Saturday, March 23, 2019

'if they're good enough, they're old enough'

Remember last Tuesday's opinion "every time I think I have written enough about Callum something else amazing happens"?

Something else amazing happened, last night as England beat the Czech Republic 5-0.
Chelsea winger Hudson-Odoi was a late call-up to the squad but, after impressing in training, he was handed his first senior appearance at international level as he replaced Sterling with 20 minutes remaining.
At 18 years and 135 days, Hudson-Odoi became England's youngest debutant in competitive internationals, eclipsing Duncan Edwards' record set in 1955. With Jadon Sancho also on the pitch, it was the first time in 138 years that England had two players aged 18 years old or younger in the side.
Once more with feeling: At 18 years and 135 days, Hudson-Odoi became England's youngest debutant in competitive internationals, eclipsing Duncan Edwards' record set in 1955.

Friday, March 22, 2019

Chicken curry off the bone

If you are from Cardiff no further explanation is necessary. The years and the memories. I have to stop looking at the artist's website now or I won't get any more work done today.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

In which Theresa May finally goes barking mad (or is revealed as mad all along)

"The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results"

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Everything is Full of Gods

On a whim this morning, I loaded up the dishwasher, lit the blue touch paper and retired. After weeks of on-the-blinkiness it thrummed into life.

Benign neglect has come through for me yet again. With any luck the couches will now re-upholster themselves and the burned out light bulbs will summon up the energy for one last hurrah.

"Little do ye know your own blessedness; for to travel hopefully is a better thing than to arrive," as Robert Louis Stevenson observed, though he did add the unsporting caveat "and the true success is to labour."

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

"It's been a crazy day..."

Every time I think I have written enough about Callum something else amazing happens. Today it is a call up for the England men's senior squad.

Monday, March 18, 2019

let ill tidings tell themselves when they be felt.

Dad was admitted to the Heath hospital on Friday with chest problems and kept in overnight. It turns out he has pneumonia in his right lung. He was started on antibiotics and discharged on Saturday evening.

On Sunday the Old Ruts Colts cup run ended when they were beaten away by Bromley.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Deffrwch Cymry cysgld gwlad why gan

What a day to be Welsh yesterday was.

We watched Wales beat Ireland to win the Grand Slam in the afternoon, and then went to see Andy Fairweather Low at the Hideaway in the evening.

Andy Fairweather Low (born Ystrad Mynachwas 1948) was quite brilliant. He is appointed as 2019's third Welsh Born Icon.

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Slovak presidential election

If I hadn't been in Slovakia last week I probably wouldn't take much notice of the presidential election that starts today.

Slovak liberals cross fingers for election of pro-west Zuzana Čaputová, says the Grauniard.

Friday, March 15, 2019

This one will run and run

Callum was named in the England Under-21 squad for the first time yesterday. They are playing in March against Poland and Germany.

In the evening he celebrated with a goal and an assist as Chelsea beat Kiev in the Europa League.

There doesn't seem to be any sign of this story losing steam yet.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Fill yer boots

There is a special offer on this pressure washer in Aldi this week.

It could be just the job for cleaning up my patio as spring approaches.

If you had told me when I was 17 that I would end up writing about gardening and rotating machinery I would think that you had gone off your head.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

On The Road Again

I was out of the house early this morning to drive to Leamington Spa and then Telford for work.

After that I popped down the M50 then the A40 to go an see mum and dad in Cardiff.

The picture on the left is the bar in Ty Enfys. That is how I would like to retire I think.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Dave - Streatham

YouTube "suggested" this to me today. Not out five days yet and nearly one and a half million views.

There is definitely something in the water around these parts with this music. See also

Monday, March 11, 2019

The Quiet One

We watched a movie called "The Quiet One" on Amazon Prime on the Friday evening before I disappeared skiing for the week on the Saturday.

I thought it was great so I have done a little research since I am back. It turns out that Jon Pegg who wrote and directed it is a boxing trainer as opposed to a full time artiste. Further he knocked the thing out for a budget of twenty grand; my cup overfloweth.

City boxing trainer who made a movie in a Birmingham pub scoops four awards at a film festival in Venezuela fills me with delight.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Wizz Kids

Looking at the Wizz website (where I have now set up an account), because there are only flights on Saturdays and Tuesdays, Ben and I could fly from London Luton (LTN) to Poprad-Tatry (TAT) at 16:10 Sat, 28 Dec 2019 (arriving at 19:45) and return from Poprad-Tatry (TAT) to London Luton (LTN) at 20:20 Tue, 31 Dec 2019 arriving at 21:55.

That would give us three days skiing. with the only disadvantage that it would be a close run (though not I suppose impossible) thing to get back from Luton to see in the New Year.

I will see that he thinks.

Saturday, March 09, 2019

Link blogging Jasna

Poprad-Tatry airport is near enough to Jasna to make a long weekend skiing feasible.

Here are some links I could use to "roll my own" some time. Hotel we stayed in. Justin's place lift pass airline

Friday, March 08, 2019

Happy Birthday

Dad is 85 today. If I ever get to that age, I will be ............ 85.

Thursday, March 07, 2019

I've been expecting you

Callum Hudson-Odoi: ‘I’m never nervous. I’m always ready, no matter what the game holds for me’
The most talked about teenager in the Premier League, the cover star of GAFFER Magazine: England’s Finest, speaks to Tom Kershaw about his journey to generation academy talent
This is getting ridiculous. I will not be surprised to hear next that Callum is in the frame to be the next James Bond.

Wednesday, March 06, 2019

Mi Casa Su Casa

I moved near to Whitton in 1986 so I have known a lot of the folk was are away with this week for a long time.

Although I knew it intellectually all the time, I have been pleased (what with Mum and Dad past their best) how many of them have reminded me over the last few days that they stayed at Bronwydd when they were down for rugby games etc. and how welcome they felt.

Chalk that up to John and Bernice.

Tuesday, March 05, 2019

You know my methods Watson

I have been going skiing with essentially the same crowd for well over twenty years.

I only found out yesterday that Darren is Sean's brother.

