Quote Of The Day

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

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Olympics Gymnastics...

A few shots from our day on Sunday at he O2 the North Greenwich Arena watching Team GB make it through the qualifiers. Louis Smith was amazing on the pummel horse. He cried afterwards. Bless. More photos here.

The following day (Monday) they almost got a silver but on an appeal the Japan team topok the silver and Team GB got the bronze. The first medal in the sport in a hundred years!

Afterwards we went to the Table Tennis at the ExCel which was just as thrilling. The two Team GB competitors (Joanna Parker and Paul Drinkhall) got through to their second rounds.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Olympics Opening Ceremony...

Here are just a few memories of our night at the Olympic Stadium, It was simply the best thing I have ever seen. It was bonkers, funny and spectacular - like Play School on acid! Everyone on the stadium was in such good spirits knowing that the eyes of the world were on them.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Olympics Tickets...

It's tickets! It's madness! It's ticket madness! For seven years I have been looking forward to this day - the start of the Olympics Games. And as you can see, London 2012 has done nothing to sate my mania for buying tickets! I bought them all in the last month or so when they went on general sale. Last year I go one event in the ballot - just beach volleyball.

Last night I was too excited about Olympics to sleep. I was lying awake for hours. It's a once in a lifetime event. And the eyes of the world on our fair city.

In 1948 my grandfather bought a block of ten seats for ten days. My mother went down with my aunt every day after school. She said it was the most amazing thing of her childhood and helped her forget about the war. I remember her telling me that story when I was a child and thinking that I'd have done anything to have been there with her at that time.

As her 75th birthday present I'm taking her to the athletics at the Olympic Stadium on 9th Aug so she can see the same event she saw when she was a girl watching in White City all those years ago.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner...

Very proud of my home city today. The London 2012 Olympics have started good and proper. Let's hope some of the moaners get behind the Games and think more about the winning rather than the wining. But if they don't, sod 'em, we'll enjoy it all the same.

And this morning I got a seat on the tube, my local station was fairly quiet and there are few cars on the streets near where I work. Hey, maybe the moaners have all left the way they promised! Result!

Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner
That I love London so
Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner
That I think of her wherever I go

I get a funny feeling inside of me
When walking up and down
Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner
That I love London Town

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Absolutely Fabulous Olympic Special...

Last night the BBC finally showed the Ab Fab Olympic Special. And it was really funny. Back to to it's old standard. Patsy and Edina were up to their old tricks of trying to muscle in on what hip, happening and cool but ended up in the usual embarrassing mess.

Monday, July 23, 2012


Tim organised his fabulous annual picnic in The Regent's Park yesterday.  This year it was rebranded as the Olympicnic in honour of the forthcoming Games.

The weather was gorgeous as were the people who attended. We retired to The Black Cap afterwards for a small shandy or two to round the day off. Such fun. More pictures here.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Matthew Bourne: Play Without Words...

Last night Stu and I went to see Matthew Bourne's Play Without Words at the Sadler's Wells in London's glitzy Islington.

Inspired by Joseph Lesley's film The Servant Play Without Words is set in early 1960s London. Using the ingenious trick of having up to three identical looking people play each part at the same time we get treated to what is, what was and what might have been been all at the same time. It's a sort of bewitching multiverse with three parallel streams playing out together.

We have the master, his servant and his new lady all at each others trousers and throats in tripicate. A trio of thugs and brace of housemaids add to the wonderful commotion. A revolving set, night club, gay pub - the action dances upstairs and downstairs as the tables are turned and turned again.

We loved it. It is original, sexy, witty, vibrant and funny. If you get a chance to go, do! 

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Thursday, July 19, 2012


Paul came to stay last night, I cooked and we stayed in and watched some telly. We rounded the night off with the fantastic Doctor Who episode Blink. For the umpteenth time.

The Weeping Angels still makes the hairs stand up on the back of my neck. Gives me the heebeegeebees. 

Shame Carey Mulligan's Sally Sparrow didn't become the new assistant - but guess she had bigger fish to fry.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

World Pride 2012...

Last Saturday was Gay World Pride in London.

There had been a bit of trouble with the Pride London funding so no floats were allowed on the parade route down Regents Street this year. Hence the 'parade' was officially turned into a 'march' - which sort of added to the atmosphere to be honest. It made it a more personal march which I actually prefer. There were precious few security people too so you could really get up close and personal to the marchers. Yay!

