Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Inferiority complex

In an attempt to keep up with what other people are actually doing, seeing as I will never go out for a beer again (see posts from 24th Sept and thereafter), I've been reading Infinitarian, and Small Bed and Large Bears, and other blogs. And it strikes me that I've got some work to do.

I've never really seen the point of Twitter. You really don't need to know my thoughts as they come into my head, nor the contents of my sandwich (humus and salad, if you really want to know). A blog on the other hand is a useful medium (perhaps) through which one could communicate something about one's life to the interested, assuming they exist. And if they don't, it at least gives electrons something to do. They'd just be sitting there claiming housing benefit, otherwise.

But yeah. People with blogs, or at least people I know with blogs, can write. This is a bit worrying, as I have nothing to say. Well, there's poo, obviously, but as any Guardian reader will tell you, there's only one thing worse that someone who writes about their babies and expects others to read about it, and that's people who post comments under the baby article complaining about the columnist writing about babies. [As an aside, the Internet really doesn't work, does it? I've yet to see a single person post a comment on any webpage that could be summed up as "That's an interesting point of view and it's really changed the way I look at the world". Someone pointed out that the Internet was simply a place where mad and stupid people, with mad, stupid and extreme views, can hang out together and in some way convince themselves that they are, in fact, rationale and normal. Hence the more extreme elements of the Tea Party, I guess. But I digress...]

So, herm. I was meant to be writing something. In fact, I was going to publish a Copenhagen dialogue, between Neils Bohr and Werner Heisenberg (no relations) about the outcome of the Copenhagen conference last December. But Kate persuaded not to do so, on the grounds that frankly expressing my ideas, even in a semi-anonymous blog like this one, might harm my career (such that it is) and might, indeed, break the Civil Service Code, which I am, as an honourable man, bound by. Which is a shame, given that Copenhagen was, I believe, one of the most critical moments in modern history (not because it delivered any world-changing outcomes - it didn't, but because it was an attempt at multilateralism on a scale that has never been tried before, the Bretton Wood conference doesn't even come close)

And I was there. In fact, I was there representing you (unless you aren't an EU citizen, in which case, I'm sorry). That's probably my moment of history (well that, and my 1/27,537th of a Nobel Peace Prize) I'll get to tell my grandchildren about it. And things like beaches, polar bears, and Bangladesh. But I'm getting maudlin. Let's leave it there.

Monday, 25 October 2010

Albums you don't own, Episode 13 - Can't Buy A Thrill

Steely Dan? The band that put the "middle" in MOR? I mean, seriously dude, this is Jazz-Rock for goodness sakes! You cannot be serious!

Can't Buy a Thrill, is the first, and in my humble, best Steely Dan album. Rolling Stone liked it so much they listed in as the #238th best of all time, though I'd place it even higher than that.

Despite featuring 13 different musicians, and a diverse range of instruments (including an electric sitar, and flugelhorn), I think it works best of all the Steely Dan albums because of its musical simplicity. Jazz influences are clearly present, but not overplayed. Add some great lyrics and great stories - Kings, Turn That Heartbeat Over Again, Brooklyn (Owes The Charmer Over Me) - and some fantastic perfomances, particularly on Reelin' In The Years, and you have one mighty fine album. Kate suggests that Dirty Work is the best song here, and I won't disagree with her. And of course, you need something anthemic to sing along to in the bath. Midnight Cruiser should suit your tastes perfectly sir.

I think it gets better and better the more you listen to it, and should grace absolutely any record collection.

Monday, 18 October 2010


Kate might look happy now, but she hasn't noticed the Dalek materialising behind her!

Saturday, 16 October 2010

The mother of invention

Due to a packing error (how embarrassing! I am usually the King of Packing!) I had to wear the same pair of boxers shorts for 4 days running.

And I discovered it is perfectly possible to do this with no ill effects whatsoever! Hurrah! Less washing for me!

Friday, 15 October 2010

The Drinks Cabinet

I should have pointed you at this earlier.

We are proud to announce the arrival of "The Drinks Cabinet", a blog aimed at exploring some of the more obscure optics. It can be found at

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Tuesday, 5 October 2010