Friday, November 26, 2004

Me vs. Kavanagh

No, not the former pop starlet, but The Sun's Trevor, who predicts that the next election will be held in May, and not February, as my crystal ball has revealed. So who is better connected? To paraphrase Kevin Keegan - I would love it, just love it if it was me. But more than likely I'll be cleaning the egg off my face before too long.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

IACGMOOH-themed pop quiz

Which ex-Southampton footballer applied to appear on 'I'm a celebrity get me out of here', but was turned down because noone knew who he was?

Ukranian elections

Needless to say, my thoughts are with all Ukranians today. But while you hear about the push-and-shove of the political classes today, spare a thought for the shopkeeper who's worried about his property, or the mother who's wondering whether it will be safe to send her kid to school tomorrow.

Democracy's a battle sometimes. I just hope nobody gets hurt.

New blogging

Kevin Sabet, a really nice and really talented guy, who's just started in my department, has set up a blog. Kevin's an interesting guy who recently worked as a speechwriter in the Bush administration (this is where I'd usually insert some kind of glib comment, but Kevin's far too nice...). Read his blog - I'm sure it will be good.

As an aside, he's posted some pictures of him meeting the President. While this is cool in itself, I found it really interesting as in some way it made GWB seem more human to me. Kevin's about my height, so I can kind of picture what it would be like to meet Bush now (though I've no idea what I'd say!). Interesting insight into the weird workings of my mind, huh?

Thanks and thanks again...

I just wanted to say thank you to Coop for guesting here for the last week or so. It has been really fun and I'd urge you all to keep tabs on her blog in the future.

Thank you!

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Au revoir until next time

I'm afraid its time that I get back to Xanga now (come and visit me if you like) - I think I left a light on.
But before I go I would like to thank Rod for having me, and everyone who took the time to reply to me, even if some of you are a little crazy. I would also like to ask Rod one final, important politics question. Is this real?

Poppet over and out

Monday, November 22, 2004

Understanding pooh

I was stood in the Disney shop at the weekend when I had a moment of illumination. As a child I never understood the joke: Pooh lived in a house in the hundred acre wood, under the name Sanders; that is the name Sanders was written on his door and he lived under it.

I finally get it!

Friday, November 19, 2004

Clearly The Woodlanders should be at the top

I have to be careful here not to be accused of being a literary snob:
Its nice to see "top 100 novels of all time" lists that haven't been chosen by the public at large and thus aren't strongly biased towards things like Bridget Jones and Harry Potter. This list from Robert McCrum is a good counterbalance to The Nation's Favourite. Although some of the top ten does seem a little too worthy to be geniune. I refuse to accept that anyone would put Don Quixote at the top of their list. Did anyone ever enjoy really Clarissa? Seriously... Tristram Shandy?? And how is Anna Karenina so low?
Anyway, difference of opinion aside it is nice to see people are rating challenging reading for a change.

I couldn't agree more

It's not often that I find myself lacking sympathy with those protesting against Bush, but this is pretty odious. For an elected official to stamp on an effigy of the President does more than demean eloquent and substantive disagreement. It just looks childish, and it certainly isn't the way to win an argument.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

A closet Francophile speaks!

Patrick Belton has an interesting take on Anglo-French relations. His basic argument is that Chirac is thoroughly disagreeable. He's right - of course - the man's more than a little dodgy. But I do think that the 'violent love' that Chirac talks about between our countries is nothing new. Some of us applauded (some still do) de Gaulle's 'Non'. Reaching deeper into history, think of the reaction in Britain to the French Revolution (we sent troops to France).

There's nothing really new here, and it is difficult to capture exactly how it feels to be a British Francophile. A kind of violent love isn't perfect, but it is the best attempt I've seen.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

A Shakespeare post? It must be Poppet

I have been thinking a lot recently about how I would direct Hamlet if I was ever called upon to stage a production of it (which seems quite unlikely, I know). With this in mind, I particularly like this list of things I would never do when staging a Shakespeare.
Inexplicably, I will never portray Hamlet as having had sex with, or wanting to have sex with his mother is in there, but I will never have Hamlet consider suicide in the to be or not to be speech is not.
I would be tempted to add: 1) I will never have the actor playing King Lear leap to his feet at the end of the play after Lear died (indeed, I might add I will never cut out the eye gouging scenes from said play) and 2) I will never mock the less hirsuite members of the audience for a quick laugh with my oversized Timmy Mallet comb, to compensate for the fact that the play I have chosen to stage is really dull.

Monday, November 15, 2004

Could do better...

Andrew Sullivan has a brilliant blog. You should go and read it - really. He's capable of writing with immense sensitivity. He has a way of opening you up to ideas and opinions that you would never normally share.

