Thursday, 31 December 2009
Wednesday, 23 December 2009
Wednesday, 9 December 2009
Thursday, 3 December 2009
View JobBack to Jobs
Research Officer - The rise and regulation of lap dancing and the place of sexual labour and consumption in the night time economy (Job reference: 316199 )
Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law School of Sociology and Social Policy
(Full-time, fixed term 12 months from March 2010)You will work on an ESRC funded study on the rise and regulation of lap dancing and the place of sexual labour and consumption in the night time economy. The post will involve qualitative and quantitative data collection and analysis. It is based in Leeds, although some travel to other cities may be necessary.You will have, or be about to complete, a postgraduate qualification in the social sciences or relevant subject and some appropriate research experience. You will be mainly responsible for access and fieldwork. Good interviewing, communication and organisational skills are essential as is the ability to work independently and as part of a team. Experience of interviewing and conducting surveys is essential, as is prior experience of conducting research in the female sex industry. It is anticipated that interviews will take place on December 14 2009
Salary: Grade 7 (£29,704 - £35,469 p.a) The appointment will be made at £31,513 p.a or below since there are funding limitations which dictate the level at which the appointment can start.
Apply using: Application form, CV and Equal Opportunities Monitoring form
Download an application form: (pdf version) (Word version)
Informal enquiries:Dr Teela Sanders firstname.lastname@example.org
Send completed applications to:Anne Prendergast, email email@example.com by post to:Anne Prendergast,Social Science Building,The University of Leeds,LS2 9JT.
Closing date: 27 November 2009
Job description and person specification
Anticipated interview date: 14 December 2009
Tuesday, 1 December 2009
Sunday, 29 November 2009
No, the reason I wouldn't vote for Zac is because it turns out he's non-dom. Is there any reason why the voters of Richmond should vote for someone who proposes tax policy for po' white folk, but which will barely affect their representative? He could probably find the £30k non-dom levy in the back pocket of the last pair of Villebrequin shorts he wore in the Med this summer, or in coin in the Goldsmith laundry's tumble-dryer.
I believe that it is every man's duty to keep the Treasury as far away from his loot as possible. But the non-dom route is also the non-qualified route.
Sunday, 22 November 2009
Let us not dwell on whether Baroness Ashton of Wimmin is capable of accurately reflecting the consensus foreign policy opinions and ambitions of all 27 member states (but my hunch is that she won't even attempt to do so; this will be, as with all other things in Europe, a stitch-up by the snail murderers and sausage-noshers).
No, what I worry about is that this person will be the Face of Europe on all those occasions when X invades Y, or A shoots down B's supply plane by mistake, or when the next tsunami heads beach-ward.
And I hope you will not think me ungallant when I suggest that this is a Face that does not show Europe in her best light; that it is a face only a mother could love; that, if it were to launch a thousand ships, that those ships would be crammed to the gunwales with fleeing emigrants, keen to start another life several hundred miles away from That Face.
It is, in short, a loathsome visage. It takes on an even grislier hue when one reflects that it has never submitted itself to popular selection, to democratic vote. It is the face of someone who has climbed the greasy pole of unrepresentative politics in the way that only a slug could.
I fear that the World will think less of us when it sees and hears this thing.
Thursday, 19 November 2009
Foreign Minister: Baroness Ashton of Wimmin (GB)
Defence Minister: Sgr Whooza Zat (It)
Farming Minister: M Nevair-Erdovim (Fr)
Environment Minister: Herr Vossisnayme (Ger)
Sports Minister: Mr Avin Alaff (Au)
Arts Minister: Miss Pula Zeeuzzerwun (Por)
Social Justice Minister: Mr Paddy Gray-Veetrain (Ire)
Wednesday, 18 November 2009
Tuesday, 17 November 2009
A modern sporting-politico-diplomatic classic. Read it.
I loved Breaker Morant. Part war film, part courtroom drama. Shades of Zulu and l'affaire Dreyfus. You never saw a more cheerful and stoic wronged man.
