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Geoffrey Perkins has died

"Comedy Producer dies in accident"


That is absolutely terrible.

Geoff was a really, really lovely person. He was heavily involved with, and produced "Hitchhikers" (ie: the original), which would be legacy enough, but he also really handheld "Father Ted" in to being, and gently supported G&A through the process to making it really brilliant. Plus he was a kind, funny self effacing and quite quiet chap who was very loyal to his friends.

I haven't seen him for a very long time. Last time was probably ten years ago. Ayeesh. Man. That really bloody sucks.

He was head of comedy at the BBC for a while. I remember when he got the job and he couldn't talk about it. He was dying to. He was so nice. I was seeing Gray whilst the first Ted was being recorded, so saw him an awful lot, and hadn't clocked his involvement wih Hitchhikers. When I realised it was him, I was speechless with awe for about 2 minutes, and burbled over with loads of dumb questions. He told me a whole lot of stories, and seemed delighted to talk about it.

What a uselessly bad thing. Damnit.

The Fox and the Child (and the little girl)

Nora went to the cinema for the first time ever yesterday. We went to see the above, charming film in a very nice cinema in Peckham (15 minutes away on the train, so it made it seem even more like an adventure).

Nor cried a bit during a sequence in which a proper and rather beautiful wildcat chased our fox heroine (who of course, escaped unscathed).  But she was very brave, she just hid her head on my shoulder, and didn't leave her seat. we both found it more convenient for her to sit on my lap for the second half, given that she kept asking questions in her VERY LOUD VOICE. She got thruogh the whole of a potentially scary wolf sequence (the little girl manages to get them away from the fox, then isn't so scared she runs away. She runs at them, shouting - good girl!)

What was great about the film was from an adult perspective: loads of beautiful wildlife photography, that complemented the way we try to bring up the kids nicely: lots of just 'watching' moments. It was morally ambiguous in the way that only European films would dare to be. The little girl in the film, after achieving a somewhat unbelievable bond with a mother fox (who in the context of the film, would be guilty of child neglect, frankly) didn't realise that it was she who had been learning about how the fox lived, and not the other way around. When she managed to get the fox in to her house, it freaked out and nearly died of shock and fear related related injuries (it didn't - obviously. A film suitable for over 4's, with the fox dying? They'd have been in pieces). So lots of thoughtful discussions on the way back, and no "It was fantastic" from Nor.

She thought the screen was very big and the music too loud (it was, as always). But I think she liked it a hell of alot more than she realises. Very glad I didn't take her to "Wall-E" first.

Desperately trying to stop her watching Cinderella every week as her 1 allowed weekday film (whilst James is asleep), so thanks to the joys of still owning a VHS player, have got hold of Snow White, at last, and The Lion King for 99p each. I wish she'd watch Toy Story, it gives me pain in my heart I can't share that with her yet!

James, by way of contrast, far too young to go to the flicks or see anything as long as a film, adores any pictures of the Kung Foo Panda. 'National Geographic Kids' magazine had the panda on the front. I found him in his cot doing a high kick over and over, looking at the magazine which was resting on the bookcase next to the cot. I think he will probably like a slightly different sort of film than Noo.

Just as I thought

3 visitors today :)

Meanwhile,I've been prepping for a decent Sunday lunch this evening. Three hours plus standing in the kitchen doesn't half do my back in. Still. Hopefully the food will be alright. I habe a trademark Spanish tortilla / Lebanese feta & egg omellete crossover mashup thing which frankly, is delicious. Ive also done a rather nice, mustardy poptato salad, plus there are two sausages of pecorino infused biscuit dough (Pecorino is a sheep's cheese, see, so james can have it - the actual recipe demanded parmesan, but one has to make compromises for the wee one) rolled in egg then poppy seeds, in the fridge awaiting a (I would have thought) Nora assisted cooking sesssion tomorrow morning, sliced in to thin biscuits.

Frankly: I rock. Plus, just how boring is this post, newcomers? Eh? This is what it's all usually about. A load of old trivial bollocks.

Now take a step to think about how many minutes you've wasted reading this, and resolve never to read this tedious woman's blog ever again!


