Wednesday, 31 October 2012


Paxman gets owned by Conrad Black.

Sunday, 28 October 2012


Friday, 26 October 2012

"If you were totally content, you would also be totally painless. The body would be utterly free of tension, as all mental tension repeats itself in the body, all bodily tension being a sign of attachment elsewhere, rather than absorption in the perfection of the present.
Thus, in normal life, cultivate awareness of tension. Awareness and acceptance of tension is its own release. You cannot release from it by resisting it, as that adds rather than diminishes tension. And so begins the great paradoxical education - the acceptance of everything."

Thursday, 25 October 2012


Sometimes you see something and just go WOW.

That's what happened for me when I saw James Mylne's work,which he does using only a bic ballpoint:

Wednesday, 24 October 2012


Little Missus has been on a school trip.

"How did you get on?" I ask.

"Well, first we went on the bus and then we all had to put on our high viz bibs."

"Why did you have to put your high viz bibs on?"

"So we can't get lost."

"But if all the other kids have high viz bibs on too, how will they find you?"

"I did get a little bit lost."


IS IT ME.....?

On the way home the other day, I was listening to a Radio 4 programme. It was very interesting about a lady who has started a website called Everyday Sexism to catalogue sexist incidents. Good idea, I thought, and when I got back, I checked it out - Now, wouldn't sexism be defined as discrimination on the grounds of gender? And if so, isn't this site, with its wording thus :
"The Everyday Sexism Project exists to catalogue instances of sexism experienced by women on a day to day basis. They might be serious or minor, outrageously offensive or so niggling and normalised that you don't even feel able to protest. Say as much or as little as you like, use your real name or a pseudonym - it's up to you. By sharing your story you're showing the world that sexism does exist, it is faced by women everyday and it is a valid problem to discuss"

Isn't that actually sexist? Or am I just being blinded by my own sexism? Troubling.
A similar thing happened a couple of years ago when I and a few friends did a charity cycling gig in France. There were a couple of hundred participants, all in teams of four. At the end of the three day event, there was a prize giving. As an unexpected extra, not arranged by the organisers, but impromptu, one of the teams, a team of four women with the team name REAR VIEW presented a special prize for the shapeliest male arse, clad in cycling shorts during the event. Much general hilarity. But I was furious, and went over to their team leader and said "hang on a minute, what you've just done is terribly sexist. Just imagine if we'd had a team called EYES FRONT and we'd given out a prize for the best pair of tits in a cycling vest. You'd have been outraged." Now. amazingly to me, this led to a "scene" as the ladies didn't really take my comments to heart, accusing me of having "no sense of humour". So if, each time we passed each other on the road I'd called out "great arse, luv..." I guess said ladies would have roared and wobbled with the hilarity of it. Troubling.
My mate Bobski and I are busy exchanging scurillous Jimmy Savile jokes in the light of the current scandal surrounding him. I'm no Jimmy Savile fan. In fact, the reverse. It has been so ever since a mate of mine was laid up in Leeds General Infirmary, back in 1980. I went to visit him, and it so happened that Jimmy Savile was on duty as a hospital porter that day, to wide acclaim from most of the patients. "Good ol' Jimmy" they cried out, and similar. Now Jimmy had actually recruited some help in his portering activities on this particular day, in the form of his fellow all in wrestler, Big Daddy. Jimmy opened the door to the side ward which housed my friend, lying in traction, and Big Daddy stepped in, draped in a Union Jack. He raised his arms to take our applause. My friend lifted himself as far as traction allowed, and said emphatically, "fuck off, twat." Big Daddy looked a tad crestfallen at this unexpected response, turned, and wafted off, a very large parcel, wrapped in Union flag, down the hospital corridor.
As I say, I'm no fan. But I'm completely puzzled at the idea that there should be a police investigation into his alleged kiddy fiddling. Vile though this may have been, there can be no prospect of prosecuting him, so isn't a police investigation simply a monumental waste of public money? I understand that BBC, Dept of Health etc might want their investigations, and indeed need them both to "learn lessons" and to defend themselves against the possible claims bonanza which might result from all of the hoo haa. But again, has commonsense been lost in the case of the police?
Or, again, is it me? Have I, as I get older, simply been left behind in a time warp where commonsense once was, but its now moved on to a more advanced, complex, subtle, sustainable version of itself which I've failed to comprehend? You may think I'm being rhetorical. I'm not. I genuinely do wonder, and I genuinely do turn that wondering into an introspective enquiry when I seem so often to butt up against these things. It is, as I said, troubling

Monday, 15 October 2012


There you are, on a Monday morning, feeling the world is a dull, grey nonsensical kind of place, and along comes Felix Baumgartner to lift the spirits and remind us that adventure is still alive.

