My Old Man – A personal history of music hall

John Major

John Major

On Monday evening I went to see John Major speak while promoting his new book at Brighton, Hove and Sussex Sixth Form College. Another of the events arranged by City Books of Hove. As I entered the hall was a little more crowded than when Will Self had spoken last Friday but not much. A bloke in a suit stood against the wall gazing around and I guessed that he was some kind of security wallah. I took a seat near the back and waited.

Mr. Major’s book is a entitled “My Old Man – A personal History of Music Hall” and he began by telling us of his grandfather, who had worked in music hall. He went on to describe many of the characters from that era and spoke of their songs, their bawdy lyrics and how some of them dragged themselves up from poverty to become extremely rich and even influential.

Music hall was history  to me when I was young and yet the names of the songs are familiar to me. Any Old Iron, My Old Dutch, Don’t Dilly Dally on the way. In an odd way the book tied in with Mr. Self’s new book Umbrella as they both seemed to have detailed the ephemeral popular culture of a bygone age. It is also interesting that both Mr. Self and Mr. Major began their speeches talking of  how their grandfather’s had been their inspiration.

Later, taking questions, he warmed to his theme and threw in anecdotes and suggestions of lyrical innuendo in songs such as Daddy Wouldn’t Buy Me A Bow Wow. After a question on “Uncle Tom” he revealed that his father had died when in his 70s while Mr. Major was still a child and he and his mother had gone to live with Uncle Tom in Brixton. Uncle Tom turned out to be his much older half brother.

I had previously a generally good impression of Mr. Major. When in power he seemed not to be ideology driven and was more reasonable than many of his peers in the Conservative or Labour parties. The image I have in mind, by implication his public image, is of a kind and reasonable man but, perhaps, with a slightly crumpled suit.

In reality Mr. Major appears a little more Conservative. A hint of the impression one gets from successful businessmen who never appear in public lest they are immaculately dressed, well rested and alert. He seemed more focused and sharper than I had imagined but I guess you don’t get to be Prime Minister by being vague and soft (or so I console myself). I also noted that Mr. Major wore bright blue sox though I cannot say whether this is an age old habit or a reaction against his reputation for being a bit grey.

At these events there is usually a discount and so I decided to buy the book and thought that, while I was there, I’d get it signed and give it to a friend for Christmas. So I  joined the queue. Many years ago I sat in a club named Triad in Bishop’s Stortford while drinking beer and waiting for Motorhead to arrive on stage I leaned over and asked the long haired, leather jacketed bloke opposite me if he had heard of Motorhead. I can’t remember his reply but I now believe this man to have been Lemmy. Apart from this I have never spoken to a famous person.

As I arrived at the front of the queue and took my turn before Mr. Major I experienced a weird feeling. I could not put my finger on it at the time. He asked what he should write and I told him the name of my friend, muttered a thank-you and walked away.

I now realise that I had been surprised that he had not recognised me. I guess this is the weirdness of 21st century celebrity. We can be so familiar with someone that we subconsciously expect them to recognise us but of course they don’t. After some rumination on the subject I realise that what must be weirder still, is when two famous people who have never met then meet for the first time, each expecting the other to recognise them – and they do!

st malo beach

St Malo Beach

What ya gonna do about LIBOR?

ft.com

ft.com

A good front page in the FT today which seems to epitomise the uncertain economic spirit of the age. They ran a series of headlines referring to the London Interbank Lending Rate (LIBOR) which Barclays were found to be fiddling earlier in the year:

  • UK to overhaul benchmark interest rate
  • US regulator calls for faster Libor reform
  • Fast Libor reform ‘risks causing chaos’

Or, in layman’s terms, “Fuck, what shall we do? Don’t worry we’ll do something. For God’s sake get on with it, do it now! Oh Fuck! What are you doing? Don’t do that for Christ sake!

.

