Saturday, November 28, 2020

Run For Your Money



Wales are playing England at 4pm this afternoon, and I fear the worst, for all that I have discovered an Ealing comedy about the fixture. I may need a laugh later tonight.

Friday, November 27, 2020

Coming Around Again

I watched "Mr Calzaghe' with the son and heir last night over cod, chips and mushy peas from the Fish Inn; the first time I've been there for over a year. The movie was a good choice as I could tell Ben I was at Calzaghe's first professional fight which was on the under card at the Lennox Lewis/Frank Bruno clash in Cardiff as well as the Kessler fight in 2007. It was strange watching the Roy Jones Jr footage at the end of the movie knowing that he is fighting Mike Tyson this weekend.

I also got the chance to show Ben the photo opposite of Kru Johnny, his old Muay Thai teacher, training Matt Hancock in the House of Commons in January. A lot of water has flowed under the bridge since then, but it certainly gives a new meaning to PPE.

What else? Dad is still in hospital. Three and a half weeks now. God know why they won't let him out. And John took Mum to the dentist this week so her new dentures should be sorted soon.

Thursday, November 26, 2020

The more things change, the more they stay the same

President Donald Trump phoned in to lawyer Rudy Giuliani during a Pennsylvania hearing-style event Wednesday in order to claim 'we won this election' and that the election 'has to be turned around.
'This election as rigged and we can’t let that happen,' Trump said, even after Michigan and Pennsylvania certified the vote and his own administration issued a letter allowing the transition to President-elect Joe Biden to begin.
'This was an election that we won easily. We won it by a lot,' Trump claimed, while trailing Biden by about 6 million votes.

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Normal Service is Resumed

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Shut Up and Deal

I am ahead of schedule when it comes to Christmas as I have watched the Apartment already. It was on BBC2 on Sunday afternoon. I have seen it time after time and own it in various formats but it always repays another look. This time I was struck by how wonderful the soundtrack was. For all that the piano player in the restaurant is not only miming, he plainly can't play at all. Mark Billy Wilder down one point. Gosh that hasn't happened before.


Adolph Deutsch (20 October 1897 – 1 January 1980) was British-American composer, conductor and arranger who didn't write songs. Well I didn't know that. It's all gravy

Monday, November 23, 2020

PG Tips

PG's Ancestry DNA test result has come through. You can see the regional breakdown of his antecedents on this publicly available page.

According to my DNA matches page on the system, he is the fourth most closely related person to me among those who have done the test. Coming - unsurprisingly - after my son, my nephew, and my niece.

To me the next logical step would seem to be to start work on his family tree. I have done mine to a certain extent, maybe I could repurpose some of that that; my great grandparents on my father's side being his mother's parents?

If you click the DNA tab on the website, select Settings and then go to Sharing Preferences, other users can be given permission to "view and modify test details and message users." I wonder if he sets that up for me if we could work through this together?

Sunday, November 22, 2020

I want to break free


Even though my DNA is 98% Irish I can't resent Freddie Mercury for scoring two tries for England against us yesterday. The guy simply doesn't know when to quit.

Saturday, November 21, 2020

Lost in Time like Tears in Rain

The last St. Joseph's Parish Newsletter pinned to the cork board in Mum and Dad's is from 25 August to 22 September 2018, 21st Sunday of Ordinary Time - Cycle B.

Friday, November 20, 2020

We don't cry out loud

I have arrived in Cardiff, but you catch me at a low ebb. I had an appointment to see my mother at ten o'clock Saturday morning for the first time since September 5, but I just got a call from the home. Two of their team members have tested positive for COVID-19 so there are no more visits for 28 days. Tomorrow is off and my heart has sunk into my boots.

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Body Image 125 Years Ago


Change isn't always necessarily for the better.


Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Home James

 Ian Botham's grandson James, born in Cardiff, has been called up to the Wales squad for the Georgia game.

I came across the extended Botham family when I was skiing in 2012 (Icons passim)  and was very impressed - if that is the right word - by how normal they were. I imagine a 13 year old James was among the party.

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

“fit as a butcher’s dog” and “bursting with antibodies”

The notorious track and trace system has instructed the Prime Minister to self-isolate for a fortnight.

Mr Johnson has informed us that he feels as "fit as a butcher's dog" and "bursting with antibodies." Antibodies which, one imagines should protect him against another bout of the virus. He was admitted to intensive care seven months ago, so it is likely he is now immune.

Although it is possible that BoJo could catch it for a second time, the odds are miniscule. Out of 55 million cases globally, there have been just 10 confirmed cases of reinfection.

If Boris has to isolate even though he has recovered from COVID previously, what is the point of the vaccines over which there has been so much excitement?

Remember that these self isolation rules are the law. A peculiarity - to say the least - of this law is that people must remain at home for 14 days even if they test negative. He must stay away from Carrie Symonds and his baby for the full fortnight. 

By way of contrast those who think they have virus symptoms, and isolate while awaiting test results, are allowed out immediately if it turns out they are not infected. 

Those who test positive have to isolate for ten days.

Q.E.D. People who have the virus need to stay inside for less time than people who test and trace thought might have it but turned out not to.

Monday, November 16, 2020

My Anecdote

Years ago I went to Teddington Studios to pitch for some IT work, on Robert Kilroy-Silk's show as I recall.

Des O'Connor had a reserved space in the car park with his name painted on it, so that is where I left my car. I just found it impossible to resist.

I was sad to hear he died yesterday. He seems to have been a lovely fella. I was very much taken by the fact that he, himself, was the author of many of the wisecracks Eric Morecambe used to aim at him.

Sunday, November 15, 2020

A day to forget

Things were bad for Dad in the Heath Hospital yesterday. I can't help but feel he has fallen between the cracks. Liaison between care homes and the NHS could be much better.

Saturday, November 14, 2020

Six sucks

A year after winning the grand slam and reaching the semi-finals of the World Cup Wales lost lost a sixth consecutive match yesterday to Ireland.

I have nothing else to say.

Friday, November 13, 2020

Rodney and the Shrieking Sisterhood

Bethany - one of my my actress nieces - is doing a lockdown audio thing with Rhys Ifans that will come out on December 3.

Rodney and the Shrieking Sisterhood by Hannah McPake is the gothic tale of a sleuthing, Victorian police dog.

I can't really claim to have any preconceptions about sleuthing, Victorian police dogs so I will come to it with an open mind.

Renowned for his performances in hit films such as Twin Town and Notting Hill, Rhys Ifans will perform alongside Bethany Wooding and Oliver Wood in the thrilling audio drama.

