Monday, October 31, 2022

Cellophane Man

I turned on the radio at random as I was driving home from PG's yesterday. Desert Island Discs was on. Here's a link (available for 27 days).  The guest was Professor Angela Gallop, a forensic scientist.

In 1999 Angela and her team investigated the murder of Lynette White who was killed in her flat in Cardiff in 1988. Five men had been tried for her death and three - known as the ‘the Cardiff Three’ - were sent to prison although their convictions were quashed by the Court of Appeal two years later. Angela’s investigation made history when the murderer was identified and convicted through his familial DNA.

I know all about the Cardiff Three, having been in school with John Actie. Her discussion of that case is about 30 minutes in. She says that she met John after helping to identify the real killer and that she finds the "dignity with which he has dealt with the whole thing awe-inspiring."


Chapter 20 of her book When the Dogs Don't Bark: A Forensic Scientist's Search for the Truth is called Lynette White. That may be worth a read.

Sunday, October 30, 2022



‘The silences that night were spellbinding’

Anne Reid, The York Realist, Royal Court, 2003

I had no idea this was such a good play. The first time I read it, I thought: “Oh no, not another northern mother. Boring.” I was 64 and I’d never worked in London before. Peter Gill directed it so beautifully. Everything was specific in its choreography: this is the height to hold a teapot, this is how to take off and hang a coat. Whatever the action, he said if you take your time and present it, the audience will find it interesting. And he was so definite about pace: play the first scene legato, the second pizzicato – he really knew the music of a scene. The silences in the theatre that night … spellbinding! Later, we went to the Royal Court bar and as Peter walked down the stairs everyone burst into applause.

The author of a new book about the greatest openings in theatre history asks stars of stage to recall their most thrilling first nights – and the occasional disasters that befell them.

Worth reminding myself of as I am off to take himself to Waitrose.

Saturday, October 29, 2022

Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On

So. Farewell
Jerry Lee Lewis.

All you gotta do honey is kinda stand in one spot
And wiggle around just a little bit
That's what you gotta do yeah

You improvised those lyrics
When the music fell off the piano

That, at least,
Is what I half remember

And choose still to believe
Whether or not
It is true

I myself
Did this poem
In one take

The world shall not see
Our like again

EJ Thribb

Friday, October 28, 2022

Streets full of water, please advise

I am due back down in Cardiff the weekend after next. I must go and have a look at Churchill Way. This must be the uncovering of the legendary feeder canal where Dad learned to swim. He lived in Adam Street which adjoins the photo above a bit further south as I recall. 

"The canal has been paved over for over seven decades but now, with redevelopment work underway, it is set to form the heart of a huge rejuvenation of the city centre." Goshk.

Thursday, October 27, 2022

I came to Casablanca for the waters. I was misinformed.

How the Casablanca Club, a black-owned night club in Cardiff’s docklands, became a magnet for people from all walks of life, and in the 1970's and 80's, it changed people's lives.

Lots to unpack here. Noah Francis Johnson, who was in the same year as me in school, presents a BBC Radio Wales documentary about  the Casablanca Club which was in Mount Stuart Square just like Dad's office.

Your main takeaway though is that is is only available for the next 13 days so listen to it soonest by clicking here.

Let's all just meet back on the spindrift pages in a fortnight and see what we have learned.

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Tubular Bells

grand piano
reed and pipe organ
bass guitar
double-speed guitar
two slightly distorted guitars
Spanish guitar and introducing acoustic guitar
plus, tubular bells
Prodnose: What's this supposed to mean then?
Myself: It doesn't mean anything.
Prodnose: So why would anyone read it?
Myself: I don't care if anyone reads it or not.
Prodnose: So why write it then?
Myself: Write? I wouldn't call this gibberish writing.
Prodnose: I give up.
Myself: Be that as it may, I will be at my desk again at five o'clock tomorrow morning.

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Both Sides Now

There's a new BETA feature in AncestryDNA that bifurcates your matches between "Parent 1" and "Parent 2" but which is mummy and which is daddy?

