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Friday, January 20, 2006

Ofcomwatch and Oxford Media Convention

In Oxford yesterday - for the Media Convention, to say hi to Louise and Damian and the PCMLPers, see new people at the 21st Century Institute at Said - hopefully to do some joint events with them - and to network with OfCom, DCMS and stakeholders. All went well, though we desperately need to release our EC work. Anyway it reminded me of a week last Thursday's star photo...

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Real weather - Outer Hebrides!

Ardnamurchan Point to Cape Wrath including Outer Hebrides
Issued by the Met Office at 1700 UTC on Tuesday 10 January 2006.24 hour forecast:
Wind: southwest severe gale 9 to violent storm 11 veering west 6 to gale 8, backing southwest 5 to 7 later.
Weather: squally showers.
Visibility: moderate or good.
Sea State: very rough or high, building very high for a time.
Issued by the Met Office at 1700 UTC on Tuesday 10 January 2006.
Outlook for the following 24 hours:
Wind: southwest 5 to 7 backing south 7 to severe gale 9, occasionally storm 10 later.
Weather: squally showers then rain.
Visibility: moderate or good.
Sea State: very rough or high.

High is bigger than very rough? And very high?

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Charlie did tell the truth - bloody British hypocrits

I used to be a keen Liberal Democrat - vice-chair of the LSE party 1993-5, and my one moment of political fame - 20 years ago, I was elected without opposition in a bye-election to the LSE Student Union Executive (and promptly abolished my post and refused to stand again).
I did campaign in a few elections, including the great Greemwich bye-election of 1986 that Rosie Barnes won, was on telly in a youff chatshow, and was at the launch of the 1987 'The Time Has Come' (ha!) manifesto for the 1987 General Election - I think their highest vote.
In 1995, I hosted Charlie Kennedy in his 'chatshow Charlie' days - in a LibDem meeting. And I got an honest question answered honestly.
Essentially I said, look everyone has inhaled at university in their time, why not just be honest about it and declassify cannabis? It would make politicians look human and honest - witness Bill Clinton was between 'I didn't inhale' (an Oxford don told me he was present when Bill did inhale!) and Monica Lewinsky.
And would you believe, to his eternal credit, Charlie said that almost every politician of his generation, including by implication Bliar (and Brown for that matter, well his eyes narrow to slits when he smiles so maybe that's where he got his stoned smile from) and himself, would be lying if they claimed to be eternally blameless. That said, if anyone admitted it, they would be crucified by the Press - stoned and pissed Press that is...
Fast forward 10 years or more, and Charlie comes clean and is ruined, while David Cameron refuses to answer and is elected.
British - bloody hypocrits!

Matchpoint - execrable dialogue

Saw the latest Wody Allen and the latest Scarlett Johanssen - and in the same film (incidentally the Anna Pornikova poster shot dress doesn't reappear in the film).
BUT Woody does English upper class dialogue like an unwitty Noel Coward play - horribly wordy and horribly dated.
Apart from that, strong cast and very good plot - and they uncovered an English Joaquin Phoenix from somewhere - madness in the eyes and cheekbones everywhere - expected him to scream 'Am I not merciful?' at the end!!!
One wierd point - with his beestung lips and Scarlett's, they actually look deformed together, as if they'd been given a fat lip in a fight or the collagen went wrong (Lesley Ash style).
Maybe I'm just jealous!

Charlie Kennedy's month ran out

But is Sir Ming too old to challenge Brown and Cameron? He seemed a shoe-in.
I wonder about Nick Clegg? Vince Cable is too old, and perhaps too intellectual - but all this could change if Brown succeeds Blair soon.
I see the appeal of the young challenger, like Tory Cameron and Tory Blair when he first got elected. In which case, why not the frankly boring and ugly Mark Oaten?
BUT if Brown succeeds Blair soon, he could have Cameron for breakfast, and another callow young man might look too similar. In which case, Campbell or Cable might look much more balanced than Brown and able than Cameron.
I have to admit that - hugely competent though Campbell and Cable are - they're too old, respectively 68 and 66 at the next Election. Plus Campbell is another Scot!
So Clegg for me - even if I don't know that much about him. He's bright, he's economically liberal, he's not a total Europhile (ex-Cabinet of Leon Brittan). He's also 38 - old man compared to me of course...

