Saturday, November 30, 2019

The Two Popes

The Two Popes is getting a limited theatrical release before landing on Netflix, so I am going to take PG to see it in the Olympic Studios tomorrow. A debt of honour as he picked up the tab when Bethany and I met him for dinner.

Friday, November 29, 2019

The face that launched a thousand ships

Embed from Getty Images

Andy H was captured by a press photographer last night as Arsenal FC went down 2-1 to Eintracht Frankfurt in the UEFA Europa League. Anyone who can look at this without laughing must have a heart of stone.

Thursday, November 28, 2019

The Skin of Our Teeth

The Bomber had his braces out yesterday at the orthodontist.

Prodnose: How long have they been in?

Myself: The original plan is dated 24/10/2014

Entire Company: We've got five years, what a surprise, Five years, stuck on my eyes, We've got five years, my brain hurts a lot, Five years, that's all we've got.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Gary Rhodes

I am not sure why this tweet was in my feed today. Perhaps because the guy is an actor and I follow some of his peers?

Anyway, it reminded me that years ago we were at some event where Gary Rhodes was promoting a book and people were queuing up at a table where he was signing copies. Rayburn joined the line without buying the book and when he got to the front told the chef that he was thinking of going to catering college. Gary Rhodes didn't blink an eyebrow about the missing harback and the fact there was nothing for him in the exchange, but had a proper encouraging chat with Raybs and then shook his hand.

Ever since I have been a member of the Gary Rhodes fan club. Top geezer.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Papa Was A Rolling Stone

I always come across something interesting on Radio 4 as I am driving to or from Wales.

Yesterday it was an adaption of Gillian Tindall’s The Pulse Glass. Much of yesterday;s first episode was about Stonyhurst Gospel, the earliest known Western bookbinding to survive, and its journey from St Cuthbert's grave to the British Library.

A tip of the hat also to Robert Elms on Radio London for introducing me to John Martyn's Angeline.

Monday, November 25, 2019

Small Change

inews on Luke Evans
So in 2008, when the role of Vincent came up in a play called Small Change, written by Peter Gill about two boys and their relationships with their mothers, he took matters into his own hands and wrote to the casting director of the Donmar. “I just had a feeling that this was the right role, and this could be my moment to break out of musical theatre.”
It worked. “Three weeks later, I landed the role, and it changed my life.” The production caught the eye of some influential people, it transpired. “From that play, I was schmoozed by two big agents in America. They flew over – two different agencies. One took me to lunch at The Ivy. The other thought they’d be clever and take me to dinner at The Ivy. I walked in, and they were like, ‘Oh, good evening, Mr Evans’. I’d never stepped foot in The Ivy in my life, then it was twice in one day,” he says, laughing. Since then, he has appeared in the Fast and Furious and Hobbit franchises, and been nominated for several awards.
Small world, small change. I met Peter Gill for dinner with one niece last month, and Evans' old Cardiff singing coach also works with another.

Sunday, November 24, 2019

one of the most capable leaders in the sector

I am setting off to Cardiff shortly to visit mum and Dad. It is my brother Vince's birthday so I will pop in and see him as well.

The last time he got a new job there was a press release.

There's posh.

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us

Esquire UK:
The Mythology Of Emmanuel Jal
The child soldier turned hip-hop star has stories to tell. Esquire spoke to him on the heels of his award-nominated album, 'Naath', a release made with his sister, Nyaruach, who still lives in a refugee camp in Kenya.
I came across the article above this morning. I haven't had time to read it yet, but I am noting it here after seeing Emmanuel Jal's great show in the Camden Assembly last night.

The Camden Assembly is right by Chalk Farm tube station, so - though it is on the other side of London - it is only a no-change 45 minute Northern Line trip.

The Roundhouse is in Chalk Farm Road, so we can add that to the ever growing list of venues I could attend conveniently but somehow never get round to.

