Quote Of The Day

"Victory goes to the player who makes the next-to-last mistake - Chessmaster Savielly Grigorievitch Tartakower (1887-1956)"

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Monday, September 29, 2008

Arsenal 1-2 Hull...

Oh, the shame of it. The result says it all. Recently promoted Hull ran rings round us. We simply didn't deserve to win. What a contrast to last Tuesday.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

The Killers - Human...

The Killers new single Human is simply wonderful. "Like Johnny Cash meets the Pet Shop Boys", as they put it. Listen here.

Friday, September 26, 2008

A Piece Of Cake...

So, yes, I'll admit it. I'm 47 today. 47 years of fun and frolics. 47 years collecting toys. 47 years of playing games. And I have to say I really don't fell much different now than when I was 7, 17, 27 or 37. I have the same basic needs - to love, to learn, to be loved, to have fun and to do new stuff.

And to that end I did something last night I'd never done before. Something I'd never thought I would ever do. I baked a cake. My first one. A lemon drizzle cake it was. And it was great fun. I got the recipe from Stuart; 6oz flour, 6 oz sugar, 6oz butter, three eggs and a lemon.

But me being me I didn't make life easy for myself. I didn't have any kitchen scales. Hmm. What to do? Well I used Google on my iPhone to find out the density of self-raising flour, used the iPhone app "Units" to convert 6oz into grams and then via the density calculated the volume of flour I needed. I then used my thumb knuckle (which is about 1" = 2.54 cm, right?) to measure the diameter of a coffee cup and calculated the cross-sectional area. Again using my thumb I worked out the height I'd need to fill the cup to with flour to get exactly 6oz required. I then repeated this calculation for the caster sugar. Then for the butter (which came in a 250g pack) I calculated the ratio to 250g of the weight of salted butter I needed (again using Google for the denisty) and measured the length of butter I needed to cut. The rest was a piece of cake.

And it turned out OK too. In fact I brought it into work this morning and it's almost gone already (the sign of a good cake?)

So there's a new feather in my cap. Perhaps for my birthday next year I'll ask for some kitchen scales though!

47...

Do you see the number 47 crop up quite a lot in films and on TV? If so, you may have witnessed, or indeed be in on, the in-joke.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Triplets...

Last Friday Mark and I went over to see Sarah, Ben and the triplets. Dylan, Eve and Lola were in fine fettle - singing Bowie's Starman, playing ring a ring a roses and playing Gulliver (i.e. pinning me to the floor). Great to see everyone as ever. Few more snaps here.


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Arsenal 6-0 Sheff Utd...

Oh my giddy aunt. Sarah, Mike, Paul and I went to the game last night at the Emirates not really expecting much. It was the Carling Cup third round and we traditionally play our youngsters to give them some experience. It also gives them the chance to pop up on the radar for potential first team places in the Premiership or European games - a sort of chance at first blood if you like. And in this case Wenger was fielding the youngest Arsenal team ever.

Well, what a team he fielded. The goals came think and fast. Bendtner, Simpson and Wilshere were superb. And Vela got a hat trick. 6-0! We took them apart.

These were the eighteen players that Wenger was picking from to play. Many not old enough to drink!:
12. Carlos VELA (Age 19)
16. Aaron RAMSEY (Age 17)
17. Alex SONG (Age 21)
19. Jack WILSHERE (Age 16)
20. Johan DJOUROU (Age 21)
21. Lukasz FABIANSKI (GK) (Age 23)
24. Vito MANNONE (GK) (Age 20)
26. Nicklas BENDTNER (Age 20)
35. Francis COQUELIN (Age 17)
38. Jay EMMANUEL-THOMAS (Age 17)
40. Kieran GIBBS (Age 18)
41. Gavin HOYTE (Age 18)
42. Henri LANSBURY (Age 17)
43. Fran MERIDA (Age 18)
46. Abu OGOGO (Age 18)
47. Mark RANDALL (Age 18)
50. Jay SIMPSON (Age 19)
56. Emmanuel FRIMPONG (Age 16)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Jane's Birthday...

Taking a break from Open House last Saturday Stu and I joined Sophie to help celebrate Jane's birthday.

We went to the White Hart first in Stokie and then once the evil drink had done it's work (i.e. before long) we moved on to Blush. A few pints later we had flowers in our hair. Tee hee. More pix of disgraceful behaviour here.

Monday, September 22, 2008

No Respect...

Lack of Respect.

Open House 2008...

This weekend just gone was Open House in London. On Saturday we met up with Pano, Andy and Kev for a spot of pavement bashing. As often happens with Open House you don't quite make it into the buildings that you think you might - in our case Houses Of Parliament, Lambeth Palace, BBC Bush House, HM Treasury or 83 Calabria Road but you do find some hidden gems such as 26 Whitehall (former Admiralty Buildings), Banqueting House Whitehall, Horse Guards Whitehall and the sub-crypt of St Martin-in-the-Fields. By mid afternoon to retired to The Cole Hole in the Strand for refreshments, not really making it on to anything else that day.

