Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Facebook Schmacebook

I've left Facebook.

I had been toying with the idea for a while , I finally cut the ties last week.
I thought you might be interested in knowing my reasons, in no particular order.

I was spending small yet increasingly frequent amounts of time looking at the irrelevant snapshots of people I simply did not know. A few weeks ago I looked at the holiday pictures of a cousin of a friend. Somebody I have never met and will almost certainly never meet.

There's nothing wrong with aquaintances , theres nothing wrong with keeping in touch with such folk. I have a phone full of numbers I hardly use. I have countless email addresses. I'm just not sure I need to read their wisecracks about my life, nor am I sure I need to post updates about my rambling existence for them to comment on. Catch 22?

It was Oscar Wilde who went along the lines of 'spending too much time on the little things and not enough time on the important things'. I was spending too much time on little things.

Aquaintances posting pictures of the boozy teenage years. No thanks.

It's been over a week. Nobody has noticed.

A parent at school asked me to be a friend. I accepted. Nothing was ever actually said. All this happened online. That's no way to behave.

Some of the vitriol that poured out of people regarding the recent public sector strike made me wonder why I was in that room. It was not a party I wanted to attend, surrounded by people I did not like. I experience enough real and challenging relationships everyday, I don't need cyber equivalents.

I really don't want to be there.

I have a number of dear friends. I am a lucky man. Those that matter are in regular contact outside of Facebook. I hang out with a number of good people who have never been anywhere near the site.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Town Hall

Just attended a meeting of the local council.
Me, FRD, about 200 other angry townsfolk.
We went to put our opinions across, to ask questions and to make our elected officials decidedly uncomfortable about one of their less than great ideas.

We didn't get all the answers, we found out a few new facts but we came away feeling energised to go to the next stage. At various points I had to employ the Alistair Campbell tactic of squeezing my finger to aleviate anger.

The mayor smirked and was not at his best. He came across as arrogant and dismissive. He was absolutely not enjoying this. I have to admit, we were. It was a good display of people power.

I was proud of my town.

Sunday, December 04, 2011


In between books I turn to the journals of Arthur Schlesinger Jnr. These are the dates I turn to first.

1968. RFK's candidacy and assasination
1968 Humphrey v Nixon.
1980 Carter v Reagan.
2000 Gore v Bush connundrum.
1958 First meetings with the Kennedys.
1972 Nixon v McGovern.
1973 My birth (Schlesinger doesn't mention this, he's more concerned about Watergate)
1976 Carter's candidacy.
1997 Any reference to Blair's landslide in the UK.

Monday, October 17, 2011


Have opted back to the proper blog set up.
The other way was too overp-p-p-p-powering.

Friday, October 14, 2011

File under fuckwit.

I have a 45 minute commute. I have a busy day. I do a lot of things. I help a lot of people. I have a lot of things going on in my mind at all times of day (and night). At the end of the day I drive 45 minutes home and look forward to seeing my family. I park the car close to my house. I get out. I check my phone. 3 messages. I check my pockets. I get back into my car. I drive 45 minutes back to work. I return my bosses car keys to her.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Another time and place

The internet contains many unusual and incredible treasures. Shea Stadium, Fall 2006.

Saturday, October 01, 2011

It's been a while...

...since the last post. Here's some of the zietgeist. Round these parts there has been death, illness, sorrow, tears. Survival, recovery, joy, sadness. Separation, reunion, laughter, fear, hope. Rain, sunshine, together , apart. Defeat, victory, faith, philosophy. The main point is this, we are all still here. we are moving forward and are confident that the sunlit uplands are close at hand. We have learned that family and the love within it is the strongest, most beautiful thing we have. Thank you for listening.

Friday, August 05, 2011

running scared, the return.

Tonight I ran for the first time since March 2009.
Started softly, 5 minutes on, 5 minutes off for 30 minutes.

But by god it was good, it was an absolute tonic.

