Low Gear

TGSo. The BBC has fired Jeremy Clarkson from Top Gear. The BBC’s Lord Hall said:

Well, yes. So it is a bit hard to see what the BBC has achieved by firing him. Top Gear has been generating about £50 million a year for the BBC. The income is now almost certainly going to be lost, and will presumably now be gathered in by whichever television company hires him, and probably the other Continue reading

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Belt up

seat beltsI was in a mini-bus in Sydney yesterday – on a site inspection. There was a sign inside the bus suggesting that seat belts must be worn.

I do not agree at all. There is nothing wrong with seat belts Continue reading

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Marbles in their head

ElginSo, Greece is bust. It owes Germany lots of money. So, Greece’s idea is to set off its newly-revived claim for wartime reparations. It wants €162 billion. Germany says, “Oh no”. It says there was a deal in 1960 which settled all of those claims. But Greece says that that deal does not stand on its way. This is what Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has said about that deal:

 Bilateral Agreement of 1960.

This was when, by its own initiative, it paid 115 million Marks, as reparations, and the (then) Kingdom of Greece acknowledged that there are no further claims to be had. This agreement, however, did not have to do with the reparations that involved the damages suffered by the country, but with the reparations to the victims of Nazism in Greece. And, of course, in no case whatsoever, did it concern the Occupation Loan, or even the claims for reparations given the atrocities of war, the almost-complete destruction of the infrastructure of the country, and the destruction of the economy during the war and the Occupation. Continue reading

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Fringe benefit

arjJust as there is a fringe to the Edinburgh so there is a fringe here in Adelaide, which is on right now.

Last night, Louise and I went to see Arj Barker, who is an American comedian. I had never heard of him before. It was not really my choice; Louise was given the tickets.

Mr Barker may well be typical of the modern generation of comedians. He used the word “motherfucker” dozens of times, and his routine included imaginary conversations with his own penis, fantasies about persuading people to smear themselves with their own excrement, and a lot more such smut. The audience, which was very young, seemed to like it.

It is probably the fault of Peter Cook and Dudley Moore, who took obscenity to such Continue reading

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Oisin Soars

JeremyI am not a huge fan of Jeremy Clarkson. But I might as well confess at the outset of this post that I am one of the half million people who signed the petition for his reinstatement.

He is a shade boorish for my taste. But he does sometimes make me smile, and even sometimes makes me laugh. And although he is not hugely funny, he is funnier than Charlie Hebdo.

Therein lies the point. He stands as a beacon against political correctness. It is hard to know which is worse: an organisation run by misogynistic men (supported by subservient women) or an organisation run by intolerant wimmin (supported by subservient men). Anyway, Jeremy Clarkson has plainly been for some time the victim of something of a witchhunt by the latter.

It will be interesting to see how all of this plays out. Jeremy is plainly hated by the wimmin at the BBC, but will they Continue reading

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Bad News Bears

Polar BearsWhen I was child there was a huge stuffed polar bear in the main hall of the Natural History Museum in London. Nasty looking creature. They look all very lovely in the David Attenborough’s wildlife programmes, with their warm-hearted voice-over and soppy music, but in real life, they are vicious things. And cheats: their hair is not really white at all, but transparent.

So there was little pleasure to gained from Dr Susan Crockford’s recent survey of the evidence, that the beasts are flourishing these days, with more of them than ever:

On almost every measure, things are looking good for polar bears. Scientists are finding that they are well distributed throughout their range and adapting well to changes in sea ice. Health indicators are good and they are benefiting from abundant prey.

It is also very bad news for the WWF, which has made a fortune collecting money from the gullible, on the strength Continue reading

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Scrummy Women

wrIt is nice to see that England are currently top of the Six Nations Rugby table. But playing Ireland on Sunday – could be tough.

Meanwhile the Welsh girls are leading the women’s rugby equivalent. The English girls beat Italy the other day 39 – 7, but somehow I find it hard to warm to the concept of Women’s Rugby.

It’s not that I think women should stay in the kitchen. More that blue stockings are more attractive Continue reading

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Dharma Queen

pachauriIt has become a commonplace among sceptics that the global warming industry is now not so much a science, but rather a sort of neo-religion. Bizarrely, Rajendra K. Pachauri, until recently head of the IPCC (now out on bail in India, by the way, following sex crime allegations) went from denial to confirmation of this in his resignation letter:

For me the protection of Planet Earth, the survival of all species and sustainability of our ecosystems is more than a mission. It is my religion and my dharma.

Religion, we understand. But dharma? What is that? Not obvious. Continue reading

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International Gladiator

dead oliverHaving found myself watching Gladiator yesterday (I like all Ridley Scott’s films) I looked it up to see how much money they spent post-production to cope with the fact that Oliver Reed died during the filming stage.

$3.2 million, apparently. I could not spot the very brief scenes where a body double was then altered by a digitally mapped digital face.

Also remarkable is the international character of the film. Lead actors from Benin (Djimon Hounsou), Denmark (Connie Nielson) , England (Oliver Reed and Derek Jacobi), Ireland (Richard Harris) New Zealand (Russell Crowe) and United States (Joaquin Phoenix). The music was by a German (Hans Zimmer) and an Australian (Lisa Gerard). The locations were Continue reading

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John Dowland’s Welcome Home

John DowlandIt would not be entirely accurate for me to say, “I could listen to the music of John Dowland for hour after hour”, because that would suggest a mere theoretical possibility.

The fact is that I do listen to the music of John Dowland for hour after hour, and never seem to tire of it.

The lute music is far more satisfactory than the songs. All too often, the songs are performed in a classical style, by musicians trained in the classical technique, which to my ear is entirely alien to the Renaissance. They sound to me like total prats. The singer who gets closest Continue reading

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