Bethany Wooding, who also portrayed Kirsty in Owen Thomas’ audio drama Peerless in the Heart of Cardiff series, is an emerging actor from Cardiff who has previously trained with the National Youth Theatre and Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama’s Young Actor’s Studio.

Thursday, November 12, 2020

A sigh is an amplifier for people who suffer in silence.

Ben came round last night and we shared food from Garfield and a case of Red Stripe. We also played old school reggae through my Peavey Backstage Plus amplifier. I don't think Ben had ever encountered a valve amp before. The coupla second delay when it still throbs after you have turned off the power messed with his mind. Later he introduced me to the music of Bushy One String.


Next week I am planning on rustling up South American food and drink sourced from https://brasileiroonline.co.uk/ at the bottom of the road.

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Kamala Parker Bowles


This is where we can see the play reading I wrote about recently from 7:30 tonight. I am spoken for early in the evening so I am not sure when I will be able to catch up with it, 

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Transition Integrity Project

The Transition Integrity Project (TIP) was a series of June 2020 political scenario exercises in the United States, involving over 100 current and former senior government and campaign leaders, academics, journalists, polling experts and former federal and state government officials. The exercises examined potential disruptions to the 2020 presidential election and transition. 

In August 2020, TIP released a report outlining its findings and recommendations. The report stated, ″We […] assess that the [sic] President Trump is likely to contest the result by both legal and extra-legal means, in an attempt to hold onto power. 

You can see the report here.

Once more with feeling:

I am not a Trump supporter. I am not a Biden supporter. I am a disinterested observer from the other side of the pond. I don't think this unholy saga is anywhere near finished yet for all that the BBC thinks it is.

Monday, November 09, 2020

Ah'm jes' sayin' is all

 


It was twenty years ago today

Sergeant Pepper taught the band to play,
They've been going in and out of style,
But they're guaranteed to raise the smile,
So may I introduce to you,
The act you've known for all these years,
Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.


I am not a Trump supporter. I am not a Biden supporter. I am a disinterested observer from the other side of the pond. I don't think this unholy saga is anywhere near finished yet for all that the BBC thinks it is.

Sunday, November 08, 2020

The Far Away Plays

Saturday, November 07, 2020

Spare the Rod

 Smacking children is illegal in Scotland from today.

I only ever smacked Ben once, it was in the car park under Virgin Active where I had taken him swimming. He dashed out into the path of an incoming vehicle, so I grabbed him my the wrist and tapped him on the palm. I realized later that I did it because I was afraid, not to teach him anything.

I can't remember my mother or father ever smacking me at all.

Friday, November 06, 2020

Fix Me Up

Garfield at Ting 'n Ting is open for take-aways during lock down so next week Ben and I will be doing Caribbean food. 

His Mega Platter would seem to fit the bill.

Sharing platter of jerk chicken & pork, mutton curry, chicken curry, peppered steak, saltfish fritter, plantain, rice n peas, dumpling and coleslaw.  A popular choice as an intro to Caribbean food.

That back at my place with a Studio One soundtrack and some Red Stripe Jamaican beer is a proposition lacking in flaws.

Do you remember I was talking about Kamala Harris's South Indian roots the day before yesterday? Her father is from Jamaica. Quite frankly Saravanaa Bhavan followed by Ting 'n Ting counts as prudent political research. We should be able to claim it against something.

While you're here, Mindy Kaling (who was making dosas with Kamala - keep up) has a significant ownership stake in Swansea City. (Everything is connected,)

Thursday, November 05, 2020

I'm so bored with the USA


We have never needed The Clash as much as we need them today.
Yankee detectives
Are always on the TV
'Cause killers in America work
Seven days a week

I'm so bored with the U.S.A.
I'm so bored with the U.S.A.
But what can I do?

Wednesday, November 04, 2020

Poori Scrumptious

 Ben and I went out for South Indian Thali at Saravanaa Bhavan in Tooting last night. There is a US election tie-in. Who knew?

Tuesday, November 03, 2020

When there is no peace in the family, filial piety begins

Dad - who should have been moving between care homes - is in hospital in the Heath and no one can go and see him.

All right, now I have to make arrangements to bring him back here safely cleared of all these false charges. But I'm a superstitious man, and if some unlucky accident should befall him... if he should be shot in the head by a police officer, or if he should hang himself in his jail cell, or if he's struck by a bolt of lightning, then I'm going to blame some of the people in this room, and that I do not forgive.

Monday, November 02, 2020

The Hedgehog and the Fox

I was talking to Peter about Tom Stoppard's The Coast of Utopia yesterday. I can't remember how or why it came up. Stoppard's protagonist is Alexander Herzen, the Russian writer and thinker and a real historical figure. I mentioned that I had read Isiah Berlin on Herzen only for PG to tell me he knew him. You could have knocked me down with a feather.

It seems that Peter's 1981 production of Turgenev's A Month in the Country was based on a translation that the National Theatre commissioned from Berlin and PG used to pop around Isiah B's flat in the Albany* to discuss it as a work in progress. "Nice man," apparently.

The Albany! My cup overfloweth.

Sunday, November 01, 2020

LockDown is the new LockUp

When I was a boy I used to get the bus back home from primary school. On day after I got off, I noticed the narrow ledge under the automatic exit in the middle of the single-decker, and a vertical handle that passengers could use to steady themselves getting on or off. It struck me that if - once the cantilever door closed - I leaped back on I could cling to the outside of the bus and jump off at the top of the hill thus saving myself two or three minutes walking. 

By the time the bus got to the top of the hill it was moving too quickly for me to dismount without taking my life in my hands, so I had to cling on in terror all the way to the next stop - further away from home than where I had started.

I saw something of that little boy in Boris Johnson at yesterday's press conference; initially full of bravado, now to scared to jump off and walk instead.

Saturday, October 31, 2020

Friday, October 30, 2020

Tent Food

I went to Istanbul Meze Mangal with Ben yesterday. It looked like they had used lockdown to redecorate and remodel. The place was slick.

Inspired by the food, I watched Chef's Table Season 5 Episode 2 on Netflix last night. It profiles the Turkish chef Musa Dağdeviren who is documenting his country’s culinary past and keeping old recipes alive at his Istanbul restaurant. This morning I have ordered his book.

Thursday, October 29, 2020

One day we'll look back on this, and it will all seem funny


During the Covid-19 pandemic, the British state has exercised coercive powers over its citizens on a scale never previously attempted. It has taken effective legal control, enforced by the police, over the personal lives of the entire population: where they could go, whom they could meet, what they could do even within their own homes. For three months it placed everybody under a form of house arrest, qualified only by their right to do a limited number of things approved by ministers. All of this has been authorised by ministerial decree with minimal Parliamentary involvement. It has been the most significant interference with personal freedom in the history of our country. We have never sought to do such a thing before, even in wartime and even when faced with health crises far more serious than this one.