Look into the true story of HH "Breaker" Morant. A wonderful romantic type. Hard-as-nails Aussie drover and friend of one of Idle's favourite poets, AB "Banjo" Paterson, he of Clancy of the Overflow fame:
I had written him a letter which I had, for want of better
Knowledge, sent to where I met him down the Lachlan years ago;
He was shearing when I knew him, so I sent the letter to him,
Just on spec, addressed as follows, "Clancy, of The Overflow."
And an answer came directed in a writing unexpected
(And I think the same was written with a thumb-nail dipped in tar);
'Twas his shearing mate who wrote it, and verbatim I will quote it:
"Clancy's gone to Queensland droving, and we don't know where he are."
Sunday, 15 November 2009
Being no longer idle, I fall behind on my discretionary reading, so it was only last night in the bath that I read Rod Liddle's piece on Jeanie Lynch from last week's Speccie. Jeanie is ‘Lead Officer for Equality in Children and Young People’s Services for Devon County Council’.
I can't think of any other example which illustrates quite so clearly why we have a national debt of £1.3 trillion, unfunded liabilities of another £2 trillion on top of that, and a government that consumes 50% of GDP.
Jeanie's week: Monday - Value the Difference course; Tuesday - "Building resilience for our Gypsy, Roma Traveller Achievement Services"; Wednesday - Day Off; Thursday - "Children and Sex" speech; Friday - "pulling together diversity data".
Liddle: "‘Building resilience for our Gypsy, Roma Traveller Achievement Services’. What does that mean? God knows, but she concludes, in her diary, that gypsies and Roma and travellers need to improve their ‘resilience skills’. You wonder for a moment if this cheerful middle-aged woman is teaching gypsies how to fight. ‘Grandmother’ and ‘sucking eggs’ is the first response which comes to mind. You wonder also if the people of Devon wished that their local council was instead teaching gypsies to be a bit less resilient, all things considered, or perhaps to have the requisite resilience to pack up their caravans and move to Cornwall or Somerset or Dorset. But Jeanie has only contempt for the people who pay her salary (let’s be honest — the gypsies don’t, do they?): she says the travellers face horrible discrimination from ordinary people in the wider world. Those awful people in the wider world."
Liddle discovers that there is a veritable platoon of Acts of Parliament (that would be Westminster AND the European one, natch) that makes all this worthless guff a requirement. It is not so much a matter of choice as the Law of the Land. Jeanie probably pulls in around £30,000 for this stunt. But Devon is a big old area, so she'll need a car. Call it another £3,000 on autolease. There will be expenses of course, and petrol, and oodles of stationery costs as Jeanie publishes all those glossy handouts on anal sex for 8 year olds and pamphlets telling the policemen of Tavistock not to be beastly to pikeys. And, when Jeanie finally retires to her cottage by the sea, aged 60, there will be her pension. For ever. And it's unfunded. The children she teaches anal sex to next week will be paying Devon County Council's taxes in ten years' time, partly to fund Jeanie's final salary, index-linked pension scheme. Come to think of it, a good few of them will be employed by the Council, too. Outreach Co-ordinators, probably. Or Clotted-Cream Safety Standards Invigilators.
Devon County Council is run by the Conservatives. Liddle concludes that even if they wanted to, they are buggered:
"And so, if you’re the newly elected ruling group of Devon County Council you may well be tempted just to sigh and let Jeanie go about her work.
This stuff, this ludicrous nonsense, has become unavoidable. We cannot get rid of it. And my guess is there’s a Jeanie doing her business for every county and borough council up and down the land and a Gypsy, Roma, Traveller Achievement Service in every relevant council up and down the land and a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans (sic) History Month coming to a school near you very soon. They want kids, incidentally, to celebrate the life of a famous LGBT person from history and suggest computer science would be a good place to start. Poor Alan Turing, once known as a brilliant mathematician. Now known as an unhappy homosexual."
Read the whole thing. You'll laugh and cry.
