Sunday, 31 July 2005

Great fun!

Give this site a try - it's great fun and I'm sure that everyone will be able to do far better than I did! Check out my efforts here, set replay to fast or it takes forever!

Cheri made me do it!

Your IQ Is 110

Your Logical Intelligence is Average
Your Verbal Intelligence is Genius
Your Mathematical Intelligence is Average
Your General Knowledge is Genius

Boogy on reggae woman

Clearly some sort of American thing, EchoMouse "tagged me" so I have to answer some simple questions:

1. If you were a celebrity, what kind would it be (movies, tv, literature, crime, etc)?

"Please allow me to introduce myself, I'm a man of wealth and fame" - I'm sure those with some learning in the classics will recognise that :-)

2. Which other celebrities would you make a concerted effort to try and be around?

Kim Catrell, Annette Benning, Nicole Kidman and George Best

3. Which other celebrities would you avoid like the plague?

Any I owe money, Wayne Rooney, celebrity chefs

4. Which celebrities would you date?

Kim Catrell, Annette Benning and Nicole Kidman

5. What would be your "Celebrity Cause"?

Live8, the Salvation Army and the RNLIB

6. Since celebs always get off, what crime(s) would you commit?

Being too damn cool for my own good

7. What would be the name of your tell-all book?

"A pint of Guinness would be lovely thanks"

8. Tag 3 people to do this poll.

Gorra be Pyk, Kat and Cheri hasn't it?

9. Link to the post that tagged you:

Friday, 29 July 2005

Pay dispute

Don't know if anyone has been keeping up with the news about the OU and the tutor pay talks but we certainly don't get paid the amount quoted in this piece! I didn't participate in the industrial action last time round but having read the way this has been dealt with by both the union and the OU I certainly expect to be supporting action this time round - but only if we start by showing the current branch officials the door first!

Well done Brian!

So Brian Haw has been protesting about the Iraq war for four years. He's been doing this outside the Houses of Parliment, a tad embarrassing but hardly a security risk - and he's been there for so long that if he'd wished to overthrow democracy he'd have had time to do it by now and it would have been easier before the increase in security measures recently introduced.

Anyway. Blair and Co have little else to do right now so they decided to implement a new law which means that anyone wishing to demonstrate or protest within shouting distance of our elected representatives must get a chit from the Met first. This legislation goes by the posh title of the "Serious Organised Crime and Police Act (2005)" and many think it was aimed directly at getting Mr Haw to sod off home and leave the MPs alone but the legislators messed up when they wrote the law and Brian can stay. The BBC coverage is
here. Congratulations Brian!

Dum a dum duma a dum

duma dum dum diddly.

Okay - for those without the musical background to recognise the opening of Alice Cooper's seminal work "Schools Out"............ Anyway (just imagine the frosty glance and the pout).

Anyway. The Houses of Parliment (Birthplace of Democracy whatever our small friend in Washington might think) are in recess for summer so Guido is left to sip Chardonney and make up stories. Bearing that in mind check out this
clearly photoshopped sign. And before anyone gets on my case about how distasteful this is - I know but it's nearly three AM and I'm tired and it's funny and before you get "Holier than thou" - I promise that I can offer you a decent run for your money in most mainstream belief systems :-)

Thursday, 28 July 2005

The blogzoo

In addition to the Lobster search engine there are a number of other animals out there in the blogosphere so I thought I'd flag up a couple. There is a pine marten and a gorilla as well as the EchoMouse! I wonder what attracts such erudite animals to the Internet?

Working hard!

I took this photo last week and I'm posting it to show everyone the difficult circumstances in which I occasionally have to work. Out of sight to the left of the photo is the gas BBQ with some nice salmon steaks (hence the Sancerre rather than red) and the book is real work rather than simply enjoyment. The yellow blob is a Citronella candle to keep the bugs away. You'll see that the garden is reasonably tamed and there are apples on the tree behind the table. They are still a little bitter but I'm sure they will be fine soon.

It's a tough life at times! :-)

Monday, 25 July 2005

Update I

Saturday was beautiful and this photo shows one of the dogs returning the sheep to the pen. The whole field was used and the dogs displayed amazing control at some considerable distance from their handlers.

A different kind of sheep was on hand to offer some fielding support during the Welford game. Bishopsbourne won by taking a wicket with the last ball of the final over! The game was played in glorious sunshine and supporters and some players were fortified with beer and wine throughout.

Click the images to see larger versions

Saturday, 23 July 2005

Busyness in the village!

Wahay! - another hectic weekend in the village. Today we have sheepdog trials in Bourne Park, lots of sheep and dogs and 4x4s in the fields. And this afternoon Bishopsbourne CC play Welford CC. This is a Saturday game as Welford are a touring side and this is the last game of their tour. I understand that we can expect a great deal of hilarity, the teams usually play in fancy dress, and then the enjoyment continues through the evening in The Mermaid.