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Hat tip: Spencer Klavan

C.S. Lewis, Out of the Silent Planet

“You are speaking...as if the pleasure were one thing and the memory another. It is all one thing... what you call remembering is the last part of the pleasure.”

I think this may be profound but I only heard it early this morning and the gears are still turning. I could easily change my mind by tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

I couldn't lose

 

Last night, my DNA's home town beat the city where my genes ultimately expressed themselves: see https://www.ancestry.co.uk/dna/origins/share/2291dec9-b75e-427d-bf76-0da2e1479c99

I noticed when I logged on to Ancestry DNA to mine the link above that Seb has done the test I bought him for his birthday a while back.
Predicted relationship: Close Family–1st Cousin: Shared DNA: 1,640 cM across 55 segments
He's my nephew but it ain't too shabby as a result I think. I have been astounded how accurate these tests seem to be. I wonder how PG's will turn out?

Monday, October 26, 2020

Gething Sentimental Over You


Vaughan Gething is a half-wit, and you may quote me.

Sunday, October 25, 2020

Burning Questions

 This is kinda weird. 

Burning Questions: 36 videos18,675 viewsLast updated on 16 Oct 2020

'Burning Questions' is a series by The Sun where politicians, commentators, experts and cultural figures are interviewed about current affairs and their lives. 

It is a long-form style podcast that enables some of the most prominent political figures of the 21st century to give their views uninterrupted.

The usual ALT-RIGHT suspects get an hour each. It is indistinguishable from their holding forth on sites with more cultural potential. I was just surprised to find it curated by Rupert Murdoch's ankle-biting tabloid.

Saturday, October 24, 2020

Vice

 New Yorker Suspends Jeffrey Toobin

The New Yorker has suspended reporter Jeffrey Toobin for masturbating on a Zoom video chat between members of the New Yorker and WNYC radio last week. Toobin says he did not realize his video was on.

“I made an embarrassingly stupid mistake, believing I was off-camera. I apologize to my wife, family, friends and co-workers,” Toobin told Motherboard.

“I believed I was not visible on Zoom. I thought no one on the Zoom call could see me. I thought I had muted the Zoom video,” he added.

Is there some way we could make a show of solidarity with him? Any ideas?

Friday, October 23, 2020

Peerless

Over by yer
We meet Kirsty, stumbling home from a night on the tiles on St Mary’s Street. But home isn’t where she wants to be. Instead, she finds herself weaving between the headstones of Cathays cemetery, where a chance encounter is about to open the doors to a whole new world for her, to a whole new Cardiff. Don't miss Owen Thomas’ hauntingly beautiful tale of fight or flight inspired by Cardiff’s legendary boxer Peerless Jim Driscoll.
My niece Bethany plays Kirsty.

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Bubble Wrap

I dined out at Sam's Riverside the day before yesterday. It's OK it was a business meeting.

Last night I was at at a Korean place in New Malden with the son and heir. He lives with his mother.

Thus no social bubbles have been injured in the making of this blog post.

I hope to have a drink after work tonight with my extended, garrulous, multi-ethnic, theologically diverse household.

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

This is Wales


This is Wales where my mother, my father and most of my family live.

This is Wales where getting my mother a new set of dentures will require her to be isolated in the home where she lives. Alone for fourteen days after a visit to a dentist.

This is Wales where my father who needs nursing care and has late stage Alzheimer’s can't be moved until he has a COVID test that the assigned nurses are incapable of performing.

This is Wales whose devolved government forbids me to visit from London.

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

How steadfast are your branches! O Christmas Tree

Peter recommended Drama out of a Crisis: A Celebration of Play for Today to me on Sunday. I will try and catch it on the BBC iPlayer. He said he had almost forgotten how left wing the Play for Today strand was, and then segued into telling me that back in the day, suspected subversives at the BBC had "Christmas trees" on their personnel files.

I thought quite frankly that he had gone of his chump, but no:

The vetting files:

For decades the BBC denied that job applicants were subject to political vetting by MI5. But in fact vetting began in the early days of the BBC and continued until the 1990s. Paul Reynolds, the first journalist to see all the BBC's vetting files, tells the story of the long relationship between the corporation and the Security Service.

Read the whole thing ......

Monday, October 19, 2020

Sold I to the merchant ships

 

I don't know if The Forgotten Slave Trade: The White European Slaves of Islam is reliable but I have got more and more interested in the subject while reading Don Quixote and reflecting on Cervantes' time in Algiers.

Sunday, October 18, 2020

Ghosts

 

Loose Windscreen has got a new album coming out. I expect him to hear from the estate of Tom Petty about the remarkable resemblance of the track Ghosts to Free Fallin' (Icons passim).

Saturday, October 17, 2020

Like breathing out and breathing in

 In Our Time was about Alan Turing this week, and very good it was too. All three guests (Leslie Ann Goldberg, Professor of Computer Science and Fellow of St Edmund Hall, University of Oxford; Simon Shaffer, Professor of the History of Science at the University of Cambridge and Fellow of Darwin College and Andrew Hodges, Biographer of Turing and Emeritus Fellow of Wadham College, Oxford) were articulate and knowledgeable. I was very struck with Shaffer - perhaps because I had never heard of him before - and his insistence that Turing owed a lot of his apparently abstract and abstruse leaps forward to a practical, material groundedness; hence the Turing machine.

A man to follow is SS, http://www.imaginaryfutures.net/2007/04/16/ok-computer-by-simon-schaffer/ is a link I have found. It makes an interesting Turing/Michael Polanyi connection. You know, Polanyi - the tacit knowledge guy.

Friday, October 16, 2020

Intolerable Cruelty

You'll know if you read this blog that my son came round for dinner earlier in the week. Also I go and take my Dad's cousin (who is in his 80s and lives on his own) out on his grocery shop every Sunday morning. From midnight tonight I have to chose which of these two is in my social bubble. Either Ben and I can't meet in each other's households or I can't take Pete for a coffee in the Plum Cafe after Waitrose.

A ban on travelling to Wales from coronavirus hotspots elsewhere in the UK comes into effect on Friday evening. Mark Drakeford, the first minister has used devolved powers to shut Wales' borders. The ban will cover all of Northern Ireland, England's tier two and three areas and the Scottish central belt.

Neither my niece, who is studying here in London, nor I can go and see our family in Cardiff and South Wales.