Saturday, 14 November 2009
Wednesday, 11 November 2009
Monday, 2 November 2009
Saturday, 31 October 2009
Christopher Monckton is no ordinary fellow. Outspoken and trenchant, he could probably start an argument in an empty room. But he is bright, and determined. He has argued credibly and loudly against Anthropomorphic Global Warming, and whilst you won't see him on the BBC (heavens, no!) those honest folk at Fox News, uncomplicated by Leftism and guided by their loyalty to their constitution, gave him a slot last week. A proper slot, lasting an hour, with the company of John Bolton, that fine undiplomatic diplomat, who calls a spade a bloody shovel.
I have given you part one above. But YouTube has to break things up into bite-sized bits, so there are 6 more after this (with a bit of overlap in places). I urge you to visit that vital haven of sanity, WattsUpWithThat, which gets 2 million hits a month, for the remainder of the show.
Are you enough of an anorak to listen to the whole lot? I was. Did you follow the mathematical demonstration first time? No, nor did I.
Copenhagen is going to cost us hundreds of billions in tax over the next few years. I smell a big fat multinational government rat. Our own discredited and ludicrous Prime Minister says we have 50 days left to save the earth, as does the quite mad Prince of Wales (but God bless our monarchy regardless, we've coped with madder and badder ones than Charles before). I think a huge and cynical con is being played upon the taxpayers of the developed nations. All power to Lord Monckton, slightly strange fish though he may be. Listen to his argument.
Monday, 26 October 2009
Fact Two: UK Government Throws its Weight Behind Blair as First European President
(Headline, BBC News, 26 October 2009)
At this point, put on a macintosh, cloth hat, and leather gloves. Effect a franglais accent.
"You will notice, Cato, ze old 'It's no longeur ze Constitutional Treaty' ploy. Even zat madman Dreyfus would be able to decifer zis one. Cato, my leetle yellow friend, I 'ave ze detective's instinct and I can tell you zat zere ees something distinctly feeshy about zis. Even ze organ grinder and hees minkey would be able to solve zees."
"Cato....... Cato? NOT NOW, CATOooooooooooo!" etc
Call me an old cynic, but I do believe this was planned before 2005. Where are the Tory attack dogs to point this out in a way that even the bovine Labour clientstate voters in the Northern inner cities would understand and find revolting?
Monday, 19 October 2009
As I was being driven from Preston to Clitheroe this morning (oh, the style of this new job!) we passed a hamlet on the A59. A sign loomed a hundred yards ahead. Black writing upon a white background, it appeared to say "BROWN LEAVES COUNTRY". The 'the' and the 'hotel' were in a smaller font. Is that a joke, I asked my Lancastrian companion. No, he replied, it's a real hotel. I can't be entirely sure he got my drift.
Sadly, I couldn't get the mobile phone into picture mode soon enough, so the pictorial evidence above comes from their website.
The rooms start at £45 a night and no, I don't plan a visit. And yes, we do have entrepreneurs near the Pennine grouse moors with eight figures to invest.
With my current output drier than the Sahara, any post will just have to do. But it's nice thought, is it not?
Sunday, 11 October 2009
Gotta love that Milton. A pint-sized giant.
PS If the comments bar isn't showing - dunno why, but it does this sometimes - doubleclick on the title and the post plus comments will appear. The idle blog follows a full-comment policy.
Friday, 9 October 2009
Run against a Republican party that is labouring beneath the weight of disgust and unpopularity of its retiring two-term president, during a financial crisis of epic proportions.
Create messianic fervour for an untested socialist politician, because WE CAN! Encourage said Messiah to give speeches suggesting that the toothpaste can be forced back into the tube, the genie pushed back into the lamp, and the world denied nuclear weapons, wherever they may be, and whoever may have the recipe.
Saturday, 3 October 2009
Saturday, 26 September 2009
Firm-bosomed assistants crediting maturing sums.
Conspiring with mates to loaf and to work less
And watch the time, to beat the evening run;
To bend the rules, to doze beneath the plane trees,
And fill each day, though it is such a bore;
To charm the board; catch Hazel's fragrant smells;
To telephone the Colonel; to eat pudding more,
And still more, and later, calculate my fees -
Filling in expenses being like shelling peas -
For work must never overcome my idle cells.
Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss'd cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For Summer has o'er-brimm'd their clammy cells.
Friday, 18 September 2009
Thursday, 17 September 2009
It's a dashed bad show, but the bursar from the idle girls' country club is clamouring for a cheque, the lady idle will insist upon Caribbean winter breaks, and the wine merchant has applied for charitable status, so long is it since he had a sniff of a guinea from yours truly.
I had a chat with a man who knows someone in the City who told him that the smoke had cleared and as far as he knew no more large banks were going to go down the swanee. Furthermore, some of them were actually hiring and paying a living wage. Something to do with Government guarantees. Splendid.
So I'll see if I can quantitatively ease myself into the old dark navy blue, dust off the bowler and polish the silver ring on the umbrella. A word in the ear of the head steward at the club, and I'll be expecting the usual table at 1pm for the forseeable.
So, Monday morning, up to the smoke. Up in the air to Jersey, actually, for a quick shufti, followed by some nice fish, one hopes. More than that I cannot really say, but I'd appreciate no snide comments about bankers' bonuses or taxpayer bailouts. The way I was going, in a few more years I would have been eligible for the Nat King Cole, housing benefits and I dare say council tax relief as well. One's credit rating would have simply died. Just think what you have saved yourselves.
Given that only three of you read this, it won't be missed if it becomes a once-a-week job, will it? I will continue to visit the comment threads of more industrious bloggers.
The name of this blog is not changing. It wouldn't do to break into a sweat; busy people in a frightful rush tend to forget things and worry the horses. No, Idle it remains.
Monday, 14 September 2009
Idle spent his weekend in unbroken sunshine in Ulster. It looked lovely, but there is pain behind the beauty of the benighted province.
Some parts of Northern Ireland really are beautiful, such as Narrow Water above Warrenpoint. The layby just downstream of the old castle tower jutting into the water from the dual carriageway, and the gates opposite, were the scene of the second of two cowardly IRA atrocities on 27 August 1979, the first of which had killed Lord Mountbatten and members of his family at Mullaghmore. It was a warm and beautiful August Bank Holiday. A trailer of straw sat in the layby.
This is what the first Warrenpoint bomb would have looked like (the picture is of a simulation, carried out after the event). It was set off from across the water/border in Ireland, as a convoy of two army trucks and a land rover passed. Though targetted at Royal Marines, whose duties included safety at the small port at Warrenpoint, the victims were in fact a detachment of Paras, who were providing an extra company to the Queen's Own Highlanders, the battalion responsible for the bandit country of South Armagh.
The first bomb, about half a ton of explosive, killed six paras. The survivors, believing themselves to be under attack from across the border (the heat of the explosion having caused bullets and ammunition in the wrecked land rover to explode), returned fire across the water. A most unlucky civilian, a footman from the Queen's Household on holiday in Ireland was shot dead. (Independent reports afterwards confirmed sniper fire from the Republic). Immediately, the CO of the Queen's Own Highlanders scrambled with his signaller and medical team by helicopter from Bessbrook, a few miles to the north. Standard operational procedure required an incident command point to have been set up close to the explosion. Lt Col David Blair arrived to find that a stone gatehouse across the road from the old castle tower had been chosen.
His immediate concerns were to secure the area and evacuate the seriously wounded, which took time. He felt the gatehouse too obvious a location for the ICP and ordered those that could, to fall back further into the park behind the gatehouse (in the gateway bay opposite the castle tower in the top photograph, no longer there). But there was no time; the second explosion, half an hour after the first, was devastating (left). The IRA set it off just as a helicopter was taking off with wounded. Even larger than the first bomb, it destroyed the gatehouse and killed another twelve soldiers, including Lt Col Blair. Extraordinarily, the helicopter managed to just about escape the blast and ditch successfully, but the IRA's low cunning of second-guessing operational procedure had worked. To this day, the Queen's Own Highlander colonel is the highest ranked victim to have been killed in action by the IRA.
