Tuesday, 28 November 2017

New motto

Du mußt Amboß oder Hammer sein.

I tend to Orwell's interpretation.

Sunday, 26 November 2017

Pulling a face

I don't think there are words to describe the face Kate pulls when she turns on the radio, it's 6Music "The Freak Zone" and the 'song' playing at that particular moment in time is something by Jethro Tull. From their "English folk" inspired period.

Friday, 24 November 2017

and the good news

The nuclear war didn't happen.

Which was nice.

In Vino whatever

Did I ever tell you that Neil Foster once visited my school? Heck, the Ashes started around 44 hours ago, and I'm drunk. The combination triggers recollections like that. I've no idea how Sartre came up with A l rechereche de temps perdu. The French hate cricket. And being drunk.

One of my readers has died. It's too painful to write about it, really. I could make some wisecrack about how I need all the subscribers I can get, but I really don't. What hurts is that someone I thought was really funny, insightful, full of love, righteous anger and most of all love, has died. And he was young than me. And it isn't fair. But then, explain fair to someone in Yemen. 

I'm enjoying, in a bleak way, the Irish realising that for the first time for 800 years, the boot on on the other foot. So they are sticking it to us. As a Civil Servant all I can say is, this is creating more jobs for Civil Servants. True, everyone else is getting screwed, but there's never been a time when individuals with such a modest record of achievement could get promoted within my organisation. So there's always a bright side to things.

I have no idea why, but I'm listening to a lot early 90s industrial and big beat/techno/house/suburban plum-and-suitcase. Utah Saints, 808 State, Orbital etc.

That is all.

Sunday, 3 September 2017


On the downside, it appears we are heading to imminent nuclear war. But the good news is that we are off to LEGOLAND, staying in the Castle Hotel, where we will receive a special complimentary brick.

I find the juxtaposition between the death of millions and rampant consumerism darkly amusing. Very darkly, mind you. Like Conrad, but funny.

Monday, 28 August 2017

Utah Saints

You find me in the kitchen, making pancakes and listening to "Utah Saints" radio on Spotify. (For those unfamiliar with you concept, you type 'name of band' into the Spotify "App" and Spotify then plays you music by this band, and bands it seems "'similar'". Every 30 minutes Microsoft tries to convince you to buy something you neither understand, nor need, nor know how to buy.)

I haven't posted since June. I have posted anything meaningful since ... er. I came to Blogger with the intention of posting something with great meaning, as the world demands it. But the world really doesn't demand it. Blogging is displacement activity. I might as well go to The Guardian and post a really hard-hitting below the line post under one of the Brexit articles, for all the good it would do.

Every morning I open the (virtual) newspaper with a certain macabre fascination, to see what awful things have happened overnight. My focus is largely Trump, but there's always a chance of that David Davis or Nicolás Maduro, say, could have served up something both fantastically stupid and horribly regressive in the last 10 hours. Trump's the banker, though. Hunter S Thompson once dedicated a collection of writings "To Richard Milhous Nixon, who never let me down". I suspect he'd be less than impressed by Trump. A cheap remake, without the charm.

So, yeah, blogging about it isn't going to help. I need to (a) do something else (suggestions welcome) and (b) blog some more about pubs, and cricket, and stuff.


Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Pubs near railway stations (Part 2 of an occasional series)

Birmingham is not a city a know well. It is, perhaps, not a city with a reputation for being remarkably interesting. My only visit, prior to recent times, was to Edgbaston in 2008, to watch 'Freddie' Flintoff terrorise Jacques Kallis with a remarkable spell of fast bowling. Sadly England lost. (A brilliant Smith Innings, 154*)

Of late I have been to Birmingham at least monthly. The Energy Systems Catapult is based close to New St Station, and I, as a man of work, have business with the Catapult. My trips usually involve a swift walk from New St station to the Catapult offices, and an equally swift walk back at the end of the day. Thus far I have avoided missing the train, but I haven't seen much of Birmingham, beyond that which can be seen from the 7th floor of Cannon House.

Last night this all changed. I went for a drink with Mr X, starting for a pint and a pie in one of the most remarkable pubs, in terms of interior, The Old Joint Stock. (Formerly a branch of the Joint Stock Bank, now a pub, theatre and Grade II listed building). I had expressed an interest in exploring "Everything that Birmingham had to offer.", bur Mr X assured me I couldn't handle that. So a pie and a pint it was.

Then, having wandered around a bit, taking in the completely bonkers Parthenon-inspired Town Hall we arrived at The Post Office Vaults, just a few short meters from New St Station on Pinfold St (with a second entrance at 84 New St).

It's not clear what relationship the pub has with the Post Office. Once upon a time it was called "The Royal Mail". One can presume, perhaps, that Royal Mail workers based at the station used to drink here.

It's on odd pub, with a windowless, garish red, cream and navy 'Post Office' themed exterior. But don't be put off, as the stairs down lead to beer nirvana. On offer are (on current count) 395 different bottled foreign beers plus an excellent pint of Hobson's mild, as well at 7 other (regularly varied) real ales on tap. (And, the website says, 13 different ciders and perries).