Friday, January 21, 2011


I've started driving to work a bit more often since I'm generally starting at 6 in the morning while I'm with BBC News online. London roads are probably as quiet as they ever are at that time, but while no marvel behind the wheel myself I do wonder about some of my fellow drivers.

This morning I saw one with a dog on his lap. At the next lights I saw another reading the paper (it was the Times, since you ask).

And then a white van overtook me doing at least fifty and went through a red light.

Made me think.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


Being terminally disorganised I was cheered to find out from Wirefresh that Microsoft are releasing Onenote, a handy little app for the iphone. It's a list maker on steroids that could mean I never forget to buy my yoghurt again. And it's free (for a limited time). Even better.

Well, I was pleased until I found that the release was restricted to the US only. If you go to the British app store it's never been heard of. Why on earth do companies do this? And why don't they say so upfront rather than wasting everyone's time? The cock-up produced this interchange on the Microsoft blog:

  • Hi, Is this App not available in UK? No results on App Store search :-(

  • @Andy: The product team confirms that this is currently only available in the U.S. App Store on iTunes. I'll try to find out what our international plans are, but right now I don't have any info about that — my apologies. Thank you for visiting our blog.

Good grief.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Peter Yates

The British film director Peter Yates died this week. He directed among many other things Bullitt which contains the classic car chase which all other movie car chases have to be judged by. The whole movie is superb, arguably the Casablanca of thrillers. Steve McQueen, who insisted on doing the driving in the chase sequences, smoulders his way through the film with Jacqueline Bissett as his to die for girlfriend. There's also a saucy jazz based score by Lalo Shifrin but Yates doesnt plaster the film with music and isn't afraid to have moments of silence and pauses, which you don't get in todays frenetic Hollywood offerings. Think I'll pop the DVD on this evening and raise a glass to a class director.

Monday, January 03, 2011

After Nigel

Courtesy The Archers Blog

Almost total silence in the newsroom this evening as we listened to the fallout from Nigel Pargetter's untimely death in The Archers. Death is an odd visitor to Borsetshire because the soap isn't really ratings driven, and so can amble along on a delicious slow burn mode. News is when there's problems with Tom Archer's sausages or Lynda Snell's panto set falls down. People listen in droves but it's usually with a slightly ironic smile. The smile goes when death visits the cast, to be replaced by a worried expression. Hang on, you want to say, this is Ambridge. Other deaths are recalled, like Mark Hebden's car crash and John going under the tractor.

Most of the male characters in the Archers are useless so we'll miss Nigel who for all his daffyness could actually get a thing done once he put his mind to it, like the aerial tree walk. (What exactly IS an aerial tree walk?) Marriage to Lizzie was a hell of a challenge - she can be a bigger cow than most of David's Herefords - but he always seemed up to it. He was first launched on the unsuspecting Archers public in the early 80's, prancing round in a gorilla suit with Tim Beecham . He dated Shula, at one point trying to sneak into her bedroom and getting under the covers with Phil and Jill by mistake. That was the funniest episode in the Archers EVER.

With the departure of Sid Perks, Phil Archer and now Nigel strong older males are now in short supply in Ambridge. There's whingeing Adam, Iain (who's too good for Adam) and Fallon's new boyfriend but I don't think he's a stayer. David will be crippled with guilt for next three decades and I've never been partial to moaning Tony. I'm left pouring a stiff gin and tonic and listening out for Brian. He must now bat into the fading light for us forty-somethings too old to trot down to the clubs in Felpersham with Alice and Chris Horobin.

UPDATE It's Chris and Alice Carter, of course. You don't ever stop being a Horobin though, in reality.