Explain to me how all this can be justified or how the government has the authority to implement it.

Thursday, October 15, 2020

A recipe has no soul. You as the cook must bring soul to the recipe.

The Bomber came round to mine last night we cooked the Chef Show flatbread (Icons passim) and watched the Chef movie (Icons passim).

Fingers crossed, after last week (Icons passim) this will become a regular thing.

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

In my craft or sullen art

Torygraph

If you want poetry without the pretension, listen to Frank Skinner.

Okee dokee I am prepared to give Frank Skinner's Poetry Podcast a go. As a left-footer I think I will kick off with the Gerard Manley Hopkins episode - https://planetradio.co.uk/podcasts/frank-skinner-poetry-podcast/listen/2029873/

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

local lockdown postcode checker


 Take a look at the screen shot above. This is where the Government expects us to check our lock-down level (https://www.gov.uk/find-coronavirus-local-restrictions). These people can't even write bog standard HTML.

Monday, October 12, 2020

Is the julep tart enough for you?


The son and heir has started watching the Chef Show on Netflix and thinks we should collaborate on some flatbread. I am all over this like a cheap suit and have ordered the Tartine book.

 

Sunday, October 11, 2020

So the last shall be first, and the first last

I have worked out a method for scoring Jonnie's premiership prediction competition (see Icons passim).

For each team you get 20 points minus the difference between your predicted position and the actual position. If you predict Liverpool will win and they do you get 20 but if they come last you get 1. If you predict Leeds will come 11th and they come 6th you get 15 etc. A perfect prediction gives you 400 points. The lowest mark you can get is 199 if your predicted winner comes last, you predicted runner up comes second last, etcetera etcetera.

I would keep it to myself, but I am currently second in a field of 28 with a score of 308 and thus feel validated. Villa are stealing points from everyone by over-achieving and the Manchester clubs are doing the same by under-performing.

Saturday, October 10, 2020

Steamin' with the Miles Davis Quintet


This has swum into my consciousness today because, of all things, I am reading Don Quixote.

I remember Andy M saying to me years ago that when you hear someone play a ballad you can hear the reward they got for every moment they practiced. It is so true of Miles D here.

Steamin' with the Miles Davis Quintet is a studio album by the Miles Davis quintet, recorded in 1956 but not released until July or August 1961. Two sessions on May 11, 1956 and October 26 in the same year resulted in four albums: this one, Relaxin' with The Miles Davis Quintet, Workin' with The Miles Davis Quintet and Cookin' with the Miles Davis Quintet.
Three more albums to work through from the same sessions. Life is good.

Friday, October 09, 2020

Red Pepper Day

I went to the son and heir's for dinner yesterday. He can actually cook! I was amazed. When I arrived he was sautéing sweet pepper, onion, garlic and chilli. When that was done he seasoned with a variety of herbs and spices before adding mixed seafood and a dash of stock. It was served with veggie rice. All from out of his head rather than a recipe book.

Thursday, October 08, 2020

The Great Barrington Declaration

https://gbdeclaration.org/

As infectious disease epidemiologists and public health scientists we have grave concerns about the damaging physical and mental health impacts of the prevailing COVID-19 policies, and recommend an approach we call Focused Protection. 

Coming from both the left and right, and around the world, we have devoted our careers to protecting people. Current lockdown policies are producing devastating effects on short and long-term public health. The results (to name a few) include lower childhood vaccination rates, worsening cardiovascular disease outcomes, fewer cancer screenings and deteriorating mental health – leading to greater excess mortality in years to come, with the working class and younger members of society carrying the heaviest burden. Keeping students out of school is a grave injustice. 

Keeping these measures in place until a vaccine is available will cause irreparable damage, with the underprivileged disproportionately harmed.

Fortunately, our understanding of the virus is growing. We know that vulnerability to death from COVID-19 is more than a thousand-fold higher in the old and infirm than the young. Indeed, for children, COVID-19 is less dangerous than many other harms, including influenza. 

As immunity builds in the population, the risk of infection to all – including the vulnerable – falls. We know that all populations will eventually reach herd immunity – i.e.  the point at which the rate of new infections is stable – and that this can be assisted by (but is not dependent upon) a vaccine. Our goal should therefore be to minimize mortality and social harm until we reach herd immunity. 

The most compassionate approach that balances the risks and benefits of reaching herd immunity, is to allow those who are at minimal risk of death to live their lives normally to build up immunity to the virus through natural infection, while better protecting those who are at highest risk. We call this Focused Protection. 

Adopting measures to protect the vulnerable should be the central aim of public health responses to COVID-19. By way of example, nursing homes should use staff with acquired immunity and perform frequent PCR testing of other staff and all visitors. Staff rotation should be minimized. Retired people living at home should have groceries and other essentials delivered to their home. When possible, they should meet family members outside rather than inside. A comprehensive and detailed list of measures, including approaches to multi-generational households, can be implemented, and is well within the scope and capability of public health professionals. 

Those who are not vulnerable should immediately be allowed to resume life as normal. Simple hygiene measures, such as hand washing and staying home when sick should be practiced by everyone to reduce the herd immunity threshold. Schools and universities should be open for in-person teaching. Extracurricular activities, such as sports, should be resumed. Young low-risk adults should work normally, rather than from home. Restaurants and other businesses should open. Arts, music, sport and other cultural activities should resume. People who are more at risk may participate if they wish, while society as a whole enjoys the protection conferred upon the vulnerable by those who have built up herd immunity.

Wednesday, October 07, 2020

Deacon

 I always come across something good on radio 4 during my monthly road trip.

This time it was a drama called Deacon, I didn't hear from the beginning but I can catch up now on  https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/b08yrp59

(It was very hard to be just outside Bristol but forbidden by the Welsh government to pop over the Severn Bridge to see my mother and father in Cardiff.)

Tuesday, October 06, 2020

Our betters

Torygraph

A technical error with an Excel spreadsheet is believed to have caused 16,000 cases of coronavirus to be missed from national tallies, causing a "shambolic" delay to tracing efforts.

I take the Mickey out of Donna for the schoolgirl error of keeping important data in a spreadsheet. God give me strength.

Monday, October 05, 2020

Hey, check me out!


I can run neither the NHS COVID-19 app nor (for what it is worth) the RingGo app on my phone. Maybe it is time for an upgrade?

Sunday, October 04, 2020

The RingGo Kid

After picking up a ticket on a Sunday in Hammersmith and Fulham a little way back, I have now in subsequent weeks tried and failed to pay RingGo to allow me to park while I have a coffee with Peter in the Plum Cafe with a card in the machine (week 1), over the phone (week 2), and via the website (week 3). 