Dave was down from Chester so we both stood with our hands on our hips watching the boys go by. Then we joined the march and headed towards Trafalgar Square to meet up with Stuart and to see a band or too and then on to Soho for a swift half.

Nice day out.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


The Olympics athletes started arriving in London yesterday so inevitably the usual suspects started with their Olympics bashing. Yes, step forward peddlers of negativity Evening Standard and BBC News London.

All they could come with last night was (a) the Australian team's boat sails were delivered to the cargo rather than the passenger gate at Heathrow resulting in a slight delay. Oh the humanity! and, (b) the Canadian team's bus driver got a bit lost driving from Heathrow to Startford and took the scenic route via Buckingham Palace. Will no one think of the children!

It prompted me to tweet the following two messages mentioning them:-

Oh #EveningStandard is that the best you can do? Not even got the word 'chaos' in #OlympicsBashing non-story front page! Please try harder.

Oh #BBCLondon is that the best you can do? Not even got the word 'chaos' in #OlympicsBashing top story! Please try harder.

That told 'em, huh?

Monday, July 16, 2012

Up at The O2...

Last Sunday Tim, Andrew, Michael, Andrew, Andy, Kev, Stu and I went Up at The O2 to celebrate Stu's birthday.

Well worth it. Great fun and great views.

At just £22 each you get 90 mins total (30 mins intro/training/kit, 15 mins climb, 15mins at top, 15 mins down and 15 mins to get changed.)

Friday, July 13, 2012

Marc Almond at Shepherd's Bush Empire...

Last Monday was Marc Almond's 55th birthday and Dave had bought me a ticket to go and see him in concert at the Shepherd's Bush Empire in London's glitzy West London.

Along with Dave we were joined by Darren, Paul and Simon - oh and 2000 other devotees.

It was a tremendous gig. Marc was in good voice and obviously very happy to be there. The crowd loved it too - well, except Darren who hated it as did Simon (who left halfway through). One for the fans maybe? But that's who was there! Lots of self-penned work, a Northern Soul section and pleasingly few 'hits'.

There were some great great reviews, notably The Arts Desk and The Guardian.

As Marc himself said on Twitter:-

@MarcAlmond: To those that enjoyed and appreciated the show thank you, you get it and understand.thank you for your cards and gifts.
@MarcAlmond: To the disgruntled in the usual moaning areas, time to go away and follow someone else. You'll never be happy, I CAN'T BE WHAT YOU WANT,
@MarcAlmond: All I all in my top 3 Me shows. Atmosphere,crowd, musicianship,songs,vocals,brass and BV's,sound,glitter canon,emotion,4 me gig perfection.

And here's the setlist:-

The Stars We Are
These My Dreams Are Yours
Redeem me
I Who Never
Under Your Wing
There Is a Bed
The River
Waifs and Strays
The Sea Still Sings
Trials of Eyeliner
Tale of a Tart (Hell)
Vanity, Poverty, Revenge
Your Aura
Nijinsky Heart
You Have
This Beautiful Day
Night Owl
Love's Gone Bad
This Love Starved Heart of Mine
After Laughter (Comes Tears)
Run Like the Devil
The Night
Tainted Love
I'll Be Gone

'Happy birthday Marc'
Hot love

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Booth Maps...

Charles Booth was one of those remarkable English Victorians who can justly be described as one of the great and the good. Profoundly concerned by contemporary social problems, and not a pious nor even a religious man, he recognised the limitations of philanthropy and conditional charity in addressing the poverty which scarred British society. Without any commission other than his own he devised, organised, and funded one of the most comprehensive and scientific social surveys of London life that had then been undertaken. Booth also added his voice to the cause of state old age pensions as a practical instrument of social policy to alleviate destitution in old age, established as one of the commonest causes of pauperism. Simultaneously he was a successful businessman, running international interests in the leather industry and a steam shipping line.

One of Booth's greatest acheivements was the survey into London life and labour and the maps he created. These maps were of London coloured street by street to indicate the levels of poverty and wealth. They show a fascinating insight into London life in the late 1800s.

They also form the basis of a recent BBC television show The Secret History of Our Streets - a six-parter, with each episode telling the social history of a particular London street.

