Thursday, March 31, 2005

Sound clever in front of your friends

Given the current furore over the use of the word Tory (the Tories don't like it), I thought I'd mention that the word derives from the Gaelic toraidhe, meaning 'outlaw'. Its use in politics predates the Conservative Party (something to do with Royal succession - a prize for anyone who can tell me).

And my campaign was launched last night by David Blunkett (pictures to follow soon).

Sound clever in front of your friends

Given the current furore over the use of the word Tory (the Tories have decided they don't like it), you can impress your friends by telling them that the word is derived from the Gaelic toraidhe, meaning 'outlaw'. Its use in politics predates the Conservative party (something about royal succession - prizes for anyone who can tell me).

And my manifesto was launched last night by David Blunkett. Pictures soon.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

The reason I need to take the Easter break off

I've always taken George W Bush for a Prescott-lite mangler of the English language, but a couple of days ago I glanced at a paper and saw this quote:

And there's no doubt in my mind, not one doubt in my mind, that we will fail.

For one moment, I was struck with the fragile, brutal honesty of his admission. Here was a man, a leader, nobly following a course that he knows plots only certain and terrible defeat.

What is wrong with me? I really, really need a holiday.

Aargh! The agony! Quick - pass me the brandy!

I love this story. These days you just wouldn't have a senior police officer feasting away and knocking back the Guinness in his lunch hour. Not only that, but his reaction to the pain brought on by the poison's effects makes me sort of swell with pride. A few more like Sir William around today and I swear we wouldn't have to blame society's problems on immigrants and travellers - he'd have solved them all in time for port and cigars.

Hmmm, I wonder when the election will be?

John Prescott's a character. Really he is. In yesterday's PMQs (he was standing in for TB), he came out with this:

If people are to judge on 5 May—the election will be on 5 May, will it not?


The right hon. and learned Gentleman seems to have forgotten that it is the county council elections that will be on 5 May

Hillary Armstrong's face was a picture when he came out with that - there was a moment when everyone thought he'd just let slip the date of the general election. Brilliant! In an age where political debate is in danger of growing stale and predictable you can always count on Prescott.

Incidentally, I love it when Hansard records an 'interruption'. It did the same when Fathers for Justice threw paint during PMQs a few months back.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005


I haven't had time to mention, but I had a great evening with Patrick Belton last Thursday, celebrating St Patrick's Day. Although we're both in Oxford, it is the first time we'd met and he fully deserves to be the recipient of the inaugural 'Nicest Man in the Blogosphere' award.

His recipe for Guinness Brownies is a must for those of you with a sweet tooth!


I love this picture. Very 'Return of the Living Dead Part II'.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Cracking the Da Vinci code

There's been a lot in the press recently about the Catholic church's attempts to discredit the Da Vinci Code. I'd like to add my own plea to those considering reading the book. Please don't.

My reasons are wildly different to the Vatican's, however. It's just that the book is rubbish. No, that's not enough. I think that this is easily the worst book I've ever read. To say that it is terribly constructed, full of inconsistencies and the characters are laughable is simply inadequate. It is the literary equivalent of having warm milk poured directly into your brain. For hours after finishing the book I just stared into space, any chance of coherent thought nullified by the onslaught of sixth form plotlines I had just endured.

Take Leigh Teabing, the eccentric English academic. As an Englishman it is hard not to feel a little patronised by his characterisation. Look, he likes to drink tea! Oooo, see how the lower classes cow to his Lordship! I honestly wonder if Dan Brown has ever been to the UK.

Another example is Robert Langdon's flashback to his college lectures. It's hard to describe how unintentionally hilarious these passages are. Suffice to say I actually laughed out loud reading them.

It physically hurts me to think that there are so many great books in the world and that the Da Vinci Code is one of the most popular ever. Do yourselves a favour. Avoid it, or I'll track you down and beat you to into oblivion with a copy of Seize The Day. That's right! It will be a slow and painful death.

Friday, March 04, 2005

And if anyone is interested...

I had a hand in this. Apologies for the pointy-headed blogging. I promise some David Lodge-style conference-blogging next week.

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