Sunday, 25 May 2008

Diana Watch

Good day to you my friends and here we are again. Not a lot to talk about this week. No Diana stories this week, which has now become the norm, but there was a fantastic irony free headline on the Daily Express this week which read “Immigration still rising, no wonder so many Britain’s live abroad.” I have to admit that I was slightly thrown by this because they seemed to be taking this headline seriously when clearly it was an ironic joke.
I’ve decided to ignore the by-election this week because the result made me sad. Why have you people started voting Tory? No really, why? You can’t go from a left leaning centerist party to the Conservatives, you really can’t. Ok make your childish protest vote but vote Green or something. The Conservatives are a racist, unpleasant bunch of people. You can’t blame Gordon Brown for the rise in oil prices and food prices; these are world problems and not national ones.
Eurovision was last night and as you know I love it but I have a few suggestions for the organisers. 1, Restore the rule about signing in your own language. I don’t to hear the Latvian entry signing with an American accent. 2, sort out the voting. We do understand that it is now political and all the Baltic states vote for each other and the Northern European countries vote for each other but it does sort of take the fun out of it when Terry is telling me who they are going to vote for before they announce them. 3, try to reduce the amount of arm waving that now accompanies the singing, it’s annoying, thank you.

Oh well, to the weekly awards,

Quote of the Week,

“Man did not come from Monkey, he came from love.” Some man on the Eurovision Semi-Final.

Bad Car of the Week,

From the front it looks like a normal BWM albeit with a bad body kit,

But, oh no, it’s now some sort of pick up.

Tuesday, 20 May 2008

Just Making A Point

Dear All Americans,
Please stop moaning about your petrol prices it’s really annoying for the rest of us. Really, really annoying. Whilst I understand where you are coming from, as your prices have risen sharply, you are starting from a very low level. I have just been on the Interweb and there are many articles about “Gas prices hit $4 a gallon”. Ah poor you. I have done a few little calculations for you. In England we sell our petrol in litres and the average price is £1.12 or $2.20. There are 3.8 litres in a gallon so that makes the UK price $8.50 a gallon, which is more than twice as much as yours. Do you see my point now? Ok, stop moaning now,
Yours poorly,
Martyn xx

Monday, 19 May 2008

Bluetooth Man

Dear Man on the Cross trainer at the Gym,
What on earth are you doing? Why have you got your blue-tooth headset on here? And more to the point why are you answering it? You are a fat man and you look like you are about to die yet still you manage to puff the legend, “no…………. I’m…… ……..the…………gym”. If you are so important that have to be in constant contact then why are you here? Are you so very important that you cannot take half an hour off to look after yourself? And besides you look like a chump. Did you not see the genesis of the Cybermen episode of Dr Who? That all started with bluetooth like headsets,
Yours Concerned,
Martyn xx

Sunday, 18 May 2008

Today in bring you greeting from Kent. Oh yes, for the first time Diana Watch is being written from outside of Dorchester. Now whilst I agree this this is in no way interesting to anyone I thought I would tell you anyway, after all a lack of entertainment value or interest hasn’t stopped me before. We are here to visit Significant Other’s parents. Kent is a place that confuses me. It is, in parts, very beautiful. The country side is lovely but the new houses that have been built here are just so ugly. They are all about size of frontage and nothing else. They are not aseptically pleasing and they do not fit in with the size of their plot or their surroundings. It’s all about size and how much you can spend. What I did find amusing was that Significant Other turned back into a London driver as soon as we got onto the M25. Accelerating hard at the 2 ft gap in front of us lest anyone else should try on get into it.
Anyway we have not come here to discuss Kentish architecture or driving styles, oh no, we want to know about Princes Diana based headlines and this week there where……….. none, again. It’s getting a bit boring now to be honest but, like James Blunt, I shall carry on despite the pointlessness and futility of it all.
I did watch the BBC’s young musician of the year last week and was going to talk about it then but I was waiting for clips to turn up on Youtube and it is there now so here we go. It was won by Peter Moore, a 12 year old trombonist. The sight of a child playing an instrument that is bigger than he is is at first amusing and, to be honest, remains so but his playing is incredible.