Almost everyone I have bought a test for is either a child, a nephew or a niece of mine and thus related to me on "Both sides" of my family a classification that, on first glance, made me shudder until I realised that my son and his cousins are - OF COURSE! - descended from both my mother and my father.

This is where Peter rode to the rescue, his mother being my paternal grandfather's sister. Quod erat demonstrandum? He is related to me by Parent 2, who is thus daddy; similarly Parent 1 is mummy. Further my 2% Scottish is from Mum; Dad 100% bogtrotter.

Piece of cake though for the next generation to work it out. The son and heir just needs to look up which side said cousins are on, the cousins in turn - the side that I am on.

Monday, October 24, 2022


Jonnie H is about six and a half feet tall and a good all round sportsman; plays cricket in the summer, played rugby with my Ben, and - now that he is in university - has a side hustle playing at centre half for a semi-professional soccer team.

If the Uni's rowing coach heard about him, or maybe even saw him walking around the campus, and asked him to try out for a place in his eight would he be "objectifying" him.

No. I didn't think so.

Cf. Meghan Markle who  disliked ‘all looks and little substance’ part of being a ‘briefcase girl’ on Deal or No Deal.

“And by the way, I was surrounded by smart women on that stage with me, but that wasn’t the focus of why we were there and I would end up leaving with this pit in my stomach.

“Knowing that I was so much more than what was being objectified on the stage.

“I didn’t like feeling forced to be all looks and little substance. And that’s how it felt for me at the time being reduced to this specific archetype the word bimbo.”

I imagine that Steve Redgrave, widely considered to be the greatest rower of all time, winning gold medals at five successive Olympics is similarly frustrated when people want to talk about that rather than  his Wordle score.

Wordle 492 3/6




Mine from this morning. Not too shabby eh?

Sunday, October 23, 2022

The Near Room

Have you ever read Shadow Box: An Amateur in the Ring by George Plimpton?  I can't recommend it highly enough, especially this morning, for an image it contains of the “Near Room,” a place of dreadful foreboding which Muhammad Ali once described to the famed editor and journalist in striking, chilling detail:
“…a place to which, when he got in trouble in the ring, he imagined the door swung half open and inside he could see neon, orange and green lights blinking, and bats blowing trumpets and alligators playing trombones, and where he could see snakes screaming. Weird masks and actors’ clothes hung on the wall, and if he stepped across the sill and reached for them, he knew that he was committing himself to his own destruction.”
It is almost as if Ali himself had visited the Royal Standard one Saturday night.

Saturday, October 22, 2022


I am not as a rule greatly taken with Niall Ferguson. That said though, there are more of his books than I would have imagined on the shelves that surround me.

I was astounded though to hear him, on the latest episode of the Hoover Institute's GoodFellows show, rip into Oxford University's PPE degree and its entirely deleterious effect on the UK's government, ruled - as we are - by know-nothing nonentities 'qualified' with it. It sounds almost as if he might have been sitting at an adjacent table in a pub one night listening to me rant and rave along the same lines.

I have cued it up above. It starts about two and a half minutes into the show, and will only take up five minutes of your time.

He also gives a shout-out in it to a book called Chums: How a Tiny Caste of Oxford Tories Took Over the UK by Simon Kuper. That came out on Audible two days ago at the same time my latest credit appeared, so that is where the credit has gone.

Friday, October 21, 2022

omne trium perfectum

King Charles III arm in arm with Paapa as Sir Ian looks serenely on. Each of the three is a  dear personal friend of the blog. Is it too early to start speculating about Prime Minister Essiedu? What with the King's personal prerogative powers including accepting Liz's resignation and applying his seal to the appointment of the man I first met in the Antelope pub quiz?

Thespian Paapa Essiedu discusses playing the most challenging and rewarding character of his acting career; Boris Johnson.
Unless of course the rumour that Boris may throw his hat in the ring again turns out to be Paapa pulling our legs again already.

