Anomaly

November 7, 2017 1 comment

The Paradise Papers are great fun, and they’re a welcome break from lunging, almost deniable knee-touching and elected representatives knifing each other. However the tabloids, with one notable exception, seem to be ‘avoiding’ an inconvenient truth. Tax avoidance isn’t illegal. In fact it’s an industry that could as easily be described as Tax Management. The system under which it thrives is put in place by governments, and can be changed at their instigation. So don’t blame Lewis, HM, or the people from Mrs Brown’s Boys. Blame Philip Hammond, George Osborne, Alastair Darling, Gordon Brown and all the Chancellors before them, who developed the tax framework and have been content to live with it.

That exception I mentioned? The Daily Mail, which seems entirely disinterested in everyone else’s story of the day. Could it be that the editor has been warned off by the proprietors? If so, why?

Categories: General, Politics

Amber Rudd

November 6, 2017 Leave a comment

The current and deeply unpleasant Home Secretary is the worst sort of politician in my book. It’s a long time since I have seen anything as disgusting as the eagerness and speed with which she threw Michael Fallon under the bus yesterday on Sky News, or the appetite with which she swallowed the words that were thrust into her mouth by the anchor, knowing that they would become the headline of the day.

There’s an ironic old saw about there being no greater love than that which lays down the life of your best friend to save your own.

Categories: Politics

Eh?

October 21, 2017 Leave a comment

‘Mugabe named as goodwill ambassador by WHO’

What can top that? Maybe Trump on ‘Would I Lie to You?’, but not much else

Categories: Uncategorized

Secret no longer

October 19, 2017 16 comments

Great day in our house; ‘State Secrets’, the 28th Bob Skinner mystery, is published, officially, in hardback, trade paperback, and ebook formats.

Happy to say it’s flying off the shelf and melting the Internet.

Categories: General

East Lothian girl and footballer in Sun shocker

October 17, 2017 Leave a comment

Victoria furious over David Beckham’s friendship with wild socialite Lady Mary Charteris – The Sun

 

Categories: Uncategorized

Our house, is a very, very, very fine house …

October 13, 2017 1 comment
Categories: Uncategorized

God’s in His heaven . . .

September 3, 2017 Leave a comment

Lunch today with more than a little nostalgia; the Finlay family are back in the Waterside Bistro, Haddington, on the banks of the other Tyne. Jim is there too, in support of his sons, who are the new face of this business. Everything was just like old times, 30-odd years ago, including the quality of the food.

Welcome back, you’ve been missed.

Categories: General

Order, order

September 2, 2017 Leave a comment
Categories: General, Pics

Hear, hear

September 2, 2017 2 comments

Also available to download.

Categories: General, Pics

Wayne Rooney charged with drink-driving – BBC News

September 1, 2017 Leave a comment

Deadline day plus one, US Open tennis, Italian Grand Prix, Vuelta de Espana and yet this is the lead story on BBC Sport on line.

Priorities gone awry?

Categories: Uncategorized

Bob Who?

August 31, 2017 1 comment

Over the last 24 years I have appeared at more public events than I can remember, in eight nations, on three continents. My favourite part is always the Q&A section when the audience talks to me, rather than the other way around. Beyond a doubt one question has been asked more times than any other, so often that it’s pretty much obligatory at gigs.

‘If Bob Skinner is ever made into a TV series, who do you see as Bob?’

Over the years I have offered many answers. This thing has been going so long that when it started people were talking about Iain Glen as Andy Martin! Sean Connery, Liam Neeson, Idris Elba, John Hannah, (no kidding, Ian) Patterson Joseph, Clive Russell, Iain Glen as Bob Skinner, they’ve all been put out there. For a while I would suggest Peter Capaldi to audiences. Almost invariably they laughed. Then ‘The Thick of It’ happened and they stopped laughing. Mr Capaldi is too old now, so he has dropped off at my list.

To tell you the truth, I’ve never had a favourite. There has never been a stand-out candidate in my eyes. When Skinner did have a close shave with Yorkshire TV, they were thinking of David Morrissey as Bob. That might have worked, but it never happened.

But now, after all these years, I do. The scales have fallen from my ageing eyes.

