Monday, June 21, 2021

Isn't it romantic?

You won't have read about it here, but I have been working my way through the Reformation and the Enlightenment. I found them both wanting; maybe the nuns and Christian Brothers that educated me cast a longer shadow than I previously imagined. 

Next up Romanticism. 

I found Isiah Berlin's 1965 lectures on YouTube at

For Berlin, the Romantics set in motion a vast, unparalleled revolution in humanity’s view of itself. They destroyed the traditional notions of objective truth and validity in ethics with incalculable, all-pervasive results.

Crikey! Also Ben's up in the Lake District this week; Wordsworth and Coleridge territory. Something in the air as we move in parallel perhaps?

Sunday, June 20, 2021

The Final?


RUROUNI KENSHIN: THE FINAL has dropped on Netflix. Ben and I watched the first three films of the series with sushi back in February. It looks like it is time to pick up the chopsticks again.

Saturday, June 19, 2021

Epic Iran


The Iranian Presidential was on yesterday though I don't think the result has been announced yet. It also reminded me that - as well as the Theatre - we went to the Epic Iran exhibition at the V&A last Thursday and that I hadn't yet recorded that here.

Friday, June 18, 2021

Under Milk Wood

I went to Under Milk Wood at the National last night. It is the first time I have been to the theatre since I saw Paapa at the Kiln last February.

I also saw Mia for the first time in London since she started at Central. The wages of lock-down eh?

Thursday, June 17, 2021

Saturday In The Park

I don't want to tempt fate, but we are having a picnic at Roath Park in Cardiff on Saturday to celebrate my nephew's 21st and it looks like my mum will be able to come. Released from the home where she resides for the afternoon and able to return without being quarantined.

Playlist: Saturday in the Park - Chicage

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Tart enough for you?

I delivered chunks of salmon marinaded in chilli pesto to the Hendries' last night so that it could be run through their dehydrator and we could  snack on it during the Wales v Turkey footie today.

It turned out very well. Next time I would add a little more salt and remove the skin but it was pretty darn good. One of my favourites so far.

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

hottest day of year so far as temperature hits 28.6C

Myself: Honey, do me a favor. Run to the drug store and get me a lemon coke with chipped ice. Will you do that for me, sweetie, please.

Prodnose: What on earth are you on about now?

Myself: There's no air conditioning. Whenever the temperature goes above 28 degrees centigrade I become the flawed, lamenting heroine of a Tennessee Williams play.

Prodnose: Rubbish.

Myself: Deliberate cruelty is not forgivable. It is the one unforgivable thing in my opinion and it is the one thing of which I have never, never been guilty

Monday, June 14, 2021

GB News

GB News: Andrew Neil’s right-leaning live news channel, which aims to take on the leftie, “woke” orthodoxy of mainstream British media has launched.

I have just returned my TV to pick it up via Freeview. It is on channel 236 just below Russia Today and Al Jazeera. Not the mos prominent of slots though Freeview seems to bunch news outlets together in the two hundred and thirties. I wonder if I will ever watch it again.

That said, I wonder if the tide is turning, I went to a Wimbledon Bookfest session (Tim Marshall: The Power of Geography) on Saturday and was truly impressed by the level and variety of the questions asked from the floor at the end of the session. They were informed, detailed and heterodox. I would have expected an audience on the Common to mouth bien pensant platitudes, but we had, for example,  provocative broadly right-wing questions that were dealt with seriously without the pearl-clutching that we would get if anyone ever asked them on the BBC. Also the questions referred to things like the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which - though germane to the talk - hadn't been mentioned in the presentation; a sign of a reflective, well informed listener.

Sunday, June 13, 2021

Death at Deepcut

Documentary producer John Battsek, whose credits include Oscar-winner One Day In September and Emmy-winner Manhunt: The Inside Story Of The Hunt for Bin Laden, has made his first foray into podcasts with Audible series Death at Deepcut.

Between 1995 and 2002 four young trainee soldiers were found dead at a military training camp outside London, Deepcut....

I will listen with interest. We know a little about this peripherally as we got a forensic job analysing the backup tapes from the dispatch system Surrey Police were running at the time, as they no longer had any way of reading them. (That's a problem we'll see more and more of I think.)

Saturday, June 12, 2021

What is it that you can't see?

I always try and get along to at least one event at Wimbledon Bookfest. I like to see how it is progressing physically as we have skin in the game with their IT.

I'm booked in for Tim Marshall: The Power of Geography at 2pm this afternoon. That, foolishly, was booked before I realised with Wales' first game in the Euros. I will have to try and find a pub on the common where I can catch the end of the match, which in turn means I'll have to go on the bus rather than drive.

I watched Alastair Campbell live over the video link on Thursday. It all went off seamlessly. Who would have imagined just a few years ago that such a simulcast from a park would even be possible for a small organisation as opposed to a broadcaster?

Friday, June 11, 2021

This web page is on strike


The TUC website's '404 error' page has cheered me up this morning. Very refreshing in this po-faced age.

Thursday, June 10, 2021

Catch the Pidgin

President Nana Akufo-Addo start dey lobby for Chelsea player to play for Black Stars

Callum is in Ghana on holiday and has met the president. Despite having played three time for England at senior level he still has the option to transfer his loyalties to mother and father's country.

Ghana start dey push for Chelsea player, Callum Hudson-Odoi to play for Black Stars.

Prez Akufo-Addo make dis revelation after en meeting plus de Chelsea attacker on Monday.

Callum Hudson-Odoi who dey Ghana for holidays meet with Prez Nana Akufo-Addo who make am clear say e go like have de player in de national team.

Who knew that the BBC had a Pidgin news service? Certainly not me.

We can start to learn more at I wonder if there is a sense in which Pidgin is to West Africa what Swahili is to East Africa?

Wednesday, June 09, 2021

My local is closed


It was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that it would last forever: I was wrong.

The bars are not wanted now; put out every one,
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun,
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood;
For nothing now can ever come to any good.

Tuesday, June 08, 2021

The Night We Called it a Day

We are still working through the Arabian Nights (Icons passim) at the rate of one a day using the Malcolm Lyons translation. As of this morning we are up to night 219.

‘Damn you, you evil slave, do you dare to carry a message of treachery from the wife of your master? By God, there is no good in you. Your colour is black and so is the record of your deeds. You are ugly to look at and your nature is despicable.’

.... says al-Amjad to a blameless eunuch before chopping off his head and reminding us that slavery and racism are not an exclusively Western phenomenon

Monday, June 07, 2021

ev'n at the turning o' th' tide

I was back in the gym for the first time this year yesterday.

I have got my second COVID jab today.

With any luck we will be back at the Antelope pub quiz tonight for the first time since the first lock down.

Dare we dream?

Sunday, June 06, 2021

Happy Days

Happy Days at the Riverside (11 June to 25 July) is running a Sunday matinee. I think that needs to be my July theatre date (Under Milk Wood is June's) as the world starts to come back to life.

Tony Hopkins' Oscar bagging The Father is on there for a week as well (11-17 June) so I will try and catch that next Sunday as well perhaps.