Monday, March 04, 2019

Jasna Low Tatras

Jasna Low Tatras is an all-year mountain tourism resort, situated in the heart of Low Tatras Central Slovakia. In winter it is the largest ski area in Central Europe. The history of the resort started in the 1950s, when the first system of cableways from North of Chopok to South was built. It covers both sides of Mount Chopok - Chopok South and North. It is considered the best freeride resort in Central Europe.
Still here. Still learning.

Sunday, March 03, 2019

Nobody puts baby in the corner

I think Brendan has put on a few pounds since he and Dave last attempted the Dirty Dancing lift.

Jasná has never seen anything like it.

Saturday, March 02, 2019

Dissolution of Czechoslovakia

The Dissolution of Czechoslovakia (Czech: Rozdělení Československa, Slovak: Rozdelenie Česko-Slovenska), which took effect on 1 January 1993, was an event that saw the self-determined split of the federal state of Czechoslovakia into the Czech Republic and Slovakia, entities that had arisen before as the Czech Socialist Republic and the Slovak Socialist Republic in 1969 within the framework of a federal republic.
It is sometimes known as the Velvet Divorce, a reference to the bloodless Velvet Revolution of 1989 that led to the end of the rule of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia and the restoration of a capitalist state in the country.
Czechoslovakia is the only former socialist state to have an entirely peaceful breakup.
My italics. Fascinating stuff. It is strange that it sounds almost eccentric for two peoples to be able to split amicably without feeling the need to bomb or shoot each other.

Friday, March 01, 2019


I am leaving early tomorrow morning for a week's skiing in Slovakia.

I may maintain radio silence while I am away, but I may post the odd message here.

You will have to wait and see.

Thursday, February 28, 2019

The helicopter bunny

The Bomber is starting work tomorrow.

Once there was an overprotected little bunny who wanted some space, so he said to his mother, “I am running away.”
“If you run away,” said his mother, “I will run after you with a stainless steel container of organic strawberries, for you are my exceptional little bunny.”
“If you run after me,” said the little bunny, “I will go to the playground — the one you call the ‘trashy playground’ — and play with kids you don’t like the look of.”
“If you play with the kids in the trashy playground,” said his mother, “I will follow you around and offer to help you with anything that seems too tricky.”
“If you follow me around,” said the bunny, “I’ll run into the field and hide behind a tree.”
“If you hide behind a tree,” said his mother, “I will organize all the other parents into a search party and find you, then put you on a leash next time.”
“If you put me on a leash,” said the little bunny, “I’ll refuse to leave the house with it on.”
“If you refuse to leave the house with your leash on,” said the mother bunny, “I’ll strap you into a giant stroller that you’re clearly too old for.”
“If you strap me in a giant stroller,” said the little bunny, “I’ll start school early with the neighbor kid.”
“If you start school early with the neighbor kid,” said his mother, “I’ll volunteer in your class twice a week, just to make sure everything is being handled optimally for your development.”
“If you volunteer in my class twice a week,” said the little bunny, “I’ll pretend I can’t hear you when you try to help me with stuff.”
“If you pretend you can’t hear me when I try to help you with stuff,” said the mother bunny, “I’ll have you referred for a speech and language assessment.”
“If you have me referred for a speech and language assessment,” said the bunny, “I’ll pass with flying colors and make you look paranoid.”
“If you pass with flying colors and make me look paranoid,” said his mother, “I’ll put you in a school for gifted children.”
“If you put me in a school for gifted children,” said the bunny, “I’ll fail on purpose so I can go back to regular school with my friends.”
“If you try to fail on purpose,” said the mother bunny, “I’ll check your grades and do your homework for you when you’re asleep.”
“If you check my grades and do my homework when I’m asleep,” said the little bunny, “I’ll change my login.”
“If you change your school login,” said his mother, “I’ll contact the dean and get the password reset. I’m SURE she’ll believe me when I tell her that you forgot it again.”
“If you contact the dean and change my password,” said the bunny, “I’ll only apply to colleges on the other coast.”
“If you only apply to colleges on the other coast,” said his mother, “I’ll buy a condo near the one you choose and spend long weekends there checking up on you.”
“If you buy a condo near my college and come visit all the time,” said the little bunny, “I’ll change my phone number and hide out in my friends’ dorm rooms.”
“If you change your phone number and hide out in your friends’ dorm rooms,” said the mother bunny, “I’ll know the new one because I still pay your phone bill. I’ll locate you on Find My Friends, and I’ll bang the freaking door down and that won’t make you look very cool, will it?”
“If you bang my friends’ door down,” said the little bunny, “I’ll drop out from all the stress of you bothering me and having to actually do my own homework.”
“If you drop out,” said his mother, “I’ll buy a bigger condo and the latest PlayStation just in case you want to move in. Your dad is staying in the old house, and I’ve pretty much moved out here now.”
“Shucks,” said the little bunny, “I might just as well stay where I am and be your little bunny.” And so he did.
“Have an organic strawberry,” said the mother bunny.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Mad Professor

Tickets are booked for the Mad Professor at the Hideaway in May. I'm also going to see Andy Fairweather Low there in March. The trick, for me, in taking advantage of this wonderful, nearby musical resource seems to be stumping up for the tickets and committing plenty early. I used to imagine I would wander along on the occasional free evening but that never seems to happen.

Looking at my diary, I have got Trevor Nunn's West End transfer of Fiddler on the Roof in April. Maybe I should aim always to have at least one music or theatre event pre-booked in the schedule each month going forward as insurance against indolence?

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Critics bare their teeth

According to the Torygraph's film critic Robbie Collin, yesterday, Rami Malek's lousy Freddie Mercury impression is the most embarrassing winner in years.

A guy called Tim Staffell was the singer in a band called Smile before Freddie Mercury joined it and it became Queen. There is an interesting interview with him in Esquire.
My departure from Smile was completely amicable. I began to want to play music that was more improvisational. I was drifting towards listening to jazz and blues. The movie has used artistic license to depict the departure, but it wasn't really like that because Freddie and I were good friends at college. (We were in the same year at art school. We were taking the same course.) Freddie joining the band was very natural, as he was really good friends with the band members before I left and simply dovetailed in. I just said to them, 'Look guys, I've already gone for some auditions,' and I said, 'I'm not happy with this anymore and I don't think it's gonna work out.' How wrong could you be?
According to Staffell, Rami Malek's performances captured the nuances of Mercury that he remembers. "Wow, he has done his homework so much that he's dropped into character by observation. He's serious about pulling this off".