My ideal Skinner has been around for a while, but nobody has picked him out, not even me, until very lately. Maybe a production company will have the same vision that I have. Step forward Sandor Clegane, aka The Hound . . . in real life, Rory McCann. He’s a big bloke, a genuine Scottish actor, hugely recognisable thanks to ‘Game of Thrones’ and he’s just the right age.

How about it?

Categories: General

Savage

August 31, 2017 1 comment

Finally got round last night to watching the Oliver Stone film adaptation of ‘Savages’, by Don Winslow. (Do not be misled by a book with the same title,  published recently by someone who either didn’t do his research properly, or did, if you get my drift.)

* Health warning *: there is a horrific beginning, and seriously graphic violence throughout. (Oliver Stone does not do subtle.)  That said, somehow it all blends into a logical and very satisfying conclusion. The Blu-Ray includes an uncut version; I chose the theatrical version, but I plan to watch the other, not because I’m a sadist and want even more blood, but to see whether the endings are the same.

‘Savages’ is one of the few Winslow novels I haven’t yet read, but I decided to do the movie version first. Now I will find it difficult to read the original without the presence in my head of the magnificent Benicio del Toro, who steals the film out from under a very fine cast.

Around ten years ago, I read that Robert de Niro had acquired the rights to ‘The Winter of Frankie Machine’, another of Winslow’s ‘surfer’ novels, maybe his best. I thought even then that he was too old for the title part, so it didn’t surprise me when it was never made, but good news, the project has resurfaced, with William Friedkin hired to direct. News also that Fox have bought the rights to ‘Power of the Dog’ and it’s sequel ‘The Cartel’, to be produced by Ridley Scott.

Categories: General

Change needed?

 

Absolutely. The jury makes its decision on evidence led, but a max of two years for snuffing out a life? The law needs updating.

Categories: Uncategorized

The future?

August 23, 2017 1 comment

On the road in L’Escala this morning I travelled for a while behind a Tesla model S, all-electric, with Dutch plates.

Baking hot morning, but all the windows were open. Was this because the driver had switched off the air-con to save battery power? Whatever it made me wonder about the practicality of electric vehicles as they stand. My bruv-in-law has a Nissan Leaf, and is very pleased with it, but there is little need for air-con in Wooler, and he doesn’t test its range. Great, no doubt, for commuting, as long as the owner has charging facilities at home. But for a journey from Spain to Holland?

Tesla’s site suggests that some configurations can achieve a range of up to 400 miles, at 55mph with the air-con off. Switch it on and go a little faster, make allowances for an extravagant driving style, and that declines rapidly.

I have to admit that I’d fancy one of the beasts myself, but I doubt that I’d be bringing it to Spain. I hope that Mr Hollander has his return journey planned very carefully, and knows exact where the charging points are.

Categories: General

No!

August 17, 2017 3 comments

I’ve just finished the best new read I’ve had this year, ‘Fatal Sunset’, the sixth in a brilliant series of crime novels featuring anarchist Valencia detective, Chief Inspector Max Cámara, the creation of my friend Jason Webster.

I had the pleasure of sharing a stage with Jason a few years ago, at Bloody Scotland. We’ve kept in touch and since then I’ve been following his career and that of Max, with great interest. There are three essential elements in crime fiction, location, characterisation and plotting, and Jason scores top marks in all three.

Each of the Cámara novels is a work of art, and there is very little that’s predictable in any of them, but the ending of ‘Fatal Sunset’ took even me by surprise.

Will there be another? Only Jason knows that, but hopefully his ever growing army of fans, will persuade him, and his fortunate publishers, that there must.

Categories: General

There’s not a team like the Progres Niederkorn . . .

I had no idea that Luxembourg football had advanced so far.

Categories: Sport

Tasteless

July 5, 2017 1 comment

BBC Breakfast this morning made a child survivor of Grenfell Tower cry on camera then broadcast it, with the participation and apparent approval of her father.

The point being?

Categories: General

Trump lawyer targets poor for donations to fight Obamacare via charity that pays his family millions

June 28, 2017 1 comment
Categories: Uncategorized

Going to need more of these post-Brexit.

Categories: Uncategorized

Jeremy Corbyn calls for unity in Glastonbury speech

June 24, 2017 1 comment

How many more times? He lost. He f*cking lost.

Categories: Politics