Friday, November 22, 2019

Given my moral seriousness: Part II

I know, I know the Question Time Leaders' Special is on BBC1 tonight from seven to nine.
Fiona Bruce introduces debate from Sheffield, with Leader of the Labour Party Jeremy Corbyn, First Minister of Scotland and Leader of the Scottish National Party Nicola Sturgeon MSP, Leader of the Liberal Democrats Jo Swinson and Prime Minister and Leader of the Conservative Party Boris Johnson facing topical questions from an audience. All four of the participants will be keen to impress the voting public ahead of next month's General Election - the first to take place during December since 1923.
Sorry, I will be in the Camden Assembly.
Emmanuel Jal: Juno nominated Musician, Actor, and Campaigner releases his 6th studio album ‘NAATH’; a stunning joint collaboration with his hugely talented sister, Nyaruach. ‘NAATH’ is a vivacious, Afrobeat infused album with Emmanuel and Nyaruach drawing strongly on the unique sounds of their country; interweaving traditional folklore and love songs – alongside infectious dance tunes.
Whatcha gonna do? Pre-booked.

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Randy Andy

We did the Duke of York's website about a decade ago. I've got emails from Amanda Thirsk to prove it.

We haven't been involved for years; looks rather bare this morning.

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

“Wales. Golf. Madrid. In that order”

"Bale and Ramsey star" I will grant you, but Wayne Hennessey's double save was also more than significant.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Two households, both alike in dignity.

Given my moral seriousness, what will I be watching on the TV tonight?

From 7pm - 10:30pm (kick off quarter to eight) we have Wales v Hungary on Sky Sports Main Event as both sides conclude their Euro 2020 qualifying campaigns. Simply put, Ryan Giggs’ men need a victory to qualify for the finals. Hungary sit second in Group E, a point ahead of Wales, with one game to go.

But at 8pm, we also have Johnson v Corbyn: The ITV Debate. Julie Etchingham moderates the first live debate between the leaders of the Conservative and Labour parties, as they outline their positions on the issues facing the country in the run-up to the General Election.

The footie I think.

Monday, November 18, 2019

Roath Park Lake

With a following wind I will be back on Sunday.

Sunday, November 17, 2019

More Power

I have got my tickets for Emmanuel Jal on Friday because I am very cool.

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Do not resuscitate

Do Not Resuscitate (DNR), also known as no code or allow natural death, is a legal order, written or oral depending on country, indicating that a person does not want to receive cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) if that person's heart stops beating.
England and Wales
In England and Wales, CPR is presumed in the event of a cardiac arrest unless a do not resuscitate order is in place. If they have capacity as defined under the Mental Capacity Act 2005 the patient may decline resuscitation, however any discussion is not in reference to consent to resuscitation and instead should be an explanation. Patients may also specify their wishes and/or devolve their decision-making to a proxy using an advance directive, which are commonly referred to as 'Living Wills'. Patients and relatives cannot demand treatment (including CPR) which the doctor believes is futile and in this situation, it is their doctor's duty to act in their 'best interest', whether that means continuing or discontinuing treatment, using their clinical judgment. If the patient lacks capacity, relatives will often be asked for their opinion out of respect.
More straightforward than its scary title implies.

Friday, November 15, 2019


I cooked some chicken in the Brazilian xinxim peanut sauce on the right last night (special offer in the Co-Op) and served it up with boiled rice and some Amafil farofa pronta that I had in the cupboard. Very nice it was too.

A little research reverals the sauce is from Bahia which is one of the 26 states of Brazil and is located in the northeastern part of the country on the Atlantic coast.
Bahian cuisine, revered throughout Brazil as the country’s best, evolved from an improvisation of African, Indian and Portuguese dishes using predominantly local ingredients. These three cultures were thrown together by the Portuguese colonisation of Brazil in the sixteenth century and over the next 350 years a distinctive culinary culture developed around this nexus of influences.
This of course is exactly what Alexander Smalls et al are explaining with the "Afro-Asian-American" in Between Harlem and Heaven: Afro-Asian-American Cooking for Big Nights, Weeknights, and Every Day, the book John got me for my birthday this year. I leafed through it yesterday, and Bahia gets name checked on page 140.