Saturday, June 04, 2011

The MacBook is dead, Long live the MacBook Pro.

Messing about on my new laptop.
Searching the LBJ library photo archive.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

The old and the new.

It has never been my desire or intention to harp on about the old day and old fashioned ways. There is an awful lot about 'now' that is really good and useful, I'm glad I live in the present.
But here comes the but.

When I were a lad, Cup final day was a holy day. The nation paused, you watched telly from lunchtime until 5.30. I don't know what the outside world looked like on those saturdays in May, I never left the house. It was always on a sunny Saturday in May and the build up was giddily exciting , even if the game was anything but. Cup Final day marked the start of summer. And as for the name? It was the Cup, You didn't need to call it anything else.

And during those days there was also the European Cup. Between 1977 and 1984 English clubs won seven out of the eight finals. It was expected that an English team (normally Liverpool) would be in the final and would be pictured the next day emerging from a plane with the trophy. You would stay up late on a Wednesday night and watch the slightly scratchy pictures from Rome or Paris, the commentary would have that wonderful longwave radio quality. Those were the days long before digital, HD quality.

So what's changed? In short, plenty.

Let's start with the FA Cup. It's had a sponsor for years and has perhaps graduallylost some of it's aura. A couple of years ago the cup 'needed a cuddle' and got it with a drab Portsmouth V Cardiff final. This year (ironically because of the ECL final at Wembley tonight) the final was bedded in amongst Premiership fixtures two weeks ago. I caught about ten minutes of the match. The holiest day of the year was completely lost amongst relegation struggles. Tonight, I settle in front of the telly with some grub and a beer in order to support Barcelona against Manchester United in The Champions League final.

Supporting Barca? Surely unpatriotic. Cobblers. I've a few teams I dislike for a number of strange irrational reasons. I dislike United for one simple reason.

Their fans.

Almost every full grown United fan I have ever met has been a pillock. I have never met a United fan over the age of 11 who has not got an excuse for supporting them . An excuse? You should be proud to follow your team. You should not need an excuse!
"United were crap in the 80's"
"My dad's cousin was from Manchester" (But you have lived your entire life in Essex?)

And in a nod towards tonight's coverage of the big game, I do not need Christopher Ecclestone to tell me where I have gone wrong! You were a good Dr Who but you know 'shit all' about football.
I accept that they are the benchmark and that Sir Alex Ferguson is an incredible manager, and I don't buy into the idea that Barcelona represent all that is beautiful and good in a sour old world, But I still reserve the right to cheer on whoever United are playing

Monday, May 16, 2011

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

City 'til I die!

Ah, Spring in England. Is there anywhere finer? Why stop there? Why not narrow it down to a fine city in the East, perhaps Norwich? And for a month let us choose May.
The fifth month, as we all know is a time of decisions. Who stays up? Who goes down? Who lifts silver to the sky gods and who completes two promotions in as many years? These happy cyclists are on their way to worship at the alter of Mr Lambert of Carrow Road, off they go, bells ringing and smiles a wide as the road they travel!
These fellows were lost. Lost and foreign but delightful in their bemused enjoyment of thousands of Norfolk folk in their revelry.
The message was clear, come footballing success, come large plastic banners with the club's motto.
I spent a large part of the festivities in an ancient churchyard, the view was awful but the noise and atmosphere was real enough. I was also amused by rowdy teenagers letting loose in the sacred space. Then again, if Jesus were around in Norwich he would be enjoying this (or kicking us all out of 'the temple' for being sacriligeous, your call).
Flags and crowds abound.
The other side of St Peter Mancroft's yard.
Soon I was joined by a friend working in the city. Following the disappearance of aforementioned 'yoofs' we moved a few feet away from my initial perch and found our view much enhanced. City Hall, a 1930s masterpiece. OK, a massive block admired by Hitler (he ordered the Luftwaffe to avoid bombing it during WWII so that he could take the salute from it's balcony following a German victory).
The flag flies over City Hall.
More flags, more people taking pictures.
The Lord Mayor was greeted with the traditional football call to recognition "WHOAREYAH????" My companion was concerned about such disrespect "I voted in the referendum" he pointed out.
The banter, shouting and jollity continued for an hour or so.
Then, following mildy slurred words and an expletive from Delia we all trooped over the Forum to wait for the bus.
Theatre Street. Waiting. Architecture geek moment. Look at the 14th century church on the right. Everything else is postwar. This area of Norwich was flattened in 1942.
Looking the other way, still waiting. The kids in the bottom right of this picture (with the flag) were mucking about and must have stood on my foot about three times. I didn't mind.
Then, slowly, down the street, a bus full of drunk footballers!
The real deal, this is why we are here! A bunch of great looking, young, tremendously rich blokes with incredibly hot wives and girlfriends who play football for a living get to ride a Double decker bus through the city!
And then they pass.
And so it's off to the pub.

