The brilliance of Genesis in their prime

The first one minute and 15 seconds of “Firth of Fifth” is sheer brilliance delivered on the grand piano by Tony Banks. (And the title reminds me of that famous football result, Forfar 4 East Fife 5).

But my favourite Genesis track (and this is certainly not a political endorsement – one of them was allegedly a Maggie fan, I seem to remember – but then my favourite author is Evelyn Waugh, who was certainly no liberal) is “In the wilderness” which is well worth listening to, as it is a rather obscure album track which hardly anyone has heard of. The strings make the track, in my mind. In fact, I think there is a suggestion of a double bass in there somewhere.

Both the mentioned tracks are below on YouTube:

Air New Zealand's extraordinary safety videos

It may sound a nerdish thing to say…and yes I was bored. But YouTube is bursting with airline safety videos from across the world.

Trust me. Air New Zealand do the best airline safety videos. There’s the one with the hobbits, the one with the All Blacks, the one with the disco and the one with the air crew naked but with their uniforms painted on their bodies (I am NOT making this up).

But the airline safety video to end all airline safety videos…the pièce de résistance…la crème de la crème….is this one with Bear Grylls. It is simply sensational.

Have Lib Dem members put a rocket up Nick Clegg's posterior?

6472876377_439c44e9f5_b“Why I stopped the “Snooper’s Charter” was the title of a mail from Nick Clegg winging its way to party members today.

“Because we stuck a rocket up your bottom, Nick?” – came the response from a dry wit, albeit with an alternative anatomical name mentioned.

If the answer to Nick’s question is simply anal missile insertion then he would have stopped Secret Courts as well.

We should credit Nick with using his own judgment in these matters. I am sure he does. It is just that his judgment only randomly and rather erratically seems to coincide with the judgment of rank and file party members.

Photo: Some rights reserved by jurvetson

Fancy living on Mars for the rest of your life – or would you prefer to give your money to a Nigerian "prince"?

marsAn organisation called Mars One is recruiting four people to send them to Mars to arrive in 2013 and never come back. They might send more people to join them two years later.

Applicants need to be aged 18-40 and able to breathe in and thrive on air which is 95% carbon dioxide. Being clinically insane would be an advantage.

Oh, and please send $38 with your application as a “processing fee”.

You dafty.

Photo: Mars planet 1 (Nasa enhanced) – Some rights reserved by J.Gabás Esteban

Hogwarts and Top Gear – how foreigners see us?

imageSome new polling for the BBC shows no indication of a huge upcoming Romanian-Bulgarian influx. Nigel Farage has obviously frightened them off.

I was fascinated by a couple of comments by young Romanians interviewed by BBC News.

I’ve heard (mythically, perhaps) it is usual for some Americans, who haven’t been to the UK, to imagine that London is as it is portrayed in the film Mary Poppins.

(Presumably they must think that Dick Van Dyke has a real Cockney accent, so that when they get here and listen to real Cockneys (mostly in Essex these days) they think they are listening to a rubbish impression of a Cockney accent.)

One young lady in Romania said she had read all the Harry Potter books and expected that “England” resembles the places in those books.

One young gent said he likes Top Gear and really likes the people on it, So that’s why he likes the UK.

If any such people do arrive in the UK, it will be interesting to see their faces when they arrive at Slough bus station and can’t find James May or Hogwarts.

Photo of Slough bus station above – Some rights reserved by Martin_Duggan

In praise of Brian Matthew

I remember listening to Brian Matthew in the 60s when he used to do shows like Album Club. He’s been broadcasting for well over 50 years now and is now 84 years old. It’s worth listening to his Sounds of Sixties on Radio Two on Saturday mornings. His producer Phil Swern comes up with some fascinating gems both in terms of records and facts.

The show is available on iPlayer here.

And Brian Matthew ends each show with the words:

And this is your old mate, Brian Matthew saying that’s the lot for this week, see you next week!

Then he ends with varying durations of this track – The Shadows and Foot Tapper: