It would be churlish to complain about the noise from the children's party down the road, so I won't.
Saturday, July 31, 2010
Monday, July 26, 2010
I remember my sister's first Radio One Annual. It was the year after the Summer Of Love.
Friday, July 23, 2010
The entrance to the station was decorated by a line of plastic flowers, a dead frog and a home-made notice depicting a photograph of a tortoise with the caption
The mark of a good hero, they say, is the quality of his villains. Well, up to a point, Lord Copper. I'll grant you that the mark of a good villain is often the quality of his hero but I think the reverse is a largely modern phenomenon. There doesn't have to be a single mirror point of antagonism for the heroic ideal to be displayed against. More often than not, in both legend and literature, quantity not quality is the measure of the hero.
Thursday, July 22, 2010
The parade of human history is littered with the faces of people who have done horrible things. Accompanied, as always, by the songs of the Greek Chorus; "he was so ordinary..." "you'd never have thought to look at him..." "he was a model neighbour..." Unremarkable people do remarkable things and they may be for evil as easily as for good. Perhaps more easily: "you'd never have thought to look at him..." could cover a multitude of sins. When they are brought to justice, by court or by history, even the worst of them turn out to be ordinary human beings. Crumpled, grey and empty. Even the most charismatic of them are rendered mute by the camera's eye, entirely missing that vital spark that sometimes only the photograph will reveal. The emptinesses of their existence drives them mad and makes them think they are God. And if God's existence can mean so little, why would the lives of lesser mortals pass mention? And so, unremarkable people do remarkable things. The grey bureaucrats of Kafka and Orwell strike terror and the parlours and morning rooms of genteel England are littered with the corpses of the stabbed and poisoned.
On the intersection with Deansgate a crowd had gathered.
Sunday, July 18, 2010
"And what is this?" he asked. Dumb, really, but there you go."It's a fire extinguisher," I explained."No, sir, it is not!" he declaimed. I think it was declaimed, it was certainly something beginning with D whatever it was."No, honestly, it is. If you look, it even says so on the label. The lettering's very distinct.""No, sir, it is not a fire extinguisher. It is an anachronism.""I'm pretty OK with anachronisms," I pointed out."This is not just an anachronism. It is a dangerous anachronism."
"No, it's definitely a fire extinguisher. It's got instructions on what to do in case of a fire and everything.""It is a fire extinguisher that you fill with water," he spat. He could have filled the blessed thing with two sentences. "That makes it dangerous. It would be deadly in the case of an electrical fire.""Would it help if I promised not to set fire to any electricity?""It would not. What is it doing here?""Well, actually, I'd bought it for decorative purposes rather than in case of fire.We've a perfectly serviceable fire extinguisher on the wall over there and I've been fully trained in the procedure for running screaming out of the building if anyone so much as lights a cigarette, so we didn't need another one except for decoration.""Decoration?""Yes. An objet d'art. Or, more properly, an objet trouvé.""Objet trouvé? And where did you find this thing?""In the window of an antique shop. They were having a sale.""This is intolerable! What if some unsuspecting person thought that this was for real? There could be a disaster.""There's only you and me who ever work here. I know not to use it and you wouldn't use it even if it were in full working order. So where's the problem?""And where would you have this abomination for safekeeping?""I rather thought it would do over there by the roll-top desk, along with the sit-up-and-beg Imperial typewriter, the Bakelite telephone and Mrs. Edna Putiss.""Mrs. Edna Putiss?""Yes, she followed me here from the bus station. Can I keep her?"
Saturday, July 17, 2010
Day eight of the hosepipe ban; the ninth day of torrential rainfall. Still, it's good for the garden.
Friday, July 16, 2010
It's not been a bad year for fruit so far. I had an over-sufficiency of blackcurrants. I off-loaded some on my parents but as I'd already taken a few pounds off their bush they were getting a bit fruit-packed. Especially as they're not supposed to be eating a lot of sweet stuff. I don't have a sweet tooth myself (he says, hiding the evidence of a tube of fruit pastilles I accidentally scoffed in one while shouting at the television news), so I've not been making tarts and the like. Picking at the raw blackcurrants is fine but let's be honest, that faint whiff of cat is always a bit off-putting. Then I had an idea, which is why I've now a couple of jars of blackcurrant ketchup. As always with me, the recipe is very approximate.
- A pound or so of blackcurrants
- Two or three or four chopped cloves of garlic
- A chopped shallot, or a couple of chopped silverskin onions, or you can cheat and cop up a couple of pickled onions, which is what I'd have done had I been planning this
- Oil for cooking; I used extra-virgin olive oil because that's what was on the worktop
- White wine vinegar
Sunday, July 11, 2010
My dad was playing on the swings with my small niece.
"Dinosaurs were very, very big," she said."Yes they were," he agreed."They were HUGE. And very, very fierce. Dinosaurs were very, very big and really fierce.""Ooh yes.""I've seen a dinosaur's bones. I saw a dinosaur skeleton. We went to the museum and we saw a dinosaur skeleton. It was huge. And I touched its claw. But it was all right because it was only the skeleton.""Very good. Did it have big teeth as well?""It had very big teeth. But I wasn't scared: there aren't any dinosaurs any more. They died out. They all died out a long, long time ago.""Well, that's a relief, isn't it?""It must have been very scary when you were a little boy, with all those dinosaurs running around."
Thursday, July 08, 2010