Saturday, September 25, 2021

Community

My brother stayed with me for the last two nights. He was out with clients on Friday morning but intended to work in my office towards the end of this afternoon, so he dropped me off there and I left my car at home so he could use my permit to park in the Mills later. When we left this morning I walked down the street to see how much it would cost him to park in Marlborough Road up until 6:30 tonight; it is free afterwards.

John's car is grey. As I walked back I opened the door of a grey car as the ignition started and tried to get in. It wasn't John's car. There was an Indian fella in the driving seat and what I took to be his wife and child in the back. Luckily I knew the guy by sight as he is from the Colliers Wood Tandoori. I gesticulated to John's similar vehicle in front of his and we laughed it off. 

John and I collected a takeaway later and my friend smiled at me through the serving hatch making a thumbs up hitch hiking sign.

I have thought today about how lucky with are to live in a place where almost everyone is at least acquainted with each other. I imagine jumping into the wrong persons car in some areas of London might lead to unpleasant escalations.

Friday, September 24, 2021

Louie Louie

Louis Lynagh keen to keep fairytale rise going at first England training camp, and fair play to him. 

We first came across Master Lynagh in 2015, when Ben's Ruts (horny handed sons of toil who had fought their way up from the lower leagues) beat Richmond U15s at their own ground as way of announcing our arrival in the top tier.

I remember him being pointed out to me from the touchline as the son of a Wallabies legend. Well he wasn't a better full back than the Bomber that day. You may rest assured of that.

I mentioned the game to Ben last night. He remembered so much about it; a rite of passage with the miracle of Silas' last minute winning try,

Thursday, September 23, 2021

Prisoners of the Ghostland

 

My brother John is staying Friday night. If we go to the pub striaght from work, we are going to need a movie we can watch after that over a take-away from the Colliers Wood Tandoori. One that doesn't tax the old grey matter too much.

Take a bow, Nic Cage.

Cult Japanese film-maker Sion Sono (Love Exposure, Suicide Club) never shies away from an opportunity to shock and surprise with lashings of gore, weirdness and lurid, louche lunacy. Nicolas Cage, meanwhile (now practically a cult himself), loves to rage, bellow and glower in offbeat low-budget films, apparently the kookier the better. They’ve teamed up for this beyond-bonkers, cross-cultural bricolage of styles and influences, and the result is predictably excessive, noisy and more than a little exhausting. But mostly in a fun way, as long as you’re not bothered by gratuitous violence, incoherence and a deep streak of silly.

The setting is some kind of future Earth/parallel universe/post-apocalyptic zona – the why and when is not really important – that’s a mashup of neon-streaked Tokyo fleshpot and Mad Max-style wild west dystopia. A warlord called the Governor (Bill Moseley, hamming it up almost as much as Cage) runs a brothel-prison from which one of his favourite “granddaughters”, Bernice (Sofia Boutella, underused), escapes with three other comfort women. So the Governor hauls our nameless hero (Cage), a former bank robber, out of pokey and sends him off to find Bernice. But first he zips the hero up into a leather jumpsuit rigged with tiny bombs that will blow bits of his anatomy up should he try to hurt her, including explosives attached to each testicle.

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Thinking out loud


I was moaning to Andy and Ian when we were at Ronnie Scotts' on Saturday about how time consuming it has been for me trying to transcribe my musiic by clicking on a stave with a mouse. They said I ought to be able to link MuseScore up to a MIDI keyboard. 

OK my digital piano is a Kurzweil RG100 that has to be twenty and more years old. Here's the manual and there are MIDI out and MIDI in sockets.


Tuesday, September 21, 2021

The Fortune Men

The Fortune Men
By: Nadifa Mohamed
Narrated by: Hugh Quarshie
Length: 10 hrs and 32 mins
Unabridged Audiobook
Release date: 27-05-21
Language: English
Publisher: Penguin Audio
   
Shortlisted for the Booker Prize 2021.

The story of a murder, a miscarriage of justice and a man too innocent for his times....

Mahmood Mattan is a fixture in Cardiff's Tiger Bay, 1952, which bustles with Somali and West Indian sailors, Maltese businessmen and Jewish families. He is a father, chancer, petty criminal. He is a smooth talker with rakish charm and an eye for a good game. He is many things, but he is not a murderer.

So when a shopkeeper is brutally killed and all eyes fall on him, Mahmood isn't too worried. Since his Welsh wife Laura kicked him out for racking up debts he has wandered the streets more often, and there are witnesses who allegedly saw him enter the shop that night. But Mahmood has escaped worse scrapes, and he is innocent in this country where justice is served. Love lends him immunity too: the fierce love of Laura, who forgives his gambling in a heartbeat, and his children. It is only in the run-up to the trial, as the prospect of returning home dwindles, that it will dawn on Mahmood that he is in a fight for his life - against conspiracy, prejudice and cruelty - and that the truth may not be enough to save him.

This month's audible book really was a shoe in.