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Roses

Roses

Will Self, Cyborg Cockroaches and Democracy

Will Self

Will Self

On Friday night I went to a talk by Will Self at Brighton, Hove and Sussex Sixth Form College arranged by the excellent City Books on Western Road. I had taken the day off work as I had man flu.  I still felt feverish while listening to Mr. Self discuss his new novel Umbrella. He read a passage and it seemed quite a dense stream of consciousness type of work written, as he said, in the continuous present. He talked before and after and took questions. He was good value. Alternately, irreverent, serious and amusing.

My mind has been slightly addled the last few days and I’m not sure where some ideas came from but I think it was he who described technology as a parasite on humanity. This tied in with the ideas of a friend who suggested that we are now so reliant on technology that we are becoming cyborgs without a physical interface.

Today, I read in The Economist that Alper Bozkurt and Tahmid Latif of North Carolina University are experimenting with cyborg parasites which can be used to help in search and rescue operations. A cockroach is fitted out with a little circuit board allowing remote control guidance. The circuit board also carries a microphone and camera.

Obviously this could be very useful in search and rescue…….or spying. I’m sure that police, intelligence services, military and the corporates will all be keeping a keen eye on this type of work. If it turns out to be practical, we will, no doubt, see these things crawling all over the walls of Embassies, foreign military installations and our own homes.

The increasing speed of technological advance is amazing but I sometimes wonder about the consequences. I think it’s generally accepted that Capitalism is better than Socialism at promoting invention and innovation. The key to this is probably the concept of limited liability which has enabled much of the western world’s success.

But the downside of this success has been the growth of massive unaccountable multinational corporations. It’s interesting that Western Multinationals are unaccountable but Chinese corporates are often owned by Sovereign Wealth Funds making them accountable to the Chinese government but I don’t want to get into a discussion on the merits of State Capitalism.

So far, we seem to have decided that the innovation and the standard of living which it has achieved is worth the rise of mega corporations but I wonder if this will always be true. More and more it seems that we get more stuff at the expense of our liberty.

We now have fantastic cars, amazing hand held computers, flat screen TVs and all the other stuff but very little time to enjoy it. I remembering reading a comment somewhere that most basements of middle class Americans have unused aqualungs or sky diving gear and Britain is heading that way.

Sure there are some great technologies on the horizon but are these future wonders worth the loss of control of our governments to corporate lobby groups? Is yet more innovation worth the steady privatisation of commercialisation or public space?

What do we value more: Bigger TV screens, the platooning of our cars, cyborg cockroaches or democracy?

Buy Art Photography by Nigel Chaloner

Buy Art Photography by Nigel Chaloner

Tolerance – You can’t always get what you want

All You Need is Tolerance

All You Need is Tolerance

A friend asked me if I thought there was any difference between tolerance and indifference and theorised that tolerance just meant that you didn’t care. Then I heard someone on the radio criticising British society as tolerating this or that and saying that mere tolerance wasn’t enough. We needed to be more embracing of whatever was on her agenda. Race, religion, sexuality….I can’t remember what.

I believe that tolerance is different from not caring and that tolerance is worthwhile in its own right and even imperative.

Living together as tightly packed as we do, sooner or later we will encounter someone who does something which irritates or offends us. Anyone claiming never to be irritated or offended by anything is lying. May be the music is too loud on the train. Maybe we hate that everyone is so quiet on the train. Maybe someone parks on the grass verge or arranges for No Parking notices on the grass verge.

The modern world is full of irritants and to claim that people should just embrace all this is ridiculous. It is a natural reaction to be irritated and offended so the question is: Should we become angry, should we try to embrace everything or should we be tolerant?

In 1987 an American artist named Andres Serrano created a photograph named Piss Christ. The photo depicted a crucifix submerged in urine. My reaction was that this is more of this “Is it art” bollocks which kicked of with Marcel Duchamp’s work “Fountain”. Perhaps the photograph does have merit and I have missed the point but, to be honest, I can’t be arsed to care. As an atheist I am vaguely irritated by such bollocks as I see it as a crass attempt to insult or arouse indignation amongst Christians. However, I shrug and regard this Serrano bloke as a bit of a twat and leave it at that. It does no harm and if Jesus is the son of God then he doesn’t need me to look out for him. Many Christians of course are extremely insulted by this photo and the artist received hate mail and death threats.