Thursday, October 20, 2022

The Sons Of Kerim Bey

 The last time I was having my hair cut (Andrews, next to CITW in the High Street) the usual two TVs mounted above the mirrors were on. One showing music videos while another, with the sound down, was tuned to a 24 hour news channel, and on that channel was more bad news from Ukraine.

The barber, a Turk, sighed. "Just opposite," he said and, of course, he is right, Turkey has a maritime border with Ukraine across the Black Sea. Half distracted, and half under his breath he talked me round his country's borders. To the East of Ukraine is Russia (maritime again), then comes Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Iran, Iraq and Syria. To the west are Bulgaria and Greece, then more sea borders;  Cyprus, Egypt, and Romania.

I can see what he was getting at I think. It can hardly be conducive to relaxation to have that bristling gang surrounding your homeland. And I am all but sure it would never, ever have occurred to me if I hadn't gone in for a short back and sides.

Wednesday, October 19, 2022

'witty, touching memories of youthful love' Jermyn Street Theatre, The Times ★★★☆☆

 PG sent the WhatsApp group a photo from the play's press night yesterday. I have also noticed that they text is published tomorrow (

There's a review in The Times this morning here. It is online but behind a paywall. I will copy and paste the text below.

Something in the Air review — witty, touching memories of youthful love

Jermyn Street Theatre, SW1

Donald Hutera

Wednesday October 19 2022, 12.01am, The Times


Leading roles for mature actors in new plays tend to spotlight those who occupy the starriest, most bankable realms of the profession. And understandably so, given that such casting is a crucial part of any big West End venue’s box-office strategy. The Fringe, on the other hand, has more leeway. For his slim yet literate and touching new memory play, now at the intimate Jermyn Street in central London, the veteran writer Peter Gill has come up with not one but two older central characters.

Alex (Christopher Godwin) and Colin (Ian Gelder) are septuagenarians living in a care home. In Gill’s largely sedentary staging of the work, co-directed by Alice Hamilton, the pair literally never leave each other’s side — both men occupy identical, institution-style wingback chairs at centre stage, and stay put throughout the entire 65 minutes of the play.

The script tips its structural hand at the start. Colin, mentally sharper and temperamentally milder than Alex, briefly comforts the latter before they nod off. Alex then suddenly yet subtly becomes more alert, slipping effortlessly into the first of many longish interior monologues. Colin has them too. Loaded with vivid, scene-setting physical detail and era-specific cultural references, these individual reveries don’t occur in real time. They are, instead, parallel recollections centred on two separate young men that Colin and Alex once loved in their youth, long before they met.

Gill’s play is not just a two-hander, but a cross-generational ensemble piece — modest yet sophisticated, rather than sentimental, and sometimes acerbically witty. The young men (played by James Schofield and Sam Thorpe-Spinks) conjured by the respective memories Alex and Colin materialise either side of the stage; as talking ghosts from the past, they serve their purpose. There are also two present-day visitors: Alex’s moody, homophobic son (Andrew Woodall) and Colin’s understanding niece (Claire Price, warmly sympathetic without being saintly).

The chamber-style musical structure of Gill’s writing keeps contrivance at bay. What arises from all the talk — past and present — may not be theatrical dynamite, but I suspect that it was never meant to be. Gill seems to be after something more delicate and personal, laced with ambiguity and longing — even though past tense.

The production also benefits from being pinned to the very deft and dovetailing interpretations of Alex and Colin by Godwin and Gelder. Together with Gill, they’re shining a light on experiences, feelings and desires embedded in queer history, while underlining the value of companionship of any kind.

Ends Nov 12.

Tuesday, October 18, 2022

In dreams

The son and heir told me over the weekend that he had had a dream in which I, and someone he works with called Steve, jumped out of a plane together, parachuted, and landed next to him in a field to wish him a happy birthday.

I was rather taken with this until I made the mistake of mentioning it to the Gillster, a man who has dropped more money than I will ever earn on cod-Freudian shysters.

