Is diversity a priority?

Oxbridge (wherever that may be) is accused of many sins: elitism, positive discrimination and prejudice of every shade to name but a few. And now a distinguished alumnus has voiced his view that Oxford is still getting it all wrong, admissionswise, ‘staggeringly’.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2018/06/05/oxbridges-lack-black-students-staggering-failure-says-universities/ Continue reading “Is diversity a priority?”

Effortless surrender

Your mates, the House of Windsor, have shown the world that the game is up. The centuries of polite condescension practised at arm’s length from popular culture came to an abrupt end amid uncomfortable glances and nervous grimaces. The gates were flung wide. No Trojan horse was required. Come on in, no contest. Canterbury had no reply to Chicago. Gospel trumped the choir boys. Oscars outnumbered Garters. Not an MP or General or billionaire in sight. Just our daily tweeters: George, Idris, David and Victoria. If Diana was the people’s princess, Harry is the champion of the chavs. Bring on the clowns? They are already here.

Rip it up and start again

A blank page. White. Snow? Snow in May? Hay, hay, hay..

I trudge through the emptiness, the whiteness, the ice. Ice! Ha ha!  The only water or concentrated fruit juice is in the title.

Trudge. Snow. Ice. Not a Frost-Giant’s daughter in sight. Just my luck. Or is it? I’m not a Cimmerian. Good chance I’d be Frost-Giant steak.

Then I see it. A block. Not a writer’s block or a mitre block, just a block. Like me..

In this Godforsaken world, there’s just the two of us.

 

Proving who you are

Getting organised back here in Blighty has been hampered by the wholly admirable tendency of authorities to doubt my claims to be me. They have had plenty of practice dealing with incomers of all shades and I applaud their even-handedness. Of course it would have been easier if I had kept a record of all my British identifiers – like my NHS number and the first name of my doctor almost 20 years ago – but I didn’t.

Back in the land of the Vikings, the bureaucratic logic is easier to follow. Every resident is given a ‘health card’ displaying a number. (No difference there then, unless the GB resident doesn’t register with a doctor.) This number is then used for all official registrations and services: tax, utilities, banks, insurance, local gubmint. There are supporting security systems too to avoid identity theft.

I never felt my official ID threatened my independence or limited my freedom as a citizen but it avoided the circuitous routes one has to follow here to be recognised. Generally speaking it’s in my own interest to sign up for things without complications.

But the two societies are different! Over there it is uncommon to see a post box without the occupant’s name. How very un-British that is!

The hygge season is starting again

One of the things that will remain with me when I leave Vikingland for pastures old and loved is the memory of compulsory outdoor lunches and preprandial drinks sessions dictated by the first marginally optimistic weather forecasts of Spring. ”16 grad. Dejligt. Det er hyggeligt!”’ They’ll happen throughout the country next week – after I leave. Perhaps, in some cases, because I have left! The participants will be pale, cold and prevented by tradition from escaping inside to a warm fire.

Ever since the world’s media started to report hygge a few years ago, the natives here have allowed their inbred hygge to acquire disproportionate importance in their lives. And now they want UNESCO to recognise it as an ‘intangible’ treasure alongside the Mediterranean Diet and Turkish Coffee.

Back home I shall  retaliate post haste with Afternoon Tea and the Village Cricket Match experience. Now that’s what I call hygge.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/destinations/europe/denmark/articles/hygge-unesco-intangible-cultural-heritage-list/

Ripley’s believe it or not!

It’ll soon be the 50th anniversary of the historic Apollo 11 moon landing. On that Sunday 500 million viewers worldwide tuned in, mostly on black and white TVs, to watch the  Lunar parking. I missed it myself, only three at the time, and probably in jammies in bed. Now for the older, wiser (?) me the buzz words “over eyes” and “pull the wool” knit my brows. Was this a big hoodwink?

You could say I am an agnostic Moon Landing conspiracy theorist because I believe it could be 50% right. Firing a rocket with men in it to the moon seems possible. It’s the getting them back that puzzles me. The spaceship has shrank, there’s no scaffolding on the moon that can support/straighten Apollo’s back to earth trajectory and the computerised age of steering things is in its infancy. No drone technology here, only rotary dial phones. Cars in the 60s were basic beasts and prone to breakdown, what chance a ship going all those light years without any wear or tear? I mean, even the communication system was on the blink and the sound man missed an a on Armstrong’s rehearsed script.

I blame Concorde. Continue reading “Ripley’s believe it or not!”

These aren’t the Droids you’re looking for

Unlike, say, Exorcists, hypnotists are for real. There’s no way the charlatan mesmeriser can put so many pre-planned plants on the stage. Like the bodysnatchers of old they’d run out of bodies. Ergo(es my reason for living), hypnotism must be a genuine article. That being the suitcase, this means we can all be mind benders, if we put our mind to it.

Corrupt hypnotists

All walks. It has to be said that if there was an upsurge in the hypnotist community a roguish element would take foot and mouth and hand and Adam’s apple. These non-Marquess of Queensbury rules hypnotists would indulge in all manner of crimes: robbery, humiliation, blog post manipulation. The world would be their Facebook. Luckily, the gift of hypnotism is limited to a less few humanoids.

Instant Kaa ma 

I’ve tried and tried to hypnotise without success. My human hypnotees, in pity, shake their heads at me as I fail to make them recite a Loony Limerick. In desperation, I turn to inanimate objects and will the clock (i.e. hypnotise the clock, not the clock is called Will) to go an hour forward. I stare at the face of the time machine. Look me in the eyes. Right in the eyes. Come closer. Closer still..

Quentin’s beef

He has a strange name. He should be a diarist* with a name like that. He is? Oh, sorry, Q. Anyway, he rang a few of my bells with his thoughts in today’s DM.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5503019/QUENTIN-LETTS-lists-linguistic-pet-hates.html.

I’d add a common pleonasm people employ,as follows: ‘They both attended the same school.’ Just one will do, dear.

I bet my reader seethes over a few common malapropisms too.

* Didn’t you have a Letts diary as a youngster?