Which brings me to today’s news. Someone has made an amateur video, which is suposedly insulting to Muslims, and put it on Youtube. This in itself is an idiotic assertion as there are thousands of videos on Youtube insulting every religion, race, class and every other category of people we can imagine. As Paul Merton said of Madonna while stifling a yawn: “oh, no, we’re being shocked again”.

One Youtube video named “Innocence of Muslims” has caught the eye of the masses in the middle east and they are busy rioting, murdering and destroying premises. Many are also busy shouting racist and violent vitriol, burning the American flag and attacking people who they believe are a bit like the people they think might be responsible for the video. At least one man has died due to this madness. All in the interests of mutual respect you understand.

It is a cliche that travel and communication make the world smaller. It’s not true. The world is as big as it has ever been but travel and communication mean that ideas travel around the world instantly. Technology has enabled people with rigid, entrenched and/or devout beliefs to view material created by people who live on the other side of the world and neither know nor care about their beliefs. If we are dumb enough then we can spend our whole lives being offended and, judging by the comments on Youtube, many people do exaclty this.

The trouble is that our psychology has not kept pace with  our technology. We view material online which we regard as insulting and we react as if the material is real and present. It is not. It is mere imagery. It is colours on a screen and noise from a speaker. To misquote René Magritte: “This is not an insult”.

In the modern world more than ever before we need Tolerance. We can all be offended every day if we try, but why try? The Innocence of Muslims on Youtube currently has 26,131 dislikes! Why? Why look? Why even click dislike? We are fools to take offense from a video made by a nobody on another continent who does not matter unless we make him matter. Who, in effect, does not exist unless we recognise him.

When I was young I was pretty much part of a sub-culture of punks and hippies. We railed against “the system” and it’s intolerance of the way we dressed or the music we listened too. We should not be judged by the way we dressed, we complained. Pretty soon I realised that most people within this sub-culture were themselves intolerant of the way other’s dressed and the music they listened to. We sneered at disco and, if a man wore a suit then he was part of the system.

Intolerance still exists in British society. Among  right wing bigots of course but, more troublingly, amongst some on the left who promote gay rights and opposition to racism while they yell Fascist at anyone promoting economic austerity or taking pride in Britishness.

The Rolling Stones sang “You can’t always get what you want, but if your try sometimes, you just might find, you get what you need”.

In an overpopulated world where different ethnic and religious groups exist side by side we don’t need to love everyone or to be indifferent. We don’t need to give up our deeply held beliefs. We don’t need to compromise or to respect the ideas of idiots. We don’t need to accept cultural relativism or cultural imperialism.

We may all WANT everyone to hold the same values as us but what we NEED is tolerance.

Overall, I think that the British are pretty good at that.

Vietnamese Girls

Vietnamese Girls

Paralympic Medal table by GDP and Population

The Olympics are over, long live the Olympics! I was interested to see that the medal table for the Paralympics. Ranking by total medals, China was at the top, then Russia then Great Britain and then The United States. Well done all of them. I have to admit that the Paralympics have made me view the “disabled” in a different light. These guys are far more energetic and determined than I will ever be. Indeed, the ubiquitous overexcitement fist waving and overzealous exhalations of victory by the disabled has liberated me to dislike disabled sportsman as much as I dislike any other sports bores.

I have to admit I was surprised to see China at the top as, though I knew they’d made a big effort, I hadn’t realised that they’d made a big Paralympic effort. Russia too. Looking down the medal table got me thinking. Always dangerous……

Plucky little Cuba and New Zealand down there with 17 medals. Good for them. Not as great an achievement as China or Russia but……..hang on…..New Zealand and Cuba have miniscule populations compared with China and their economies are not nearly as great.

