Friday, September 28, 2007

That was a cold night



That large cover is supposed to protect the whole sofa, but this fellow decided he had a better use for it last night. Came down this morning to find he'd got under it. Our boiler is broken, awaiting repair, so the house was very cold.

Ossian

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

No more lawnmowing



These beauties will keep the grass trimmed for you.

Harry Lemon

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Criminals

There Now

"It’s very easy to say I’d never do this, I’d never do that. I’d never, it’s easy, never do it, you say. But you don’t really know, you don’t really know what you’d do unless you land in a real situation."

Stephen Moran read this story at the Small Wonder festival. (Yes, yes, the slam.) I thought he read it very well, quite the actor. We're badgering him for a soundfile.

Feargal Mooney

Here's Harry

Small Wonder



Proust



Indifference

Harry Lemon

Monday, September 24, 2007

Bob's your uncle: 1. Opera

Great new series!

I'm not saying Paddy O'Toole knows nothing about opera, but he thought "Donna non vidi mai" meant "Woman don't give me the clap."

Bob Harmless

Cry vengeance

Police Condemn 'Sickening' Attack On Teenager |Sky News|UK News

"Sixteen-year-old Robert Chapman handed over the phone to two men who had threatened him but they soon returned shouting 'let's kill him'."

It would be nothing but satisfactory if they should be shot, the rotten vermin.

Zoz

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Good news

Cancer cure 'may be available in two years'

"Cancer sufferers could be cured with injections of immune cells from other people within two years, scientists say." (Telegraph)

Zoz

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Music and history

Teaching "The Children of Willesden Lane": Mona Golabek Performs

"Mona Golabek began learning piano from her mother when she was four years old. Sitting at the piano, Mona heard vivid tales of Lisa’s journey from her home in Vienna to the rambling hostel at 243 Willesden Lane in London. These stories stayed with Mona as she grew up to become an accomplished concert pianist herself, and they led her to write The Children of Willesden Lane."

Resources to help you teach the book/A special performance by the author

Famous people from Willesden, a short series. No. 5

Jane Asher

"Jane Asher (born 5 April 1946) is an English film and television actress and the author of several full-length novels. She is the wife of cartoonist Gerald Scarfe, and was a former girlfriend of Paul McCartney.

"McCartney wrote several Beatles songs in the Asher house ... Marianne Faithfull remembered McCartney and Asher "never getting on very well," and described one evening at Cavendish Avenue* [sic] when McCartney wanted a window to be open and Asher wanted it shut. McCartney would repeatedly get up and open the window and then Asher would get up and close it..." (Wikipedia)

Wikipedia hints that she'd probably rather forget Macca. No mention of her famous cake baking TV shows, videos and books. Are we allowed to point out, without charges of sexism, that she's beautiful?

* Is this meant to be Cavendish Road? No Cavendish Avenue around here, or "near the Abbey Road studios", as far as I can see. Ed

Monday, September 17, 2007

A brilliant talk

Germaine Greer talks about Shakespeare's wife

Fascinating and really quite moving, betimes.

Ossian

I wish I could enter this

Willesden Short Story Prize

Annual free competition, this year with a big prize (£5,000). Adjudicated for the third year running by Zadie Smith. Word has it that nibs have been heard scratching paper already for this competition.

Ossian

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Endless war

The Shock Doctrine

This is scary stuff. Warning: the video contains disturbing images.

Zoz

A yard of ale for that man!

Relief of the siege of Britain

"The Commissioner added: 'Things such as pints and miles and feet and inches are what makes us love Britain. We don't want to get rid of them. The idea that you could not go for a pint in a pub in Britain is not acceptable.'"

I wish he'd tell that to the missus.

Eddie "Red" Woodward

DNA in the frame

Letters

Anybody can now be framed for a crime by placing material bearing their DNA where it will be found by police. Courts and public may be so bamboozled by the virtual uniqueness of DNA that they lose their senses upon its adduction. No matter how preposterous any allegation, all is answered by the mighty DNA finding. One can commit "the perfect crime" by taking a hair from somebody's head or a drop of their blood and leaving it somewhere to be found.

M. A. Gray, Kensal Rise

Monday, September 10, 2007

Install the Big Wall application

Facesavebook

Announcing the Big Wall application. Build a Big Wall around yourself today. Nobody will be able to comment on your MySpace or Facebook profiles, email you, phone you, hail you in the street, send you Hallmark greetings cards on made-up days, talk about you behind your back, repeat your excellent jokes without attribution, question your parentage, park in front of your driveway, bid against you on eBay, quote you, think about you, order the same thing as you in restaurants, have the same favourites generally, still have any sweets left when yours are all gone, say anything whatsoever without your prior approval, think about random things reckless of your viewpoint, cut their grass when you are reading your book on the patio, go on holidays in loud airplanes over your city, phone when you're in the bathroom (or any time generally except by prior request), write things that are borderline better than your own, reject your suggestions in an offhand or any other manner, read over your shoulder, take your breath like cats, perversely decide to have insomnia at the same time as you, turn off the light when they leave the room you're in, close the door behind them when you're following them through, tap cutlery against their teeth, eat the last jaffa cake and leave the empty packet on the shelf, etc. Install the Big Wall application—problems over. Sign up now.

Simon Moribund Systems

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Gordon Brown: masterpiece of puppetry

Letters

Look closely when Gordon Brown shuffles pages: it's not him! He's only a huge-headed papier-mâché carnival figure with another smaller person behind operating him - that's whose hands you see. You never see Blair anymore, do you, by the way?

V. G. Bong, Neasden

Saturday, September 01, 2007

On Zora Neale Hurston

What does soulful mean?

"I had my own ideas of 'good writing'. It was a category that did not include aphoristic or overtly 'lyrical' language, mythic imagery, accurately rendered 'folk speech' or the love tribulations of women. My literary defences were up in preparation for Their Eyes Were Watching God. Then I read the first page..." (Zadie Smith)

Ossian