Was there a hint of a twinkle in his eye, when he attributed it to abandonment issues? I feckin' hope so.


“Abandonment issues” is an informal term that describes a strong fear of losing loved ones or of them leaving a relationship. It is a form of anxiety that can affect relationships throughout life.

“Abandonment issues” is not a distinct diagnosis. As such, it can refer to many things.

Fear of abandonment can come from an anxious attachment style or early childhood trauma. It is also a feature of some mental health conditions, such as borderline personality disorder (BPD).

Gimme Chrissie Hynde over Sigmund F any day of the week.

Monday, October 17, 2022

My New Best Song

I pick up PG early each Sunday morning. We go to Waitrose and then to the grocers so we are usually settled down in the Plum Cafe in Munster Road over a flat white and a weak cappuccino before ten. People watching is one of my bestest hobbies and I am very, very nosy. Thus courting couples, who in all honesty likely weren't courting before Saturday, tend to catch my eye and my ears the morning after the night before. There was a wonderful example yesterday; an exquisite, delicate, porcelain creature with a raw-boned Yank who was entirely aware he was punching well above his weight. He was just jabbering, couldn't shut up for even two minutes in case there would be ..... silence. He'd seen a film recently apparently. It had a lot of scenes and they all came one after the other. My heart went out to him, the lovable doofus. At least he was there, manning up and taking one for the team. 

Any roads, my mental soundtrack was Saturdays are the Greatest by Kristina Train which I imagine being sung more in sorrow than in anger on a Sunday morning. The genius of the arrangement is to inject a melodramatic Ennio Morricone spaghetti western theme into a sombre ballad. Thanks for listening.

Sunday, October 16, 2022

Flex Rumblecrunch: also known as Sean Burke

I don't know how closely you follow CAGEMATCH, the internet wrestling database, but I have stumbled upon a page on it that made my day.

I vaguely remembered that Sean Burke, one of my oldest friends, got a shout out from the OED when the Welsh word cwtch was added, and indeed I was right. Google led me to this:


Our job is to record the language. And we found the word cwtch was turning up more and more.

Part of the reason is there has been a spate of writing which recognises Welsh-English as a legitimate dialect, such as Sean Burke.

Quite so. But there's more. An earlier, less perfectly honed query led me to this page.

Career Data
Singles Wrestler (2010 - 2018)
Tag Team Wrestler (2013 - 2017)
Beginning of in-ring career:
End of in-ring career:
In-ring experience:
8 years
Wrestling style:
"The Supreme Talent"
Signature moves:
Elevator Slide
Uranage Slam
Flying Shoulder Tackle Spear
Powerslam Iron Claw
Mate, I have known you since infant school, but that Sean Burke is gone from me now. Henceforth you can be nothing but Flex Rumblecrunch.

Saturday, October 15, 2022

Oh well... Life goes on

Among my new poems, torn from the front pages, is this chilling indictment of bourgeois hypocrisy; wrapped almost tight enough itself to throttle, yet still daring to contend - scarce half awake - with the distant Platonic echo, throb, challenge and warning of rigorous intellectual self-examination

Kwasi Kwarteng

Cheng, deng, dreng, eng,

Seng, sheng, spreng, streng,


*Tianducheng (Chinese: 天都城), also called Sky City, is a housing estate in Xingqiao Subdistrict, Linping District, Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, China that imitates many design features of Paris.

Friday, October 14, 2022

Canedo Attitude

I have written before (passim) of getting into the habit of lingering over a £3 glass of red and a good book at Canedo's early in the evening before it closes at half past seven.

There's a framed shirt from Callum Hudson-Odoi on the wall towards the back. A television is usually flickering, tuned to a Portuguese channel, in the corner. The day before yesterday it was previewing the FC Porto Champion's League game away at Bayer Leverkusen that was due to start at eight. I mentioned to the owner that Callum would probably be playing as he is on loan at Leverkusen from Chelsea, mentioning that I knew him because he was in school with Ben. We had a little chat, in the course of which he mentioned that Raheem Sterling's family lived briefly in Colliers Wood (Not Tooting! he stressed) when they first arrived in England from Jamaica.

