Thursday, November 29, 2018

Raising a quizzical highbrow

I went to the Donmar Warehouse to see Measure for Measure last night.

I knew from the reviews that the production is built around a sort of high-concept #MeToo manoeuvre; the first half is a traditional, if shortened, 17th-century staging before the second half retells the story in 2018 with the gender power dynamics reversed

As I had left the house at six thirty in the morning to drive to Warwickshire for a meeting, come back to work in the SW19 office for the afternoon, and then gone straight to the theatre, I was so jaded I felt I could do without seeing the same story twice and decided to go home in the interval.

Cometh the hour, cometh the man though, in the event I was so gripped by part one that I stayed for the whole thing and thought it was great. I guess this means they must have pulled off what does sound, in theory, like an over-contrived conceit.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

A Welshman, an Iraqi and an African walk into a bar

Introductory Essay on the Pelagian Controversy
§ 2. The Pelagian heresy is so designated after Pelagius, a British monk. (Augustin calls him Brito, so do Prosper and Gennadius; by Orosius he is called Britannicus noster, and by Mercator described as gente Britannus. This wide epithet is somewhat restricted by Jerome, who says of him, Habet progeniem Scotiæ gentis de Britannorum vicinia; leaving it uncertain, however, whether he deemed Scotland his native country, or Ireland. His monastic character is often referred to both by Augustin and other writers, and Pope Zosimus describes him as Laicum virum ad bonam frugem longa erga Deum servitute nitentem. It is, after all, quite uncertain what part of "Britain" gave him birth; among other conjectures, he has been made a native of Wales, attached to a monastery at Bangor, and gifted with the Welsh name of Morgan, of which his usual designation of Pelagius is supposed to be simply the Greek version, Pelagio.)
I am minded to accept Pelagius as a Welshman whose given name was Morgan, anoint a 73rd Welsh Born Icon, and throw myself on the mercy of the court for identifying him as English in 2005 (Icons passim).

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Slow Hand Clapham

Can't make it tonight, but maybe one for a fortnight's time.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Interesting fella

Coffee in the Wood seems to be, to all intents and purposes, the Joe Allen's of SW19. Frankie told me yesterday that a regular called Russell Bentley is appearing as Chuck Colson in a drama-documentary called Watergate.

I have had a little nosey-parker at it this morning. Charles Ferguson, the writer and director, sounds like a might interesting fella.
Charles Ferguson is a filmmaker and writer. He is the founder and president of Representational Pictures, and the director and producer of Inside Job, winner of the 2011 Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature, and of No End in Sight: The American Occupation of Iraq, which was an Academy Award nominee as well. His latest film, Time to Choose, is the first comprehensive examination of how to address climate change and the bigger challenge of global sustainability.
Ferguson was originally trained as a political scientist. He holds a B.A in mathematics from the University of California, Berkeley, and a Ph.D. in political science from MIT, where his research focused on interactions between high technology, globalization, and government policy. While conducting postdoctoral research at MIT, Ferguson was a consultant to the White House, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, the Department of Defense, and several U.S. and European high technology firms.
In 1994, Ferguson founded Vermeer Technologies, one of the earliest Internet software companies, with Randy Forgaard. Vermeer created the first visual website development tool, FrontPage. In early 1996, Ferguson sold Vermeer to Microsoft, which integrated FrontPage into Microsoft Office.
After selling Vermeer, Ferguson turned to research, writing and filmmaking. He is the author of five books, including High Stakes, No Prisoners: A Winner’s Tale of Greed and Glory in the Internet Wars. Ferguson’s most recent book is Predator Nation, which focuses on the roots of the financial crisis and economic inequality, and was published by Random House/Crown in May 2012. He has written for The Huffington Post, The Guardian, The New York Times, and other publications.
Ferguson spent several years as a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution, and is a life member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a director of the French-American Foundation.
Developer of Frontpage and Oscar winner. How's that for a polymath? Engagingly casual website as well.