Obviously rich countries will do better as they have the lolly to throw at the games. The real test is not how much money you have but what you make of it. I collected some data and created a table which lists countries and their medal totals. I added a column for the country’s Gross Domestic Product which, for those uninterested in economics, is a measure of a country’s wealth. I added another column for a country’s population. I then added extra columns for “ratios” which I calculated by dividing the country’s total medals by it’s GDP or population and then multiplying by a fudge factor to get the numbers into a readable format. (ie. Not so small that they are lots of leading zeros).

More specifically the Population Ratio is the total medals divided by population and multiplied by 10,000,000. The GDP Ratio is the total medals divided by GDP and multiplied by 100,000. I then added extra columns showing ranking by Population Ratio or GDP Ratio.

I should say that I had “issues” obtaining information for all countries. China seems to score Hong King separately, Britain has it’s usual schizophrenia about whether it is The UK or Great Britain and “the former” Yugoslavia seems in a constant state of flux. However, I cobbled the data from Wikipedia together the best I could (well, as quickly as possible) and made a few assumptions.

The results are quite revealing.

Cuba and New Zealand’s efforts are actually more impressive than China, Russia, Britain or the USA. New Zealand ranks 1st by Population Ratio and 11th by GDP ratio. Cuba ranks 5th by GDP Ratio and 13th by Population Ratio. Other notable items are that Fiji is 4th by GDP ratio, Ireland is 3rd by Population Ratio and Iceland 4th by Population Ratio.

And Britain? Well we didn’t do so bad after all. Britain is 1st by GDP ratio and 5th by Population Ratio. On the other hand, India’s performance was dismal. Bottom by total medals, by GDP ratio and by Population Ratio.

