Saturday, September 12, 2009


It is really pleasing to be able to report a couple of victories this week; one big, and one small. I'll start with the big one, which if you recognise the figure depicted in the slate statue above, (click on the photo for a larger view) you will already know is that of Alan Turing. Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced his apology on Thursday to Alan Turing, father of modern computing, code breaker and genius in reaction to the appalling way he had been treated after the war. This was a direct response to the online petition I and many other people signed on the Downing Street website. The strength of feeling shown by many people from both the UK and way beyond, forced the government to make the statement you can read online here.

In addition to breaking the Germans' Enigma code, Turing was behind the theoretical basis of all modern computing; his work led to the development of Colossus (photo below) which was used to help break the fiendishly complicated Lorenz cipher. Churchill said that Turing was the single individual who did the most to shorten the second world war by as much as two years.

Colossus - World's first computer

On Thursday this week, I saw one of the Woolwich ferries being towed downstream past Erith, presumably going to Denton Wharf near Gravesend for some heavy duty maintenance in their dry dock.

Much has been made in the press over the last week or so of Terry Wogan's decision to stand down from the BBC Radio 2 breakfast show. I have no strong feelings either way, as I am already on my way to work when Sir Terry holds forth over the airwaves, and don't get to hear him. What does get my goat is the inexplicable way in which BBC management have neglected to dispense with the services of Sarah Kennedy. She frequently slurs her words as if she is on high dose prescription medication; she crashes vocals, blathers on about inconsequential matters and generally wastes licence payers money with her inane wittering. One of the few blessings is she is frequently off sick, with Aled Jones or Alex Lester sitting in her place - both of whom are far better company on air. The sooner she is pensioned off the better. Personally my favourite radio station is the incomparable WNKR who this weekend have been transmitting a fascinating documentary about former 1970's offshore radio broadcaster Radio Atlantis, amongst their regular shows.

After visiting my Dad, I was waiting for the train at Plumstead railway station earlier this week; there were a couple sitting on one of the benches - it was immediately obvious that they were in a state of extreme refreshment, to the extent that neither were capable of even sitting upright; to be honest I think several recreational pharmaceuticals may also have been involved. The woman slurred to her male partner in a loud stage whisper "let's get his laptop bag" - a comment obviously intended at me. I (from an out of knife point distance) told her where she could get off, and what dire and malevolent consequences would result to her and her festering compatriot as a result of any attempt at theft. I love my size 12 steel toecapped boots. Suffice to say they left me well alone.

I touched very briefly on the issue of Chavs with threatening dogs last week, without really going into any detail regarding the problem. The issue would appear to be that the local low - lives get themselves the most aggressive, ugly and menacing looking fighting dogs as a form of street legal weapon; they know that the Police will stop and search them on a regular basis, as it is patently obvious that they are part of the criminal class. One easy way around being arrested for carrying a knife or other martial implement is to instead be in possession of a biological weapon in the form of a Staffordshire bull terrier, rottweiler or pit bull terrier - the latter are illegal in the UK, but the kind of people who own them tend to be criminal anyway. They then prowl the streets, menacing honest passers by with their semi feral canine weaponry. This behaviour apparently began in the western United States amongst organised drug dealing gangs; the transition to Europe began when R&B and (c)rap videos featured vicious dogs. The Chavs then picked up and replicated this, hoping to emulate their wonky baseball capped, pointy fingered "heroes". Talking of (c)rap - what precisely is the point of shouting about their "bitches and hoes" over a drum machine, accompanied by samples nicked from records made by people who can actually play their instruments and sing? Answers below if you will. Personally the old refrain from the 1980's seems to hold truth in respect of chavs: - "Nuke them 'till they glow, then shoot them in the dark". Quite.

The other victory this week was with 1 & 1 Internet. As you may recall they tried to charge me for a domain registration that they never carried out; I had some sharp words with them about their frankly fraudulent activities, and they have now backed down, cancelling the invoice and refunding me my registration fee. Let's hope that it is an end to the matter.

If you wish to view my online Flickr photo albums, please click on this link to see my photographs.

One thing that occurs to me as I make my way around central London is, just how many tourist photos am I an unwitting subject of? You see people snapping away and quite often you just know you are in shot. I am not overly concerned about this as the government continually video record and subject the general population to surveillance - something I feel we should all challenge, rather than just meekly accept. You can read a great deal more about the whole situation, including the national ID card debacle and the database state by clicking here.

This weeks' video clip is from a tv show that almost single handedly justified the payment of my own licence fee. It shows my role model James May reaching the very edge of space as the passenger in an American U2 spy plane. Watch and enjoy.


  1. Fantastic video. Deeply jealous of Mr May!

    If I ever win the lottery then I'd happily pay the US gov. for a ride in the U2.

  2. I'm baaaaack!
    Had problems passing Comments over the past couple of months but everything now seems to be sorted (the miracle of Ex-Lax...LOL!) so I can get back to my usual "Director's Commentary" Comments for the Maggot Sandwich!

    Glad to see Alan Turin has at the very least been shown SOME degree of apology by the establishment. It's funny to think, what 40/50 years ago that for his sexuality he was treated beyond moral boundaries. The tabloid reader in me thinks that not even paedophiles are treaded like that in these "enlightened" times. To me it's unbelievable to have treated a man so valuable so horrifically. I strikes me that to be gay and bit of an "odd-ball" (he apparently used to ride his bike around Bletchley Park wearing a gas mask, it was an Above Top Secret military establishment but he had terrible heyfever & there were no prescription medicine available at the time so perfectly logical..but not to the closed, narrow minds of the 40's & 50's) was the reason he was targets so.
    One of our country's shames. There are bigger one's sure but on a personal level?

    Talking of all things involving man's inhumanity to man who the FUNT thought it would be a good idea to replace Terry Wogan with Chris Evans for the breakfast show?!
    Don't get me wrong I loved Chris Evan's in his Radio1/Virgin radio heyday's but he's a spent force now. Must say I grew up on Terry Wogan in the mornings and think the man is a God, okay not listened "properly" for years (I tend to dip in and out every now and then of all the main breakfast shows across the dial but don't really listen to Breakfast music radio anymore) but do tend to catch a bit of Evans show and to coin a phrase it's about as entertaining as watching a bucket of congealing sick. Slick, yes, entertaining, no.
    REALLY sorry to see Sir Terry go.
    Makes me want to dig out my copy of The Floral Dance...
    The best recent Breakfast DJ recently was Christian O'Connell when he was on Xfm. He's too corporate now I think.
    First time I heard Sarah Kennedy I thought I'd stumbled across some avant-guarde Radio4 comedy skit. I sometimes listen if I'm up at that time but more because the music doesn't irate me!
    "the local low - lives get themselves the most aggressive, ugly and menacing looking fighting dogs as a form of street legal weapon; they know that the Police will stop and search them on a regular basis"...EH? The Police don rubber gloves to search the DOGS??
    "I love my size 12 steel toecapped boots. Suffice to say they left me well alone"..Wot your boots left you alone?? What's up with you Pewty, do you not know what proper diction and gammer is like wot we does speak innit?
    All I have to say is you try working in the area!
    'Nuff said!