Saturday, June 05, 2021

Yesterday, today and tomorrow

Ben had three bikes nicked out of the back garden last week. One of them a motocross dirt bike I got him. It hit him pretty hard. I will need to remember approximately when it happened at some time in the future I am sure. The best way to be able to do that is to record it here. More in sorrow than in anger, though there is plenty of anger.

Friday, June 04, 2021

Galton Professor of Eugenics

Yesterday's Lionel Penrose was for a while Galton Professor of Eugenics at UCL


Penrose was a central figure in British medical genetics following World War II. From 1945 to 1965, he worked as Galton Professor at the Galton Laboratory at University College London. The first title of his chair was "Professor of Eugenics" (1945–1963), then he had it changed to "Professor of Human Heredity" (1963–1965). According to his successor, Professor Harry Harris, Penrose “never liked the name 'eugenics’, because it seemed to him to be too much associated with uninformed and dangerous policies of racial purification." Harris also reported the "long delay" in changing this name was due to "legal problems" associated with the original donation from Francis Galton and described how Penrose simply ignored the "eugenics" element of his job title.

That means that he personally is in the clear, but I still can't help but find the title from the perspective of 2021 irresistibly funny as opposed to infuriating.

Personally when it comes to eugenics I am with - as I am on so may other things - with Chesterton.  In 1922, but writing about a time before the Great War, he reminded us

It was a time when this theme was the topic of the hour; when eugenic babies (not visibly very distinguishable from other babies) sprawled all over the illustrated papers; when the evolutionary fancy of Nietzsche was the new cry among the intellectuals; and when Mr. Bernard Shaw and others were considering the idea that to breed a man like a cart-horse was the true way to attain that higher civilisation, of intellectual magnanimity and sympathetic insight, which may be found in cart-horses.

He was right when everyone else was wrong. That is a lot harder and nobler than what goes on now, when virtue signalling nobodies queue up to kick people when they are down, destroyed over the slightest transgression with no hope of reprieve,

Thursday, June 03, 2021

Automatic Mechanical Self Replication


Sir Roger Penrose being my current man crush, I have stumbled on this video of his father's Lionel's work. It is the most extraordinary thing to see out of the blue. I couldn't believe my eyes. The implicit seeding principle is making steam come out of my ears.

(I think I was nattering on to PG over the weekend about Sir Roger's father and uncle both being in the Cambridge Apostles. Stumbled upon Dad looking for surrealist uncle Roland with whom Peter was familiar.)

Wednesday, June 02, 2021

Night Operation

I have been looking at Owen Barfield lately. 

Night Operation, his only work of science fiction, was written when he was well into his seventies. 

In the 22nd century humanity has taken to  inhabiting the sewers serving our present society because of a dread of terrorist and bio-chemical threats.

The overwhelming fear engendered by these phenomena coupled with economic collapse, as given rise to a society obsessed with security, standardisation and control of information.

It is only through a mixture of luck and the continuing existence of a few elderly people who have a dim awareness that life has wider significance that the chief character in the story, is able to break out of this horrific mental and physical prison, where the glories of human culture have been buried in a virtually inaccessible library and replaced with aspirational hedonism and an obsession with rote learning.

I think I'll get a copy, it may speak to us about what our response to COVID has wrought.

Tuesday, June 01, 2021

Get your kicks in W6

The Plum Cafe was closed yesterday, so Peter and I lit upon the Truth Cafe for his breakfast after getting his grocery shopping done. I'm noting it because he liked it and otherwise I will have forgotten if he wants to go again.

We happened to park by the discreetly secluded vegetarian restaurant The Gate, and I remembered going there with Chalice more than 25 years ago. I wonder how long ago I last thought of it?

The gourmet grocery shop Peter gets his fruit and veg in is called Hammersmith Natural at 194 Fulham Palace Rd, London W6 9PA. I'm noting it because I have never previously been able to remember its name but I noticed it on Google Maps when I was looking up the premises above.

Monday, May 31, 2021

What happens on the day?

The Burglar had a colonoscopy yesterday. I had to pick him up  from the Princess Royal University Hospital, and then hang about to make sure he was OK. He was asleep for the first few hours so I have caught up with all but the last episode of The Kominsky Method, and High on the Hog. Netflix to the rescue.

Here's the skinny on the procedure from the NHS

Sunday, May 30, 2021

Westminster Cathedral, you're bringing me down

There is but one topic of conversation this morning among left-footers such as myself; how did the Prime Minister, who has now married three times, manage to have a wedding in a Catholic church?

Mr Johnson, I seem to recall, was baptised as a Catholic, but confirmed in the Anglican faith whilw he was an Eton. Covering his bets perhaps like Kate Bingham with COVID vaccines?

Two possibilities:

  • In order to marry in a Catholic church, Mr Johnson could have had his two previous marriages recognised as annulled.
  • Alternatively,  because he was baptised a Catholic, by not participating in Catholic ceremonies in his previous marriages, for which he would have required special dispensation from the Catholic church, those marriages would have "had a lack of canonical form" and could therefore be considered invalid.

Something to talk to mum about next Saturday if nothing else.

Saturday, May 29, 2021

Freezer Jolly Good Fellow

The Onion

VIRGINIA BEACH, VA—Holding the icy brown mass aloft in a vain attempt to inspect it, local man Ralph Freeman confirmed Thursday that he found an unidentifiable beige food item that he froze, like, six months ago. “I think it might be some kind of gravy or something,” said Freeman, who speculated that the color and uniformity of the mass could mean it was leftover broth from Thanksgiving or Christmas, or maybe a stew he made on New Year’s Eve. “I don’t remember actually freezing any soup, it’s not solid enough to be dough though. Maybe something else leaked and froze around the outside? It doesn’t smell like anything except freezer. Oh well, I should still probably hold onto it so it doesn’t go to waste.” 

I get this a lot. Helen and John have owned up to it as well. I think that the last mystery carton turned out to be some wort of aubergine and beef pasta sauce.

Friday, May 28, 2021

To begin at the beginning

Mia has bagged a couple of tickets for Under Milk Wood at the National for June 17th which is the same day I'm also at Epic Iran in the V&A. Birthday celebrations kick off five days early in 2021 it seems.

Thursday, May 27, 2021

High on the Hog

Food, community, culture, resiliency. Based on Jessica B. Harris’ award-winning book, High On The Hog traces the moving story of a people's survival and triumph via the food that has knit generations together and helped define the American kitchen. From Gumbo to fried chicken, our culinary journey stretches from Africa to enslavement, to the Harlem Renaissance, up to our present-day; we celebrate the courage, artistry, and resourcefulness of the African American people. This is not just an African American story; it’s an American story. A feast for all the senses. 

Watch High on The Hog, only on Netflix on May 26:
This has come up as a recommendation and it looks to be right up my street. I think I will watch, at least, the first episode tonight. By a strange coincidence is it exactly two years (Icons passim) that J.J. Johnson put the cooking of the African diaspora on my radar. My my brother John got me a signed copy of his Between Harlem and Heaven cookbook for my birthday that year. Do you see how writing one entry down here every day helps me inhabit my life?

Also series three of the Kominsky Method drops tomorrow. Netflix will be on a bit of a roll here at Browne Acres.