The Colonel's widow, together with many officers and Warrant Officers, marked the thirtieth anniversary of the horror last weekend. Services at Warrenpoint, at Ballykinlar and at Palace Barracks, Holywood were sombre occasions. But the drinking and carousing in honour of all the dead were less sombre. At a time when our armed forces are being starved of equipment whilst fighting unpopular and unwinnable wars, it gives us a melancholy pride to know that the tours of duty that we carried out in Ulster were done for a righteous cause, and were done superbly. It was said the Troubles could not be won militarily, but eventually the IRA sued for peace, by then infiltrated at every level and unable to sustain their war.
Friday, 11 September 2009
Thursday, 10 September 2009
Monday, 7 September 2009
Tuesday, 1 September 2009
Now and again, driving in the evening, I find myself listening to that odd duo, Radcliffe and Maconie on Radio 2. They seem to know their music. They have a thing called The Chain, where each song must be connected, in some way, to the previous show's 'Chain' song. Sometimes the link is obvious, sometimes tenuous, often quite complicated.
I am going to attempt a Blog Chain, to coin a phrase. Lilith did a post yesterday which she called #1 in an occasional series of her Desert Island Dance Tracks. It was the daddy of all rock and rollers, Chuck Berry, with Brown Eyed Handsome Man.
I could have headed off towards Van the Man with Brown Eyed Girl, or any song by that great duo the Handsome Family. You see how this works? But my song, continuing the chain, is the first single ever released by the Stones. It is Chuck Berry's Come On. Berry released it in October 1961; the Stones released their cover less than 2 years later, so it was still pretty fresh. Berry's original was a slightly slower tempo, so the Stones rocked it up a bit, but didn't try anything too fancy. Where Berry had short flashes of lead guitar, the Stones went with Brian Jones' harmonica. Perhaps Keith was still finding his feet. The rythm section sounds sublime, as ever. I always have this on the playlist when we are dancing in the tent here and it never disappoints.
Okay, who's going to take this chain further? Ideally, you do a post on your own blog (flag it up in the comments section here so we know where to go). I fully expect this chain to sprout in myriad directions, and still be going strong in a year's time. I think it would help if you posted the best YouTube version of it you can find. I have not been able to find live footage of this one; never mind.
Get those discs spinning, folks. Let's see where it leads.
Sunday, 30 August 2009
A Torygrapher has likened it to Watergate. This isn't just about a lie, this is about letting off a convicted mass murderer in order to ginger up an oil deal. And whatever the prognosis for Megrahi - whether he dies in 3 weeks or 3 years - the British public seems overwhelmingly pissed off about his release. And they smell a big, greasy, brown rat. One from Cowdenbeath.
My bet is that the leaks on this affair will be so plentiful and so quick, Brown and Straw will be toast in a fortnight. No wonder Brown has been pouring his toxic treacle all over Teddy Kennedy's twitching corpse; he is gunning for some academic sinecure in liberal New England, where he can escape the humiliation of being the Worst Prime Minister Ever.
Buy a one-way ticket, Gordon.
Wednesday, 26 August 2009
Monday, 24 August 2009
Sunday, 23 August 2009
Tuesday, 18 August 2009
Or Andy Burnham, the child Health Secretary, accusing Hannon of being a traitor and trying to have visas refused for right-of-centre American politicians who wish to attend the Tory party conference, on the basis that their disrespect for the NHS is unacceptable?
They went to sea in a sieve, they did,
With never a moment's doubt:
'It's better by far,' they cried, 'than a boat -
If the water gets in we'll still stay afloat
Because it'll drain straight out.'
They fitted their oar (they'd only brought one)
And started to row, turn about,
But hard as they tried, the sieve just went round
With a gargling, gurgling, guggling sound,
Like a pig with a pea in it's snout.
And though they still strove with might and with main
The tide took a turn and ran them aground
So they found themselves back where they'd started again,
Which proved, they declared, that the Earth must be round.
Oh what greater adventure could life ever give
Than going to sea, as they did, in a sieve?
