Friday, 24 March 2006

jinnes and heart of glass

John has got his blog off the ground again, and he's noticed something interesting about Heart of Glass,, that part of the percussion makes the same noise at the same speed as his car indicators.

I remember, I think it was in the Dancing in the Streets documentary series about pop music, someone pointing out that Debbie Harry doubletracks underneath her vocal an octave lower in the 'in between' section. I was trying to work out whether to describe that as the verse or the chorus, and realised another interesting thing about Heart of Glass, that neither of the elements of the song is a chorus. Sunday Girl is the same.

There's a quirk in my dodgy portable radio headphones that means sometimes you only hear, not just the left or just the right speaker, but part of the backing track in both ears. I can't understand how that can be.

Tuesday, 21 March 2006

saint pancras parish church

The younger generation and I popped into St Pancras Parish Church this morning. It's best-known for its dumpy caryatids - they were made too big for the space and had to have sections cut out from their waists. The most interesting thing inside was a statue of a Roman figure - soldier or authority figure - with a candle stand in front of it but no explanation there or in the church leaflet. I guess it's probably Pancras himself, who according to the leaflet was brought up in the court of the Emperor and martyred in AD 304. The leaflet also says it was the most expensive church built in London since the rebuilding of St Paul's Cathedral, and quotes someone as saying it's 'the Queen of early nineteenth century churches'.

Sunday, 19 March 2006


I wondered the other day whether on the cover of Help, The Beatles were indeed representing 'Help' in semaphore. Courtesy of the semaphore page on the - strangely enough - Australian National Botanical Gardens website, I discover that they're actually saying 'NUJ (Annul)'.

A Google search on 'semaphore help beatles', such as that which I subsequently made, will take you to several pages which contain rather more discussion of the issue than any reasonable man could want. Fortunately, I'm not a reasonable man.

Saturday, 18 March 2006

tiny diamond

Tight-fisted Welsh playwright and composer Ivor Novello was born David Ivor Davies in the appropriately named house 'Llwyn yr Gos' - the Grove of the Nightingales. Money seems to have dominated his life. His father was a tax inspector, and Ivor was always careful. In his fabulous country house 'Red Roofs' he installed a pay-phone, and wise party guests smuggled in extra bottles of drink, since it never flowed freely. He once staggered actress Lilian Braithwaite with the gift of a diamond brooch. She showed it to Noel Coward, saying, 'Ivor gave me this tiny diamond. Can *you* see it?'
- 15 January, Jeremy Beadle's Today's The Day. Jeremy Beadle's terminally unhip (the book dates from his time on Game For a Laugh), but he knows his trivia and it's well-researched.

history of warfare: more on logistics

[In WWII] So ample, indeed, were American resources that they sufficed not only to supply the US army and navy with all the trucks and fuel they required but to equip the Red Army also with 395,883 trucks and 2,700,000 tons of gasoline, thus providing the means, as the Soviets themselves freely admitted later, by which it advanced from Stalingrad to Berlin.
Rates of consumption increased exponentially. Napoleon's artillery at Waterloo, for example, numbered 246 guns which fired about a hundred rounds each during the battle; in 1870 at Sedan, one of the most noted battles of the nineteenth century, the Prussian army fired 33,134 rounds; in the week before the opening of the battle of the Somme, 1 July 1916, British artillery fired 1,000,000 rounds, a total weight of some 20,000 tons of metal and explosive. ... the French, who had planned before the war for an expenditure of 10,000 75-mm shells per day, pushed production to 200,000 per day in 1915 and in 1917-18 supplied the arriving American expeditionary force with 10,000,000 shells for its French-built artillery, as well as 4,791 of the 6,287 aircraft its air corps flew in combat. Germany, though forced to find an artificial substitute for the nitrates denied it by blockade, increased production of explosive from 1,000 tons a month in 1914 to 6,000 in 1915; even the much despised Russian factory system pushed shell output from 450,000 per month in 1915 to 4,500,000 in 1916, a tenfold increase.
- p308, John Keegan, A History of Warfare.

shouting at the telly

Bob thinks blogs are a high-tech version of shouting at the telly, and he's not far wrong. Hi-tech?

Tuesday, 14 March 2006

cheap eats

Frommers London Day By Day Guide gets an article based on it in today's Evening Standard, according to which, the best place to eat on a budget is the Cafe in the Crypt of St Martin in the Fields, 'where the average cost of dinner is a bargain at just £23 per person'. Sometimes I'm not sure we're all living on the same planet.

Sunday, 12 March 2006

sleep deprivation

The average person slept nine hours in 1910, and by 1998 only seven.
- Guardian, 11 Feb 2006

Wednesday, 8 March 2006

charity credit cards

It seems odd to me that someone can on the one hand be involved in 'drop the debt' type campaigns and on the other hand promote 'charity credit cards', in which you are encouraged to go into debt and feel good about it because of some fractional benefit charities get.

Tuesday, 7 March 2006

sense of smell 2

Conversely, it's no fun to go unchanged for an unnecessary length of time because daddy has a cold and has lost his sense of smell.

Monday, 6 March 2006

wilfred owen and hugh latimer churches

When we go to church with Bethan's parents in Shrewsbury, they meet in St Julian's church; the 1914-18 remembrance plaque in the church includes the name of Wilfred Owen, as St Julian's was his parish church. When we go to All Saints, Thurcaston (and see how many other listed buildings there are in that small village), with Douglas and Eleanor, there's a memorial to Hugh Latimer, who came from Thurcaston - much of the church is old enough that he would have known it. Douglas says there's a date wrong on the memorial.

Thursday, 2 March 2006


I read about Myspace in Word magazine, and now John has a page there. I signed up in a low-visibility way to listen to music there. I heard the whole Arctic Monkeys album there; I was glad to hear it all and find out I hadn't been missing anything in this latest next big thing hype.

Wednesday, 1 March 2006


Probably not an original coinage, but in Jonathan Bernstein’s Aerial View of America in Saturday's Guardian Guide, he used the word sub-lebrities for z-list celebs in reality tv series.

linda smith

Linda Smith died yesterday. One of the quotes of her in today's Evening Standard, speaking of Greater London: 'It's a silly name, isn't it, because London gets lesser the further you go out, not greater.'

I remember her saying, on the News Quiz I expect, in response to a comment about giving Jeffrey Archer the oxygen of publicity: 'The oxygen of publicity? I'm not happy about giving him the oxygen of oxygen.'