Monday, September 20, 2021

Oh really? No, O'Reilly


I got a message from Rebecca yesterday morning telling me that Ancestry have revised their ethnicity estimates as they do regularly. I have looked at my updated profile and I am now 100% Irish up from 98. https://www.ancestry.co.uk/dna/origins/share/2291dec9-b75e-427d-bf76-0da2e1479c99

I think that I should be able to drink in the Standard free for ever.

Sunday, September 19, 2021

Hybrid

 

To Ronnie Scott's with Andy and Ian to see Kurt Elling featuring Charlie Hunter last night. What a great evening!

Charlie Hunter plays hybrid guitar. It is difficult to explain see https://hybrid-guitars.com/. My view of him was slightly obscured so I was absolutely baffled where the bass was coming from as there was only one person with a stringed instrument on stage though I seemed to be hearing bass and guitar.

Saturday, September 18, 2021

‘Kamikaze pigeons’ trained to intercept suspicious drones

 American researchers are examining whether the flocking instincts of pigeons can be harnessed to counter armed drones as the rapid development of ‘swarm’ technology prompts warnings that the emerging UAV threat is difficult to contain

Imagine several terrorist drones carrying primed hand grenades buzzing towards a civilian or military target, leaving its defenders with just moments to deploy their state-of-the-art countermeasure. With a furious beating of wings, the precision weapon designed to send the deadly machine crashing to the ground is launched – a squadron of kamikaze pigeons. 

Far-fetched as it may sound, the idea is one of those being explored by American researchers as the defence and security sector scrambles to respond to the extraordinary pace of development in drones – or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) – which is seeing robotic and increasingly capable autonomous aircraft move rapidly from the purview of state militaries into the technological and commercial mainstream. 

The pigeon research, being carried out by an unnamed private US company according to an industry expert, aims to harness the birds’ natural flocking instincts and acute vision to draw them towards the particular sound and motion of a “quadcopter” drone. The birds will be trained to fly at a machine or machines en masse, neutralising an attack on a potential target from an airport to an open-air concert at the cost of their own lives. 

,,,,,,, read on .....

Life is now wierder than anything Beachcomber ever invented.

Friday, September 17, 2021

Read all about it


A books and reading round up today.

The Wimbledon Bookfest Sunset Festival is on and I went to see the Georgia Prtichett event last night. 

My next Audible credit drops in three days time. I see that there is an unabridged version of The Fortune Men available so I will get that: Booker shortlisted and Cardiff set.

A rave review in the Telegraph for First Casualty: The Untold Story of the Battle That Began the War in Afghanistan by Toby Harnden. His Dead Men Risen: The Welsh Guards and the Defining Story of Britain's War in Afghanistan (Icons passim) is one of the definitive books about our experience over there, so his new one goes straight to the top of my reading list.

Thursday, September 16, 2021

iPhone? If I'm paying, it is a MyPhone

 

I ordered Ben a new 64GB iPhone SE on the weekend. It arrived on Tuesday and we set it up in the evening. It is just a coincidence that the new model was announced at the same time.

His old handset had disintegrated. It was five years old after all. The contract I was signed up on could have got him a new one three years ago with - to all intents and purposes - nothing extra to pay.

I am writing these words here as a back stop so I don't make the same mistake again.

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

National Health

Paul had his stoma surgery for suspected bowel cancer on Monday. It took six hours, but he managed to get up for a brief walk yesterday, plus ten minutes on Skype. 

His sister told me that they are waiting to see if the the growth removed had spread into the nearby bowel membrane, which was removed with it.  This will decide whether he will need chemotherapy or not.

Neil, our mutual friend, has had a similar gut operation and is now fully recovered. I think talking to him has been very useful for keeping Paul positive.

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

HRH Pat Geary

I wasn't there.

If I was there I didn't do it.

If I did do it, it is protected by a non-disclosure agreement.

The papers that were served had a semi-colon rather than a comma on page 298 rendering them invalid.

Actually I am not even here, because I don't exist.

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2021/sep/13/new-york-court-pre-trial-civil-suit-prince-andrew-virginia-giuffre

Monday, September 13, 2021

Dropping a name from the top of a ladder

 When I went round to PG's yesterday he said, "I saw Trevor (Nunn) at the Riverside in the week so I told him you liked his production of Beckett's Happy Days. He says thank you very much and sends his regards."

Sunday, September 12, 2021

Phoning it in

 I went round to Morden to see Ben this morning as we hadn't met since we had a pizza with Mia, and his phone is on the blink. Jane was there, back visiting and told me he is re-entangled with Niamh.

I have ordered him a new iPhone that should arrive on Tuesday. I will have to work from home until it turns up as it needs to be signed for.

Saturday, September 11, 2021

Small Change


This is where we will be on Wednesday. In the theatre mind you, not in Cardiff. (Mrs Harte is based on my grandfather's sister unless I miss my guess.)

Friday, September 10, 2021

Re-Realignment

Bethany moved into halls yesterday ready to start at Guildhall.  I met her, her mother and my brother at The Jugged Hare, a nostalgic venue for me as we used to pop there for a quick pint after lectures when I was doing my EMBA.

As we were walking around her new stamping grounds I realised that Moorgate tube station as opposed to Barbican will be a better bet next time I visit as it is on the Northern Line with no changes from the 'Wood.


