Showing posts from December, 2020


Autopsies of 2020 were complete long before the year’s end. Only war could have made it worse, then I remembered it began with the United States and Iran on the verge of open conflict, after a drone strike killed an Iranian general. Meanwhile, Covid-19 has been detrimental to the extent the United Nations Development Programme, on Tuesday 15 th December, said it threatened human progress, publishing a report detailing how a global lurch from one crisis to the next could reverse gains in health, education and social freedoms. There is nowhere left for us to go but upwards. The signs are good. The United States will soon have a President who favours diplomacy over disruption, and while on its way out of the European Union, the United Kingdom has somehow managed to make a deal with the union on trade that was achieved using negotiation and compromise – the protectionism, nationalism and sovereignty ingrained in politics in the last few years has made the announcement of the Brexit de


The Ineos Grenadier is an off-road car to be released in 2022, following a six-year process where Sir Jim Ratcliffe pushed his chemicals company, most well-known as a sponsor of cycling and sailing teams, into car production to fulfil Ratcliffe’s dream of building a modern, rugged vehicle in the spirit of the original Land Rover of 1948... ...or, when Jaguar Land Rover declined to sell Ratcliffe the tooling and moulding for the previous model Land Rover Defender, which ended production in 2016, he decided to build a vehicle that looks so much like the original Defender that, if it drove past you, you could mistake it for one. Some edges have been smoothed off, and the front and rear lights are different, but apart from that, the Grenadier – named after the pub in which Ratcliffe and his team conceived the idea – appears to be for people that wanted the old Land Rover Defender, but didn’t want to buy second-hand. In a September 2020 article for “Autocar” magazine [https://www.autoca


No-one builds stations like BBC Radio 4 anymore. With general, mass audiences for drama, comedy, news and magazine shows served mainly by television since the 1950s, radio is ever more divided up into individual stations providing either “music” or “talk,” either individually or in varying ratios, in an attempt to stop inspiring the listener to tune away. But Radio 4, with its roots through the original Home Service to the birth of the BBC in 1922, has always broadcast a mix of programmes like a TV channel. As befitting the more intimate and personal nature of radio listening, the days of its listeners are entwined with Radio 4 in a way that cannot be replicated by talk show phone-ins or a continuous stream of today’s greatest hits. No-one marched in the street when the presenter of the Radio 1 breakfast show changes, but if Radio 4 moves its furniture around... I remember when, in 1998, new station controller James Boyle unleashed a swathe of changes to the station that caused uproa


  As I have previously talked about here , here , and here , I cannot leave the house without my Sony Walkman, and I still buy Compact Discs. I may still listen to music online, but if I find myself coming back to the same songs, either by MP3 or on YouTube, it is time to buy them on CD so I can hear them with better sound quality, preserving that in FLAC format on my Walkman without losing a single note – well, it makes sense to me anyway. I have a number of CDs I need to transfer, and once that’s done, I can spend the rest of the day listening to them: Yellow Magic Orchestra (YMO ): “Yellow Magic Orchestra” / “Solid State Survivor” / “X∞Multiplies” / “BGM” / “Technodelic” / “Naughty Boys” After uncovering the story behind the song “Behind the Mask” [ link ], I continued listening to Yellow Magic Orchestra, and I have come to the conclusion that YMO may possibly be one of the greatest bands ever, and that the history of electronic pop music in the Western world cannot be properly un