Thursday, April 30, 2020


I have to deliver the eulogy and a poem at a funeral lunchtime.

The poem is called "Weep Not For Me." It is in ballad metre which comprises couplets of tetrameter (four feet) and trimeter (three feet).

The trouble is that the sixth couplet seems to consist of two tetrameters, which throws the rhythm off as there are two extra syllables in its second line.

Line twelve as written is
In your memory I live on
but I will deliver
In mem'ry I live on
to preserve the shape.

At least no one can accuse me of failing to prepare.

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

More Lock-Down Diaries

I lent Helen a book yesterday. It came up on a WhatsApp conversation and I had a copy on the shelves. They only live around the corner so I put it through the letterbox. It only struck me later how odd it was not to have have rung the door bell and handed it to an actual human being.

I don't like this new normal.

Peter told me the other day that he called a neighbor asking to borrow a little dehydrated stock because he had run out. He got the thumbs up and popped next door to find a single OXO cube on the door step.

I don't like this new normal.

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Lock-Down Diaries

Kevin showed me a photo of a wall he had white washed in his garden.

I was very interested to see it.

Monday, April 27, 2020

1 Corinthians 13

I didn't think I would even be going to Jane's mum's funeral on Friday what with social distancing and lock-down restrictions. Not only am I going, I have been asked to do a reading. I am humbled.

Moving from something serious to something less so, my finest ever reading at a solemn occasion was 1 Corinthians 13 at Kevin's third wedding.
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor, and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears.
When I was a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs." When I think about what I got up to the night before it is no wonder I delivered that particular verse with such feeling and sincerity.

"It keeps no record of wrongs." Repeat to fade.

Sunday, April 26, 2020

I am Pilate

I just randomly stumbled onto this on London Live. Why aren't there more openings for shorts on TV?

Saturday, April 25, 2020

What about me?

I have found out that there is a second 1 Giant Leap album What About Me? (2008). I can't seem to find it anywhere though. Any ideas?

Friday, April 24, 2020

Living In A Ghost Town.

The Stones' lock-down single, fresh off the press. "When you absolutely, positively got to kill every motherfecker in the room, accept no substitutes."

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Working from home

how to stream from a pc to amazon firestick
Press and hold the home button on your Firestick remote control until a menu pops up on the screen and select Mirroring.

On your Windows 10 PC, open the Notifications section by clicking on the text message icon at the bottom right of the screen (it could also be empty if you have no notifications).

Click on Connect. If you don't see Connect click expand above the four boxes at the bottom of the section.

After clicking Connect, you should see your Firestick listed if both devices are on the same Wi-Fi network.

Click on the Firestick listed and it should connect. You should now see your PC screen mirrored on the TV that the Firestick is plugged into.

Projection Modes

Duplicate — This is the default projection mode and basically mirrors everything that’s happening on your PC. This is ideal if you want to share something on a larger screen but won’t need to use the PC. By default, Windows 10 also silences any notifications so they don’t pop up while your sharing something.

Extended — This enables using the Firestick and your TV as a second screen. It’s the better option if you’re looking to stream from a PC to a Firestick while using the former.

Second screen only — This mode lets you use the larger screen as the primary display.

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Nation Close To Getting Video Conferencing Software To Work

The Onion
Social distancing is changing the way we communicate with one another. Today, hear how more Americans are making an effort to stay connected with loved ones and colleagues through sh1tty video conferencing software that just won’t fecking work.

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Reithian values

Why doesn't the BBC explain anything any more?

The news on the Today Programme at six o'clock this morning was screaming about US oil prices turning negative for the first time in history, without throwing any light at all on what this extraordinary development might mean. The common sense interpretation would be that suppliers were paying customers to take the black stuff off their hands.

Luckily for you, when I did my MBA my final project was called "Delayed Cash and Carry Arbitrage Opportunities on the New York Mercantile Exchange." It was about oil futures.

A futures market is a central financial exchange where people can trade standardized futures contracts; that is, a contract to buy specific quantities of a commodity or financial instrument at a specified price with delivery set at a specified time in the future. Futures markets are used for hedging, and cleared off against each other with money. No product changes hands.

The negative price was for NYMEX futures maturing in May for West Texas Intermediate (WTI), the benchmark for US oil.

