Monday, July 22, 2019

the backstop's backstory

I was born in the early sixties so I grew up to the drip-drip-drip of news of the Troubles in Northern Ireland and developed an examined assumption that, perhaps, shootings and bombings were how things had always, and would always, be.

Perhaps that is why it was such a group-hug thrill yesterday to see Shane Lowry cheered to the rafters, one of their own, as he won the Open at the Royal Portrush Golf Club. Royal Portrush is in County Antrim, Northern Ireland. Antrim on one of only two counties in Ireland with a majority Protestant population. When I was a boy if you heard the word Antrim on the radio or the TV it was never, to say the least, in a heart warming context.

Shane Lowry was born in a town called Mullingar, which is just off the M5 between Dublin and Galway; a place with a back-of-the-envelope claim, to my eyes, to being the centre point of Ireland.

To see all of the Emerald Isle, united behind him lifting the Claret Jug would have astonished my twenty one year old self.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

mi casa, su casa

My next door neighbours knocked on my door last night to tell me that they were going away for a few days and asking me to keep an eye and ear open for their house as they's been robbed last time they went on holiday.

As I was walking back down the street yesterday I spied what I took to be a criminal crew emptying their house through the front door and loading the proceeds into a van.

I was preparing to sell my life dearly until I noticed that it was just their other neighbours moving out; the front doors are adjacent.

At least it proves my adrenal glands are still working; the body's fight-or-flight response is called upon but rarely these days.

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Everyone's gone to the moon

While everyone else is remembering Apollo 11, I am wondering whatever happened to Jonathon King.

Friday, July 19, 2019

I'll give it 5

There is now an Echo Show 5 in my life. I snapped one up for just under fifty quid on Amazon Prime Day. This means that my two-up/two-down home now contains and original Echo, an Echo Dot, a Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote, and their new sibling.

Near as dammit Alexa in every room.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Andy Tea

Just wanted to let you know Andy is in St George’s ICU . He had an aortic aneurysm yesterday morning and they have done an aortic arch replacement (6 hours of open heart surgery) . The Drs are very pleased with him and he has 2 nurses looking after him. He will be in ICU for another 48 hours but then onto a ward.
This is what I have heard about Andy Cunningham, just in case anyone reads these pages and doesn't know about it. I am too timid to Google  aortic aneurysm or aortic arch replacement.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Seller ZOOMTEC has a message for you.

This is Linda from ZOOMTEC Store. Thank you for purchasing toner cartridges from us wisely.
If the cartridge leak, or print terrible, or something other issues, replying this email is the best way to solve problem quicker. Hope you could kindly contact us before you take bad action to our account, then we will give you a 100% happy solution program at first time for you.
If you are satisfied with our product, could you please kindly leave our product an opinion?
We are honest seller and never hire someone to place a fake order to add positive review. So we have very few review. Your review has important impact on products and will be a big encouragement for us to a better seller.
Though I have probably read more accomplished English prose, this is - to say the least - a charming email. I think I probably will leave them a positive review on Amazon, certainly the printer is churning away happily enough on the cartridges I bought from them.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Wit Sandwich

As you'll know if you're paying attention I finished reading 'A Talent to Amuse: A Life of Noel Coward' by Sheridan Morley this weekend.

Before that I read Citizen Clem: A Biography of Attlee by John Bew.

Yesterday I started The Deniable Darwin by David Berlinski.

If you can't see any thread or connection, let me reassure you; neither can I.

Monday, July 15, 2019

an everyday sort of magic

I started to read 'A Talent to Amuse: A Life of Noel Coward' by Sheridan Morley as preparation for last Thursdays' trip to the Old Vic for 'Present Laughter' but I didn't finish it until Saturday morning.

The last sentence said:
All that London lack now is a Noël Coward Theatre, and I cannot believe it will be too long before we get one.
On Saturday afternoon we saw 'The Night if the Iguana; at the Noël Coward Theatre.

Spooky action at a distance, what?

Sunday, July 14, 2019

The enigma of the eighth pub

As far as I can tell, Friday's Clapham Common to Colliers Wood pub crawl comprised
  • The Alexandra
  • The Windmill
  • The Avalon
  • Wolfgang's Beer Haus
  • The White Eagle Club
  • The Wheatsheef
  • The Mayfair Tavern.
I think there should have been an eighth but I can't remember, which would seem to make sense.

Saturday, July 13, 2019

A simple twist of fate


Frankie says Bob Dylan at Hyde Park yesterday sounded more like my impersonation than Dylan himself.

My work here is done.

Friday, July 12, 2019

Flânnelleur?

I was at the Royal Institution on Wednesday night, the Old Vic, yesterday and I'm going to see the Night of the Iguana in the West End tomorrow so I am awarding myself a Cerihew this morning
Nicholas Browne
The man about town
Grows, day by day, more fascinating
While you are procrastinating.
John, my brother is behind tomorrow's theatre. He is coming up on public transport this afternoon so I am going to meet him at Clapham Common Tube station and wander back down the A24 to the 'Wood. "You know, like Caine in “KUNG FU.” Just walk from town to town, meet people, get in adventures."

Thursday, July 11, 2019

It takes a village

I got a text from the Bomber on Tuesday:
I think I forgot to mention I'm going to Cyprus with a few friends tomorrow for a week.
He had forgotten to mention.

I went to get my hair cut in Ed's yesterday lunchtime. (If number one with the clippers all over counts as a haircut.) He knew that Ben was going to Cyprus and more specifically to Ayia Napa (news to me), because all the crew had been in having their side fades sharpened before the trip.

The coiffeur in loco parentis. I can remember when Ed would put baby Ben on a board on his barber's chair, snip scissors around his head pretending to trim the fluff, and then give him a lollipop.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Round Your Manor

Robert Elms' BBC Radio London show was largely about Wimbledon yesterday. Helen messaged me to say Fiona from the Bookfest was on it.

