Friday, 20 August 2010

Random Friday

Posted by Tania Kindersley.

Brain a little flaky today, so instead of the long exposition of first principles that I was going to give you, I shall let the scattergun scatter.

Moment of the week:

Wednesday lunchtime, when Shaun Ley completely lost control of three lords of the realm. He had Michael Heseltine, David Steele and John Prescott on The World at One, and he did not stand a chance. Since Lord Prescott has taken the ermine, his vocal stylings have gone into the realms of  performance art. He actually said 'farty' on the BBC. (He meant 'party'.) With David Steele, however much lordship he puts on, you just know that he cannot get over the fact that the loping, leonine David Owen stole his thunder, and he's never going to get it back. Heseltine does elder statesman better than anyone else, I suspect because he does not give a damn any more. He was very naughty at the end, when he concluded that all Lord Prescott does is 'bang on'. If you want fifteen minutes of pure pleasure, you can find it on the iPlayer.

The song that is currently living in my head:

The way you wear your hat, the way you sip your tea, the memory of all that, no no they can't take that away from me.

Guilty pleasure of the week:

Vexed, a new series starring Toby Stephens. It is absolutely dreadful: derivative, borderline sexist, filled to the brim with stereotype, and in questionable taste. I adored it. (I also love that Stephens is looking more and more like his mother, the magnificent Maggie Smith.)

This week I am learning about:

The Normans. I did my Anglo-Saxon and Norman history with a very, very old tutor who mostly liked playing Mahler on an ancient gramophone player. I never loved that period. I really only got properly excited once I reached the later Henrys. (I had an odd fascination for Henry VII.) But there is a charming prof currently on the BBC doing a storming series about those old Normans, and it turns out they were much more interesting than I ever expected. For those of you who have access, it is also on the iPlayer.

Collective noun of the week:

A knot of toads. Closely followed by: a hover of trout. And a flange of baboons is not half bad.

This week I am eating:

Chilled avocado soup. I heard someone on the wireless this week say 'cold soup might be a problem'. I cannot understand why. The cold soups are some of the greatest: cucumber, gazpacho, vichyssoise.

Mind-bending fact of the week:

Scientists have discovered that the universe will go on expanding forever. Sometimes I can't help the suspicion that the universe is just one big show-off.

Slightly pointless thing I have been doing this week:

Attempting to organise the seven thousand photographs on my computer. I actually think that number is a lie, but there it is. I am still baffled by my inability to use the delete button, but I suppose we all have our flaws. I've been trying to collect the ones I really like into one file. Here are some of my current favourites from the last year:

Used 26th July-2

12th September walk 039

London 053








Looking at these now, I realise that most of them are not technically awfully good. The focus is not quite right and some of them are not framed artfully and a professional photographer would probably be horrified. I like them because of the colours, or because they remind me of something or are in other ways evocative. I am, like Lord Prescott, always banging on, and one of the things I bang on about is the great human achievement of allowing oneself not to be perfect. So I think I rather like that these are flawed. I'll take my blurry green trees any day over diamond-hard perfection.

Have a lovely Friday.



To the lordships on The World at One here:

Scroll down and click on Wednesday's programme.

To the Normans here:

For more on the expanding universe click here:


  1. Great Friday blog, just what I needed

    Thank you!

  2. I have also held the suspicion that the universe is a show off, and just keeps making planets out of sheer boredom.

  3. GoldenGirl - Thank YOU. It always makes me especially happy to know that any post has cheered someone up.

    Goonerjamie - always lovely to hear from you; love the planet/boredom theory. Don't even get me started on dark matter.


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