On Sunday we visited a rather charming Queen Anne house at 67 Grange Walk and then the IPC Media Blue Fin Building on Bankside.

We took quite a few snaps. See them here.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Hey lady, you lady cursing at your life...

I've been to Georgia
I've been to California
I took the "hand" of a preacher man (well, he was a vicar in fact and it wasn't just his hand I took) and we made love in the sun (and also in the sea as it happens)
I've been to Nice (and got mugged outside a campsite)
I've been to (the Isle of) Greece (with a girlfriend first and later with a boyfriend - post outing)
I've sipped champagne on a yacht (many times, many places, darling - sailing around the seas of the British Virgin Islands being a particular favourite)
I've moved like Harlow (well I didn't wiggle quite as much as her) in Monte Carlo (backpacking as it happens)
I've showed 'em what I've got (way too many times to remember in way too many places)
I've been undressed by kings (well, I've been undressed *in* Kings, the now defunct tacky nightclub in the Canaries)
I've seen some things that a woman ain't supposed to see (you'd better believe it, baby!)
I've indeed spent my life exploring subtle whoring (and sometimes not so subtle let's me honest)
I've even been to Paradise (and Heaven, Bang and Bolts)
And before you ask, yes, I've been to me too!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Samsung Omnia (i900) Unboxing...

It's enough to make you want to buy one. If only unboxing all phones and indeed other gadgets where always this much fun.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Echo & The Bunnymen...

Last night Sarah, Ben, Simon, Bruce and I went to see Echo & The Bunnymen perform their classic album Ocean Rain at the Royal Albert Hall.

You may remember EATB from their early hits such The Back of Love and The Cutter or indeed what was for me their other most notable hit Bring On the Dancing Horses (although they did have quite a collection of other single releases).

The first half of the gig was a sort of greatest hits show which the packed auditorium simply lapped up. It was a sell-out show and everyone was singing along.

After the interval a full orchestra joined the boys on stage and the performance of Ocean Rain began. And what a fabulous album it is and a fabulous performance they gave of it. Standout songs were obviously the hits The Killing Moon, Silver and Seven Seas but for me the best song of the night was Ocean Rain itself. It was the song Sarah and Ben had at their wedding and the song Sarah would like to have played at her funeral. Quite wonderful.

EATB have now reformed properly and have a new album in the works The Fountain.

The rumoured support act was to be Scotland's very own Glasvegas but sadly they were a no-show.

Rick & Steve...

What: Rick & Steve: The Happiest Gay Couple in All the World
When: Wednesday 17th September
Time: 22:30 to 23:00 (30 minutes long)
Where: E4
Reviews: Luke warm
Watch it?: Set the PVR

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

French Alpine Property...

Looking to buy some French Alpine Property? Maybe you want a base for those skiing trips or a place to have a summer holiday. Well, look no further than www.frenchalpineproperty.com - a highly experienced international property agency focused on finding buyers the best French Alps property.

OK, time to declare a vested interest for this shameless plug. French Alpine Property is a company that my sister Joanna has set up with her friend Lee. I went to go and see them at their stand at the French Property Show last weekend and it all looks very swish. Good luck girls!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Matthew Bourne's Dorian Gray...

Stu and I went with Ian and Terry to see Matthew Bourne's Dorian Gray at the Sadler's Wells on Friday. Oh my God. What as amazing show? Sure it wasn't perfect but pretty damned near.

Based upon Oscar Wilde’s novel The Picture of Dorian Gray (1890) this was a fantastical, sexually charged homoerotic romp that had the audience agog from start to finish.

Walthamstow born Matthew Bourne has been influenced in his recent New Adventures productions by both film and TV. So it was with Dorian Gray. There's bits of American Psycho and Velvet Goldmine in there was well as echos of The Line of Beauty. We were transported to the 1980s world of fashion, politics, money, drugs, sex and celebrity. It is here that the power of beauty is so potent. Beauty that opens doors, opens hearts and ultimately opens up the way to disaster.

The dancing was superb, the music was thrilling and the whole production just throbbed with energy.

And let's not ignore the fact that the men were gorgeous. Sexy as.

More production shots here.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Stevie Wonder...

Last night we went to see Stevland Hardaway Judkins Stevie Wonder at the O2 arena - Wonder Summer's Night Tour. He was simply fabulous. All the hits and more. In fact a lot more. two and half hours of it.

Playing his signature harmonica, keyboards and guitar Wonder lead us through his early hits, his classic 1970s period and on to his big 1980's smashes.

Many of the songs were extended versions of the originals which for the most part pleased the crowd. At points though frustration showed as the ten or twelve minute jazz funk posturing became unintended interludes - so many headed for the bar.

