pete Carroll had heeded his quarterback’s advice and drawn up a new play where Wilson scrambles left and right multiple times and then throws the ball out of bounds.
Everything is going to hell in a hand basket for my beloved Seahawks. They are away at the Chicago Bears in the early hours of tomorrow morning. An important game as it gives either Spike or me bragging rights for the year.

On a brighter note, my DNA test having revealed that I am overwhelmingly descended from emigrants from Munster, I was please to see them beat the Ospreys in the Pro14 rugby on the weekend. Last year I would have been supporting Swansea.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Russell Swords Cardiff Academy

I went along to Hotpod yoga in Cardiff yesterday. The venue was the old Virgin Active club that I used to sneak off to on Saturday mornings when I was back visiting mum and dad.

Another tenant of the building is Russell Swords Cardiff Academy of Fencing. ‘What is fencing?... It is a violence refined into beauty; combat curbed to sweet art and crystal science.’ And, which is more, I have always fancied having a crack at it.

I wonder if I could book it for a day for a family session; me with my brothers and sisters, plus Ben and his cousins. Maybe in half term? Watch this space.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Schopenhauer's poodles

Second driveway on the left
See Sign for "Splash Central"
Enter main doors
Go upstairs turn right
Hotpod Yoga entrance is in the corner
There is no yoga at Elite Fitness this morning so I will be trying out Hotpod Yoga at Cardiff Central instead.

Did you know that the philosopher Schopenhauer owned a series of poodles throughout the later part of his life, naming them all “Atma”, the Hindu word for the supreme universal soul from which all other souls arise?

I shall be sure to meditate on this during class.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Total Eclipse of Descartes

At John's recommendation, I listened to the first BBC Radio episode of Rob Newman's Total Eclipse of Descartes last night in the gaff as I was pottering around getting ready for today's jaunt to Cardiff via Portishead. Good stuff; I will try and catch episode 2 next Wednesday.

Progress for both Newman R and me, as when I went to see him in a previous show in 2004 I didn't seem to like it much at all (Icons passim).

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Ageing Curmudgeon Confronts Mortality

John was in London last night so we watched The Last Movie Star (Icons passim) on Amazon. It is a wonderful film.

It turns out that there are plenty more options in the Ageing Curmudgeon Confronts Mortality genre.

In cinemas now:

On Netflix:

Fingers crossed they both end with A Last Shot At Redemption and we get a chance to work through them while the experience is visceral rather than elegiac.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Whitton Punks

As I approached London on the way back from Warwickshire earlier today, I tuned in to Robert Elms on BBC Radio London.

In his Notes & Queries section he was asking for information about "Whitton Punks." Living in Whitton as long as I did I am interested in them too. I wonder why they are remembered or still going, and if anyone I know is in the frame.

I couldn't listen to the end of the show once I got back to the office but it will be available soon at

Perhaps I can out it on this evening as I am pottering about.

I came on board between Elms playing The Band's Acadian Driftwood and George Benson's This Masquerade.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Like Water for Chocolate

Last Saturday night, after getting back from visiting mum in hospital and dad in the home,  my brother and I opened some wine and went to work preparing a large and elaborate spicy lamb pilaf in the family home's kitchen.

It was comforting to have something that required attention, without being overtaxing, to do after the rigours and emotions of the day.

I will be back again this weekend so we will do the coq au vin from Anthony Bourdain's Les Halles Cookbook; my copy was a birthday present from my mother in 2005.

The recipe is legitimately on the internet here so John can bone up on it before I get to Cardiff if he wants.
Another easy dish that looks like it’s hard. It’s not. In fact, this is the kind of dish you might enjoy spending a leisurely afternoon with. There are plenty of opportunities for breaks. It’s durable, delicious, and the perfect illustration of the principles of turning something big and tough and unlovely into something truly wonderful. I know it looks like a lot of ingredients, and that the recipe might be complicated. Just take your time. Knock out your prep one thing at a time, slowly building your mise en place. Listen to some music while you do it. There’s an open bottle of wine left from the recipe, so have a glass now and again. Just clean up after yourself as you go, so your kitchen doesn’t look like a disaster area when you start the actual cooking.
You should, with any luck, reach a Zen-like state of pleasurable calm. And like the very best dishes, coq au vin is one of those that goes on the stove looking, smelling, and tasting pretty nasty, and yet later, through the mysterious, alchemical processes of time and heat, turns into something magical.
That sounds like therapy.