I do hope that this is true. Callum replaced Sterling when he came on around the seventieth minute for his first senior England cap. Wouldn't it be great if it was two local lads, for all that I think Sterling was largely brought up in Neasden?

Another small reflection, there was a boy sitting quietly inside on his own at a small table. He looked like he was doing his homework. Just before seven, a woman I took to be his mother came in, was warmly greeted by the staff, and picked him up. I've noticed it before. Not often or regularly but now and then. it gives me a warm feeling. Maybe she is raising him on her own and something she must deal with comes up occasionally. Surely sitting safe and warm, surrounded by familiar people is better than being left alone in a flat. Community: the condition of sharing or having certain attitudes and interests in common.

Thursday, October 13, 2022

Don’t think, feel…

Thursday is today, so we are all going tonight. That's Peter and Alice in the photo above.

I think I did him the power of good on Sunday when he was trying to explain his anxieties about the next day's "tech rehearsal" by the, deceptively simple, expedient of not having the faintest idea what he was talking about. Phrases like "sight lines" and "the prompt side" went flying over my head. When he realized I had no clue if upstage meant the front or the back, he gave up in frustration and pretended to look at his phone. I like to think of it as 'taking his mind off things.' That I am to PG, something along the lines what one of Prince Harry's emotional support dogs is to the second, but probably not the last, Mr Meghan Markle.

Officially tonight is the first preview so I probably won't comment again until I can link to the reviews after the official opening. That is unlikely to be before next week I guess.

In a not unrelated development, I am wondering about going to see TROUBLE IN BUTETOWN in the Donmar next February. Cardiff innit.

Wednesday, October 12, 2022


Nick Draper is joined by Spike Godding and Rob Boyce to discuss the latest issues around Plough Lane, including the departure of Joe Palmer as Chief Executive, and the daft surrender of a two-goal lead at home to Doncaster. Why did Palmer leave, and why could we not see out a first win in 14 games?
Spike and his niece Kara when I popped in to CITW for a flat white on Saturday morning. Greetings were exchanged and fat was chewed. Later when I was in the Standard for the Arsenal Liverpool game, I was told he had been invited to the Emirates on corporate hospitality. The Gunners wanted to pick his brains it seems about the Wimbledon AFC podcast with which he is involved. I had been peripherally aware of that before but "never paid it no mind." The YouTube embed above is an example of it. Truth be told I haven't listened to it yet. A blip on the radar worth investigating though I would suggest.

Apple, Spotify, YouTube and Website boxes ticked. They don't seem to be messing about.

Tuesday, October 11, 2022

whoever looks for a friend without imperfections, will never find what he seeks

Opened my eyes this morning with a thought I want to take for a walk. It struck me that the wokery, deplatforming and cancelling that the right so love to decry, is not so far from the sanctions and boycotts they love to impose.

I'm thinking of Iran initially, the most sanctioned country in the world until it was surpassed by Russia following its invasion of Ukraine. "A new generation of internet-savvy youth are refusing to be silenced in their fight against Iran’s theocratic, repressive government," intones Lunchtime O'Booze, our middle-aged male correspondent. 

Dressed like a punk-rocker in her dark make-up and clothes, Nika Shakarami’s high voice rang out on the streets of Iran as she was filmed singing to her fellow protesters.

Just days later, her broken body was secretly buried by security forces far from her village: the latest victim of Tehran’s brutal crackdown on youngsters demanding basic human rights.

Nika, 16, was one among thousands of brave schoolgirls who have cast off their headscarves, given portraits of the Supreme Leader the middle finger and chased Iranian officials out of their playgrounds. 

