Today I shall mostly be…

  • catching up on my Global House Connection listening. Constantin’s show for February 15th was a stormer;
  • discovering the wonder that is the memory stick (how handy!);
  • printing hundreds of application forms for my events.

Life on the edge, I tells ya. Anyone for beer tonight?


A sad, and sadly all-too-true, article from today’s Telegraph.

Brighton have spent £5 million they don’t have preparing the Falmer project, paying solicitors at the protracted public inquiry and bringing Withdean up to Football League standards. It costs £40,000 a match to rent and steward the athletics track as well as provide a park and ride scheme and yet it only holds 7,000 people.

The club are losing money as each day goes by. If directors stopped writing cheques, no one would get paid. Obviously it cannot go on.

If you care about football, even as little as I do, you should be worried by this. This has serious consequences for League football in the UK. If Brighton fail to get a new stadium, it will undoubtedly lead to the club’s closure, miracles notwithstanding. Next it could be your local club. The Gillinghams, Bournemouths, Port Vales and Exeters of this world are all in the same boat. It’s about more than just a football ground. It has social consequences that are all too often overlooked – a local football team is part of the community.
Dark days.


This bloke is going to get a lot of flak for saying this – from some sections of society, he will receive more than flak, he will be vilified.

The thing is, I think he is right.

People from our part of the world saw this sort of thing at first hand with the murder of Sarah Payne a few years ago. Her body was found on part of the Brinsbury Agricultural College, near to the A29 in West Sussex. People were, quite rightly, shocked and outraged by the murder of the girl. But I think I was even more outraged by the senseless waste of time and money when literally thousands of people descended on the site to leave flowers and gifts. The police had to set up traffic lights to control the traffic and stationed officers there around the clock to police the event. The College had to set aside a field for car parking because there were so many cars there. The County Council had to clean up the flowers and toys and remove them for disposal. Somebody (I’m not sure who – probably the College) paid for some Portaloos to be placed there and serviced. And you couldn’t get flowers from any of the local florists – they were doing a roaring trade.
It was utterly, utterly ridiculous. And to criticise it in any way was seen as heartless. An old school friend of mine went there with his wife and children to lay flowers. When I suggested to him that he would have been better to have given the money to a charity such as the NSPCC or ChildLine, he essentially told me that I was being selfish. His justification was that a child’s life had been needlessly taken and that it was his duty to mark that.
I don’t see him leaving flowers every day at the children’s ward of the local cancer hospital. Or at the graves of HIV/AIDS babies in Africa. Or for the eight children around the world that die every minute from disease or malnutrition.

[WARNING – sweeping statement ahead!] In my view, the problem with people today is that they do not look at the wider world. They don’t look beyond the immediate. Consequently, people do not think about the wider implications of their own actions. Also, they do not look beyond the headlines at the things going on in the world that are not major news.
Generally, people do not think. At all. Thinking is an extremely attractive quality. It was and is one of the things I love most about Hels. Nearly all of my friends Think (it deserves capitalization) – a healthy dose of cynicism mixed with a little optimism and a dash of observation. An avoidance of the knee-jerk. A desire to avoid the headline grabbing sensationalism of much of the mainstream. An appreciation that nothing in this world is straight-forward, simple or easily resolved.

And definitely not the sort of people to suffer mourning sickness.

Quick film review

Last night, on something a whim, we went to see Lost in Translation, which we agreed was extremely good indeed. The cinematography, acting, plot and script were all very good – it was easy to understand the sensation of isolation that the principal characters were experiencing in Tokyo. It also succeeded in being romantic without being even slightly saccharine, a rarity in cinema these days where it seems that everything has to have some gratuitous sex scene and some schmaltzy ending.
What particularly stood out for us was the soundtrack, which was superbly dark and featured Jesus and Mary Chain, My Bloody Valentine, Air and Squarepusher – with just enough shoegazing to make me feel all nostalgic for large parts of my CD collection that sit languishing in storage.


Oh yay! yay! and triple yay! Emma is back. Not that she ever really went away. She just wore high collars and dark glasses a lot.

Bish bosh

Redecorating at home has made a striking amount of progress this morning, thanks to help from Hels – the first coat on the hall and living room is now pretty much complete, and I should be able to make some headway on the second coat this week. Dad has also been here, helping to get some improvements to the bathroom done.
The target for market-readiness (repainting complete, new carpet where appropriate, planning application for windows submitted, front door improved) is March 15th. It’s an ambitious and tight schedule, but I reckon it can be achieved. Just.


I think I’ve just eaten the best dessert I’ve ever had. Actually, the whole meal was very good indeed, and excellent value – £20ish for four courses, a great salade landaise, a fish course, a wonderful cheese course and dessert. Mmmmmm dessert. Parfait de banane aux raisins avec chocolat chaud. Possibly the most perfect parfait I’ve ever had – "sublime" doesn’t do it justice.

You know, it’s funny how life changes. When I used to go on these jaunts, I’d get quite down and a bit lonely. These days I miss Hels. A lot. I wish she could travel with me. Saturday morning can’t come soon enough.

Tomorrow, I’ve got to go back to the trade show for a short period, then head back to Caen via some shops for …um… provisions. Yeh. Provisions. A.k.a. du vin et du fromage.