Monday, September 10, 2018

The Last Movie Star

Burt Reynold's died last week, and my father was admitted to a care home where I visited him for the first time on Saturday.
An aging former movie star is forced to face the reality that his glory days are behind him. On its surface, the film is a tale about faded fame. At its core, it's a universal story about growing old.
Me, boxes of both wine and Kleenex, and my Amazon Fire TV stick have an appointment with this movie one evening this week.

Sunday, September 09, 2018

Categorical imperative

The categorical imperative (German: kategorischer Imperativ) is the central philosophical concept in the deontological moral philosophy of Immanuel Kant. Introduced in Kant's 1785 Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals, it may be defined as a way of evaluating motivations for action.
According to Kant, human beings occupy a special place in creation, and morality can be summed up in an imperative, or ultimate commandment of reason, from which all duties and obligations derive. He defined an imperative as any proposition declaring a certain action (or inaction) to be necessary.
Kant, unlike for example Mill, believed that certain types of actions (including lying) were absolutely prohibited, even in cases where the action would bring about more happiness than the alternative.

I bet you anything you like that Immanuel Kant never, ever had a mother recovering in hospital from a hip operation and a father with Alzheimer's he had to keep reassured.

This weekend I have been channelling Fibber McGee at the expense of Kant.

Saturday, September 08, 2018

The filial countdown

I am back in Cardiff to see Mum and Dad after the last two days' ructions.

My hometown seems to be letting any riff raff in these days.

Lin-Manuel Miranda inspired an incredible musical sing-a-long on Thursday night after making a surprise appearance at a Cardiff open mic night.
The Hamilton creator and star, who is in Wales filming for the BBC’s His Dark Materials, turned up at music night Jane’s Calamity in Porters bar and sang hits from Les Misérables and Hamilton with the crowd.

Fans shared footage of the actor arriving on stage and performing songs including My Shot and One Day More.

He had been tipped off about the night on Twitter last month, and promised that if he was off work he would come along.

Friday, September 07, 2018

Whom the gods would destroy

Mum fell and fractured her hip yesterday. She was operated on last night. Neil my brother in law is a doctor in the same hospital and spoke to the surgeon/consultant who said the procedure went well but warned that we should expect to see a level of general deterioration in her overall state.

My brother John is with my father in the family home as Dad is not capable of looking after himself. We have got him booked into Belle Vue (registered with the Care Standards Inspectorate of Wales to accommodate care for 40 persons with dementia) from today as he needs someone with him 24/7 and we can't provide that as a family because we all work.

John sent me a bitter-sweet text last night after midnight as he was packing a bag for the old man, and I imagine that the admission today will be painful.

Needs must. How was your day?

Thursday, September 06, 2018

No Show Thello

I didn't get to Othello at the Globe last night (Icons passim).

My mistake seemed to be going home after work and settling down with a glass of wine. When it came time to set off I just couldn't be bothered. Note to future self: either go straight to the venue from work or get more than one ticket so you fear letting someone down by binning it at the last minute.

Safely ensconced in the crib, I returned to my Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown Netflix binge and got up to Season 2: Episode 5 Sicily.

In this our hero realises his local fixer isn’t showing him the real Sicily, and is instead creating a faux experience for him and the show.
“We were supposed to go off with an artisanal octopus fisherman and obviously nothing living had ever been near the site in Sicily. It was heavily trafficked by tourists and pleasure boats. Something snapped in me, and a big mistake with the producer at the time, was he put me in a café to calm down until the next take and I began pounding negronis, 18 of them. I was blackout drunk for the next scene, which was good because the artisanal fisherman was going to take us back to his 'traditional' restaurant. I go back and it’s a square plate with a metal ring full of tuna tartar with an avocado on top and squeeze bottle designs. (As I saw later on film, because I don’t remember the scene at all.) It was a low point. I am snake bit as far as Sicily. You cannot make great TV in Sicily. It’s a fantastic location, the food is awesome, the people and everywhere you look is great, but for some reason both times I have made shows in Sicily everything has gone wrong.”

“It’s become a hideous, funny failure. But it wasn’t funny to me down there where those dead octopi were splashing down behind my head. I felt like I was speaking in manic, double speed for the next week. I couldn’t breathe, my crew was very concerned and there were some personnel changes afterwards. I'm still pissed about it. This is sort of a dangerous paradox about the shows over the years where the producers understand that when things go really, really badly, its comedy gold sometimes, but its not fun for me. I don’t go out there looking to make a funny show mocking this well-meaning but thoroughly corrupt fisherman who was just trying to make things entertaining.”
He goes off the rails. My indolent sulking is a small thing in comparison. It is a difficult watch now we have discovered how troubled a man he must actually have been.

