Showing posts from November, 2016


Earlier this week, I tried to find a computer programme that allowed me to turn speech into text, while I spoke. Thankfully, entering notes on my phone allows me to do this, but this all came from an idle thought about writing in a stream of consciousness style, hoping the mere act of continuing to talk might yield something that could be useful in one of these screeds, rather than go through a week-long bout of perspiration, trying to think of a subject that could be both informative and entertaining. However, once I started to do it, I started feeling like this may not work. What you are reading here is, in fact, a VERY, VERY heavily edited version of my talking, to myself, about trying to talk about streams of consciousness, as if layers of reality, like layers of rocks over millions of years, were bearing down on my brain. You may feel that you are free when you can say anything you like, but when you have set yourself a task to be as free as possible, before giving yours


I refrained from writing about Donald John Trump two weeks ago, when the US Presidential election race finally ended, because the prevailing mood in the United States was too raw, and too polarising, to make light of the situation, and no-one from the land of Brexit can realistically make light of political problems elsewhere. However, comedy is described as tragedy plus time, and Trump is described alternately as Charles Foster Kane and Biff Tannen, despite winning a Golden Raspberry Award for Best Supporting Actor in the 1990 Bo Derek film “Ghosts Can’t Do It,” where he played himself. The comparisons with “Citizen Kane” endure, especially when Trump was asked about it, in 2002, by the documentary maker Errol Morris, for an unfinished film. Trump recognised the theme of wealth not being everything, and how it isolates you from people. However, the subsequent focus on his comments is regarding the montage of scenes between Kane and his first wife, over a breakfast table that


Well, my original intention of writing about newspapers is to excoriate how they assume their way of reflecting the United Kingdom fits the national character, how they second-guess the thoughts of reactions of their audience, before prescribing what they should think, and how they berate those who do not have the same ways they do, calling them “champagne socialists,” “the establishment,” or “Bremoaners” (the last one is particularly annoying, as if only a few people voted to stay in the European Union). However, that is what most people think about newspapers, including many who still buy them – thankfully, they have other features and pull-out sections about less contentious stuff, particularly at the weekend, when we have more time to read them. The bigger question that came out of my preparation for this display of putting one word in front of the other, having not bought my usual Saturday copy of “The Times” recently, is: “does anyone still buy newspapers?” It is a bit


If there was ever a patron saint for this site, it would be someone that built an extension to their house contain their personal library of over twenty thousand books. There was a time when facts, even trivia, were the result of hard-thought searches, and Jeremy Beadle (1948-2008), writer of many trivia and quiz books, wanted to be the British equivalent of Robert Ripley, he of the “Believe It or Not!” series of cartoon strips, TV shows and museums. However, Beadle’s engaging personality made him the face of a series of TV programmes that proved the viewers at home were as entertaining as the people they watched. Now you have the Laurie Holloway’s infuriatingly catchy theme tune for “Beadle’s About” in your head, it is fitting to form a picture of Jeremy Beadle through a series of “did you knows”: ·          Through a number of jobs, from taxi driver to tour guide, Beadle became editor of a Manchester version of the listings magazine “Time Out,” which was ultimately sho


Citro ë n are justifiably proud of the 2CV, made from 1948 to 1990, as its company website shows []. The car got France back on the road after the Second World War, becoming as iconic as the original Volkswagen Beetle, and its outward simplicity belies the sheer lengths made to engineer a car that, for all intents and purposes, had to be like no other. However, “The Tin Snail” is also known for being very slow, having a 0-60 mph time of “eventually,” and having been introduced at a time when “crumple zones” were usually found inside the driver, which the 2CV solved by designing the front of the chassis to fold up in a crash. Examining the 2CV was makes clear why it cannot be judged against most cars, its own agenda being very different. Despite its introduction in the same year as the Morris Minor, Citro ën were producing prototypes and pre-production models as early as 1938 – most were destroyed before the Nazi inva