Save money here!

Those who read the Daily Mail might find this site of value. Use it every day and save yourself some money!

Once you've got your Daily Mail headline you might like to consider the Biscuit Test Dummy and check out the Page 3 stuff on Julie's blog.

All up an enjoyable morning :-)

Friday, 22 July 2005

More hassle in London

The BBC are now reporting that plain-clothed Police officers have shot and killed a man on the tube. One eyewitness suggests that the suspect was shot after being taken into custody, or at least after being apprehended, but that is unconfirmed at the moment. This incident happened at Stockwell which is near the scene of one of yesterday's attempted bombings.

Thursday, 21 July 2005

London again!

The BBC and other news agencies are reporting minor explosions in London - targetted at public transport again - with the effect that many tube and rail stations are being evacuated.

Wednesday, 20 July 2005

Illegal in 33 States

Now I cannot for the life of me remember how many States that the United States have but it's upwards of fifty isn't it? Well if we say it's fifty what is legal in 17 but against the law in 33? Is it driving in excess of fifty-five miles per hour? Dunno. Is it enjoying a beer before the age of 21? Erm.

It's actually legal in 17 States of America to have sex with animals. That's okay then - I'm just glad it isn't mandatory!

Sports day

Live from the field and beating the BBC - Campbell House won the Loose Juniors Sports day.

Just like the Queen does........

talk that is! Scarycheri sent me away to check my linguistic skills and here are the results. To test your own verbals visit "What slanguage do you speak?"

Important date!

If we can put a man on the moon we can do anything! A generation grew up believing that and many of us still do - despite what our political leaders get up to! Check out the moon landing links available from Google - they've changed their logo for the celebration and they've got a great moon map showing all the landing sites.

Mars again

Some of you may have missed this. Professor Colin Pillinger of the Open University has been diagnosed as suffering from Multiple Sclerosis (details here). Professor Pillinger is famously a big fan of Charles Darwin and that's why the Mars probe was called Beagle 2 - the plans for Beagle 3, another Mars explorer, have already been unveiled. Professor Pillinger was honoured recently when the International Astronomical Union named an asteroid after him. Asteroid 15614 is now named 'Pillinger' and moves between Mars and Jupiter.

Tuesday, 19 July 2005

Let's talk about sex baby!

Let's talk about you and me.......... is that Prince (or the artist formally known as?). Anyway! Back to the plot. The BBC are running a little quiz that is aimed at determining whether you have a woman's brain or a bloke's brain. Time hasn't allowed me to take this quiz yet but I'm sure there are any number of you who will invest some time in this serious research and pop back with the results. Enjoy Tuesday!

I wrote..........

a really long and thoughtful post about why Shanghai Automotive want to but MG Rover but the browser crashed and it all disappeared. Hit this link and select "practice". On my first round I shot an eagle, a hole in one and finshed 10 under par. Eat yer heart out Tiger!

Sunday, 17 July 2005


Just try this for a bit of relaxation - it's wonderful.

Saturday, 16 July 2005


There is something mesmerising and faintly disturbing about this. If there is stickage try click and drag. Let me know what you think (with thanks to Gillie!)

ID Cards

I found this via Guido's blog. Please visit this site and click on the playbill to watch and enjoy the show. If this isn't one of the best of the genre I don't know what is!

Open Day!

All done and dusted. Lovely day seeing colleagues and students (old and new) and having a chat and generally chilling (and getting paid for it!)

Nice Sancerre now, dry enough to peel the enamel off your teeth and cold enough to freeze your gums so that you don't feel the pain.


This little piggy........

Draw a pig! Go to this site to see the pig I drew and to draw your own. There are some personality testing type thingies after you've drawn your pig.

Friday, 15 July 2005

A lobster focussed search engine

Lobster Blogster has raised some interesting issues and posed a couple of questions - check out his blog for details. Be aware that his blog is a lobster focussed search engine so try asking some questions too!

Beer miles

It's been a warm and busy week and it's not over yet - I'm working at an Open Day tomorrow but at least it's local (CCCUC). Getting home was another sticky and long-winded affair, motorways shut and the main drag from the M20 to the M2 clagged beyond useability because the county showground is on it and this weekend is the county show.

So I've just popped out and done a bit of research on beer miles. Being an environmentally aware sort of chappy I walked rather then drove and I drank the local brew. This is an old photo though as I didn't take the camera and I sat outside and I haven't smoked a cigarette for over a week now.

Food miles

The concept of "food miles" is a simple test to see what the hidden cost of food production and retailing might be. They try to take into account the cost of growing food, transporting it to the retailer, storage and then us driving it home. Food miles increased by 15% in the ten years to 2002 amd this obviously has an impact on pollution and costs. Lord Bach is the food and farming minister and he pointed out that........

