Thursday, December 31, 2020

Here's looking at you Kidjo


Ever since I listened the the latest episode of Soul Music (Icons passim), I have had the album above on heavy rotation. 

Never mind just "Once In A Lifetime," singer Angelique Kidjo recorded her own version of  the whole of "Remain in Light" in 2018 after coming full circle with the music from her arrival in Paris in 1983 fleeing the dictatorship in her home country of Benin. She heard the record at a student party and recognised the Afrobeats adopted by David Byrne and Brian Eno that made her feel both joyful and homesick at the same time.

Count me among the joyous syncretists. If you ever catch me among the culturally inappropriate parsimonious, finger-waggers; diskard me.

I am the sum total of my ancestors
I carry their DNA
We are representatives of a long line of people
And we cart them around everywhere
This long line of people
That goes back to the beginning of time
And when we meet - they meet other lines of people
And we say: bring together the lines of men

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

XBOX al-Zaman

When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
I bought the Bomber an XBOX for his sixth birthday (Icons passim). All these years later he is still an XBOX man. Fourteen years ago I needed to be more involved, so his account was set up with my email address and credit card details. We have never got round to changing this.

Yesterday I got an email saying we had bought "200 Call of Duty®: Black Ops Cold War Points." As I was forwarding it on to him for information I noticed that - for the first time I think - he had overwritten the stored card details and paid with his own. A sentimental rite of passage for me.

Addendum: A while back, when it was still allowed, I was a around at Helen and Mat's in the garden. Their son came out to join us and asked his mother if he could have some thyme. I at least took it for thyme probably because he seemed to me to be heading for the row of potted herbs on the patio. A keen cook myself, I was extremely impressed. But no. He was after XBOX time. It turns out that they ration him via a phone app. Another hour was negotiated and he returned to his pit.

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Four Play

I got a heads up yesterday about Bill Gates on a Radio 4 programme called "How to vaccinate the world," so I listened to it on BBC Sounds in the evening. It was a refreshing change to hear something that wasn't glib. The Guardian leader yesterday was glib. Boris Johnson is glib. Left and right are equally guilty. William Gates III's mother obviously brought him up to chew his food thoroughly before swallowing. More power to her elbow.

Soul Music on my beloved Talking Heads Once in a Lifetime is also available.

I love Radio 4.

Monday, December 28, 2020

Lay my burden down


I am getting better. I take great solace from - of all things - something the Boss says in Springsteen on Broadway:
"We are ghosts or we are ancestors in our children's lives. We either lay our mistakes, our burdens upon them, and we haunt them, or we assist them in laying those old burdens down, and we free them from the chain of our own flawed behaviour. And as ancestors, we walk alongside of them, and we assist them in finding their own way."
My father is walking beside me not haunting me.

Sunday, December 27, 2020

Thanks to the Old Boys

Saturday, December 26, 2020

brought up short

I am thinking of Dad of course, and how he explained things to me simply when I was a little boy. Today in this season I remember (somehow I remember as I was a toddler) him explaining to me that Jews were warm and generous people. So warm and generous in fact that they often volunteered to work over Christmas so that other people could have a few days off. 

Just a hand on my shoulder steering me the right way.

Friday, December 25, 2020

I Won’t Be Wronged, I Won’t Be Insulted, and I Won't Be Layed a Hand On

 

Dad would kneel down at the side of his bed and say his prayers in public in barracks when he was doing his National Service. If anyone took the piss he would sort it out the old fashioned way.

My sister Caroline is 19 years younger than me. When he was putting her to bed, I am told, he would craftily say his prayers then as well to save time later. Love grows.

Thursday, December 24, 2020

To see oursels as ithers see us!

BBC Sounds: A Promised Land by Barack Obama Ep 8.

Former President Barack Obama continues reading from the first volume of his presidential memoirs A Promised Land, offering a unique and deeply personal account of some of the landmarks of his first term at the White House.

In today’s episode, Obama confronts one of the key issues of any current world leader - what to do about climate change. Prompted by his own experiences of a Hawaiian childhood and driven by the need to create a safer environmental future for his daughters Malia and Sasha, he refuses to be blown off course. With the Kyoto Protocol set to expire in 2012 Obama is determined to negotiate a major international climate agreement. He travels to a summit in Copenhagen but is confronted by stalemate as world leaders refuse to compromise or, in some cases, to even engage with the issue. He decides the only way forward is to engage in a spot of gate crashing with Hillary Clinton.

I listened caught the last five minutes or so of this driving back up the M4 yesterday. I don't think I have ever heard anything so self serving. "That was some real gangster shit back there"??!!

O wad some Pow'r the giftie gie us

To see oursels as ithers see us!

