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 occasion 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.


Sunday, September 27, 2020


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

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.


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

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Love of Wisdom


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.

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 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.


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


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.


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,

P.S. 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 - 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.