Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Gimme a break

As we go into the international break, Spurs are sitting pretty at the top of the Premiership with a 100% record and Arsenal are holding up the table, bottom with a 0% record. This situation will remain unchanged until at least 11 September when league fixtures are back.

Andy H - as you can imagine - is not best pleased.

Monday, August 30, 2021

The Realignment

Retired General Dan Bolger, author of Why We Lost: A General’s Inside Account of the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars, joins The Realignment’s season premiere to discuss the rise and fall of America’s post-9/11 military interventions.

YouTube recommended this to me yesterday and I listened to it as I was pottering about and I, in turn am recommending it to you. A critique of the USA's military hubris taking in everything from the fall of Saigon to the current Kabul fiasco is all the more compelling for being delivered by a patriot with unimpeachable credentials.

Oh, did I mention that Why We Lost: A General's Inside Account of the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars was published in 2015? It is not like he is cutting his coat according to his cloth in August 2021.

Find The Realignment wherever you listen to your podcasts: Apple: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast... Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/3mZB6me... iHeartRadio: https://www.iheart.com/podcast/269-th... Stitcher: https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/huds... Google: https://podcasts.google.com/feed/aHR0...

Sunday, August 29, 2021

A case of you

I came to Joni Mitchell comparatively late in life because I cannot friggin' abide Big Yellow Taxi (especially the last twelve seconds and that stupid bleedin' laugh).

I like to think though that if she hadn't written it already I would have come up with "A Case of You" myself eventually.
Just before our love got lost you said,
I am as constant as a northern star
And I said, "Constantly in the darkness,
Where's that at?
If you want me I'll be in the bar."

Saturday, August 28, 2021

Every two hours

Here is my schedule for the first part of the Bank Holiday weekend.

8:30 Hot Yoga

10: 30 Weekly Skype video call with Mum and siblings

12:30 Man City v Arsenal down the Standard.


Friday, August 27, 2021

not fib for purpose

 Man charged with contaminating supermarket goods

A man has been charged after a police investigation into the contamination of supermarket products in west London.

Leoaai Elghareeb, 37, from Fulham, will appear at Westminster Magistrates' Court on Friday.

The Met Police said he had been charged with contaminating or interfering with goods with intent.

The case relates to incidents at a Sainsbury's Local, Tesco Express and Little Waitrose on Fulham Palace Road, Fulham, on Wednesday evening.

My Sunday morning shopping trip with PG, starts at that very Little Waitrose and also takes in the nearby  Sainsbury's Local (if anything he wants is out of stock in Waitrose) before finishing at the independent grocers opposite.

I'm gonna keep this arrest news under my hat, he can be anxious enough at the best of times. Does that make me a bad person?

Thursday, August 26, 2021


We went to see Salomé at the Southwark Playhouse last night. Salomé was a bloke and it was terrible. Perhaps I should watch Al Pacino's documentary to try and understand it. Online at Amazon.

According to the programme, the patrons of the Southwark Playhouse are Michael Caine, Peter Gill, Simon Hughes and Andy Serkis. PG kept that quiet!

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Gimme Shelter

Ooh, a storm is threatening
My very life today
If I don't get some shelter
Ooh yeah I'm gonna fade away
War, children
It's just a shot away
Charlie Watts has passed. The lyric video above works as a tribute both to him and to the cynically dispossessed, abandoned, encircled prostrated around Kabul's airport.

I've got a a great down-to-earth Charlie W story as well though. A friend, or maybe friend-of-a-friend  I can't remember who it was,  of mine played in Watts' jazz band on tour and said that the great man used to take his cymbals onto the plane as hand luggage because he worried they would be dented if they were thrown into the hold with the rest of the luggage. He didn't have a flunky to do it though he just tucked then under his own armpit.


Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Take them to a baddie hospital

It isn't out in the cinemas until September 3rd, but reviews of Shang-Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings  have appeared in the UK press and they are all saying good things about it.

I have tweaked the playback of the teaser trailer above to plunge you straight into the maelstrom as our titular hero disposes of two foes simultaneously with a spectacular double kick that looks like doing the splits with intent after leaping six feet in the air.

It spoke to me because Ben used to practice something similar when he was a little boy. One day I asked him why. "In case two burglars come in here together."

"OK, but what will you do after you have kicked them?"

"Put them up in the tree outside and wait for the police to come and take them away to a baddie hospital."

I think our first post-COVID trip to the Wimbledon Odeon followed by Wahaca should be on the cards for early next month.