"Internet buying and home delivery can reduce road congestion and vehicle kilometres. Organic and seasonally available food can reduce environmental impacts, but these can be offset by the way they are transported to the consumer's home."

Which, at first reading, looks like a statement of the obvious. It's also not as simple as saying that we should use local produce. As the report points out the energy needed to riped out of season tomatoes in the UK is probably greater than the energy needed to bring in Spanish tomatoes. "Sustain" have a good deal about food miles on their site and so do Friends of the Earth (and if plugging those two, and The Gunadrian, on the blog doesn't boost my "tree-hugging liberal" credentials I really don't know what will!).
Check out some of this stuff though - it's scary that the real price of some of our shopping is so high and getting higher.

Thursday, 14 July 2005

Remember the education thing?

The government has no chance of reaching its target of 50% of young people entering higher education by 2010, a respected thinktank reveals today. From the Education Guardian.

Remember a while back before events conspired to deflect us from the discussion about Higher Education in the 21st century? Well I'm sure the latest report from the Higher Education Policy Institute will be given very little attention in the short term and in the longer term used by politicians of varying colour to support or beat each other.

The report itself points to a number of factors which impact on participation and these include the significant drop in demographic growth around 2010, i.e. there will simply not be as many uni aged students around between 2010 and 2015 - while this makes "50%" easier to achieve the drop in real numbers will have an impact on provision. The finger is also pointed at the Celtic fringes, the populations in both Scotland and Wales are declining and in order to maintain their own HE base they might start recruiting aggressively in England with the obvious effect on demand for English HE providers. There is also evidence that the growth in student numbers staying on to take "A" levels has stalled and shows no real signs of restarting. Without this primary feeder participation in HE will be reduced.

The report also suggests that the only way the government targets might be reached is if take-up of HE by older students , i.e. those over 21 years of age, increased but it would have to rise nearly three times as fast as the shortfall in younger students to compensate for this falling away of participation by younger students. It simply ain't gonna happen is it boys and girls?

I think, therefore, that it's a good job that I'm here and prepared to offer the benefit of my wide ranging experience to our lords and masters in order that we can avert this failure of a main plank of successive Labour Party manifesto pledges. Once I lay out my master plan I'm sure you will agree that it draws together a number of strands to create a coherent solution to a few societal problems.

We need to rebuild Hadrian's Wall and Offa's Dyke. Simple really. It offers work for all those people attracted to taking vocational qualifications in the building trade and it also has some "big" engineering for the newly graduated civil (and uncivil) engineers. Both projects are away from the super-heated south east and will offer work in areas of unemployment to offset the work that is flooding into London to build the Olympic infrastructure. Blair and Clark's soon to be formed Border Guards will have somewhere to keep warm and they can watch for youngsters trying to make a break for Stirling or the University of Wales in Aberystwyth. Of course the introduction of biometric ID cards will also help as students will be unable to lie about their age and claim that it's a junior school trip or a family holiday when they are actually trying to attend an interview at Cardiff or St Andrew's.

Remember - you heard it here first!

Wednesday, 13 July 2005


It took the best part of three hours to get home last night - and it's only 70 miles! I headed cross-country as the A22 towards the motorway was already looking lumpy. The route is lovely over to Royal Tunbridge Wells and then on towards Maidstone before cutting across to the M20, A249, M2, A2 and home.
Last night it was a crawl all the way until I reached the roundabout at Paddock Wood where we were diverted as the road was shut!!!
Long story short - I got fed up with crawling so headed off down back doubles on my lonesome and spent a frustrating time on lanes barely wide enough for the car. Finally made Maidstone where I stopped for some supplies at Sainsburys (the nearest one to where I live is across Canterbury) and I invested in some of their wonderful Kalamaki Olives from the deli. Finally got home and enjoyed the olives with some French bread and pate and some German meat and mature cheddar and a bottle of Stella.
Just wondering which way to head home tonight!
BTW - The image is to give a flavour of the scenery I was driving through.

Tuesday, 12 July 2005


The silly decision by USAAF commanders at Lakenheath and Mildenhall to order their personnel and dependents to stay outside the M25 has generated some interesting responses. (The ban has now been lifted).

Lobster Blogster reports that Watford has been declared an "American Free Zone" while the Cyber-pope is organising a support service for American military personnel travelling in the capital.


I know that I've posted three comments now that have simply not arrived! Anyone else getting weirdness happening?

Monday, 11 July 2005

IE! Urgh!

Because I'm actually working in an office for a couple of weeks I'm using IE and I've just looked at this blog in a different version (it looks okay(ish)) at home at a higher resolution).

It's horrible! I'll try and sort it tonight or over the next few nights.

Not afraid!

