Popular is ten, and I’m as excited for each new entry as ever. My commenting tailed off for a while when the UK charts deviated strongly from my own 1993-94 listening, but a string of 1995-96 singles is bringing me back into the fold...

Read More · 30 September 2013 · Music

Compressive Stresses

A year on the Yenisei.

A son’s search for his Amazonian mother.

The town being swallowed by a sinkhole.

Learning how to live... on St Helena.

To be Shakespearean, or not to be.

Prince Rupert’s Drop.

Read More · 30 September 2013 · Weblog

Dancing With Myself

Who needs GTA5 when you’ve got the Vader and Emperor Dance-Off?


A dance to the music of time.

Just when you thought “Willow’s Song” couldn’t get any better. Britt Ekland dance not included.

A fantastic Radio 1 promo filmed by the Beeb at great expense in 2009 and then scrapped so as not to look as if they’d spent all that money. Complete with soundtrack by the bestest rock thing of the ’00s. (Via.)

Hang on, isn’t this how “The Star Spangled Banner” is supposed to go? (I had to sing it at the start of every day for a term when I was twelve, so I get to say that.) (Poor kid.)

23 September 2013 · Weblog


So the Australian Labor Party has managed the most prolonged own-goal in its history, turning a record of presiding over the healthiest Western economy of the past five years into a liability, and handing the keys to the Lodge to someone who regards the UK’s current government as a model of sound policy.

This would be worse if I believed that repealing the carbon tax at this point was any more than rearranging deckchairs on the Titanic, or if Kevin Rudd hadn’t managed to make the ALP’s policy towards refugees equally as appalling as the coalition’s. As it is, Australia is set for another three years of debating climate change (if it gets a look-in at all) as a matter of belief in whether or not it’s happening, while here in the Northern hemisphere we’re about at the stage of William Hill placing odds on when the last bit of summer ice in the Arctic will melt.

What gets me are the short memories of the Australian electorate, but I suppose it’s just the gradual influx of new voters who can’t remember the past performance of these “new” leaders. In 1996 I was old enough to remember Howard’s time as treasurer and his unedifying rivalry with Andrew Peacock in the 1980s, enough to see through all the shiny spin around his 1996 campaign, so his subsequent years as PM held no great surprises. Now I’m old enough to remember the mad monk’s past performance as minister for shafting working-class Australians in the late 1990s, and have a pretty good idea of what’s in store.

But people can change, I suppose. After all, I’ve changed from an open and optimistic twenty-something in the 1990s to a bitter and cynical 45-year-old today.

8 September 2013 · Politics

August 2013