Nora's 2012 Olympics have already started

And a little thing at the beginning. Woah, something happened in the last couple of days and I've suddenly got loads more visitors.

::Waves to visitors::

They'll have all gone now, obviously, never to return after realising this is a fundamentally rather dull exercise in talking about... well. It's supposed to be a fundamentally dull blog writing about my family, for the most part, to my actual family. Something weird's happened there, hasn't it. I've gone all outward focused.

Turning the lens back in:

Nora *hearts* The Olympics. Quite why is not really a question I have to answer. But I will. Obviously. It comes down to two things. Firstly, my friend Alex, who is lovely and is coordinating all the digital stuff for 2012. He just came back from Beijing where on one of the days there he borrowed a bike (a fairly amazing one, I'd presume) and went off on a cycle ride in to the hills for 120km with some of the British cycling team (including one Silver Medal winner - I'd assume some of the others have probably won some since!). Alex had a health scare a few years ago, and I was watching the wee Flickr video he took up the side of a hill, in the middle of China, with gorgeous mountains all around, the day after he watched Bolt's 100m final from the side of the track... and I thought you lucky ba - no. No, I didn't*. I felt like on those sorts of days, Alex must feel like punching the air through sheer joy of the moment existing. Anyone would, but he might just punch right through to the other side.

So that joy and Olympics sense of fizzing excitement is, it turns out, very easy to pass on. The second reason why Nora is all excited about the Olympics is because THEY'RE HAPPENING IN LONDON IN 4 YEARS.

I feel the need to say something very American sounding, like "Fuck, yeah!". Or something.

Nora's reaction to watching all these extraordinary people doing extraordinary things is to want to join in, and she has been doing. Firstly, she practiced her forward rolls on the sofa and demanded that they be video'd. Then she got one of my old dumbells, and used it to do weightlifting, and demanded that it be video'd. The last one was dressage - I love it. She used the hobby horse and her cycling helmet to  demonstrate her horse-dancing-in-a-bizarrely-controlled-way technique.

I wish I could show you them, but she didn't want them to be public. Being a strong advocate of keeping images / video of your children private because they haven't given you permission to do otherwise, I am very happy to respect her decision.

Meanwhile I am overjoyed at the fact that so much variety in sport will be visible over the next four years (and hopefully later). Crystal Palace is just up the road. I might see if I can get hold of a schedule of events there and maybe go and watch some athletics with her, and I'm really hoping that school will have caught the buzz, so that she can be as involved as possible.

Anyway. Just how much fun has watching this Olympics been so far? And there's still more, including the handover to Boris bloody Johnson. Oh my good god, I hope that bit isn't heavily televised. Just in case it is: He doesn't represent London, you people. That's not what we're like.

I've just realised how perfectly BJ does fit into the sterotype of what English people are like. Posh, bloated, Woosterish and with a scruff of professorish hair. No wonder the TV set loves him. I'm sure he'll get interviewed by TV stations worldwide. AAAARGH.

*Obviously, I did.

This is why

Graham, as ever, seems to come up with the most amazing political and socially aware links. I wish I had the time to dig around as much as he does. He may get sent them, to be fair. I think it's some kind of equalisation therapy. He makes his living writing gags, and also shouts as loudly as possible about things like this:

"In Lashkar Gah, the majority of female prisoners are serving 20-year sentences for being forced to have sex. Terri Judd visited them and heard their extraordinary stories"

Can I actually articulate a response to this unrelenting horror.


Everything. Every single aspect of that story is such an unbearable, sickening disgrace. How dare we live in relaxed comfort in a world where fellow members of the human race are subjected to this.

It makes me feel nauseous with lack of ability to help.

These are real women, just like the people you work with, that are your friends, girlfriends, sisters, your mothers ands your daughters.

Ronnie Drew died

Who the hell is Ronnie Drew, you may well ask.

Well, bollicks to ya. You can read about it if you want. This is more for Tod, Owen, Stephen, and Shelagh.  Gad, will you look at the photo on this news report. Makes you realise what a classically Irish face John had.

ftr: John sang with the Dubliners for a wee while, back when they were all young men.