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Postcards from the Edge

When we went into lock down in March 2020, my mother had just completed all her pre-op appointments and was due for hip surgery within a week or two. The operation naturally, didn't happen. The ongoing delay has had a big impact on her mobility and pain level. She is on all the pain relief that includes top up morphine.

She had a letter last week regarding surgery There were three options: 

  • Cancel completely
  • Defer at the moment
  • Have surgery as soon as possible

Ideally we would press ahead, but the situation in the hospital is still very restricted, Mum would have to attend all pre-op appointments alone, she would not be able to receive any visitors while in hospital, she would be isolated between appointments, and also after surgery, back in the Ty Enfys Care Home, she and would not be able to have visitors, as that is restricted to the day room only.

Reluctantly after talking it over with her, we have deferred.

Multiply this by millions across a whole range of patients and conditions. The Health Service is going to be hit by a tsunami of pent up demand.

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

The type of thing I have to worry about

Opera North

Unfortunately Vimeo’s terms of service dictate that you cannot use Vimeo to host or serve your content if you are taking payment through a 3rd party service to grant access.

This was confirmed in no uncertain terms when we spoke to the team at Vimeo (this functionality is only available on their Enterprise and OTT plans which were going to cost the Opera North team far more than they had budgeted for).

Similarly YouTube’s terms explicitly state that you cannot use YouTube to host content to access via a paywall.

Hmmmmm. Cog Design's thoughts are perhaps more nuanced though generally in agreement with Opera N. It also does seem to offer some thoughts on going forward with Spektrix.

Monday, May 24, 2021

more dined against than dining

 You will be pleased to know that the Garrick Club has reopened. 

The Garrick Club is instituted for the general patronage of drama; for the purpose of combining the use of a Club, on economic principles, with the advantages of a literary society; for bringing together supporters of drama; and for the formation of a theatrical library, with works on costume.

The Garrick Club is situated in the heart of London’s West End and Theatreland, in Old Covent Garden.

The regular meetings of the dining club for dramatists inaugurated by Arthur Wing Pinero, will resume soon. Almost everyone you have never heard of is going. (Remember the old joke about a Hollywood starlet so dumb she slept with the writer.)

The things I learn from PG of a Sunday, eh?

Sunday, May 23, 2021

We have all the time in the world

I was back to hot yoga for the first time in 2021 yesterday.

It is more than three years (Icons passim) since Shona the instructor reduced me to tears of laughter by solemnly invoking lyrics from Let's get it on by Marvin Gaye into the new age dialogue that accompanies the session.

This Saturday I got her to the same thing with All the Time in the World by Louis Armstrong. Again it was comedy gold. |The morning's class was, to all intents and purposes, a twelve inch, white label remix of 'All the time in the world." Exceeding even my expectations.

Saturday, May 22, 2021

You can't get there from here

Social unrest where I live now

Hundreds of residents have encouraged a yarn group to "crack on with their colourful displays" after they received an anonymous letter asking them to be removed from the streets of Merton.

Penny Bettel, of Spin us a yarn, has been filling Colliers Wood with her bright crochet art since November 2020.

Social unrest where I used to live

Gangs of "yobs" have been setting fire to cars and rolling them down a hill in Swansea in "disturbing" footage circulating on social media.

South Wales Police said they attended "large scale disorder" in the Mayhill area of the city on Thursday evening.

Friday, May 21, 2021

Delia Derbyshire and Daphne Oram

I went round to Helen and Mat's last night to watch Sisters with Transistors (Icons passim).

The American and French women in it (notable exception Suzanne Ciani) tended to the dull, pretentious and portentous. "Boston was F# and New York was E," my arse.

Delia Derbyshire and Daphne Oram, though were absolutely wonderful. Brisk and no nonsense; they made me proud to be British.

I must watch Delia Derbyshire: The Myths and the Legendary Tapes on the BBC iPlayer.

In 1966, she recorded a demo with Anthony Newley entitled Moogies Bloogies, although as Newley moved to the United States, the song was never released. In the age of YouTube however that need not impede us. "David Bowie is the love child of Delia Derbyshire and Anthony Newley." Discuss.

Thursday, May 20, 2021

The Vegas Realist

The screen rights to PG's The York Realist have been sold. Here are some provisional scenario notes in case it has to be tweaked for a U.S. setting.

George, a blackjack dealer living in a motel  with his mother, gets involved with John, who has come from Broadway to work as assistant director on “All I Have,” a Jennifer Lopez concert residency at a Vegas hotel casino.

George’s card tricks become an integral part of the show’s triumphant finale.  ‘Stigmata:’ a scene in which Jennifer, using live ammunition, shoots all four aces out of the air with a Colt 45 as the nerveless George juggles the entire deck of cards.

But when George and John are kidnapped - by renegade remnants of the Qanon rebels who stormed the White House – Jennifer, George’s mother and Doreen (the hat check girl from next door)  must put their differences aside to rescue the boys ……..

(Ollie’s brother Simon directed this Jason Bourne Vegas chase scene. We should be able to get him to storyboard and shoot the denouement.)

In the sequel VRII: Realer Las Vegas! the tables are turned as George and John must break (the framed) Jen, Mum and our Doreen out of America’s most secure women’s prison. All they know is show business schlock and close quarter magic but they assemble a crack team of retired variety performers and the show is on!

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Four-square on the Northern Line

The event may not be until next year but our fist post-lockdown theatre booking has been made.

Paapa in Caryl Churchill's 'A Number' at the Old Vic 27 January 2022. 

Six degrees of separation with Rhys Ifans, Bethany and the Theatrical Dynasty as well (Icons passim).

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

The Arab-Israeli Cookbook



President stops short of demanding a halt to hostilities amid calls from his own party to take a tougher line as the death toll in Gaza mounts

Joe Biden has issued a statement for the first time expressing support for a ceasefire between Israel and Gaza’s militant rulers Hamas, after a phone conversation with Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

However, the US president stopped short of calling for an immediate halt to the eight days of Israeli airstrikes and Hamas rocket barrages that have killed more than 200 people, the vast majority of them Palestinian.

“The president reiterated his firm support for Israel’s right to defend itself against indiscriminate rocket attacks,” the White House statement said after the phone call, the second known one between the leaders in three days.

If Donald Trump was still the President the media would be telling us this conflict was his fault. Imagine the reaction if the Donald's White House had announced that "The president reiterated his firm support for Israel’s right to defend itself against indiscriminate rocket attacks."

How come Biden, like Obama before him, gets such an easy ride? More and more I think that if I was a Yank I would tend to vote for Republican presidents on the grounds that they get scrutinised rather than indulged.

As for what is actually going on, see Icons passim.

Monday, May 17, 2021


When I stumbled on the tweet from the Hang Fire girls above yesterday the name Honey & Co seemed familiar. Sure enough, the WBI time machine tells me that Emma and Miranda took us there in early 2014 as a thank you for our work on the Palace project (see Icons passim).

Another entry in the blog (see Icons passim) reminds me that I first met Hang Fire's Shauna when I went to the Penylan Pantry in 2015 with Mum, Dad, John, Mia and Jasmine.

