Tuesday, 3 December 2013

HIV positive

HIV can be used for good.

Have a look at this amazing news story from Upworthy.

It reduced me to tears.

Get your tissues out.

Monday, 2 December 2013

After World Aids Day

I missed world Aids day this year.

Well not exactly missed it, I turned up, I was still alive.

But there was no ribbon on my chest.

My excuse

I couldn't find any this year.

I didn't see a single soul wearing one either.

It was always a big thing when I was young.

We should still care

And it's still a global problem, 34 million people were living with HIV/AIDS worldwide in 2011, check the World Health Organisation.

It still has no cure.

Yet, no ribbons.


Wednesday, 13 November 2013

My science obsession continues

So I thought that this YouTube post by the guy from SciShow was a really nice way to conceptualise numbers through translating them into time.

Have a look it's great, it makes it all more real.

If you wanted to make it real.

If you're a billion pounds in debt for example, maybe you'd rather continue to be hazy on it.

Am I being too negative?

It's my new obsession.

Watch it, watch it, watch it, she says like an over excited puppy.

Sunday, 10 November 2013

THE Spaceman

I should have put this up when Neil Armstrong died, but I've only just discovered it.

My favourite SciShow geek has 10 reasons why Neil Armstrong was badarse.

And no that isn't a spelling mistake, I'm British.

I should have posted about a million different things, but things have been quite busy over here.

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Whoosh, bang

I walked home from a seasonal fireworks display last night.

It was the brilliant Brockwell Park display, which is thankfully still free and musically accompanied.

Their display knocked the socks off the Bermondsey display of last year.

Winter warmer

I love fireworks night.

It makes me all warm and fuzzy inside.

Though I've still failed to make treacle toffee, which would make things complete.


However, I was a little dismayed by the human traffic jam to leave the park, which left me nervous about a repeat Hillisborough.

I was also frustrated to find that all the traffic had just decided to stop running towards my home.

I ended up walking all the way home; I wasn't planning on so much exercise.

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

American health care

I found this on YouTube.

It's an intelligent unpacking of the American health care issues.

Doesn't it make you feel lucky?

Friday, 18 October 2013

Hello beautiful

Yes, a guy saying 'hello beautiful' in the pouring rain is a thumbs up.

I was waiting innocently and soggily at the bus stop, I was not expecting compliments.

This is not being hailed as a child or scolded for not giving some egotistical idiot the attention he feels he deserves.

This is someone nodding through ugly British weather and saying: "You, you look good even under the coat with which I am sheltering my head."

Thanks, you don't look bad either.

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Make your own chocolates

I started my Wednesday by turning up at The Royal Exchange shopping arcade in Bank to meet Paul A Young, master chocolatier, for the first time.
This delicious smelling event was all about making your own chocolates.

Paul A Young talked the assembled crowd of, mainly, women about making truffles.

Mixing chocolate

First off he poured nearly a full tank of melted chocolate onto a stone slab, assuring us that it would not spill on the floor – amazingly it stayed put.

Then got about mixing the cooling liquid chocolate in on itself.

Once the chocolate had cooled to the point of forming ripples, he poured it into the remaining chocolate to finish. 

Rolling chocolate

Now for the tricky bit, he took a small ball of ganache and placed it on his still cocoa covered fingers, taking the other hand to roll the ganache into a perfect ball.

Now for some real fun, he smeared his gloved hand with chocolate and repeated the rolling process on the prepared ganache and turned the finished chocolate in a bowl of cocoa to finish.

Our turn

Making my first chocolate turned out not to be as hard as I had envisioned.

And smearing my hands with chocolates is very messy and extremely fun.

I found my later chocolates decided to squash slightly, but my over all effort was a good one and I even got a compliment. 

The verdict

Hand made chocolates are worth the money and Paul A Young is a chocolate rock star in the making. 

Check out my interview

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Gaiman's milk odessey

I was kindly invited to a reading of Fortunately, the Milk on Tuesday night.

It's a kid's story, but trust me it doesn't matter.

The compère was good value; the punk act, a little more dicey but I've never been that sure about punk.

Fortunately, the Milk

But from almost as soon as the author, Neil Gaiman, stepped on stage I was certain I was in for a treat.

Chris Riddell, the illustrator, was also in attendance to do some live pictures; impressive stuff, believe me.

And there were special guests helping with the readings (Lenny Henry being the last minute surprise).

Living books

And so it was that a select cast of brilliant orators got together to read this fabulous book.

I was jealous of the kids in the audience: what would it have been to be a child at this event?

There should have been more of them, maybe you should do another one at the weekend Neil...

The story

Fortunately, the Milk tells of a father's journey to fetch some milk.

However, this father battles pirates, monsters and ghouls on his not so humble quest.

It's beautifully written, with moments for adults and kids alike.

You may not laugh out loud (yes I'm going to write it in full), but you will certainly smile.


I feel privileged, go buy it (even if you don't have a kid).

Monday, 14 October 2013

Chocolate in the UK

We have dipped our toes into WIlly Wonka's factory as chocolate week begins.

There are events happening in and around the UK from today onwards.

Get involved.

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Very interesting government report

I found this interesting dissection of a benefits report online.

I've been ill so I missed this information, though it is no great surprise.

They make job seeking on benefits as hard as possible.

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Conflict-free phones

I really enjoyed speaking to Tessa Wernink, Communications Director for Fairphone yesterday.

She was talking about a new pre-order system to sell their new conflict-free phones.

Many phone companies have pulled out of mines in the conflict ridden Congo, so as not to fuel the problem.

Ambitious project

Fairphone have chosen a different strategy.

In collaboration with the Dutch government they are mining out of non-conflict areas within the Congo in the hope of stimulating economic growth in the areas that remain conflict-free.

It was inspiring to hear a woman that feels that product supply chains can make a difference to the world that we live in.

For the full article on Fairphone check out The Manufacturer online.

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Pride and Prejudice, text generation

I found this on YouTube.

It's a really nice behind the scenes modern take on Pride and Prejudice.

Well done girls, as if you needed that affirmation.

Monday, 7 October 2013

Calling time at the bar

Simon Pegg has another movie offering in The World's End.

In the same vein as Shaun of the Dead Pegg's protagonists find themselves dealing with a perfectly normal night out, which is inexplicably turned into a day of the dead type sceanario.

The plot

Five friends reunite through the infamous Gary King who clearly has not and probably never will grow up.

But what began as an 'innocent' bar crawl soon takes a sinister comedic turn, as it transpires that the town has been body snatched by robots.

The friends decide that there only answer to this horrendous realisation is to go on and reach the end of the pub crawl: The World's End.

The verdict

This film takes a while to warm-up, I confess to crafting a flower part of the way in to stave off boredom, but when it gets cracking it really gets cracking.

There are some epic comedy fight scenes and some priceless Pegg moments and it's worth the entry fee.

It isn't Simon Pegg at his best, but it still makes for a fun night out with your mates if you don't fancy an epic pub crawl.

Friday, 4 October 2013

America has gone nuts

So Obama wants to pass a health care bill, not even as cool as our NHS, and the government has had a hissy fit and thrown all of its toys out of the pram.

They've shut loads of things down.

Here's a great explanation.

Some one should have informed the I love America brigade, in the pub I was trialing in.

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Dearest American

I went out in search of a demo on Saturday and ended up at Leicester Square.

There I met an American.

We began by talking over a book and moved on to discussing the economy and the city.


He wanted to know somewhere to go with only a day in the city.

My mind went blank.

We were sitting in the middle of the West End, where everything cultural sits and I couldn't direct him anywhere.

Useless suggestions

I mentioned the National Gallery, but not even I was particularly convinced by this suggestion.

I finished my lunch and got going.

Having time to think

Then on wondering round my mind started to fill with places.

The Tate Modern, The Houses of Parliament, The South Bank and I felt bad I hadn't managed to bring these suggestions to mind.

So, dearest American, should you read this.

Places to go, people to see

Go to the Tate Modern and check out Jackson Pollock or just the wonder of the building.

Visit the Houses and Parliament and get them to show you round all its Gothic majesty.

Sneak into St Paul's and wonder at Wren's masterpiece.

Walk along the south bank and look at the modernism and graffitti.

The galleries, meh, it's the buildings and the people that fill them that I love.

Monday, 23 September 2013

One trick musician..?

American clarinetist and music composer, Shankar Tucker, rose to fame with the popularity of his online music video series called 'Shruti Box' amassing some 12 million views and 100,000 fans.

