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Monday: Late again,today, he'd be in trouble though he'd say he was sorry
 

 

Can You Live Without a Phone?

30th June

 

Can You Live Without a Phone?

 

I have done for just over a week and I haven't really missed it.  Ok, I had the feeling I was missing something at the weekend (I hadn't) and it would have been easier to arrange today's meeting if I'd had access to my contacts but on the whole I haven't needed it.

 

My new phone arrived today and it's a lot better than the old one even if it is a bit crappy by today's standards.  As a result I've taken my first selfie.  This is it.

 

When did I get so old?

 

Boris

29th June

 

Boris has turned up on PornHub.  Look at the caption (apologies for the sweariness)..

 

 

I've been watching some of the US comedy programs and it's interesting some of the names they give him

A racist teapot

A shaved Orang Utan with Owen Wilson's hair

Stodgy mashed potato in a too big suit

And my favourite

Business casual Shrek

That's our next Prime Minister they're talking about.  He has enough friends to get him on the ticket and he's still popular with the Tory Party members.  He'll walk it.

 

 

Abject.

28th June

 

As I drove down the hill towards work a couple of vehicles flashed me.  I stopped and got out of the car and had a look round to see if I could see what was wrong.  There was nothing obvious, but then I spotted it.

 

I still had my England flags on.

 

How could I? After a performance like that?

 

The word I've heard most is abject and in some ways it was.  Inept is probably a better word.  We knew they'd got a long throw in their toolkit, how did we defend against it?  We didn't.  When Iceland went 2-0 up we were clueless.  And that second goal?  Joe-bloody-Hart.  I don't care how good his hair is, he's had a shocker.

 

I watched the Spain failure at work and came home in time to go up to the pub, but I fell asleep with my tea on my lap.  Glad I did.  I turned it off after an hour.

 

Out of Europe again.

 

Oh well.

 

Saddest Stat

27th June

 

Some facts and figures from Brexit

48% in, 52% out.

S&P and Fitch downgrade UK from AAA to AA

Pound hits new 31-year low

FTSE 250 drops 11.4%, worst drop ever

FTSE 350 surrenders £140bn in Brexit aftermath

All of these things are genuinely sad, but the saddest stat is this:

In the last two days, hate crime has risen by 57%

FFS.

 

Kev's Birthday

26th June

 

My friend Kevan was 60 last week.  His sister and brother-in-law held a birthday party for him.  It was a barbeque.  Fortunately much of their garden is covered by a xx so the deployment of a couple of hastily purchased tarpaulins meant it still went ahead.

 

There have been a number of times in the past year when  though t Kev wouldn't make sixty.  He's oesophageal cancer which is particularly nasty.  He's had to had major surgery, but during the chemo therapy he had a number of heart attacks and wasn't expected to survive.  These heart attacks postponed the operation and suspended the chemo.

 

But he's made it to sixty.

 

I have a recurring dream where I've been on holiday and not done everything I wanted.  I haven't even got time to pack.  You don't need a Technicolour Dreamcoat to guess what that means.  When I was younger I had so many ambitions but cancer changed all that.  My ambition came to be here and just let it wash over me.

 

There have been many times in the past year that I thought I wouldn't make sixty and if Kev can do it, maybe, just maybe so can I.

 

X-Men Apocalypse

25th June

 

I needed to get out so I went to the cinema.

 

I've never been a big fan if the X-Men comics and the films my opinion of the films has suffered as a result.  Having said that, the first film was something of a revelation.  It was the first big budget effects laden super-hero movie.  It showed what could be done.  Although not part of the MCU, there would be no MCU without it.

 

The films all ahve that sort of second class feel.  X-Men 2 wasn't too bad and the Wolverine films were a bit, well, dull (having said that, this film really comes alive when Wolfie turns up).  First class was perfectly enjoyable and although a bit of a mess Days of Future Past kept me interested.  Apocalypse ws in the same vein.

 

It's become de rigueur to have great landmarks destroyed by your super villains and this is no different.  It also has the same problem as the rest of the MCU that you know the good guys are going to win.  Brian Singer once challenged a writer to write something he couldn't film for £1M a minute and it's pushing this boundary that has made the films have gone on they've become more and more spectacular, it is true that the only limitation of the human imagination.

 

But we may have met that limit.  Superhero films seem to offer nothing new, there's no new WOW!!! moments.  But this film rolled along nicely, was well paced and had coherent and consistent story, even if I couldn't work out why whats-his-name didn't say he was Magneto's sone and how many times can Magneto change his bloody mind?

 

No Surprise

24th June

 

It's no surprise that we're out of Europe.

 

I watched the first hour of coverage and despite Farage appearing to concede (he clearly had the London results and no other) I was convinced we were out.  I went to bed but couldn't sleep.  I woke up roughly every hour.  It meant I was awake for the Sunderland result and the Sheffield.  Sheffield's result was the death knell.

 

I genuinely believe that most people didn't understand what they were voting for.  They saw it as some sort of rebellion against the political classes.  They were unhappy about something and they wanted to vote against something.

 

The one thing they could agree with was there are too many foreigners and were not willing to accept the truth that there aren't.  This single issue got many people to the polls and rampant xenophobia (I won't call it racism) won the day.

 

The press were almost universally Brexit.  The BBC's attempt at balance was pitiful arguing they were being neutral but actually following the press (the press preview was particularly embarrassing).  With 90% of MPs, politicians, economists, business leaders and the rest of the world pointing out how stupid Brexit was surely they should have had 90% of the coverage.  Constant references to Project Fear when really it was Project Truth helped no-one.

 

The pound dropped 31% on the news that we were out.  Now we'll find of whether it was Project Fear or not.

 

The Empath

23rd June

 

This was one of the BBC banned episodes.  They said they banned it because of the scenes of sadism and torture but in reality it was because it wasn't very good.  I was once told, by someone from the BBC that the BBC bought in batches of 25 which meant they had to drop four episodes over the run and whole, they picked the weakest episodes.

 

The episode was written by a fan and it shows.  It has the that feeling of wish fulfilment fantasy.  Quiet pretty (but not beautiful) girl who has no real friends saves Captain Kirk and he fall in love with her.  It's really a reissue of The Cage, scientists from a doomed civilisation carry out an experiment on the ships crew sending an attractive woman who may be their civilisations only hope.  Everything else seems recycled too, you keep seeing props and bits from other episodes.  The minimalist set doesn't really work, it looks cheap rather than alien.  In fact, the whole thing just feels cheap.

 

On the plus side, the Vian masks are quite nice and there's more of Bones than your standard episode, but not an episode I choose to watch especially not if I'm feeling down.

 

Last Post

22nd June

 

Three incidents today say a lot.

The leaders of the car industry present a carefully reasoned argument on why Brexit will devastate the industry.  For balance the news shows a North London Car Dealer saying the equivalent "Bog Off Brussels".

The papers report that the Queen asked her guests to give her three good reasons for staying in Europe.  They don't report that every single person at the table did (and more).

50 if the top one hundred companies show why Britain is doomed without the EU.  For balance the BBC has James Dyson saying we should have faith in ourselves.

This was banned until after the vote.  It's fitting that it's my last post before voting.  Says it all really.

 

 

 

0-0 Bore (not really)

21st June

 

I put on an England shirt (away 2002) and watched this match at home with a pile of marking and a bottle of brandy.  Guess which I did most of?

 

How did we not win?

 

It was one of those games where you could just see Slovakia scoring.  They were never in it but we just couldn't score.  I've seen Wednesday matches like this and I know how they end.  After an hour the best I could hope for was a 0-0 draw but the commentator said "They're not going to leave it until the 92nd minute are they?" and I was reassured but spent the rest of the match shouting "Somebody score!" and watched through my fingers.

 

After 80 minutes I went and did some displacement exercises but it did nothing for my nerves.

 

Afterwards I thought how good it was that I still care enough to be nervous even if I am sat on my own in my pants and England shirt with bottle of brandy.  Maybe it was the bottle of brandy.

 

But we're through.

 

So it's second place and a match on a Monday night in Nice.   Definitely going to the pub for that one.

 

Also, in one of the ad breaks I saw an Trailer for Star Trek Beyond.  I didn't think it was the best use of their marketing budget.  In the Venn Diagram of people who like football and people who like Star Trek, I'm the little red shirted bit in the middle.

 

27 Club

20th June

 

People who know nothing about statistics have pointed out that a large number of celebrities have died aged 27.  The list includes Brian Jones from the Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, The Doors' Jim Morrison, Kurt Cobain and Jade Goody.

 

And now Anton Yelchin.

 

Anton first came to my attention in a short report of his audition for the role of Chekov.  After the interview, the casting director had started taking Yelchin round the lot asking him to say nuclear vessels to everyone he met.  He said he had no idea why everyone he met smiled or laughed but he knew he'd got the job.

 

And he did a good job.  Faults in the role were in its writing, not in his performance and he was a happy addition to the crew. He died a month before Beyond comes out which I'm sure will be lasting tribute.

 

 

 

Cucumber

19th June

 

Yesterday, I made a terrible mistake.

I bought two cucumbers.

In itself, that's not a major error, but what I did with the cucumber after was.

Stop smirking.

 

When I was a lot younger we used to go to Grandma's on a Saturday for tea.  She used to always do a tin of sockaye (salmon) and a tin of chunks (tuna).  If she'd been to Castle Market that day my Granddad would dress a crab (this does not involve little crustacean dresses).  The night before she would fill a a bowl with vinegar and add sliced cucumber and  onion.

It's scrummy.

 

So when I found myself with I surfeit of vinegar I reached for the pickle bottle.

 

It was scrummy.

But it gave me almost terminal indigestion.

 

I tried everything.  My drug of choice in this situations is Alka Seltzer but that just made me burp.  Gaviscon and Rennie's didn't help, nor did Ranitadine.  In the end I suffered for 24 hours.

 

Was it price worth paying?

No.

 

Half Mast

18th June

 

There's something about a flag at half mast that is almost infinity sad.  It's a simple simple of some one losing the one thing that can never be replaced.  Life.

 

When I got back from the match I put the news channel on.  I was expecting more Europe and perhaps something of England and Wales.  What I got was far sadder.  I'd never heard of Jo Cox and know nothing about her but I came very close to shedding a tear watching the news that night.

 

But it's not just the senseless murder of a caring young mother that makes me want to weep, but what it symbolises, what it means.

 

It's like we've got the worst of the eighties back.  I see football hooligans on my TV, hear open racism on the streets and from the mouths of world leaders  and MPs being murdered in the streets, I see Tory government hammering the poor and the North.

 

I've been looking at how this has been covered in the press, a press that has done much to invoke this return to eighties morality.

Incidentally, Bryan Fuller, producer of NuTrek posted this after the Orlando shooting.

 

Ingerland

17th June

 

This tournament has sort of passed me by.

 

Ok, so I've got a flag on the car but gone are the days when I would be in the pub two hours early in appropriate garb, meeting with mates and revelling in the eager anticipation.  Today I managed to get off work early and made my solitary way to the pub. When I got there the pub was quiet so I found myself a seat and got myself a pint.  I wasn't feeling too well.  I suddenly realised I hadn't eaten and that the groggy feeling was something close to a hypo.

 

And then it happened.

 

There was about tens minutes left to go and I started to feel like the old days.  There was that wonderful feeling of anticipation.  I was just wanting the match to start and wanting it over and wanting us to win.  The dear started go down easily and I started to talk to people around me.  I've not blogged about the first match (I'd only seen highlights) but for me Kane was the major disappointment, otherwise we dominated  and with another striker (Vardy maybe?) would have been three or four up.

 

When Wales scored there was that odd feeling of desolation, that we'd been cheated, that some how they didn't deserve it.  When we scored I was up out of my seat.  It was like the old days.

 

Then it was over, and I was a bloke in the pub on  his own, feeling a bit under the weather.

 

I need to be better organised for Monday.

 

Provenance

16th June

 

There are many words I overuse and one of them is Provenance.

 

The dictionary defines this as

“A record of ownership of a work of art or an antique, used as a guide to authenticity or quality.”

But I would go further and say this extends to concepts as well as art or antiquity.  It leads people to say an opinion is true they have some sort of evidence that shows their nonsense to be true.

 

And this is what worries me.

 

I’ve written before about how there seems to be an increase in racism, sexism and homophobia and I believe that the big names in the outside world are giving people provenance for that hate.

 

When Trump says Mexicans are rapists he gives US bigots provenance.  When ISIS preaches homophobia it gives a nutter with a gun provenance.  When Boris tells us to be frightened of migration it gives an elderly woman calling a frightened child a “Wog Baby” provenance (and yes, I saw that happen).  And so on and so on.

 

Perhaps we’ve had the Golden Age, an age when politicians realised that what they said gave others provenance and that was a dangerous thing, but perhaps that was a shell game and people have seen through it.

 

While ever entities like Trump or ISIS or Brexit give people provenance for their petty hatreds, we’re never going to have true equality.

 

RIP

15th June

 

America has had its biggest mass shooting ever.  Ever.

 

50 People are dead because of one nutter with a gun.

1.       He wasn’t a terrorist.  He was nutter with a gun

2.       When are the Yanks going to get the message about guns?  I know “Guns don’t kill people, rappers do” (thanks GLC) but if they hadn’t got guns in the first place then killing people would be a bit harder

3.       This is a homophobic attack, pure and simple.  ISIS giving it provenance doesn’t change that fact.

This last one worries me most.  The US seems to think hatred on grounds of sexual alignment is a thing of the past.  “We let them get married, for God’s sake, what more do they want?” 

I don’t know, I’m not part of community that seems to be reviled by governments and religions.  But I can make a guess.

·         They want to be respected by the world as a whole

·         They want not have to live in fear.

·         They want the greatest gun slaying of any community on US soil to be recognised what it is a hate fuelled attack on them

 

Football Violence

14th June

 

Oh FFS.

 

Hadn’t we left all this back in the 90s?

 

I used to know a couple of hard core football hooligans, the type of people who met up with other nutters before a match for a ruck, but they gave it up.  Partially because they had other things to do, partially because they’d got married and had kids but ultimately because there was no-one left to fight.

 

And this is where the Russians come in.

 

With their jingoism, their macho stereotypes, their need to prove themselvesand  their newly discovered freedom to travel they are presenting themselves as a ready-made foe, willing to get stuck in.

 

And boy, are they willing.

 

And folks back home seem to be behind them, with Russian officials tweeting ,"Nothing wrong with fans fighting", "Keep up the good work", "Are the Russians not worthy of respect for their fearlessness?" and most frighteningly "at the very least, they gave a kicking to citizens of a country that is, both historically and geopolitically, Russia's greatest enemy".

 

Jesus.

 

One last thing,  A quick message to the Brits out there, stop hanging out the flags.  I know they’re a way of identifying yourself to friendly fans but they’re also identifying you to the less friendly.  And they’re a desirable trophy.  Which fan wouldn’t want proof that they gave a kicking to citizens of a country that is, both historically and geopolitically, Russia's greatest enemy?

