2016 — 28 July: Thursday

Today's treat will be a lunch out somewhere. Preceded by breakfast and tea with some morning music, and followed by who knows what? Weather's looking good for it, so far, too. Whatever "it" may turn out to be. I tend not to plan that far ahead these days...


... yesterday's minor — very minor — ruminations on the genteel poverty of my retirement it occurred to me that my elegant sufficiency of a State Pension (assuming it does1 indeed kick in!) should deliver a bigger one-off boost than any of my annual rises as a non-Captain of Industry. I find that an oddly comforting thought.

I've read...

... only one or two novels by Joseph Conrad — if "Typhoon" counts as a novel; it's on the short side, though it taught me the word "physiognomy". I was most reluctantly force-fed it at junior school (though unlike most of the class I ended up enjoying it), and "physiognomy" was entirely new to me at the time! The first chapter kicks off with a positively Dickensian opening sentence of doubtless awesome Flesch index value:

Opening of Typhoon

Not entirely appropriate for your average nine-year-old, I suspect. I've only ever had occasion to use the word once in the last decade or so:

I took the precaution of mentioning to my 3rd line that, as I now need the money (!) I'd prefer to remain employed for a while longer if that's OK by him. "No question of that; you're far too useful" quoth he. By contrast, my 1st line, to whom I teasingly related the anecdote, pulled a longish face (a neat trick, given the length of his normal physiognomy — noun learned from page one of Conrad's "Typhoon" many aeons ago) and asserted as how since we won't know for two weeks the state of our departmental budget, unless it comes back flat, all bets are off. He's such a cheerful little beacon of light in the gloom, sometimes, that it's obviously only being so happy that keeps him going.

Date: 3 October 2005 in an email to Carol

I similarly struggled, in the 1970s, through about one-third of "Heart of Darkness", too, before leaving poor Kurtz stranded forever in the Dark Continent and settling instead on the mutant version given in the film "Apocalypse Now". As I pay little or no attention to broadcast TV I hadn't noticed Conrad's "The secret agent" has been turned into a BBC TV serial. I had to quirk my lips at the assertion, in "Spiked", that:

the secret agent himself, Adolf Verloc (whose first 
name the ever-sensitive BBC has changed to Anton)

My temporary change of physiognomy? That was because I read just a couple of days ago that there's a 2016 film variant of "Swallows and Amazons" — a favourite novel of earlier days. Glancing at the cast list, I saw it had similarly changed the name of a character from "Titty" to "Tatty", whereas the 1974 film had been content to go with "Titty". (In 1963, when Susan George took the part in a BBC TV version, it was as "Kitty".) I do wonder about my memory sometimes.

My latest...

... water bill has shot up by nearly £2 per month, in line with recent increased consumption. Am I washing more? No! But the recent batch of building work entailed much use of the garden hose-pipe. My six-month average hit the 119 litres/day figure (though a typical one-chap household is given as 178 litres/day). Last year my average was 96 litres/day.

A post-lunch demo...

... of the operation and merits of an Amazon "Fire" device coupled with one of their "Prime" subscriptions leaves me pondering its potential usefulness here in Technology Towers. The viewing world thunders into streaming with far more eagerness than I can currently muster, but I was impressed by the visual quality.

9 out of 10...

... for irritating persistence. My online bank keeps telling me to open a 'packaged' account and pay them £120/year, to be offset by approx. £76/year (max.) in the interest they would pay me on this account, and thereby gain a series of benefits... not one of which is either suitable or even desirable. Worldwide mobile phone insurance being just one example...

Meanwhile, the very existence of a BBC Android app specifically for iPlayer BBC radio had passed me by. I'd wondered why the only radio channel available on my 'usual' iPlayer app was the obnoxious Radio ONE, but then given it no further thought. I may yet end up replacing the little Chromecast device I'd passed along to Junior. (He wanted both audio and video, whereas I need only audio for this case.)

I clearly left...

... the cosy embrace of the National Union of Students just in time. The chap (Mick Hume) who wrote the "Spiked" piece about Conrad's "Secret Agent" also has a piece in "The Spectator" I fear I've only just got to in (one of) my reading pile(s):

The campus censorship crusade is not craziness so much as a logical extension of the 'no platform' policy so beloved of the left. This dates back to the 'no platform for racists and fascists' policy adopted by the NUS in 1974. Today it seems more like 'no platform for racists, fascists, Islamists, Islamophobes, homophobes, Nietschze, rugger-buggers, pin-ups, rude pop songs, sombreros, sexist comedians, transphobic feminists or anything at all that might make anybody feel uncomfortable'.

Date: 12 March 2016

Note to self

Kodi's "Hide watched" feature applies separately to Movies and to TV Shows. Remember this next time you accidentally click on "Hide watched" and can no longer find that which you have just hidden!



1  My only doubt being caused by the fact that, when I next knocked on the guvmint's electronic "Gateway" to ask for a quote the doorkeeper had clearly forgotten to add me to the list of those permitted to enter. And I've no intention of repeating the registration process. That way lies madness. I shall just wait to see what happens after I reach the magic birthday in October. (Assuming I do.)