Please also see my notes on vindaloo here. That post is nearly 14 years old!

Thursday, November 14, 2019


Gill, Peter

I stumbled on this stuff on the British Library website yesterday. The first two instalments should be interesting as they are about my family as well.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

St. Vincent

I streamed a movie I bought from Amazon yesterday. something I do rarely what with Prime and Netflix.

"St. Vincent offers the considerable pleasure of seeing Bill Murray back in funny form, but drifts into dangerously sentimental territory along the way" says the Critics Consensus on Rotten Tomatoes which suits me just fine because I am dangerously sentimental too.

In 2016, Theodore Melfi its writer and director went on to co-write, direct and produce Hidden Figures, for which he received Oscar nominations for Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay. I will add that to my watch list as well.

Update: I see he also wrote Going in Style.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

In Memory of Terry Buckland

Terry, our office landlord, has died after complications during heart surgery. Mick says he was in a coma for two weeks then passed. It is terrible news.

Monday, November 11, 2019

Ted Gioia

GIOIA: The most important thing right now is to understand that the best music in our society is under the radar screen for many complex reasons. Record labels are looking for the formula. Radio stations are following the formula. Even these amazing curated playlists are just a feedback loop. They’ll tell you what to listen to next week based on what you listened to last week. And because they’re a feedback loop, they won’t show you anything new or interesting.
So what you need to do, if you really want to broaden your horizons as a listener, is to get exposed to new things. Pick somebody. It doesn’t have to be me.
I can't remember how I stumbled on this podcast. Ted Gioia is either profound or off his chump, but I have added Music: A Subversive History to my reading list.

Ben was talking to me in the car last week about how modern technology has created hyper-local music scenes where kids are listening to a lot of tracks made by people they know who live round the corner. Gioia's "the best music in our society is under the radar screen" reminded me of that.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

chicks will dig it

There aren't native skills for my echo show 5 that will let me watch the BBC iPlayer or Netflix, but if I log into them on the built-in Silk browser, save the credentials and bookmark them I can access their videos handily.

That is all.

Saturday, November 09, 2019

George Washington and the Cherry Tree

A recall to the senior England squad is a nice present for Callum. I've been friends with him on Facebook since November 2011. FB reminded me it was his birthday yesterday. It thinks he is 23 not nineteen. He's part of a generation who fibbed when signing up. Ben - also 19 - is 25 according to Mark Zuckerberg's behemoth.

Friday, November 08, 2019

What Up With That?

Sorry I have to rush, but when I start singing this you can't claim you haven't been warned.

Thursday, November 07, 2019

Pit Stop

Arrived at Cardiff, dropped my stuff at Bronwydd and put the heating on.

Off now to visit mum, dad and supermarket.

Wednesday, November 06, 2019

On with the dance! let joy be unconfin'd

Mum should be coming out of hospital this morning. I will see her tomorrow.

I feared the worst a fortnight ago.

Tuesday, November 05, 2019

Corpus Christi Procession

It is good to see the South African rugby team showing off the rugby world cup in their De la Salle blazers. They could have gone straight from this photo shoot to Cardiff's Corpus Christi Procession in the 1960s.

Monday, November 04, 2019


MPs will elect Mr Bercow's successor in London today, the first such vote for a decade.

Sunday, November 03, 2019

existential disrepair

Amid tepid reviews last year, I went on record as thinking that The Kominsky Method was great (Icons passim).

Then, earlier this year, it took home two of the biggest comedy television awards in the Golden Globes. Michael Douglas snagged Best Actor In A TV Comedy or Musical, before the show itself won Best TV Comedy/Musical.

Now who's looking foolish TV critics? Season 2 just dropped on Netflix. I have watched the first couple of episodes; again it is great.

