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.