There is a new neural connection in my brain connecting the two venues and the two occasions and life is all the richer for it.

Sunday, May 16, 2021

John Wayne? I was like be "Quiet Man!"


I am back in London from Cardiff. This is pretty much how I recall the conversation at the Mackintosh Club on Friday.

Saturday, May 15, 2021

Two Shakespearean Actors

Richard Nelson wrote a play inspired by the Astor Place Riot. The RSC did it in 1990. I can't find a domestic review. Here is one from the New York Times about a US run of what I take to be the same production.

Friday, May 14, 2021

The Astor Place Riot


The Astor Place Riot occurred on May 10, 1849, at the now-demolished Astor Opera House[1] in Manhattan and left between 22 and 31 rioters dead, and more than 120 people injured.[2] It was the deadliest to that date of a number of civic disturbances in Manhattan, which generally pitted immigrants and nativists against each other, or together against the wealthy who controlled the city's police and the state militia.

The riot resulted in the largest number of civilian casualties due to military action in the United States since the American Revolutionary War, and led to increased police militarization (for example, riot control training and larger, heavier batons).[3] Its ostensible genesis was a dispute between Edwin Forrest, one of the best-known American actors of that time, and William Charles Macready, a similarly notable English actor, which largely revolved around which of them was better than the other at acting the major roles of Shakespeare.

This must I have been a time when people really cared about acting. I must tell Peter, Mia and Bethany; our own theatrical dynasty,

Thursday, May 13, 2021

Speaking truth to power

'Is Nothing Sacred?' David Cameron Grilled By MPs Over Greensill Lobbying

.......  it was McDonagh who turned up the heat. 

The Mitcham and Morden MP reminded Cameron of his own promised crackdown on lobbying, when he said the industry smacked of “cronyism” and had “tainted our politics for far too long”. 

She said to him: “Do you understand the irony of having used them given many of us believe that the quote depicts your own behaviour with Greensill?” 

Cameron, who signed off a number of his texts to former colleagues with the words “love DC”, said his government had brought in “two important changes” via the lobbying act, which forced multi-client lobbyists to register clients and ministers to report all meetings. 

But McDonagh was quick to cut him off, saying: “I’m ever so sorry but this is a meeting to ask you questions, rather than allow you to talk for the next two hours. 

“You had the enormous privilege of being the prime minister of our great country. You’re one of only five people post-war to have been re-elected to lead our government. 

“Do you not feel you have demeaned yourself and your position by ‘WhatsApping’ your way around Whitehall on the back of a fraudulent enterprise based on selling bonds of high-risk debt to unsuspecting investors?” 

You go girl! After the signal honour of chatting to me in the Co-op, our local MP's grilling of 'Call Me Dave' as part of the Treasury Committee must feel like an anticlimax. 

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Dr Strabismus Rides Again

Dr. Strabismus (whom God Preserve) of Utrecht hasn't appeared on these spindrift pages since 2019.

Bugatti reveals the world's most expensive pool table: £217,000 'self-levelling' table will allow superyacht owners to play while at sea.

Back with a vengeance.

The table uses a gyroscopic sensor to level the playing surface and adjust for movements on sea. 

Bugatti said: 'Each leg can move to compensate for the movement of a ship and remain perfectly level. 

'The system can adjust in just five milliseconds, and the movement is completed in total silence with vibration-free adjustment.'

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Turkey Jerky

Last week's chicken (Icons passim) didn't go all that well in the dehendrifier truth be told. We think that perhaps so much water is injected in to supermarket chicken that when you dehydrate, it turns into shoe leather.

We're trying turkey this week. I dropped it round to Andy and Ollie yesterday, and I will pop round to taste after work today.

I noticed turkey strips in Waitrose when I was taking PG shopping on Sunday, so that is the meat. I marinated it overnight with dark soy, fish sauce, honey, sriracha, lemon juice, cracked black pepper and Taste Moroccan Rub

In the morning I drained it, arranged the strips flat on a plate and fridge dried it. We are also going to dehydrate for less time and at a lower temperature than we did with the chicken.

Finally, a new label is born -

Monday, May 10, 2021

The Moody Marsden Band

Bernie Marsden is the guest on this week's Rockonteurs episode. I have listened to the first half hour or so, but after that it seemed to be embarking on a long and intricate discussion of the minutiae of  the differences between 1959 and 1960 Gibsons. John is the guitarist of the family so I have sent the link off to him advising him to listen from 34 minutes in and give me a timestamp at which I can drop back in after this fascinating interlude.

I am reminded though of the time, years and years ago, when John and I went into a pub in Hall Road only to find Mick Moody playing a low key solo gig there. I - naturally - didn't recognise him but John told me he was a founder member of Whitesnake along with ...... Bernie Marsden. It is all connected.

Googling Whitesnake for research this morning, I found out that "Tawny Kitaen, the model and actress who appeared in a string of Whitesnake music videos — including 1987’s iconic “Here I Go Again,” in which she danced on the hood of a Jaguar " died yesterday at 59.  More intimations of mortality.

Sunday, May 09, 2021

Tequila Rose

 Liam the landlord gave us all a free shot of Tequila Rose when we went to the Standard to watch the Man City - Chelsea game yesterday. Whatever can it all mean?

Saturday, May 08, 2021

Friday Night, Saturday Morning

Ben is working in East London as life begins so reopen, so he got off the Tube at the 'Wood on the way home yesterday and we had a couple of drinks in the Standard after work. With any luck this will become a regular thing.

Wimbledon Hot Yoga reopens Monday week, so with any luck we can restart the 8:30 Saturday morning session we were getting into there before the government brought the shutters down.

Further, neither of us have been to the dentist for a year. When everything came down, Ben had just finished more than six years of orthodontic treatment. It was Caroline, my dentist, who set him up with that in the first place when he was a boy. I ought to see about re-registering him with her at Ringley Park. That way we could both go together every six months.

Friday, May 07, 2021

Lions Squad

Captain: Alun Wyn Jones (Wal)

Forwards: Tadhg Beirne (Ire), Jack Conan (Ire), Luke Cowan-Dickie (Eng), Tom Curry (Eng), Zander Fagerson (Sco), Taulupe Faletau (Wal), Tadhg Furlong (Ire), Jamie George (Eng), Iain Henderson (Ire), Jonny Hill (Eng), Maro Itoje (Eng), Wyn Jones (Wal), Courtney Lawes (Eng), Ken Owens (Wal), Andrew Porter (Ire), Sam Simmonds (Eng), Rory Sutherland (Sco), Justin Tipuric (Wal), Mako Vunipola (Eng), Hamish Watson (Sco).

Backs: Josh Adams (Wal), Bundee Aki (Ire), Dan Biggar (Wal), Elliot Daly (Eng), Gareth Davies (Wal), Owen Farrell (Eng), Chris Harris (Sco), Robbie Henshaw (Ire), Stuart Hogg (Sco), Conor Murray (Ire), Ali Price (Sco), Lewis Rees-Zammit (Wal), Finn Russell (Sco), Duhan van der Merwe (Sco), Anthony Watson (Eng), Liam Williams (Wal).

No further comment at this time.