Who do we think is likely to be the best judge of an actor's Freddie Mercury, Staffell or Collin?

Monday, February 25, 2019

Trump declares national emergency to build border wall

Alfonso Cuarón won the Academy Award for Best Director last night for his work on Roma, a semi-autobiographical take on his upbringing in the Colonia Roma neighborhood of Mexico City. He previously won the same award five years ago with Gravity.

After Gravity, Alejandro G. Iñárritu bagged it twice in a row for lensing Birdman and then The Revenant.

Damien Chazelle triumphed the next year with La La Land, and twelve months ago Guillermo del Toro picked up the statuette for The Shape of Water.

Mexicans have won five of the last six best director Oscars. The wall on the border is going up far too late!

(P.S. Thank you for being too polite to point out that Cuarón, Iñárritu and del Toro are all younger than me.)

Sunday, February 24, 2019

A rhetorical question

Q. What is the Welsh for "lost cause"?
A. There is no direct translation or equivalent phrase.

Wales 21 - 13 England

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Ry'n ni yma o hyd, er gwaetha pawb a phopeth

Ry'n ni yma o hyd, er gwaetha pawb a phopeth translates as "We're still here, in spite of everyone and everything."

Things are heating up nicely. The roof at the Principality will be open today, "so God can see us play."

Friday, February 22, 2019

Don't take me home

I stayed in on Monday to watch Callum and he didn't get on the pitch. Last night I went out to the Ramble Inn, and he started for Chelsea against Malmo, played out of his skin and scored a wonder goal. Them's the breaks I guess, I could at least vaguely follow the game on the screens in the pub.

Staying with football I have noticed that Don't Take Me Home is available on Amazon Prime.
Don't Take Me Home, an inspiring documentary from Welsh filmmaker Jonny Owen (I Believe in Miracles) following Wales remarkable journey to the final stages of the 2016 European Championships.
For the last 60 years Wales have tried and failed to qualify for a major football tournament. Having gone through the grief of previous manager Gary Speed s tragic death, heavy defeats, and positioned as a tiny country team with no pedigree, all bets were off for how the underdogs would perform.
Led by star player Gareth Bale, the team quickly became the outside favourites, dazzling millions of viewers. There's an ancient Welsh saying, "Yma o Hyd" which translates as "we're still here" - a defiantly apt statement from the smallest country in the history of the game getting to a major tournaments semi-finals.
Don't Take Me Home tells the story of that journey, how Wales shook the footballing world to its very foundations, beating tournament favourites Belgium to reach the semi-finals focusing on the players, managers and supporters.
Just the job as part of my preparations for the Wales England rugby tomorrow I think.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

You can't get there from here

This came up last night when I was talking to my brother. Guildhall College of Music and Drama is even closer to Moorgate tube station than my house is to Colliers Wood, and Moorgate is 27 minutes direct on the Northern line Bank branch from the Wood.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019


Tony Slattery was ubiquitous in the 80s; President of the the Cambridge Footlights in the era of Stephen Fry, Hugh Laurie, Emma Thompson, and Sandi Toksvig, then unavoidable in Whose Line is it Anyway? etc.

Wikipedia ( gives us a hint of why he is at the Colour House this weekend rather than on Sunset Boulevard but it is still a surprise to me.

I would be tempted to go, but I will have been drinking watching the Wales England game in the afternoon and you do not want me around improv once lubricated.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

‘F*** Sarriball’

Callum Hudson-Odoi gave Sarri an awkward sideways glance but did not come on for the Blues against Manchester United
Not only that, I stayed home to watch it.

Monday, February 18, 2019

Under New Labour, only the future is certain. The past keeps changing.

Paul Flynn, Old Illtydian and long standing Newport MP has died at the age of 84. He has appeared quite a lot on my spindrift pages over the years.

When Newport played Manchester City in the FA Cup this weekend, City’s starting XI cost £320m to assemble. Newport’s was put together for £50,000 and only two of the players commanded a fee. It would have tickled Flynn pink to see County play so well against the superstars at the 7,850 capacity Rodney Parade. I hope he caught it on the TV.

Sunday, February 17, 2019

As I was walking down the stair

Artificial intelligence is being applied with undue haste to analyse data in some areas of biomedical research, leading to inaccurate findings, a leading US computer scientist and medical statistician warned on Friday.
“I would not trust a very large fraction of the discoveries that are currently being made using machine learning techniques applied to large data sets,” Genevera Allen of Baylor College of Medicine and Rice University warned at the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual meeting.
Machine learning is a form of AI being applied widely to find patterns and associations within scientific and medical data, for example between genes and diseases. In precision medicine, researchers look for groups of patients with similar DNA profiles so that treatments can be targeted at their particular genetic form of disease.
“A lot of these techniques are designed to always make a prediction,” Dr Allen said. “They never come back with 'I don't know' or 'I didn't discover anything' because they aren’t made to.”
Genevera Allen is a canary in the coal mine. As I am myself.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

An observation

Could there be a worse example of cultural appropriation than being outraged or insulted on behalf of someone else?