I asked Alexa to summon it up via BBC Sounds on the Echo last night and listened from the beginning to the end of her interview. She is on just after 'War Ina Babylon' by Max Romeo & The Upsetters.

Here it be, in case I have to refer to it again - https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p07f4kxj

The first item on the show is a conversation with the general manager of the Ely's department store. It may be the most neuralgically boring thing I've ever heard in my life.

He hasn't been there long, but it's easy for him to get to work because he lives nearby! Be still my beating heart.

I advise fast forwarding to the reggae.

Tuesday, July 09, 2019

21st Century Limerick Updates: Part 1

The anonymous original about Gertrude Stein, Jacob Epstein and Albert Einstein:
There's a wonderful family called Stein,
There's Gert and there's Ep and there's Ein;
Gert's poems are bunk,
Ep's statues are junk,
And no-one can understand Ein.
Replacing Jacob with Jeffrey Epstein:
There's a wonderful family called Stein,
There's Gert and there's Ep and there's Ein;
Gert's poems are junk,
Ep? kids in his bunk,
And no-one can understand Ein.

Monday, July 08, 2019

Liver Little

Tennis star Nick Kyrgios took a trip down to Wimbledon's Dog & Fox pub night before Nadal match
Controversial Australian tennis star Nick Kyrgios had an "unorthodox" preparation for his match against Rafael Nadal at Wimbledon - a trip to the pub.
The 24-year-old was spotted at the Dog and Fox pub on Wimbledon High Street on Wednesday night.
Sports journalist Miguel Seabra tweeted that he had shared "a toast" with Kyrgios and his friends during the evening.
He wrote on Twitter: "I just had a toast with Nick Kyrgios at the Dog & Fox.
"He is completely relaxed, laughing with friends, chatting with girls, drinking."
Mr Seabra added: "Quite an unorthodox preparation for tomorrow's blockbuster, uh? I like it."
I like it too; a solvent of enthusiasm, virtue, and elevation.

Sunday, July 07, 2019

Lungs

I am going to see Lungs at the Old Vic on 17 October as I continue to bank one interesting event a month well in advance.

That said September's Elvis Festival still needs firming up, though I am sure all will be well.

Saturday, July 06, 2019

Sláinte

Josh Adams
In an upstairs window of the Irish president’s official residence, one lamp flickers constantly. Lit by President Mary Robinson in 1990, it is a beacon to light the way home for the millions of descendants of the Irish who left their homeland over the centuries. (Ireland’s population peaked at more than eight million people in around 1840 and hasn’t yet recovered almost two centuries later.)
This paragraph led me to the Irish population analysis article in Wikipedia, and more specifically to the figures for my DNA's home county Cork.

There were 854,000 people there in 1841, but only 542,000 in 2016 the last year for which we have figures.

To my surprise the lowest population figure was 330,000 in 1961 the year I was born; half a million less than a hundred and twenty years earlier. Constant decline to 1961 and a gradual recovery since, so it wasn't just the Potato Famine that was responsible.

If I ever get to Cork I must try and get along to the Ballymaloe Cookery School.

I realise it is a bit crass to note this after a paragraph that referred to a famine, over the course of which about one million people died and a million more emigrated from Ireland. I will go to Skibbereen as well.

Friday, July 05, 2019

Planet Claire

Driving back from my previous visit to Wales to see mum and dad (Icons passim), Radio 4 played a programme about a 104 year old dancer and choreographer whose conversation revealed that she was still in complete command of her faculties.

Coming back from the same mission yesterday, I heard "James Lovelock turns 100" on Today.
Once described as "the most important and original scientific thinker in the world", James Lovelock is still a hugely influential environmental thinker. He's about to celebrate his 100th birthday.
Mishal Hussain spoke to him at his home in Dorset.
He is still whip-smart and, more power to his elbow, was promoting his new book Novacene: The Coming Age of Hyperintelligence.

My dad's conversation, by was of contrast could be taken down verbatim and used as lyrics by the B52s. I can actually imagine him saying
She came from Planet Claire
I knew she came from there
She drove a Plymouth Satellite
Oh, faster than the speed of light
Planet Claire has pink air
All the trees are red
No one ever dies there
No one has a head
Some say she's from Mars
Or one of the seven stars
That shine after 3:30 in the morning
Well, she isn't!
She came from Planet Claire
She came from Planet Claire
She came from Planet Claire
How much does luck and how much does lifestyle influence the state of your third age noggin I wonder? If it lifestyle, sign me up.

Thursday, July 04, 2019

Nitro Word Games



Ben should think about coming down to Cardiff for this event next May.

Wednesday, July 03, 2019

Weightless



I surfaced from blackness early this morning and found myself listening to Digital Planet on the BBC World Service at half past five.
The song ‘weightless’, by the British band Marconi Union, is regularly called ‘the most relaxing song ever’. The 8-minute track was made in collaboration with a sound therapist, to use in an experiment investigating whether music could help reduce stress. Weightless has gone on to have millions of listens on Youtube, but how did science theory and music technology come together to create the relaxation hit? Bobbie Lakhera went into the recording studio to find out.
I must dig deeper into this There may be some cross over with the Science of Music event I am going to at the Royal Institution next week.


Tuesday, July 02, 2019

Cyprus Hill



A missile exploding in the air before landing in Cyprus on the very same day that the Hendries arrived there for a week or so's holiday is not funny, and I am quite frankly appalled that you are
sniggering about it at the back of the class. When are you going to grow up?

Monday, July 01, 2019

Yer we are in Wales, over by yer


I should be in Wales tomorrow myself with a following wind.