Sunday, February 28, 2010

Against the tide

Recently I read a Jeremy Clarkson column in which he was bitching about being tormented by a white van man.

Clarkson, it seems, was driving a Rolls Royce toward London - when white van man spotted this symbol of conspicuous consumption in his rear view mirror. The resentful tradesman decided that he would spoil the Roller's day by driving quite slowly, holding the middle of the road, and refusing to let the big car past.

Being the incarnation of Wind in the Willows Toad - this infuriated Clarkson.

The solution is perhaps not obvious - certainly not to a bully who likes speeding - but here it is. The Rolls Royce is reportedly a delightful place to be - whisper quiet, very comfortable and with a particularly fine sound system. The point is that white van man may have been able to stop Clarkson driving fast - but, being subject to commercial pressures, he would not have been able to drive anywhere near as slowly. Find some nice music, and waft along comfortably. Clarkson is a wealthy and potent fellow within his sphere - the film crew or meeting he was rushing too would have waited for him. He had a quirky power which his oafishness prevented him from seeing.

All of this is leading to the point of this post. Another piece of Ross wisdom given to you free, whether you want it or not.

How to walk through a crowd. It's common in London to meet a torrent of pushy commuters vomiting out of a station mouth, all going the opposite way to which you want to. If you're not careful you can get squeezed up against a wall, or perhaps into a gutter - most likely of all you end up in an endless succession of those funny little "I'll go left, no right, no you go left..." dances we have with someone coming directly towards you. The trick I have discovered is not to look at people and to walk exaggeratedly slowly. This give you an illusion of solidity and the oncoming tide will flow around you as if you were a lamp post. Walking slowly turns out to take less time - the flood will pass.

Big Up

My children often change radios from Radio 4 to Radio 1, or worse still to local commercial stations - and then *leave them there*. This makes me listen to brief bursts of these stations by accident.

Recently I heard a DJ, in response to a caller from Luton, say "that's a big up to the Luton massive". No - really - he did say that.

After some effort I believe that I have translated this correctly to:

"I acknowledge, accept and indeed support your belief that the shitty, drab and slightly hopeless town you live in is somehow of remark and indeed is a reflection of your being worthy of fame and admiration - however pathetic, delusional and indeed slightly harmful your self-deception may be."


"a big up to the Luton massive", while still a rancid sputtering of diarrhoea, has the advantage of being shorter

Saturday, February 27, 2010


the alchemical claims of the cosmetics industry

Afan Trip

Friday, February 12, 2010


Approval by original video owners is unlikely, so this will never appear on Youtube, so here it is:

It's so funny that I was ...

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Not as generous as you might first think.

I was watching the sainted Charlie Brooker's Newswipe - he had found an American shock broadcaster congratulating the States on their post Haitian disaster generosity and berating countries who had donated less.

It seemed to me that he was either stupid, or wilfully ignoring the twin factors of proximity to the problem and gdp.

I have since found this. Look how the US drops from the top 10 if you consider per capita or per gdp generosity.

Roman Army Knife

This is thought to be from 200 AD.

Trying to determine if it's credible I searched about a bit. It's on Wikipedia which is to be taken with a grain of salt. It has also featured in blog after blog which is the way of these things.

Eventually I found it in the Fitzwilliam Museum collection - - which makes me more confident.

It's interesting how the modern equivalent is for fixing things - whereas the Roman one is for eating.

Monday, February 8, 2010


Scroll down slowly, see if you can recognise famous faces before scrolling to the caption.

Alternatively you could do something useful.

An equal and opposite reaction.

All together now ...

Polar opposites who, unexpectedly, seem to share a common dress sense.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Stealth Galleon

So - I whooshed into a coffee shop near Borough Market to have a pre-interview coffee and last minute read through my notes. To my surprise I looked up from my work and realised that up until this point I had missed the fact that there was a hulking great galleon outside. This was a landmark personal best feat of ignorance. In my defence it is largely painted a dull black.


... is a sad case of life imitating art.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Manly Fairy


... sounds like Brian Blessed being raped by escaped baboons.


Live and never learn.


Oprah Winfrey is the PT Barnum of the 21st century.


This morning:

Barista at Costa Coffee: "Would you like chocolate on that?"

Me: "Fzzzzt! Spt! Mmmph! You will remember that not 2 minutes ago I asked for a cappuccino. It's called a cappuccino because the brown top is the same as the brown robes worn by Cappuchin Friars. You, of all people, should know this. If you're going to blunder around drenching the little bits of poetry in life with the lukewarm cow-piss showers of your bovine ignorance - well - it's not very good is it? Yes - I would like fucking chocolate on it!"

Actually - I just smiled and said "Yes please". But I like to think she knew what I meant.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace

"A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace" was a 1996 paper regarding the then burgeoning internet. In florid prose it demanded that governments leave the internet well enough alone. It is 16 paragraphs long - I won't trouble you with it here, other than the first and last pars:

"Governments of the Industrial World, you weary giants of flesh and steel, I come from Cyberspace, the new home of Mind. On behalf of the future, I ask you of the past to leave us alone. You are not welcome among us. You have no sovereignty where we gather."


"We will create a civilization of the Mind in Cyberspace. May it be more humane and fair than the world your governments have made before."

Lofty aims - sadly internet fora were the first place I came across angry young men calling each other "fucktards"

Never mind.