Take a step back. Take a breath. Don't the three paragraphs above sound rather prurient? What practical things are we doing to help or support these girls? You know the answer. We aren't doing any. Over the years, sanctions have taken a serious toll on Iran's economy and society. Who is to say they haven't taken a similar toll on individuals among the good people of Iran's will, fortitude and initiative? That discontent would not have swelled earlier in a healthier, less bloody incarnation if the rest of the world hadn't pretended to take the moral high ground by averting its eyes.

Remember soft power? The ability to co-opt rather than coerce; shaping the preferences of others through appeal and attraction. If you can reconcile it with boycotts you're a better man - or woman or mermaid - than I am.

Don't even get me started on Russia.

Monday, October 10, 2022

music hath charms to soothe the savage breast

I popped out to Coffee in the Wood on Saturday morning, to get a flat white on board before our regular 10:30 Skype chat with mum. Andrew of the Old Street Big Band was there along with his wife is Gemma and daughter Lara, neither of whom I recall meeting before. (Little Lara was eating a chocolate croissant that was wider than her jaw, and eating it sideways.  She looked like the Joker from Batman after a night on the tiles by the time she had finished. I was utterly beguiled.)

Muso-chat between me and A ensued. I told him about the Cigar Box Guitar Build and Play Workshop John and I are going on in November (passim) and he tipped me the wink about the video above. (It's actually a BBC production, but "this programme is not currently available on BBC iPlayer." Why not?)

I was telling him a daft story about tuning my guitar to the hum of the fridge, but couldn't remember if it was closer to a B or a G so I just pulled B out of the air.

"Concert A is 440 Hz" he mused, "so 55 Hz will be an A as well. Our electricity current frequency is 50 Hz, which means, surely that fridge hum is closer to a G (a bit sharp)."

Absolutely right! I had got confused with the USA's 60 Hz supply. That is not a person in 10,000 who would have known. I just happened to have opened my big mouth in front of that one in ten thousand.

Music also came up in our chat with Mum. Charlotte Church has been in the news lately, which reminded me of a family legend: to wit that Mr Carter - my sister Caroline's piano and voice teacher - after a long and storied career that included gigging with Django Reinhardt, decided to cut down from two girl students to one and chose Caroline over Charlotte. (I was long gone by then, Caroline being 19 years younger than me. Catholics eh?). Apparently it is true.

Sunday, October 09, 2022

Bringing Hard Back

I have finished Anthony Sattin's 'Nomads: the wanderers who shaped our world' (passim). Got in the habit of walking down to the Canedo Cafe at the end of the road of an early evening and reading twenty or thirty pages over a glass of red. So much more satisfying than Kindle in fact that I have splashed out on another hardback, 'Roland in Moonlight' by David Bentley Hart. A physical book, red wine, and cheese of an evening perhaps? Living for pleasure alone!

Nomads sat very well with my current interests. It begins and ends in Iran's Zagros Mountains; topped and tailed with the author encountering and meditating on the Bakhtari tribe's annual migration. Between this alpha and omega though it is a real page turner. He casts his net so wide that one never knows what the next paragraph may bring. This is praise not criticism. For example, I was genuinely staggered to discover that the quagmire that was the Scythian campaign of Persia's Darius I, was mostly fought in what is now called ........ Ukraine. The parallels with 2022's Putin/Zelensky standoff are uncanny.

Page 300:

Then, out of nowhere: 'Do you know my name comes from our Shahnameh?'

Shahnameh ... Ferdowsi's great poem of Persian and Zoroastrian history is still as fresh and relevant as when it was composed a thousand years ago. Its 50,000 couplets start at the dawn of time and end with the Arab conquest, moving from the mythical to the heroic to the historic. Shahnameh, the Book of Kings, was an attempt to preserve the culture of a Persian world that had been overwhelmed by Arabs, Turks and by Islam. It was an act of setting down intended to preserve the language, culture and history of nomadic Zoroastrian Persia. In the Shahnameh, Fereydun is the heroic king who frees Iran from a foreign power and stands as an archetype for the strong, just ruler. Siyavash is a tragic prince of such extraordinary beauty that his face blazes like a planet and whoever sees it falls in love with him. Other great heroes none greater nor more heroic than Rostom dance through the epic couplets as they do through the lives and imagination of Bakhtiari, who are often mourned after death with a full recitation of Ferdowsi's masterpiece.