Anyone who hasn't visited the earlier link yet won't get this - basically that site is displaying images from loads of people, they have one thing in common - they say that people are not afraid. It's a response to the terrorist outrages in London and seems to be one of the positive aspects rather than a lot of the race hate being strutted elsewhere. Some of the images are very funny and others are very touching. Great image on ScaryCheri's blog too :-)

Saturday, 9 July 2005

The fete

Yummy! Hot dogs!No Red Arrows, no sail past by HMS Hermes, no parachute displays but a good time was had by all. There were hot dogs and burgers, bric-a-brac and cakes, pony rides and a coconut shy, tombolas and a bouncy castle, refreshments and a shooting gallery, plants and books for sale. The purpose is to raise money to install central heating in the village hall so that winter events need not be attended wearing woolly jumpers and thick coats.

Well done everyone involved in arranging the fete and thanks for a smashing afternoon - even the weather worked out nicely!

Friday, 8 July 2005

Letter to the terrorists

The continue to generate an amazing about of verbage. Sadly a good deal of it is rascist, sectrarian bigotry and a good deal of that is being written in the US. Right wing sites are also wondering whether Britain will "wimp out as Spain did" and withdraw troops from Iraq. For those who missed it Britain had already committed to withdrawing troops and leaving the south of Iraq to the Iraqi forces - our troops will then be redeployed to Afghanistan. Sadly many of the people writing this rubbish are unable to see parallels between bombing a packed tube train and firebombing abortion clinics - both are reprehensible acts of terrorism and murder but suggesting that all Muslims or all Christians are evil based on such a small sample is simply stupid. I have no plans to link to any of the blogs carrying this drivel - sadly it's easy enough to find without any further links.

What I do offer though is a link to The London News Review where an open letter to the terrorists has been published. It uses intemperate language so don't follow that link if you are easily shocked but I'm sure it somes up how many feel right now. I particularly like the paragraph
Because if this is a message to Tony Blair, we've got news for you. We don't much like our government ourselves, or what they do in our name. But, listen very clearly. We'll deal with that ourselves. We're London, and we've got our own way of doing things, and it doesn't involve tossing bombs around where innocent people are going about their lives.
My only change would be to use the word Britain instead of London.


Just to remind everyone that it's Bishopsbourne Fete tomorrow. 14:00 onwards with great attractions for young and old. Please don't forget the parking difficulties once past the pub, try parking near the church. There isn't a "park & ride" facility but feel free to park in Bridge or Canterbury and walk.



According to the BBC site the death toll from the bombs stands at 38. According to The Sun it's 53. I suppose you pays your money and takes your choice but I prefer to think that the Beeb are correct now. Sadly The Sun may be correct by the morning as a number of those injured are in a critical condition. Either way this is given to be, according to the BBC, the largest death toll from a single terrorist attack in Britain.

No real surprise that these atrocities have attracted a great deal of discussion across the blogosphere. I like this quote
So thanks then, terrorists. You've just succeeded in bringing the families of millions of Londoners that bit closer together, giving them an increased love of their city and an enhanced appreciation of their way of life.
from Clagnut and he refers to Adactio where this comes from
The terrorists responsible for these attacks are clearly not only a bunch of murdering bastards, they are a bunch of murdering bastards who don't know their history. London made it through the blitz and through years of IRA bombings. Londoners react to explosions not with fear and terror but with resolution and bravery.
For an interesting perspective and a comprehensive review of a range of new sources try Crossing the rubicon. In common with a few US based posts this one appears to forget the recent history of terrorism in this country
I hope this country will wake up to a taste of Middle East terror in its own back yard. Time will tell. (Quoted on that blog from an email)
For those with a poor memory, and in support of the quote above - this year is the 60th anniversary of the ending of WW2, a period when London and much of Britain was subjected to sustained bombing. From the late 1970s until very recently there was a sustained terrorist threat from the IRA and many cities and towns still bear the scars of outrages committed there - Warrington, Manchester, Guildford, Birmingham and Omagh to name a few. In London there was the Harrods bomb in 1983. None of this means that the British are happy about being subject to terrorist attack or that as "old hands" anyone feels comfortable about it but it's sadly not a new experience and a bomb is a bomb whatever the motivation of the murderer who planted it.

Of course there are also messages suggesting that it's all our own fault for committing troops to Iraq but I find it difficult to believe that the people on the Circle Line train really had much to do with sending troops to war.

Some interesting reflections on John Naughton's blog particularly Random thoughts and Quote of the day which is the rousing speech given by Ken Livingstone.

Above all else my thoughts are with those grieving tonight and those injured in this horrendous assault on each of us.


Thursday, 7 July 2005

London bomb blasts

In case anyone hasn't caught the news - there have been a series of explosions in London and the police now believe that at least one was caused by a suicide bomber. Check out the BBC site for the latest details.

You can't

.... you can't start a fire without a spark. [Springsteen B, "Dancing in the dark]

I feel I've been blogsquatting all over the place with comments about so I thought I'd try and bring it all together here. If you want to read the other stuff I've written it's at Black Star Journal and My heart is in Accra and assorted other places.