We need to contrast futures markets with spot markets. A spot market is a public financial market in which financial instruments or commodities are traded for immediate delivery. As I write this, the WTI Crude Oil Spot Price is $28.36. A negative spot market price ain't gonna happen because suppliers will shut down production first.
Myself: Happy?
Prodnose: Ecstatic ..... words can hardly express ........ thanks for sharing

Monday, April 20, 2020


Slowly the poison the whole blood stream fills.
The waste remains, the waste remains and kills.
I had to look this quote up yesterday. It's from a villanelle by William Empson.

The villanelle consists of five stanzas of three lines (tercets) followed by a single stanza of four lines (a quatrain) for a total of nineteen lines. It is structured by two repeating rhymes and two refrains: the first line of the first stanza serves as the last line of the second and fourth stanzas, and the third line of the first stanza serves as the last line of the third and fifth stanzas. The rhyme-and-refrain pattern of the villanelle can be schematized as 1b2 ab1 ab2 ab1 ab2 ab12 where letters ("a" and "b") indicate the two rhyme sounds and numerals (1 and 2) indicate Refrain 1 and Refrain 2, both of which rhyme with a.
For all that the structure sounds more like a spreadsheet than a poem, Dylan Thomas'  "Do Not Go Gentle into that Good Night" is a villanelle as well.

I'll be forced to attempt one of the blessed things now.

Sunday, April 19, 2020

The Old Man of the Mountain

We hit story III:8 in the Decameron today as we work thought it on lock down.
Ferondo, having swallowed a certain powder, is entombed for dead and being taken forth of the sepulchre by the abbot, who enjoyeth his wife the while, is put in prison and given to believe that he is in purgatory; after which, being raised up again, he reareth for his own a child begotten of the abbot on his wife
The sleeping powder in it is described of having been obtained from the Old Man of the Mountain. The Old Man of the Mountain was the leader of the murderous sect of Assassins (in Syria and Persia as I recall). It is another example of the vast frame of reference a reader was expected to have.

From what I can gather, idea of the Old Man of the Mountain comes from the Travels of Marco Polo, which was published in the early part of fourteenth century. (Bocaccio was writing around 1350.) Polo recounts a story he heard that the Old Man would drug his young followers with hashish, lead them to a "paradise", and then claim that only he had the means to allow for their return. This is what imbued the Assassins with their legendarily self-sacrificing loyalty.

Two things are pretty funny here. First that the character in the story is knocked out with powdered cannabis. Second that the Old Man of the Mountain used it to convince people they were in paradise, but the Abbot uses it to persuade someone he is in Purgatory. What could be more Catholic than that?

Saturday, April 18, 2020

When I am grown to man's estate

I will try and talk to mum in Ty Enfys later today, or perhaps more accurately to yell at a  picture of the top of her head over the sound of the television in her room.

Over the years it has gradually dawned on me that, back in the day, when I thought she was being daft she was pulling my leg. I remember her reacting to Elvis Costello's spazzy dancing in the video above by saying how inspiring it was that whatever wasting disease he had wasn't going to stop him trying to make it in the music business.

Dad also played a full part in my parents' psychological warfare against me. "If you're going to be a mediocrity be the best mediocrity you can!" was typical encouragement.

Friday, April 17, 2020

No lockdown end in sight

Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. They may be more likely to go to Heaven yet at the same time likelier to make a Hell of earth. This very kindness stings with intolerable insult. To be "cured" against one's will and cured of states which we may not regard as disease is to be put on a level of those who have not yet reached the age of reason or those who never will; to be classed with infants, imbeciles, and domestic animals.
C.S. Lewis

Thursday, April 16, 2020

The Plague

The townspeople of Oran are in the grip of a deadly plague, which condemns its victims to a swift and horrifying death. Fear, isolation and claustrophobia follow as they are forced into quarantine. Each person responds in their own way to the lethal disease: some resign themselves to fate, some seek blame, and a few, like Dr. Rieux, resist the terror. An immediate triumph when it was published in 1947, "The Plague" is in part an allegory of France's suffering under the Nazi occupation, and a story of bravery and determination against the precariousness of human existence.
I am reading The Decameron (Icons passim) one story a day during lock down and polished off story 25 this morning. As a decision to shut us in for another three weeks is likely to be announced to day there is probably room on my Covid-19 reading list for this as well.

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

You gotta move

I have pretty much clicked into a lock down exercise routine of bike one day and kettle-bell the next.