Friday, February 15, 2019

Valentine's day was yesterday

Nothing to see here move along.
Love Is Like Cocaine by Helen Fisher - From ecstasy to withdrawal, the lover resembles an addict
There’s No Such Thing as Everlasting Love by Emily Esfahani Smith - Are emotions no more than “micro-moments of positivity resonance? 
Masters of Love by Emily Esfahani Smith - Science says lasting relationships come down to — you guessed it —kindness and generosity
How to Pick Your Life Partner by Tim Urban - To a frustrated single person, life can often feel like this… (part 2 is here) 
Why Are Young People Having So Little Sex? by Kate Julian - Despite the easing of taboos and the rise of hookup apps, Americans are in the midst of a sex recession… 
No Labels, No Drama, Right? by Jordana Narin - Every time his name popped up on my phone, my heart raced. Still, we were never more than semiaffiliated…
Why Developing Serious Relationships in Your 20s Matters by Elizabeth Spiers - Are you in your twenties? Have you been told that now is your time to build your own life and not worry about things like settling down and having children?
In Relationships, Be Deliberate by Emily Esfahani Smith and Galena Rhoades - For milestones like moving in together, intent (rather than chronology) determines success
This is Emo by Chuck Klosterman - No woman will ever satisfy me. I know that now, and I would never try to deny it. But this is actually okay, because I will never satisfy a woman, either 
Love by Lauren Slater - Scientists say that the brain chemistry of infatuation is akin to mental illness—which gives new meaning to ‘madly in love’ 

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Go West young man

Google AI:
One of the consistent challenges when navigating with Google Maps is figuring out the right direction to go: sure, the app tells you to go north - but many times you're left wondering, "Where exactly am I, and which way is north?" Over the years, we've attempted to improve the accuracy of the blue dot with tools like GPS and compass, but found that both have physical limitations that make solving this challenge difficult, especially in urban environments.
I agree, but with this caveat, I am always left wondering "Where exactly am I, and which way is north?

Visual Positioning Service (VPS) may transform me from Morlock to Eloi.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

There is nothing more real than magic

I was saddened to hear of the passing of Albert Finney, but it gives me a chance to pass on a solid gold story of his salt-of-the-earthiness.

Apparently, when he was down-sizing he asked my friend Frankie (how on earth he knew her I know not) to help by getting rid of his bric-à-brac via car boot sales. He warned her though, not to sell on anything that could be traced back to him which meant that she was "stuck" with items like a copy of Proust's À la recherche du temps perdu inscribed to him by his then wife Anouk Aimée, a Tiffany photo-frame engraved to Daddy Warbucks which featured in the movie Annie, and the Marley company sign from the movie Scrooge.

What shall I watch to celebrate the great man?
Geoffrey Firmin: How, unless you drink as I do, can you hope to understand the beauty of an old indian woman playing dominoes with a chicken?
Under the Volcano ought to do it. He got an Oscar nod for Geoffrey Firmin in that. A part likely to speak to me I think.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

You with your head in the clouds

Spektrix raises £5 million from Foresight VCTs to fuel growth and innovation

Spektrix and Foresight are pleased to announce a £5 million growth capital investment into Spektrix Limited, the UK’s leading provider of cloud-based ticketing, marketing and fundraising software for the arts.
The investment on behalf of Foresight VCT plc and Foresight 4 VCT plc will be used to accelerate product development and support Spektrix’s international expansion, particularly in North America where it is already working with nearly 100 arts organisations. As part of the investment, Foresight has taken a minority equity position in the company.
Founded in 2007, Spektrix was an early pioneer in bringing cloud technology to the arts. It is now the UK industry’s leading SaaS solution, encompassing ticketing, marketing, fundraising, analytics, and customer relationship management (CRM). It has been recognised as one of the UK’s fastest growing technology companies by the Sunday Times TechTrack 100 and FT Future 100, and in 2018 helped almost 400 organisations to sell more than £500m of tickets.
The software delivers key digital business capabilities to arts and entertainment organisations, enabling organisations like London’s Barbican Centre, New York Theatre Workshop and Toronto’s Royal Conservatory of Music to deepen customer relationships, understand sales trends in real time, and power audience development.
Michael Nabarro, co-founder and CEO of Spektrix, commented: “The goal of Spektrix is to empower arts and entertainment organisations with the tools they need to excel in the evolving arts economy. This injection of growth capital gives us additional resources to expand strategically, increase the pace of innovation, and fully realise our ambitions for the sector on both sides of the Atlantic.
“This is the first external investment we have taken as a company and that is partly testament to Foresight’s reputation and approach to managing relationships with its portfolio companies. Foresight fully supports our aims and will work with us to do more of what we already do – but faster and better.”
This is interesting to me as we work with Spektrix quite a lot. I understand if you aren't quite so fascinated.

Monday, February 11, 2019

London Irish 20 - 22 Old Rutlishians

The scalp of London Irish is added to those of Wasps and Horsham as the Old Ruts' National Under 18 Cup campaign continues.

Mike Stallard says that no Ruts side has ever beaten the Irish away before.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Yesterday when I was young

And think, this heart, all evil shed away,
A pulse in the eternal mind, no less
I went to see Dad in Belle Vue yesterday. He was in his room in the chair. At first he was asleep, then he was talking in his sleep, but when he woke up he launched straight into a conversation with me. Actually he launched straight into the middle of a conversation as if it was an ongoing debate with which we were both familiar. After a while he fell asleep again and I left to go and see Mum.
Waking or asleep,
Thou of death must deem
Things more true and deep
Than we mortals dream,
Or how could thy notes flow in such a crystal stream?

Saturday, February 09, 2019

If yesterday was tomorrow, today would be Saturday. What day is today?

After all the ducking and diving involved in connecting Bronwydd Avenue to the interwebs I arrived without a device that could take advantage.

This post is a back fill.

Friday, February 08, 2019

Sobbin' fit to be tied

I thinks it is entirely possible that we won't see a Broadway or West End revival of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers any time soon.

All together now!

Tell ya 'bout them sobbin' women
Who lived in the Roman days.
It seems that they all went swimmin'
While their men was off to graze.
Well, a Roman troop was ridin' by
And saw them in their "me oh my",
So they took 'em all back home to dry.
Least that's what Plutarch says.
Oh yes!
Them a woman was sobbin', sobbin', sobbin'
Fit to be tied.
Ev'ry muscle was throbbin', throbbin'
From that riotous ride.
Oh they cried and kissed and kissed and cried
All over that Roman countryside
So don't forget that when you're takin' a bride.