Indeed the beginning of his performance at the Hayward Gallery on Saturday was quite unique.

I would never of thought of coupling a clarinet with something like a tabla.

One idea

However, though very promising Tucker's themes failed to progress.

It was admittedly very musically adept, but lacked any real range of musical ideas.

Tucker is still young so he may be one to watch for interesting future collaborations.

Sunday, 22 September 2013

I will do a proper post tomorrow

But, isn't Ellen DeGeneres brilliant?

The woman always makes me laugh.

Bit fearful to meet her, she'd rip the piss out of me.

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

The Audacity of Hope

As the US seeks a diplomatic solution in Syria I am left feeling a great deal of hope for the US administration.

Obama seems so much more circumspect and instills in me so much more faith than Bush.

I know I speak from the other side of the pond, but our eyes are coached into watching America from a young age.

And for the first time in a long time I find that my eyes are showing me more hope and allowing less room for cynicism.

On a day that caused so much pain for so many Americans, it is somehow even more significant that their politics seems to have grown from the experience.

Monday, 9 September 2013

Bubble gum lit

I was talking to a creative writing student the other day and the topic came round to 'chick lit'.

I'm not a great consumer of the form, preferring instead to read Kafka (at the moment at least).

However, I did confess to dipping into quite a few when I was studying my MA.

I described the books as being like bubble gum, in that, when you got to the end you didn't know whether to spit it out or swallow it (no jokes please).

In essence if you spit it out, reject the simplicity of the story and the wildly happy ending you are left feeling unsatisfied and empty.

Whereas, if you swallow it, accept the ending and allow yourself to feel that warm fuzzy feeling, you are left with the risk of it sticking in your stomach giving you overly sweet expectations of life that are liable to make you very sick at some point.

To sum up, chick lit is dangerous.

It either leaves you feeling empty and hollow or walking around in a constant fairy tale daze where every cloud is simply sparkly and pink.


Saturday, 7 September 2013

The best

My favourite cups song.

Hold on for the brunette on the right.

Sunday, 25 August 2013

Time for a Sulk

The Savage Nomads were supporting Sulk at a gig at The Garage.

It was nice to see them playing so tightly together.

Cole's stage presence has improved immeasurably and his singing also seems to have got better.

Low points

The friend I was with commented that the band should work on their image, personally it doesn't bother me, but it seemed to concern her.

And I was frustrated by the sound quality of the venue.

Brand new

They have a new song: 40 degree day.

The pulsing rhythm works well under a contrasting high pitch vocal.

A new favourite I think.

Sloppy seconds?

They were followed by the headliner, whose opening bars instantly left me bored and uninspired.

I was anticipating a bit of a painful experience as they waded through trying to be Suede, The Stone Roses and The Charatans when the originals were clearly so much better.

Turn around

It got better, but it wasn't until Sidewinder that they really came into their own and presented some original and surprisingly very good songs.

I think the The Savage Nomads win for being the least derivative, but Sulk could come into their own a bit more when they stop aping their idols.

Friday, 23 August 2013

More things to cheer you up

I've got really into this guy, Philip DeFranco.

He updates me on news that might not have otherwise come my way.

He also makes bad news seem much less bad.

Great for a Friday.

He rants with panache and you'll love his BAMF (Bad Ass* Mother Fucker) of the day feature.

*Well he is an American, they don't understand the importance of not talking about donkeys.

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

No, I don't want your number...

I got a little bit of unwanted attention walking to my yoga class.

"Hey there baby girl."

I kept on walking.

"What you're not going to even talk to me."

Only in my mind

Internally: "No, you jerk, you appear to have mistaken me with an infant.

Trust me, they drool more."

It put me in mind of the 90s classic No Scrubs.

More than the money

This TLC goldmine has been criticized for being too materialistic.

However, I think that it is just this sort of encounter to which they are referring.

I really don't care if this was a secret millionaire or the owner of The Times, it was the manner of his approach that annoyed me.

I'm a grown woman

I am not a child.

I am not a cute play thing.

I have a name and I like to be treated with respect.

Monday, 19 August 2013

Do you remember this guy?

It's nice to have an American president that engenders respect.

I mean, do you remember this guy:

George Bush

Things are getting better.

But that's mainly because they've been so awful.

Obama is a long way from being perfect, but at least he has a brain.