As a rule I have been doing kettle-bell swings to move my anterior chain in the opposite direction to crouching over a bike.

Yesterday I thought I would try the Turkish Get-Up. I couldn't do it with the kettle-bell.  I tried again without the kettle-bell and found I couldn't do it at all. The lesson is that you have to drill motor skills. I have done one unloaded each side this morning. Watch this space.

It reminds me of something that struck me riding a real bike around the streets as opposed to a static exercise device. I think that the balance and control work done navigating fine turns very slowly (on the way from the road to the recreation ground for instance) may be as important as putting the hammer down.
You may be high
You may be low
You may be rich, child
You may be poor
But when the Lord get ready
You gotta move

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

I'm falling as fast as I can

Lock down is starting to get to me. I couldn't find one of my shoes this morning until I discovered it on top of the microwave. Yesterday when I slipped my keys into my pocket before going out to the Co-op I found my trousers were on back to front, and the day before that I absent-mindedly popped a little ball of Blu Tack I was rolling between my finger tips into my mouth.

As I post this 5 Hours of The Shipping Forecast on BBC Radio 4! has got 482,245 views on YouTube. Let's see if we can get that up to half a million.

Monday, April 13, 2020

Alexa play AC/DC everywhere

I always thought that AC/DC were long time streaming media refuseniks, but I discovered yesterday that loads of their catalogue is available on Amazon Prime Music.

If we all play it at the same time it may put pressure on the government to let us out again.

Like all applauding the NHS workers simultaneously, but in our case, without any redeeming features or empathy whatsoever.
AC/DC: Rock 'N' Roll Ain't Noise Pollution.
MyselfRock 'N' Roll IS Noise Pollution That's kinda the point.

Sunday, April 12, 2020


20 Early on Sunday morning,[a] while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and found that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance. She ran and found Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved. She said, “They have taken the Lord’s body out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!”

Peter and the other disciple started out for the tomb. They were both running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He stooped and looked in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he didn’t go in. Then Simon Peter arrived and went inside. He also noticed the linen wrappings lying there, while the cloth that had covered Jesus’ head was folded up and lying apart from the other wrappings. Then the disciple who had reached the tomb first also went in, and he saw and believed -for until then they still hadn’t understood the Scriptures that said Jesus must rise from the dead. Then they went home.
Government Advice
Stay in tomb.
Only go outside to provide salvation, eternal life, or to do your heavenly father's work (but only if you cannot work from tomb).
Wash your hands (but not others' feet) as soon as you return.
Do not appear before others, even disciples or family.

Saturday, April 11, 2020

We've all got our problems darlin'

My sister is a pharmacist with three children under the age of 6. Her husband is an NHS doctor.

She is working at hospital all day today while he is at home with the kids.

When I went to the Co-op at the bottom of the road first thing this morning I found it had changed its opening time from 7 am to 8, and I had to go to the one by the tube station instead to buy some apples.

Difficult days but we are all taking our lumps in our own ways.

Friday, April 10, 2020

Good Friday

Good Friday; it's difficult to see what is "good" about it. According to the Bible, it is the day the son of God was flogged, ordered to carry the cross on which he would be crucified and then put to death.

This is where the BBC comes in handy.
Some sources suggest that the day is "good" in that it is holy, or that the phrase is a corruption of "God's Friday".
However, according to Fiona MacPherson, senior editor at the Oxford English Dictionary, the adjective traditionally "designates a day on (or sometimes a season in) which religious observance is held". The OED states that "good" in this context refers to "a day or season observed as holy by the church", hence the greeting "good tide" at Christmas or on Shrove Tuesday. In addition to Good Friday, there is also a less well-known Good Wednesday, namely the Wednesday before Easter.
The earliest known use of "guode friday" is found in The South English Legendary, a text from around 1290, according to the dictionary. According to the Baltimore Catechism - the standard US Catholic school text from 1885 to the 1960s, Good Friday is good because Christ "showed His great love for man, and purchased for him every blessing".

It also says that the day is known as "the Holy and Great Friday" in the Greek liturgy, "Holy Friday" in Romance Languages and
 Karfreitag (Sorrowful Friday) in German.The Catholic Encyclopedia, first published in 1907, states that the term's origins are not clear. It says some sources see its origins in the term "God's Friday" or Gottes Freitag, while others maintain that it is from the German Gute Freitag. It notes that the day was called Long Friday by the Anglo-Saxons and is referred to as such in modern Danish.