Country Rank by Gold Gold Silver Bronze Total Rank by Total Medals Population Population Ratio Rank by Pop Ratio GDP (USD) GDP Ratio Rank by GDP ratio
Britain 3 34 43 43 120 2 45561989 26.34 5 137936 87 1
Ukraine 4 32 24 28 84 6 45561989 18.44 7 137936 60.9 2
Tunisia 14 9 5 5 19 19 10673800 17.8 8 44252 42.94 3
Fiji 52 1 0 0 1 62 876000 11.42 19 3052 32.77 4
Cuba 15 9 5 3 17 21 11247925 15.11 13 64220 26.47 5
Azerbaijan 27 4 5 3 12 30 9235100 12.99 15 51797 23.17 6
Kenya 40 2 2 2 6 41 38610097 1.55 54 32483 18.47 7
Belarus 25 5 2 3 10 35 9457500 10.57 23 54713 18.28 8
Namibia 47 1 1 0 2 54 2104900 9.5 27 11701 17.09 9
Serbia 39 2 3 0 5 45 7120666 7.02 34 37713 13.26 10
New Zealand 21 6 7 4 17 22 4440700 38.28 1 141406 12.02 11
Algeria 26 4 6 9 19 20 37100000 5.12 38 158650 11.98 12
Macedonia 52 1 0 0 1 63 2059794 4.85 40 9138 10.94 13
Hungary 38 2 6 6 14 26 9957731 14.06 14 128629 10.88 14
Iraq 59 0 2 1 3 49 33330000 0.9 62 28141 10.66 15
Latvia 47 1 1 0 2 55 2070371 9.66 26 24014 8.33 16
Croatia 58 0 2 3 5 46 4290612 11.65 18 60852 8.22 17
South Africa 18 8 12 9 29 14 50586757 5.73 37 363704 7.97 18
Iceland 52 1 0 0 1 64 320060 31.24 4 12574 7.95 19
Ireland 19 8 3 5 16 23 4588252 34.87 3 206600 7.74 20
Poland 9 14 13 9 36 12 38538447 9.34 28 469393 7.67 21
Jamaica 52 1 0 0 1 65 2709300 3.69 44 13428 7.45 22
Egypt 28 4 4 7 15 25 82502000 1.82 52 215272 6.97 23
Russia 2 36 38 28 102 3 143142000 7.13 33 1479823 6.89 24
Slovakia 41 2 1 3 6 42 5445324 11.02 22 87263 6.88 25
Australia 5 32 23 30 85 5 22719766 37.41 2 1271945 6.68 26
Nigeria 22 6 5 2 13 27 166629000 0.78 63 196410 6.62 27
Morocco 37 3 0 3 6 43 32660800 1.84 51 91542 6.55 28
Bulgaria 59 0 2 1 3 50 7364570 4.07 42 47702 6.29 29
Iran 11 10 7 7 24 17 1210193422 0.2 72 386670 6.21 30
Bosnia and Herzegovina 52 1 0 0 1 66 3868621 2.58 48 16837 5.94 31
Czech Republic 42 1 6 4 11 34 10507566 10.47 24 197674 5.56 32
Hong Kong 34 3 3 6 12 31 7103700 16.89 9 224459 5.35 33
Netherlands 10 10 10 19 39 11 16740554 23.3 6 779310 5 34
Cyprus 67 0 1 0 1 67 838897 11.92 17 22957 4.36 35
China 1 95 71 65 231 1 1347350000 1.71 53 5739358 4.02 36
Greece 44 1 3 8 12 32 10787690 11.12 20 301065 3.99 37
Ethiopia 67 0 1 0 1 68 84320987 0.12 73 26928 3.71 38
Israel 45 1 2 5 8 37 7900600 10.13 25 217445 3.68 39
Austria 30 4 3 6 13 28 8452835 15.38 12 379047 3.43 40
Spain 17 8 18 16 42 10 46163116 9.1 29 1407322 2.98 41
Republic of Korea 12 9 9 9 27 16 1210193422 0.22 71 1014369 2.66 42
Sweden 29 4 4 4 12 33 9514406 12.61 16 458725 2.62 43
Uzbekistan 67 0 1 0 1 69 29559100 0.34 70 39173 2.55 44
Finland 32 4 1 1 6 44 5418430 11.07 21 238731 2.51 45
Thailand 31 4 2 2 8 38 65479453 1.22 59 318850 2.51 46
Switzerland 33 3 6 4 13 29 7952600 16.35 10 527920 2.46 47
Angola 51 1 0 1 2 56 20609294 0.97 61 82470 2.43 48
Slovenia 67 0 1 0 1 70 2050189 4.88 39 46906 2.13 49
Brazil 7 21 14 8 43 9 193946886 2.22 49 2088966 2.06 50
Mexico 23 6 4 11 21 18 112336538 1.87 50 1032224 2.03 51
Sri Lanka 74 0 0 1 1 71 20277597 0.49 67 49549 2.02 52
Germany 8 18 26 22 66 7 81844000 8.06 32 3280334 2.01 53
Canada 20 7 15 9 31 13 34908900 8.88 31 1577040 1.97 54
Norway 35 3 2 3 8 39 5032600 15.9 11 413056 1.94 55
France 16 8 19 18 45 8 65350000 6.89 35 2559850 1.76 56
Denmark 50 1 0 4 5 47 5584758 8.95 30 309866 1.61 57
Belgium 36 3 1 3 7 40 10839905 6.46 36 469347 1.49 58
Italy 13 9 8 11 28 15 59464644 4.71 41 2051290 1.36 59
Turkey 43 1 5 4 10 36 74724269 1.34 55 734440 1.36 60
Argentina 62 0 1 4 5 48 40117096 1.25 58 370263 1.35 61
Portugal 63 0 1 2 3 51 10561614 2.84 47 228859 1.31 62
Romania 47 1 1 0 2 57 19042936 1.05 60 161629 1.24 63
United Arab Emirates 46 1 1 1 3 52 8264070 3.63 45 297648 1.01 64
Singapore 65 0 1 1 2 58 5183700 3.86 43 222699 0.9 65
Malaysia 65 0 1 1 2 59 29467000 0.68 65 237797 0.84 66
Colombia 61 0 2 0 2 60 46683000 0.43 68 288086 0.69 67
USA 6 31 29 38 98 4 314303000 3.12 46 14447100 0.68 68
Taiwan 63 0 1 2 3 53 22805547 1.32 56 466832 0.64 69
Venezuela 73 0 0 2 2 61 27150095 0.74 64 391307 0.51 70
Chile 52 1 0 0 1 72 17402630 0.57 66 203443 0.49 71
Japan 24 5 5 6 16 24 127570000 1.25 57 5458873 0.29 72
Saudi Arabia 67 0 1 0 1 73 27136977 0.37 69 434666 0.23 73
Indonesia 74 0 0 1 1 74 237424569 0.04 74 707448 0.14 74
India 67 0 1 0 1 75 1210193422 0.01 75 1722328 0.06 75
By beautiful Prints online