Progress, people.

Friday, 16 August 2013

American sarcasm

An awesome friend of mine passed this link my way:

Filibuster over Drones

I haven't laughed this much in a while.

I will be watching more of The Daily Show from this point on.

Tuesday, 13 August 2013


Wadjda is a delicate story by Haifaa Al Mansour (a female Saudi director) about a girl that is trying to buy a bike in Saudi Arabia.

The film explores the difficulties of living in a devout society through the eyes of a young girl.

The girl's dilemma

Wadjda () is a bit of a tomboy.

She wants to buy a bike so she can race Abdullah () in a different tribe to her.

However, her mother won't buy her the bike because a woman riding is a practice that is frowned upon.

A chance

A school competition offers SR1,000 for a perfect recitation of the Qu'ran.

Thus, so it is that the less than devout Wadjda enters a competition to recite verses from the Qu'ran. 

Surprisingly light

I first thought because of the subject matter that this film would be painfully depressing.

In fact it is surprisingly heart warming and funny, yet still manages to tackle some difficult subjects about faith and femininity and the ending has a similar mix of dark and light.

I would recommend this film to anyone.

Monday, 5 August 2013

Education is the key

I think about education a lot.

And I encountered this online.

What Michael Gove is doing at the moment is ruining our education system.

Where have all the creative brains gone?

The ones that are going to inspire the next generation.

Because it's always the next generation coming that counts.

How inspirational are they going to be if they've been tested to death?

John Stuart Mill had a break down in his early years because of intensive schooling.

He went on to write On Liberty, maybe we should be focusing on the liberty of our young people.

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Do you know What the f&%k is this?

What the f&%k is this? was on at The Oxford Arms for the Camden Fringe last night.

The concept is simple, what the f&%k is this is the only words used through the entire performance by Richard Tyrone-Jones, in his pants.

It was a giggle, although a bit drawn out in places. 

A bit risqué

Lots of swearing, naturally, and I'm sorry, but I had to avert my eyes from the porn.

I'm not into male dominatrix stuff.

And I wasn't sure about the race categorization even with the spoofing.

Joining in

There was some great audience participation and endless anarchy and mayhem.

Stay away from the front row if you don’t want to be drawn in.


You will laugh.

You may even cringe.

But it's guaranteed to cheer you up.

Wednesday, 31 July 2013

A brave proposal

My friend posted me a message on how to write better last night and it made me do the scariest thing I have ever done: I proposed to someone.
He has already dumped me, so it's kind of a strange place to be proposing from.

Hi, you know how you've decided you don't want to be with me anymore, let's get married.

Wait, this doesn't make sense

What has this got to do with the message from my friend?

It said to be a good writer you had to say things that were difficult, take chances and you had to reveal things about you.

The proposal was just written on a piece of paper.

True romantic

I'd meant to make something for him to show him how I felt, but the way that panned out that didn't seem possible.

I also wanted to take him to the place where we first kissed.

But marriage like everything else isn't a fairy tale.

Here goes nothing

I'm going to propose like the true mad feminist writer that I am.

I'm being brave.

You can say no.

But at least I was brave enough to ask finally.

He doesn't want me back, but I'm going to leave this up, because I'm going to stay brave.

Monday, 29 July 2013

Awesome factoids

I found this.

I have been watching loads of Americans, mainly, going on about a-maz-ing facts.

Not only is there V Sauce, but SciShow.

The best kind of geeks, the passionate kind.

They make everything sound exciting, or rather they find the most exciting information.

Have a watch.

Friday, 26 July 2013

Frustrating fasting

So, I did a fast yesterday.

I called my friend up in a dim moment yesterday to ask him to lunch, to be politely reminded that he was fasting for Ramadan, which my slightly clearer mind knew all along.

This led us into a discussion about fasting in general.


He suggested that I complete a fast as well.

I aired my concern that this would overly affect my mood in a dangerous way and declined.

Then after hanging up the phone I still had not eaten anything and it was already two o'clock.

Challenge accepted

So I accepted his challenge and decided to do a fast, allowing myself liquids until sunset.

I was finding things quite easy having little to do that day.

However, when confronted wit human interaction I was markedly shorter than usual and got a bit tearful.

Challenge achieved

However, I did make it to the end of the day without eating, but I won't be doing it again.