The cynics, and there are many, are quibbling over why there were few African artists at the Hyde Park gig - easy really, it was about attracting attention rather than record sales for artists who are unknown outside a small market place. They ask if all the artists taking part knew enough about African issues - I doubt it, I doubt that Maria Carey knows that there is a world outside the red carpet and the hospitality tent. They question the motives of Geldof; he's trying to resurrect his musical career - get a life! If that was his motivation it'd make raising Lazarus look like an everday occurance. They suggest that the audience were there for the music not the issues - that's a maybe, but better that they were there than nobody listened? People think of Africa as a basket-case and it's a complex situation that can't be summed up in a sound-bite - no issue about that, but six weeks ago who thought about Africa at all?

Africa is a continent made up of 53 countries. It was carved up by the old European empires - France, Britain, Holland, Spain, Germany, Portugal and Belgium. They ignored existing borders and created a patchwork of "nations" that bore little relationship to the practical realities. Over time the developed world has raped the continent, it had an abundance of natural resources but has been subjugated in the desire for this wealth. Gold, diamonds, oil, etc have flowed from the African continent with little regard to how we came by these riches. Every country in the developed world has benefitted from this.

Twenty years ago we put our hands in our pockets for Live Aid and stumped up a few quid to feed starving children and we saved some lives but it wasn't enough. Today, now, as you read this, a child dies every three seconds. Now the cynics get tense about that too but it's approachable - a sound bite for the digital age. Every three seconds, click your fingers, every three seconds, that's a life. It's obscene but it's approachable. We can encapsulate the idea that a life is lost every three seconds even if we can't really deal with the reality of losing a child, a father, a son, a wife, a daughter, a brother, a sister to something that might have been avoided. A swift reality check - in the UK in 2004 there are roughly ten (yes 10) lives lost each day in road accidents. In England and Wales there are approximately 240,000 deaths each year - do the sums, about a week's worth of avoidable deaths in Africa.

The purpose of Live8 was to grab attention - it was the biggest advertising hoarding the world has ever seen. From here it's up to us. We can sink back into the comfort of apathy or we can go out and try to understand some more about what Africa is all about. We can stand on the sidelines and scoff at the efforts so far or we can engage and make a difference. What we cannot do is ignore it - that's what Live8 means. I don't intend to let my children grow up in a world where accepting that children die because they contract diarrhoea is permissable. I don't want to envisage a world where I have to explain to my children that we tried twice, with Live Aid and Live8 and we still screwed up.

I suppose the message is - by all means be critical but be engaged, the people who stand back and don't get involved, those only able to say what was wrong, should think again. We are where we are - do something to move the situation forward - that's the task at hand and standing back and wringing your hands serves no purpose.

Live8 engaged people - make them listen.

Wednesday, 6 July 2005


I'm sure that ScaryCheri won't mind me highlighting her desire to learn Ingerlish like wot it's spoked here. Check out her new wurd. Mebbe the Ingerlish posse can offer some more terms that would fit well in Nu Joisey patois? And perlease read the rest of her blog 'cos it's good :-) (But don't let her flog ya a rockin chair - it'll be covered in gravy!)

Oh dear :-)

Click on the image to see a larger version :-)


London 2012! The Olympics!

Tuesday, 5 July 2005


moves to Scotland as the G8 leaders arrive in Edinburgh tomorrow. Whether a million people march on Edingburgh or only a hundred it's to be hoped that the men who can change the world don't forget that in this wired world far more people than ever before are aware of their actions.

I think it's interesting that this time out, 20 years after Live Aid, that the Internet - the web wasn't even a twinkle in Tim Berners-Lee's eye when Freddie and Queen rocked Wembley - really has the potential to impose on our democratically elected leaders some pressure. That they may chose not to deal with the problems of chronic poverty in parts of Africa or global warming but it's probably the first time their deliberations have been subject to such scrutiny. Would that have been possible without the combined weight of political activism and the web? Sure there have been anti-globalization protests at each of the G8 meetings for as long as I can remember but this is different - this time people from around the world are watching for afar.

Let's just hope that the political will to make positive changes can match the aparent public will for change to happen.


Monday, 4 July 2005

Whoops - nearly missed it!

Happy Independence Day to everyone on the other side of the pond.

African perspectives

discussion continues and beneath the hype and glitz of the concerts real people are engaging in discussion about what support different parts of Africa might need. Some of it makes uncomfortable reading - it's a very complex situation and any suggestion that 53 separate countries need some sort of "blanket" solution is simply wrong-headed. Check out Ethan Zuckerman's blog for informed discussion with eloquent voices from around the world. The Black Star Journal is engaged in a dialogue with Ethan - an example of some deep reflection across the blogosphere. On Jewels in the jungle Black River Eagle, somebody else with practical experience in Africa, is also posting reasoned analysis of the situation as well as a fantastic blogroll of sites dealing with specific areas and from a range of authors. Finally, from another part of our tiny world, Rezwan in Bangladesh - an area described as part of the Third World, asks the question that most cynics seem unable to answer
If events like these never happened, how could we wake up a large number of people?

