Fear and loathing in Palestine

How do you get a stalled peace process back on track in the world’s most complicated and fragile region? Well, I’ll be honest, I have no idea (you thought I did?). But maybe, trying to think positively, what you do is you put the bad guys in charge. You elect the least democratic and most… Continue reading Fear and loathing in Palestine

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So why did they do it?

Why did Google cave in to Chinese censorship? Because of American accounting principles. In the US (and, increasingly, elsewhere) a listed business reports to its shareholders every 90 days. The next quarter’s results are all that matters. Anything that ‘impacts’ three or more quarters into the future is not the legitimate concern of Google’s management.… Continue reading So why did they do it?

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Whalers on our whale

Naturally enough, when London’s poor lost Northern Bottlenose Whale started to get worldwide press I thought I’d see what the less sentimental whaling nations were saying about it. Not much, it turns out and nothing along the ‘chop it up and eat it you soft gits!’ line that I was sort of hoping for. Anyway,… Continue reading Whalers on our whale

Would you carry an ID card?

I might carry an ID card. I might carry one that said something like: “the bearer has proven, to the satisfaction of somebody accountable, that he is the person he says he is”. I might even carry one that contained some kind of biometric fingerprint so that nobody else could use it and pretend to… Continue reading Would you carry an ID card?

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Don’t tell me…

Do not tell me you’re not watching Nasty Pete, Wise Maggot, Vain (definitely not Gorgeous) George, Strange Traci, Sad Michael, Clever Dennis, Ditzy Chantelle and Cute Preston on the show of the year. I’m in awe. The unlikely offspring of Big Daddy Big Brother has grown up and is much better – more intense, more… Continue reading Don’t tell me…

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Books and bombs

Will books be replaced (or even substantially substituted) by ebooks and hand-held readers? Robert McCrumb in The Observer thinks so. Maybe he’s right. A better question – do they need to replaced – is rarely asked. Instead, we line up around our entrenched positions – apocalyptic-Luddite or euphoric-futurist – both conveniently informed by the same… Continue reading Books and bombs

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Forward Thinking

We live quite close to Watford which is supposed to be demographic dead centre of Great Britain so we see a lot of test marketing round here. The Lemsip people have been trying this one out quietly. I think it needs some work…

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Cuddly musical genius in town

About ten years ago, I met Elliot Carter. When I say ‘met’, I mean I stood next to him outside the cloakroom at The Museum of Modern Art in New York while someone fetched his coat. At the time I thought this was pretty cool (cooler still because earlier that day I’d stood next to… Continue reading Cuddly musical genius in town

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Abu, meet Rula

He’s not an attractive man is he? He reminds me of a PE teacher I once knew – a cruel, self-important man we laughed at when he wasn’t looking (funnily enough, he wound up in prison too…). Anyway, since the man is an obvious jerk and since he’s probably about as dangerous as… er… Jodie… Continue reading Abu, meet Rula

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Old music

A couple of years after the giant sucking sound coming from Cupertino was first heard in even the quieter parts of the record industry there can’t be much music released that isn’t available for download straight away somewhere or other and, for you cheapskates, the file sharing networks are bigger and more useful than ever.… Continue reading Old music

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