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The body doesn’t quite forget…

The body doesn’t quite forget…

So, you may not know (and if you don’t know, I’m amazed, it’s usually the third most interesting fact about myself I unselfishly volunteer without being asked), but I was a performer at the London 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony, which was roughly two years ago yesterday.

So, anyway, in a way of a minor celebration/salute, I decided to put on the key musical track And I Will Kiss today in the office. At the key drumbeat points, my body somehow remembered that I was meant to DO something, but my conscious brain couldn’t actually remember what.

That didn’t seem to matter to my body, which KNEW it had to do something and so … well, if you’d been staring at me in the office, you’d have seen my arms and elbows raising from the keyboard for one second in an extra-ordinarily unchoreographed movement, because darn it the arms and elbow just KNEW it had to do something…

Will the body ever forget these movements from 2012 ?!

Surely green is the universal colour for “Go”, not blue?

Surely green is the universal colour for “Go”, not blue?

Red clip on a lanyardI was idly browsing through the website for the forthcoming Nine Worlds convention (no idea – I only know four of the guests listed!), when I came across their Communications Preferences System.

This basically means you can opt to wear a different coloured clip on your convention lanyard if you don’t want anyone to start a conversation with you (red), or if you want only people you know to start a conversation with you (yellow). Which would make sense for some people with particular social issues.

However, there’s a different colour for those who want to indicate that they’re happy for other people to initiate a conversation with them. Logically, I’d have thought that colour would be green for go – after all, cars move on green, pedestrians move on green, green is the logical action colour for most human endeavours.

But nope, it’s blue. I wonder why that is?

Tiananmen/Beijing massacre and all that…

Tiananmen/Beijing massacre and all that…

So it’s been twenty-five years since the mass shootings of civilians by soldiers from the Chinese Army. 25 years since I saw the strange footage on the news. 25 years since I was naively asked by my secondary school science teacher if I knew anyone in Beijing.

You’d have thought that having TV cameras and eyewitness accounts would be enough to ensure that some version of the truth would remain.

But no. The Chinese government doesn’t really talk about it, while keeping a very close eye on who goes into Tiananmen Square today. There’s a constant “disagreement” over whether those protesting were students hoping to change the way China worked, or counter-revolutionaries determined to overthrow the state. However, you’d have thought there was a general consensus that those protesting wanted to change *something*.

Unless you’re this Tumblr blogger, who asserts that the students were “resisting their country ‘modernizing’ in the age of Reagan, the godfather of neoliberalism”. Which is an explanation that seems to come so out-of-left-field for me, it beggars belief.

So much so that I had to blog about it, without actually having anything to say. Which is very bloggy, really.

What Google Photo Stories thinks happens on a Friday night in Great Britain…

What Google Photo Stories thinks happens on a Friday night in Great Britain…

Google are proudly trumpeting their new Stories feature, which basically automates the tiresome thing of organising your photos – assuming you’ve let Google+ upload all your photos to the cloud for you. And it’s a pretty nifty automatic feature.

Perhaps too automatic. Because left to its own devices, this is what it trumpeted as one of my more recent stories…

What Google+ Stories did with one of @almostwitty's photos What Google+ Stories did with one of @almostwitty’s photos
The most British thing of all…

The most British thing of all…

It’s sometimes joked or cited (especially by Buzzfeed) that this is the most British thing of all… Stephen Fry walking a corgi outside Buckingham Palace.

The most British thing? Stephen Fry walking a corgi outside Buckingham Palace The most British thing? Stephen Fry walking a corgi outside Buckingham Palace


Indeed, it is the most British thing of all, in the sense that they pretty much all originate from outside England.

Stephen Fry, is one of the finest examples of populist intellectualism that Britain has ever produced. His maternal grandparents were Hungarian Jews.

Buckingham Palace was re-modelled by King George  III. His grandfather was born in Germany.

The Union flag was probably made in China, and was created to celebrate the union of England and Scotland.

The corgi originates from Wales.

The road was possibly originally paved by the Romans.


Now, obviously, as the son of immigrants who nevertheless feels so British that I have to work at the British Broadcasting Corporation, I don’t see this as a bad thing in any way.