What touches me most in this is not only the enormous adventurous acheivement, but also the engagement of Joe Kittinger, the former record holder, as part of the team to break his own record.

Many congratulations to the RedBull team for this amazing endeavour.

Sunday, 7 October 2012


Saturday, 6 October 2012


Think I'd better get me a nice staid commuter bike.

Like this(watch on fullscreen for best effect):


Looks like my old bike is back on the market:

And this is what its like to ride:

Friday, 5 October 2012


London. Munich. There you are, two cities. Enough about that as I only wanted them for the title.
The Missus has a new car, one of Bavaria's finest. Oops, Munich again.
She kindly asked my advice when buying it, though my approach to car buying is probably not what you'd call on for, shall we say, sage counsel.
This is because it is all heart, and very little head.
Whereas the car in the purchase decision is all head. It delivers complete commonsense performance ratios. If it was a spreadsheet it would add up. Down, and across. It does at least twice, and maybe even three times the miles to the gallon that the Rangie does. It has, somewhere in its immaculate engineering, a computer which connects up all the gadgets you own and makes them usable on the move. It has a pristine interior, rather like a just cleaned meeting room. It has seven gears, and, if it didn't think it would be just too interesting, it would probably have more. It has a virtually silent engine so that you and your colleagues can have a fascinating conversation about efficiency ratios or usage patterns or things involving square meters. Its interior is beige. Come to think of it, its engine is beige. Or, more likely, Lufthansa grey.
If the car had a personality (which it doesn't) it would be a that of a robot, without a personality. It would collect stamps, only all the same stamp. It would speak a slightly German accented EuroEnglish (which its satnav does). It would concern itself with oral hygiene and body mass indices. It would not eat fat. It would say things like "I like you very much" and "hello". It would pretend to like music, so as not to be uncool. Its top button would be done up. It would know the employee handbook, and be able to refer to it.
By contrast, the Missus's beloved book keeper turned up at our place with quite a different proposition - a fin de siecle Jag V8. I looked at it goggle eyed, much as I might look at a well endowed gal who'd just turned up naked. I think my first word about it was "phwoar"!
"I'd love to have a go in that," I said, and amazed, found the keys thrust into my hand.
Entering the Jag is entering a world apart. A world no longer quite available. A world with much to do with the Dorchester, and the Reform Club. Except the Jag wouldn't have had any truck with signing the 1832 Act, and would very probably have been a sitting MP in one of the Rotten Boroughs with full seigneurial rights. The seat certainly felt as though it had been occupied for centuries, generations by venerable aristocratic behinds. I felt instantly privileged to sit there. I almost made a maiden speech. But I was cut short by the silken roar of the V8. I drove the car sedately for ten miles, savouring the unspeakable power which, if I had been crass enough to do so, I could have unleashed under my right foot. I thought the walnut panels would probably have hidden bookcases. Most certainly, hidden decanters. Every second in it was a pleasure. If I owned one, I'd never listen to the radio, never answer a phone call. That car was foie gras, on wheels. It was like going to bed with all the barmaids at your local all at once, with a fine port and a cigar to round it all off. I only wish I had been wearing a toga, and a laurel wreath to honour the moment of power and glory. Instead, I inherited a deep sense of contentment and satisfaction, as I followed the silver prowling beast on the bonnet through the local lanes, feeling that I should in fact be heading for Westminster, and the corridors of power. Oops, London. (So maybe it was a tale of two cities).
I emerged at a loss for verbal superlatives. My maiden speech in the house waas a short one.
"Now that," I said, not knowing what else to say, "IS a car."