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.