As an example, click here to see the map of where I now live.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Hit Factory: Live (cancelled)...

The Hit Factory: Live event celebrating 25 years of PWL and the Stock, Aitken and Waterman sound due tonight is now not going ahead.

Hyde Park took a battering over the weekend after torrential rain fell during Wireless Festival transforming the site into a mudbath.

Safety inspectors declared the turf in front of the main stage unfit this morning meaning the 1980s extravaganza had to be cancelled.

Organisers Live Nation and the Royal Parks decided the site was unsafe for fans and production crew.

Kylie Minogue, Steps, Jason Donovan, Bananarama, Rick Astley, Dead or Alive, Ray and Anita from 2-Unlimited, Lonnie Gordon, Princess, Sybil, Hazel Dean, Sinitta, Sonia, Pepsi & Shirley and Brother Beyond.

So looks like it's not going to be happenin' all over again. We've been so very unlucky, unlucky, unlucky, unlucky.
Hit Factory: Live Rehearsals

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Torch Song Trilogy...

Last Friday Stu, Darren, Andy, Kev, Andrew, Michael, Andy, Tim, Joao, David S, David C, Mark and I went to see Torch Song Trilogy at the Menier Chocolate Factory in London's glitzy London Bridge Quarter.

We met up for a beer and nosh at the Southwark Rooms first just to get us in the mood.

Written by award-winning actor and playwright Harvey Fierstein Torch Song Trilogy tells the story of Arnold, a drag queen; his life and loves. It's divided into three parts 1971, 1973-9 and 1980.

1971: Arnold meets Ed and they fall in love. Ed, however, is uncomfortable with his sexuality and he leaves Arnold for a girlfriend, Laurel.
1973-79: During Christmas, Arnold meets the love of his life, a male model named Alan. They settle down together, later spending a weekend with Ed and Laurel in the country, where their relationship is tested but endures. Eventually, they apply to foster a child together with a view to adoption. However, Alan is killed in a homophobic attack.
1980: Months later, in the spring of 1980, Arnold's mother comes to visit from Florida, but her visit leads to a long-overdue confrontation. Arnold's mother disapproves of Arnold's homosexuality and is shocked to learn of Arnold's planned adoption of a gay teenage son, David. They have a series of arguments where Arnold demands that she accept him for who he is, insisting that if she can't then she has no place in his life. The following morning, before she returns to Florida, they have a conversation where, for the first time, they seem to understand each other. With both David and Ed (who is now more mature and settled) in his life. Arnold's life is finally complete.

Arnold is played by larger than life David Bedella who's virtuoso rather steals the show. His on-again off-again bisexual lover Ed is played by Joe McFadden.

It's funny, moving and a darn good night out.

Monday, July 09, 2012

Dame Mary Archer...

I'm sure Mary Archer deserves her Damehood but when she was my chemistry tutor 30 years ago at university she was an utter cow. "What do you call this? No, no!" All I could think at the time was, "you bloody deserve your husband, you do!"
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Friday, July 06, 2012

Notes from a DIY Dust Bowl...

The redecorating project in Calabria Road continues apace. Annoyingly two of the bedroom windows were missing from the original window delivery which has rather delayed the whole double-glazing project. They have now been reordered but of course there's a 3 week waiting time - these things happen I suppose. Once these final two have arrived and been installed and the dust has (literally) settled then starts the business of making-good the interiors and the outside decorating. I've had a new roof put on the flat-roofed extension at the back as it was in a bad way and it looks like the back wall on the ground floor has some rising-damp. More expense - but the couple who live downstairs are splitting those costs with me so it's not too bad. Once the main structural stuff is completed there are a few more bits and bobs to do - a new extractor fan for the main bathroom, a replacement one for the second bathroom, a few old holes in the exterior walls to be capped off, the front wall to be pepped up and the front yard to be concreted and tiled. Then there's just the front door to be redone, a new internal front door to be fitted and then we can start the major interior decorating project. Oh and the new kitchen to be designed and installed. Never a dull moment with a house, huh?

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Secret Cinema was... Prometheus

Secret Cinema Presents <a class="zem_slink" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prometheus" title="Prometheus" rel="wikipedia">Prometheus</a> Tickets

Prometheus, are you seeing this? 