Sunday, 16 August 2009
Thursday, 13 August 2009
Wednesday, 12 August 2009
This, I submit, is the way to spend a sizeable city bonus - maintaining the splendid, unpredictable and thrilling sport of grouse shooting, for the benefit of the environment, local employment, one's friends, and one's own sense of well-being.
But what of the bonus culture? Are we really going to see a change in behaviour? Are the shareholders of financial institutions really going to hold them to account on remuneration policy? Or are those main shareholders merely 'other' financial institutions, for whom the current bonus arrangements are very suitable, thank you.
I don't mind people in the City getting bonuses, in fact I think it's the best way of paying people in an industry that is famous for its total lack of job security. But the logic is that, when the cupboard is bare, there is no discretionary bonus. But how to keep the key personnel? Who IS a key person? Is it a dozen, or 120, or 1200? Is it - wait for it - 39,000 of your best employees?
Judge Rakoff (you couldn't make up a more suitably ironic name) is questioning the validity of the Merrill Lynch scam whereby they sold themselves to Bank of America to avoid going bust and then paid themselves the thick end of $4Bn in bonuses. Judge Rakoff doesn't care that the SEC is fine with it; he wants some answers. Seeking Alpha takes up the story:
Oh, that Judge Rakoff is such a spoilsport, refusing to bless the SEC's settlement with Bank of America on the Merrill Lynch bonuses.
The Times said today that the judge (a nice man who once terrorized me in Contracts class) may hold a hearing to find out whether the bonuses - all $3.6 billion - were necessary. More specifically, he'd like to know if Merrill's management really tried to figure out "how many of the roughly 39,000 bonus recipients would have left had they not received their payouts."
In response, Bank of America's lawyer said the bank could prove "there were a number of companies that might have hired Merrill’s employees.” Which is nice, but doesn’t really address the judge’s concern.
Rakoff is asking about the process: Did the board ask management to prove these bonuses were essential, and did management meet that burden? To do so, I think, would have required them to muster empirical evidence on the following points:
- Exactly which employees were likely to stomp out the door if they got smaller bonuses, or no bonuses, and how management knew this in advance.
- Whether all hell would really break loose if some of these folks left.
- Whether or not the firm could recruit, on the streets of Lower Manhattan, some dazed but qualified victims of Wall Street’s bloodbath who'd be willing to work for less than $3.6 billion.
Did the board ask for such factual backup? I’m guessing no. The “science” of executive compensation is a strange kind of science, in that it’s pretty much devoid of both evidence and experimentation. Year after year, public companies assert in proxies that their compensation programs are exquisitely designed to retain each indispensable, irreplaceable employee. A less generous pay scale just wouldn’t do the trick, we’re told. But few firms tell us how they know this. Nor do they road-test different compensation schemes.
For empirical research on whether compensation methods actually work the way they're supposed to, we’ve got to resort to academics. Like these guys, who concluded a couple of years ago that stock options encourage foolhardy risk-taking. Hey, how about that.
How can you say your compensation structure is efficient and effective if you never experiment with a cheaper one, even when the world is coming apart at the seams and you have a perfect excuse for cutting pay?
Thanks to a crabby guy in robes, one company may soon have to answer that question.
Well done the judge. Time for a reality check.
Monday, 10 August 2009
When you’re lying alone in your Afghan bivvy
And your life it depends on some MOD civvie
When the body armour’s shared (one set between three)
And the firefight’s not like it is on TV,
Then you’ll look to your oppo, your gun and your God,
As you follow that path all Tommies have trod.
When the gimpy has jammed and you’re down to one round,
And the faith that you’d lost is suddenly found.
When the Taliban horde is close up to the fort,
And you pray that the arty don’t drop a round short.
Stick to your sergeant like a good squaddie should,
And fight them like satan or one of his brood
Your pay it won’t cover your needs or your wants,
So just stand there and take all the Taliban’s taunts
Nor generals nor civvies can do aught to amend it,
Except make sure you’re kept in a place you can’t spend it.
Three fifty an hour in your Afghani cage,
Not nearly as much as the minimum wage.