I don't think being moody and tearful is a positive thing for me to offer up to the world, so I don't see myself fasting like this again.

Thursday, 25 July 2013

"I'm just a girl"

So I made a swipe at the Royal baby, I'm sorry.

Not because I am not still frustrated by the inequality that is being rubbed in my face.

But because of the cover of Elle and a comment from another woman.

Picking us apart

The first thing I clocked when I picked up this £4 glossy was one line.

Why you are still single.

My response, how dare you charge me to destroy me.

The woman trap

I seek to be a self-assured, kind and loving person, but honestly what chance do any of us have against all this rubbish.

10 ways to lose your pregnancy fat.

10 reasons guys don't like you.

10 reasons why you're really down by now.

I will never measure up

Just a thought: maybe it's all this self-esteem draining rubbish that you are throwing at me.

Then, on the same day a woman remarks on me looking good with: "You make me sick."

My inner voice wanted to scream at her that I wasn't as self assured as she thought.

Then I thought of Kate

This made me think of Ms Middleton, she may appear to have it all.

But she is being barraged by the same rubbish that seems to turn even the sanest and most amazing of women against each other.

So, I won't be sending flowers to this woman that I don't know, but I will wish her child the best of health and encourage her to eat as much chocolate as she pleases, until she feels like she wants to go to the gym. 


Monday, 22 July 2013

Shock, a baby!

So that woman, that famous royal pregnant one, well she's had a baby and it's a male heir.

The BBC of course are all over the affair.

Royal love in

There are levels of sycophantic behaviour that seem embarrassing for trained media professionals.

Births are great, but I can't help be irritated that this very rich very able woman is being raved about, as every day people are losing all they have to support their much less well-off families.

The country has no money, but let's have a media circus around a woman who will probably never be out of clothes and toys for a potential King of this beleaguered land.


My naughty muscle is thinking quietly, full moon on the night of the birth, werewolf in the making...

Now that would be a King to be in awe of, turns into a wolf once a month and goes raving round London in the style of An American Werewolf in London.

Sorry, that was my first thought when I clocked the moon.

Friday, 19 July 2013

Keeping fun free

A petition has been launched to prevent the charging of sports activities on Hyde Park.

A charity group that uses the park for team bonding sporting events have discovered that there are moves to charge for playing sport on Hyde Park.

Charging through the nose

A private company (called Will to Win) approached the charity demanding they pay to continue playing.

The company not only wanted an up front fee, but also wanted to charge per game.

The charity campaign

The charity "were shocked and have had lots of discussions with Royal Parks and Will to Win to try and resolve the situation, but they’re not budging".

Thus, they have resorted to a Change.org petition to try and ensure that free sport on Hyde Park remains a reality.

Monday, 15 July 2013

Malala to submit education petition to the UN

Women's education campaigner Malala Yousafzai is to make a speech to the UN today at 2.30pm while delivering the petition alongside former British Prime Minister and UN Special Envoy for Global Education Gordon Brown.

Malala Yousafzai was shot in the head by the Taliban for campaigning for the education of girls in Pakistan. 

She was only 11 when she started campaigning and stands as an inspiration for women around the world. 

The petition she is submitting to the UN is asking for the UN to campaign for women's education around the world.

The link to the speech can be found here.

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Promoting other people's journalism

So, as you may have guessed, I am not a sports journalist.

The person who wrote this article might be.

I now want some one to dig out footage of this match.

I will be there with popcorn.

Monday, 8 July 2013

Andy Murray sportswear?

Murray did it!

Andy Murray won in straight sets yesterday.

After so many years in the solitary certitude that a British man would not win Wimbledon, I had given up hope.

Thanks for bringing the hope back Murray and the smiles and the belief.

A new line of sports fashion?

So, if Fred Perry spawned a sports brand...

Does that mean that Andy Murray will be the next name emblazoned on sports t-shirts?

I wait to see.

Oh yes, the match

It did seem that Andy was going to walk through the match as Novak Djokovic didn't seem at his best.

If I was being biased I would say that Andy trounced him at his best, but I must admit that Djokovic didn't seem to be playing his best match.

Sorry, Andy.

The final moments

However, the last part of the match had me screaming at the TV as the chance of Murray winning Wimbledon seemed to be so close and yet so far.

He seemed painfully close to snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

Thankfully, victory won out.