 

Odds on Bet

13th June

 

It was part of a family tradition to put a couple of quid (pence originally) on the outcome of a vote just after having voted.  There was a little bookies behind Tommy Spacie’s just up from the Methodist’s where we voted and we’d have a pint in the Woodthorpe then bet.

 

The Woodthorpe, Tommy Spacie and the little bookies have all gone, but in any election keep an eye on the odds.  I’ve been looking at the odds of a Brexit.  This is from Belfair’s website

 

“It has been a dramatic few days in Betfair's Brexit market, with the price of 'Leave' plummeting from around 3/1 (25% chance) to 6/4 (40% chance) and 'Remain - a solid 1/3 favourite (78% chance) last week - out to 4/6 (a 60% chance).”

 

So as far as the money is concerned, there’s still a greater chance of us staying than going, but that chance has plummeted.

 

Betting is always a sign of people putting their money where their mouth is.  It looks like they’re starting to move their mouths.

 

Ayria et al

12th June

 

I actually missed the England match.  I went to a gig.

 

There were two support acts.

 

The first was Sid 3.1.  They looked like extras from Mad Max and played a shouty industrial metal that they were very good at.  If they’re a local band, I’ll look out for them.

 

The came Inertia, who we saw with Ayria last year.  They seem to have picked up a guitarist since then and moved away from the synths and laptops.  It was still OK, but not quite as effective.

 

Wikipedia describes Ayria as the poppier end of goth and appearance wise that’s definitely true, Jennifer having gone a bit Lady Gaga.  The cyberpunk pigtails are gone as is the black lace and the nu rock boots to be replaced by cute black dress with skellingtons on, long straight white hair and red lipstick.  The music was still the same tho’.  Catchy tunes but a fantastic industrial backing that can’t help but drag you in.  And he performance is faultless.  She is clearly a very experienced performer.

 

Two last points, it was long gig and bloody hot and airless. Thus wasn’t fantastic when I was feeling a bit off (I had the unsquits).  Also when I got home, I found I’d recorded the news instead of the match.

 

So It Starts

11th June

 

I'm a connoisseur of opening ceremonies so I know that football doesn't have opening ceremonies as such.  There's two main reasons for this.  Firstly there are many venues at which the matches are taking place.  To bring the teams in to the central ground has all kinds of problems.  Secondly, the first match taking place straight after on the same pitch that thousands of dancers will have jumped up and down on but some players would have to play a game straight after.

 

So it was with some surprise that I spotted there was to be opening ceremony for the European Cup.

 

The pitch damage problem was solved by having some sort of mat over it and using only dozens of dancers instead of thousands.  It looked pretty thin.  Although they were clearly choreographed and doing the same dance, it didn't always look like it and there was a lack of precision in what they were doing.   The setting of a traditional French disco (eh?) made it look like a bad engagement party.

 

The costumes flipped between weird and bland.  There were half a dozen women dressed as lips, another six with 3D tutus (One couldn't get it on so it was round her neck) and another six as candy floss holding lollipops (eh?).

 

I know it's some years ago now but the French used to be very parochial about their language, there was no evidence of it in this performance.  The songs were performed in English as were the sudden outbursts from the aging bloke with headphones in the huge testicle in the middle of the pitch.

 

The highlight of the show was when a huge phallus grew out of the ball in the middle of the pitch.  It turned out to be the Eiffel Tower.

 

Noble attempt, but nil points.

 

Bring on the footy.

 

Our Kind of Traitor

10th June

 

I remember reading this book.

 

Le Carre books fall into three categories, the trade craft (Smiley et al), the old hand broght back in (the Beebs Night Manager was excellent) or the innocent caught up in a nasty world (like this).

 

It was typical Le Carre. Great premise, fantastic first 100-150 pages the petered out with a bit of a miserable ending.   In some ways, the film is far better paced, the meeting with Dima is nicely random and and there's not too much emphasis on tennis.

 

The end of the film is different from the book, it a far tidier and much closer to a happy ending.  This lack of severity is a failing.  It might leave audiences happier but damages the drama.

 

The performances were generally good but the characters are far too nice.  There shuld have been some sort of conflict between the Teacher and his wife (they both go along with it too easy).  It's as if there's too much narrative to fit into a couple of hours so there's not time for characters.  And no-one seems to know what to do with Damian Lewis.  He's fine actor but was he right for this role.  And him as James Bond?  Probably not.

 

The British are particularly good at making drama out of John Le Carre, we instinctively understand the world he's created.  Tinker Tailor is still one of the gretaest pieces of television ever made and stands up to re-watching today and although this is well made and entertaining, it feels like Le Carre Light.

 

Gym

9th June

 

I've started going to the gym.

 

Ever since the last dose of cancer I've been lacking in energy (the diabetes might be part of it) largely because my endocrine system is all over the shop and the repeated chemo has aged my body (apparently I'm 135).  One of the things that's might help is exercise so I've got a three month gym membership and someone to help me with what I need to do.

 

Yesterday I did twenty five minutes o the treadmill, five on the rowing machine and ten on a bike.  The gym is fairly empty when I go so I don't feel embarrassed by lack of stamina nor the urge to compete with those around me.  I'm stsrting to feel I culd cope with an hour a week of this and some swimming.  Keeping an eye on my diet might help too.

 

But the main thing I've noticed is the sheer boredom of it all.  I don't even walk to the bus stop without listening to music.  I always carry a crossword so I've got something to do on the bus and origami paper so that I've got something to do if I'm on my own.  Fifteen minutes on a treadmill listening to the piped music (eta sleep rave repeat, thanks Norman) is something of an anathema.

 

Next time, I'll take a tablet, the digital type, not the metformin.

 

How?

8th June

 

As well as their scaremongering on immigration the Brexit side are making lots of promises on what they're going to use the fictitious £385M a day.

 

But my question is this.  How are they going to get all these "reforms" passed?

 

The EU (in particular Germany) do not want us to leave but are saying nothing about it for fear that the Brexit campaign will say "Typical of bloody Europe, interfering in our business" I think this is a poor tactic.  In post Trump politics, they're going to say it anyway.  If we leave they're going to be unhappy with us and they'r going to want revenge.  You can forget any type of trade agreement let alone one that works in our favour.

 

Whole the Tories might have a slight majority in the House, The Brexit Camp is a long way off.  They seem to think that if they win the referendum then everyone will have to do what they say.  They have to think of how their own disloyalty to the party is likely to be repaid by the majority.

 

They might to stand men with guns on the White Cliffs of Dover but Parliament is never going to stand for it.

 

On another note, in the last week I have the words "Nig-Nog", "Wog" and "Jigaboo" in reference to the members of the BAME community.

 

The last referendum in this country was in 1982.

 

Wink of an Eye

7th June

 

The idea of super accelerated humans crops up in most of the SF TV series' at some time.  It falls into two categories.  Either  the time frame is that of the real world observer or the time frame is the world of the accelerated human.

 

Wink of the Eye falls into both categories and this is the failure in it's story telling.  Not only does the real world cast freeze  when we see Kirk talking to Deela, so do the accelerated humans when the story continues on the bridge.   For instance, when the time it takes Spock to work out what is going on and play the tape Kirk made would have taken months if not years in the Scalosian time frame.

 

I spotted this as a small child and clearly have never gotten over it.

 

This was written by Lee Cronin who was actually Gene L Coon (the L was for Lee but I don't know where the Cronin came from).  If Gene Roddenberry was the father of Star Trek then other Gene was it's nanny, having much more to do with the feel of the show, the day to day running and many unaccredited re-writes.  He had left Trek after the second season mainly as a result of over work and the fact that he didn't really get on with the Great Bird of the Galaxy (a line he wrote).  It is often stated he wasn't Roddenberry's first choice as line producer.