Wednesday, September 05, 2018

Cultural appropriation; a primer

Last night, I cooked an Uzbek plov. It reheats well so I can eat it when I get in from the theatre tonight.

Recipes for fragrant Pilaffi were recorded in the earliest Greek cook book Gastrology, by the poet Archestratus in 350 BC. In fact, Alexander the Great was served a Rice Pilaf when he captured the city of Maracanda (the modern city Samarkand, Uzbekistan) in 329 BC.

Though it is well over a millennium later, some claim that the first known recipe for pilaf is by the tenth-century Persian scholar Avicenna, who in his books on medical sciences dedicated a whole section to preparing various dishes, including several types of pilaf. In doing so, he described advantages and disadvantages of every item used for preparing the dish. Accordingly, Persians consider Ibn Sina to be the "father" of modern pilaf.

Pilaf, Pilaff, Pilaffi, Pilau, Perloo, Pillao, Paella ... Plov. You pays your money and takes your choice.

Let's say it belongs to the world rather than any group or culture in particular.

Probably best if we don't get into Moros y Cristianos, though. It is the Cuban version of rice and beans. "Moors" refers to the black beans, and "Christians" to the white rice.

Tuesday, September 04, 2018

Alexa knows who Callum is

"Alexa, who is Callum Hudson-Odoi?"

I only tried this idly in a quiet minute. I didn't really imagine I would get an answer.

Monday, September 03, 2018

Heart melting, by numbers, begin

Kevin and his granddaughter Kara. This is a snapshot apparently, but a damn near perfect composition.

Sunday, September 02, 2018

Kew Gardens

I went to Kew Gardens yesterday.

Why have I never been before? I have only been in London since 1982.

Saturday, September 01, 2018

Approaching Year 10

I toddled along to Bikram yoga this morning at half past eight for my 536th session.

The first was exactly nine years ago tomorrow (see Icons passim).

I have been doing it longer than Shona, today's teacher, though you might find this difficult to credit if you saw me in action.

Friday, August 31, 2018

Thug Notes

After yesterday's post, I had a little look-see for tickets to Othello at the Globe. There were only three left (all singles) so I snapped one up for next Wednesday; Rene Girard's mimetic theory probably explains this.

I haven't seen or read Othello before so I am boning up with Thug Notes.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

House of Actors

Like Sion Alun Davies (another Welshman) Steffan Donnelly (with Mark Rylance in Othello at the Globe above) is a 2012 Guildhall graduate and founder (with Paapa E) of the Invertigo Theatre Company.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018


As I was driving back from taking Ben to the dentist yesterday afternoon, I caught the end of and episode of Mastertapes on BBC4.
The legendary Tom Jones talks to John Wilson about Praise and Blame - the first of a trilogy of albums that would take him back to his musical roots.
I caught up with the whole thig when I got back home; well worth a listen.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

You're so fine you blow my mind

When I am in my mid seventies I would like to be Toni Basil please.

Monday, August 27, 2018

Seeds: a 400-million-year-old food story

Both John and I caught the end of Steve Jones of the Washington Bread Lab describing his efforts to bring deliciousness back to wheat on R4's Food Programme yesterday. I was driving back from the office and he was driving back from interviewing a client's family.

We can listen to the whole thing on

Sunday, August 26, 2018

You can't fight County Hall

Off to the South Bank last night yo see the revival of Witness for the Prosecution in the old County Hall.

I've been there twice before, taking Ben to the Star Wars exhibition in 2007 and then to the Movieum in 2008.

As a huge Billy Wilder fan, I ought to check out the 1958 film as well. It is on Amazon.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

The Spicery

John, my brother is staying with me for a few days while he is up working around London.

We cooked Vietnamese tacos last night using a recipe kit from his subscription at The Spicery.

I'm noting the URL here in case I am tempted to start using it myself in future.

Friday, August 24, 2018

We found new discoveries

After receiving my DNA results on my birthday (Icons passim), I got my niece the same package for her 18th.

She has obviously sent her saliva off as I got an email yesterday telling me "you and another member share DNA."