Well done Murray, you deserve it, and I hope you get that Knighthood.

Saturday, 6 July 2013

Rock on Bartolli

Bartoli blasted her way to Wimbledon victory today.

Marion Bartoli owned the first part of the Wimbledon final.

Sabine Lisicki fought back valiantly and it looked like there might be a last minute turn around.

Dignified in defeat

Sadly it was not to be and now Marion Bartoli stands before us as Wimbledon champion.

Sabine Lisicki could not hide her disappointment but she humbly paid homage to her opponent and wished to come back next year.

Hats off

Well done Bartoli, well deserved.

Now you can go and have another nap...

Murray's on tomorrow, I'll be staying up for him.

Friday, 5 July 2013

Djokovic marches on

Wow, what a match.

Del Potro and and Djokovic had me on the edge of my seat.

I really thought Del Potro might throw Djokovic.

Why is it that Novak has to keep knocking out all the good looking tennis totty?

Summer, tennis and feminism

You can tell it's summer I've emersed myself in Wimbledon, broken out the strawberries and started doing yoga in the living room.

And suddenly I'm obsessing over the accomplishments of the Williams sisters and Billy Jean King.

Somehow the female tennis stars of today don't seem quite as imposing as the Kingster.

Venus, you fancy going up against one of today's male tennis stars...

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Protesting for BBC health balance

A demonstration outside the BBC building today called for more balanced reporting of health matters.

Protesters began to assemble at 11am outside the BBC Broadcasting House, Portland Place.

The group did not amass to a large number, but three of the protesters entered the building to give a letter of complaint to the BBC.

They continued to hand out leaflets highlighting two areas of news that they felt the BBC had failed to report.

One that on Monday the 24th of June the British Medical Association passed an overwhelming vote of no confidence in the health secretary Jeremy Hunt.

They also complained that on the 10th of January 2012 two Oncology Consultants Clive Peedell and David Williams ran six marathons in six days from Aneurin Bevan's Statue in Cardiff to 10 Downing Street to present a petition to request the withdrawal of the controversial Health and Social Care Bill 2012.

The protest was part of an ongoing campaign by Keep Our NHS Public against what they view a the gradual privatization of the health service.

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Magnificent Murray

Happy to see that Andrew Murray is still in Wimbledon.

Maybe one day I will match your success.

Shocked to see Serena Williams knocked out.

Good luck to Sabine Lisicki.

Monday, 1 July 2013

Superman's slipping

I skipped off to the cinema to see Man of Steel with memories of Christopher Reeve and Margot Kidder in my head.

Yes, I know it was a long time ago, but that is still my bar.

The trailer blew me away, I was excited, pretty foolish at my age

Back to the beginning

So we're winding back to the origin story, again, you'd think they would have moved on from there.

The planet Krypton faces imminent destruction due to its unstable core.

Jor-El (Russel Crowe) faces general Zod and launches his son Kal-El off Krypton to save his life, sound familiar..?

Kal-El (Henry Cavill) then has to forge his new destiny on earth, where the past comes calling...

Entertaining but earnest

The plot is paper thin and I miss all the knowing nods and slightly camp humour of the first Superman adventure, I'm sorry, I'm a bit old... 

Amy Adams makes for a far too flirty Lois Lane.

I expect Lois to be hard bitten and sassy, not to go bouncing around in crisis situations with her hair falling in her eyes.

I'm sorry but I really wish I hadn't gone to the cinema for this one, your kids might like it though.

Thursday, 27 June 2013

Thanks, but no thanks, Osborne

So we've had a budget in the UK.

There wasn't really going to be any good news coming out of the budget.

The government are settled on, what seems to me, to be a slash and burn mentality.

Cut public services that will work, not

The increments offered to the public sector are going.

No disrespect meant, but I was once a Civil Servant many years ago and they were hardly huge yearly hikes, it was equal to being bought one glass of house wine when paying for a £60 meal.

It pretty much kept pace with inflation and not much more.

Educate them in poverty

They are attacking education budgets.

Politicians love to put emphasis on education, rightly, it is the keystone that we build nearly everything on.

So, how do you square that with slashing the money going into education, exactly?

Is this do as I say but not as I do?

Really, I'm confused.

Foreign aid and spying is fine though

They are sending more money on projects abroad, I'm not sure how that helps our deficit; I'm using their logic here.