Your missus at home in a foul married quarter
With damp on the walls and a roof leaking water
Your kids miss their mate, their hero, their dad;
They’re missing the childhood that they should have had
One day it will be different, one day by and by,
As you all stand there and watch, to see the pigs fly
Just like your forebears in mud, dust and ditch
You’ll march and you’ll fight, and you’ll drink and you’ll bitch
Whether Froggy or Zulu, or Jerry, or Boer
The Brits will fight on ‘til the battle is over.
You may treat him like dirt, but nowt will unnerve him
But I wonder sometimes, if the country deserves him.
Sunday, 9 August 2009
Thursday, 6 August 2009
Of course we all knew that Brown's ennoblement of Sralan Sugar and his appointment as a czar was a desperate, shallow, populist stunt. Sugar might be a barrowboy-made-good, and well done him, but addicts of The Apprentice (I am one, God help me) will have spotted that, whilst he may have a bit of trader cunning about him, he is a bit thick. He is also chippy, which is how you knew his politics were bound to be lefty. Any knight of the realm who insists upon being referred to by his title by everyone, all the time, is chippy and a bit thick.
Quentin Letts, a funny sketchwriter for the Mail, went on LBC and said that Lordalan (believe me, this will be the [incorrect] form of address in the next series) was "a telly peer who doesn’t seem to have an enormous intellect". Lordalan saw red and speed-dialled his brief. The upshot is that Letts has had a threatening letter demanding money. Not LBC, who broadcast the shock-horror sentence, but Letts. Rich man's bully-boy tactics, in short.
The great and good of journalism (including, extraordinarily, one Paul Staines!) have written a letter to the Speccie to complain about Sugar's behaviour. Matthew Parris has broadsided Lordalan in his column today.
Sugar will climb down, of course. He has made a complete fool of himself. His image as a tough-skinned hardened businessman is lying in tatters. Instead, he comes across as the precious, stupid television celebriddy that he has turned into.
What a wanker. I quoted Chesterton at the time Sugar was raised to the peerage, and I'll quote him again:
Tuesday, 4 August 2009
An Englishman's Castle, always an interesting blog (though, ironically, he seems to source many of his posts from the scotsman.com news website), posted yesterday on the correct pronunciation of valet. Any fule kno that the T is not silent, except when an American is parking your car for you at a restaurant or nightclub.
Jeeves (pictured with the great Hugh Laurie, with whom idle was at prep school) is certainly the most famous valet in literary or film history. He described himself as a valet with a hard T. Enough said.
But it got me thinking about the fact that valets are pretty much a thing of the past. Even my most plutocratic and successful and landed multi millionaire friends stop at a cook and a housekeeper; a valet is unthinkable.
Which is where technology comes in. You see, if it is de trop to employ a valet because it is considered arcane and pretentious, why not modernise the concept with a robotic
house-servant? Not pretentious at all - positively 21st Century cool! The Japanese and Americans have been working on this concept for decades. By all accounts, even if the wretched mechanical thing can't mix a prairie oyster to help Bertie with his hangover, or anticipate the arrival of Aunt Agatha by a crucial five minutes, it can nonetheless be programmed to perform many other useful tasks.
I have given this quite a lot of thought over the past ten minutes; if the Americans get there first, and bearing in mind that they are incapable of correctly pronouncing the T, there is only one name for this invention, so I have decided to copyright the name:
The Silicon Valet
I thank you.
Monday, 3 August 2009
Tuesday, 28 July 2009
Monday, 27 July 2009
Its view of the Gulf of St Tropez:
... took us to a fine lunch at Les Graniers....
.... and stayed afloat despite the fat bastards at the back....
.... and provided a platform for children's Nijinsky impersonations:
A nearby town, Gassin.....
.... where we were entertained by an excellent busking Dutch students' Dixie Jazz Band, the chanteuse of which seemed to meet most of the Tuscan's prerequisites......
... whilst the leader and washboard player met Lady Idle's prerequsities, and spotted her taking (many) pictures of him:
That'll just have to do for now.