 

 

 

Alice

6th June

 

I've been looking for my review of Alice in Wonderland but can't find it.  I remember I hated it.  I also remember being incensed that the creature was called a Jabberwocky (that's an adjective).  I also remember I liked some of the CGI.

 

As much as I hated the first one I hated this more.

 

There are some good technical bits.  The CGI animals are very cute (even if they are wrong for the story) but the CGI backgrounds are the kind of thing you see on TV.  The story bears no resemblance to the original but this is not the issue.  If it hadn't been called Alice Through the Looking Glass (the book is called "Through the Looking Glass and what Alice Found There") and it might as well not have been, this would still have been a poor film.

 

The performances are too theatrical, it comes across as some sort of post-modern pantomime with no idea what a pantomime is all about. 

 

But it's the script that fails worst.  There are many clever intricate stories about time travel but this stream of consciousness rubbish isn't one of them.  The dialogue switches between what the writer considers to be Victorian English, 21st century American and something else unidentifiable but puerile.  Historical perspective seems to have come from watching TV and don't get me started on it's feminist aspirations.

 

There again what can you expect from someone who can't tell a noun from an adjective.

 

Ali

5th June

 

I've never understood boxing.  Two blokes beating the crap out of each other for money.  We call it sport.  Apparently.

 

And it's produced some charmers.  Tyson (cannibal rapist), Tyson Fury (sexist homophobe), and Rocky Balboa (Scientologist) to name just three.  Unsurprising when your job is to hurt someone.

 

But Ali was different.

 

There was just something about him.  A showman, a skilled practitioner and a star.  The whole world knew who he was.  Boxing was huge was I was younger.  Satellite TV didn't exist so all the fights were there for anyone to watch and Boxing was the contest of the 60's.  And at the centre of these gladatorial contests was Cassius Clay, Mohammed Ali.  When he told you he was the greatest, you knew it was true.

 

Seeing him at the London Olympics was almost painfully sad.  A shambling wreck who didn't appear to know where he was or what he was doing.  You couldn't help feel that he was being exploited for what he once was.

 

It's not how anyone wants to remember him.  So here is with Parky

 

 

 

Congress

4th June

 

I've just got back from the UCU conference

 

I intended to keep a conference diary (as I did in the old NUT days, but to be honest, not enough happened, so it becomes a single post.

 

Tuesday.

Got to hotel and they gave me a room that someone else had.  I walked in on a naked man and all I could manage was to say "Carry on".  They then gave me the worst pizza I've ever had.  Went to new delegates reception and then on to main one.  Drank loads.  Sat in bar on my own.

 

Wednesday.

First day of business.  Seems to have shot by with nothing contentious.  Totally failed to interact with anyone.  Went to Fringe meeting on casualisation.  Sat in bar on my own.

 

Thursday

Congress.  That's just the FE thing.  After the same person had proposed five consecutive motions I went for a coffee and so missed the only interesting bit of the day.  Apparently some of the motions are unsuccessfully veiled complaints about specific incidents.  In a bizarre incident one official said that he was the man referred to in the motion.  The proposer then named him and he stormed off.  when I came back business was suspended until he calmed down.  It was the diner on Thursday.  Which was nice.  Sat in bar on my own.

 

Friday.

Conference didn't get through all of the business and we finished late.  Journey home took three hours.

 

The problem with this conference was I knew no-one there and I no longer have the ability to force myself on people.  I had no-one to sit with  and no-one to discuss things with either.  This meant I never felt involved or engaged.  It's all a sign that I'm changing, and not necessarily for the best.

 

Points

3rd June

 

What do points mean?

 

Well, if the answer is prizes, then the prize is entry to dear old Blighty.

 

Australia seems to be coming up in my posts a lot recently.  But according Brexit, that's what we're going to have an Aussie style points based immigration system.  It looks like they've accepted the Remain argument that we need immigration but there's good immigration and bad immigration.   When I posted about "Bommerang Poms" the other day I wasn't mentioning the fact that Australia is opening up its migration policy because they need people to come into the country.  And this is the argument that the Remain camp is makinbg.

 

They might convince the more jingoistic population that you can't trust foreigners, but what makes them think they'll convince Parliament?  There's about 80 rebel Eurosceptics in the Tory Government and that's not enough to get anything through.

 

And this is the problem with the Brexitters.   They think if they win the exit vote then they'll get what they want when it comes to anything and everything else.  This includes the rest of their own party, British laws and negotiations with America, Europe and the rest of the world.

 

They need to think again.

 

 

 

A Hologram for the King

2nd June

 

This was one of those films I sort of saw by accident.  I just went to the cinema see whatever was on.  Three things were starting, and this was the one that I thought might be coming to the end of its run.

 

And it was quite good.

 

Tom Hanks is always amiable enough and the supporting cast was convincing enough, especially Alexander Black as Yousef.  He looked as if I'd seen him somewhere before, but according to IMDB he's been in nothing else.  Literally.  The picture of Saudi Arabia (beautifully photographed) also seemed convincing.  By that, I mean it's people, the countryside is Morocco apparently.

 

The film feels like an older man's wish fulfilment fantasy.  Life is a little bit shit (tell me about it), but move to a beautiful country, meet a beautiful woman who loves you and everything turns out fine.  I looked it up.  Dave Eggers was 42 when he wrote the book.  if that was his fantasy, then he's sadder than I am.  I hope there's happy endings for us both.

 

And the film?

 

Not a bad way to spend a couple of hours.

 

Quality TV

1st June

 

I've been thinking about the quality of TV in the UK.

 

Both sides of the political divide say the BBC is biased.  I personally think the BBC is biased unconsciously to the right by ancestry (most of the managers are Oxbridge) and biased to left as conscious over compensation.

 

But after the news that Boomerang Poms are leaving Oz because the telly is rubbish, I've been thinking about the quality.  Some questions have been raised regarding whether the BBC should compete with the ITV over viewers.  Of course they should.  There's many reasons why, but for me the most important is it keeps up the quality.  They don't need to really, we'd watch any garbage put in front of us.

 

I watch too much telly, I really do.  Much of what I watch is on in the background, it's like I'm not on my own in my house, but other stuff I sit on the sofa and watch.  In some way it keeps me anaesthetised.  I don't go out and do things, I don't participate.  I am that couch potato.

 

But sometimes I think that might be why the BBC is so good.  It stops the population looking too deeply at things.  It's our bread and circuses.  Never mind religion, telly is the opium of the masses.

 

I need to get out more.

 

Standing Orders

31st May

 

I was looking at my phone to see if I'd taken any pictures of the weekend and as usual I hadn't, apart from the couple below.  It's sad that I'd only taken pictures of things tat had annoyed me, so here are some of the little annoyances of the day.

 

First was the coach on the way down.  I'd tried to arrange seats with a pub coach and was waiting to see if a couple could have arranged another coach.  I jumped and booked with national express and then found out the pubs had got extra coaches.  Accidents on the M1 meant the journey took five hours and we worried whether we would get there on time.  Because the driver had been on the road for over four hours we had to take a 45 minute break.  Still, we made it on time.

 

The first picture  is of a Policeman who spent the entire match texting.  Someone asked him if he should he doing that. 

"Oh, yes," he replied amiably.

 

I'd been worried about where the seats were, but they were fine.  A bit further back than I would like but bang on the half way line.  The problem was the two knobheads who wouldn't sit down. 

