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 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.