All entries for April 2006

April 26, 2006

A gem on Newsnight

Just been watching an interview on Newsnight with the Health Minister Lord Warner and Paxman asked him about U-turns and he came out with the priceless:

We don't make U-turns, we show flexibility.

Paxman looked like he couldn't believe his ears.

April 23, 2006

Embrace – World at your Feet

I've just seen the official England anthem for the World Cup on TV, and I have to say that it manages to do something I'd previously thought almost impossible by being even worse and more annoying than James Blunt. Apart from having all the inspirational qualities of a Gordon Brown lecture on fiscal prudency (with particular emphasis on Tax Credits), both the music and the lyrics are totally devoid of variety and have a distinctive cobbled together feel, as if they decided how many syllables long it was going to be and then selected the words to fit afterwards. This also means that there are very annoying and unnatural gaps in the lyrics as whoever wrote it obviously wasn't a skilful enough lyricist to ensure that the gaps fell in the natural places, and it gives it the feel of a Tony Blair speech set to music. The singer (whose name I can't be bothered to find out) has an annoying tendency to sing parts of the song falsetto when anyone of any discernment who had heard this song would have been perfectly happy to help him sing castrato if only he asked. I dread hearing this drivel for the next two to three months; it's almost bad enough for me to hope for England to go out in the first round so no one will ever play it again.

April 22, 2006

Timewasting literary bragging rubbish

Writing about an entry you don't have permission to view

1. Copy & paste.
2. Bold the ones you’ve read.
3. Add four recent reads to the end.
4. Tag!

The Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown
The Catcher in the Rye – J.D. Salinger
The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy – Douglas Adams
The Great Gatsby – F.Scott Fitzgerald
To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
His Dark Materials – Philip Pullman
The Time Traveler’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Harry Potter 6) – J.K. Rowling
Life of Pi – Yann Martel
Animal Farm: A Fairy Story – George Orwell
Catch-22 – Joseph Heller
The Hobbit – J. R. R. Tolkien
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time – Mark Haddon
Lord of the Flies – William Golding
1984 – George Orwell
Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Book 3) – J.K. Rowling
One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Book 4) – J.K. Rowling
The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini
The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Harry Potter 5) - J.K. Rowling
Slaughterhouse 5 – Kurt Vonnegut
Angels and Demons – Dan Brown
Fight Club – Chuck Palahniuk
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Book 1) - J.K. Rowling
Neuromancer – William Gibson
Cryptonomicon – Neal Stephenson
The Secret History – Donna Tartt
A Clockwork Orange – Anthony Burgess
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Book 2) – J.K. Rowling
Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte
Brave New World – Aldous Huxley
American Gods – Neil Gaiman
Ender’s Game (The Ender Saga) – Orson Scott Card
Snow Crash – Neal Stephenson
A Prayer for Owen Meany – John Irving
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe – C.S. Lewis
Middlesex – Jeffrey Eugenides
Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell
The Lord of the Rings – J. R. R. Tolkien
Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
Good Omens – Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman
Atonement – Ian McEwan
The Shadow Of The Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafon
The Old Man and the Sea – Ernest Hemingway
The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath
Dune – Frank Herbert
The Unbearable Lightness of Being – Milan Kundera
Hey Nostradamus! – Douglas Coupland
The Nature of Blood – Caryl Phillips
Children Playing Before a Statue of Hercules -Ed. David Sedaris
Testament of Youth – Vera Brittain
When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit – Judith Kerr
Are you Dave Gorman? – Dave Gorman & Danny Wallace
Earthsea Trilogy – Ursula Le Guin
The Secret Life of Nuns- Pietro Aretino
David Copperfield - Dickens
Evelina- Frances Burney
Fahrenheit 451 - Bradbury
Candide- Voltaire
The Communist Manifesto - Marx and Engels
Une Fille d'Eve – Balzac
Sons and Lovers - Lawrence

April 20, 2006

Oxfam East Africa Food Crisis Appeal

Writing about web page

Oxfam have today launched an appeal to raise £20m to help 11m people in Kenya, Somalia, Tanzania, and Ethiopia who are in danger of starving to death after several years of drought and harvest failure. To donate online, simply follow the link and don't forget that if you're a UK tax payer, Oxfam can reclaim Gift Aid on your contribution.

April 10, 2006

Things are looking black in Italy

Follow-up to Berlusconi behind in exit polls from Luke's blog

It appears that despite earlier optimism, Silvio Berlusconi, scumbag extraordinaire, might have narrowly won the Italian elections. How utterly depressing.


Berlusconi behind in exit polls

Writing about web page

Some good news for a change, the former crooner, spiv, and alleged crook Silvio Berlusconi is behind in the exit polls in Italy. Now I'm just hoping against hope that the polls are accurate.

April 06, 2006

The news

Has anything happened in the world in the last 48 hours apart from one manky swan in Scotland being discovered to have been riddled with the latest 'plague that's going to kill us all' (copyright all newspapers, news programmes, websites, and podcasts)? I just turned on Newsnight to discover that they're devoting 'a large part of their programme' to said plague (and presumably the rest to Gavin Estler in a very disturbing shirt). Now, whilst a disease which might see us all drowning in phlegm and used tissues is important, the fact that one swan has the avian version hardly warrants filling up all the news bulletins everywhere to the exclusion of all else. Especially given that if/when another bird is spotted sneezing, the 'we're all going to die' stories will be put out again with only minor alterations. The whole country seems to have gone bird flu crazy.

April 2006

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