It wad frae mony a blunder free us,

An' foolish notion:

What airs in dress an' gait wad lea'e us,

An' ev'n devotion!

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Browne Boots

 

Ben wore Brahn Boots to the funeral yesterday. Dad would have approved. He used to sing it to me when I was little. I have a quick blub up listening to it on Spottily. If I had thought of it in time I would have worn a pair as well.

Our Aunt Hanna's passed away, 
We 'ad her funeral today, 
And it was a posh affair, 
Had to have two p'licemen there! 

The 'earse was luv'ly, all plate glass, 
And wot a corfin!... oak and brass! 
We'd fah-sands weepin', flahers galore, 
But Jim, our cousin... what d'yer fink 'e wore? 

Why, brahn boots! 
I ask yer... brahn boots! 
Fancy coming to a funeral 
In brahn boots!

I will admit 'e 'ad a nice black tie, 
Black fingernails and a nice black eye; 
But yer can't see people orf when they die,
In brahn boots! 

And Aunt 'ad been so very good to 'im, 
Done all that any muvver could for 'im, 
And Jim, her son, to show his clars... 
Rolls up to make it all a farce,

In brahn boots... 
I ask yer... brahn boots! 
While all the rest, 
Wore decent black and mourning suits. 

I'll own he didn't seem so gay, 
In fact he cried most part the way, 
But straight, he reg'lar spoilt our day, 
Wiv 'is brahn boots. 

In the graveyard we left Jim, 
None of us said much to him, 
Yus, we all gave 'im the bird, 
Then by accident we 'eard...

'E'd given 'is black boots to Jim Small, 
A bloke wot 'ad no boots at all, 
So p'raps Aunt Hanna doesn't mind, 
She did like people who was good and kind. 

But brahn boots! 
I ask yer... brahn boots! 
Fancy coming to a funeral, 
In brahn boots!

And we could 'ear the neighbours all remark 
'What, 'im chief mourner? Wot a blooming lark!
'Why 'e looks more like a Bookmaker's clerk... 
In brahn boots!' 

That's why we 'ad to be so rude to 'im, 
That's why we never said 'Ow do!' to 'im, 
We didn't know... he didn't say, 
He'd give 'is other boots away. 

But brahn boots!
I ask yer... brahn boots! 
While all the rest, 
Wore decent black and mourning suits! 

But some day up at Heavens gate, 
Poor Jim, all nerves, will stand and wait, 
'til an angel whispers... 'Come in, Mate, 
'Where's yer brahn boots?'

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow

 I am in Cardiff. The requiem for dad will be in St Joe's at 11 and the burial in Thornhill at 11.

Thanks to everyone who has reached out to me.

Monday, December 21, 2020

Sunday, December 20, 2020

My Name Is Inigo Montoya

 
I want my father back, you son of a bitch.

Saturday, December 19, 2020

96 Tiers

Fuck Boris Johnson and fuck Mark Drakeford. All I wanna do it bury my father with dignity on Tuesday while supporting my mother. I will never forgive the two of you for this shit.

Friday, December 18, 2020

Marcus

I logged onto Facebook yesterday only to find:

 Marcus Campbell Sinclair (1976-2020)

It is with much sadness that I must let you know that Marcus passed away yesterday. He courageously lived with his cancer for many years. Marcus was a unique and gifted person, who will be sorely missed.

Bad news. Much fun with Marcus over the years.

I learned from the comments on the post that he was Emperor Palpatine in the The Star Wars Exhibition at the County Hall, London back in 2007. I wish I could have told him how unimpressed Ben was with his throne (see Icons Passim). He would have laughed like a drain.

Thursday, December 17, 2020

The Forty Thieves

 At one minute to eight on the morning of January 29, 1928, Danny Driscoll walked to the waiting gallows in Cardiff prison.

With just seconds to go before his life ended he looked up at the sky and smiled. "Well," he said, "they've given me a nice day for it."

Outside the prison more than 5,000 men, women and children jammed Adam Street. A teenage girl led the singing of a Catholic hymn but silence when Driscoll's four brothers were led to the front of the barriers where armed police patrolled - Cardiff's underworld was rife with rumours that an attempt would be made to spring the men.

That underworld was ruled by Cardiff's fabled Forty Thieves, thugs who terrorised local race courses running protection rackets, charging bookies for supplies of chalk and sponges, and even buckets of water. You paid up. Or got cut up.

But Dai Lewis, a popular former boxer, refused to pay up. At Monmouth races on September 28, 1927, he defied the Cardiff gang led by Edward and John Rowlands - "Tich" and "Jack Tich".

A detective recalled years later that though Lewis wasn't frightened, "he was worried". So instead of going home to Ethel Street in Canton he stayed at a hotel.

