Thursday 22 December 2011


I've lost a follower. My number has dropped by one. I don't mind, but I wish I could work out who it is.

Occasionally I've been known to rant and rave about governments, bankers and the state of the world's economy, but often it's a little out of context. So I found this piece on the BBC very interesting and useful. If you get bored over the next few days have a read here. The only thing it doesn't do is say that the bankers all started lending ridiculous amounts to people who could never repay the debt...and they did that because of the lax regulatory framework set by the politicians. So whilst it's simple to look at and still comes back to bankers and politicians who betrayed us all.

Last night we went to Secret Cinema - me, The Cat's Mother, The Cat and her friend Hopeful. Now one of the rules about Secret Cinema is that it's SECRET. To my immense frustration, the run has been extended through January...and that's a long time for me to hold on to a SECRET. So in the spirit of the thing, I can't tell you what we saw, but I can tell you that it's a film I've wanted to see for absolute classic...and it completely lived up to expectations. I also can't tell you where we saw it either. But I can say that it took place in a building that I've been walking past for the last fifteen years without realising it is kept in a semi-derelict state for use by film companies. It's also next door to a pub which features heavily in one of my favourite films. We ate in a pop up restaurant catered by one of the best restaurants in London, so not only did we see one of the greatest movies ever made, we also dined well too. I think that it's OK for me to show you some of the photos I took, so you can see for yourselves that Secret Cinema is an amazing experience which creates an all-embracing night that we'll be talking about for months ahead.

If the pictures disappear, it's only because I've been accused of betrayal. And we wouldn't want that. if you have any ideas, please don't put it in the comments box, but do email me direct!

Wednesday 21 December 2011

I read somewhere...

...that this has been the busiest year ever for news. I'm not really sure what that means, but boy does it feel as though 2011 has been full of political, social and economic unrest. Add to that are the natural disasters which only go to show that Mother Nature is still master of the human race.

Worryingly it was only this week that Japan announced that the reactors at Fukushima had been brought under control. Remember the Japanese disaster? No was months ago, it's off the front pages. In fact it's off the news pages all together. We may well all be evolving into goldfish I think, so it's good that Google Street View took the time to do a series of before and after which you can see on the BBC here Sobering isn't it? Whilst we assume it's business as usual (except for me because the new camera I wanted is STILL not available because the Sony factory was disrupted...I've got my priorities right eh?), there are still thousands of Japanese who are displaced, and tens of thousands who lost friends and family.

I was very glad this week at the return of Millennium Housewife. Her blog was always most amusing, and helped me to become an enthusiast to go out and find blogs that have be come my staple reading. Have a read here

I was genuinely saddened to see that Vaclav Havel has died....his velvet revolution made an enormous impact on me when I was younger, and brought about many of the changes that have so shaped the world today. Without doubt he was a good man, a clever man, and some one who should be remembered as a great statesman. Here are some of his sayings.

The newspaper headlines have roared out this week that it was a lack of police planning that lead to the summer riots spreading. May be it did, may be it didn't, but I can't but help feel that whatever they do the police get criticised...certainly the suggestion that the police should have shot rioters seems more like a Jeremy Clarkson comment than something written by a learned enquiry. It's certainly not British...but then perhaps it is the collapse of any sort of British identity that has led to the underlying problems in our society

One of my favourite books this year has been 'Skippy Dies'. The title may not give you an idea that it's a humourous tale. It's long...pushing 700 pages, and took me a long time to read...not because it was difficult, but it was certainly dense...hardly a word wasted. If you get bored at all over the Christmas break I'd recommend it, as does The Guardian here

Hardly surprisingly I despair at the state of the world's economy. Actually less at the state of the economy, but more at the failure of the politicians to set out a vision, act with resolve and deliver a compelling solution whilst at the same time the banks continue to parade their arrogance in our face. By banks I mean the wider financial community which is still flaying around looking for an opportunity to land the killer blow. I can only say that my fourth favourite street artist Banksy has done well to encapsulate it in his latest work...and yes that is The City you can see in the background

On a lighter note...tonight is Secret Cinema...first one since I don't know when, last one this year. We're going dressed as rogues...and have been told to wrap up warm. Too excited for words.