 

I get standing up at matches.  I love leaping out of my seat when we score, Everyone stands up whe something happens.  And when we Bounce...

 

But I don't do it for a full match.  I don't do it when no-one else is doing it.  I don't do it when some asks me to sit down.

 

One of the Northern comedians does a skit on the difference between English in the south and north.  He says that Londoners don't use the word "knobhead", which is odd because there's so many of them down there.

 

Seems like we took a couple with us.

 

 

Migrants

30th May

 

Migrants were in the news again today, but not the migrants you might think.  Apparently thousands of migrants who left the UK for Australia and New Zealand have found their way home to the UK, even if we are still in the EU.

 

There are lots of reasons apparently.  Apparently Oz isn't as friendly many people imagine.  English qualifications and experiences mean little there so migrants find themselves in low level jobs compared to what they had at home.  The average Oz working week is over 40 hours.  Transport links are rubbish, both private and public.  Traffic queues are everywhere.  Oddly, this is often given as the reason for Australians being so unsociable.  If you can't get anywhere to meet up, you just don't.  Or perhaps they just don't like Poms.

 

Two other reasons are linked to TV.  Some people get their picture of Oz from Neighbours or Home and Away (I didn't realise Channel 5 was that popular).  Unfortunately, real life is nothing like Summer Bay or Ramsey Street.  The second reason is Aussie TV is rubbish by all accounts and the "Boomerang Poms" as they're called, can't wait to get back to British TV.

 

It's one of those dichotomies that often gets me.  The number of Brexitters banging on about how special Brittain is then two minutes later keep going on about how this countries going to the dogs and how'd they emigrate of they could.

 

Make your mind up.

 

I guess the other the other Sheltinack's jupleberry shrub is always a more mauvey shade of pinky russet.

 

It Wasn't To Be.

29th May

 

Before the match I said we'd either win by three or four or lose 1-0.

 

Sadly, it was the latter.

 

I wonder if they were just a little overawed by it all.  I know I was.  Wembley is just huge and the sight of 40,000 fans in blue and white was awe inspiring.  Whatever it was we just weren't up to it.  We needed the team that played against Brighton a home, instead we got the team that played against them away.  I think Barry Bannon has a lot to do with it.  If he has a great game then we have a great game and yesterday he didn't have a great day.  His passing was either short and safe, unimpressive or just plain poor.  Westwood kept us in it, but even he couldn't stop that shot.

 

We've had a great season and yesterday's match shouldn't take that away from us.  If anyone had said at the start of the season we would have made the playoff finals I just wouldn't have believed them and whatever else I have to say about yesterday, it was a great day out.  Chansiri said promotion in two years and maybe next year will be by the automatic route.  It would have been so nice to go up.

 

But it just wasn't to be.

 

Trek Trailer

28th May

 

I was surprised not to see the Trek trailer when I went to see Captain America.

 

The first Trek trailer was almost universally derided, but I couldn't work out why.  It looked fine to me, a good mix of humour, action and characters ("Well, isn't that just typical?").  There seems to be something about Trekkies that seems to make them incredibly negative about anything that doesn't contain William Shatner.  I used to be a big fan of the TrekMovie website, but of late I get so fed up with the naysayers both regarding the new film and the new series, I can't be bothered to read it.  What must Paramount think of the franchise if its own fans aren't willing to give it a chance?  You'd never her a Star Wars fan putting down a film.

 

The new trailer has got a lot better reception.  It was first shown at a Fan Event which also had a tribute to Leonard Nimoy as well as more footage from the film.  This too was well received.

 

 

 

Whatever anyone else thinks, I'm looking forward to it.

 

Captain America Civil War

27th May

 

This has a lot of things in common with the Batman movie.  Firstly it sets superhero against superhero, but my main complaint about Batman was it wasn't a Batman film, it was a Superman film featuring Batman.  This isn't a Captain America film, it's an Avengers film featuring Cap.  OK, so Hulk and Thor aren't in it, but Iron Man has the most screen time.

 

And this is a pity.  Captain America has always been my favourite of the MCU films.  They have charm, an unforced humour and Chris Evans presents a likeable and approachable Cap.  They also have some of the best fight sequences and less of a reliance on CGI for them.  Most of this present here but heavily diluted.  Also, there's a couple of times where the CGI actors are unconvincing, especially Black Panther.

 

I'm not that familiar with Iron Man, but hasn't it always been part of his back story that his parents were murdered.  If this is the case, why is he angry with Cap (who says he didn't know who was responsible).

 

This isn't a bad film.  It's well paced (if a bit over long)

 

I was hoping to see the Trek trailer on the big screen, but it wasn't there.

 

Army Camp

26th May

 

I went to the Army Camp today.

 

I was brought up right next door to it and it must be forty years since I last stepped inside.    This time I went in legally, taking a group of students as part of an outreach cum recruiting program.  The Army intended to reduce its numbers to 82,000 regulars and increase its Territorial Army 30,000.  The regualr army has been reduced (who wants to stay in the army these days?) and the reserve has failed to reach it's target recruitmet (who wants to join the army these days?).

 

It was a great day for the students.  They did PT, looked at Kit and they stripped and fired guns, and like the man says, there's something about guns. Some of hem were frighteningly good at shooting.  Whatever else they made of it, they enjoyed it.  If you're reading this and you're a teacher it's worth getting in touch with the army.

 

At the end of the session they were asked if they wanted to sign up to another taster.  They were told they would be paid for it, but few signed up.  Investigation showed that the most interested students were either not from commonwealth countries or too young.

 

This was on a day that a group of generals said Europe was Bad.  Someone needs to tell them the war is over.  Or perhaps they want to start that third one David Cameron wasn't talking about.

 

Water, Water Everywhere

25th May

 

It's my quiz again and these are the pictures.

 

 

The theme was water

Amy Pond (Water)

(Water) Lily Allen

VW  (Water) Polo

(Water) Chestnut

Bath (Water)

(Water) Rats

I made a slight pigs ear of the intro round.   Click here and see if you can spot the error.

 

Dad

24th

 

I miss my Dad.  Every time Wednesday win I just wish he could see it.  I'm going through a bad patch at the moment, I feel ill and random acts of my own stupidity are just making life hard for me.  It's times like this this that I need him.  I want so much to believe that he's sat up there watching all this but I know he isn't.  Death is Death.

 

Driving home the other day I found myself thinking how good it would be to tell my Dad all about Wednesday the next time I saw him and it hit me more than ever that I wasn't going to see him ever again.

 

Often when I'm feeling down I say to myself I want to go home, even when I am home.  I wonder if because some part of my mind thinks home is where my Dad is.  And he's not here.

 

I no I'm wallowing in self pity, but self pity is all I have.

 

I can't write this, it's not as cathartic as I thought it would be. 

 

It's a good job no-one reads this.

 

The National Museum of Computing

23rd May

 

Last week we went to the National Museum of Computing.

 

According to its mission statement The National Museum of Computing is dedicated to collecting and restoring historic computer systems.  Two particular machine are of note.  The first is the Colossus , the machine that won the war by decoding German message.  This is a replica with many original parts.  The second is the WITCH which is the oldest surviving complete computer.  It was used to do the calculates for the first nuclear power stations.

 

The two machines I recalled with some fondness were the bits from LEO.  I have a vague memory that the met office has the rest of it.  When it was the biggest computer in the world, it's owners, Lyons, the tea factory, used to let the Met Office play with it (for a small fee).  The other was multi million pound (in its day) Cray that they were using as a bench.

