Friday, December 19, 2008


There's lots of Photography of 2008 sections on news sites at the moment, but these from The Boston Globe, are some of the best I've seen. Some really stunning stuff.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

All I want for Christmas

There's a growing trend on Amazon for people to write ridiculously glowing reviews of the most inane and asinine objects and the ones on this photo of Paul Ross are absolutely brilliant.

But one thing I want to know is why on earth is there the opportunity, even in our highly capitalist world, to buy a photograph of Paul Ross for 50 quid?

Saturday, December 13, 2008


I just saw the proclaiming of the second messiah. No, wait, it was the winner of a singing talent contest. My mistake.

Within a minute of the winner being announced and crying her eyes out they're advertising for the next series. Alexandra who?

This is better.

Friday, December 12, 2008

What are the chances

So 2008 was the International Year of the Potato and then right at the end of the year....this happens. Amazing.

Counting down

Today is the last time Carol Voderman will host Countdown. When I saw Tim Vine a few years ago he did a joke that went as follows: "Tonight is the last time Carol Voderman will be on TV, so it means that it's..." - from the PA system came the rocktastic chorus of- "The final countdown..." from European rockers, er, Europe.

Now that's what's happening in real life. Enjoy it here! Rock!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

She has the X-factor

On a cold winter's night, having returned from playing 5-a-side in the biting wind and then be rained on walking home I, and my two housemates, slumped on the sofa to watch some tele. Somehow The Cheryl Cole Factor was our televisual treat of the evening.*

The show set out to underline why Cole has become the 'nations' princess' through a series of events culminating in her 'wise-beyond-her-years' appearances as a judge on the X-Factor.

Basically, you see, Cole has been in a successful (and admittedly good) girl-band after winning 1/5th of a talent contest, married one of the most odious football players ever, had a fight with someone in a nightclub, stood by aforementioned footballer after an affair, and is now a really good judge on the talent show she was once on. And it's this latest role that has really cemented her role as the new 'people's princess'.

Unlike normal humans, Cole can empathise with people who come on to sing: crying when they cry or tell a sad story, or laugh at the bad acts who can't really sing. She's so unique. If only us mere mortals could hope for the same, to laugh and cry at things that are sad or funny.

Really horrible television that left a nasty taste in the mouth.

* It happened because we'd watched the ever-brilliant Outnumbered on the iPlayer and when it ended it reverted back to the channel we had left to access the Virgin OnDemand database - in case you're really, really, interested.

Monday, December 08, 2008


Very interesting article here on the Shannon Matthews case. Worth the read.

Friday, December 05, 2008

On the road

Today is the 50th anniversary of the opening of the first motorway in Britain. Interesting no? Why do we call them traffic jams? What has jam got to do with it?

In Cornwall no motorway has dared come within almost 50 miles of its borders, the closest one being the trusty, almost cosy, M5 in Exeter, that leads on to the more workmanlike M4 towards London or Swansea, or upwards to the M6 and beyond...

Motorway service stations are one of the most horrific places you can go to; overpriced, sanitised, drab and soul destrorying. Yet I once knew someone who said they were his favourite places and loved visiting them to have dinner there. He was 20. Yeah I never got that either.

Despite 50 years of motorways in Britain and the roads stretching the length of breadth of the country (though not in Cornwall as noted, or almost the entirety of Wales - too hilly) there is no real 'road trip culture' that is so idealised in the US and to a lesser extent in Europe. Perhaps there is no comparison between saying "I'm driving from New York to Route 66 and on to Las Vegas" to "I'm leaving Reading on the M4 and heading for Taunton."

Anyone got any good motorway stories / thoughts to share?

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

A novel idea

I took part in this year's National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo to give it its Japenese sounding name, and am pleased to report I scraped in with 50,300 words by the 29th of November - around 220 pages.

The ethos is very much to write quantity, not worry about the quality, but then to go back and edit, re-edit, draft, re-write and polish the chunk of text you have to work on (you can't edit a blank page), rather than merely saying you're going to write a book but never actually do. Needless to say I do not feel my book is anywhere near close to anything resembling publishable, however, maybe after much editing and drafting it will be, who knows.

It was a fun challenge though, and the positive message of the website through which it is run - essentially, just write and write but don't stop and don't worry about quality or anything like that - does really help you stop being self-critical and just keep getting the words down on the page - 1,666 a day to be precise.

I'd recommened it to anyone who has also wondered about / wanted to write a novel, but perhaps the only problem is now you'll have to wait a whole year to do it...

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Merry Christmas

This story about the rubbish Lapland is quite sad, but it's nice to see the normally stocial British getting jolly irate having wasted money on a trip to a fake lapland in Dorset. However, it's the comments from the events organiser Henry Mears that are most bizarre.

"Mr Mears, who organises the park's marketing and advertising, told the BBC he was "bemused" by the complaints. He blamed "a few groups of professional troublemakers" for the allegations over the attraction."

You can imagine it can't you: 'here guys, I've had an idea of how we can cause some more professional trouble - there's the Lapland thing on in Dorset, why don't we pay £25 quid to go and then come back and claim it was rubbish.

But the best line is this: "Like all people they like to get into queues and just generate a bit of aggravation."

Oh yeah, all people love doing this. Us Brits are known world-over for our love getting in queues and causing a bit of argy-bargy. Some would say it's our defining trait.

The sky at night

Can you imagine what someone in the 11th Century or in the Roman era would have thought if they'd have seen this in the night sky?

Photo by Felicia Sutantyo in Melbourne, Australia taken from BBC photo set here.