From Salisbury to Syria and back via St Petersburg there’s no denying that Russia has re-entered the world stage with a considerable bang. And embarking on yet another six-year residency, once lowly ex-KGB enforcer, Vladimir Putin is now their longest-serving ruler since the days of Stalin. As befits his shadowy past, President Putin has managed to keep much of his early life, beliefs and personal doctrines largely under wraps, so who is this man, where does he come from and what are his ultimate ambitions?
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Shock. Horror. Adam Gemili fails to make the 100m final. Max Whitlock beaten into second-place on the pommel. Adam Peaty misses out on gold in 50m pool disaster. What is the Commonwealth coming to?
Spotify’s decision today to publically trade its shares on the New York stock market comes at a time when I am also in unaccustomed deep-thought about what to do wrt music streaming. I thought I had already taken the decision a couple of weeks ago when I finally succumbed to the shifting sands of time and committed to an all-singing-all-dancing music streaming player. Sadly, through a series of late-night self-inflicted eBay key-strokes I ended-up with a PURE Evoke H2 as opposed to the anticipated F6.
Spending time in nature, as I’m sure we all know, is good for us, really good for us. We all criticise Tiny Hands Trump for spending too much time on his own golf courses but just imagine for a second the damage he could’ve wreaked on the world where he not being continually calmed and soothed by the beauty of flora and fauna surrounding him.
The phrase ‘you never see a poor bookie’ has stayed with me as long as I care to recall so, apart from a flutter on the Grand National and the occasional euro lottery ticket on big jackpot nights, I’ve never seen the appeal of gambling. Sadly, plenty of others find it difficult to resist and, with the Gambling Commission’s deeply disappointing report caving in to industry pressure, more will be lured in to spin the wheels of the iniquitous fixed-odds betting terminals.
It was very kind of ol’ Postman Vince to remind us exactly how those wanting to return to a blue-passport-white-faced-pink-empired nation have condemned us to the Brexit pickle we find ourselves in. Obviously, there are always exceptions to the rule but broadly speaking, the north voted out, the south voted in, Scotland voted in, England voted out, the old voted out, the young voted in. And we are where we are. We all know this but the real value would be in trying to appreciate exactly why these people, my people, your people, wanted to return us to this nostalgic utopia?
Having spent a lifetime in recruitment (reincarnation intones I must have been one helluva bad boy in a previous life) people often feel free to vent their spleen at me with regards to recruiters not acknowledging their application, never calling them back, providing feedback and/or not doing much of value in the first place. In many instances they’re probably right and the whole industry does seem to lack the most basic regard for courtesy and manners, with the general consensus being recruitment agents occupy a space on the evolutionary scale somewhere between mould and arthropod.
Having been fortunate enough to have undertaken business directly with Steve Jobs back in his NeXT days I was intrigued to see that a job application, submitted by the supreme being, will imminently go up for auction. With an estimated value in the tens of thousands it was reassuring to see his spelling, grammar and punctuation was just as poor as it had been in his hand-written and faxed offer-letters some twenty years later.
It’s up. It’s down. It’s all around. The recent furore over malware hackers hijacking thousands of government websites to mine cryptocurrencies perhaps goes to highlight again that there’s no such thing as bad publicity as, having peaked in December at $19,434, the price of bitcoin seems now to have stabilised at around $10,000. However, during this one-month period of volatility, the fourth in its short lifespan, the cryptocurrency market witnessed some $400bn in ‘virtual wealth’ being swept away.
Even though I desperately want to be European, I am British. However, as the Winter Olympics have clearly demonstrated to me, I have precious little patriotic spirit and even less national pride. The highlight of the last couple of weeks was undoubtedly Elise Christie crashing-out with nothing to show for her lifetime’s ‘sacrifice’ (and immediately committing to do the same for another four years until Beijing 2022, quickly followed by the plucky Japanese curling underdogs who consigned po-faced Eve Muirhead to sport an even longer-face than the one she wore for the eleven day-duration of her tournament.