While continuing to make sure we're spying effectively on where all the money is going...


Not impressed

So far all the government appears to have achieved of any value is legalising gay marriage, well done, I guess, but it could have been done years ago, it just required everyone to grow up a bit.

So, get married, but don't expect much money left for a decent wedding.

Registrars are Civil Servants too I believe.

Saturday, 15 June 2013

A rusting Iron Man

After two very successful adaptations, the third Iron Man film comes up a bit short.

In this incarnation Tony Stark's world is threatened by the terrorist called the Mandarin, who in no way mirrors Bin Laden (oh no).
It has all the action that was packed into the previous two films, but wth a bit less of the plot.

Wham, bam, no thank you mam
If anything this time around it seems a little too slap-stick.

So although the audience is successfully whirl-winded to the end of the story, I am left at a bit of a loss of what happened along the way.

The previous balance of a thoughtful tale that packs a punch is rather lost in a film that seems to have contented itself purely to punch wildly at its audience.

Girl Power...

The high point for me was seeing Pepper Potts, and indeed the actress Gwynth Paltrow, take a more action inspired role.

I secretly hope to see more of Gwynth P charging round and shooting things.

Last word

It's a bit of a giggle, but don't expect an gravitas, or even to really know what is going on.

Saturday, 1 June 2013

Badgers and the BNP

An anti-fascist demonstration against a march by the BNP began today at 12 noon.

Two groups of protesters assembled outside parliament and near the cenotaph in anticipation of a march by the British National Party.

These two groups then moved to make a line across the road at the cenotaph.

The line progressed slowly to the Oliver Cromwell statue where the protestors were met by a police line preventing them for progressing closer to the BNP demonstration, which was estimated at that time to number 200 in opposition to what appeared to be over a thousand anti-fascist protestors.

The protestors numbered among them representatives from UNISON, the PCS and Unite Against Fascism.

A changing mood

The mood of the demonstration was initially jovial with a festival like atmosphere.

It became more confrontational upon reaching the police line and closer to the BNP demonstration.

Events took a more worrying edge approaching 4 pm when both marches were due to be disbanded.

At this point it was reported by ambulance members and some legal observers in attendance from the Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers that there had been some arrests under the public disorder act, though I saw no visual evidence for this.

Police a little heavy handed

From this point police behaviour developed a more threatening tone and at two point the police charged forward on the line of anti-fascist protestors seemingly with no provocation.

This was a line closely backed by families with small children, though there was no apparent injury.

This could be seen as a defeat for the BNP in that they numbered so few and did not progress to Downing Street.

There number had reportedly dropped to 20 by the latter point of the demonstration, but it is hard to tell given the large number of opposing protestors and the police cordon.

The police numbers were disturbingly high, there were thirteen odd police vans in attendance.

They also seemed to do little to charge the BNP with incitement to racial hatred.

And the badgers

A demonstration against badger culls were also at Westminster today, some of whom came to rather confusingly mingle with the anti-fascists at around 4 pm.

It was an interesting mix.

Thursday, 9 May 2013

I think I've found Swanhilde

Been thinking a lot about the Coppélia story recently.

I think I've just found Swanhilde (let's call her Coppélia's nemesis).

Bartlett beautiful Beethoven

The proms are coming.

And with them the Royal Albert Hall is beginning to bubble with Bach.

In serioousness, I was looking for classical music to settle my mind after a stay in hospital.

Affordable morning

What I found was a coffee morning with Martin James Bartlett.

For the modest sum of £11 his piano peformance, coffee and a pastry were delivered.

Well I say delivered, thanks to a bad night I only just made it in time for the music, so no coffee or pastry for me or my far more punctual friend (bargain anyway).

Brimming with Bartlett

I can only applaud the performance, musically I can describe it only as flawless.

And this is coming from a girl lacking good sleep and the presence of mind of turning up on time; normally my forte.

All of the chosen pieces were brilliant and, to my grade four ears, sounded technically difficult.

A word of warning

This young man is a multi-instrumentalist and young, which means he has perhaps a penchant for extra physical flourishes.

But I refer you to my relative amateurness musically.

Last words: Bartlett, beautiful.

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

A very hyperactive dog

I'm not great when it comes to tracking down my keys.

I'm great if I've got systems and things are in an ordered phase.