Bear in mind that I already have a RingGo account that I use for my residents permit in the 'Wood and that I am hardly a babe in arms when it comes to e-commerce.

I will install the app (https://myringgo.co.uk/apps) and try that next time. If I can't get that to work I may just give up.

Saturday, October 03, 2020

Rip Off Britian

 I think that In God's Country must be the move that Peter thinks pays more than a slight resemblance to The York Realist.

Friday, October 02, 2020

Hubris

Donald Trump announced this morning that he and his wife Melania tested positive for coronavirus. Most people won't want to acknowledge it, but I think Julian Baggini has called the implications bang for rights below. If however I say this to anyone myself they will accuse me of being a closet Trump booster.

More broadly I think the Open Yale Course Epidemics in Western Society Since 1600 needs to be on my to-do list. There's a YouTube playlist and a book

Thursday, October 01, 2020

Studio One

Ben told me over a pizza on Monday that he has been listening to a lot of reggae, and name checked Studio One.

I have been researching to catch up.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Studio_One_(record_label)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coxsone_Dodd

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

I'm going to blame some of the people in this room. And that I do not forgive.


Boris Johnson's Matt Lucas impersonation (Icons passim) is coming on leaps and bounds. 

Joking aside I will never ever forgive the government of England and Wales of locking my mother and father away from me (and further Ben their grandson who is 20 today) since the Ides of March.

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Pizza Hut

I went to Pizza Hut with the Bomber yesterday. Pretty much all the other dining spots in Abbey Mills are closed on Mondays. It was rather a sentimental occassion for me. In his early days in Singlegate Primary I used to take him once a week to ARTTES 4 KIDS which was a gallery and children's art school under my office. We would go to Pizza Hut after he was finished and while his painting was drying.

He is twenty tomorrow.

Monday, September 28, 2020

I can make it cheaper at home

Frank Lampard spent over £200 million on new signings at Chelsea in this transfer window only to go 3-0 down to West Brom in the first half on Saturday, They brought Callum on at half time. Mason Mount made it 3-1, Hudson-Odoi 3-2, and Tammy Abraham 3-3 right at the death.

All three goal scorers came from the academy with no transfer fees against their names at all.

Oops.

Sunday, September 27, 2020

Hoedown!

I heard Hoedown! by Bobby McFerrin and Yo-Yo Ma on the radio this morning. It cheered me up enormously. I must check out the whole album.

 

Saturday, September 26, 2020

Friday, September 25, 2020

Covid: Cardiff 'could go into local lockdown'

 All I would like to be able to do BBC News et al is to be able to see my mother and father every now and then in the twilight of their years. Should that be too much to ask?

Thursday, September 24, 2020

The robb'd that smiles, steals something from the thief

I was out at Southwark cathedral (or more accurately its library) last night to see Diana Darke talking about her book Stealing from the Saracens: How Islamic Architecture Shaped Europe. It was a lot better than I feared from the click-bait title. Apparently a possible Semitic root of Saracen is is srq "to steal, rob, plunder", more specifically from the noun sāriq (Arabic: سارق‎), pl. sariqīn (سارقين), which means "thief, marauder, plunderer." This makes "Stealing from Saracens" an hilarious phrase apparently.

It was quite tremendously tricky getting a drink in Borough Market before the event due to crowds and covid restrictions but the Whiskey and Ginger saved the day. There's a small room upstairs that appears to be little known.

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Where we from

It didn't previously occur to me to think that it might be beautiful. 

Monday, September 21, 2020

Pamela Hutchinson

Pamela Hutchinson, famed R&B singer with family group "The Emotions," has died at the age of 61, according to a post on the band's official Facebook page yesterday. The Emotions (Pamela plus sisters Wanda and Sheila) were best known for the song "Best of My Love," which reached number one on the Billboard Chart in 1977.

Don't get me wrong, there is room in my hear for "Best of My Love" but it is always "Boogie Wonderland," the Emotions collaboration  with "Earth, Wind & Fire" that will make that same heart beat a little faster.

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Are Father Fart in Devon


I am off to take Peter on his weekly grocery shop as usual this morning. This movie with his oldest colleague will probably worth a trip to the Riverside once it comes out. There's already Oscar buzz though it isn't due until January 2021.

Saturday, September 19, 2020

Shawty got low low low low low low low low

Worth a read given Icons passmin.

Friday, September 18, 2020

Ireland sober is Ireland stiff.

I got my DNA test result on my birthday back in 2018 (Icons passim).

I got an email yesterday:

As you may know, we’re constantly evolving the technology and methods behind AncestryDNA®. Using a combination of scientific expertise, the world’s largest online consumer DNA database, and millions of family trees linked with DNA results, we’re releasing our most precise DNA update yet.

You can see the update at https://www.ancestry.co.uk/dna/origins/share/2291dec9-b75e-427d-bf76-0da2e1479c99

I am now 98% Irish, 2% Scottish and 0% the rest of the world. Two years ago I was 79% Ireland/Scotland/Wales with assorted other ingredients including 2% European Jewish. I fully expect to be more than 100% Irish the next time they run the rule over my chromosomes.

Thursday, September 17, 2020

In Our Time

The world may be going to hell in a hand basket but least Melvyn Bragg and In Our Time are back on Radio 4 on Thursday mornings.

They kicked a new series off with Pericles this morning. I haven't listened yet but I am sure that will be rectified soon.

One of the guests, Edith Hall, featured on the 'blog on this day last year.

Wharrarthachancesotharrappenin'?

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

And so it goes

 No more visits to mum for the foreseeable due to COVID-19.

Dad needs a wedge, and a hoist, and a hospital bed.

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Nesta Guinness-Walker

 Nesta Guinness-Walker (born 14 September 1999) is an English professional footballer who plays for AFC Wimbledon, as a left back. He scored against Northampton over the weekend.

Andy Tea Merchant told me on Sunday at the Wimbledon Brewery that Guinness-Walker is Alec Guinness' great grandson. This fills me with delight. 

We whiled away much of the afternoon re-purposing Obi Wan Kenobi dialogue for the beautiful game.

To a defender "If you strike me down I will become more powerful than you could possibly imagine."

To the referee "Your eyes can deceive you; don't trust them."

That's no moon. It's a cross into the six-yard box!

You get the picture.