Which is where we came in, having found many tie ins to the Shahnameh in the 1,001 Nights; up to the six hundred and eighty oddth story now. Also Robert Irwin (passim) is name-checked in Sattin's book for having read and commented on a draft.

Saturday, October 08, 2022

Cute Anon

Words fail me. They do not however, fail Carlos Greaves at McSweeney's. I am not joking this is a real thing backed by Peter Thiel (passim).
I like to think I’m a pretty normal, conservative-leaning guy who believes LGBT people are possessed by Satan, all abortions should be punishable by public stoning, and vaccines were invented by Jews to make men’s foreskins fall off so that all guys with penises will be circumcised and forced to convert to Judaism. You know, just center-of-the-road right-wing stuff.

But I’ve always had a hard time meeting women on dating apps, maybe because liberal women have been brainwashed by Queer Eye to believe that men should be able to clear the unrealistically high bar of having the basic ability to regulate their emotions and be able to make a decent omelet.

So when I heard about a new dating app called The Right Stuff, aimed at helping conservatives meet each other (and thus out-procreate the minorities trying to replace us), you can imagine how excited I was to meet the Q to my Anon. But then I opened the app and hardly saw any women, and I couldn’t help but wonder: Where are all the alt-right, anti-choice, male-subservient women on this dating app?

Look, I’m not a picky guy. All I’m looking for is a woman who is intelligent, funny, and attractive, who believes God created women to help men with stuff they’re naturally bad at, like empathy, and who enjoys shooting wild animals from a helicopter. So where are the millions of women I imagine fit that exact description if not on this app?

It’s not like my political views are that out there. I just happen to subscribe to the traditional belief that women belong in three places: the home, the home goods section of HomeGoods, and Home Depot (but only the paint department, because the rest of the store is strictly guy territory). So it’s strange that every time I sign into this app, the only people I see are like-minded guys and a woman who claims to be Marjorie Taylor Greene’s cute younger sister, but who I’m pretty sure is a sexbot. Is it really that difficult to find a woman whose only ambitions in life are to gratify me sexually at my whim, be a vessel for my offspring, and then die? Is that so much to ask?

I want what everyone else in life wants: someone to wake up in the morning next to, someone to bathe and spoon-feed me when I’m old (and also when I’m young and middle-aged), and someone to hold my hand while we commit heinous acts of domestic terrorism against people whose beliefs don’t align perfectly with ours. But I guess some women would rather be left alone to snuggle under a warm blanket while sipping mulled cider, watching Gilmore Girls, and petting their cat. Alas, some people just choose to act against their own best interests.

I’ve always subscribed to that age-old conservative aphorism “a wife is like a mother who’s your same age.” Someday I hope to meet a woman who wants to be my wife-mother, which I would think would be every woman’s dream.

In the meantime, I guess I’ll go back to scrolling Tinder and Hinge, since The Right Stuff is mostly just ads for camo gaiters and dick pills. I also have to respond to the email I got from the FBI. Apparently bragging about pepper spraying women police officers on January 6 isn’t the pickup line I thought it would be.

Friday, October 07, 2022

The best lack all conviction

Do you remember that last time I was down in Cardiff I told you that back in June I found myself beginning to suspect that I personally knew someone who was better informed on any specific hot button issue than any member of the dreary commentariat? And that I had determined to start gathering these exemplars together over the months and years into my own new Kitchen Cabinet?

Consider this a formal invitation to join as the fourth member. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, will be German idealism, phenomenology, existentialism (including its antecedents; Kierkegaard, Nietzsche etc.), hermeneutics, structuralism, post-structuralism, and deconstruction.

As always, should you or any of your KC Force be caught or killed, I will disavow any knowledge of your actions. This notion will self-destruct in ten seconds. Good luck.

