2013 — 20 April: Saturday

Clear sky, sunny, and cool this morning.1 Do I dare to eat a peach? Haven't got one. How about that mango? Is it ripe yet? We shall see.

It's interesting...

... to see what's been regarded as "events of historical significance". Poor Mrs T hasn't made the cut.

It's also interesting...

... to see how albums can be made ("assembled", perhaps?) these days. Case in point: I was browsing the lpcdreissues site. I found Judy Dyble's "Talking with Strangers". It looked interesting.

The album was recorded remotely, with contributions from the USA by
King Crimson/Foreigner's Ian MacDonald, Crimson's Pat Mastelotto,
stunning vocals added in London by All About Eve's Julianne Regan,
and from France by acid folk legend, Tree's Celia Humprhis, on location
in Oxfordshire by Fairport's Simon Nicol, and Pentangle's Jacquie McShee.
Robert Fripp added lush guitar soundscapes from Spain and the UK. Major
contributions in Norfolk came from Tim Bowness, and Alistair Murphy,
and via various machines in studios and garden sheds in the East of
England, and mastering in Nashville USA...

So I've just snaffled it as an MP3 download. [Pause] Time for breakfast. And Brian Matthew.

Time to chuck out...

... the insane number of plastic bags that have been accumulating for the last five years or so in that cluttered dining room I mentioned yesterday. (I hesitate to say "collecting" as, after all, it's not as if I've alphabetised the damn' things — I've merely proved they don't bio-degrade in the house.) It's surprising how many of them can be squished into one, too. A bag, that is; not my house. A bit like Russell's Set of All Sets. But my black wheelie bin is now full.

Next task: give the carpet (that I can now clearly see) a good Dysoning. And that will be quite enough Spring cleaning for one day, thanks v much. [Pause] And who would have guessed that Petula Clark was such a huge fan of the "Hotel California" track by the Eagles? 1976... good grief!

Lunch being over...

... I can now report that the Judy Dyble album is delightful. As is the weather. It's a balmy 22.2C in here even with windows open. Mr Postie delivered news of dear Mama's next little dollop from good ol' Uncle ERNIE... but nothing today from him for me, alas. Time (14:27) for some coffee, methinks.

Having been...

... rather taken with the film "Margin Call" the other day2 I downloaded a couple of BBC radio programmes. One was an eye-watering account from 25 March this year called Inside the Bonus Culture. It would be fair to say the 'bonus' here is not used with its original Latin meaning of 'good'. The second programme was a bit more venerable, dating back to 17 February 2011. It was called Scientists of the Subprime. When I fired up my trusty Boom! mp3 player I promptly found myself listening to the author of one of these two books though, to my surprise, not at any point to the author of the other:


Professor Taleb is probably too expensive for the BBC these days with his $4,000,000 advance from Penguin for his new book. And is apparently quite a prickly interviewee, too. His earlier book ("Black Swan"), which fascinatingly examines the impact of highly improbable events, had helped distract me during Christa's final illness in 2007. Here's what he said a couple of years ago in an "Edge" essay:

The banking system, betting against Black Swans, has lost over 1 Trillion dollars (so far), more than was ever made in the history of banking... the turkey economics department will always manage to state, before thanksgivings, that "we are in a new era of safety", and back-it up with thorough and "rigorous" analysis.

Nassim Taleb in The Edge

I have no idea if love of money is the root of all evil, but perversely-designed incentive systems often seem to lead to behaviour that has unintended consequences.



1  At least, it was at 06:53, when the cuppa was hot and fresh.
2  It re-sparked what is, generally, a luke-warm interest I have these days in the doings (and the workings) of the spivs and barrow-boys who ply their peculiarly ruthless trade in what used (before Thatcher and Reagan worked their equally peculiar brand of voodoo magic) to be called the 'City' of London.