Thursday, May 06, 2021

Politics Now

President Emmanuel Macron paid tribute to Napoleon Bonaparte 200 years after his death yesterday as Royal Navy ships were ordered to Jersey to confront French fishermen preparing a blockade. So much for the Entente Cordiale. 

Closer to home, the line up of candidates for London Mayor is so lacklustre that I am tempted to vote for Count Binface.

Tuesday, May 04, 2021

Part three of many I hope

Taste Tandoori spice (cumin, coriander, paprika, ginger, garam masala [coriander, cumin, pepper, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, cardamon] cayenne pepper, sea salt, cardamon), fresh garlic and ginger. lemon juice and yoghurt. Oh, plus dried mint and shredded spring onion now I remember.

After beef then pork I am trying marinated chicken in the Hubble dehydrator. I haven't tasted it yet but it was delivered to them yesterday. Fingers crossed I will get my hands on some early this evening.

Monday, May 03, 2021

Fingers in Ears No No No


Caitlyn Jenner, candidate for California governor and former Olympic gold medallist, says she opposes trans girls participating in women's sports.

Ms Jenner, who came out as a trans woman in 2015, told a reporter: "It just isn't fair. And we have to protect girls' sports in our schools."

This ticks so many disparate boxes and will arouse so much disparate fury in so may disparate "communities" that I haven't looked at Twitter today in case it has exploded.

Sunday, May 02, 2021

The narcissism of small differences


The narcissism of small differences (German: der Narzissmus der kleinen Differenzen) is the thesis that communities with adjoining territories and close relationships are especially likely to engage in feuds and mutual ridicule because of hypersensitivity to details of differentiation. The term was coined by Sigmund Freud in 1917, based on the earlier work of British anthropologist Ernest Crawley. In language differing only slightly from current psychoanalytic terminology, Crawley declared that each individual is separated from others by a taboo of personal isolation, a narcissism of minor differences.

I heard Christopher Hitchens mention this on a YouTube video I had on in the background yesterday. I had never heard of the term before but I had long been aware of the phenomenon. When we did Eat Your Way Around the World in London all those years ago, we developed a rule of thumb that if the food from two different national restaurants was, to our naive palates, indistinguishable the two countries (India and Pakistan or Greece and Turkey) would be at daggers drawn.

Saturday, May 01, 2021

Shirley Horn


I just stumbled on Shirley Horn yesterday. I don't think I had ever even heard of her before.
She was most noted for her ability to accompany herself with nearly incomparable independence and ability on the piano while singing, something described by arranger Johnny Mandel as "like having two heads."
That  possibly could have been expressed more delicately Mr Mandel, but it is right on the button.

Friday, April 30, 2021

The BIsh

David Bishop who went to school with me has had a stroke - see

A random story, once when we were kids around Neil Minto's house he left by jumping out of the bedroom window. No particular edge, contrivance or flamboyance to it. In his world it was just the most convenient route.

Wednesday, April 28, 2021


The Spectacularlyboring 

When Covid struck and the quest for a vaccine began, the team at Oxford had a head start in that we were already working with the harmless common cold virus on which the AstraZeneca vaccine is based. ChAdOx — a contraction of ‘chimpanzee’, from which the virus was isolated, ‘adenovirus’ and ‘Oxford’ — is also being used to target diseases such as malaria, rabies, zika and Mers. The virus can get into our cells, but it cannot cause infection or replicate, which means it doesn’t spread through our body or from person to person. Instead, we use it to deliver what we want the body to see and respond to — which in the case of Covid-19 is the spike protein of the coronavirus.

I recommend the article above to you. Reading something genuinely informative while aimed at a layman demonstrates how utterly denuded most media coverage is.

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Bak Kwa

The biltong (Icons passim) went well a fortnight or so ago, so we are trying a Chinese pork equivalent.

I bought belly slices yesterday, snipped them up further and marinated them overnight in rice vinegar, dark soy sauce, fish sauce, roasted sesame oil, ground pepper and five-spice powder.

I have drained it this morning as the marinade was pretty wet and put the pork back uncovered in the fridge to dry a little more. I will take it round Ollie's after work today to be put in the dehydrator with the idea being that they will bring the end product around to the Standard on Wednesday for a test taste.

Monday, April 26, 2021

No family is complete without an embarrassing uncle

I have got one niece doing drama at Central and another going for her final round LAMDA audition today.

Also both PG's Oscar nominated colleagues (Sir Anthony Hopkins and Sir Christopher Hampton) won last night - Icons passim.

No family is complete without an embarrassing uncle, and in our emerging theatrical dynasty that embarrassing uncle is me.

Sunday, April 25, 2021


SISTERS WITH TRANSISTORS from Monoduo Films on Vimeo.

Helen has recommended the movie above to me as well as advising me to augment my China studies with Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China  by Jung Chang. My reputation as an unreconstructed chauvinist is in tatters.

Saturday, April 24, 2021

Sources close to the Prime Minister

I have read Dominic Cumming's "explosive intervention" after No. 10 had clearly (if anonymously) briefed the press suggesting he was the source of the leaked Dyson/Johnson texts.

You can read it too at

I believe him, for what it is worth.

The BBC's coverage of the story is hilarious because it is the BBC who broke the original story and to whom - one presumes - the texts were leaked. Plainly someone somewhere there knows the source.

Friday, April 23, 2021

Wake up boilers! Christmas has come early.

A Sense of Purpose? 2021 Annual Reischauer Lecture with Rana Mitter, Part 3 dropped yesterday.

Prodnose: Well that's a relief then.

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Chinese Characters

 In the end I got The Story of China: A Portrait of a Civilisation and Its People by Michael Wood with this month's Audible credit. I think it was perhaps inspired by reading in the Harry Truman biography about the Marshall Mission. I had no idea that the Communist Party of China and the Nationalists (Kuomintang) both fought the Japanese rather than each other during WW2 which suggests there is much more about China that is hidden from me.

On the road yesterday I came across the tail end of an episode of Chinese Characters on Radio 4. It is a series of essays, presented by Rana Mitter (Oxford Professor of the History and Politics of Modern China) exploring Chinese history through the life stories of key personalities.

Maybe Mitter's China’s Good War: How World War II Is Shaping a New Nationalism would have been a better Audible choice for me?

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Yuval Noah Harari: the world after Covid

Yuval Noah Harari and his books are forever turning up in my brother John's conversation. This is me beginning to try and catch up.

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Ta-ra to Tooting

I was rather taken with this when it came up the Zoom chat Frankie, Kevin, Mat, Helen and I watched last week.

I wish I had seen the Ballad of Johnny Longstaff on tour now.

Monday, April 19, 2021


I finished listening to Truman by David McCullough on Audible last night having previously worked through The Age of Eisenhower: America and the World in the 1950s by William I. Hitchcock on it.

I have got another Audible credit due tomorrow, so if we stay on American Presidents, I need to spend it on either JFK going forward or FDR going backwards in time.

I have noticed an unread hardback of The Three Roosevelts: Patrician Leaders Who Transformed America by James MacGregor Burns  and Susan Dunn on my bookshelves so I ought to go to that (also with Franklin, Eleanor and Teddy all covered in one book I get two presidents at once.)