Intriguingly they guess that we are "1ST - 2ND COUSINS."
Our analysis of your DNA predicts that this person you match with is your first cousin.
The exact relationship however can vary. It could be a great nephew or great-great grandmother.
While there may be some statistical variation in our prediction, it’s likely to be a four-degree separation. However, the relationship could range from three to five degrees of separation.
Uncle and niece is a three degree separation. If they had got the relationship exactly right I might be suspicious that they used family tree information, I am - if anything - more impressed by this "close but no cigar" result as it suggests it really must be deduced purely genetically.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Meet Inbox

We've got a client that runs residential courses. This pestilential initiative of Google's takes it upon itself to deduce the wrong number of days accommodation have been booked from the confirmation email.

The AI Apocalypse starts here.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

A Great Day in Harlem

32 second in we get Scoville Browne. Never heard of him before but I am proud beyond words.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Edinburgh Fringe | Top 10 jokes

1. "Working at the JobCentre has to be a tense job - knowing that if you get fired, you still have to come in the next day" - Adam Rowe

2. "I had a job drilling holes for water - it was well boring" - Leo Kearse

3. "I took out a loan to pay for an exorcism. If I don't pay it back, I'm going to get repossessed" - Olaf Falafel

4. "In my last relationship, I hated being treated like a piece of meat. She was a vegan and refused to touch me" - Daniel Audritt

5. "What do colour blind people do when they are told to eat their greens?" - Flo and Joan

6. "I've got a new job collecting all the jumpers left in the park at the weekends, but it's not easy. They keep moving the goalposts" - Darren Walsh

7. "Trump said he'd build a wall but he hasn't even picked up a brick. He's just another middle-aged man failing on a DIY project" - Justin Moorhouse

8 "I lost a friend after we had an argument about the Tardis. I thought it was a little thing, but it seemed much bigger once we got into it" - Adele Cliff

8 "Why are they calling it Brexit and not The Great British Break Off?" - Alex Edelman

10. "I think love is like central heating. You turn it on before guests arrive and pretend it's like this all the time" - Laura Lexx

Monday, August 20, 2018

Seems like old times

Ben came around last night and we watched A Prayer Before Dawn; the true story of an English boxer incarcerated in one of Thailand's most notorious prisons as he fights in Muay Thai tournaments to earn his freedom. We missed it in the movies but it is available to stream now and well worth a look.

Writing here every day lets me know that Ben himself had his first Muay Thai lesson as a five year old twelve years ago to the day next Friday. On 24 August this year he will be at the Reading Festival.

I think I am going to start linking the titles of these posts to the equivalent day last year, just to make myself even more sentimental. Someday we'll look back on this moment and plow into a parked car.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Kerala Flooding

We went to Kerala over the 2003/2004 Christmas and New Year. It is the most beautiful place I have ever seen.

Horrid to see it flooded. You can donate here.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water

Current Bun
Gareth Southgate keen to blood Ryan Sessegnon, Phil Foden, Jadon Sancho and Callum Hudson-Odoi soon to prepare for Euro 2020.
The rise and rise of Callum is beyond amazing.

Friday, August 17, 2018

Kitchen Notes

Dinner last night due to the coincidence of what was left in my fruit and veg box and the inspiration of BBC Good Food.

Also knocked up a Coq au Win to take back to Cardiff.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

All or Nothing: Manchester City

I enjoyed the All Blacks version of this back in the summer (Icons passim) and even showed it to Kiwi Andy in France last week.

I will be all over the Man City version like a cheap suit. It's available tomorrow, though I will have to take a rain check until next week as I am off-grid in Bronwydd Avenue for a couple Friday evening thru Sunday morning. It's a pity I can't download it onto my PC and take it with me.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018


I left home before 6 this morning to get drive up the M40 for a business meeting with the Warwickshire Police.

When I got back to the office all our AWS infrastructure was lying on its face and beating the floor with its fists in a Richter scale tantrum.

I have now restored order the universe, but I ain't gonna get out of the premises for a lunchtime gym session. That ship has sailed.

As ever John Lydon put it best:
No one understands us
Nobody cares
No one loves us?
Love makes the world go round
Oh, it does that as well without any mistake whatsoever
Love does make the world go round
I don't know what these punk rockers get up to
Y'know these punk rockers with their spitting and their antics
Don't they realise that love makes the world go roooon

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

A comedy about dying

I fully intend to see Rhys Ifans in Exit the King next time John is up. It's a new version Patrick Marber of Eugène Ionesco's play.

That said we fully intended to go and see Dealer's Choice, Marber's first play, in the National in 1995 and that never happened.