From that riotous ride!
They never did return their plunder
The victor gets all the loot.
They carried them home, by thunder,
To rotundas small but cute.
And you've never seens so,
They tell me, such downright domesticity.
With a Roman baby on each knee
Named "Claudius" and "Brute"
Oh yes!
Them a women was sobbin', sobbin', passin' them nights.
While the Romans was goin' out hobbin', nobbin'
Startin' up fights.
They kept occupied by sewin' lots of little old togas
For them tots and sayin' "someday women folk'll have rights."
Passin' all o' them nights.
Just sewin'!
While the Romans had fights.
"Hey listen to this"
Now when their men folk went to fetch 'em
Them women would not be fetched.
It seems them Romans ketch 'em
That their lady friends stay ketched.
Now let this be because it's true,
A lesson to the likes of you,
Treat 'em rough like them there Romans do
Or else they'll think you're tetched.
Oh yes!
Them a women was sobbin', sobbin',
Sobbin' buckets of tears
On account o' old dobbin',
Dobbin' really rattled their ears.
Oh they acted angry and annoyed
But secretly they was overjoyed
You must recall that when corralin' your streets
Oh, oh, oh, oh them poe little dears.
Oh yes
Them a women was sobbin', sobbin', sobbin' Oh yeah
Weepin' a ton Then sobbin' women
Just remember what Robin, Robin, Robin Oh yeah
Hood woulda done. Them sobbin women.
We'll be just like them three merry men
And make 'em all merry once again.
And though they'll be a sobbin' for a while
Oh yes!
We're gonna make them sobbin' women smile!

Thursday, February 07, 2019


Scicluna Delicatessen and Coffee Bar, High Fisher Gate, Doncaster.
This Aladdin's Cave of a deli is in the same building as my hotel. Maybe I am getting old but this far outweighs yesterday's report Doncaster one of worst places in UK for a night out, new BBC survey says in my book.

I am also enjoying:
According to a 900-year-old historical quirk, the small Yorkshire town of Doncaster, 175 miles south of the border, is technically part of Scotland.
Doncaster was signed over to Scotland in 1136 by King Stephen of England as part of the Treaty of Durham, after King David successfully stormed large areas of northern England.
It remained in Scottish hands for 21 years until Henry II appeared to reclaim the town under English rule in 1157. But, it was never formally given back.
Harry Smythe is laughing about that somewhere as well.

Wednesday, February 06, 2019

Coming around again

On June 3, 2016 I wrote:
The dashboard instrument cluster on my Ford Focus seems to have given up the ghost this morning. The speedometer and the rev counter are stuck at zero, while the temperature and fuel gauges are both steady in the middle of their ranges, and the LCD mileometer is completely blank.
I need to drive down to Cardiff after work; tiresome doesn't begin to cover it.
The same thing has happened today but this time I am going to Doncaster.

Tuesday, February 05, 2019

Everybody passing by will sigh for Harry

I am leaving for Harry's funeral shortly. He was taken quickly by liver cancer shortly after retiring. I went to his 60th birthday party in November 2012. I remember that maybe more than 20 years ago he (and his wife Maureen) invite Kim and I around for dinner when we were fist involved and she didn't really know any of my friends in Whitton. Typically generous and thoughtful

We will be retiring to the Admiral Nelson after the service. Too much perspective.

Monday, February 04, 2019

Dead Trees

After years, I think, of reading almost exclusively on kindle someone has recommended and lent me an actual physical book so today I will be embarking on The Woman Who Smashed Codes: A True Story of Love, Spies, and the Unlikely Heroine Who Outwitted America's Enemies.

Also I was a little late getting up and at 'em this morning, so I was still at home when a gardener who was working at another house offered to get rid of the dead fir tree in my front garden for £50.

My carbon footprint is bigger than average this morning.

Sunday, February 03, 2019

Nasty, brutish and short

The first trailer for Hobbs and Shaw is out; Second Unit Director, Jonnie's Uncle Simon (see Icons passim). He still seems to be burnishing his action credentials, that's for sure.

He has wrapped The Voyage of Doctor Dolittle with Robert Downey Jr and Maleficent 2 with Angelina Jolie since then. It is astounding how long big movies spend in post-production. Actors promoting them must sometimes struggle to conjure anecdotes about work they did a couple of years ago when it is eventually released.

The film he worked on before Hobbs and Shaw, Robin Hood with Taron Egerton and Jamie Foxx, might have been the biggest box office flop of last year. Tricky old business.

Saturday, February 02, 2019


When Camille Lopez's drop goal put Wales 16-0 behind against France on the cusp of half time yesterday, I gave up on watching the game in public at the Charles Holden and slunk back home to stew in my juices only to see an amazing comeback seal a 24-19 win for les  Gallois.

That was strange and unexpected but not as strange and unexpected as Hppopotamus by Sparks to which I was alerted by the increasingly essential Sodajerker podcast.

Friday, February 01, 2019

Snow: England cut off

This weekend's visit back home is cancelled.

Thursday, January 31, 2019

These are the times that try men's souls

Andy gifted me both his family's season tickets for Cardiff City's visit to Arsenal this week so I took the Burglar along.

He called me this morning to tell me the glad tidings that he appeared in Match of the Day's coverage of the game last night. I didn't apparently even though I was in the adjacent seat.

During the game there was a Tannoy announcement that Caledonian Road tube station (through which we had passed on the journey) was closed due to a "Police incident".

This turned out to be the stabbing to death of a teenage boy. A BBC report on the murder (here) also said "elsewhere in the capital on Tuesday, a woman was found with stab injuries in Baring Road, Bromley". Grove Park, the train station Paul uses to get into town is in Baring Road.

Having passed so near (in both distance and time) to two stabbings in one journey, he joked that both the assassins I had sent after him that day had failed, but it is still horrifying that he could saunter through such carnage.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Arsenal v Cardiff City

I was at the Emirates last night to see Arsenal beat Cardiff City 2-1, just as I was there in January 2014 for the same fixture the last time we were in the Premiere League. We lost 2-0 that time.

I wish I had been in the Empire Stadium in 1927 when Cardiff beat the Gunners 1-0 at Wembley but it wasn't to be.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

What a Crazy World

As I was festering at home on Sunday I came across an early sixties movie on London Live (the first 24 hour entertainment channel devoted to London).

Harry H Corbett berating his eighteen year old layabout offspring Joe Brown, could be me talking to mine.

Monday, January 28, 2019

Same time next year?