It looks like An Unfinished Life: John F. Kennedy, 1917-1963 by Robert Dallek will be the next audio book.

Sunday, April 18, 2021

Where does the time go?

A fine conversation over Skype between Mum, me, Vince, and John yesterday. A lot of it was about rugby, possibly inspired by her cousin John Hickey appearing at 25 in a list of the 50 hardest Welsh rugby players who ever lived.

From that we ranged to priests who carried on playing rugby under pseudonyms after the arch-bishop forbade it. Hilarious stuff, at least to me. We've been doing it for at least a year now.

Saturday, April 17, 2021

They think it's clippers number 1 all over. It is now.

 I had my haircut today. We live in such culturally impoverished time I think it is worth recording God help us.

Friday, April 16, 2021

Marks my words

Marks & Spencer declares caterpillar cake war on Aldi


Marks & Spencer is taking legal action against Aldi in a bid to to protect its Colin the Caterpillar cake. The retailer argues that the German chain's Cuthbert the Caterpillar product infringes its trademark and has lodged an intellectual property claim with the High Court this week. M&S said the similarity of Aldi's product leads consumers to believe they are of the same standard and "ride on the coat-tails" of its reputation. Take a look at the two cakes side by side, which Marks wants Aldi to stop selling.

To be honest it is a slow day in my brain and limbs, but I had this prepared for just such an emergency.

Thursday, April 15, 2021

How we live now

Ben came round last night and we went to the Standard. My friends were there. His friends were there. Our friends were there. 

Before COVID it would have been Wednesday. Last night it was a blissed-out endorphin high.

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Morning off

How to Plant a Bare Root Climbing Rose from David Austin Roses on Vimeo.

I took PG for his second COVID jab yesterday and then planted a rose in his garden.

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Too little too late

... but a gracious gesture anyway. (Icons passim)

Monday, April 12, 2021

The moving finger writes

As life starts to reopen, I think it will be too busy to go to the gym or get my hair cut today, and I am going to the pub on Wednesday so we will be off to a quiet start.

I did see Andy M yesterday though (for the first time since 2017 to my astonishment). I go to PG's every Sunday morning to take him along to his weekly grocery shop. Now that people can meet outside, Hammersmith is mutually convenient, so Andy came along after that and we walked along the Thames Path just chewing the fat like the old friends that we are. I was reminded that I know, and have met, his daughter and son, his brother and his sister, and his mother and his father so I was interested to hear how they were getting on. He got married again during lock down and no-one could go. In normal times I imagine I would have got an invite. I was an usher at his first wedding and I am happy for him; widowed since March 2005.

Sunday, April 11, 2021

Biltong/Beef Jerky

I popped round to the Hubble late yesterday afternoon to watch the Grand National. Congratulations to Rachael Blackmore on becoming the first female jockey to triumph in the world's most famous steeplechase, with a stirring victory on Minella Times. (Purists may claim that Elizabeth Taylor won it as 12-year-old Velvet Brown on a gelding called The Pie in the 1944 film National Velvet even though in the story she was disqualified on a technicality.)

The main reason I went over though was to taste the biltong that had been dried overnight there. Ollie had put it into her dehydrator at sixty degrees for seven hours.

I bought a rump steak and sliced (or more accurately snipped) it into strips. The marinade was Nature Kitchen Steak Spice (sea salt, black pepper, onion powder, garlic flakes, red bell peppers, green peppercorn, tomato, and chilli powder) plus a little more salt and sugar loosened with cider vinegar.

I left it to marinate in a closed container overnight in the fridge, then open in the fridge for the morning to get most of the moisture out before patting it dry with kitchen paper and removing the garlic flakes.

Very good it was too, though next time - as a small adjustment - we may dehydrate for an hour less.

That said I may try some Mojama before returning to beef.

Saturday, April 10, 2021

Forth Bridge

Though we are no longer involved it was interesting to see how all the royal online presence was managed yesterday on the death of the Duke of Edinbugh in pretty much the way we devised all those years ago. (Icons passim).

Friday, April 09, 2021


Probability is the most important concept in modern science, especially as nobody has the slightest notion what it means.

Bertrand Russell, 1929 Lecture

I have reached Keynes death in  The Price of Peace: Money, Democracy, and the Life of John Maynard Keynes, though there are several chapters left. Perhaps they deal with his legacy? I must admit I have found him a very engaging character.

Recently also having finished  Frank Ramsey: A Sheer Excess of Powers by Cheryl Misak I have started to become interested in probability, a field in which Keynes and Ramsey both did important work.

An odd beast probability when you think about it. Can it be squared with cause and effect? Radioactive decay for example. How can it proceed at a given rate without being coordinated?  

I can't see how you can square it with determinism or a clockwork universe.

What if nature is fundamentally probabilistic, which is surely what quantum mechanics implies? What would that mean?

Thursday, April 08, 2021

No names, no packdrill

 .......  I shall be waiting for you at the bottom of the next page disguised as a footnote.

Wednesday, April 07, 2021

Tuesday, April 06, 2021


Ben came around last night to see Bethany's movie. Good stuff. He also introduced me to Chunkz and Yung Filly. It is unlikely that YouTube's algorithms would ever have suggested to them to me, so life is enriched. He also mentioned in passing that the online tutor with whom he gets on well did philosophy as a first degree. I am unsurprised.

Monday, April 05, 2021

The servant has become the master

I haven't previously really paid any attention to Yuval Noah Harari, but John told me an idea of his on the phone yesterday about the insidious route by which technology usurps our self-determination by moving from helper, to agent to master. The terminology may not be his as I am remembering it and can't find a reference online.

John illustrated with routing services (like Google Maps, for example, the one that I use).

They start off as helpers, telling you where, say, Meadowbank Close is when you are visiting someone whose house you haven't been to before.

Next as agents, they guide you along the route adjusting for, perhaps, traffic conditions.

Finally as masters, they compel you to take a route optimized for their own agendas. It isn't science fiction.


Google Maps will start directing drivers to routes it calculates to be the most eco-friendly based on a list of factors.

The search engine said it will highlight journeys that generate the lowest carbon footprint using mainly traffic data and road inclines.


Sunday, April 04, 2021

Me, I Disconnect From You

A Good Friday service in south London was broken up by police over apparent breaches of Covid-19 regulations.
Footage uploaded on YouTube showed Metropolitan police officers addressing worshippers at the Christ the King Polish Catholic church in Balham, south London, late on Friday afternoon.
The video shows an officer telling the congregation that they could be fined £200 or arrested for the potential rule-breaking. He said: “This gathering is unfortunately unlawful under the coronavirus regulations we have currently. I suggest, ladies and gentlemen, that though it is Good Friday, and I appreciate you would like to worship, that this gathering is unlawful, so please may you leave the building now. Thank you.”
Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine I would see such a thing in my lifetime. Five tube stops away on the Northern Line. That brings it home for all that it makes no moral or ethical difference.