We ate - or rather they did - at a Russian Armenian Restaurant call Erebuni. It was a bit early for me so I just frank Guinness instead.

P.S. I have noticed that the title links from the blog have been a day out lately, because I missed out 30 August. Thus today's link goes to that day. Normal service will be resumed tomorrow.

Thursday, September 09, 2021

A Killing in Tiger Bay

 
 On Valentine's Day 1988, a young girl is discovered brutally murdered in Cardiff's docklands. Despite evidence pointing to a lone white male killer a ten month investigation concludes with the arrest of five local black men. What happens next beggars belief.

BBC 9pm tonight. I was in school with John Actie. My friend Sean Burke's novel Deadwater was inspired by the case.

Wednesday, September 08, 2021

P I G

A truffle-hunting pig has been kidnapped. Her grizzled owner, Rob (Nicolas Cage), abandons a quiet, off-grid life in the woods and sets out on a recovery mission, chauffeured by a yuppie-ish truffle buyer named Amir (Hereditary’s Alex Wolff, dressed in pale blue linen and a flashy Gucci belt). It is soon revealed that Rob is a former superstar chef.
I know that today is supposed to be all about Boris Johnson's legacy baiting proposed £12bn fix for health and social care, but I couldn't let Nic Cage's latest pass by unheralded.

Tuesday, September 07, 2021

Emma Raducanu

Emma Raducanu was brilliant last night beating Shelby Rogers (who neat the world no 1 in the last round) to reach US Open quarter-finals. Even thought she blew her opponent off the court in the end it was still dramatic stuff as she was 2-0 down and 15-40 adrift in the third game of the first set before it all started coming together. Next time out on the court - tomorrow - she will face Belinda Bencic (the Olympic champion.)

Amazon Prime's exclusive coverage of the US Open may turn out to be a great coup for them in the UK, bit I wish the match had been on a channel where my mother could watch it. 

Emma Raducanu's father is Romanian and her mother is Chinese. The nagging blather we get about race and ethnicity is largely generals fighting the last war.

Monday, September 06, 2021

Here I am, walking Primrose


I don't know why (perhaps because it is good) but The Promise is one of my favourtie singles. Also Ben (who will be 21 at the end of this month asked me (see Icons passim) to buy him Girls Aloud when he was only five.

RIP Sarah Harding. The BBC are implying she is part of the collateral damage from Covid. I wouldn't be at all surprised if that was true.
In March this year, in an extract from her memoir published in the Times, Harding wrote: "In December my doctor told me that the upcoming Christmas would probably be my last."

She said she didn't want an exact prognosis, just "comfort" and to be "pain-free".

Harding also wrote in her autobiography, Hear Me Out, about how she initially put off getting medical advice when she first found lumps under her arm in December 2019.

She eventually saw a doctor who advised her to schedule an MRI scan - but then "coronavirus hit and everything either went into slow motion or stopped altogether", she wrote.

"I was aware that I needed to get this health issue sorted, but with everything that was going on, it was tough."

She said the pain continued getting worse. "One day I woke up realising that I'd been in denial about the whole thing. Yes, there was a lockdown, yes, there was a pandemic, but it was almost as if I'd been using that as an excuse not to face up to the fact that something was very wrong."

Sunday, September 05, 2021

Taliban declare China their closest ally


The border between Afghanistan and China as at the end of the Wakhan Corridor, an odd looking thin tendril of land separating Tajikistan from Pakistan. The border itself is only 57 miles long. 

It was established in an agreement between the British and the Russians in 1895, although the Chinese and Afghans did not finally agree on it until 1963. The Chinese side is in Xinjiang where all the Uyghurs are banged up.

This arrangement is so ludicrous that it would be funny if it wasn't so mad and bound to end in tears.

Saturday, September 04, 2021

"London Bridge"

The Government and the Palace's preparations for the death of the Queen (codename "London Bridge") have been leaked to the Politico website (here) and are all over the press today.

It includes plans to change the royal family’s website to a black holding page with a short statement confirming the Queen’s death. I knew that already because it was my idea. I guess I can say that now it is no longer a secret.

Friday, September 03, 2021

Eric Clapton at Old Ruts

I stumbled on this article on Facebook the other day. It seems that Eric Clapton played - with John Mayall's Blues Breakers at the venue we now know as the Old Ruts Club.

It is well worth a read.

Mick Clarke, the author, sounds like an interesting fella.

Thursday, September 02, 2021

Speak Memory

I had a wonderful time with Mia and Ben in Corleone's the day before yesterday. Girl can eat, though she slim like twig! Respec' due be wha gwan.

Sad story; the original owner's heart went out of the business when his pizza chef was stabbed to death in Tooting. A lovely guy that chef. He would do the trick of forming pizza dough in mid-air so it looked like a frisbee. I remember him throwing them to Nigel (also no longer with us) to Nigel's unbridled delight.

Wednesday, September 01, 2021

Gimme another break

We, family and friends, had such a wonderful time what with my niece Mia stopping here on her way to Heathrow that I have nothing profound to announce today.

I can't help but think that is in everyone's best interests..