I must have taken about 100 pictures last night. I sat on the train home, folk around me singing the songs and messing about. Me? I was a bit wobbly after a few pints and some bangers and mash with some friends. I sat there deleting the very many blurred shots and pictures of the back of strangers heads. I hope they tell something of a fun night to celebrate a brilliant season.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Gawd Bless'em!

The Royal Wedding!

You don't need to scratch too far around here to discover that the vast majority of folk spend the vast majority of their time and energy on things other than the Royal Family.

However, we were given a day off.

Some of my favourite pictures from a long and busy day.

During an early morning stroll I took some pictures of details around the town. I loved these little flags on the fence.
Proper bunting. Handmade, triangular, criss-crossing the street. Proper bunting. My heart sang!

I love this shot. We helped host a party for the kids, Henry spent most of the time hairing about and eating. From time to time he was transfixed by the coverage, especially of the soldiers and horses.

Even this republican took the day off and enjoyed the spectacle!

Wednesday, April 06, 2011


Take a close look at this kid's homework.

Friday, March 04, 2011

The Beeb.

Some photos from our day at the BBC studios.

The kids had been involved in a film making project, they spent the day editing and making links.

Saturday, February 26, 2011


Check out the blog. I love the sketches.

Monday, February 21, 2011

God bless the BBC

1. Last night in the pub, talking about things that make us proud of being British (clue- NOT the royal family).
The BBC, in all it's forms and for all it's faults.

2. Acknowledging that the BBC is a liberal middle class conspiracy, but still loving it anyway, indeed, loving it more.

3. Returning some borrowed equipment to it's local office today. Could they have been any nicer? They even offered me food! They showed me their new setup. If I hadn't had the family in the car outside I could have happily been in there all afternoon!

We allow them into our homes everyday, couldn't happen to a nice media corporation.

Saturday, January 22, 2011


Listening to a superb Billy Bragg interview on 6music.
Drinking beer.
FRD tolerating my tuneless renditions.

Monday, January 17, 2011


It's OK to piss about on the computer while Frau Random Doubt watches Glee.
It's OK to blog, Facebook, wikileak, ConservativeHome and all the rest.

That's because it's just two forms of cultural oblivion colliding with each other and both coming off best.

Or maybe that's a draw.

Either way it's all good.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011


My new topic at school is 'America'

I've twisted the curriculum around a bit to focus on the earliest Americans and then the Civil War. After half term the kids will be able to choose any American theme to study as a mini topic.

I began the topic by asking the class to note down what they knew about America.

Canadians do not like being confused with Americans.
President Obama.
They don't have a Queen.
Statue of Liberty.
Civil rights movement.
Grand Canyon.
Big portions.
Las vegas.
They were the only country to drop an atomic bomb.
Baseball and other strange sports.
War of Independence.
The stars and stripes.
There is a town called Springfield.
Vietnam beat them in a war.
A big army but not that good at winning against small countries.
They were involved in D Day.