Callum Hudson-Odoi gives Chelsea a taste of what they might miss
By scoring a well-taken goal in Chelsea's FA Cup win over Sheffield Wednesday on Sunday, Callum Hudson-Odoi served up the latest powerplay in an increasingly fascinating battle between the teenager and the club.
The England Under-19 winger's cool finish after cutting inside ended the tie as a contest and came only 24 hours after he handed in a transfer request following a £35m bid from Bayern Munich.
If it was meant to remind Chelsea of what they might miss out on, the timing was exquisite - and all from an 18-year-old who has only made 15 appearances, with one of those in the Community Shield.
But as many people who have worked with him say, London-born Hudson-Odoi is no ordinary player.
With the transfer deadline looming on Thursday, he is also showing remarkable composure for someone so young.It is interesting to see I was writing about Callum on this day last year as well.  Four days left before we know for sure if he is staying at Chelsea or going to Germany (or Liverpool?).

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Combined Christmas and Birthday present

Given that the new Fender Acoustasonic will set a purchaser back two thousand bucks (or £1,699 in the UK) I am posting a video from a naysayer just to cool things down.

Saturday, January 26, 2019

LAMDA the slaughter

Myself: The London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA) is a drama school located in Hammersmith, London. It is the oldest drama school in the UK.

Mia: Oooooo

Friday, January 25, 2019

Post Morden

Ben saw a poster about an indie band from Morden, the Good Shoes, who have a song about their home down.

I've watched the video, but unfortunately I had alreadyseen enough shoegazing years ago to last me the rest of my life.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

"faded almost to zero"

This doesn't look good for Emiliano Sala.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Mail privilege

Microsoft’s internet browser is warning users not to trust the Daily Mail’s journalism as part of a feature designed to fight fake news.
Visitors to Mail Online who use Microsoft Edge can now see a statement asserting that “this website generally fails to maintain basic standards of accuracy and accountability” and “has been forced to pay damages in numerous high-profile cases”.
The message, which is produced by a third-party startup called NewsGuard, tells readers to proceed carefully given that “the site regularly publishes content that has damaged reputations, caused widespread alarm, or constituted harassment or invasion of privacy”.
Microsoft Edge and I are in perfect agreement - see Icons passim.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

The American Clock is ticking

Giles Terera pulls out of Old Vic's The American Clock and Clarke Peters and Sule Rimi join cast
I saw Clarke Peters in Five Guys Named Moe and Sule Rimi in Measure for Measure in the not too distant. Good to see Mr Rimi as a Cardiff boy who didn't go to drama school climbing the greasy pole.

Monday, January 21, 2019

Topo the Drum Playing Octopus

More than a decade ago (Icons passim), the Bomber had a highbrow and eclectic taste in movies. Now that he has reached man's estate, he selected Aquaman from the fayre on show when we went to the Odeon yesterday. Finally, a Movie Where an Octopus Plays the Drums! The life of the world may move forward into broad, sunlit uplands.

Callum (pictured with Ben at the same Odeon years ago here)  got on the pitch at the Emirates for the first time in the last ten minutes of the Arsenal Chelsea game on Saturday. Season ticket holders Andy and Ollie weren't at the game because they are over in New Zealand. Lat year, as the prospect of Callum actually turning out for the Blues at the Gunners was starting to seem plausible, I asked Andy if he would still give a boy he had known from his first day in primary school the same abuse he gives other Chelsea players.

"Yes," he said. Arsenal Till I Die.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

What a wonderful Worldpay

I have followed Natwest Streamline down the rabbit hole this weekend after seeing it as an acquiring banks option in Sage Pay.

Here's the story.

When NatWest was acquired in 2002 by Royal Bank of Scotland Group Natwest Streamline was renamed RBS WorldPay.

A decade ago, as part of the general financial crisis RBS had to be bailed out by UK tax payers. As recently as last year, the Royal Bank of Scotland's chairman admitted it is "unlikely" we will get back all the £45.5bn pumped in to the bank. In the same lecture he explained that at the time of the rescue the bank had been required to meet state aid requirements from the European Commission by selling off businesses which "materially reduced RBS's market value."

One of the businesses the collective genius of the government, the EU, and the bank itself identified as reducing RBS' market value was WorldPay (née Natwest Streamline), so it was sold to private investment firms for £2bn. It was floated on the stock market in 2015, and then two years later agreed to a £7.7 billion ($9.95 billion) bid from US credit card technology firm Vantiv.

That is £5.7 billion more than RBS had raised for it eight years earlier in a fire sale. It is a 285% profit that would have made a 12.5% dent in the total £45.5bn bailout.

It is estimated that there are 30 million tax payers in the UK. £5.7 billion is £190 each that was - in essence - given away. It is a text book example of the incompetence of corporate governance in the UK, the venality of the finance industry, and how we end up footing the bill.

You'd think people would be cross, but nada.

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Lucky Dip

As previously advertised (Icons passim) we trotted off to the Young Vic on Thursday to see Paapa in The Convert. He was - as expected - great - without a hint of his Hamlet performance in the demeanour his character, and then - in the bar later - without a hint of that character in his  demeanour IRL.

Because I am such a skinflint I got us £10 Lucky Dip tickets without really delving too deeply into what lucky dip tickets might be.

Subsequently it was discovered that:
Lucky Dip tickets are a great way to see our shows for just £10. These are guaranteed standing tickets, however, the 'Lucky Dip' element means that at the performance you may be lucky enough to be upgraded into a seat - sometimes with the best views in the house!
PLEASE NOTE: Lucky Dip tickets are not allocated positions. This means that you will not find out which area you will be watching the show from until just before the start of the performance. As Lucky Dip tickets may be standing, please do not book if you are unable to stand for the duration of the performance. Where you end up is at the discretion of the front-of-house team. We cannot guarantee you will get a seat rather than standing, or guarantee your party will be positioned together.Lucky Dip tickets are a great way to see our shows for just £10. These are guaranteed standing tickets, however, the 'Lucky Dip' element means that at the performance you may be lucky enough to be upgraded into a seat - sometimes with the best views in the house!
This as you can imagine made me pretty nervous when I looked at the Young Vic site in the afternoon and saw that the show was sold out. I have also felt more popular and admired in my life when we were queuing up wondering if we were facing three hours on our feet, but in the end we were allocated great seats and I would try this tombola again.