Rush - could be the weirdest post for a while

I am in the middle of semi-manic type of creative, optimistic, 700 miles an hour RUSH right now so I thought it might be interesting whilst I'm typing at triple speed to try and write down what it's like, why and so forth.

It's very fashionable these days to self-define oneself as "bi-polar" in some way or other, and I wouldn't go as far as that. What I would say though (and any of my regular 12 musketeers will know) is that I've suffered from depression for bloody years. Well, all my life really. The longevity point meaning I have developed some great strategies for overcoming the serious dips. Hey, guess what the best strategy is! Recognising it (that takes a hell of alot of practice) and then announcing it publicly - well, to your mates at the very least, unless you're some kind of nutball idiot who talks about their private life online, that is.


Anyway. So I don't get serious chemical dips, I get those slow burn kind of tidal changes which are very environmentally influenced, as opposed to primarily chemically influenced. Similarly, if I have a "manic" episode, it isn't really manic, it's just kind of - alot more joyous and energetic than usual, but accompanied by distinct physical symptoms. Sadly, because of the nature of the beast, they don't last that long.

What are the physical symptoms. Well, let me give you the environmental structure around today. The cycling's been giving me incredible energy boosts, and is changing my body shape quite rapidly, which of course is making me feel good, so that's a lovely base from which to start. The most important stuff really does focus around self esteem - that physical self esteem button, plus three very, very cool things happening at work that I can't tell you a damn thing about but my involvement is pivotal in them and to an extent, the big fat one relies on my creative visioning (so far anyway). A bunch of meetings in the last week have just been focusing on these things and so I feel very consciously in the centre of a whole bunch of really positive, moving things. Also, importantly, where my visibility is high. That puts me out on a limb, and makes things dangerous, which means my adrenalin is fuelled slightly. This feeds even more in to the slight manic-ness and feels absolutely fucking marvellous, frankly. Plus, the Olympics! I've become gloriously aware of the closeness of 2012, and how that is going to affect not just 2 or 3 weeks in 4 years, but hopefully, inthe run up, it will affect Nora's life at school, and encourage her to be involved in any number of lovely, positive, life affirming projects. Obviously I've put myself down as an Olympic volunteer, and frankly, the whole thing gives me an excitement which is possibly quite out of keeping with what it actually will achieve - but, I feel energised with the belief that it could be something fantastically memorable in the kids' early lives - and in terms of early life events, it's a just brilliant "role model" to be ever present for 4 years of prep, before one amazing, huge explosion of activity *really close* to where Shelagh lives (yay!). Nora's obvious enjoyment at watching all the different sports has been completely lovely. It's a bit daft really, but I wholeheartedly endorse anything that will allow you to access an uncomplicated sense of the joy of being alive. Michael Phelps! I mean if watching that guy doesn't make you tingle with wonder, with your jaw on the floor then what the hell are you on?

I have had more stupid ideas in the last few days as a result of this than I have had for a while. Whilst in this mode, if you put me in a room and fired areas of concern at me, I'd literally be a stupid (ie: slightly oddball usually, but generally speaking, at least 50% of these seem to be pretty good) ideas engine. God I love having ideas. Ideas are like internal validation to me. It's my own brain giving me the biggest self esteem boost I could possibly have. Frankly, you know when people say something stupid like "Oh, that idea is so sexy". That kind of stupid nonsense demeans and reduces the actual explosion of the idea - surrounded by adrenalin, tingling and new. It's fucking glorious when you get a stupid nonsense that pops in to your head and you get to go "Oh my God! What if we do 'this'?". and "this" is like a crazy, ridiculous amalgam of 17 different inputs that nevertheless, if you look at it from a certain angle just makes you want to brain-fuck with joy. So yes, some ideas are actually sexy. Just not usually the ones that get called that by executives in bad marketing agencies.

