Archive for August, 2013

Deja vu

August 28, 2013 6 comments

It seems that we are being told, on the basis of top-quality US intelligence, (Does that ring a bell?) that the Syrian President possesses weapons of mass destruction, and has used them against his opponents, killing innocents in the process.

It seems also that our government is going to join the US and anyone else who can be recruited in ‘punishing’ him, by launching massive missile strikes against his country, a tactic which will lead inevitably to the deaths of still more innocents. Change a few names and we could be back where we were ten years ago.

Will a missile strike bring back the dead? No, it will only add to their numbers. Will it bring the regime to heel? Unlikely; but it could provoke them into doing the same again . . . that’s if it was them in the first place and not the rebels. So why has David Cameron suddenly become a war-monger? Hasn’t he cast an eye upon the haunted figure that is Tony Blair today, to recognise the danger to his reputation?

Can we have the referendum now please, before Scotland is sucked into another Westminster War?

Categories: General, Politics

Meldrew mode

August 28, 2013 6 comments

Okay you’re going to call me a grumpy old ******* but here goes anyway.

Yesterday evening we flew from Newcastle to Girona; on a rough head count as many as 20% of the passengers were children of school age, holiday bound. It may be they were all going on five day breaks and will be back when the English schools reopen on Monday, but forgive me if I doubt that.  Yes, I know that holidays are more expensive in July and August than in June and September, but parents are legally obliged to present their kids at school during term-time and, I would suggest, morally bound also.

I would suggest that UK-wide education authorities should station observers at all airports, because for too many people, when it comes to a choice between sunshine and education, stupidity rules.

Categories: General


August 26, 2013 2 comments

Someone in  Pointless must have read my post earlier today! Nonetheless your record still isn’t good, folks.

Categories: General

More music while I work

Georgia Lee ; Tom Waits, from the album Mule Variations. Not a happy song, but the man’s a genius.

Categories: General

Provocative question of the week

August 26, 2013 2 comments

Why are there no black contestants on Pointless? Is it made by the same folk who used to make Midsomer Murders, till they got caught?

Categories: General

Thank you all

Finally, now I have a chance to draw breath after a hectic weekend, my heartfelt thanks to everyone who joined me in the big tent at the Edinburgh Book Festival last Thursday afternoon, and also to the guy on my right, my friend and chairman, Brian Taylor.

I enjoyed it; hope you did.

Categories: General

Sergio Leone

Categories: General, Videos


August 20, 2013 4 comments

I have just seen the idiot of the week on Pointless, a man who thought that Treasure Island was written by Hans Christian Andersen

Categories: General


August 20, 2013 5 comments

“I heard a rumour that Cadbury is bringing out an oriental chocolate bar. Could be a Chinese Wispa.”

That has been voted the funniest joke at this year’s Fringe. Eh? You want funny, try this:

Categories: General

Cumpleanos, Guillem

August 19, 2013 8 comments

It’s Bill Clinton’s birthday. Does he look older than me, or younger? Answers please.

Categories: General, Politics

For a horse

August 19, 2013 4 comments

Thank you BBC for The White Queen, great gripping knights in armour drama. Fiction rather than history, yes, but bloody good, especially the barking mad Margaret Beaufort.

Too bad there can’t be a second series. They’d pretty much run out of Yorkists at the end.

Categories: General


August 18, 2013 2 comments

And so farewell, Top of the Lake. Almost two months of mesmerising drama; it got everything right that Twin Peaks got wrong. Its absence will leave a hole in my Sunday evenings.

Categories: General

Dans la merde jusqu’au cou

When you’re apologising to the fans after your first game, you are in trouble, no matter who you are.

Categories: Sport


August 18, 2013 6 comments

This is not news; Barcelona has been this way for ever. Eileen and I were in a taxi last year going past the foot of the Ramblas, when our driver said, unprompted, ‘Un carrer muy peligroso,’ or in English, ‘A very dangerous street.’

Categories: General


Categories: General

Another boycott coming?

It’s no secret that I’m an SNP supporter, and so it shouldn’t be surprising that I am 100% behind the party in its demands that Westminster should legislate to tackle the scourge of payday lenders.

However I have an eye for an anomaly, and find myself sympathising with Alex Salmond, the First Minister, given that he’s a prominent Hearts fan, and their shirt sponsor is . . .

Categories: General, Sport

More music while I work

Come on Eileen – Dexy’s Midnight Runners. I must ask her about that.

Categories: General

Boston soul

In conversation with the lovely and very talented Barbara Nadel this morning, this came up:

If you like the Troggs, and were around at the time of Robert Fitzgerald Kennedy, you may enjoy

Categories: General, Politics, Videos


Just checked out the cricket on line. It’s always a mistake to hit a fast bowler on the head, even if he is wearing a  helmet. Now Jimmy Anderson will be annoyed.

Categories: Sport

Far away

Ever heard of Shakhtar Karagandy? Me neither; for all I knew it might have been a Auld Scots phrase for energetic sex, until Celtic were drawn against them in the Champions’ League play-off round.

Karagandy, it seems, is a province in Kazakhstan, and the team plays in the capital, Karaganda, a city not that much smaller than Glasgow, but in a stadium one third the size of Celtic Park. Shakhtar Karagandy managed to lose to Dublin St Patrick’s in last year’s Euro qualifiers, which in theory indicates that Celtic should be favourites, but they’ve beaten a good side to get this far so should not be under-estimated.

Let’s hope the locals are welcoming to any fans prepared to cross five time zones to get there (and there are bound to be some). However the presence of one Paddy Flynn in the Shakhtar Karagandy squad indicates that there should be at least one person who can show them around.

Categories: Sport