 

The thing that impressed me most was disc space.  They had a 36" disc which they compared to an SD card which had more memory.  Pity they didn't have micro SD card.  The fact that something as small as child's thumbnail holds 32Gb is still stunning to me.

 

Seeing paper tape reminded me that when we disposing of the paper tape we used to play a game where we would see how many times you wrap the Office in it before MoD police threatened to shoot you.  Turns out it's three.

 

They also had a suite of BBC micros for people to practice typing in programs just like the old days.

 

I suppose it's because it's a museum, but there wasn't much in the way of new tech.  I sort of expected to see an Oculus Prime, perhaps a Google glass, but

 

Voting for Christmas

22nd May

 

I wasn't going to comment on Europe but when Gove says shit like this I have to comment.

 

Apparently 5,000,000 Turks (about 16% of the population), that's five Birminghams apparently, are coming here if we stay out of Europe.  I was going to say no-one can possibly believe that's true.  Even if the rules change, we don't have veto, quotas are dropped none of them go else where and so on and son...it's just not believable.

 

Elsewhere the Brexit campaign has been blatantly lying about the veto.  Any European country has the right t veto the entry of a new country to the community.  They do.  It's a fact.  If they're not lying, they're incompetent, but at the end of the day they want Brexit so much they're willing to believe anything that supports their argument no matter what the truth is.

 

If Cameron or any of the remain campaign would have made a campaign had made a claim like that it would have been ca;;ed scaremongering.

 

I used to have an a grudging semi-respect for Michael Gove.  I thought he was an ideologue and although I disagreed with everything he had to say I thought he had a some sort of perverted honesty and honour.  His claim that 5,000,00 Turks will enter the country shows he has neither.   He's a narcissistic Grammer School yob with nothing to say, but will say it anyway.

 

God help us if he becomes Prime Minister.

 

Plato's Stepchildren

21st May

 

This episode contains American television's first inter-racial kiss.  OK, so their have to be modifiers, it's white male and black female, it was Prime Time on a major network, not in a soap or comedy or part of a movie and featuring fictional characters but it's still a monumental moment in both Trek and US TV history.

 

With all this in mind It's hard to see why questions were asked about it in the senate.  The controversy breaks into two camps.

 

The right who didn't think a white man should kiss a black woman

The left, who didn't understand that Kirk's mind was being controlled and questioned why he was pulling away for kissing a beautiful black girl

 

This was one of the BBC's "banned" episodes.  Many people claimed it was because it contained the Kiss.  A BBC statement said it was due to "sadistic" elements in the plot, but I remember meeting  someone from the BBc at a con who said it was because the episode just wsn't very good.  They're right.  This is Shatner's OTT acting at its worst (or maybe best?) and at time the episode is hard to watch.

 

Incidentally, I looked at Memory Alpha before writing this and found it has been rendered unusable by a ridiculous level of advertising.  Web 2.0, eh?

 

Blackpool

20th May

 

Last weekend we went to Consett for a holiday, not something a lot of people can say.

 

It was our spring time Lad's Weekend and we went to County Durham because Budge was working up there.  We usually stay in a caravan but this time it was a hostel which, although comfortable enough ws as close to a caravan as a permanent structure as you can get.

 

Consett had enough pubs for us to live with and there were a couple of bands worth seeing in them.  Our plans to go to Durham fell apart when our taxi company let us down, but to be honest I was happy to stay in Consett

 

The most notable thing about the weekend was our journey back.  Because of roadworks and an accident on the A1 we decided to head west to get round it.  We knew things were going wrong when we saw Blackpool tower.  It took five hours to get back.

 

In September we're going to Skeggy.

 

Eurovision

19th May

 

I'd nearly forgotten about Eurovision but it came up at work today so here goes.

 

I had a few friends round to watch it.  It used be a Kirby tradition that we made weird cocktails and get slaughtered on Eurovision night.  Perhaps it's because we're getting older but the getting slaughtered bit didn't seem to happen.  I also seemed to find that I do actually like whiskey.  That's good, because I've got loads of it.  For some reason, we did get through a complete bottle of gin.

 

The contest isn't as much fun as it used to be because most of the nutters get voted out during the semis.  This year's specials were the naked man singing to wolf and woman whose armpits burst spontaneously into flames (honestly)

 

                     

 

The UK duo were rubbish.  The song was rubbish, the lyrics seemed like they were written by someone with English as a second language and the music just seemed like it was Grde C GCSE music project.  Joe and Jake were amiable enough, but amiable is not going to win it.  After the judegs voting we were about half way but after the public vote gave us nul-points we were third from last.  I like the way the voting was handled though.

 

I often say that Eurovision isn't political, it's more dependant on migrant communities and the fact that we in Britain don' take it seriously but  can't say that this time.  Ukraines victory which was called "Russians are Bastards" cruised to victory on a tide of anti-(homophobic)-Putin feeling.

 

Oh well, perhaps next year.

 

School Holidays

18th May

 

I see from my notes that on the first lesson of the new year I was teaching DNS to my level 2 students. It's not an easy concept so I spent most of the double lesson going through it.  By the end of the session everyone who was there could explain how the internet works.  I have not covered this again until I am revising for the exam.  Anyone who had decided to take an extended holiday (and there were a few) missed this and will be unable to answer exam questions on the topic.  Worse still, they won't know what DNS means.  And what's the point of being on a course if you don't learn anything?

 

Personally, I'm happy to let students take holiday in term time providing they don't do it too often and catch up what they've missed but I've still got targets to meet.  Teachers are judged by their success rates and if they don't make their targets then they're up a certain creek paddling backwards.  No government is ever going to let teachers be in their words "unaccountable" and their solution is to legislate to ensure students are in school.

 

But finally, what's the point of my teaching if there's no-one there to learn.

 

OMG

17th May

 

I watched this in the Foxwood. Kuttsy brought Barrie and Al (who I haven't seen for years) and the anticipation was painful.

 

I really don't know what to say.  This why we watch football.  In 90 minutes there was every emotion known to man and then some.  Tears and laughter, sobs and screams.

 

That first fifteen minutes.  How did we hang on?  But we did.  If our defence is that good, who s going to beat us.  Then they scored.  The we scored.  OMG.

 

I set of to the pub with the intention of having a couple of pints, but by the end of the first half I'd had four.  There was no alternative.

 

I remember when we got to the league cup final in '92.  The second leg of the semi was at Hillsborough.  After 80 minutes we were 4-1 up on aggregate.  I looked at the Kop and suddenly realised that no-one thought we were going to win.  Tonight was different.  The introduction of Hutchinson and the second half performance mean we just knew, after 60 minutes, we just knew.

 

What am I going to do for 12 days?   Nothing else maters than the play off and the belief we can do it.  OMG.  Better get a ticket.

 

Wish my Dad was here.

 

Queenie

16th May

 

So Liz is 90.

 

The celebrations seemed to involve horses, Ant and Dec and being vaguely rude about the Chinese.

 

And was she rude to the Chinese?  She called them impolite in sympathising with one of her trusted employees.  That's nothing compared to what Cameron said about the Nigerians, Goldsmith said about Sadiq Kahn or Donald Trump says about anyone.

 

What actually got me about the incident was how alert and articulate the Queen was.  Not many 90 year olds have that level, well, awareness.  She talked clearly and chattily and seemed far more relaxed than she seemed in the past.  And it's the press coverage that fascinates me.

 

The press seem to be giving the Royals a hard time.  Kate and Wills are lazy scroungers and Invictus Games and 90th birthdays don't seem to have the coverage in the popular press they once would have.  Despite the Sun headline the press seems to think that the royals are pro Europe and that makes them fair game.