Monday, August 23, 2021



E10 is cleared for use in all petrol driven Ford models sold in Europe since 1992 excluding:

  • Ford Mondeo 1.8 SCI from 2003 to 2007.This model and Ford models sold before 1992 should continue to use E5.

Personal imports not approved by Ford of Europe are not included in the above statements.

Before I was driving back up the M4 from seeing Mum in Cardiff yesterday, I had never previously heard of E10 petrol.

E10 petrol explained

During summer 2021, the standard (95 octane) petrol grade in Great Britain will become E10. In Northern Ireland, this will happen in early 2022.

The change in fuel applies to petrol only. Diesel fuel will not be changing.

Almost all (95%) petrol-powered vehicles on the road today can use E10 petrol and all cars built since 2011 are compatible.

If your petrol vehicle or equipment is not compatible with E10 fuel, you will still be able to use E5 by purchasing the ‘super’ grade (97+ octane) petrol from most filling stations.

Petrol pumps will clearly label petrol as either E10 or E5.

So now you know.

Sunday, August 22, 2021

Whatsisname who was in that Sherman audio thing with Bethany

 Vince got me a programme when he went to see I am McKellen's age-blend Hamlet in Windsor on Thursday, so I will give it to PG today.

I remember praising  Rhys Ifans' Fool in Glenda Jackson's Lear while not quite being able to remember the actor's name. For me, he will now always be "Something Rhys? Rhys something? You know, whatsisname who was in that Sherman audio thing with Bethany.

Saturday, August 21, 2021

Carrier Enabled Power Projection (CEPP)

Just in case you were wondering what our much ballyhooed aircraft carrier is up to now.  Not even this government would try and deploy the navy to landlocked Afghanistan ......... would they?

Friday, August 20, 2021

Tom Tugendhat


 "Those who have never fought for the colours they fly, should be careful about criticising those who have."

Thursday, August 19, 2021

Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

These are the times that try mens' souls

Eleven and a half years after I was asked to help out the Disaster Emergency Committee with their Haiti work (see Icons passim), the country is suffering after another earthquake.

I learned a lot on that campaign. First, how well off we are over here. I remember just getting out of the shower before I set off to the offices. I was toweling myself off, feeling fresh and good when it occurred to me hardly anyone on the island could even aspire to a day revolving around that fragrant and comfortable set point.

DEC comprises ActionAid, Action Against Hunger, British Red Cross, CAFOD, CARE International, Christian Aid, Concern,  Age UK, Islamic Relief, Oxfam, Plan UK, Save the Children, Tearfund  and World Vision.

There is power, efficiency and wisdom in that collegiate structure as opposed to a top-down approach. Age UK knew people with the same specialization in Haiti, ditto  Save the Children. Help was targeted via these networks in a way that simply wouldn't happen with a broad brush (slap dash?) approach.

Monday, August 16, 2021

How long will this separation and this hatred last?

Thursdays are traditionally "poetry night" in the city of Herat when men, women and children gather and recite both ancient and modern poems.

I'm still working through the Arabian Nights at the rate of one night per day. Night 289 finishes with a girl reciting a poem at a dinner party.

How long will this separation and this hatred last 

Until the joy that has passed returns to me again? 

We lived together in the same country; 

In our enjoyment we thought the envious paid no heed. 

But time betrayed us, forcing us to part; 

Leaving our dwellings like a barren waste. 

You censure me; do you want me to be consoled? 

My heart, I see, will not obey your voice.

Abandon blame and leave me with my love. 

For love is not yet emptied from my heart. 

You broke your oath and chose another love, 

But, though you are away, my heart will not forget.

Poignant doesn't begin to cover it, the day after Kabul fell.

Sunday, August 15, 2021

My Muse Does All the Work


I have been playing around with an app called MuseScore trying to write a lead sheet. Very happy with it so far.

Saturday, August 14, 2021

Cyrano, My Love


I stumbled across this and can't seem to find a way to see it,  I need to see it.

Friday, August 13, 2021

a bum note

We went to see Bach & Sons last night. The Bridge Theatre is a nice venue that is new to me, but the play itself is an affront to good writing.

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Anything Goes

October is now sorted out in my pre-book something live each month campaign. August (Thursday actually) is Bach & Co and September is Kurt Elling at Ronnie Scott's.

Any ideas for November?

Monday, August 09, 2021

The March of Time

My brother John's not too far away today interviewing a client so he will visit this evening, we'll go for a drink then a curry and he'll drive back in the morning.

Both my diary and these spindrift pages say the last time this happened was at the beginning of March 2020, all but a year and a half ago. Chalk up (or is it down?) another withering on the vine to the malign COVID blow back.