Ah... hold on, can I just reiterate here - I am in the middle of a bit of a rush here, so I'm trying to put down what it's like, being in one, so that might sound a bit OTT and stupid. I just want to reiterate, it's not really very "normal". It's a bit strange, and you know, slightly weird, frankly, but being in that super adrenalised, idea popping state is just such a fantastic place to be. It can be (it is today) a bit er, well your hearing goes a bit funny and you can hear things more than normal, and my eyesight went all strange earlier on too. I know... I know... you might think Ok, this all sounds a bit too peculiar to me. But if it doesn't actively physically harm you, why not revel in it? The lovely thing is it's not necessarily about you. I mean, it doesn't have to be about your ego, and your ideas. It can come on (and to a degree, has today) as a result of looking at other peoples' wonderful, adorable, glorious, magnificent things and wanting to trumpet them from the rooftops. Feeling reciprocal joy at their endeavors.

Fuck! I wonder if this has been helped by the Wallpaper Project? I wouldn't be surprised, you know. I bloody love that design (see below) that I've got on the desktop just now. I cleared all the crap from the surface this morning so I could look at it with minimal interruption. I was thinking how it would make a great pattern for quilting, actually. How super cool would that be? But it's so inspiring and beautiful, looking at that thing every time I close a bunch of stuff up.

Anyway, so I spent only about 20 minutes this morning rediscovering the joyously perfect Crayon Physics, which sadly is for PC only, and the follow up of which has been delayed for so long, it looks like the impetus that followed this game's creation has been lost somewhat. Anyway, if you haven't experienced the game before do, it allows you to access that part of your brain that just adores creating and problem solving in a beautiful, simple way. It's so good, I sat there after playing it thinking Where could this go? How could we get this to as many people as possible? Surely, something like this is such a pure, happiness inducing experience that it would benefit everyone from Nora to her Grandparents, and from a grumpy kid on the top deck of the bus home to an academic physicist in a lab. At this moment, I'm strongly of the opinion that everyone should play Crayon Physics first thing in the morning to open their minds to possibilities and new creative solutions. Everyone!!!

Anyway, I had what seemed at the time like a raft of other daft ideas this morning, one of which I just love and think might be good. Sadly / gladly (take your pick) nothing to do with work, and also nothing to do with earning a living, which might mean a little bit too much effort and work for it to come off but I've already started digging into it a bit, and if anything comes of it I'll let you know.

Lastly, I don't think I'm alone in this. I hear, read and see echoes of this joy in being alive, in embracing stupid, eregy driven ideas firework moments in many of my friends, regularly. and it's brilliant to see the results of these buzzing lightning flashes.

Right! Normal service will be resumed, but it's nice to write that after writing what is, ultimately a life affirming, if slightly mental post, as opposed to one where I have written about how crap everything currently is.

Seize the fucking day, and all that.

Just a nice little thing I wanted to pass on

Because it's surprising, and delightful and all those lovely words which have been usurped and are used by people like me to (usually) describe something which is never anything like as ace as this.

Bobby Solomon has been doing the Desktop Wallpaper Project for some time now on his blog Kitsune Noir. Each week a new variety-sized wallpaper is produced which he seems to be sourcing through the usual method: Network Of Mates.

I've just started from way back in the beginning and I'm going to force myself to change my wallpaper every week, even though the first one is:

IMAKETHINGS design for The Desktop Wallpaper Project

Einstein's lard principle


My energy is equal to the amount of muscle I have available on my legs to cycle twice a day with.

I came up with what people pretending to be young folk would call "teh awesome" way to describe my not inconsiderable girth. It's my batteries!

So I think this actually is rather clever, and I'm feeling quite smug. Not only, right, ok, was I able to explain the basic principles behind the exchange of energy into mass and back, but I also managed to dissipate a nascent negativity that Nora was building toward my body (and ergo, I imagine, fatness in general - it's never surprising how quickly children can decide that something is by default Bad, and to be taken the piss out of). Well. Parts of my body - specifically, my abdomen.

Surely this deserves some sort of medal!

Anyway, after explaining that I was going to now use up all the energy I had stored on my body, like some kind of superannuated hamster, I discover that after 120 miles of cycling, unsurprisingly, that is actually true. The trousers I bought in a sale that were verging on the too tight a couple of weeks ago (which panicked the fuck out of me, because they were already 1 size above what I thought was my absolute "no fucking way am I going to be above size 18" limit) now fit! You know, like, comfortably, and everyfink!