But if things go a bit haywire then keeping my mind on where my keys have been last placed gets more taxing.

Adult advice

As a result, my mum decided it would be good to get me a dog shaped electrical device that would bleep at me when I whistled for it.

Sounds great doesn't it?

Your own plastic dog shaped friend to alert you like a sheep dog to your lost item.

However, it didn't work out that way.

Testing technology

This dog device appears to have a mind of its own.

Instead of reponding to a whistle, it seemingly responds to the slightest of stimulus, but when you actually start whistling or shouting at it, not a peep.

In other words it manages to be really irritating, constantly beeping and completely fails in its task of identifying your keys when you are actually looking for them.

Bad outcomes

The constant bleeping actually led me to hide said dog and keys under a cushion to shut it up.

Result, I walked out without the keys and had to make a longer journey to unlocking my front door than should be necessary.

In other words the key finder made me forget the sodding things.

Gadget fail

Between this and the mice deterent I am not feeling to inspired by 'helpful' technology.

Any thoughts on what I should do with this useless piece of plastic would be happily received.

Monday, 4 March 2013

Pasta perfect Pasticcio

I have discovered a new pasta restaurant, Pasticcio.

 It was a delight to find such a warm and inviting restaurant in such an unlikely setting.

 There was enough garlic in the air that you could taste it on your tongue.

And the thermostat was so high that all the winter blues were firmly banished.

The food was generous and tasty, and the service was quick and polite.

The restaurant itself was quirky with all manner of odd items hanging from the walls, including a very traditional looking bicycle.

Generous, but still cheap

 Living in a city that forever seems to be upping its price tag it was refreshing that the price of a meal ranged between £7 and £10.

 It was also a relief that in the cold weather it was only stumbling distance from the tube station.

And my fussy tastes were delighted by the Lasagne, it was generous, tasty and accompanied by a great salad and dressing.

Yum, yum and double yum.

Don't walk there, run.

Friday, 8 February 2013

Beauty across the water

I have indirectly discovered the 'cups song'.

It turns out that the film Pitch Perfect has spawned a meme.

Of performance, after stunning performance, of You're Gonna Miss Me When I'm Gone.

The original, seemingly a Lulu and the Lampshades song, or Brooks & Dunn, the juries out, answers on a postcard.

Most recently famously performed by Anna Kendrick in Pitch Perfect.

Here is Ms Kendrick in the film: http://youtu.be/yhECTE2-Oqc

One up

But, here is something a little later: http://youtu.be/F0nwA1kP3H0

Malia Rogers, to my mind a better version (no disrespect to Anna Kendrick, who has done a number of brilliant renditions).

 I just feel there is greater warmth and depth to the performance.

Beautifully done.

A long tale for a short wonder

And finally, yet another rendition that I absolutely love, but sadly I cannot find to share.

So, I will describe it to you.

Two young ladies that look like dancers sitting cross legged with two cups playing perfectly rhythmically together.

The blond girl sings the first verse and chorus and her brown haired partner sings the second in a voice even richer and more beautiful than Malia Rogers.

If you find them, let me know...

Saturday, 5 January 2013

Crunching child benefit numbers

200,000 people are alleged to have voluntarily opted out of child benefit just recently.

To me that speaks of a great deal.

It says to me that people are public spirited enough to recognise that they may not need to claim it in a difficult financial climate.

I would suggest that it also hints at the fact that the families in this country are getting more financially secure, definitely no bad thing.

Being mean

But it also suggests to me that means testing is not necessary.

There is the hint that all you need to do is make people aware of the strain that the benefit causes and persuade them to forgo it if they do not need it.

Sure, perhaps I have my head in the clouds.

But I know the government is trying to cut the fiscal debt and strangely putting a load of people to work means testing a benefit means more money ploughed in, which instead could be used to raise the benefit to strengthen the situation of those who do need it.

Years of Kilroy

We have had are head ploughed so full of Jeremy Kyle and Kilroy Silk that we no longer have respect and compassion when talking about benefits anymore.

We're so busy talking about "broken Britain" that we have no time for talking about beautiful Britain.

Our obsession with "messed up families" has made us blind to embracing diverse and post-modern living arrangements.

"There's nowt so queer as folk" and that's actually quite wonderful.

So quit with the cuts, repeal them, it will only break not build.