The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,

Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit

Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,

Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.

Sunday, August 08, 2021

Gold: Always believe in your soul


After the disappointment of the Lions losing the test series to South Africa yesterday, Wales' Lauren Price wining an Olympic boxing gold medal this morning has bucked my spirits up again. Overall the UK finishes the Olympics fourth in the medal table. Not too shabby.

Also Prince William does a fine job interviewing her about her remarkable life story above, by being friendly, modest and unassuming. 

Saturday, August 07, 2021

Now is steel 'twixt bowel and bladder interposed

The NHS has sent me a bowel cancer screening test kit. Considering Paul is due an operation for it and Neil has actually I had one, I suppose I had better do it.

It is probably wishful thinking to assume that reading Improved Detection of Elusive Polyps via Machine Learning form the Google AI Blog has covered me already.

Friday, August 06, 2021



Rebecca sent me this last night as her Charlie is involved in the visuals though not the music. Not really  man's ting cuz, but happy to spread the news. It does my heart good to see it was largely filmed around the tube station

Thursday, August 05, 2021

A Stinging Delight

PG bought me A Stinging Delight: A Memoir by David Storey for my birthday. (A hardback mind you!)

I am "creeping like snail, unwillingly to school" though it. Not because it isn't good, it is great. I am almost unendurably moved. A clause in a sentence can send me off into an introspective reverie.

John Patrick Anthony Browne (born 8 March 1933) and David Malcolm Storey (born 13 July 1933) were contemporaries. Perhaps that has something to do with the resonance. 

"I will finish it eventually" is high and sincere praise. Unlikely to appear in the blurb on the back of the paperback though.

Wednesday, August 04, 2021


 I woke up this morning to learn from the Today programme that a Barbie of Oxford Covid vaccine designer Dame Sarah Gilbert has been created.

Perhaps by coincidence, my latest Audible book selection is Vaxxers: The Inside Story of the Oxford AstraZeneca Vaccine and the Race Against the Virus by Sarah Gilbert and Catherine Green. So far it is really remarkably good.

It is Mum's 84th birthday today, Who do I talk to about getting a Bernice Browne Barbie doll?

Tuesday, August 03, 2021

Left on Afghanistan's Plains


Afghanistan: Street fighting rages as Taliban attack key city

Ferocious fighting is taking place in a major Afghan city, amid fears it could be the first provincial capital to fall to the Taliban.

Lashkar Gah in southern Helmand province is under heavy assault from the militants, despite persistent US and Afghan air strikes.

https://nickbrowne.coraider.com/search?q=helmand will show you what I have written over the years.

Read the heartbreaking Dead Men Risen: The Welsh Guards and the Real Story of Britain's War in Afghanistan about Helmand. What did those boys give their lives for?

John Reid, Secretary of State for Defense, committed 3,300 troops to Helmand province, Afghanistan in January 2006. Speaking to the media Reid said "We would be perfectly happy to leave in three years and without firing one shot because our job is to protect the reconstruction." In the first year about 4 million bullets and 25,000 artillery rounds were fired by the British armed forces.

John Reid is was and ever shall be a sanctimonious prick, as widows and orphans can attest.

Monday, August 02, 2021

Ronan Keating: The Beginning

Rurouni Kenshin: The Beginning has dropped on Netflix so Ben is coming round this evening to watch it with me. Perhaps confusingly for a series of five films "The Beginning" is a prequel.

I can see from my Amazon orders that I bought the first film on December 18th last year, so this has been a seven and a half month saga for the two of us.

I have linked my Fire TV with the Echo that sits below it, so according to Amazon, I should be able to start the movie by announcing "Alexa, play Rorouni Kenshin."

I tried it this morning.

The reply, "playing songs by Ronan Keating, " came back in a flash!

A feature that still needs work, I suggest.

Sunday, August 01, 2021


The Maytals at the Jazz Cafe has been cancelled, so I have had to arrange something else for September. Kurt Elling at Ronnie Scott's on the eighteenth has stepped into the breach.

Andy M is coming. I can remember going with him to see Arturo Sandoval at Ronnie's because his brother Phil was in the support. Andy thinks this was about twenty years ago. I have done some research and I think it is more like thirty five.

Breaks down like this: I know I met Andy in 1985 when we were both working on a project at the . Grangemouth Oil refinery. I am sure about this because I know I was back in London in February 1986 to start my MBA at the City University Business School. 

There's an album Arturo Sandoval — No Problem - Recorded Live At Ronnie Scott's Club released in 1987 but recorded in August 1986. Today is August 2021. I think I must be right about this.