This is not a miracle of science, but a clear demonstration of Einstein's theory, obviously. I have been using my batteries. Just to note, by the way, I have not varied my already exemplary diet one iota. Well, actually that's cobblers. I've been twiddling with the brand new hoopy doopy SN craze, Gyminee. I don't really have a problem with anyone seeing my diet. I think I wouldn't necessarily have a problem with people seeing my weight, except I don't know what it is since I never weight myself. This is the cut and thrust of what I eat, most regularly. I must warn you. It is very boring.

  • Breakfast: Bran flakes with some oats, linseeds, sunflower seeds and raisins shaken on; semi-skimmed Goat's milk and a dollop of sheep's milk yoghurt.
  • Snack in morning: A couple of apples
  • Lunch: Salad bits, like some cucumber, a few radishes, cherry tomatoes, a small carrot (that sort of thing) plus wholemeal sandwich made with vegetarian pulse based pate and fresh basil leaves, with a scrape of french mustard (sounds great doesn't it? Try having it every single day. Sometimes the lack of decent sandwich fillings makes me want to shoot myself)
  • Afternoon snack: ok, I often screw up here but basically it's usually an apple. Average twice a week it's a muffin.
  • Tea: Pulse based stew or similar

So that's my day. Just how many fucking calories could I shave off that food stack?!? and that's me NOT dieting.  It's insane. Of course it doesn't have "the occasionals" in there: about once a fortnight I stuff a fucking lovely 70%+ bar of dark chocolate in to my gob over the course of a day... er... oh yeah, and I have couple of the biscuits I make for James when I get home. You might well ask why the hell I'm fat. Well. 2 reasons: 1) the metabolic rate of a slug (no exercise and a sedentary job), and 2) a slightly skewed system as a result of Polycystic ovaries.

So what's fairly conclusively missing in that diet? Protein, my friends. for someone who has cycled 120 miles recently, I seriously need to up my protein quotient. That's what Gyminee is doing for me, and it's damned useful. For me, and I would surmise, for most vegetarians, the key metrics are not really the actual tonnage of what you're eating (unless you sit there eating a tub of Haagan Dasz daily) but the ratio of protein to carbs. If you looked at the protein/carbs ratio of a healthy eating meat eater, it's way closer to 1 to 3 or 5. The above, on Gyminee gave me a protein/carbs ratio of something like 1/20. That's fucked up dudes!

So. In the short term before more thought has been placed on the problem, it's (singularly horrible) egg sandwiches for lunch. Front loading the day with the protein also means being less totally knackered by the time I get home on the bike (I'm hoping). Protein sticks around as an energy source way longer than complex carbs, and heh, my "batteries" are all very well, and I am using 'em, but I was a bit fed up with having to go to bed at 9 the other night through sheer exhaustion. If you're muscle building, you need protein. Basically.

Still, screw the exhaustion, I can fit in to my trousers!

Here's to being able to access a hell of alot more of my stored wardrobe by the end of this year.

Anthrax attacks - Questions for ABC News

Meanwhile, Graham has done a good thing, in re-publishing these questions to ABC news as published by the Huffington Post.

I would suggest that this is an important enough issue for these questions to be as widely published as possible, so maybe putting them on your blog too as opposed to simply linking would be a good thing to do.

  1. Sources who are granted confidentiality give up their rights when they lie or mislead the reporter. Were you lied to or misled by your sources when you reported several times in 2001 that anthrax found in domestic attacks came from Iraq or showed signs of Iraqi involvement?
  2. It now appears that the attacks were of domestic origin and the anthrax came from within U.S. government facilities. This leads us to ask you: who were the “four well-placed and separate sources” who falsely told ABC News that tests conducted at Fort Detrick showed bentonite in the anthrax sent to Sen. Tom Daschle, causing ABC News to connect the attacks to Iraq in multiple reports over a five day period in October, 2001?
  3. A substantially false story that helps make the case for war by raising fears about enemies abroad attacking the United States is released into public debate because of faulty reporting by ABC News. How that happened and who was responsible is itself a major story of public interest. What is ABC News doing to re-report these events, to figure out what went wrong and to correct the record for the American people who were misled?”