Deep down I think I quite like Dominic Cummings and in the past I have certainly enjoyed several of his more caustic quips where he has undeniably spoken truth to power. A longstanding purveyor of the political dark arts, he didn’t beat around the bush when calling David Davis “thick as mince” and as “lazy as a toad”. To my mind he kinda hit Jacob Rees Mogg and the ERG squarely on the proverbial bonce by simply stating they were “useful idiots” to his Vote Leave cause.
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The NHS has never been more in the spotlight than of late. And it’s completely understandable, essential perhaps, that in a situation where tens of thousands of people have died that we compare and contrast different countries’ approach to the Covid-19 pandemic. Our oft-pronounced belief is that the National Health Service is truly world-leading and the envy of all but does this stack-up in reality?
Can you believe Ridley Scott’s epic, Gladiator, is twenty years old this month? At that time swashbuckling sword-and-sandals movies had become an outdated homoerotic joke, ironically with the NRA’s Charging Charlton’s Ben Hur leading the fray. But then came Russell’s Roman renaissance and the joke was on us: Chariots! Colossus Colosseum calamities! Rippling man-flesh! Tigers! Tridents!
Tiny hands Trump has never hidden his contempt for China and, in renewing his attacks wrt its handling of the coronavirus crisis, he seems intent on raising the international temperature between the two powers. By claiming to have seen direct and “enormous evidence” that Covid-19 is both man-made and was leaked from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, Trump is now clearly drawing trade battle lines to be fought by pandemic proxy.
With toilet rolls now back on our supermarket shelves and the long arm of the law no longer necessary to keep us in strict queuing order, talk of food rationing has perhaps slipped from our after-dinner conversations but, with a long-term and underlying fear of fragile supply chains, how long before it returns?
What was the first song you ever learned? It could have been ‘Bah-Bah Black Sheep’, perhaps for the urbanites ‘London Bridge is Falling Down’ and were the climate-change-aware millennials throwing themselves under ‘The Wheels on the Bus’? Whichever it was, there’s a strong chance ‘Ring-a-Ring o’ Roses’ is up there with the best of them. The tune, like all great rhymes, is maddeningly catchy and stays with you for life.
Don’t laugh but I’ve been reading a lot of Jack Reacher of late. I’m now on my fourth of the lockdown and can confirm that Tripwire is up there with the best. Unsurprisingly, neither I nor any of my pals are Reacher-like in any physical sense but there are similarities. My friends are, in the main, funny, witty, super-smart and great fun to be around, and in the absence of meeting up for a pint, a squash match, cycle or swim, pulp-fiction’s Jack Reacher in self isolation is doing it for me.
The scenes in airports across the whole of Europe this weekend, with eager holidaymakers, frazzled families, drunken stag & hen parties, and weary businessmen queuing for hours to pass through security, into the departure lounge and then up, up, up and away, were utterly dispiriting. Or they would’ve been had the hundreds of thousands travelled as normally they would.
Once upon a time there was a far-sighted entrepreneur who, whilst waiting for his solar-powered floating leaf-catcher and light-attracted portable clothes drier to hit-the-big-time, decided to generate a bit of welcome cash on-the-side by renting out his spare bedroom. Boom! That light bulb moment was eventually to morph into the behemoth Airbnb and subsequently make a billionaire of its founder, Brian Chesky.
Whilst you’re all aware of the fact that I’m no great fan of Bumble Boris I certainly don’t wish him any ill and genuinely hope he doesn’t suffer the same fate as that of his all-time favourite classical hero, Pericles, an aristocratic Athenian with an equally quixotic private life, who perished when Greece was overwhelmed by plague, killing over 100,000 people in Athens alone.