Sunday, November 25, 2018


We like a little tipple at Gwdihŵ, so we’ve stocked our back bar with a vast selection of rums, bourbons, whiskeys, vodkas, shooters and liqueurs, with new additions all the time, as well as large array of beers, ciders and ales, including a rotating selection from the Pipes brewery located just down the road in Canton.
We also have some great drinks offers every day including four cans of either Red Stripe, Strongbow, or Guinness, which you can mix and match, for just £12. It’s also 50% off drinks every Monday alongside our Gwd Mondays events!
During the daytime we offer a lovely selection of teas and coffees in decanters, along with Ciabattas to munch on. There’s free wifi access if you want to do some work, or board games to play, or just relax on the sofas and picnic tables in our lovely beer garden, with heaters to warm you through the winter and a roof to shelter you from the rain.
By way of explanation
Gwdihŵ is a flourishing, friendly and relaxed independent space for alternative music on the edge of the city centre in Cardiff. Established in 2008, we’re a 100-180 capacity venue renowned for our cosy yet raucous atmosphere, diverse events programme and colourful exterior!
We pride ourselves on bringing the most diverse, eclectic, intriguing live music, cutting edge DJs & events to Cardiff. On our weekends you’ll discover a musical menagerie from live funk, afrobeat, jazz, electronica & hip hop to the finest in underground DJs from the likes of our finest promoters like Blue Honey & Hully Gully to move to.
The rest of the week we focus on bringing the finest in touring acts and local gems, with promoters such as All My Friends bringing an experimental amalgam of electronic & indie-punk, Juxtaposed putting on searing rock & Indie shows, Folk in the Owl’s Nest bringing intimate folk & acoustic music and much more. 
The rugby/alternative music cross over scene still being (what's a good way to put this?) nascent. We discovered yesterday that Gwdihŵ's bar is a great place for a civilised drink on the way to an international at the Principality. Plenty of elbow room, while every other licensed establishment in the vicinity is stuffed to the gills with the great unwashed. Don't tell anyone else; our secret.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Are you the leaf, the blossom or the bole?

Being There
An aged man is but a paltry thing,
A tattered coat upon a stick, unless
Soul clap its hands and sing, and louder sing
For every tatter in its mortal dress,
Yep. I am back in Cardiff.

Friday, November 23, 2018

Jetts (I thought the major was a lady suffragette)

Jetts Colliers Wood is coming to Christchurch Road in December 2018!
Offering all the latest state-of-the-art strength, cardio and functional training equipment, Jetts Colliers Wood will continue Jetts' philosophy of allowing members to workout on your terms, with 24/7 access, no lock-in contracts, capped membership to avoid overcrowding, small group training sessions and free onsite parking.
I might check this out. I think that my long term gym has been on the slide since Nuffield took it over from Virgin.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Conflict of Interest

I can see from the England Rugby website that the Old Ruts Colts have got London Irish in the next round of the National Under 18 Cup. The Irish are a tall order, but it is a chance for revenge after they beat us in the semi-final of the County Cup last season (Icons passim).

The game is on February 9th which is the same day as the Italy Wales match in the Six Nations. Ben and I had planned to go to Rome for that, but I think the Ruts game may trump it. We will have to talk it over.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

A Contribution to the Theory of Taxation

I'm a bit late to this 2017 party, but if Bill Gates, Jeremy Corbyn and Robert Shiller (professor of economics at Yale) all think that taxing robots is an idea worth exploring, chances are it is an idea worth exploring.

Years ago, I read a book called Code: and Other Laws of Cyberspace, by Lawrence Lessig (Roy L. Furman Professor of Law at Harvard) that I seem to remember suggested that it would be a good idea for individuals to own information about themselves that they could license to organisations. A scenario in which your heath records, for example, would be yours even though you allowed the NHS to use them.

I have always liked that idea, and it has led me on to inchoate notions that perhaps it might be possible to address the looming problem of the power of Artificial Intelligence, by making these disembodied robots legal entities with responsibilities, and subject to sanction if they flouted them. Is that analogous to what Gates is saying above?

It is worth recalling physicist Michael Faraday's reply in the 1850s to William Gladstone, then British chancellor of the exchequer. Questioned about the practical value of electricity, Faraday answered: “One day, sir, you may tax it.”

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

'crouch, touch, pause, engage'

I've taken to doing Hotpod Yoga on Saturday mornings when I am back in Cardiff. Booking up this weekend's session, I noticed that they are involved with the 'Quins.

I shouldn't be surprised given yet this unlikely cross over never ceases to put a little more spring in my step.

Monday, November 19, 2018

The Kominsky Method

I watched the first episode of this new Netflix comedy with Alan Arkin and Michael Douglas last night. For all that the reviews I have read this morning seem rather grudging, I thought it was great.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

You're in a Rut, You gotta get out of it

Following on from a very hard fought victory against last years semi-finalists Horsham RFC, The Mighty Ruts entertain Wasps RFC this Sunday at Poplar Road in the 2nd round of the RFU National Colts (U17/18s) Cup.
We won quite handsomely in the end. Thirty nine to twenty odd (the exact result escapes me). Tries for Ben and Jonnie, and the Wasps score flatters them as two of their tries came from our errors; a knock on from our full back, and a charged down kick from our outside half. Both our 10 and 15 redeemed themselves though so no hard feelings.