Monday, September 14, 2020

Real Sir Tom Jones

I will watch this tonight at https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/p08p5ly5/radio-2-live-at-home-performances-9-tom-jones

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Love of Wisdom

TLS

One day during her years at Radcliffe in the 1890s, Gertrude Stein sat down to write a philosophy exam. She just wasn’t in the mood, though, so instead of answering its questions she penned a short note to her professor, William James: “Dear Professor James, I am so sorry, but really I do not feel a bit like an examination paper in philosophy today”. In due course Stein received a response from James: “Dear Miss Stein, I understand perfectly how you feel. I often feel like that myself”. He gave her an excellent grade.

Saturday, September 12, 2020

Money where my mouth is

Jonnie is running some sort of competition to predict how the Premiership will end up this year. I don't know how it will be judged but here is my best guess.

1 Liverpool

2 Manchester City

3 Chelsea

4 Manchester United

5 Tottenham Hotspur

6 Arsenal

7 Everton

8 Wolverhampton Wanderers

9 Leicester City

10 Southampton

11 Leeds

12 Newcastle United

13 West Ham United

14 Sheffield United

15 Aston Villa

16 Burnley

17 Brighton and Hove Albion

18 Crystal Palace

19 West Bromwich Albion

20 Fulham

Friday, September 11, 2020

The Mad Gardener's Song


We kick off today. Would it be possible next weekend? I doubt it.

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Tootsie, Amsa and Zia


I watched the first episode of the new Netflix series "Chef's Table: BBQ" the night before last. It is about an 85 year old woman, a pit master called "Tootsie" Tomanetz, who works all week at a school and then gets up at 1 a.m. on Saturday to cook through the night for a Texas joint that opens at eight in the morning. Although it was understated I was very moved, probably because of the refracted light it threw on mum and dad, so I told my brother John about it.

He told me of an earlier favourite episode of Chef's Table about Asma Khan* of Darjeeling Express in London, so I watched that last night. It was great too, and I noticed that both episodes had the same director, Zia Mandviwalla. A name to watch.

* This article says that Asma Khan has got a PhD in British Constitutional Law. We could eat at hers and get her to fill us on in on the legality of Boris J's latest antics at the same time.

Wednesday, September 09, 2020

when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you

Yesterday, a Secretary of State told the House of Commons that a new internal market bill, due to be introduced today, will "reinterpret" the special Brexit arrangements for Northern Ireland and break international law.  This is beyond a disgrace. The head of the UK government’s legal department had already resigned so I imagine he agrees.

I have always a had a sneaking regard for John Major. I think he did most of the legwork that led to peace in Northern Ireland. Since Tony Blair got in though the phrase "this is the worst Prime Minister in living memory" has always been true. Boris Johnson is worse than Theresa May who was worse than David Cameron etc. etc. back nearly a quarter of a century.

Blair's cack-handed constitutional reforms are at the root of many of the problems we have in Parliament today. I am thinking particularly of the downgrading of the office of Lord Chancellor; separating judicial powers from the legislative and executive branches. Yesterday would have been inconceivable before that.

Tuesday, September 08, 2020

Shoe Polish by Kiwi

I have been writing a lot about the momentous, contradictory events of 1968 lately. It has also struck me that 1968 was the year that Peter Gill really broke out as a director when he presented three hitherto under-rated plays by D. H. Lawrence, as a group in the Royal Court Theatre.

http://www.petergill7.co.uk/works/lawrence_season.shtml

In October they took one of the plays "The Daughter-in-Law" to Milan, Bucharest and Belgrade on a British Council tour.

That must have been interesting in the year of the Prague Spring and Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia.

Monday, September 07, 2020

The Ringo Kid

 As a rule I take Peter our for his weekly grocery shop on Sunday mornings, and after that we go to the plumb cafe where he has breakfast and I have a flat white.

Last week, I got a parking ticket while were there. I hadn't realized that the parking restrictions around it applied seven days a week.

Yesterday I phoned https://myringgo.co.uk/ as the signs indicated to buy parking ticket and was rather unnerved to find that the automatic system knew my car's registration number and debit card number already. On reflection I imagine this may be because the same company runs the residents' parking for my local council, but I was still disturbed that all of this data was linked to my mobile number.

Sunday, September 06, 2020

Beauty is only skin deep, but ugly goes clean to the bone.

 BBC

Coronavirus: Coyote Ugly in Cardiff 'could close' over social distancing

Coyote Ugly is disappearing in my niece's rear view mirror now that she is moving to London to go to drama school, but I have to say that everything I have heard about it suggests that it is very professionally run and they are top notch employers. I hope the bar survives.

Saturday, September 05, 2020

Scam

I am back in Cardiff visiting Mum and Dad. A spam telephone call claiming to be from Amazon and asking me to cancel a "suspicious" order for an iPhone 11 just came through. I gave them very short shrift though I could imagine someone more vulnerable being taken in. It leaves a bad taste.

Amazon

If you receive a suspicious phone call, e-mail or text message claiming to be from Amazon, asking for payment, personal information, or offering a refund you do not expect, please do not share any personal information, and disconnect any phone call immediately. Amazon will never ask you for remote access to your device e.g. by asking you to install an app. You can report suspicious spam in the UK to Action Fraud at https://www.actionfraud.police.uk,

P.S. Auctionfraud.police.uk is all but unusable I gave up on it. 07463617441 is the number the dodgy call came from. 

Friday, September 04, 2020

More 1968: Warhol's wounds.

After he was shot, in 1968, Andy Warhol needed a girdle to keep his innards in place. But he liked being topless. "Paint me with my scars"

Thursday, September 03, 2020

Nigel Tufnel: It really puts perspective on things though, doesn't it?

Boris Johnson was pathetic in Prime Minister's Questions yesterday. The Daily Mail agrees with me, as does the Daily Telegraph. In the normal course of events, these would be dyed in the wool Tory cheer leaders.

That said it is now a year since the Parliament of the United Kingdom was ordered to be prorogued by Queen Elizabeth II upon the advice of the Conservative prime minister, Boris Johnson. The advice was later ruled to be unlawful, and it is as if the controversy never happened. By next week we will have forgotten that BoJo was too lazy even to prepare for PMQS yesterday.

There were two articles in the Torygraph yesterday that referred to Nixon's win in the 1968 presidential election as a possible augury for Trump. I've been scratching at this dirt for a while so it is good to see them catching up.

Add The Selling of the President to the reading list.
The Selling of the President is the enduring story of the 1968 campaign that wrote the script for modern Presidential politicking--and how that script came to be. It introduces:
  • Harry Treleaven, the first adman to suggest that issues bore voters, that image is what counts
  • Roger Ailes, a PR man who coordinated the TV presentations that delivered the product
  • Frank Shakespeare, the man behind the whole campaign, who, after eighteen years at CBS, cast the image that sold America a President
  • And the candidate, Richard Nixon himself--a politician running on television for the highest office in the land

    Wednesday, September 02, 2020

    George Wallace

    George Wallace ran for president in the 1968 election as the American Independent Party candidate. He carried five Southern states, won almost ten million popular votes and 46 electoral votes.