The set list was as follows; As If You Read My Mind, a bevy of hits from Hotter Than July including Master Blaster (Jammin'), Did I Hear You Say You Love Me and All I Do. Then came Knocks Me Off My Feet, Higher Ground, Spain, Don’t You Worry ‘Bout a Thing, Visions, Livin’ for the City, Golden Lady, Creeping and Keep Fooling Yourself, Baby Girl. Stevie took a break from singing here and let his daughter Aisha Morris take over for I’m Gonna Laugh You Right Out of My Life. Back in the driving seat Wonder then gave us Isn’t She Lovely, a bit of a singalong to Ribbon in the Sky, Overjoyed, My Cherie Amour, Signed, Sealed, Delivered I'm Yours, Sir Duke, I Wish, Do I Do, the briefest smattering of I Just Called to Say I Love You, For Once in My Life, Uptight (Everything's Alright) and the wonderful Wonderful Superstition. Top, top night.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

David Sedaris...

Last night Ian, Terry, Paul and I went to the Bloomsbury Theatre to a book reading by David Sedaris. I'm a bit of a fan of DS and it was with some joy that Ian sent me his latest collection of essays, When You Are Engulfed in Flames, as gift a few weeks ago and also organised these book reading tickets. The reading was brief (just over an hour), illuminating (he's shorter than we'd thought) and hilarious (making coffee without water and his relationship with his boyfriend Hugh). A fun night out.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Happy Birthday Drew...

Happy Birthday to you,
Happy Birthday to you,
Happy Birthday, dear Drew,
Happy Birthday to you.

It's Drew's 30th birthday today. Here is a snap from his birthday party last Sunday.

More snaps here.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Will The World End Tomorrow?...

When they turn on the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN tomorrow will the world end? Will the search for the Higgs boson by colliding super fast tiny particles cause micro-black holes that will 'eat the planet'? Short answer. No. No way. Won't happen.

Why, you might ask, am I so sure? How do I know the world won't end tomorrow?

Is it because I have a blind faith in scientists who must know what they're doing? No, not really.

Is it because I actually know people who are involved in the LHC project back from university days and I trust them not to destroy the planet? I do. But, no.

Is it because I have studied particle physics at Cambridge University and know that it's virtually impossible? Well, no. Not that either. (I mean nothing is impossible, right? Quantum physics and all that.)

Is it because the LHC will not be producing anything that does not already happen routinely in nature due to cosmic rays i.e. if they were dangerous we would know about it already? No, not that either.

No, the real reason why I am so sure that the world will not end tomorrow is this. They are really only turning on the power tomorrow. It's just the first attempt to circulate a beam. The first counter-clockwise and clockwise collisions aren't scheduled until later in the year. So maybe we'll have to hang on just a little bit longer for the end of the world.

And even when things are up and running, it could be years before CERN start producing any meaningful results due to the challenges involved in detecting such tiny and fleeting particles. But you've got to admire their publicity machine.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Big Bang Day: Torchwood: Lost Souls...

On this Wednesday, scientists in Geneva are due to switch on the fastest atom-smasher in the world - the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) to try to recreate the aftermath of the Big Bang. This should enable them to shed light on some of the greatest unanswered scientific questions about the origins of the universe. So no pressure then. Mind you, it make take a year or two to analyse the results. Fingers crossed that Higgs boson finaly shows up.

So Wednesday has been designated Big Bang Day. And to celebrate the BBC has commissioned a new Afternoon Play on BBC Radio Four @ 2:15pm called Big Bang Day: Torchwood: Lost Souls.

The Torchwood team go to Geneva, where former time-traveller Martha Jones is now working as a doctor at the world's biggest physics laboratory, CERN. Deep in an underground tunnel, a giant particle accelerator is about to be activated. But something strange is happening. Scientists are hearing voices and collapsing with a strange illness. Is something lurking in the tunnel?

Update: You can download the MP3 of the play here for the next week.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Electric Picnic...

We did have a great time at the Electric Picnic last weekend. High points were definitely Hercules and Love Affair and Goldfrapp. Other memorable acts were Candi Staton, Hayseed Dixie and of course the rather wacky, twenty minute late Grace Jones (who when we didn't immediately cheer for an encore told us all to "fucking fuck off".)

Below are some of the snaps we took. Click here to see some more.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Sitges...

We had a great time at the Sitges last week. It was just five days but it seemed much longer. We met lots of nice people, saw probably the best firework display I'd ever seen and got to spend plenty of time with our mates.

Below are some of the snaps we took. Click here to see some more.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Chrome...

All roads lead to Chrome - Google's new web browser is finally in beta.

Back in the Saddle...

Good to be back in the saddle. Did I say saddle? I meant harness - 3123 unread emails waiting for me in the office (and that's with spam filters on.) Yikes!

Monday, September 01, 2008

Homeward Bound...

It's been a fun, but frankly quite exhausting, ten days so we are both
looking forward to getting back home. We have some very fond memories
of both Sitges and Ireland so no doubt there'll be more musings to
follow.

What I would say first though is a big thank you to Clodagh, Colin,
Sara, Simon, Angela and John who helped make the Electric Picnic so
much fun for us - festival virgins.