Michael Douglas had his moment in the sun when gongs were being dealt out, so let's give it up for Alan Arkin who is still knocking it out of the park at the age of 85. I think he may have had a stunt double for unsteadily mounting and riding a horse but the acting performance is all him. (I can't help but compare him to someone else I know of the same age.)

Saturday, November 02, 2019

None ever wished it longer than it is.

I have finished reading The Second World Wars: How the First Global Conflict Was Fought and Won by Victor Davis Hanson (752 pages) and started reading Dominion: The Making of the Western Mind by Tom Holland (624 pages).

1,376 pages between them. I really don't make it easy for myself.

World War II was the most lethal conflict in human history. Never before had a war been fought on so many diverse landscapes and in so many different ways, from rocket attacks in London to jungle fighting in Burma to armor strikes in Libya.

The Second World Wars examines how combat unfolded in the air, at sea, and on land to show how distinct conflicts among disparate combatants coalesced into one interconnected global war. Drawing on 3,000 years of military history, bestselling author Victor Davis Hanson argues that despite its novel industrial barbarity, neither the war's origins nor its geography were unusual. Nor was its ultimate outcome surprising. The Axis powers were well prepared to win limited border conflicts, but once they blundered into global war, they had no hope of victory.

Christianity is the most enduring and influential legacy of the ancient world, and its emergence the single most transformative development in Western history. Even the increasing number in the West today who have abandoned the faith of their forebears, and dismiss all religion as pointless superstition, remain recognisably its heirs. Seen close-up, the division between a sceptic and a believer may seem unbridgeable. Widen the focus, though, and Christianity's enduring impact upon the West can be seen in the emergence of much that has traditionally been cast as its nemesis: in science, in secularism, and yes, even in atheism.

That is why Dominion will place the story of how we came to be what we are, and how we think the way that we do, in the broadest historical context. Ranging in time from the Persian invasion of Greece in 480 BC to the on-going migration crisis in Europe today, and from Nebuchadnezzar to the Beatles, it will explore just what it was that made Christianity so revolutionary and disruptive; how completely it came to saturate the mind-set of Latin Christendom; and why, in a West that has become increasingly doubtful of religion's claims, so many of its instincts remain irredeemably Christian. The aim is twofold: to make the reader appreciate just how novel and uncanny were Christian teachings when they first appeared in the world; and to make ourselves, and all that we take for granted, appear similarly strange in consequence. We stand at the end-point of an extraordinary transformation in the understanding of what it is to be human: one that can only be fully appreciated by tracing the arc of its parabola over millennia.

Friday, November 01, 2019

Mignons de Porc à l'ail

I worked with Anthony Bourdain's Les Halles Cookbook last night; a tribute to mum who (fingers crossed) may be responding to treatment (see icons passim).

Mignons de Porc à l'ail
Top the tenderloins with the mashed garlic, spreading the paste like substance evenly along the length of the tenderloins. Lay the bacon slices across the garlic the long way. Now lay the other two tenderloins on top of the first two, the fatter ends pointing in the opposite direction from the ones on the bottom, so that they nestle together in a yin-yang sort of a way, creating a fairly even-shaped tube. Using kitchen string, tie each double tenderloin together tightly and evenly at several points along the tube (that way it can be sliced into medallions without cutting the string). Refrigerate overnight.
Okee Dokee. The trouble is I didn't have kitchen string so I used cable ties.
Preheat the oven to 350F (180C). Remove the tenderloins from the refrigerator. In the saute pan, heat the olive oil over high heat. Add 1 tablespoon (14 g) of the butter. When the butter stops foaming, season the pork, then add it to the pan, working in batches so as not to overcrowd the pan.
You can't really pan fry plastic cable ties, but hey presto!
If you're in a hurry, you can slice the pork into medallions when raw, then individually sear each medallion. That way you wont need to use the oven.
That's what I did. very nice too.

Moving on from cable ties I remember Beth being bemused last week that a house brick wrapped in foil was among my kitchen equipment. I use it to weigh down quesadillas.

No top London kitchen spends more money at Wickes than mine.