You can check it out on the BBC iPlayer as well, it is worth while.
If you ever wanted to know why football fans are held in such low regard you only have to look at the behaviour of Rangers on Manchester this week, not when their team lost but when a big TV didn’t work and they could watch the match. Annoying I grant you but I think you’ll agree that their response was a little over the top. At one point about 200 fans rounded on approximately 6 Policemen and the officers in question rather sensibly decided to retreat. One of their number became separated from his colleagues and was set upon by around 20 fans, punching and kicking to the ground where the beatings continued. The moment is captured here.

This is sickening behaviour and these people are animals. The problem is they can all breed and raise other little thugs. Violence begats violence whether it is within a family, a community or between nations. It is a continuing cycle.

To more cheery events now.

Baffling award of the Week,

George Lamb, 6music presenter, won a Sony award in the Rising Star category. Have you heard the show? V poor. Lowest common denominator radio. Oh well, I still listen because I love the station.

Flower of the Week,

Elderflower. I love Elderflower because I can cook with it and it has stated to flower profusely this week and that means I can make Elderflower cordial. Here is the recipe if you want to make it yourself and why wouldn’t you? It’s lovely.

20 heads of elderflower
1.8kg granulated sugar, or caster sugar
1.2 litres water
2 unwaxed lemon
75g citric acid

1. Shake the elderflowers to expel any lingering insects, and then place in a large bowl.
2. Put the sugar into a pan with the water and bring up to the boil, stirring until the sugar has completely dissolved.
3. While the sugar syrup is heating, pare the zest of the lemons off in wide strips and toss into the bowl with the elderflowers. Slice the lemons, discard the ends, and add the slices to the bowl. Pour over the boiling syrup, and then stir in the citric acid. Cover with a cloth and then leave at room temperature for 24 hours.
4. Next day, strain the cordial through a sieve lined with muslin (or a new j-cloth rinsed out in boiling water), and pour into thoroughly cleaned glass or plastic bottles. Screw on the lids and pop into the cupboard ready to use.

I think that will do for this week, oh but do check out the website, it’s fantastic.

Thursday, 15 May 2008

Oh The Hypocrisy

I know I’ve criticised him before but his is annoying so here we go again. Prince Charles was on this mornings Radio 4’s The Today program talking about deforestation and how they are the earth's "air conditioning system". His point being that the trees store an amazing amount of carbon within the and in the soil and The Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change, published in 2006, suggested that the destruction adds about 18% to the CO2 from human sources. All well and good and I’m not going to argue with him on this point as I agree totally, it’s just that he is such a hypocrite. He suffers from the British Middle Class disease of seeing the problem with everyone else whilst considering yourself perfect. “Oh see the young people drinking so much, pass that 3rd bottle of Chardonnay darling”, “damn foreigners coming over here, I’m of to my second home in France”, “oh such terrible deforestation in South America, I’m so upset that I’m going to plough up Dorset fields and build houses on them.”

Yes ladies and gentleman, I’m on about Poundbury again. Well it’s a reasonable point. Before the ego village the whole area was productive farmland but now it is a very large housing estate but he’s allowed to destroy it because it’s not a middle class obsession and in this country not somewhere where you can sound caring and worthy at a dinner party when you talk about it whilst complaining endless about your home country but doing nothing to help.
This brings me to another dinner party favourite, Fair-Trade. Now I’m a fan of this, a fair price for products so that farmers can make a decent living and help support their communities. Fantastic. What a great idea but why does it include British farms. According to a Nation Farmers Union (NFU) survey British chicken farmers are making an average loss of 2.7% per chicken following an approximately 25% rise in costs in the last couple of years. These price rises cannot be passed on to the consumer because the supermarkets won’t do it. They want to cheapest food they can. Whilst cereal farmer’s profits are up because of rising grain prices around the world, the average pig farmer made a loss of £4000. Some 2,500 UK farmers are expected to quit dairy production over the next two years due to the incredibly slim profit margins that will vanish as feed prices rise. They are also cut off from the world milk market so the massive surge in world milk price, mostly in milk powder, will not affect them. So all I am saying is can we have Fair-Trade for British farmers, that’s all.

Wednesday, 14 May 2008

Operator Please

So what do bands do between sound check and then playing? Last night we went to see Operator Please last night in Bournemouth at a place called 60 Million Postcards. It's a pub if I'm honest, a large pub yes, but still a pub. We arrive at about 7:40 and they were sound checking to the 4 or 5 people inside, us included, and did a couple of the singles and it was great, as you can see from the picture.