Secret Cinema presented Ridley Scott's Prometheus in Euston, London, throughout June, transforming a vast abandoned warehouse into the Brave New Ventures/Weyland Industries embarkation terminal and spacecraft.

The journey of one key employee, Elizabeth, has been documented in the film here. The photographic report was filed here. A press report can be found here.

Following the discovery of Star Maps in caves across the world, over 25,000 Secret Weyland Industries employees travelled to the distant planet LV-223 to search for their creators. They dined at the Future Paradise, the secret restaurant aboard on the ship.

Many went through a strict BNV training programme in the leadup to the missions to ensure all recruits were prepared for the trials to come.

After hypersleep and landing, the Brave crew headed through the airlock onto the planet surface in search of our origins. Some were contaminated. All were evacuated to the escape pods and addressed by Captain Ridley Scott from the upper deck. An important message was then relayed.

We thank our esteemed music partners, Radiohead, for creating a soundscape to enhance the mission across the many dark spaces aboard Prometheus. Thank you for investing in BNV. We shall see you very soon for more adventures. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for the latest news.

We would like to thank our visual effects partner Framestore, lighting partner Panalux, drinks partner Diageo, projection partner Dolby 3D, travel partner Virgin Trains, car partner Honda and all our contributing partners for their commitment to our vision.

All crew that boarded the ship are requested to submit their photographic and video evidence here. These will be carefully analysed by our Guidelinks at base, with the three most truthful representations of the journey being awarded three pairs of places to the next mission.

From the creators of Secret Cinema comes a brand new way of seeing new films, don't miss Secret Screenings this Wednesday. Tickets here. May the 4th of July be with you. Future Cinema takes over Wilderness Festival on the 10th to 12th of August, featuring Bugsy Malone and La Haine. Tickets here.

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Higgs Boson Found...

Finally! A Higgs boson-like particle discovery has been claimed at Large Hadron Collider in CERN. Or as some people put it, "Higgs boson: scientists 99.999% sure 'God Particle' has been found"

• The Standard Model is the simplest set of ingredients - elementary particles - needed to make up the world we see in the heavens and in the laboratory

Quarks combine together to make, for example, the proton and neutron - which make up the nuclei of atoms today - though more exotic combinations were around in the Universe's early days

Leptons come in charged and uncharged versions; electrons - the most familiar charged lepton - together with quarks make up all the matter we can see; the uncharged leptons are neutrinos, which rarely interact with matter

• The "force carriers" are particles whose movements are observed as familiar forces such as those behind electricity and light (electromagnetism) and radioactive decay (the weak nuclear force)

• The Higgs boson came about because although the Standard Model holds together neatly, nothing requires the particles to have mass; for a fuller theory, the Higgs - or something else - must fill in that gap

Rather embarrassingly I was just 'invited' to give a brief talk about the Higgs in front of everyone in the office.

I used David Miller's now infamous analogy of the Higgs field as being like Margaret Thatcher moving through a crowded room, gaining mass as other people congregate around her.

The Higgs boson is the quantum of the Higgs field. This field interacts with other particles - this is called the Higgs mechanism. This interaction gives those particles their mass. The Higgs boson is indeed far more massive than many other particles - including the proton - but it 'gives' it it's mass, it is not a sub-particle of it. In the same way you 'might' give me a beer but not be part of me.

And by 'beer' I mean absorption of Nambu–Goldstone bosons arising in spontaneous symmetry breaking.

Think of the Higgs as omnipresent treacle. The bigger you are and the faster you try and move - the heavier you seem.

The reason why particles stop after a few inches in those bubble chambers is usually because they have hit something else with mass. Mass that's been created by the Higgs mechanism.

Higgs (fields, bosons & mechanisms) operate throughout all of space - even in a vacuum. A bit like an electric field does. In fact Higgs bosons are actually lurking 'invisibly' in every vacuum so if you blast enough energy into a particle collision one might actually pop into existence. This is what CERN have managed to do.

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Stuart's 39th Birthday...

Wishing a very Happy Birthday to my darling Stuart today.

I've bought him a new fridge for his birthday. You should have seen the way his lit face lit up when he opened it.

Monday, July 02, 2012

Bryn & Andrew's Wedding...

Such a great day. Wonderful people, Bryn looked amazing and tears of joy all round.

(More details soon)