 

Bloody hell.  First I'm defending Cameron and now I'm defending Madge.  What is the referendum doing to me?  At least I'm not defending Johnson.

 

 

Something Special

15th May

 

Friday night was something special.

 

Barry had to queue for two and a half hours to get a ticket.  It was worth it.

 

We met in town and drank beer and ate chicken wings.  We caught the tram and got a seat.  The tram was full but had the closest we got to homophobic chanting in the entire night.  A group of fans (I don't know if the were Seagulls or Owls) were chanting "Does your boyfriend know your straight?".  Football fans have a weird sense of humour.

 

The walk from the tram to the ground just felt special because it was.  The ground was full but we still managed to get a Bovril.

 

The game.  Oh the game.

 

We were on top from start to finish.  They had no answers and we had them all.

 

Wednesday fans have always bounced but tonight was different.  They bounced showing the lights from their phones and the ground became a city of tiny lights.  The players actually stopped playing just to absorb the sheer joy.  It was magnificent.

 

I still don't really get Foristieri didn't score a goal, but Lee and Hooper did.

 

Wish my Dad had seen it.

 

Bring on Monday.

 

 

Sabotaged SATs

14th May

 

A few years ago I attended a training session fro a new course we were about to implement.  The course was based around continuous practical assessment and as the morning went on the participants realised it would be very simple for centres to cheat.  One of the participants pointed this out and asked what procedures were in place to stop us doing this we were told there were none.  Why? we asked.

 

"Because we trust your professional integrity," we were told.

 

Any exams rely on our professional integrity.  The SATs papers will have been in schools for days if not weeks.  Anyone could have opened a package and worked out the answers (it's for seven year olds FFS) and passed them on to the kids.  But we don't.  We have professional integrity.

 

So if you think it's a "rogue teacher" who leaked the tests, you're wrong.  I'd look at the security on your website first before anything more serious gets leaked.

 

Shock Horror - Politician Tells Truth

13th May

 

In 2010 Gordon Brown got caught on microphone describing a voter he had just spoken to in Rochdale as a "bigoted woman".  The voter was sixty-five years old and had challenged Mr Brown on immigration and crime.  From what she said, she'll be voting for a Brexit.

 

At the time I was stunned that he could make such crass and insensitive comments whether he knew the microphone was on or not.  He was Prime Minister and he should be above all that.

 

Yesterday David Cameron was talking to the Queen about the forthcoming corruption summit.  "We've got some leaders of some fantastically corrupt countries coming to Britain... Nigeria and Afghanistan, possibly the two most corrupt countries in the world," he said.

 

Apart from the fact that he said "fantastically" like I would say I've had a fantastically good pint, apart from the fact Nigeria is cleaning up its act, apart from the fact we're pretty corrupt ourselves and apart from the fact that a couple of years ago I would have been incensed that a senior politician could make such crass and insensitive comments whether he knew the microphone was on or not, I just don't care.

 

We live in a world where the next leader of the US calls his neighbours rapists, wants to shag his own daughter and thinks all Moslems are terrorists , calling a few corrupt governments corrupt hardly raises an eyebrow.

 

Alahu Akbar

12th May

 

I woke up this morning and put the news on, as is my wont.

 

There on the screen was what was clearly CCTV footage.  There was a man shouting Alahu Akbar and and a wierdly small explosion near him.  I guessed that he'd decided not to detonate and thrown the detonator away from him.  I guessed that it must have happened yesterday because they had clearly had time to edit the footage and wondered why I hadn't seen it on the midnight headlines which I tend to watch before turning the lights out.

 

Then I turned the sound up.

 

Turned out it was an exercise and the controversy was whether the "terrorist" should be shouting Alahu Akbar or not.

 

Of course he should.

 

But it did get me thinking.  Perhaps we should create an imaginary terrorist group just for the purposes of these exercises.  I would suggest something like NSTO, the Non-Specific Terrorist Organisation.  We could call it NESTO.  It's members would dress up in weasel costumes and speak a made up language called Nestoran which would consist only of consonants apart from the letters j, x and z which would become new vowels to fill in the gaps.

 

 Then I wouldn't need to turn the sound up.

 

I may have over-thought this.

 

The Tholian Web

11th May

 

As a kid this episode meant a lot to me.  The only other episode that uses special effects alone to create a complete  world is The Corbomite Manoeuvre.   The first Star Trek poster mag had the Enterprise ensnared by the Tholian's web and was on my bedroom wall for years (I suddenly wonder where it is I won't have thrown it away).

 

It has some great moments of Trek history.  Kirk's final tape, his funeral, the creation of the Interphase and the Tholians.  The first Star Trek Role Playing game is based around this episode.  It s the first and only episode to contain  a space suit.  All the regulars are in it and all of them have something to do.

 

But despite all this, it is atypical third series episode.  The pacing is wrong.  The science fiction is pronounced but the characters don't really interact with it.  Although the effects are brill, this is still essentially a bottle episode.

 

Possibly my favourite episode of season 3, but that says a lot.

 

Incidentally, in Japan this episode was called "The crisis of Captain Kirk, Who Was Thrown into Different-Dimensional Space"

 

It's War

10th May

 

Well I've looked and I can't find anywhere Cameron said that Brexit will mean a third world war.  OK, he said that leaving Europe  could seriously effect our ability to defend ourselves (NSS), but but nothing about us going to war.  God, it feels weird defending David Cameron from a selective media.

 

 

Having said all this some people seem to relish the prospect of war.  I got into a drunken conversation with some friends with depressing outcomes.  I can't remember it word for word but this is the gist.

 

"I'm voting for out.  That'll stop all these immigrants."

"How?"

"It's the German's making us take 'em all."

"How?"

"Duh.  I thought you knew about these things."

"Ok.  Don't you think we'll just become a dumping ground for the rest of the world?  Do you think the French are not going let everybody just go straight through? Do you honestly think the rest of Europe will say, 'Britain's gone so we'll have to stop sending them immigrants?"

"They'll have to."

"How?  They're not doing a fantastic job at the moment, but at least they're trying.  They'll just open up the tunnel."

"We'll send the SAS into the tunnel."

"And that's going to stop 'em?"

"They'll stop when we've shot a few."

"The rest of the world will not let us get away with it."

"Then the rest of the world will see what the British Army can do."

 

Goodbye Football Heaven

9th May

 

Today was the first day of summer.  How do I know?  It was the last Football Heaven of the season.

 

During the season FH is an important part of my day.  I cook every night, it marks the transition between Dave Kirby education professional and Dave Kirby amiable pisshead.  During the winter I cook and eat listening to football heaven.  When Wednesday have won I enjoy people ring in and saying how good we are and when we lose I enjy shouting at the idiots how want another managerial casualty.

 

But this year has been different.  Most days it's been good news and no-one, but no-one wants Carlos to go.  There's also been a very guilty pleasure in listening to the Blades ringing in to moan (especially Brian the Blade).  And if you think that's crass, then you don't understand football or local rivalries.

 

And also, the season isn't over.  We've got the playoffs to look forward to and I'm sure there'll be a FH special when United finally sack Adkins.

 

So what do I listen to in the summer?

 

I tend to eat later and I become an Archers Addict.

 

Wolves

 

8th May

 

So another season ends.

 

Our position in the league fixed and Carlos makes ten (yes, 10) changes to the team that beat Cardiff.  This was their chance to show Carlos they were worth a place in his team, but reports from the match seem to suggest no-one took that chance.  I worked with someone who played football for Leicester (actually, I've just remembered it was Leicester he played for.  I wonder what he makes of their success?).   He got his big chance in the last game of the season and grabbed it with both hands.  He could never understand how anyone could progress in professional sport if they didn't give 100% every match.

