2015 — 9 August: Sunday

The satirical email from Brack this morning1 is a nice spoof about Facebook, and clearly genuine. Whereas I suspect the uncharacteristically terse one purportedly from my friend Paul(ine)'s iPhone — offering me nothing but a direct link to a web page full of gushing testimonials about making an instant fortune with some spurious story about 'day trading' from home — is (I fear) clear evidence that either or both her iPhone and her Yahoo email and address book has been harvested.

In with the tea. Then perhaps I shall investigate the potential of my new (old) career as a scrivener. I've just spotted an unofficial Beta of Scrivener for Linux.

Amusingly put

I liked the phrase "after a sort of book-slide occurred in my study"...

Clark's diaries had quite a vogue in the UK when they first appeared in the mid-90s... Alan Clark was a right-wing Thatcherite of considerable wit, a blunt prose style, and appalling views on most issues. His diaries do make good reading — simply because any writing which dispenses with the normal human taboos against displaying the malice we all sometimes feel about our neighbours and colleagues, makes for good reading.

Adam Gopnik in BBC

Although I enjoyed his diaries, Clark always struck me as utterly despicable, and of loathsome politics. His younger brother Colin was a better writer, and his father a better art historian. On balance, I enjoyed the three volumes of Chris Mullin's diaries a great deal more...

Life on the lower ranks of the ministerial ladder is a vast cascade of all the things my many superiors do not wish to do. Today an invitation was passed down from Nick Raynsford's office. His Private Secretary's note was still attached. It read:
This is very low priority. I suggest we pass it to Chris Mullin.
I wrote "NO" on it and waited to see what would happen. Sure enough, within the hour, someone was in my office, explaining that it was really of the highest importance...

Date: 23 August 1999

I noted at the time that Antony Jay and Jonathan Lynn finally had a worthy rival.


... has almost turned into brunch — its fruit topping is stewing as I type.

I firmly believe...

... that, if you can only wait long enough, the author of a book you've read will eventually turn up on the BBC. Today's example is Faramerz Dabhoiwala, speaking to Michael Berkeley on "Private Passions". [Pause] Given Prof. Dabhoiwala's field of interest, I was reminded of John Jay Chapman:

Each generation is a secret society, and has incommunicable 
enthusiasms, tastes and interests which are a mystery both 
to its predecessors and to posterity.

Last Thursday's fat volume of fine stuff from "Drawn and Quarterly" shows David Collier illustrating the same principle:

David Collier, 1998

Lunch, which was already running way behind schedule, was further delayed by a 10-minute doorstep chat with Gordon, today's erudite Amazon delivery chap. CBT, NLP, business coach, and driving instructor to mention but a few of his talents. We all have stories, I guess. My sausages ended up pretty dark, but went well with the salad and the Bramley. My current loaf's going mouldy, dagnabbit.

I don't know...

... who lurks behind the 'persona' of Guy Garvey's "Beccapedia" (one of his sisters, perhaps?) but I enjoyed what she had to say this week about Herb Alpert. Dad was a fan, certainly.

I thought some...

... classic period TV drama might make a pleasant change. Quite why some of it has to be imported from Holland puzzles me — I gather "The Cazalets" was somewhat sidelined in 2001 by a series (perhaps the first series, who cares?) of Big Brother. Three of these other titles were adapted by Andrew Davies:

classic period TV drama

I also filled some of the gaps — eight, to be precise — in my Genesis CDs.

Much of this music has been quite recently remastered, and is delightfully cheap. These CDs are replacing the minidiscs that I made in the 1990s (from the cassette tape copies I made in the 1980s [from my original vinyl LPs from 1971 onward]). Amazonian elves have also kindly auto-ripped them all to MP3 for me, so I don't have to break the (ludicrous) law by doing that myself.

I got on a lot better with Episode #1 of "The Cazalets" than I did with the original book. In Andrew Billen's words from his one-page review in New Statesman in July 2001: "This series proves the old rule — more often demonstrated by the reverse of itself — that second-rate books make first-class television." But now it's time for the second part of Faust.



1  What did we do before email? Given that I was using it (only within IBM at the time, of course) over 30 years ago, I barely remember. Written memos? NCR paper? How quaint!