A couple of years later I did manage to catch Closer, which he also wrote. I didn't like that.

Don't know why I bother half the time.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Nose to the grindstone, shoulder to the wheel

I'm back in the office. It's a long old drive back from the Sud-Ouest.

It was fun listening to Ben and Rory talking about their upcoming Reading Festival visit.

"I just want to go home, have a proper shower, and poo," from 47 seconds into the trailer below just about seems to cover last year. The movie opens tomorrow,

The joys of youth eh?

Friday, August 03, 2018

Nick and Ben de Bergerac

We will be driving off to for a week tomorrow morning, crossing the Channel courtesy of Eurotunnel.

Part of the plan is to hire bikes from

For all that the farmhouse has wi-fi, I don't imagine any updates will appear here until we are back.

Thursday, August 02, 2018

Plonker at Paapa at the Pinter

I have got us a bunch of tickets for the last night of One for the Road / The New World Order / Mountain Language / Ashes To Ashes in the Pinter at the Pinter series which is good news as Sir Antony Sher has joined Paapa Essiedu (sparker of the original interest) in the cast.

Unfortunately though, when clicking on the interactive map to select tickets, I assumed that the stage was at the bottom of the image not the top. Instead of five tickets in the front row I have got five right at the back of the stalls.

Imagine how well that has gone down.

Wednesday, August 01, 2018

Arsenal beat Chelsea on penalties

Chelsea began this match by partnering their £57 million club record-signing with a 17 year-old who had never previously started a senior competitive game, but there was no doubting which of the two left Dublin with their reputation most enhanced.
Callum Hudson-Odoi capped what has already been an outstanding pre-season under new manager Maurizio Sarri with a wonderful individual display here, despite Arsenal ultimately prevailing following a penalty shoot-out after the match had ended in a 1-1 draw. Petr Cech saved the decisive penalty from Ruben Loftus-Cheek to allow Alex Iwobi to take the winning kick.

Playing off the left in Eden Hazard’s usual role, Hudson-Odoi’s pace and willingness to run directly would have surprised nobody who has worked with him through Chelsea’s academy but it certainly left Arsenal right-back Hector Bellerin reeling.
Read the whole thing. It's a long way from him and Ben in 2007, that's for sure. He seems so inevitable these days I sometimes forget how amazing it all is.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Smart meters

Smart meters will let companies change cost of electricity every 30 minutes under 'surge pricing' says the Torygraph today.

Kevin was talking to me about the smart meter roll out on Friday. It sounds like a fiasco but I am late to the party.

This Commons briefing paper may let me start to get my head around it.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Diamond Dogs Rule

I'm having the car serviced before Saturday's jaunt to France for a week.
Coolant Leaking Through Thermostat Housing , Needs New Thermostat Housing, thermostat, Gaskets & Antifreeze
That explains why I have had to keep topping up the coolant lately. Better to catch it here at home that try and figure it out on an Autoroute lay-by.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Where it all began

Before the Tour de France.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Songs of the Border

Tonight at 9pm on BBC4, "against the backdrop of President Trump's much-trumpeted wall, Reginald D Hunter takes a 2,000-mile road trip along the US-Mexico border to explore how romance and reality play out musically where third-world Mexico meets first-world USA on this broken road to the American dream."

That looks like a must-watch, his Songs of the South series (see Icons passim) was terrific.

Friday, July 27, 2018

Channel Tunnel rail delays continue due to 'extreme heat'

"Extreme and prolonged" high temperatures are being blamed for cross-Channel rail passengers facing more disruption.
Eurotunnel is warning of delays of about two hours at its terminal near Folkestone in Kent.
On Thursday there were reported delays of more than five hours in 30C heat, caused by air conditioning problems on Eurotunnel's trains.
Fingers crossed that this will be sorted out before we have to get it Saurday week.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Open Mike at the Sultan tonight

Myself: How many songs had I already killed? There were those six that I knew about for sure. Close enough to blow their last chorus in my face. But this time, it was an Elton John and a classic. That wasn't supposed to make any difference to me, but it did.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

David Jones and RG Jones

I read David Bowie's first recording found in bread bin, set to sell for £10,000 yesterday.

The seller says, "Our agent, Eric Easton, who also managed the Rolling Stones, asked us to do a demo so he could try and get us an audition at Decca.

"So in early 1963 I booked into RG Jones' small studio in Morden. In preparation for the demo, David and our guitarist Neville Wills wrote two to three songs."