Tuesday 20 December 2011

'tis the time to be jolly tra la la la la la la

I seem to be unable to keep up with everyone's posts over the last few weeks...I've done my best, but it's just sorry for that.

Christmas has kicked in with a vengeance in our world. At home on Sunday we had sixteen people round the table....that's a lot. They're all old friends of The Cat's Mother, but after three years I'm getting to know them quite well. At least I can remember most of their names. And that's a good start for me. They usually remember mine too. Lunch eventually finished at nearly eight in the evening, and the next day various of the guests spent at least the morning in bed recovering from a dose of over-indulgence. We spent the time after they left trying to clear up.

It was a good job then that yesterday was our office lunch. These things have always been important to me, I don't know why, but the office Christmas knees up always just bring the year to a happy close. Last year we didn't have a lunch as everyone kept chopping and changing so eventually I just cancelled the whole thing. This year we had ten of us round the table at Pizarro (a new Spanish restaurant in Bermondsey street) sells Spanish food, not pizzas as the name might imply. It was delightful. Strangely, the wine seemed to take up three-quarters of the bill, and only half of us were in this morning.

I've been trying to book a restaurant for my brother and us to meet up after Christmas. Remarkably every time I've rung over the last two weeks the line has been engaged. I've rung so many times I know the number off by heart. If it was a celebrity, I'd be in court for stalking by now. Eventually I sent them an e-mail. 48 hours later they rang back, I was driving so they left a message to say if I rang them back they would take my booking. I did. They were engaged. I'd have given up, but around us most places seem to be closed on the 27th. Anyway, in the same way that you can struggle for hours trying to open a stuck bottle of ketchup without any success and then hand it over to someone who does it immediately and with ease, The Cat's Mother rang, got through and booked. In the space of 30 seconds.

I was hoping to write a post about our fabulous new bathroom in Brighton. It may not be a major event in anyone's lives, apart from us, but it is the final and finishing step in modernising the Brighton flat. Alas and alack, the builders have done what builders do best. Sending the bill 'on completion' when the shower remains a hole in the ceiling, the electric light is still hanging at knee level, the shower screen is still flying free, the sink is at a tilt so empties its contents on to your lap when you fill it...and so on and so on. I won't comment on the radiator that has been carefull positioned so that when you sit on the toilet, you are guaranteed to burn your knee on it. I may need a cold shower to calm down. Oh. Er. Oh.

Meanwhile at home, and for the record (I don't want to be reading this in thirty years time with important bits missed out completely), one of our number is apparently determined to make our lives a misery and ruin what should be a splendid Christmas full of humour and good will. So if you want an extra person for Christmas time, just let me know....

Monday 19 December 2011

21st Century living

Winter has officially arrived. Yes last week we, in London and the South East, saw a snow flake fall. Inevitably the tube trains stopped running, the buses were consigned to their depots, cars crawled along at less than walking pace, shops immediately sold out of plastic sledges, people wrapped up in clothes that would keep them warm in the Antarctic, supermarkets ran low on stocks as hoarding took hold, employees of some of the leading businesses were unable to make it in to work and many homes were left freezing as boilers broke down one after another. You may well say that where you are had inches of snow and Arctic temperatures to match, but carried on as normal. Well of course you did. You all live near the North Pole and are hardy folk used to the privations of less refined living. Here inside the M25 bubble, we are different. Civilisation has reached a pinnacle, and we live cossetted, man-made comfortable lives untroubled by Mother Nature. The change in weather has hit us hard. Send food parcels...well luxury hampers in Range Rovers at the very least. Please.

Driving back from Brighton (yet again) I felt that 21st Century motoring had truly arrived. I opened an app on my smart phone to listen to internet radio station Q radio. The smart phone was plugged into the car stereo so I could blast out the latest songs at deafening volume. The phone was connected by bluetooth to the SatNav, enabling me to have hands-free phone calls throughout the journey. Of course I could have added yet more technology by using the phone as a WiFi Hotspot for my HP TouchPad to connect to. I could have then used the TouchPad to tune into the internet radio station and connect it to the stereo. But that would have been ridiculous.

At the other end of the car, the exhaust pipe continued to belch out black clouds of diesel smoke.

So it may have been a case of civilising cannibals by giving them knives and forks.