We'll be in the last eight in group eight now see

Saturday, November 17, 2018

A un vincitore nel pallone

The face of glory and her pleasant voice,
O fortunate youth, now recognize,
And how much nobler than effeminate sloth
Are manhood's tested energies.
Take heed, O generous champion, take heed,
If thou thy name by worthy thought or deed,
From Time's all-sweeping current couldst redeem;
Take heed, and lift thy heart to high desires!
The amphitheatre's applause, the public voice,
Now summon thee to deeds illustrious;
Exulting in thy lusty youth.
In thee, to-day, thy country dear
Beholds her heroes old again appear.
Prodnose: Isn't that rather an over-egged reaction to the fact that the Old Ruts Colts are playing Wasps U18s in the next round of the RFU's National U18 Cup at the club lunchtime tomorrow?

Myself: I suppose so, but I don't want to leave anything to chance. Besides that, in an age when so many people are at a loss to give life meaning and direction, Giacomo Leopardi is essential reading.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Longshot Kick De Bucket

We went mob-handed to see RUDEBOY: The Story of Trojan Records last night as part of the Doc'n Roll Festival.

It was playing at the Ritzy in Brixton. We met at Colliers Wood tube station at half past seven and had arrived twenty odd minutes later.

Why don't I make the effort to get over to SW2 more often?

Prodnose: Saltfish de pan counta a wait pan bread an butta

Myself: Yes, that must be it. God give me strength.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

SWIFF as a shadow, short as any dream

SWIFF 2018 will be held at The Wheatsheaf, 2 Upper Tooting Road, Tooting, London SW17 7PG
Saturday 24 November, 11.30am-11.30pm
I can't go because I am back in Cardiff for the South Africa game. You, however, have no excuse. Whether they would even let me in after 2016's shenanigans (Icons passim) is a moot point.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Where does the time go?

Here is an interview with Lewis on his graduation from the WP Rugby Academy in South Africa. Here he is with Ben on Bondy's boat in 2009. They met earlier that year when we all went skiing together in Kitzbühel. Ben was eight and Lewis was eleven. I wonder if I would even remember if I didn't write here every day.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

The Machine - Bert Kreischer

Ben's mate Jonnie H played the audio of this story on his phone when we got back from the Wales game this weekend.

Bert Kreischer was on the Joe Rogan Experience back in August. It is strange how all these threads entangle outside mainstream media/

Monday, November 12, 2018

Still a hill to climb

Kevin's Hong Kong go beaten 26-9 by Germany in the World Cup Repechage.

How juice drink billionaire bankrolled Germany’s Rugby World Cup charge: Hans-Peter Wild got his money from Capri Sun and spent €20m to get the country to within three games of the tournament, is an interesting story.

Sunday, November 11, 2018


Ben and I went to see Mum in the Heath Hospital yesterday.

Because I am so puerile, cyntedd, which is apparently Welsh for concourse, is my new favourite word.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

lucky 14

Ben, the Hendries and I are setting off for Cardiff shortly to see the Wales Australia game.

Australia have beaten us 13 times in a row, but hope springs eternal.

Thursday, November 08, 2018

The Midterms: What's it all about?