This on top of the Sarah Everard fiasco. I withdraw my consent from policing by consent

Perhaps I should remind the police of  the principles which were set out in the ‘General Instructions’ that were issued to every new police officer from 1829, nearly 200 years ago:
  1. To prevent crime and disorder, as an alternative to their repression by military force and severity of legal punishment.
  2. To recognise always that the power of the police to fulfil their functions and duties is dependent on public approval of their existence, actions and behaviour and on their ability to secure and maintain public respect.
  3. To recognise always that to secure and maintain the respect and approval of the public means also the securing of the willing co-operation of the public in the task of securing observance of laws.
  4. To recognise always that the extent to which the co-operation of the public can be secured diminishes proportionately the necessity of the use of physical force and compulsion for achieving police objectives.
  5. To seek and preserve public favour, not by pandering to public opinion; but by constantly demonstrating absolutely impartial service to law, in complete independence of policy, and without regard to the justice or injustice of the substance of individual laws, by ready offering of individual service and friendship to all members of the public without regard to their wealth or social standing, by ready exercise of courtesy and friendly good humour; and by ready offering of individual sacrifice in protecting and preserving life.
  6. To use physical force only when the exercise of persuasion, advice and warning is found to be insufficient to obtain public co-operation to an extent necessary to secure observance of law or to restore order, and to use only the minimum degree of physical force which is necessary on any particular occasion for achieving a police objective.
  7. To maintain at all times a relationship with the public that gives reality to the historic tradition that the police are the public and that the public are the police, the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full time attention to duties which are incumbent on every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence.
  8. To recognise always the need for strict adherence to police-executive functions, and to refrain from even seeming to usurp the powers of the judiciary of avenging individuals or the State, and of authoritatively judging guilt and punishing the guilty.
  9. To recognise always that the test of police efficiency is the absence of crime and disorder, and not the visible evidence of police action in dealing with them.
This, as explained by the notable police historian Charles Reith in his ‘New Study of Police History ‘in 1956, was a philosophy of policing ‘unique in history and throughout the world because it derived not from fear but almost exclusively from public co-operation with the police, induced by them designedly by behaviour which secures and maintains for them the approval, respect and affection of the public’.

I use the past tense deliberately because this philosophy is now dead.

Happy Easter.

Saturday, April 03, 2021

Lessons from history

The proclamation that sanctioned the birth of the unified Kingdom of Italy came into force on 17 March 1861. Victor Emmanuel, first King of Italy, presiding.

The Meiji Restoration brought practical imperial rule to Japan in 1868 creating, arguably for the first time, a central government which exercised direct power through the entire realm. Emperor Meiji presiding.

The Unification of Germany into the German Empire, a Prussia-dominated nation state with federal features, officially occurred on 18 January 1871. Kaiser Wilhelm I presiding.

There is a strong case then for asserting that the Axis powers, the military coalition that fought in World War II against the Allies, comprised three modern countries founded within a decade of each other.

Let's date their alliance to the Tripartite Pact, an agreement between Germany, Italy and Japan signed in Berlin on 27 September 1940.

It is longer from the birth of the Kingdom of Italy to the Tripartite Pact, than it is from the Tripartite Pact to today.


Friday, April 02, 2021

Sometimes it's just E

Literary Review

The first note known to have sounded on earth was an E natural. It was produced some 165 million years ago by a katydid (a kind of cricket) rubbing its wings together, a fact deduced by scientists from the remains of one of these insects, preserved in amber.

Then someone came along and invented jazz. 

Thursday, April 01, 2021

Their Rule of Six: My Rule of Sucks

My social bubble evolved into the rule of six last night; same dwelling, more people and in the garden. It struck while I was there, socializing comfortably outside, that my perfectly serviceable garden has been all but uninhabited for the last year for all that I employed gardener Alex to come round and have a crack at it last weekend. That's a part of my life that could do with an upgrade.

In a similarly ludicrous, but psychologically revealing, development I found myself coveting my hosts' robot vacuum cleaner. My cleaners haven't been here for a year now and I have not hoovered once in that period. I need more elbow grease not a tech upgrade.

I also spied a food dehydrator in the kitchen. This makes me think I need one as well. They have promised to make biltong for me if I salt, spice and slice the meat and bring it round. I think this was agreed just to shut me up.

I am pathetic. Yes pathetic is the word we are searching for here.

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

And you can Poliak Off as well

Stephen Poliakoff: Grauniard 2009

As a young dramatist I made my TV debut with a play about incest called Hitting Town. It was shown on ITV and Mary Whitehouse tried to get the regulators of the time prosecuted for showing it. The whole matter was referred to the attorney general. If she had succeeded, I might not have had a career in television; and yet she was speaking for nobody because the show received the huge total of two complaints.

Stephen Poliakoff: Indescribablyboring 2013

Hitting Town introduces Ralph (Mick Ford), a young student paying a visit to his older sister Clare (Deborah Norton) in an unspecified city. Ralph is anarchic, hyperactive, living on his nerves because IRA bombs have been detonated in his adopted town. Clare, recently single, shifts between chastising his tiresome attitude-striking, and showing delight in his manic energy.

He takes her for a evening on the tiles: they kiss passionately in a grotty restaurant, make hoax calls to a radio phone-in, walk through a hideous shopping mall, visit a karaoke disco.

Did it stand up as drama? "Seeing it again, what struck me was a rawness and extraordinary brutality. Half of it's shot on location in shocking bleakness. The anger and undirected energy were a reaction to the London bombs of the time. You expected a car to blow up as you walked towards it. But it's also about a time –punk arrived 18 months after I wrote it."

My God, Stephen, I said. You mean Ralph, with his curly hair and his childish anarchy, was the first-ever sighting of a punk? "

Peter Gill directed the TV version of Hitting Town. This would be around the time that he was turning a blind eye to the Sex Pistols rehearsing in the Riverside Studios. The legend is that they could get in on the sly because Wally Nightingale's father worked there and had a key. Yeh right, the Sex Pistols - no strangers to volume - could rehearse without anyone noticing. There is a case for PG as the godfather of punk and I intend to make it.

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

understand him enough to find him extraordinarily interesting

I finished  Frank Ramsey: A Sheer Excess of Powers by Cheryl Misak (Icons passim) on Audible last night.

He was a student of yesterday's John Maynard Keynes. Further his 1926 paper "Truth and Probability" took issue with Keynes' A Treatise on Probability.

Many other friends of these pages pop up; Wittgenstein, for example. Roger Penrose helped the author with information about his father Lionel.

What a shadow Cambridge in the first half of the 20th Century continues to cast.

Monday, March 29, 2021

In the garden, growth has it seasons

I got The Price of Peace: Money, Democracy, and the Life of John Maynard Keynes as this month's audio book with my Audible credit and it has dawned on my that we lose footnotes when books are read out to us. I don't really what they can do about that though.

After the Conference of Paris and the Treaty of Versailles disgusted him deeply, both on moral and economic grounds, Keynes resigned from the Treasury.

He spent his afternoons at Duncan and Vanessa's farmhouse protecting his knees with a scrap of carpet, as he weeded the gravel path through the fruit trees and vegetable patches with a pocketknife, working with such regularity that Bunny Garnett would measure the length of Keynes' visits by the condition of the path.'

I find this rather beguiling. Alex Devereux, who was round helping with my garden this weekend has given me weeding jobs out front. Perhaps John Maynard's example will encourage me to get on with it.

