You ain’t no good.

Victoria Pendleton fell off her mount again at the weekend, a fact that was not widely reported on the TV news channels.

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The latest tumble came at Kingston Blount Point to Point, making it the second time Ms Pendleton had ” unseated ” in 15 days.

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Fakenham is where she exited via the side door from a horse that is considered in racing circles as an “arm chair ride”. These falls come after another unfortunate incident where she unshipped from her ride a flat race at  Newbury.

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I know that people should be allowed to make money in a free market led society, but ………

Saw a band play at the Aylesbury Civic Centre a fair few years ago. Just starting out then – Jangling guitar riffs, shirts buttoned up to the neck, floppy fringes masking scowls and bum fluff tashes.

The band were hip enough for me to get enough respect after the gig from the bunch of year 10 lads. They were also there to enjoy the show. I bumped into quite them literally as they pushed and slammed around auditorium. I do not know who was more surprised to crash into who.

So the band are still hip now, seven years later, but beards have replaced those wispy moustaches and they get interviewed by the Guardian to publicize their new tour, rather than rely on word of mouth and posters.

Nothing grabbing you so far, well something is bothering me.

The Bristol show of this latest tour is at the Bristol University Student Union. A pretty large venue for Bristol, which has no big events arena, but will do soon. The whole tour went on sale simultaneously and the Bristol tour date, along with the other gigs went on sale today (21/8/15) at 9 am. Can I get on to any of the ticket agencies online at 9 o’clock? Nope. but I do get through to one site that allows me to book 0 tickets at £27.50. It is 9.16 am. Sold out.

Hard luck, I hear you say. Agreed, but when you see the same tickets being offered already at 9.30 am at three or four times their face value on online re-sale sites, it rubs salt in the wounds. It is all wrong.

Kurt Vonnegut – Legend

I read Slaughter House 5 a long time ago when I was working out in Germany. In the days before ipod/phones I used to read on the tram and bus journeys to work. The book is semi-autobiographical and easy to read in terms of style, but harder to inwardly digest. The author, Kurt Vonnegut goes up in my estimation the more I find out about him. I posted a blog entry on him previously after seeing a clip of a lecture he gave on “Story Styles”.

Since then I have discovered and read two letters written at different stages of his life. One letter he typed to his family at the end of WWII and the other was sent to some high school students almost 40 years later in 2006.

Vonnegut enlisted in the US Army in 1943 and by the following year he was fighting in the Ardennes. It was here that he became a POW during the Battle of the Bulge. By 1945 he was in Germany, in Dresden to be precise.

KURT V USARMY

This is the city where his book Slaughter House 5 is set. Dresden. is a place that I have been to; it is a very beautiful city with an Old Town that has half timbered houses. It has some wonderful architecture with palaces, churches and a very famous opera house. Visit Dresden today and you will see very little evidence that it was a scene of mass death and destruction towards the end of the War in Europe.

The city was the target of heavy bombing by the RAF which resulted in a huge firestorm. Vonnegut was there to see the city burn on Valentine’s Day 1945 that many of its victims simply suffocated to death. The reason for this was that the fire was so intense that its flames consumed all the available oxygen in the combustion process.

Nobody knows how many people died but it is estimated to be hundreds of thousands as the city was full of people fleeing the oncoming Red Army. When you hear about the journey that took him to Dresden it is amazing that he even got to see it all take place. Just see what he wrote here:  

The things that he must have experienced, one cannot begin to imagine. It was a shocking and disturbing thing to see first hand but he dealt with it and enjoyed  successful writing career.

Towards the end of his life Vonnegut was invited to come and visit their class by some New York high school students. He politely declined the invitation by sending this letter to the school. It just illustrates what an absolute diamond the man was.

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The video made about this story can be seen by clicking the picture below

Make Your Soul Grow from Bader Rudebeck Films on Vimeo.

Some people just do things right. Kurt Vonnegut is one such man.

Kurt Vonnegut on Telling Stories

 

Different gravy.

When people hanker after the good ol’ days I am with them on this one.

Reasons?

1. The clothes in 1959 were classic. Plaid, Brogues, tie pins, cigarette cases and pork pie hats all things of the past.

2 Black and White – has its merits and Film noir will live longer than 3D movies in the annuals of time.

3. One take live recordings – name any band who would even have the bottle, OR even be proficient enough to do a live broadcast of 9 minutes plus like that?

4. Jazz is and always will be cool and if done well is a different gravy.

I am not suggesting we bring it all back, but some things the World should still mourn are these two Stars of Jazz.

ps. Thanks Colston for reminding me

Funktastic

I have drafted a few posts about Rap artists and have decided to dust them down and get them out there.

Let me get this straight before I start I am a fan of all genres of music and I think that Rap music has its worth. I prescribe to the idea that all true and pure record collections should have no  Beatles albums in them at all and must contain Kind of Blue by Miles Davis. After that there is certainly space for hip-hop and rap music.

The first Rap artist I want to talk about is Snoop Dogg. He gets a bad press at times, which is to be expected when one considers some of the things he has done. He got a bit of a ticking off by Jay-Z this week, probably due to Mr Dogg sending a cake and some strippers to R&B singer Tyrese for his 36th Birthday.

 

The Guardian is a bit more complimentary about him, where they grudgingly admire his resourcefulness in making tv adverts for car insurance.

Rolling Stone described Snoop Dogg as “everyone’s favorite pimp”. I would not go that far, but he is a likeable rogue who is able to laugh at himself as well as those he is taking money from.

Loving his work with my other favourite joker Bootsy Collins.