Do not follow this link

And if you do follow this link don't press the red button!

Sunday, 3 July 2005

Voices again

Birhan Woldu in 1985The photo is Birhan Woldu 20 years ago when featured in the Live Aid video and when the nuns looking after her thought she may only have 15 minutes left to live.

I've been roaming the wired world for a few more voices talking about

From Bangalore - "Thinking without a box" talks about the Green Day performance in Berlin. While Zuffar offers some thoughts on the TV coverage before having a private bonfire with said TV. Keith Scott is a missionary in Burkina Faso and his beautifully presented "Under the acacias" blog looks at the events in Edinburgh rather than rock music and "Time being" offers "what they want in fourteen words", a Canadian perspective. Check out Victoria's blog which includes some great personal reflection:
As I was watching the Live 8 concert yesterday, it hit me so hard. I was thinking. I have everything in the world. And I'm still complaining all the time. Food, water, everything I need. But look at those children and people in Africa, they die every 3 seconds due to extreme poverty.
and TV New Zealand highlights the impact of the Internet on the Live8 campaign. So the conversations continue and they have to keep going - don't let the conversation stop until the changes have happened.

The fat lady hasn't cleared her throat yet

I suppose because this is a far more media-savvy time and because Liv8 is a political demonstration rather than a simple fundraiser it should be no surprise that the pressure is still on. Check out the letter from Geldof and co to the world leaders. continues!

nd on the way there is some fine stuff to see on the web! Sharon Cobb is a journo in Nashville and has suggested that this is
"Worldstock" while Samual Bilibit reflects on watching Live8 from the Philippines, itself a country heavily in debt. In Victoria, Australia Lauren talks about the failure of free to air TV companies in her neck of the woods to gain rights to show Live8 - two hours (including adverts) is all that was available outside pay-per-view. And Portension highlight a fantastic development which might promise great changes in the way shelter is delivered to refugees.

The photo is of Sir Bob and Birhan Woldu, a woman alive because of Live Aid. Let's not lose sight of what it's all about.

Funny stuff

While wandering the blogosphere reading postings I hit upon this - Why George Bush must invade Spain. While writing this the BBC coverage of the Philly gig has just finished - what an anticlimax! I love Stevie Wonder but surely they could have done better than finishing like that? "Higher ground" would have made a more appropriate close or some kind of finale with a few of the other acts on stage too?

At the end of the day

Just some jumbled thoughts on the day:
    • Dido and Youssou N'Dour - brilliant! 7 Seconds was awesome.
    • Velvet Revolver - did they get invited in error? Did someone think the Velvet Underground were going to regroup for Live8?
    • Coldplay - I might finally be catching up with everyone saying they might be a band to watch
    • Okay - I admit that I cried at the start. I know exactly where I was and with whom on 13/07/1985 when Quo sang "Rocking all over the world" and Geldof and Ure added a new term to the English language - "Live Aid". Lots of things have happened to me in those 20 years and not all have been good.
    • Mariah Carey - why?? All the "Dahling" stuff about needing a stand despite saying she wouldn't was a tad annoying but then trying to big up her act by using a group of children selected because they were orphans?? That's sick I'm afraid. And then using Live8 as a platform for her new song - I couldn't really tell if it was new or not as I'm not an avid collector of her back catalogue but I can only fervently hope that she gets the sales she deserves rather than what she wants.
    • Geldof - milked the pause in "I don't like Mondays" but that's what the day was about wasn't it? Probably shouldn't be singing but it wouldn't have happened without him
    • The Who - "Bus pass rockers blow away the teenies" - if The Sun steal that I want royalties!
    • Floyd are still able to send me to sleep after all these years
    • McCartney - Okay then, he's got the sole franchise on some of the finest pop songs ever written - he even wrote some of them - but it's still hard to forgive "Mull of Kyntyre" and "The Frog Song"
    • I cried again when Saint Bob introduced the video from 20 years ago with "Drive" by The Cars - everyone in the west should be made to watch that regularly but not so much that they become immune to its power.
    • I cried even more when he then introduced a survivor from that film. I thought "even if Live Aid only saved one of them was it a waste of time?"
    • Gates - I've already seen some of the cynical shite being written about his appearance but as far as I'm concerned anyone who divvys up the kind of brass he has to support development in some of the crappiest parts of the planet deserves respect. To hear some people talk you would think he sold heroin or crack rather than built a successful company - and before anyone starts hitting the "add comment" link to start berating me about Microsoft's business practices or how the world would be a lovely place if we all pissed about with Linux please save your time and mine - today really isn't the day for myopic rantings about the number of angels that can dance on the beak of a penguin.
    • Keane were cool
    • Will Smith did his best to engage the US audience but he's fighting a losing battle, TV coverage is very limited so the majority of the electorate in the most powerful country on the planet will probably hear very little about the real disaster that is happening outside their borders - that of itself is another tragedy.
    • Green Day rocked
    In amongst it all Calum and I also eat and he played on the PC upstairs and we erected the six-man tent in the paddock across the road to air it and we looked for a camp site for the family holiday and we had a tickling battle (I am still the undisputed champion) and we generally chilled.