(I am also intrigued by Keynes' A Treatise on Probability, but getting round to it is perhaps even more unlikely than me gardening.)

Sunday, March 28, 2021

Andy Tea, He

Andy Cunningham being of Scottish descent, I have been chatting to him offering congratulations on Scotland beating Ireland to achieve their best ever Six Nations position, while leaving sure to leave a convenient space for him to congratulate me on Wales winning the whole thing.

He is as happy as a sand boy, but not only because of the rugby, he has also just been given the all clear after his July 2019 open heart surgery (Icons passim).

Also he had heard about Bethany's film, which means Sky must be promoting it reasonably well.

Saturday, March 27, 2021

even at the turning o' the tide

 Scotland beat France at the death yesterday, so the Six Nations title belongs to Wales.

Also from today in the Principality:

Here in England from Monday:
  • People will be allowed to meet outside - including in private gardens - in groups of up to six, or as two households (with social distancing)
  • The stay-at-home rule is ending, although the government is urging people to stay local as much as possible; holidays away from home are still not allowed
  • Outdoor sport facilities will reopen, including golf courses, tennis and basketball courts, and outdoor swimming areas
  • Formally organised outdoor sports can restart
  • Weddings can take place, attended by up to six people
On the other side of the ledger:

Here is an update in response to the many posts about Hideaway closing… For well over 2 years, we have been looking for...

Posted by Hideaway Streatham on Tuesday, 2 March 2021

Friday, March 26, 2021

Why don't I do the thinking for both of us?

The 32-30 result at the Stade de France was a hammer blow to Wales, and it denied them the Grand Slam. The damage it has done to their hopes of winning the Six Nations title is not terminal though and I have broken out my tartan scarf for tonight's France Scotland game.

Because France won with a bonus point but Wales picked up a losing bonus point last week, Les Bleus now trail Wales by five championship points in the table with one game left.

Les Bleus must beat Scotland with a bonus point tonight. That will draw them level with Wales in the table and the title will be decided on points difference.

Currently, Wales have a points difference that is 20 better than France's. Therefore, France must win with a bonus point and by at least 21 points.

(If France beat Scotland by 20 points with a bonus point and both teams are tied on points difference, then the tournament will be decided by the number of tries scored. Currently, Wales have scored 20 tries and France have scored 15 tries. What happens if France beat Scotland by twenty points and score five tries I don't know.)

If  Scotland win by eight points, they will finish second in the table above France which will be their best result in the Six Nations ever. I haven't double checked this but I heard Stuart Hogg say it so it must be correct.

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Diriliş: Ertuğrul

Helen and family have finished watching all 448 episodes of Diriliş: Ertuğrul on Netflix. We worried that the mental health implications of lock-down would be profound but I never imagined this.

Joking aside, the show is an extraordinary phenomenon and I can't think of a better thing she could have done to prepare her son for a multicultural world than sit through the whole of the epic saga with him.

I watch it myself but I still have 440 episodes to go. No plot spoilers please.

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

The Memory Factory

Here is what Ben did with the Penrose tile fridge magnets (Icons passim). It is a lot better than my effort, though I can see he has had to sacrifice a tiny bit of symmetry because of having one purple dart too few.

I am also quietly pleased to see his U11 Player of the Year shirt (I had it framed) on the wall in the background (Icons passim).

My dismal effort by way of contrast

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Superb and nothing


Kenneth Williams sums up the government over the last year.

Monday, March 22, 2021

Winston Smith

I had my COVID vaccination at lunchtime yesterday and then completed the census in the afternoon. I had no instructions from the State about what to do after that so I just watched a bit of telly.

“...most men and women will grow up to love their servitude and will never dream of revolution.”

― Aldous Huxley, Brave New World

I am only being whimsical really. It has struck me this morning that I haven't even read the leaflet I was given after the injection and that does imply a large degree of trust on my behalf.

Bristol last night is a warning to us all though.

Sunday, March 21, 2021

The Luke Pearce/Wayne Barnes Show

France 32 - Wales 30 on the BBC yesterday was two plus hours of referee Luke Pearce and TMO Wayne Barnes discussing the finer points of the laws of rugby football over slow motion clips. This was only occasionally interrupted by passages of actual play.

Wales can, and probably will, still win the Six Nations but the Grand Slam is gone and everyone Welsh is Sad Keanu this morning.

Saturday, March 20, 2021

Lines intertwining

Glen Matlock is on the Rockontuers podcast tomorrow, proving once again that PG is a strange attractor sitting at the centre of all culture.

He was running the Riverside studios when Glen Matlock was rehearsing with the Wally Nightingale era Sex Pistols there, and he directed host Guy Pratt's father Mike in first ever production of D. H. Lawrence's The Daughter-in-Law at the Royal Court Theatre in 1967.

Friday, March 19, 2021

A Life in the Day

 I aw the Bomber yesterday. He is due to be back in the office in Clapham on 26 April as COVID - touch wood - recedes.

We ate feijoada, farofa, rice and greens. It must have been good because he photographed and sent the picture to Halex, his old school friend, and took the leftovers back with him.

We watched a couple of episodes of The Lost Pirate Kingdom on Netflix last night, and kept thinking of Rayburn because Florida kept coming up in the stories. I had no idea it used to be Spanish.

Thursday, March 18, 2021

Alumni Illumination

Two Oscar nominees have got PG form both for the film The Father; Anthony Hopkins is the oldest Best Actor Oscar nominee ever and Christopher Hampton who has got a Best Adapted Screenplay nod.

I saw PG's NT production of Hampton's Tales from Hollywood. He also directed a Christopher Hampton translation of Hedda Gabler at the Stratford Festival, Ontario, Canada in 1970.

A 1966 rehearsal for  A Provincial Life at the Royal Court. Written and directed by PG and based on the story My Life by Anton Chekhov.

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Global Britain in a Competitive Age

I must try and make time to read this. 

For example, the maximum number of nuclear warheads Britain will stockpile is to increase, it had been due to drop to no more than 180 warheads by the mid-2020s but will now be set at no more than 260 warheads.

The reason? It is “in recognition of the evolving security environment, including the developing range of technological and doctrinal threat”. We are prepared to use nuclear weapons in response to doctrinal threats!? Surely this can't mean what the words say.

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Project Vigilant

Police officers in plain clothes will be stationed undercover outside bars and clubs across the country in the coming months in a new scheme to keep women safe on the streets.
When I heard of this initiative on the Today programme this morning, I thought it would almost certainly be a meaningless, reflex government gesture in reaction to the  Sarah Everard tragedy, but a little more digging has revealed that it actually is a genuine project road-tested in Oxford in 2019 so let's give it the benefit of the doubt.

Monday, March 15, 2021

Whiter than white

Ham and High: June 2020

Black Lives Matter: Principal of Central School of Speech and Drama resigns and admits racist comments after students and alumni slammed ‘overt racism’

Mia is at Central. I had no idea about this until yesterday.

Sunday, March 14, 2021

Kitty Flynn

Just heard the sad news, Rest In Peace, Kitty.

Posted by Newtown and the Irish in Cardiff on Sunday, 14 March 2021