Friday, June 29, 2007

FJL in the dock

It was in the movement of her hands....and the rest of this has had to be deleted for legal reasons!

Sunday, June 24, 2007

He's Back

Great news. British TV is about to see the return of 'The Shield', arguably the best cop series ever made with the possible exception of HBO's 'The Wire.'

Regulars based this side of the great water may well have missed this, since its on Five, which many still don't have, and it's usually on way late. This Friday it's on at 11 which is criminal in itself.

At the centre of this fast paced and shrewdly written series is the brooding Vic Mackey played by the stupendous Michael Chiklis. As The Guardian's Charlie Brooker remarked, Vic looks like an angry testicle, and he is simultaneously the victim and protagonist of the events in the show. Now he has met his nemesis in the form of IAD detective Jon Kavanaugh (Forest Whitaker).

If you haven't seen this, and you like cop shows, beg borrow and steal the DVDs and treat yourself to the some of most riveting drama on the little screen. It makes CSI and its progeny look like glitzy schlock.

Friday, June 22, 2007

After the Sopranos, a Mugging.

The thing about nightshifts is they reduce your willpower to actually go to bed on time. Once again I've becomne transfixed by the Sopranos, and it was after midnight last night, which is late when you're 42, when I heard a banging outside.

It was like someone thumping on something. And I was just cleaning my teeth in a state of horrific undress when there came a ringing on my front door bell.

Now the thing is, late at night, anywhere - never mind in Brixton - what do you do in this situation? I have a feeling that quite alot of my neighbours opted for the 'staying safely snug in bed' option. But I grabbed a towel and peeped through the peephole to see a youngish bloke in blue shirt and charcoal grey trousers.

"I've been mugged" he said "at the end of this road"

I told him to stay where he was and Ms T came down with my robe.

He came in and we made him a cup of tea. The story he told us was all too typical; coming home after a couple of drinks he'd been attacked by three men, who held a knife to his neck, and get this, a gun to his head - they'd extracted his wallet, his keys, his address AND his pin numbers.

"But what would you do?" he asked, and plainly there is no choice if you're in this situation.

The police turned up in about a minute - I really haven't ever seen them respond quite so quickly and the shaken bloke was led away. I asked them if they wanted to call a locksmith but the young policeman (they are all young these days, with hardly any hair) said they'd take care of all that.

Unsuprisingly Ms T and I lay awake for a while after this listening to the police vans moving up and down the street. What do you do and say about bullshit like this? That muggings have been happening since the seventeen hundreds? That there but for the grace of God? That this could have been another Tom Ap Rhys Pryce?

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Finding Excuses

Nightshifts are terrible for motivation, and after just a couple on Radio 5 Live's Up All Night my willpower is shot. So much for going to the gym every day; I'm sat here facebooking and avoiding physical effort of any kind. Bad bad bad.

But tomorrow I will go to the Gym. I will, I will.

And I am not drinking at all, after my French excesses, which will make me boring but hopefully a bit thinner.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Places of Evil

I do a lot of thinking about the last World War for many reasons. Chief among them is my incredulity at the level of sacrifice and the heroism demonstrated countless times by ordinary people in extraordinary situations.

The other reason is that my mind boggles at the level of evil manifested by the Nazis. For sheer ingenuity nothing beats homo sapiens when they're destroying one another, and the Third Reich led the pack for years (although it was, as Nagasaki and Hiroshima remind us, the Allies who held the final horrific trump card).

Miss T frequently indulges me when we're on holiday in Europe and something 1939-45 presents itself, and last week in France we found ourselves at La Coupole, a sinister underground factory developed by the Germans to manufacture V2 rockets.

Forced labour was used to dig out a massive cavern covered by a thick concrete dome under which V2 rockets were to be constructed and fired at London. The invasion halted the work in 1944, but that didn't stop the Nazis loading the Soviet labourers onto a Germany bound train. They were never heard from again.

Dank, cold and haunted, despite the trapping of the modern museum, La Coupole is a reminder of how thin the ice was in those days.

History works in odd ways. La Coupole and other V2 related development forced the US Air Force to develop remotely piloted bombers that would literally dive into the targets. Remote control being in its infancy these flying bombs required some flying by pilots, who would take off but then parachute out when the knackered aircraft was safely on course. This was near suicidal work. Among the volunteer pilots was Joseph Kennedy Junior, JFK's older brother. He was killed when his drone exploded before he could parachute to safety.

In a weird circuit JFK can be seen in a video display in the concrete bunker announcing America's dash for the moon. It would use the very same scientists and basic technology used by the Nazis and which his older brother had given his life attempting to destroy. The irony can't have escaped him, but when it came to the progress of his country JFK wisely put any squeamishness he may have had on the back burner.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

On the benefits of being 'Feral'

So the departing Leader wants to regulate comment and news coverage on the internet. We hacks are a feral bunch who rip reputations limb from limb, and are generally bestial to politicians who just want the best for us after all.

In the 1650's Charles II tried to shut coffee houses on the basis that they were "places where the disaffected met, and spread scandalous reports concerning the conduct of His Majesty and his Ministers".

There's always a problem for the great and good with people getting together and publishing unauthorised things. They used to cut the ears off pamphleteers in the dim and distant. I'd worry if we were popular in authority, since that would be a reverse of the way things have been for centuries. I'm proud to be thought of as 'feral'. The reverse of feral is to be house trained.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Last Chance to See?

With Gordon now apparently dead set on building enormous housing estates across the South it's more important than ever to get out there and savour it before it goes forever. And savour it we did this afternoon, catching a train out there this Sunday morning and walking for hours across beautiful countryside.

At one point, in Shoreham, a Spitfire flew over. It was all deeply deeply British. And in the sunshine, with lovely beer and surrounded by jolly friends, you could see what those desperate brave men fought for sixty years ago.