That night Lewis sat in the Blue Anchor at the bottom end of St Mary Street with Driscoll and Tich Rowlands. John Rowlands and Edward "Hong Kong" Price waited in a cafe across the road. At eleven o'clock Dai Lewis walked out of the pub - and into local legend .......  read on

PG told me this story on Sunday. I had never heard of it. The Adam Street outside the prison jammed with 5,000 hymn singing protesters is the same Adam Street where Dad would be born five years later. 'Hong Kong' Price was PG's brother-in-law's grandfather.

http://www.capitalpunishmentuk.org/Driscoll%20and%20Rowlands.html is worth a look as well.

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Free Since 1597

 I stumbled on the Gresham College lectures on YouTube.

An intriguing establishment:

Gresham College is an institution of higher learning located at Barnard's Inn Hall off Holborn in Central London, England. It does not enroll students and does not award any degrees. It was founded in 1597 under the will of Sir Thomas Gresham, and it hosts over 140 free public lectures every year. Since 2001, all lectures have also been made available online.

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

La Cucina Futurista


Futurist cooking will be free of the old obsessions with volume and weight and will have as one of its principles the abolition of pastasciutta. Pastasciutta, however agreeable to the palate, is a passéist food because it makes people heavy, brutish, deludes them into thinking it is nutritious, makes them skeptical, slow, pessimistic… Any pastascuittist who honestly examines his conscience at the moment he ingurgitates his biquotidian pyramid of pasta will find within the gloomy satisfaction of stopping up a black hole. This voracious hole is an incurable sadness of his. He may delude himself, but nothing can fill it. Only a Futurist meal can lift his spirits. And pasta is anti-virile because a heavy, bloated stomach does not encourage physical enthusiasm for a woman, nor favour the possibility of possessing her at any time.
And again:
RAW MEAT TORN BY TRUMPET BLASTS: cut a perfect cube of beef. Pass an electric current through it, then marinate it for twenty-four hours in a mixture of rum, cognac and white vermouth. Remove it from the mixture and serve on a bed of red pepper, black pepper and snow. Each mouthful is to be chewed carefully for one minute, and each mouthful is divided from the next by vehement blasts on the trumpet blown by the eater himself.
I can't help but think that this is Nigella Lawson's next series sorted out. Does anyone know her agent's phone number?

Monday, December 14, 2020

Cold Shower

I didn't have any hot water yesterday because I turned it off a few days ago and neglected to turn it back on.

I am trying to work out a way to blame https://www.hivehome.com/ but so far I have come up short. Sometimes I am astounded that I even manage to get through the day.

Sunday, December 13, 2020

Pride

 ‘He was a trailblazer’: Charley Pride, country music’s first Black superstar, dies from Covid complications

Pride, 86, who was the first Black member of the Country Music Hall of Fame, died in Dallas, Texas on Saturday, his publicist confirmed.

Dolly Parton and a string of celebrities took to Twitter to pay tribute to the musician.

"It’s even worse to know that he passed away from Covid-19. What a horrible, horrible virus. Charley, we will always love you.

He was lucky to get his career underway before bullshit notions like cultural appropriation got their feet under the table.

Saturday, December 12, 2020

Harmony: Faravahar

Faravahar (Persian: فَرَوَهَر‎), also known as Forouhar (Persian: فُروهَر‎) , or Farr-e Kiyâni (فَرِّ کیانی), is one of the most well-known symbols of Iranian peoples, and Zoroastrianism, the primary religion of Iran before the Muslim conquest of Iran, and of Iranian nationalism.

Fifteen years later (see Icons passim) we're back.

Friday, December 11, 2020

Thursday, December 10, 2020

Hidden Depths

Here's the Bomber's current work in progress when it comes to reading and his art work.

Dad started off as a draughtsman, and came into his own as a late bloomer.

Maybe the apple didn't fall that far from the tree.


Wednesday, December 09, 2020

bobochacha

Ben and I went to bobochacha last night, at Helen's recommendation. It is a Pan-Asian place. We shared some dumplings to start and then both had prawn Singapore noodles. Singapore noodles are, for some reason, a sort of gold standard with me. I almost always try them to test a new place out. They didn't disappoint.

Last week (see Icons passim) we went to the Little Taperia and we have penciled in the Brazilian Picanha  Steakhouse next. All just round the corner and within a three minute walk from each other.

Tuesday, December 08, 2020

Jacinda Ardern

Standard

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has apologised to those affected by the Christchurch terror attacks as a report shed new light on how the gunman eluded detection.

The nearly 800-page Royal Commission of Inquiry report released Tuesday concluded that despite the shortcomings of various agencies, there were no clear signs the attack carried out by Brenton Tarrant was imminent.