Intrigued by Morden being round the corner I looked RG Jones up -

The Rolling Stones, Tom Jones, Yardbirds, Eric Clapton, David Bowie, Springfields, Englebert Humperdink and The Bee Gees all recorder in Morden as well. Then in 1968 RG decided to move the legendary studio to Central Wimbledon and the building in Morden was destroyed to make way for Merton College.

I think in RG I have discovered a new Welsh Born Icon.

Ronald Geoffrey Jones was born in Caerphilly in South Wales. From an early age he loved designing and building gadgets. Entirely self-taught, he was equally skilled at carpentry and metalwork and was very quickly able to construct a power amplifier and other pieces of electronic equipment.
Known as Geoff, Reg or RG, his first job on leaving school was for a company called Milton. He became a salesman for the company and from a caravan, in which he also lived, he sold his wares in town markets all around Wales. Getting himself heard above the other market traders was hard work and he soon began to turn his mind again to electronically amplified sound. Totally undaunted by his lack of training in electronics, he procured all the necessary components and had soon assembled a system. Two large horn loudspeakers, the flares constructed entirely by him out of bits of timber, were mounted on top of the car which towed his caravan. Inside, he installed a microphone connected to an amplifier powered by four twelve volt batteries and a rotary (48V to 230V) convertor. It worked! The young RG Jones was now able to advertise himself effortlessly to the crowds giving him a distinct advantage over the other retailers. Such was the success of his enterprise that his employers asked him to build a further fifteen more systems to equip the rest of the Milton force. So by the tender age of just eighteen, the same year Queen Elizabeth II was born, with the BBC just barely formed and Stalin just in power, the young RG Jones went into business for himself.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018


Chelsea to offer Callum Hudson-Odoi new deal as Maurizio Sarri promotes starlet to first-team
Whizkid was chosen ahead of senior players when he shone against Perth Glory - and Gianfranco Zoza is especially keen to keep him
The story just goes on and on. Amazing.

Monday, July 23, 2018


ofo (/ˈoʊfoʊ/) is a Beijing-based bicycle sharing company founded in 2014. It operates over 10 million yellow bicycles in 250 cities and 20 countries, as of 2017. The dockless system uses its smartphone app to unlock and locate nearby bicycles, charging an hourly rate for use.
As of 2018, the company is valued at up to $2 billion and has over 62.7 million monthly active users
I noticed two ofo bikes outside the office on my way in today. Maybe I'll ride on home on Thursday, when I tend to be here without the car.

Never heard of it before this morning.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

How we live now (the week after next)

The Bomber and I will be here from 4th  to 11 August.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

The decadence that was Imperial Rome

I have been out two evenings in a row.

Thursday I went to see The Happy Prince at the HMV Curzon, and Friday, Danny Baker at the Hawth theatre in Crawley.

Crawley! the insane glamour of it all.

Friday, July 20, 2018

"My noble Lord Hamlet... over 'ere, son!"

There's a Hamlet on in the Colour House Theatre at the Mills at the moment. The New Stagers - an amateur company are putting it on.

Normally I'd go but this year I am all but Hamletted out.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Whitchurch High School Old Boys

Good and bad news yesterday.

Geraint Thomas won stage 11 of the Tour de France to take overall lead and wear the yellow jersey, but Sam Warburton has retired from rugby; body just not up to the strain of it any more.

Thomas is two years older than Warburton, which perhaps shows you the trauma professional rugby inflicts these days.

These two Welsh greats attended Whitchurch High School is Cardiff at the same time, along with a certain Gareth Bale. I always find this astounding.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Lend me your eras

David Bishop and Mark Ring feature prominently.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Eddie Quizzard

We came second in the Antelope Quiz last night. Not too bad after the World Cup lay off when it was cancelled.

£25 in the bin for next week.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Hot Pod for my Dad Bod

I will be away on holiday that week, but it is always good to have another hot yoga option nearer home.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Love On A Budget

Girl, you know I would do whatever it takes to make all your fantasies come true. I would cross a continent. I would cross an ocean. I would even tunnel to the center of the Earth just so I could find that one perfect gemstone, lobster, or ball of lava that would turn an ordinary night into an evening of ultimate perfection.
However, things are tight financially right now due to some unexpected expenses after I turned my apartment’s color scheme from scarlet red to ivory white with pops of violet. I think we can both agree my penthouse is seriously bumpin’. Yet the fact remains I don’t have as much liquid cash on hand as I would like.
I also made some poor investments.
This in no way means I will not please that booty. Instead, it means that there will have to be some regrettable but necessary cutbacks to our evening. Do not believe for one second that you will not feel like a queen. You will simply feel like a queen of a less prosperous country.
You know time are hard when even Smoove is suffering.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Lunch with John Lanchester