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Why there are no links

Because whenever I try to put them into this pretty template it ignores them, and when I change templates to something uglier then change back - yes, you guessed, it ignores them all over again. If I could, I'd link in particular to James' Eurotelcoblog - excellent source for telecoms. There's a few others that will remain nameless to protect the guilty...

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Frequent Flyers

Just had a great panner-sag (cheese-spinach) dosa with Ian and he prompted me to work out how rubbish I am at frequent flyer miles.
I have SIX memberships:
Delta - for my trip to USC end-2003 and to Bruce's place;
Air France - who lost my bags and FF miles last year when I went to DC via CDG;
Swiss International/Lufthansa - after my Swiss biz class flights last month;
BMI/Star Alliance - long term but I should manage them properly;
Eurostar - apparently...;
BA - least generous but I do use them a lot and they did find my Tokyo miles last year, and I get miles with Avis when I start hiring for Essex teaching (24th January countdown).
Maybe I should focus in a bit and actually use them - I have ONE flight with BA.

Travels in 2006

Well, this writing break has turned into a getting the Japanese proposal done break - not! So I'll need a long weekend later in the month - 22nd probably.
After the failed November week off and now this, I think I need to take a radio-silence hot sunny break somewhere - not sure that a long weekend in Barcelona really counts...
Alex in town 12-14th Jan
Russian New Year 13th Jan - Liz in town?
Oxford Media Convention 19th Jan.
Roma 28-31st Jan - the Eternal City, first time!!!
Barcelona weekend - mid-February - check the weather
Irealnd - Easter
Greece, Tom's wedding - late May
June - Ruschlikon and Finland for TADOBATIS
July - Frankfurt for World Cup?
December - Oz for Ashes!!!

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

'Man for All Seasons' - Theatre Royal Haymarket

Martin Shaw as Thomas More doesn't quite work, as much as I wanted it too and as strong as the supporting cast is. I just didn't think he had enough 'bottom', gravitas - a failing I recognise.
I was preoccupied with L's hamfisted indirect attempts to 'manage' me - dear god, save him from such a desperate cause! I would have thought no-one would be unwise enough to try that - certainly not the Martins so why he??!!

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Summer Bank Holiday photos from Alex

Churchill, Gandhi, de Gaulle and Hitler: tough war liberalism

WINSTON Churchill was in favour of letting Mahatma Gandhi die if he went on hunger strike while interned during World War II, say documents published yesterday.The prime minister believed the Indian spiritual leader should be treated like any other prisoner if he stopped eating.
Churchill's combative views were reported in declassified records from meetings of the War Cabinet, which also showed he was prepared to have French resistance leader General Charles de Gaulle arrested if he tried to leave Britain.
The hero of Britain in her "darkest hours" was also determined to have German leader Adolf Hitler executed if he were captured.
Eventually, in regard to Gandhi, ministers decided in January 1943 that, although they could not publicly give in to a hunger strike, they would be willing to release him on compassionate grounds if he was likely to die, say notes, taken by deputy cabinet secretary Sir Norman Brook.
However, the animosity between the Churchill and de Gaulle, both revered in their homelands as heroes of the war, was evident when he describes the French resistance leader as having "insensate ambition". De Gaulle was also a barrier to "trustworthy" relations between the countries.
When de Gaulle complained that he was being treated as a prisoner of war, Churchill's response was that the Frenchman must be told "bluntly" to do as he was told and should be arrested if necessary.
At a December 1942 Cabinet meeting Churchill noted: "Contemplate that if Hitler falls into our hands we shall certainly put him to death," read Sir Norman's notes. "This man is the mainspring of evil."