Result! The author of:

  • The Death and Return of the Author: Criticism and Subjectivity in Barthes, Foucault and Derrida
  • Authorship from Plato to the Postmodern: A Reader
  • The Ethics of Writing: Authorship and Legacy in Plato and Nietzsche

is signed up for Team NickyB.

Piers Morgan must be quaking in his boots.

Thursday, October 06, 2022

In which I embrace a meme

What can I tell you? Labour Party Graphic Designers (@LabourDesign) have had me weeping with laughter all through Conference this week.

Wednesday, October 05, 2022

Four Fags From Fulham

Channel surfing last night, I was absolutely astonished to see Laurence Fox interviewing Donald Trump. It is true that I was vaguely aware that Fox had taken over the Nigel Farage show on GB News but for all that the Donald was just on audio rather than video, it does seem like quite a coup.

Also, Fox seemed quite comfortable and articulate running an hour's TV. (Granted I only actually watched some of it.) I had always assumed due to the media coverage he gets that he was a spoiled half-wit. More fool me it would seem.

Here are some photos of rehearsals for PG's new play. He walks up to the Riverside from his flat to direct them along with Alice. The connection is tenuous, but I am pretty sure I remember him telling me that he thought Laurence Fox would have been good in one of the roles.

Tuesday, October 04, 2022

Annus Horribilis (after Larkin)

The COVID pandemic began
In March twenty twenty
(Think of my boy Ben and me)-
Who both had just crossed the "Severn Bridge" span
Wales playing Scotland you see.

Up to then there hadn't been
A hint of cancelling
Our internationalling
Those voided tickets; 2:15
Soon spread to everything.

Monday, October 03, 2022

Megan Vegan

Megan will be back this weekend and has put in another order for the burritos I have have been making for her to take to college since February (passim). I though that was quick work, I only delivered the last batch a fortnight or so ago, but it seems her flatmates and friends have developed a taste for them as well. I am secretly flattered and pleased as punch. 

There is a caveat though, now that the client list is longer we need a vegan option. I had to pop down the little local Co-op this morning, so I checked the list of ingredients on the tortilla wraps. No animal products to that is good to go.

The other things I will need to replace in my original recipe are pulled pork and cheese. I don't know anything about vegetarian cheese but I imagine sourcing it is reasonably straightforward*. Pulled vegan jack-fruit will take the place of the pork. Here's a recipe from BBC Good Food.

*Violife original flavour grated

Sunday, October 02, 2022

Holy Socks

Pottering about in the kitchen, back in Cardiff in number 44 yesterday I came across a pristine pair of Holy Socks: Faith on your feet® unsullied in their packaging, packaging which is in turn wrapped in cellophane.

The particular model/brand/line I have is The Angel (size 6-11). The picture on the right is from the website. My pair is black, but that colour appears to be sold out,

The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favoured! The Lord is with you.”

This quite frankly is enough for me to be dealing with today what with everything else that is going on in my life.

Saturday, October 01, 2022

From the analyst's couch

Regular readers will know (passim) that I am currently working my way through 'Nomads: The Wanderers Who Shaped Our World' by Anthony Sattin.

Early on, in a discussion of the Phoenicians he mentions that they actually did practice child sacrifice.

This got me thinking. The Phoenicians were Canaanites. Traders and sailors, their land was the coast of what today we might call the Levant, adjacent to, if not overlapping, Israel.

It seems to me that if the sacrifice of a son was a socially sanctioned practice in a shared culture, this casts an entirely different light on the story of Abraham and Isaac in Genesis. Rather than an incomprehensibly cruel deity demanding the life of Abraham's son, then arbitrarily and capriciously changing His mind, it becomes a divine warning against the practice. More like your Dad putting you off fags by making you smoke the whole pack one after another because he caught you sparking up a crafty prepubescent ciggie.

I cannot explain why such reflections occurred to me on the day of the son and heir's twenty second birthday. Not even Jordan Peterson could. At least I hope not.