On the way back Frankie started talking to the licensed busker in Waterloo Station, because - just like Paapa - he is a customer at Coffee in the Wood. She is essentially the Catherine de Vivonne of SW19.

Friday, January 18, 2019


His paper "On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem" which introduced his computing machine was written in 1936. I did my O level in Computer Science in summer 1977, forty one years later.

It is longer from my O level exam to today, than it was from his published paper to me sitting my exam paper.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Tony Kane

Tony Kane, who has died aged 80, was an artist, teacher, editor and community campaigner and one of the best-known figures in Wimbledon, south-west London. There he created the arts magazine Time & Leisure and set up the Wimbledon BookFest, an annual literary festival for the public and schools. He saw the creativity within everyone, and developed opportunities for both young and old to participate in the festival through story writing, plays and film.
Fiona (Icons passim) has written an obituary for Tony. Time & Leisure's offices are next door to mine and he often used to stop in for a chat. Here is a random example from three years ago. He was a gent and will be sadly missed.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Parliamentary Pub of the Year: The Four Elms

I have never previously heard of the Parliamentary Pub of the Year, but the Four Elms where we sometimes take Dad on furlough from Belle Vue has won it, so congratulations.

A voice inside is channelling Alvy Singer from Annie Hall, "What's with all these awards? They're always giving out awards. Best Fascist Dictator: Adolf Hitler." but I am trying to quell it.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

The Infinite Monkey Cage

John, my brother was up in London on business and stayed at mine last night. Over an evening's conversation, he recommended Radio 4's The Infinite Monkey Cage.

Witty, irreverent look at the world through scientists' eyes. With Brian Cox and Robin Ince is how it describes itself.

"Alexa, play the Infinite Monkey Cage podcast," seems to work for it.

Next Monday's episode will be The Origin of Numbers which ought to work for me as I am currently reading Turing's Vision: The Birth of Computer Science.

Monday, January 14, 2019

This weekend's achievements

From the minds that brought you TOUGH MUDDER, the WARRIOR DASH, and SPARTAN RACE comes … NAVIGATING YOUR DEPRESSION — the latest in ultra-tough obstacle-course competitions for adults!
If you love an extreme challenge, then NAVIGATING YOUR DEPRESSION is the obstacle course for you. Forget what you’ve heard about those other races… participants in NAVIGATING YOUR DEPRESSION are given the ULTIMATE warrior’s task: just making it through a single goddamn day!

The second installment of our Manifesto Series is available for preorder. Orders will ship late January, 2019. Since the 2016 election, reading the news each day can send even the most placid...
Sound crazy?! It literally is!
But that’s not all: while trying to complete the course, our Serotonin Spartans will also have to deal with our world-famous obstacles! In Tough Mudder, those obstacles include the Mud Mile, Everest 2.0, and a barbed-wire crawl! In Spartan Race, you’ll face the sled drag, the seven-foot wall, and the Hercules Hoist! In NAVIGATING YOUR DEPRESSION, you’ll face our world-famous obstacles like PUT ON SOME PANTS.
The PUT ON SOME PANTS obstacle is a brutal test of will, so don’t worry: if you can’t manage to get into a real pair of jeans, you’ll be allowed to continue the race if you can at least put on a DIFFERENT pair of pants. Fresh sweats are at least… something! But that’s not all …
Once you’ve PUT ON SOME PANTS, there’s no time to relax! Hop the Unexplained Pain Partition, sprint up Restlessness Road, and you’ll run straight into your first WATER OBSTACLE! Specifically, the water is in a SHOWER, and the obstacle is you need to TAKE A SHOWER. As with all water obstacles, we have a crew standing by for emergencies, but also to shout encouragement, like, “Come on, man, it’s such a small thing, but it will make you feel like a new person. It’ll take five minutes. Please? For me?”

Sunday, January 13, 2019


Netflix's Sex Education jocks and cheerleaders (raised in the Welsh valleys)
The high school campus is bathed in golden sunshine, the kids play American football on the lawns and varsity jackets are the cool uniform of choice.
Welcome to British school life according to Netflix.
Sex Education is a comic coming-of-age drama starring Gillian Anderson as a sex therapist and Asa Butterfield as her mortified teenage son. It is also an attempt by the US streaming giant to steal the BBC’s crown as the home of British-made entertainment.
The series was filmed in Penarth, South Wales, with a British cast and crew. But the first viewers of the show, which launched this weekend, were left baffled by the curious interpretation of the British education system.
Sex Education: a Welsh born icon. Well I never!

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Bertrand Russell

Bertrand Arthur William Russell, 3rd Earl Russell, OM FRS (18 May 1872 – 2 February 1970) was a British philosopher, logician, mathematician, historian, writer, social critic, political activist, and Nobel laureate. At various points in his life, Russell considered himself a liberal, a socialist and a pacifist, but he also admitted that he had "never been any of these things, in any profound sense." Russell was born in Monmouthshire into one of the most prominent aristocratic families in the United Kingdom.
In the early 20th century, Russell led the British "revolt against idealism". He is considered one of the founders of analytic philosophy along with his predecessor Gottlob Frege, colleague G. E. Moore and protégé Ludwig Wittgenstein. He is widely held to be one of the 20th century's premier logicians. With A. N. Whitehead he wrote Principia Mathematica, an attempt to create a logical basis for mathematics. His philosophical essay "On Denoting" has been considered a "paradigm of philosophy". His work has had a considerable influence on mathematics, logic, set theory, linguistics, artificial intelligence, cognitive science, computer science (see type theory and type system) and philosophy, especially the philosophy of language, epistemology and metaphysics.
Bertrand Russel: a Welsh born icon. Well I never!

Friday, January 11, 2019

Curiouser and Curiouser

🔴IF I WERE ODOI...🔵(Callum Hudson-Odoi Song Parody Bayern Munich Transfer)

282,501 views, only published yesterday.

The whole Callum saga gets more surreal by the day.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Kerela Literature Festival

I am a great lover of both Wales and Kerala, but the idea of Wales being the guest nation at the Kerala literature festival still sounds exotic and strange to me.