    Saturday, 2 July 2005

    Some facts

    While at Hyde Park sinks slowly into the mellow tones of the Floyd (I never got Pink Floyd and I'm afraid I still don't) I thought I'd try and get my arms round some of the underlying issues. Why Africa - What works has a bewildering array of facts about debt in Africa,

    In 1980 Africa had a 6% share of world trade. By 2002 this had dropped to just 2% despite the fact that Africa has 12% of the world's population. If Africa could regain just an additional 1% share of the global trade, it would earn $70 billion more in exports each year - more than three times what the region currently receives in international assistance.
    In 1970, wealthy nations agreed to a goal of spending 0.7% of GNP on development assitance. In 2003, these countries spent on average just 0.25%; the U.S. gives the smallest percentage of its wealth, 0.15%, to poor countries. (OECD)
    Pretty bleak stuff! And more about protectionism
    Ghana can export raw cocoa duty free to Europe, but a 25% tariff is imposed if they process that cocoa before exporting it to Europe. It is this processing (tinning, roasting, labeling) which helps a country earn more money and develop its manufacturing base - and which allows its economy to grow. While fair trade could be Africa's ticket out of the vicious cycles of poverty, unfair trade rules like these trap Africa at the gates.
    is available at Why Africa - Trade Issues.

    The Jubilee Debt Campaign also paints a sorry picture of the action currently taken to support developing countries
    'HIPC' - too little, too slow, and with strings attached
    • The Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative is the current international debt relief scheme
    • The 'Paris Club' is a group of creditor countries which meet behind closed doors
    • Countries which have received debt cancellation through HIPC -18
    • Total debt cancellation through HIPC [between 1996 - 2005] -$30 billion
    • Debt cancellation granted in one day to Iraq by the 'Paris Club' -$31 billion (Nov. 04)
    • Number of qualified teachers which Zambia was unable to employ because of a public sector wage freeze imposed by the IMF in 2004 as a condition of receiving HIPC debt relief -9,000
    Now I'm certainly not an economist but in between the chinks of this I think we might perceive some routes to follow. We seem trapped in a loop of paying aid to service debts while stopping these countries competing in the world market and trading their way out of poverty. The G8 can make the world a more equitable place - it takes courage and risk taking and a change in the current systems that mean our brothers and sisters are starving because they are not part of our "club" and we won't let them join.

    And The Who were brilliant - I don't get Floyd but I saw The Who in 1976 in Manchester and seeing Daltrey and Townshend playing again took me back to those halcyon days.


    MIT are running a survey on our online habbits. Click the image below to be taken to the survey page.

    Take the MIT Weblog Survey

    Another type of blog?

    The BBC are running page devoted to text messages and sound bites from around the world as the concerts unfold. It forms a tapestry of different voices, thoughts, emotions and views. Another sign of the power of technology? Text messages from Hyde Park, the Eden Project in Cornwall and Philadelphia mixed with BBC reports from Jo'burg and Moscow and Berlin and Rome and backstage at Hyde Park. A panopticon approach to a global event?

    Sign up now

    This takes you to the nobody is after money - just your name on the list!


    Saint Bob, left arm aloft in the middle of "I don't like Mondays", is probably going to become one of those iconic images to match Che or Jimi or Ghandi or Mandela. Great also to see the rolling count of names being added to the Live8 list - and it's only just hit 3 million so what are you waiting for???. And Will Smith tying the Declaration in Independence back to today's events was moving too - alone might not make a difference but only a fool would ignore it, let's see what the politicians make of it this week.

    Old politico rocker rocks on

    Billy Bragg, the voice of the Socialist Left in music for so long has had a few words about at the rally in Edinburgh. Check out his comments and think about the section on outcomes. I'm sitting here watching this with my nine year old son - in a different world where might we all be now?

    And for all those who say it won't do any good - if this doesn't work what will? How can we change the world?

    And there's more............

    The Reuters site is carrying news feeds about around the world and, as a news provider, is also adding some interesting editorial comment and background on events.
    In Tokyo, the 10,000-seat venue was full by the end, although many in the crowd said they came mainly to see headline act Bjork give her first live performance in two years.

    The diminutive star expressed the sense of helplessness she felt in the face of extreme poverty in poor countries.

    "I look at the news, I see people starving, I am crying. I'm a total mess," she told reporters after the gig.