By beautiful Prints online

Rathayatra on Hove Lawns

Rathayatra Cart Festival on Hove Prom

Rathayatra Cart Festival on Hove Prom

This afternoon the Krishna Concoiusness people held their festival of Rathayatra for Lord Krishna on Hove Promenade. This consisted of a very large cart holding Krishna, in His most merciful form of Jagannatha, being pulled along the prom by his devotes while others dance “in ecstacy”. Many people are aware of the Krishna followers as some strange cult but Krishna is a Hindu deity and there apeared to be many Hindus there. One man in a wheel-chair carried a fantastic shrine decoracted with flowers on his lap while his friend pushed him along.The people looked gorgeous; the women in colourful saris and the men in white or orange. The atmosphere was jovial and friendly and tourists mingled freely with the dancers. It made me think how different traditonal Englsh festivals are. We people of Anglo-Saxon or celtic descent seem to have either very private homely festivals like Christmas or, when we do go public,  our festivals tend to get fairly sinister like Guy Fawkes Night in Lewis which seems not disimilar to The Whicker Man.

Rathayatra

Rathayatra

Buy Poppies at Fine Art America

Poppies

Anger is an energy – but not good for your career prospects

New Road Markings on Mill Road, Brighton

New Road Markings on Mill Road, Brighton

Drove home today down the A23. Crossed under the M27 and took a right at the mini roundabout into Mill Lane. Under the bridge and put the pedal to the metal intending to swing out into the overtaking lane and hammer up the hill as I often do. A brief thrill before getting home that I’m sure many Brightonians also enjoy. However, it seems the powers that be have deemed this dangerous and have arranged for the middle lane to be painted out with white traffic separation lines. One must now progress in single file – Hey ho. It was nice while it lasted. No doubt this was done for safety reasons and who can argue with that.

ME!

One problem with employing professional road safety staff is that they feel obliged to go around making things safer. No, hear me out. By this I mean that they will arrive at their desks on a Monday morning and wonder what they can improve this week. However, they will not have a clear target of exactly how safe society should be and since there exists no corresponding organisation going around making things more dangerous the net result is a gradual ratcheting up of rules, controls and general restrictions on individual freedom. Health and safety gone mad as it’s known colloquially.

I give the road markings as one example but this affects all areas of our lives. The human race is engaged in a gradual process of domestication. Think about it. Europeans and North Americans can’t even visit India without becoming ill. Like monkeys reared in captivity we cannot now survive in the wild. This is why men crave danger. This is why people go bungee jumping. This is why young men kill themselves performing dangerous stunts.

This domestication especially affects our work lives where large corporations develop codes of conduct and dress codes. How did we reach the stage where our employers can dictate our etiquette and attire? It’s mind boggling.

Yesterday I became a little emotional at work. Not much. Just a bit. I considered that someone had not performed their work properly and this was preventing me performing my work while I was under pressure to meet deadlines. I did not shout, I didn’t insult anyone. Perhaps I swore, I was definitely more forthright than usual. Having reflected a while I now realise that my behaviour may have been considered “unprofessional” by a senior manager present. He noted that there seemed to be emotion around this; the implication being that the issue should have been raised in a calm manner. We should have sat down and discussed it coolly.