But it did detail failings in the police system for vetting gun licenses, and said that New Zealand's intelligence agencies were focused on the threat posed by Islamic extremism rather than white supremacists.

Among 44 recommendations, the report recommended the government establishes a new national intelligence agency.

Following the report’s publication, Ms Ardern said: "The commission made no findings that these issues would have stopped the attack. But these were both failings nonetheless and for that I apologise."

Jacinda Ardern says "I" when talking about things which went wrong and "we" when talking about successes. On the face of it, perhaps, uncharitably a rhetorical gimmick. It impresses me very much though. I can tell because it has started to infuriate me when other people don't put their hands up an take responsibility. That lemon Vaughn Gething on Radio 4 this morning for example.

Monday, December 07, 2020

Through the barricades

Dad, who died at 87, was the youngest in his family with four older brothers and three older sisters.

Auntie Nelly was the oldest. Peter, my Dad's cousin, was born in 1939. He was brought up in Tremorfa. There was an RAF camp that adjoined the house. His older brother Bernard told him that Auntie Nellie used to come round and "court" Bunny Churcher who was stationed there through the barbed wire at the bottom of the garden in the early days of the Second World War. They married but my uncle Bunny was killed in the conflict.

The two hooligans on the right are my youngest nephews. They have a little sister who is only one year old. 

They are eighty years but only two generations away from Nelly. Alys may well have been born a century after her. If we were the Royal Family there would have been maybe a dozen monarchs at the most between 1066 and today.

Saturday, December 05, 2020

Do not go gentle into that good night

 Dad passed away at the age of 87 at about eight o'clock last night.

Friday, December 04, 2020

A substantial meal

The Bomber and I went along to The Little Taperia, a nearby Spanish tapas bar and restaurant round the corner, last night.

I felt that we had to because Morcilla Scotch eggs, with piquillo peppers were on the menu.

A scotch egg is definitely a substantial meal, Michael Gove has said, as he performed a screeching U-turn on his earlier controversial position that it constituted merely a starter.

We also ate salt cod fritters, prawns with garlic and chilli, plus a potato tortilla. Red wine for me. Lager for him.

I know you might find it difficult believe but we mostly talked about philosophy and mathematics. I didn't notice anyone on an adjoining table inclining an ear so as not to miss any of our musings on Platonic solids.

Thursday, December 03, 2020

Why are we waiting?

Bethany's collaboration with Rhys Ifans is supposed to drop on https://www.heartofcardiff.co.uk/ today.

It ain't there yet, but it is what is going on these spindrift pages today so I guess we will just have to wait.

You can catch it now at https://www.heartofcardiff.co.uk/listen-gwrandewch/rodney though you have to sign up.

Wednesday, December 02, 2020

implications of threat and strong feeling produced through colloquial language, apparent triviality, and long pauses

I was back in Cardiff yesterday with the intention of putting in a shift making sure Dad ate and drank at least something. He was never really awake though I managed to get some thickened Lucozade and yoghurt into him by putting a sweet drop on his tongue which seemed to trigger a swallow reflex and then following up with the rest of a teaspoon's worth.

At about ten to one, a nurse came into the room to do his "obvs" (short for observations). Concerned that his heart rate was very low, she called in Hannah*, a more senior nurse, who then called the Dr. After that they did an ECG. The Dr took me aside and told me that he was a lot worse than the day before, and implied - quite frankly - that this might be it over the next several days. I could have stayed but I was just getting in everyone's way in that single room.

Later, when I got a call to say he was much improved, a mental image formed of him opening one eye as I left and whispering "has he gone yet, Hannah*?"

*V impressed that Hannah's business-like hair bun was secured with tinsel rather than a hair tie.

Tuesday, December 01, 2020

Going for a Burton


I am down in Cardiff to try and see Dad. Next time I am back I will certainly catch this Museum of Wales show if possible. Ashley has curated it,

Monday, November 30, 2020

Good advice from Dad

It's not enough to land a punch. If its going to be effective you are going to need to have the proper follow-through. This means aiming just beyond your target, so that you maintain momentum after the strike itself.

I remembered this talking to my brother on the phone yesterday. We may find out how practical it is in the next few days if some people who shall remain nameless don't buck up their act.

Sunday, November 29, 2020

Gething Way with it

BBC yesterday:
British Airways has apologised after tweeting its support for the England rugby team who are due to play Wales.
'English Airways' began trending after the airline tweeted: "Good luck to the England rugby team against Wales today." The tweet has now been deleted.
Wales' Health Minister Vaughan Gething commented: "Good way to annoy 3m+ potential customers".
BA said it had "unintentionally strayed offside" and was sorry.
One might imagine just at the moment that Wales' Health Minister had items in his in tray more pressing than this unedifying playground squabble. Like what the NHS is doing to my father for example.

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.