    For most of his career, he was a Democratic Party politician who served as the 45th Governor of Alabama for four terms. Indeed, he sought the United States presidency as a Democrat three times, and only once as an American Independent Party candidate, unsuccessfully each time. Wallace opposed desegregation and supported the policies of "Jim Crow" during the Civil Rights Movement, declaring in his 1963 inaugural address that he stood for "segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever". In 1965, Martin Luther King Jr. called Wallace "perhaps the most dangerous racist in America today".

    He won election to a fourth and final term as Alabama's governor in 1982!

    2020 is mad but 1968 was crazier. 

    Abraham Lincoln was a Republican. Leave your preconceptions about race and US political parties at the door - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Southern_strategy is worth a read.

    Tuesday, September 01, 2020

    The Revolution was Televised

     

    2020 is a walk in the park compared with 1968 when it comes to unrest, but 1968 had the better soundtrack.

     

    Monday, August 31, 2020

    1968

    1968 was the year of student protests across the globe, and riots in the streets of Paris. Assassinations rocked America and Soviet Tanks crushed the Prague Spring. Sexual liberation, civil rights, drugs and music were said to shape the thinking of a generation.

    The 1968 United States presidential election was the 46th quadrennial presidential election, held on Tuesday, November 5, 1968. The Republican nominee, former vice president Richard Nixon, defeated the Democratic nominee, incumbent vice president Hubert Humphrey. Analysts have argued the election of 1968 was a major realigning election as it permanently disrupted the New Deal coalition that had dominated presidential politics since 1932.

    I think there are a lot of parallels with 2020.

    Reading List: Miami and the Siege of Chicago: An Informal History of the Republican and Democratic Conventions of 1968 by Norman Mailer.

    Sunday, August 30, 2020

    Chumocracy

    I am off to Kevin's birthday party in Richmond this afternoon. He's lived mostly in Hong Kong for decades, but he has been in London at this time of year once before.

    I can distinctly remember listening to commentary on the radio in the car while we were driving over, because England beat Germany 5-1 at football; a rare event.

    On a whim I googled the game. It was in 2001, 19 years ago! Man I am getting old. I wouldn't have put the elapsed time in double figures.

    Saturday, August 29, 2020

    Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells

    I live in Marlborough Road. I was driving to work along Colliers Wood HIgh Street yesterday when I heard an ambulance siren behind me. I had previously imagined it might be impossible to let one past given the crazy changes that have been made to the road. Now I know it is impossible. I was furious and frustrated, God knows how drivers, paramedics and patients feel. In particular the posts on the outside of the bicycle lanes mean that the road has been narrowed to the extent that you simply can't get out of the way to let the emergency services past.

    Friday, August 28, 2020

    1933: Now and Then

    We all remember Dad's birthday, but it turned out yesterday that we were hazy on his year of birth; datum required for for filling in a form. I teased it out (1933) by looking at my Ancestry.com family tree. Let's just meditate for a moment on how odd it is that I reached for that as a reference.

    He was born on March 8.

    • March 7 – The real-estate trading board game Monopoly was invented in the United States.
    • March 9 – Great Depression: The United States Congress began its first 100 days of enacting New Deal legislation.

    Thursday, August 27, 2020

    Wednesday, August 26, 2020

    Last Night of the Poms


    Another suggestion, after yesterday, for the BBC.  "This one will run and run," Fergus Cashin.

    Tuesday, August 25, 2020

    Last Night Of The Bongs

    Cool Britannia
    Britannia  you are cool (take a trip) 
    Britains ever ever ever shall be hip

    Viv had the answer to the "racist" Rule Britannia at the Proms controversy as well as so much else. He should have been Prime Minister. I could have coped with life under Stanshallism.

    Monday, August 24, 2020

    Possibly an armchair

    I was thinking about a monologue Mia wrote about her grandfather in his chair, and remembered that Viv Stanshall has also staked out a claim in this area.

    Growing up to be like dad,

    Death defying times ahead, 

    Retelling stories old,

    OF times when dad was older.... younger ...

    Now he sits and has

    Every comfort and sits 

    With a washable cover

    Yet it niggles him

    That his life has gone by

    So he says to his son. 

    I don't want to think

    I'm not paid to think

    I've retired you see

    But it worries me

    How can I convey?

    You might turn out to be

    Possibly, an armchair like me. 

    Sunday, August 23, 2020

    Judging Books by Their Covers

     Richard Feynman tries to improve school textbooks

    In 1964 the Nobel-prize physicist Richard P. Feynman served on the State of California's Curriculum Commission and saw how the Commission chose math textbooks for use in California's public schools. In his acerbic memoir of that experience, titled "Judging Books by Their Covers," Feynman analyzed the Commission's idiotic method of evaluating books, and described some of the tactics employed by schoolbook salesmen who wanted the Commission to adopt their shoddy products. "Judging Books by Their Covers" appeared as a chapter in "Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!" – Feynman's autobiographical book that was published in 1985 by W.W. Norton & Company. This essay is reprinted here for your enjoyment. (His title is motivated by the fact that one publisher sent California multiple copies of a "textbook" consisting entirely of blank pages. It was given high marks.)

    You may want to compare and contrast evaluating blank text books with arguing about the grades kids got for exams that they didn't take.

    Saturday, August 22, 2020

    Don Quixote Part 2

     We have finished Part 1 (1605) of Don Quixote at the rate of one chapter a day on Audible and will start Part 2 (published 10 years later in 1615) tomorrow.

    Thursday, August 20, 2020

    Michel de Montaigne

     I think I wrote well today. It is just that none of it suitable for a weblog.

    Wednesday, August 19, 2020

    An actor, huh? Just remember never let anyone catch you at it.

     

    Mia as been accepted into the acting BA at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. You know, the place where Larry Olivier and "Judo" Dench went. We are all beside ourselves.

    Tuesday, August 18, 2020

    The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber

     I have never really had much time for Hemingway but I stumbled on this and it is good stuff.

    Monday, August 17, 2020

    Swann's Way

     YouTube's recommendation algorithm tugged on my sleeve concerning the In Our Time episode about Proust yesterday, and I listened to it as À la recherche du temps perdu had come up in the morning when I was talking to Peter and I had been forced to admit that  (apart from madeleine cakes) I knew practically nothing about it at all.