But if ever some pig-headed nationalists start saluting to this as a reason to keep immigrants out or to persecute “foreigners” in any way… well, they’re even more idiotic.

How big does an area of the UK have to be to equal the population of London?

How big does an area of the UK have to be to equal the population of London?

Quite big, it would seem.

Areas of the UK with as many people as London Areas of the UK with as many people as London
Everything* wrong with modern businesses in one moment

Everything* wrong with modern businesses in one moment

I was at my local Tesco’s lunch queue, patiently waiting with 30+ people ahead of me in a long snaking queue that goes right across the store. Then a little old lady walks up and down the queue, holding aloft one of those new Tesco tablets, going on about how they’re cheap as chips at £60 and great toys.

A few huge problems with what’s happening:

  • You already have 30+ customers waiting patiently to be served. Instead of trying to sell them something they’re NOT going to buy casually in their lunch hour, why not put your resources into serving your existing customers, before they get fed up of the queue and go somewhere else?
  • You can talk about the new Tesco tablet all you like – it’s NOT something people are going to casually buy while waiting to buy their sandwiches in their lunch hour.
  • The little old lady, bless her, has zero idea what a tablet is. She is obviously just repeating the selling points by rote

The list of failed big companies is littered with examples of where they went chasing after a new product, while in the process totally forgetting about or taking for granted their existing customer base (Blackberry etc.) Looks like Tesco are going the same way.


* Well, ok, not EVERYTHING wrong. There’s the fact that rampant consumerism is burning up what’s left of our planet’s resources while we’re simultaneously still in one of the worst economic recessions ever, while the 1% are still well-off… but hey ho.

The Pet Shop Boys, China and “Thursday”

The Pet Shop Boys, China and “Thursday”

The second-best latest Pet Shop Boys song, Thursday, has just had its video published. Which essentially consists of static footage of the Pet Shop Boys singing mocked up onto billboards in Shanghai.

While the venn diagram of people who love the Pet Shop Boys songs, critique videos and have a vague understanding of Chinese culture may well be just me and Ian Fenn, I would like to point out one (in my mind) flaw:

– There is no Thursday in China. Or Wednesday, Tuesday or Friday for that matter. (You just count days of the week in Chinese – or at least, I do. So when we say Thursday, the Chinese equivalent is “the fourth day”)

Also. Really? Gawping at Chinese billboards and Chinese urban people doing their thing? Aside from it being creatively lazy, didn’t everyone do that in the 1980s with Blade Runner? Why aren’t people bored of this by now?

The same argument goes for Skyfall, which has an entire section set in Shanghai for no real apparent reason other than it’s so “now”. Daniel Craig didn’t even shoot any scenes there…

However, let it be known that the song is many shades of awesome, and should be listened to, loved, and cherished. Although anyone who says that this song is better than Love Is A Bourgeouis Construct needs their ears examining… and why they didn’t make a video for it, is anyone’s guess…

Another random only-in-London moment…

Another random only-in-London moment…

I was outside my local food shop the other night when a woman came up to me and thrust £5 in my hand.

Alas, it was because she wanted me to go in and get her some organic chicken – with a strong emphasis on the word ORGANIC. She couldn’t go in as it would apparently mean tying her yapping dog up.

So being the nice chap that I am, I took her money, verified with her that the chicken was suitably organic, made my own purchases, and gave her her chicken on the way out. (How often do you get to say that?)

And as is always the way when one stranger in London reaches out to another, she had to justify and explain the whole thing. Apparently it was because her boyfriend had inconveniently invited someone round for dinner after a gym session, so she needed more meat. But then, she said, she was a veggie anyway… Why she didn’t tell her boyfriend to pick up something on the way home, I’m not sure.

The TARDIS can be a dangerous thing…

The TARDIS can be a dangerous thing…

TARDIS power isolator

After all, any device that, when blown up, destroys the universe should be treated with care.

So it’s very good to see the BBC are taking their responsibilities very seriously.

(Taken courtesy of the BBC, who invited me to a preview of their actual TARDIS studio tour, which you can now take in Cardiff till the end of August.)