But then...he comes out with something like this. On the face of it a reasonable post (its point about the BBC's timeline is particularly good, though I think he's doing Plett a disservice). But comparing the beeb to Stalin undermines him completely. It just makes him sound like a swivel-eyed loony, and he's really so much better than that.

All too predictably...

...and in the interests of objectivity and fairness:

Resignation fever

Colin Powell's out, apparently - with more on the way (Rumsfeld anyone?). And with the rumpus over Boris Johnson rumbling on I'm beginning to wonder whether it's silly season. Below is a list of my favourite resignations. A special mention for any memorable resignation stories readers are willing to share:

1) Geoffrey Howe, 1990
2) Peter Mandelson (both times...and I'm including his 'scary' comeback in Hartlepool)
3) Edwina Currie, 1988
4) Richard Nixon, 1974 (token US effort, not very memorable)
5) Margaret Thatcher, 1990 (Oh, the tears!!!!)

Update: OK, so maybe not Rummy...

Friday, November 12, 2004

It's OK, we forgive you

A big, belated welcome

With typical timing, I'd like to formally welcome Coop to the blog. She'll be writing here for the next week or so along the lines of the posts on her own, fantastic blog. I've asked her to come over because:

a) We don't get to hang out as much as we should,
b) I thought it would be interesting to broaden the content of the blog, and
c) In the hope that she would bring some new (and, so it seems, prurient) visitors

I'll try and sort out the posting problem ASAP so you can tell who is writing.

Nature v Nurture

I have been reading Paradise Lost of late and it offers an interesting angle to the old nurture/nature question.

Eve was disobendient and thus bad: was this because of the nurturing from her family situation? Well, you could wheel out the single parent argument, but I think that God was prolly more than enough mother and father (plus they had the host of angels guarding and looking after them). Adam, of course, could claim that Eve led him astray (boo!)
So then, could it have been, instead, in Eve's nature? But could God have given Eve naughty genes? Unlikely.

What, then, it boils down to is, as always, peer pressure. Satan, disguised as a garden snake actually tells Eve that it will make her smarter and Adam will respect her more. Oh and she'll look really cool.

By the way, don't beleive the computer. This was posted by me. Not Rod.

Thursday, November 11, 2004


Seeing as I am clearly not going to get a drum roll welcome; hello everyone. I am on sabbatical from Xanga for a week, or until Hepcat chucks me off. I know nothing about politics or football (literature being my thang) but I guess he was just after the exposure of all of my loyal readers for a week.

Anyway, so, going with the political theme: over the past few weeks I have been looking at the power roles in Hamlet (suggested by a great BBC production). For example, I have been looking at the illegal transferal of the power of the crown. After his brother's death Claudius got the throne by two dodgy methods. Firstly, the system was crooked. Claudius appointed himself (with the aid of his corrupt council) King before Hamlet even has a chance to contest it. The country loved Hamlet more than Claudius (Cl admits this) and yet they didn't get a chance to have their voices heard (according to most political critics the king should have been elected by the people in this situation).

The second method is that he plays on his kingly abilities - Denmark is being threatened with war by a bloodthirsy adversary, and the people are turning to him to protect them. They are scared and worried that having Hamlet rule the country might be about as much use as letting Gerty run it. But he's still a murdering, lying baddie, isn't he?

Now, as I say, I'm not up on current affairs and politics. But it makes you think, doesn't it?
Thanks for listening,

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Amitai Etzioni

I've just discovered that Amitai Etzioni keeps a blog, and although I haven't had time to read much of it, it looks as though he updates it regularly.

For those of you who don't know, Etzioni is a distinguished academic and extremely influential communitarian thinker. I'm incredibly excited about this and look forward to reading his thoughts online.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

A test of my 'inside knowledge'

OK, I give everyone my full permission to titter if I'm wrong. But let me put it this way. If I was a betting man, I'd believe pretty much everything I heard about the election coming in February.

So what does this mean? Well Feb is a pretty unusual month for elections in the UK. In fact, we haven't had a February election since Wilson's win in 1974. Before that, you have to go back to 1950, and then consecutively in 1910 and 1906.

So why so unusual? Well I'm not sure it can be about the weather, with the assumption being that a low turnout favours the incumbent - 1974 saw the highest turnout in recent history. At a guess, I'd say that it would sweep the slate clean for the domestic agenda, buying the government a lot of time to work on the EU constitution referendum. But hey, looking outside, maybe it is the weather afterall.

Friday, November 05, 2004

High brow election commentary

Why the long face?

Monday, November 01, 2004


Bin Laden eh? What can you say about all this...personally I think it's missing the point a little to talk about the impact on the election. I'll leave that to Wonkette, just because of the Princess Bride reference.


Let's all take a breather from the election to consider Michael Howard's misspent youth.

Aaaah. That's better, isn't it?

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