Friday, September 27, 2013

Radio punning

I went on BBC FiveLive this week to discuss more woes at BlackBerry. I went into a remote studio in the BBC for this and stared into a big, fluffy red mic as I chatted to the invisible Nicky Campbell and his colleague, whose name I can't remember, via the big, official looking headphones placed upon my head.

This was a particularly fun interview, I thought, because we break down in the middle for a brief bit of punning, which I definitely regard as a bit of a career highlight.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

More radio words

I was on Radio 2 last night talking about Twitter's move to float on the stock market. You can listen to my insights below.

Barging about

I have just spent a very enjoyable week in France visiting the parents who are travelling through that strange and charming country, living the retirement hippy dream of a barge lifestyle. It involved plenty of lock work - looping ropes, fending off, looking out for boats coming the other direction, and other boaty goodness, as well as eating plenty of nice food, drinking beer and wine and playing with the dog, so all in all, a lovely sojourn.

Getting the ferry across the channel was also fun - travelling as a foot passenger along with my brother - as I always used to wonder when I was younger why anyone would be travelling by foot, how you could end up needing a ferry crossing but no car, and now I know as I was one of those people.

However, the good folk of Calais have certainly no desire to please the foot travellers of this world, with little help or information for the onward journey you need to make in the town to stations. Still, through a combination of walking, ranting and taxi drivers (bizarrely wearing English football shirts but actually French) we managed to make it to our connections - well, excluding the ferry we missed on the way back because we had to spend 20 minutes waiting for a bridge to raise to let a large Danish boat out of the harbour in Calais.

Back to the barge. It's a strange idea, that you can just move your home around as you wish, waking up in one city and moving to the next, having negotiated a few locks and long, slow bends of course. Then you're free to wander the towns and fields at your leisure. We stopped in a lovely town called St Quentin which has a fascinating history and some lovely architecture and monuments.

We were passing through the heart of the First World War battle grounds, with flat and gently sloping fields rimmed by hedges and trees and numerous cemeteries and monuments to the fallen, a war now 99 years old.

Sunday, September 01, 2013

Whale song

Some of my favourite text, from Moby-Dick:

"Why, thou monkey," said a harpooneer to one of these lads, "we've been cruising now hard upon three years, and thou hast not raised a whale yet. Whales are scarce as hen's teeth whenever thou art up here."

Perhaps they were; or perhaps there might have been shoals of them in the far horizon; but lulled into such an opium-like listlessness of vacant, unconscious reverie is this absent-minded youth by the blending cadence of waves with thoughts, that at last he loses his identity; takes the mystic ocean at his feet for the visible image of that deep, blue, bottomless soul, pervading mankind and nature; and every strange, half-seen, gliding, beautiful thing that eludes him; every dimly-discovered, uprising fin of some undiscernible form, seems to him the embodiment of those elusive thoughts that only people the soul by continually flitting through it.

In this enchanted mood, thy spirit ebbs away to whence it came; becomes diffused through time and space; like Crammer's sprinkled Pantheistic ashes, forming at last a part of every shore the round globe over.

There is no life in thee, now, except that rocking life imparted by a gently rolling ship; by her, borrowed from the sea; by the sea, from the inscrutable tides of God. But while this sleep, this dream is on ye, move your foot or hand an inch; slip your hold at all; and your identity comes back in horror. Over Descartian vortices you hover. And perhaps, at mid-day, in the fairest weather, with one half-throttled shriek you drop through that transparent air into the summer sea, no more to rise for ever.