“Are you interested in food?” John Lanchester asks.
We are at a table at the Dairy, a highly regarded restaurant in Clapham, south London, which is decorated in bucolic style to match its natural ingredients including vegetables grown on its rooftop.
It is a deceptively simple query, like others he later lobs at me during our meal. Lanchester’s most recent books – his 2012 state-of-London novel Capital, his 2010 account of the financial crisis, Whoops! and his new book, a tongue-in-cheek lexicon called How to Speak Money – relate to finance and the societal distortions it has created. But his first novel, The Debt to Pleasure (1996) was a Nabokovian mystery written in the form of a cookbook by Tarquin Winot, a prickly intellectual snob.
My car's engine once burst into flames on the M4 while I was listening to an audio book version (narrated by Richard E. Grant) of John Lanchester's The Debt to Pleasure. I haven't taken it personally however. I am still a fan so I was pleased to see that he eats at the Dairy (see Icons passim) the place in London I took my brother for his first ever tasting menu experience.
It’s properly good here. It’s where René Redzepi [head chef and co-owner of the Copenhagen restaurant Noma] ate when he was in town.”

John: We're lucky.
Myself: Yeah.
John: I mean, people should be envying us, you know.
Nick: I envy us.
John: Yeah.
Nick: I do.
John: Me too.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

The Bikram Yoga Guy is Crazy

After last night's boozy disappointment with England going out of the World Cup, I woke with a "gentleman's head."

A head so gentlemanly it prevented me getting to my traditional Thursday 6:30 a.m. Bikram Yoga class.

Here, but way of a scold to get myself back on track, is Joe Rogan sounding off to a Nigerian/Kiwi MMA fighter (but of course) on why we all need to keep our Bikram up and running; flaws notwithstanding.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Colliers Wood at Latitude

At 3:30 on Sunday in Latitude's Cabaret Theatre: Sion Alun Davies (see Icons passim) in DESERTS - a short play by Sam Steiner.

At 8:05 on Sunday in Latitude's Cabaret Theatre: ten years on from their triumph at the Colour House Theatre (see Icons passim) the Award-Winning and world-touring Action To The Word present the world-premiere of their gig-theatre take on the most famous tragedy of all time – Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

British Empire Wrestling

I am going to miss the wrestling at the Mills on Sunday as I will be home in Cardiff. Into each life a little rain must fall I suppose.

Monday, July 09, 2018

20,000,000 Callum fans can't be wrong.

Well I never. 20 million, 20 million there; before you know it you are talking about a lot of money.

Saturday, July 07, 2018

“You can’t coach brilliance like that.”

Ben is supporting England against Sweden in the World Cup this afternoon. Back in 2012 however (see Icons passim) when Ibrahimovic scored all four goals as Sweden beat England 4-2, he was keen to stress he is a quarter Swedish on his mother's side.

Friday, July 06, 2018

Fair 'Nuff, Gruff

As a devolved issue in Wales, and as an idea that was born here, the idea of a free health service for all serves as a beacon of what we can achieve as a nation and is something we must pass on intact to future generations.
Gruff Rhys

Wednesday, July 04, 2018

Wherever I hang my hat

I was watching the game while falling behind dealing out burgers at the Standard, but this is what the win looked like at the Apprentice under the office.

Tuesday, July 03, 2018

It's coming home

No one can accuse the Colliers Wood Residents Association of getting carried away with England World Cup fever.

Sunday, July 01, 2018

Long memories

I will be supporting Russia against Spain in the World  Cup this afternoon.

Two years ago in the Euros, Russia - with nominal "home" advantage - Russia agreed to let us wear our iconic red jerseys while they wore their white away kit.

That was classy. It has changed my view of the world. I can no longer imagine them as the Machiavellian villains our press tell us they are.

Go figure.

Saturday, June 30, 2018

who are the people in your neighborhood

I saw Richard Blackwood in Tesco once.

Apparently he lives around the corner in Cavendish Road.

Fascinating eh?

Friday, June 29, 2018

Spiderman's Dad at the Old Rutlishians

Fancy an evening with the very funny Mr Dom Holland at The Ruts?
Dom will be previewing his latest Edinburgh Festival show at Poplar Road on the evening of Friday 20th July.

