out of the mouths of…


Liberté, égalité, fraternité


take my advice


atop the moral pyre


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skool’s out

Asking what Alice Cooper and Cliff Richard have in common sounds like a weak pub-quiz trivia question. No, even though Vincent Furnier (Alice) is indeed the son of a minister, he’s not a born-again, and to the best of my knowledge Cliff is neither an ex-alcoholic nor fanatical about golf, it’s just that ‘school’s out’ time of year again when families ‘all go on a summer holiday’ (groan – ed). Or at least they used to.

and breathe

A couple of years ago a story doing the rounds was of an airline pilot who had ‘snapped’ at his neighbour’s terrier dog’s incessant barking, and drowned the poor animal in a bucket of water. Certainly an extreme reaction by any stretch of the imagination but one that appears to be an increasingly frequent occurrence in today’s hectic & stressed life.

a matter of life & death

Back in the 80s, law was one of the modules I studied at university (OK, polytechnic) but the only thing I can clearly recall is the incarceration of our lecturer, David Crystal-Kirk. No, really. In a futile & vain attempt to establish a ‘ball-game-playing in a public street’ precedent within the statutes (the legal equivalent of a No 1 hit record) Mr Crystal-Kirk was found guilty of ‘contempt of court’ and banged-up for an initial fourteen day period of personal reflection. Not content with such a measly sentence he then, whist still in the dock, punched a policeman on the nose and was awarded an additional twenty-eight days!

gideon’s bible

As the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Right Honourable MP for Tatton, was paid a salary of £120,000 a year. Not an inconsequential amount but considering the role is the de facto Finance Director for a business of 64 million employees, it’s one I’m relatively sanguine about. Cards on the table, it’s about the same as I paid myself as the founder of a business that employed 40 people, so I can’t pull my face that much. However, being given the boot and returning to the back-benches has resulted in a bit of a pay-cut to £75,000, so it’s completely understandable that our Gideon has decided that, to keep the wolves from the door, he needs to bolster this a little. Luckily, it appears he’s in demand.

no petting. no bombing

A belated New Year’s resolution is that I’m going to swim more often. Rightly, or more likely wrongly, I do think my best swimming remains ahead of me, whereas my other sporting endeavours are most definitely behind. So, it’s with some trepidation I read that swimmers worst fears are justified: lots of people do pee in the pool. Canadian scientists have designed a simple procedure that analyses the concentration of ‘Ace K’, an artificial sweetener used in virtually all processed foods, that passes through the body completely unaltered. Putting it to the test in over thirty public pools they unsurprisingly found the compound in abundance in every single one.

dream team

Apart from his inability to ever witness any misdemeanour committed by his players and even though he masterminded our exit from this year’s FA Cup competition, I’ve always thought Arsene Wenger a decent enough gentleman. Measured, loyal, intelligent and diligent, he’s obviously done a sterling job for Arsenal but it’s time for him to bow-out with grace and dignity. Crashing-out of the Champions League last week 10-2 on aggregate against Bayern Munich was a shocker and surely signals the end for the manager.

green by name

In this full-stop post on the whole dirty exercise I just want to say thanks to a man once hailed as our finest retailer. I’ve no doubt he could have held out for longer, perhaps even drawing it out in the courts to an exhaustive no-win stalemate. He’s shown he has deep-pockets where legal fees are concerned and short-arms wrt his ex-employees and pensioners, and I appreciate the grudging acceptance of his moral obligations, Mind, blood from the proverbial stone has been more easily extracted. And certainly more graciously.

venus & mars

In a mo, I’m off to play a squash match. Something I do several times a week. I’ll dig out some old kit, check my racquets & grips, fill my water bottle with a strange home-made concoction of orange, Ribena & salt and hop on my trusty two-wheeled steed. Unfortunately, my well-practiced pre-match preparation won’t leave any time for stretching and the post-match warm-down will involve pride only. London Pride. Tonight’s opponent is Saffer-Kyle and it should be a good match: he’s way younger than me, fitter and, following promotion last month, is playing at his highest-ever level. One of us is on the rise and it isn’t the ginga midget.

bad. not mad

Every so often we should all bow to authority. And to figures of authority. Here, in full and unexpurgated form, is an open letter from Allen Frances, Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry at Duke University School of Medicine, published in The New York Times. This lily needs no gilding.

$30bn gamble

Back in the late 90s I kidded myself I knew what I was doing wrt buying the Nasdaq hot stocks. If I could grasp the product, believed there was a viable market for it, understood how it charged its customers and, ideally, knew of someone in the management team then it was all-systems-go and in I’d pile, relatively speaking. Needless to say it didn’t end well, and following several litigious claims against spuriously represented organisations, I have on my wall a framed $10 cheque for full-and-final settlement from the IPO Securities Litigation Settlement Fund. Never have a fool and his money been so quickly parted.

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