Political System of the United States
Legislative branch
The United States Congress is the legislative branch of the federal government. It is bicameral, comprising the House of Representatives and the Senate.
Makeup of Congress
House of Representatives
The House currently consists of 435 voting members, each of whom represents a congressional district. The number of representatives each state has in the House is based on each state's population as determined in the most recent United States Census. All 435 representatives serve a two-year term. Each state receives a minimum of one representative in the House. In order to be elected as a representative, an individual must be at least 25 years of age, must have been a U.S. citizen for at least seven years, and must live in the state that he or she represents. There is no limit on the number of terms a representative may serve. In addition to the 435 voting members, there are 6 non-voting members, consisting of 5 delegates and one resident commissioner. There is one delegate each from the District of Columbia, Guam, the Virgin Islands, American Samoa, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and the resident commissioner from Puerto Rico.
In contrast, the Senate is made up of two senators from each state, regardless of population. There are currently 100 senators (2 from each of the 50 states), who each serve six-year terms. Approximately one-third of the Senate stands for election every two years.
Different powers
The House and Senate each have particular exclusive powers. For example, the Senate must approve (give "advice and consent" to) many important presidential appointments, including cabinet officers, federal judges (including nominees to the Supreme Court), department secretaries (heads of federal executive branch departments), U.S. military and naval officers, and ambassadors to foreign countries. All legislative bills for raising revenue must originate in the House of Representatives. The approval of both chambers is required to pass all legislation, which then may only become law by being signed by the president (or, if the president vetoes the bill, both houses of Congress then re-pass the bill, but by a two-thirds majority of each chamber, in which case the bill becomes law without the president's signature). The powers of Congress are limited to those enumerated in the Constitution; all other powers are reserved to the states and the people. The Constitution also includes the "Necessary and Proper Clause", which grants Congress the power to "make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers". Members of the House and Senate are elected by first-past-the-post voting in every state except Louisiana and Georgia, which have runoffs.
Impeachment of federal officers
Congress has the power to remove the president, federal judges, and other federal officers from office. The House of Representatives and Senate have separate roles in this process. The House must first vote to "impeach" the official. Then, a trial is held in the Senate to decide whether the official should be removed from office. Although two presidents have been impeached by the House of Representatives (Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton), neither of them was removed following trial in the Senate.
So now you know. That last paragraph explains a lot.

Wednesday, November 07, 2018

50 Things No Man Over 40 Should Own

As I was driving home last night I found myself tapping my foot to this tropical club banger on Radio 1.

This morning I found out exactly what it was using

That is all.

Tuesday, November 06, 2018


I went out for a drink with Kevin last night as he is back from the Far East.

It turns out that, among his various jobs and titles, he is Director of Coaching and Performance for the Hong Kong Rugby Football Union.

He is in Europe for the the Rugby World Cup 2019 repechage at Stade Delort in Marseille – the tournament that will deliver the 20th and final team to the Japan 2019 World Cup.

Hong Kong, Canada, Kenya and Germany will compete in a round-robin format event to be played across three match days on Sunday 11 November, Saturday 17 November and Friday 23 November, 2018.

Hong Kong play Germany at four o'clock on the 11th, Kenya at one o'clock on the 17th, and Canada at nine om the 23rd.

Monday, November 05, 2018

3 Blue 1 Browne

OK, so courtesy of this channel's series on linear algebra and neural networks I am close to understanding the scope of this technology as it was before the 2012 leap forward that is changing the world.

Recurrent neural networks (RNNs) and Convolutional deep neural networks (CNNs) are still in my future but it is a start I guess.

Sunday, November 04, 2018

Sunday is still rugby day in my house

Andy H told me yesterday that he ahd heard that Horsham U18s who the Ruts beat in the first round a fortnight ago (Icons passim) came third in the RFU National Under 18 Cup last year.

I can see from that they were certainly in at the death (maybe there is a group thing I don't understand) and must be one of the best Colts sides in England.

All rather heartening.

Saturday, November 03, 2018

These violent delights have violent ends

A 17-year-old boy has died after being stabbed outside a Tube station, becoming the second teenager to be fatally knifed in London within 24 hours.
It comes the day after a 15-year-old, named by police as Jay Hughes, was stabbed to death in Bellingham, south east London.
The killing marks the 115th homicide in the capital so far this year, of which 19 victims have been teenagers.
Officers were called to Clapham South Tube Station in south west London at 4.35pm on Friday, where they found the teenager suffering from a stab wound.
He was taken to a south London hospital, where he died less than an hour later, the Metropolitan Police said.
Clapham South is four stops - a nine minute tube ride - on the Northern Line from us at Colliers Wood.

See Dan Young RIP.
See Knife Crime.

It just seems to get worse and worse.

Friday, November 02, 2018

as we that are left grow old

Rayburn is 29 today. To put this in perspective he is just slightly older than Paapa who got a Bafta Breaktrhough Brits Award the day before yesterday.

I went to see the NT Live show of Allelujah! last night. Having spent so many weekends visiting my mum's broken hip and my dad's dementia recently and - for what it is worth - having sung with Bryn last weekend, I found it very moving. It proved you can wear your heart on your sleeve without being overly didactic or hectoring.

Thursday, November 01, 2018

Big Balls Dickson

It's not just Ben's Old Ruts who like to run the ball from behind the try line then. It's good to see an Aussie starring for my beloved Seahawks as well.