    I learned from Melvyn and guests that the first part of the first book goes on and on and on about our protagonist not being able to get to sleep.

    I never have any trouble getting to sleep. (Is a somniac the opposite of an insomniac?) 

    It has struck me that if I buy the Audible version, I can start to listen to it when I go to bed and never get past the Overture because I always nod off.

    Eat your heart out Borges!

    Sunday, August 16, 2020

    Let it rain, I hydroplane in the bank

     

    I finished series 2 of The Umbrella Academy yesterday. Good stuff. I was quite taken with the soundtrack and found that Netflix have actually put it up on Spottily as a playlist.

    Saturday, August 15, 2020

    Visual Metaphor Anyone?

    Colliers Wood opposite CITW. Life in 2020 encapsulated in a single image.

    Friday, August 14, 2020

    John Hay

     

     Once in a while I follow a YouTube recommendation to something I wouldn't usually watch. That is what happened with the video above.

    John Hay was President Lincoln's personal secretary, a position that began nearly five decades of public service. A diplomat who served multiple Administrations from Lincoln to Roosevelt, he was a central figure in defining the U.S. foreign policy.

    He was also, it emerges in the show, a folksy poet and the author of "Jim Bludso of the Prairie Belle" which my Dad used to read to me when I was a little boy (Icons passim).

    Thursday, August 13, 2020

    Wanting to find out how deep the ocean is, I dissolve walking into it

    Cease practice based
    On intellectual understanding,
    Pursuing words and
    Following after speech.
    Learn the backward
    Step that turns
    Your light inward
    To illuminate within.
    Body and mind of themselves
    Will drop away
    And your original face will be manifest.
    The country is transfixed today about the results of A level exams that weren't taken.

    Wednesday, August 12, 2020

    Drinking Church

    I'm convinced. Where do I sign up?

    Tuesday, August 11, 2020

    The Captive's Tale

    I have had to dig this up as the Yale course doesn't seem to cover these chapters at all.

    Monday, August 10, 2020

    Calypso in Cardiff Bay

    Helen sent me this link to an episode of Black Music In Europe yesterday knowing that I would in interested in the section on Cardiff.

    I haven't listened yet but I have explored sufficiently to know that the part about the bay starts about 11 minutes 40 in.

    Sunday, August 09, 2020

    Well that's a start

    Callum started for Chelsea yesterday for the first time in a whille and was unlucky to have this screamer disallowed.

    Saturday, August 08, 2020

    15 Must-Have Items for an Edgy, Rocker-Chic Wardrobe

    1. Fights. Blood was spilled at the Mills last night. I was unsurprised as I had noticed the perpetrators snorting that which they shouldn't in the gents earlier. I tipped the wink to John the guvnor who tipped the wink to security in turn, who came down on it pretty quickly when things got real.

    2. Refugees. It rumoured that the council are putting a lot of asylum seekers up. A lot of people seem anxious about this. I am sanguine. They have to stay somewhere.

    No doubt items 3 through 15 of my Must-Have Items for an Edgy, Rocker-Chic Wardrobe will follow, but fights and refugees is a good start.

    Friday, August 07, 2020

    Roath Castle

     

    We ended up here last night after the Claude closed. 

    It was was built around 1780, and the castellations were added in the 1830s.

    A stone's throw from Albany Road; I had no idea it existed until yesterday.

    Thursday, August 06, 2020

    Today's visits

    11:00 Mum at Ty Enfys
    14:00 Dad at Belle Vue (John came too)
    16:00 Sean Burke at his house at the end of Ty Gwyn Avenue
    18:00 Slavoj Zizek online
    20:00 Kevin Taylor at the Claude

    Wednesday, August 05, 2020

    What the L was that?

    Ben passed his driving test this morning. it had been long delayed specifically by COVID-19, but also by one-thing=and=another in general.

    His instructor being in the long ago pre-lockdown rear mirror, we hired a car from https://dtcuk.co/driving_car_hire/morden/ and he also had a two hour lesson with the same crew before the test. He doesn't think he could have done it without them so I am happy to share the love.

    Tuesday, August 04, 2020

    First-order logic

    I need a mask.
    I can buy a mask in a shop.
    I can't go into a shop unless I have a mask.
    There was only one catch and that was Catch-22, which specified that a concern for one's safety in the face of dangers that were real and immediate was the process of a rational mind. Orr was crazy and could be grounded. All he had to do was ask; and as soon as he did, he would no longer be crazy and would have to fly more missions. Orr would be crazy to fly more missions and sane if he didn't, but if he was sane he had to fly them. If he flew them he was crazy and didn't have to; but if he didn't want to he was sane and had to. Yossarian was moved very deeply by the absolute simplicity of this clause of Catch-22 and let out a respectful whistle.

    Monday, August 03, 2020

    You're a beautuf intelligent womaaan,,,



    No one will understand this post but me and my brother John. "We'll always have New Orleans."

    Sunday, August 02, 2020

    Do you like good music? That sweet soul music.

    The latest version of BBC Radio's Soul Music (may its tribe increase!) is about Gloria Gaynor's "I will survive."

    We learn that in 1978, when she recorded the song,  Gaynor was, in fact, wearing a medical brace following emergency surgery on her back after an accident that could have left her paralysed for life. “I’d been on stage and fallen backwards over a monitor and ended up in hospital."

    This is totally amazing to me. Phil played bass on a tour with her in the 80s. As a rule he stands to the left of the drummer so he can lock in to the tempo from the high hat, On this occasion though he gradually found himself (and not in a weird way) drifting away from his station and taking the time from her shaking her booty.

    This was after 1978 surgery to remove a ruptured disc and fuse two of the vertebrae in her lower spine, but before she went under the knife again in 1997 to correct the spinal stenosis caused by the initial operation. Two more procedures followed in 2018.

    What a woman.

    Saturday, August 01, 2020

    Shaolin Soccer



    Perhaps subconsciously triggered by today's FA Cup final, a memory of Callum coming around to my house and watching Shaolin Soccer on DVD with Ben years ago when they were still in primary school.

    I think it explains a lot about his style.



    A post shared by Callum Hudson-Odoi (@calteck10) on

    Friday, July 31, 2020

    One door closes and another opens




    I can't spend my whole life reading highbrowne stuff like "Chivalry and Empire: The Colonial Argument of the Princess Micomicona Episode in Don Quijote Part I." Sometimes I need to blow the froth off a cold one and settle down in front of a Netflix comic book adaptation.

    I've finished Warrior Nun and season two of The Umbrella Academy is due to be released at eight this morning.