 

Having said all that, we only lost 2-1.

 

Of course it doesn't actually end this year, at least two more games, probably three.  It was nice that Carlos can rest player but you have to wonder if this loses some of the momentum.  Still, the squad system has worked well for Carlos and we have to trust him.

 

Bring on Brighton.

 

Incidentally, Barry had to queue for two and a half hours for tickets.

 

Khan Kan

7th May

 

The campaign for London Mayor has sort of passed me by so I didn't realise what a nasty a little campaign Tory Golden Boy Zac Goldsmith has been running.

 

I'd never heard of the concept of Dog Whistle politics but looking at some of the letters sent to to members of different communities, neither have the Tory Party.  Khan constantly used terms like Their clumsy attempts at manipulation are just that, clumsy.

 

And some of the things that have been said have been worthy of Donald Trump.  Some examples from Cameron, May and Johnson:

 

“Labour lackey who speaks alongside extremists. A man who has said Britain’s foreign policy is to blame for the terrorist threat.”

"He is calling Islamophobia to prevent legitimate questions being asked. They are about his willingness to share platforms with people who want to ‘drown every Israeli Jew in the sea’. It’s about his having employed someone who believed the Lee Rigby murder was fabricated It’s about his career before being an MP, coaching people in how to sue the police. He is hiding behind Britain’s Muslims in order to avoid having the spotlight pointed at him.”

“Sadiq Khan has shared platforms, to put it at its mildest, with some pretty dodgy people with some pretty repellent views”.

“He is unsafe to run London at a time when we face a significant threat of terrorism, because of his history of defending extremists”

“In Islam and the Labour party there is a struggle going on, and in both cases Khan – whatever his real views – is pandering to the extremists. I don’t want him running our capital.”

 

What concerns me most is I haven't heard anything about this blatant aggressive racism by the the leaders of the Tory party, yet I know all about the problems Labour have with it's pro-Palestinian arm.  What action is Cameron taking against the Islamaphobic nutters in his own party?  None.  How often has he been door stepped by reporters on the issue?  Not at all.

 

Bt the people of London saw through all this and voted for Khan anyway.

 

Perhaps we won't vote to leave Europe after all.

 

For the World Is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky

6th May

 

This is a typical third series episode.  It's a bit of a mish-mash but generally ok.  It's nice to see Bones taking centre stage but the fact that Kirk can't even be bothered to talk this computer to death show a lack of creativity that can be seen elsewhere around this time.

 

It's another episode where the technologies could have a lasting effect on the Federation but is never mentioned again.

 

Although I'm sure I've read that this episode was re-written several times, including by Stanley Adams (Cyrano Jones) and David Gerrold (Trouble with Tribbles) he episode is credited to Rik Vollaertis which I though was a made up name (he is only credited with this episode).  A bit of research shows him to be a real person named Henricus Wilhelm Vollaerts who worked on a wide variety of programs but frequently providing a single script.  He worked most on Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, which says a lot.

 

This episode is quite effects heavy but they're all recycled from other episodes (mainly Paradise Syndrome) but the remastering re-does most of it.  The asteroid itself starts to look like a real asteroid and the remastered Enterprise has never looked better.

 

Writing Again

5th May

 

I haven't really written much other than this blog for the last few months, but now I'm writing again.

 

And I'm loving it.

 

I finally remembered why I write.  It's because I enjoy meeting the characters.  I can control them.   It's not like reading or watching TV or going to the movies where I drop in on these old friends and see what their doing.  Don't get me wrong, I like that too (I'm re-watching Columbo and Trek a lot at the moment) but writing is more interactive.  I can have arguments with my created friends without upsetting them and they always behave in a consistent way.  They're my imaginary friends and I can call on them any time especially when none of my other friends are available.

 

So Father Raphael, Father Joseph and Speaker-to-Animals have called round for a cuppa.

 

And we're having a blast.

 

Leicester

4th May

 

So plucky little Leicester have done it, Premiership champions.

 

How have they done it?  I don't know.  4-4-2?  Efficient vs Possession football?  Team Spirit?  Who knows?  If I had to make a choice, I would chose the latter.  Teams are professional these days to the point of soullessness.  Teams of pampered millionaires who always have manager to blame when things go wrong. I would question the quality of the rest of the league.  I've not seen much of the premiership, but what I have seen hadn't seemed as good as previous years.

 

Sheffield's Jamie Vardy has got to a big part of it.  The footage of the party at his house seems to suggest a team that plays together and, well, plays together.

 

It's also been nice to see a couple of people have been mentioning Nigel Pearson's contribution.  I always thought he'd be the next Wednesday manager, but I've got to say Carlos has been a revelation.

 

But the the big thing about the premiership this year is it gives everyone hope.   If Leicester can do it, then why can't we?  And maybe, just maybe, the mighty Sheffield Wednesday could be up there too.

 

 

Snooker Loopy

3rd May

 

I didn't get to the snooker again this year because I left it too late.

 

I have, however, watched far too much of it on TV.

 

The problem has been that I've been feeling particularly under the weather and it's just been far too easy to lay on the bed feeling sorry for myself and while watching snooker.

 

But it's been poor fayre.  The big names and flair players got knocked out early and too many of the games were one-sided.  A cynic would say Steve Davis' retirement and  the announcement that snooker is in Sheffield for at least ten years were just to enliven a tournament that ws in danger of becoming stale. Selby's performance in the final did nothing to enhance snookers popularity.  He ground out a victory and effectively bullied Ding out of the psychological battle.

 

One high point was Rack Pack.  It was one of those true stories that the BBC does very well.  Well cast, well written and well played with humour and pathos it was a little gem.  It's on iPlayer until the end of the year.

 

Next year, I'll book early.

 

Cardiff

2nd May

 

It's hard to say how good this was.

 

I've been saying for sometime that Hooper needs to score and we need to play well for an entire match.

 

It worries me when we start well and don't score, these are the matches we lose, but today in the second half we only seemed to become stronger and there was an inevitable feeling about the win.

 

Hooper has apparently been a very expectant father and once his wife gave birth it seemed the shackles were off.  A superb strike against the woodwork in the first half was followed by a better follow up for the first and that little dink for the third.  Genius.  I'd give him the second.  The work he put in keeping the ball in play, regaining his feet after being pulled to the ground (penalty!), his ball in.  OK, it took a deflection but it was going in anyway.

 

Cardiff weren't much of an opposition in fact they looked like they were playing for a draw.  According to one of the forums (fora?) they had expected Wednesday to play for the draw so their game plan was to to start by sizing us up, make sure they didn't have any defensive slip ups, build slowly until they were going all out.

 

It didn't work. We didn't give a chance to have any say on the game at all.

 

If we play like this for the next three matches then were going to be playing in the Premiership next year.

 

One slight grumble.  I wasn't feeling well enough to properly celebrate the victory.

 

1st May

 

Two cats have found their way into the media.

 

One is Bella, the cat so vicious the Postie won't deliver to her house, but it's this picture that gets me.

 

 

The other thing was Keanu.  It's parody of the Keanu Reeves film John Wick where the eponymous Wick hunts down and kills gang members who kill his dog.  Here, the kitten is kidnapped as a Gangsta Pet.  Here's the trailer.  I challenge you not to go "Aaaaaaah!" every time the kitten appears.

 

 

 

Here's a bit more.  Wait for the hat to twitch.  Aaaaaaaah.

 

 


 

 

0NV

 

 

 

ENW

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