Come to think of it, Arundhati Roy's The God of Small Things was set in Kerala. That won the Booker Prize in 1997. My God I am getting old.

Wednesday, January 09, 2019

Events, dear boy, events

I have snaffled up tickets for Andy Fairweather Low and The Low Riders at the Hideaway on March 16th.

Also I went along the London Palladium Panto on Sunday. Julian Clary makes me weep with laughter. I am not entirely sure why, but he do.

Tuesday, January 08, 2019

Callumity for Chelsea? (yet more wordplay)

I make no apology for devoting so much space to the Callum saga. I wonder he will feature in the League Cup semi final away at Spurs tonight?

If and when he signs and gets the Bayern number 10 shirt i will probably tug on your sleeve again.

Saturday, January 05, 2019

artificial intelligence is entwined with state and corporate power

I think this is a great and important article. I won't quote from it or write a precis; take a few minutes and read the whole thing yourself

Friday, January 04, 2019

Happiness for Humans

I have been reading the book that the son and heir got me for Christmas. From page 170:
Was l like Colm at eighteen? Awkward, tongue-tied, badly in need of a haircut?
(A shower wouldn't kill him either, to be honest.)
Someone with many children, a former cabinet minister I seem to recall, wrote in his memoir that one is only ever as happy as one's least-happy child. It may have been the truest thing he ever said. Colm isn't unhappy exactly, but neither does he radiate the joy of youth. He is still, as he always was,a transparently decent person. He contains little malice or guile. I just want to shake him by the shoulders and shout, 'Come on, for fxxk's sake, Col, snap out of it!'
Whatever it may be.
Of course I learned a long time ago to keep my trap shut.
As William Nicholson had CS Lewis say in Shadowlands, 'We read to know we're not alone.'

Thursday, January 03, 2019

Anturiaethau Alys yng Ngwlad Hud

Dad is waning again, though antibiotics (fingers crossed) should sort him out. Elsewhere in the circle of life, I am due a new niece Alys (Welsh for Alice) today.

Previously merely passive-aggressive, my new (stop-gap) phone has now escalated its relationship with me to abusive.

Type “God is” and let autocomplete define your theology.

Wednesday, January 02, 2019

Making my message to myself less specific

It seems that Chrissie Hynde wrote "I'll Stand By You" with Tom Kelly and Billy Steinberg, who have written many hit songs, including "True Colors," I'll Strand by You is a favourite song of mine, and Billy Steinberg's contribution to the "True Colors" episode of the Soul Music podcast in which he explains how Tom Kelly persuaded him to change the lyrics to make them less personal provides real insight, I think.

Here is what he says about working with Chrissie Hynde.
"Tom and I never had a publisher, we both published ourselves. Jason Dauman was somebody who, for a commission, was willing to provide some of the service that a publisher would. He once said to me, 'Who would you like to collaborate with?' and it was sort of an annoyance to me. I didn't take him all that seriously, but almost facetiously I said, 'Prince, Bruce Springsteen and Chrissie Hynde.'
I said those names because they were three of my favorite songwriters and he sort of took it seriously. He went off and I just thought, 'Well I got rid of him, didn't I.' Then a little while later he called me up and he said, 'Chrissie Hynde wants to write with you and Tom,' and I thought, 'Right.' So anyway, I get a phone call and this woman said, 'Billy, this is Chrissie Hynde,' and I thought somebody was playing with me or something. I couldn't imagine it, but then in a minute it was quite clear that Chrissie was on the other end of the telephone.
Chrissie is a very complicated person, a very no-nonsense person especially when she doesn't know you. She was a little intimidating on the phone. The butterflies in my stomach were fluttering so much I could barely speak because I love The Pretenders. She said she'd like to get together and write some songs with Tom and me, and I went, 'Woo Hoo!' She came to Los Angeles and she was so determined. She said, 'I want to write a hit.' Over a period of about two weeks Tom and I wrote a handful of songs with her. The first one we wrote together was called 'Love Colors Everything.' Then we wrote 'Night In My Veins' which was also a hit single, and we wrote '977,' 'Hollywood Perfume' and 'I'll Stand By You.'"
Ben E. King's song "Stand By Me" was a big influence on this.
Steinberg: "'I'll Stand By You,' like the other hits that Tom and I wrote, started out as a lyric that I had in a notebook. I had the title and the chorus lyric. Chrissie is a very, very strong songwriter in her own right. She's very ruthless, she would get out her pen or her pencil and I remember I was fascinated the way she would write in the notebook because she wouldn't write on the lines. I use a Mont Blanc fountain pen and I tend to write kind of neatly. She would just scribble across pages. Very few lines would fit on a page and they wouldn't stay on the line. I remember she would just take a pen and she would cross out any lines I had written that she didn't like, and usually the lines that she didn't like would be ones that were too tender or too poetic. She would toughen up stuff I'd written. On 'I'll Stand By You' she added lines and changed lines."
This was written based on the piano. Tom Kelly played the piano on the record.Steinberg: "I remember when we wrote it I felt two things: I felt one, we had written a hit song and I felt two, a little sheepish that we had written something a little soft, a little generic for The Pretenders. Whereas 'Night In My Veins' really felt like a great Pretenders rocker, 'I'll Stand By You' felt a little generic. I know that Chrissie felt that way too to some extent. I don't think she really entirely embraced it to begin with, but she certainly does now because when she plays it live, it's one of the songs that gets the strongest response. It's done really well for her and for us."
So now you know, and I have something to jog my memory about yesterday.

Tuesday, January 01, 2019

Same Old Same Old

Floyd Mayweather needed just 140 seconds to beat Japanese kickboxer Tenshin Nasukawa in an exhibition boxing bout yesterday. Former five-weight world champion Mayweather, 41, was smiling during the short-lived contest in Tokyo as he floored the 20-year-old three times.

On Netflix, I watched the first episode of Sunderland 'Til I Die, an eight part documentary series following the Black Cats as they are relegated from the Championship after being relegated from the Premiership the previous year.

Not the most heart-soaring end to the year, and only the slimmest chance of Cardiff City v Spurs boosting my joie de vivre at half past five this afternoon.

How are things with you?