"The room is rammed and the non-stop laughs underline how fickle comedy can be. His skillfully delivered routines about painful prostates, school run calamities and men not dressing their age would fit snugly onto Live at the Apollo."

Those of you who have seen him before will know you are in for a great evening...
Just a tenner, go to the website Old Ruts Rugby and click on events to order and pay online 

Thursday, June 28, 2018

The curse of me

As I wrote earlier I knew that Germany were doomed in the World Cup when I pulled them out in a sweepstakes.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Tuesday, June 26, 2018


South Wimbledon
8 Morden Road, London, SW19 3BH, GB
Opening Soon! Our S.Wimbledon classes are held in our shiny new studio on Morden Road, directly opposite the tube station
At just half a mile from the office, could this potentially steal me away from Wimbledon Hot Yoga?

Monday, June 25, 2018

Courir de Mardi Gras

The Courir de Mardi Gras (Louisiana French pronunciation: [kuɾiɾ d maɾdi ɡɾa] French pronunciation: ​[kuʁiʁ də maʁdi ɡʁa]) is a traditional Mardi Gras event held in many Cajun communities of south Louisiana on the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday. Courir de Mardi Gras is Cajun French for "Fat Tuesday Run". The rural Mardi Gras celebration is based on early begging rituals, similar to those still celebrated by mummers, wassailers and celebrants of Halloween. As Mardi Gras is the celebration of the final day before Lent, celebrants drink and eat heavily, and also dress in specialized costumes, ostensibly to protect their identities. Popular practices include wearing masks, capuchons, and costumes, overturning social conventions, dancing, drinking alcohol, begging, feasting, whipping, etc. Because of violent activities associated with the Ku Klux Klan, Louisiana has a state law prohibiting the wearing of hoods and masks in public. Mardi Gras is one of the few occasions when exceptions are allowed, as are Halloween celebrations and religious observances.
This batshit crazy episode about it, is a fitting epitaph to the great Anthony B.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Well seasoned

Chelsea have announced the winner of their academy goal of the season award, and the winning entry won’t surprise you.
Callum Hudson Odoi’s superb solo effort against Liverpool got the award, and there can’t be many complaints about that. The balance and speed he showed weaving between defenders and the composure he showed to finish make it a worthy winner.
I saw Callum's mum Jenny today and had a chat for the first time in a while.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Time for a Swiftie?

I was at this last night with my brother and his girls as well as Lorraine and Emily.

I know, I can scarcely believe it myself.

Friday, June 22, 2018

‘That is a great curiosity, a very difficult piece of puzzledom, a snorter ...’

The planets must be in alignment, because my DNA analysis results have turned up on my very birthday itself, now there's a thing.

In essence I am Flann O’Brien. I long suspected as much. At least I no longer need to have any excuse for me brass necked refusal to support England in any sporting contest whatsoever your honour be it pleasing to yeh and so forth, yeh gobshite.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Mad About Elvis

Mad About Elvis is part of BBC Wales's contribution to the BBC's Our Lives strand. Elvis is alive and well and partying hard in Porthcawl, South Wales. He may have died in August 1977 but, every September, this small seaside resort is invaded by Elvises of all shapes, sizes, and talents - and his disciples. Attracting 35,000 visitors, the majority in costume, the Porthcawl Elvis Festival is the biggest Elvis festival in the world!
'It's like an annual portal to a lateral universe,' says festival organiser Peter Phillips, 'And it's a universe that's probably quite fun to live in actually.'
I watched this on BBC1 last night. You can catch it on the iPlayer here. I am almost tempted to go next September.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Six Minutes to Midnight

Beth has got a part in a new film with Judi Dench and Eddie Izzard.

She essays the role of "school girl 11," which doesn't sound like it will get a credit above the title, but hey it's all grist to the mill.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Virtue Ethics and Cannabis Oil

I have been reading Aristotle’s Way: How Ancient Wisdom Can Change Your Life by Edith Hall, lately.

I have never previously heard of Aristotle's virtue ethics, which look at the virtue or moral character of the person carrying out an action, rather than at ethical duties and rules, or the consequences of particular actions.

And yet, they seem bang up to date when it comes to the dilemma of the Billy Caldwell case. Billy C is a boy with severe epilepsy, who was admitted to hospital after his medical cannabis oil was confiscated.

Props also here to Home Secretary Sajid Javid, I think he has done the right thing, regardless of the small print.