    "You try to think how you're going to break through this cobweb of problems and bureaucracy and how on Earth anybody is going to make any change."
    and they use the Mandela quote, when he came out in support of Live8 and the "Make poverty history" campaign, to counter the criticism of the event.
    "Sometimes it falls upon a generation to be great. You can be that great generation," Nelson Mandela
    Finally and best for broadband users I'd guess, AOL Music are carrying live video feeds from all the concerts around the world.

    isn't about money - it's about making our voices heard. You can add your name to the live8 list by following that link. And if you are wondering about the number of times is shown as a link - I'm using Technorati tags, each posting which includes that tag increases the counter on the image below right and hopefully shows someone somewhere that we are talking about it and we want to be heard.

    Different views

    As the countdown continues I think it's important to reflect on some of the alternative perspectives on the concerts and the potential impacts of and debt relief.

    George Monbiot, writing in the Guardian a couple of weeks ago described the G8 decision to cancel some of the debt as "Spin, lies and corruption" - questioning the motivation of the world leaders involved and particularly the conditions being placed on the debtor countries.

    David Stubbs, Reviews Editor of Wired, writing on the BBC site raises a number of reasons that he won't be watching Live8 but they seem to boil down to his dislike of the music on offer.

    For a truly diverse selection of views try Global Voices. It includes a quote from a Kenyan blogger, Thinker's Room:
    If a concert in Africa would have me sceptical, words cannot describe just how I fail to see how the remotest benefit a 1 million strong concert in Edinburgh will be derived by a poor fisherman in Lamu. I don't see how one million partygoers will contribute to the filling of stomachs in Darfur, or a reduction of the gunfire. This concert, oddly enough, does not seem to have any African musicians performing aside from the good old token Yossou N'dour, something that will no doubt soon be hastily corrected and laughed off as a "technical oversight".
    But not all voices are dissenting - I think it's a fantastic resource tying together the thoughts and views of people far more directly involved than those of us in the affluent West but I think it also points to another issue. One must imagine that the real people in need, the people in Dafur, are still not able to make their voices heard on the web - and I'm not for one moment suggesting that this should be a priority for anyone - but we still receive all the images and words mediated by others. We should remember that while we have the luxury of sharing our ideas and thoughts from the comfort of our homes and offices there are millions of people for whom the Internet means nothing - they are just too busy trying to stay alive!


    Those who remember our current Home Secretary in his former role as Education supremo might not be surprised to hear that charges of "bullying academics" have been levelled against him. According to the BBC site Howard Davies of the LSE has suggested that Charles Clarke, and the government, had damned the LSE report on ID Cards before seeing it. That the report was produced by 60 people overseen by a dozen professors will cut no ice with Clarke - they probably specialise in something useless like Art History............. or Economics! Of course cynics might suggest that in the face of a reduced majority, back-bench revolt, growing public unease, potentially spiralling costs and some damning academic research the government is really just circling the waggons to defend - to the last - a showpiece manifesto pledge but it sits uneasily with the post-election promises to learn lessons and listen to the electorate. But what would I know? I'm very worried about many of elements of the proposed ID card not least the proposed use of some technologies but I'm just a dim technologist. And if anyone wants to know - Clarke read Maths and Economics at Kings College, Cambridge and has a BA (Hons).


    Something strange happening here - all the gear in the right-hand column has centred itself - does it look the same to everone else?


    The BBC have launched a G8 page with all the background and details about the issues that you would expect from one of the major news gathering organizations in the world. And Paul Mason, a journo on Newsnight, is running the Newsnig8t Blog, 'On the road to Gleneagles'. Behind the Live8 stuff it's important to look at the issues and the political players who can really make the difference.


    More stuff! Check out Pyk's photos of "White Band Day" in Louth. Members of the local school theatre group performing street theatre.

    Friday, 1 July 2005


    Technorati are running a log of all Live8 blog postings - Check it out to see postings from around the world!

    Play time!

    Calum has just gone to bed so it's time for me to catch up with world events. While perusing a few sites I was pointed in the direction of this informative site. Enjoy! :-)

    Weather Pixie!

    The weather pixie on the right is letting you know the weather not far from here (it's actually at Manston Airport) so there ya go!

    My mood

    The little "My mood" picture has disappeared but it seems to be a problem with the mood server - maybe it's got moody? I thought I might have messed up when I changed the mood this AM but ScaryCheri's mood is missing too so I've either got intercontinental messing up powers or the fault lies elsewhere.


    The link to the Make Poverty History page with the code for the white band on this page and also a lot of other buttons and banners is It only takes a moment to copy the code and drop it into your web page or blog template :-)

    Every little helps?

    Sometimes it takes very little to hinder rather than help.

    Tesco decided to use a rather cool technique to create some extra land in Gerrards Cross on which to build a supermarket. Let's cover over the railway cutting, effectively making a new tunnel, and build on top! Whoops! Rail chaos between London and Birmingham - thankfully nobody was hurt.