Bollocks!

Many years ago I returned from working in Africa and could not figure out what the fuck had happened to the IT industry. Most people seemed unable to understand technology yet they pontificated confidently on the subject and held down highly paid jobs. I now realise I had been absent during the “professionalisation” of the industry.

All industries go through various stages as they mature. First an inventor, then a craftsman, then a professional. The inventor understands his work inside out because he created it. The craftsman understands most of his work because he loves it. The professional understands just enough of his work to make money. I had left England as an IT craftsman and returned to find IT run by professionals. It was the Blair Bullshit era when the government was led by the likes of Mandelson and Campbell and the whole of Britain was Talking Bollocks and raking in the lolly.

Since that time I have learned the stuff that they teach people who do not understand IT in order for them to work in the industry. PRINCE2, ITIL, COBIT. Like the highway code, people may be trained in this stuff so that they can operate the controls without having a clue how things functions or knowing where they should be going.

So now, IT is like every other “profession”. Staffed mainly be people who don’t care about their work. People who take no pride in what they do. People who are capable of ensuring that the right emails are cc’d to their boss while other emails go unanswered. People who assess requests from colleagues according to the benefit to their careers. Think about it: What is more unprofessional, doing a crap job or losing your temper that someone is not doing a good job?

These allegations are not aimed directly at my current colleagues. A foul temper is as bad as incompetence (Jones first law?).  However there does seem to be a general trend in large corporations to suppress emotion. But passion is an emotion and if your work without passion then your results can never be more than mediocre. Corporations strives to suppress our individuality. Their goal is to embed intelligence in the process so that numpties can be employed for peanuts. In the words of John Lyndon: “They made these feelings go away, a model citizen in every way”.

Or perhaps more appropriately: “Anger is an energy”. I could be wrong? I could be right?

Fulking Bonfire

Fulking Bonfire

Dartmouth Week 2012

Mouth of the Dart

Mouth of the Dart

A friend recently pointed out an annoying habit many people have of starting their sentences with the word “So”. He’s right. It’s odd how things like this catch on so quickly and I blame it on The Internet in the same way as my parents blamed everything on all those atom bombs they kept letting off.

So, I did Dartmouth Week regatta last week. Boat towed down on Monday. Cork 1720. Test run Tuesday. Gale and torrential rain on Wednesday so skipped the Brixham passage race. Instead two of us rose early and walked through the rain to the boat getting thoroughly saturated then spent hours with clothes in front of heaters trying to dry out. Ah, Summertime in England.

For lunch, to a pub named The Cherub. Old. Tudor. Flowers. Two pints of “Yotter” and a baked potato with cheese. After; home for a snooze then out again for more beer and dinner before bed. My type of day really.

Lancaster over Dartmouth

Lancaster over Dartmouth

Raced for the rest of the week. First race we led our class for a bit then jinxed it by considering crossing the finish line first before we’d even hit the first mark. This set the trend. Optimistic starts followed by reasonably skilled sailing then awful cockups before becoming resigned to coming in well down but having had a great day and only hit one other boat. Good to hit one boat on the first day, we reasoned, to make sure the rest of them stay clear. Sportsboat class taken by a J70. New J-Boat with a lifting keel. Evenings spent consuming pints of bitter and watching loud air displays. No British celebration complete without a war reference so a Lancaster, a Hurricane and a Spitfire. Then, next day, the Red Arrows. Prefer Dartmouth to Cowes these days as cheaper, fewer tossers and less crowded so possible to get into the pubs and restaurants. Dartmouth is also a great natural harbour. A smallish river but just round the corner and you’re out into open sea. Great castle like structures at the entrance to the river too.

J70

Jenga 8 – (J70)

Fantastic Art Photography

Fantastic Art Photography