 

The World needs people like Snoop Dogg and for that reason I salute him.

Christmas Recipes!

It is that time again! Check out these recipes!

Next goal wins laaaaaaads!

Christmas dinner to me spells the appearance of two vegetables that I associate with the festive season, but they then tend to disappear again by the time New Year approaches. I was not keen on Brussel sprouts nor parsnips as a kid, but have grown to like them a bit more over time. However neither a well boiled Brussel, nor a parsnip burnt to a crisp are top of my list things I would reach for when looking for a vegetable to go on my dinner plate.

Year: 2009 Month: 12 Page: 183

Recipe No.1 – Parsnip mash

If you are like me and are not mad keen on parsnips try boiling them and mashing them like a spud and add some whole grain mustard. Just try it! It is a revelation.

Now the Brussel sprout recipe is a bit posh, but really better than soggy boiled sprouts.

Recipe No.2 – Brussels sprout, leek & pine…

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Christmas recipe No.3 – Daim bar vodka

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The hardcore alternative to Baileys. Daim bar vodka!

1. Smash a few Daim bars up into small pieces.

2. Have a Bloody Mary whilst doing so. Using some vodka makes space for the good stuff.

3. Chuck the bashed up bits of Daim into the vodka.

4. Shake it up now and again but leave the bottle in the freezer.

5. It is ready in about 48 hours and improves with age.

Any sludge left at the end of the bottle makes an excellent ice cream topping.

The amount of Daim bars to use is about 4 per 750ml of vodka

Try and use a premium vodka that is at least 40% abv.

Enjoy!

The Company I Keep

An impressive selection drawn up here. Not sure if Adolf Hitler is on the guest list though.

It is nice to see such a distinguished list of People with Parkinson’s but it is too big a group for one thing. I know that I gained life membership of this club on my diagnosis, but am not bitter, nor angry about being a PWP.

I would much rather keep the company of those who have different badges of honour to wear.

Better still I like to associate with people who are special, unique, talented or courageous without even realising it.

Sitting comfortably?

Muhammad Ali, Billy Connoly, Robin Williams, Bob Hoskins, Linda Ronstadt, Maurice White,

Y' nooo Big Yin. Shaken not stired Y’ nooo Big Yin. Shaken not stired

Michael J Fox, Johnny Cash, Roger Bannister, Martha Johnson, Ray Kennedy, Margaret Bourke-White, Alec Issigonis,  Mervyn Peake, A. J. P. Taylor , Terry-Thomas, John Betjeman, Charles Schulz.

It would be quite some party.

© Andy Daly 2014

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Those were the days Part 30

The Hod carrier in flip-flops

After completing my teacher training I got a placed in the pool of recruits in the London Borough of Hillingdon. When I pitched up in July 1991 on my first day as a “probationary” teacher I in my newly assigned school was joined by a 35 year old ex- hod carrier, who had also just retrained and joined the profession.

William Davids was a huge bloke who had switched codes from a blue collar trade to a white collar profession so to speak. He had done a few things since studying Maths at Bristol University and the last job he had was in the building trade. We both had the Bristol connection – he knew about Natch cider and Clarks pies, so we hit it off immediately.

As an individual he was very strong willed with an inherent sense of right and wrong.  If a system was flawed or unfair in his eyes he would always question and rebel against it. He kicked against the system. Management did not like him much because of this.

He was a generous man with his time and energy. He loved working with students who were willing to learn, but could not stand the odd one who would not bother at all. Kids loved him. One year he did a great version of Right Said Fred’s “Deeply Dippy” that brought the house down at the Staff Talent Show in Charities Week.

Despite being teachers in different faculties our paths crossed a lot during the working day.  We both started as Year 7 form tutors and followed our pastoral groups right the way up to the 6th form. We both had long commutes to work and so got in early. We always met at the local greasy spoon before school on Fridays for a fry up before the weekly staff briefing. I remember that we also used to jump in the car and buzz down to Southall for a curry before a parents evening as there was little time to get home and back in the interval between the end of school and the start of proceedings.

We even did break duties together on the playground.  Which had its ups and downs. At least we saw the kaleidoscope of outdoor conditions that  the British weather can bring.

Not one to turn down a challenge. He would be up for anything slightly rebellious.

William and I used to sit together at the back of the Friday morning briefing – it is strange how schools survived on calling together staff once a week to discuss and inform the staff of major issues within the school.

Now briefings are called daily in most schools. It means that this meeting is no longer a milestone event that it once was.

After one meeting William and I got talking about dress down days that were a regular Friday occurrence in the private sector. We could not agree on what a dress down day meant in our workplace in terms of what would be acceptable attire. There was an unwritten rule that you could wear pretty much what you liked on a normal day, so if we dressed down, how far should we go?

Through further discussions William and I decided to push the dress code boundaries each Friday and see what reaction we got. It was a good day to try it as we would be seen by all staff and may cause the desired reaction.

We did our experiment in stages we started by not wearing a tie on the Friday of week 1. Then it went to no tie and no morning shave in week 2. A polo shirt replaced the more formal shirt the following week and still nobody batted an eyelid, so we pressed on with our quest. It continued for weeks and we had progressed to a t shirt, shorts and trainers accompanied by an unshaven face, but I called a halt when William suggested ditching the trainers for flip flops for the following week. Teaching whilst looking like a beach bum was fine with me but it was not a sensible thing to be doing science practicals “open –toed.”

William carried on the baton for one more week, and I think we took a photo of him sat in briefing in his beach ware as well as his flip flops! He always pushed the boundaries.

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