Thursday, April 09, 2020

Flights of Angels Sing Thee to Thy Rest

Ben's maternal grandmother, as expected, has died.

It was peacefully at home and he had been around in the afternoon to mow her lawn, so he saw her (and she saw him) on the last day of her life.

Social distancing applies to funerals too.

Wednesday, April 08, 2020


Official video for ‘Rewind’ by Bainbridge & Co. Shot over 2 days in Leeds on a budget of £80.
Herewith the new single from Sid's band. He co-wrote it with the singer and plays bass and guitar on the track. (You will need to place your hands over the ears of your maiden aunt for some of the lyrics.)

I really like it. Also available on Spotify.

Tuesday, April 07, 2020

Wally Nightingale

I was talking to Peter on Sunday night about the legend of the Sex Pistols (and their stolen gear) getting their start at the Riverside Studios in the mid 70s.

He confirmed it and started talking about someone called Wally Nightingale.

I thought he had gone barmy, but no .......


Monday, April 06, 2020


The son and heir is now attempting to craft fishing hooks from his mother's old sewing needles.

I think he is predicting a long lock down.

Sunday, April 05, 2020

Always read the label

I have got a story about me being an idiot that might entertain you. When my brother John comes up for the weekend we have been known to kick Saturday off with a Nihari curry in the Lahore Karahi in Tooting. Yes there is such a thing as a breakfast curry, and last time John was here I gave him a Tooting-sourced box of two sachets of Laziza Nehari recipe and seasoning mix.

One day this week I got worried that I was going down with Covid-19. I had a terrible sore throat, I was sneezing and had a dry cough. Eventually though I tracked it back to the home made Nihari I had cooked. It had provoked my soft tissues beyond endurance. Hence the symptoms.

I was on a Skype call with John (and my mother) yesterday and warned him against the potency of the masala I had given him. Obviously I don't want him to go through what I did.

John disappeared from Skype off to his pantry or kitchen and came back with the two sachet box in his hand. He presented it to his PC's camera and pointed out that "Serves 14-16" was printed on it. Not "Serves 1-2."

My suffering was not unrelated to the fact I had taken in at least seven times as much spice as the average Nihari fancier, and the Nihari connoisseur, as a rule, is generally no slouch in this department.

Saturday, April 04, 2020

It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, which was released as Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone in the US, is now free to stream on Audible. It’s the version narrated by Stephen Fry, and part of a series of initiatives launched by JK Rowling and friends to keep everyone entertained while they’re cooped up at home.

You can get it at

I remember buying the Fry audiobook on CD as it was unabridged and would last long enough to keep Rayburn amused on a trip driving to West Wales (a mission in which it succeeded) to see Vince and Michele.

The CD version came out in 1999. I am pretty sure neither Ben nor Isaac were born at the time of the trip, and they came into the world in 2000, so it could be coming up for 21 years ago.

Friday, April 03, 2020

Eddie Large

Nearly seven years ago, a bunch of us went away to Somerset for the weekend (Icons passim) as a sort of stag do for Andy's upcoming wedding. (The wedding never happened but that is another story.)

I remembered the trip yesterday when I head that Eddie Large, the comedian had died aged 78 with coronavirus.

A lot of Andy's friends on the trip were musicians like him, and back in the day good players, once they got to around 17 or 18, could get gigs in big nightclubs supporting variety acts.

I don't know how it came up, but all these guys absolutely loved Eddie Large, describing him as one of the nicest, friendliest, most helpful people they had ever worked with.

I particularly recall a drummer (who'd been hit on the head with a cymbal by his disgruntled girl friend) telling me that Large had driven him to hospital in his own car telling him not to worry about bleeding all over the upholstery,

If they all remembered him as a sweetheart decades later that must have been what he was.

(I also heard a lot of anecdotes about other people's bad behaviour, but those must wait for another day.)

Thursday, April 02, 2020

LockDown Licks

Ollie's cousin Guy Pratt is giving us free bass lessons online while we are all stuck at home and Kevin lent me a bass a little while back.

I have no excuse for not coming out of this Long Dark Night of the Soul funkier.

Wednesday, April 01, 2020

Can I Confess Something?

I know we are not so far into this lock down, but I have all but become Christopher Walken's Duane from Annie Hall. That said I reckon this may be among the funniest two minutes in movie history.