They then vanished and did play until 11 o'clock. Where did they go and what did they do? My thought is that they went to the restaurant across the road as it is rather nice or at least it was when we went there. But really, how do you kill 3 hours in Bournemouth on a Tuesday evening? There were 3 other bands playing last night and 2 of them were great, 1 was less good but I'm not going to insult them here, it's childish, but Jamie & The Lionhearts and Mes Memoires were great. When Operator Please returned they were fantastic, disgustingly young but fantastic. They do see to have lost a member though. I'm sure there was a small young lady play keyboards when we saw them before, oh well. It was a fantastic night out.

Sunday, 11 May 2008

Diana Watch

On my myspace page ( I do a weekly blog called Diana Watch. It started as a responce to the Daily Express running Princess Diana stories at the rate of at least 2 a week, I thought I'd count them and see.This is the first one on here.
Hello all. Another quiet week on the dead, saintly princess front. It looks like that we may have had all the fun out of this subject that the Daily Express will let us have but, like a French and Saunders sketch, the lack of material or direction isn’t going to stop me. By quiet week I of course mean nothing. Not a sausage. So what to talk about? Umm………. Well I’m having my hair cut tomorrow. Interesting? No, ok, fair enough. I got the new Dan Le Sac vs Scroobius Pip album on Saturday, 2 days before it was released and damn fine it is too.
One or two stories this week that I want to comment on though. A senior London police officer said that only 3% of robberies were solved using CCTV. So what are all the bloody cameras looking at? There are thousands of them around London and everywhere else in this, the most watched country in Europe, but when footage from the 7th of July bombings was released last week you couldn’t make out a single face. The quality is awful. If you are going to watch us at least make it useful.

Nicest Story of the week.

A violinist who left his 285 year old Stradivarius in the back of a taxi played a special concert for taxi drivers at Newark Liberty International Airport, New York, to thank them for the safe return of his £2 million instrument. Philippe Quint gave a 30 minute performance in the taxi waiting area at the airport on Tuesday. He was returning from a performance in the city when he left his violin in the taxi belonging to Mohamed Khalil, who phone the police the next day in order to arrange it return. All side of this story give me a little warm feeling inside.

Sad Thing I did this week.

For some reason I went through an old address book this week. Don’t do this. Ever. It was one of the saddest things I have ever done. The names of friends now lost and some now dead spread out before me. It was almost enough to bring a small tear to my eye. I don’t know why it effected me so when I’m not really that sentimental or I didn’t think I was. Clearly there is more going inside then I thought.

Feistiest Old Lady of the Week.

Nobel Prize-winning author Doris Lessing, 88, has said winning the prestigious award in 2007 had been a "bloody disaster". She has complained that all she does at the moment is do interviews and have her photo taken and she has no energy left for writing and is unsure as to whether she ever will again.

Slightly Patronising Paragraph Title of the Week.

That last one. Sorry about that.

Friday, 9 May 2008

Buy 3, Throw 1 Away

There is a world food crisis. This is happening for many different reasons, some of which we have discussed before and I'm not going to go on about it again, but a survey out today added a new shiny reason for this problem. In Britain we throw away £10 billion worth of food every year. For every 3 bags of food that are purchased, 1 whole bag is thrown away. This adds £610 to the average family food bill for the year. The most thrown items are salad, fruit and bread. This weighs an astonishing 3.6 million tonnes. I'm sorry this just a list of numbers but I think they are so astonishing that they speak for themselves.

I have bought 3 albums this week, Eels live at the town hall is fantastic, I have got round to listening to the new Killola album, sorry about that Lisa, but the best thing of the week is the new, long awaited album by Portishead. We have waited a very, very long time for this album but it was worth the time they have taken. It is fantastic. Go and buy it now.

Hillary and the Horses

I do hope that this isn't an omen, well may be I do. On Sunday the Kentucky Derby was held and as usual a completely unrelated event was bought into the political spectrum with the easily predicted poor results. Hillary Clinton was asked who she thought would win, how this is a relevant political question is beyond me, and she said, witty this by the way, "always bet on the filly". There was only one female horse in the race. It came second. And broke an ankle. And was then put down. Oops.