Monthly Archives: June 2003

Did you know Winston Churchill’s mother had a tattoo?

Most news about Selfridges‘ new tattoo parlour mentioned the fact that Winston Churchill’s mother had a snake tattoo on one wrist, even The Guardian’s cheeky Pass Notes and the FT’s front page story (subscription required). I’m assuming the Churchill snippet was in the ‘notes to editors’ at the end of the press release. Don’t let anyone tell you PR doesn’t work. Is this the end for tattooing as outlaw art?

Yes, but it’s so practical

Around the time we acquired our third child we also acquired a ‘people mover’ (or an ‘MPV’) like the one in the picture and now we’ve been forcibly recruited to a scary new demographic ? the demographic that hysterically justifies the purchase of what is basically a bus because it’s ‘so practical’ and gets notes like the one on the right stuck on the windscreen in car parks. This never used to happen to me… (click the note for a bigger picture)

Blogging blokes at Blacks

Dan Gillmor at BlacksJames Crabtree at BlacksSardines at Blacks
Matt Jones at BlacksVic Keegan at BlacksJames Cronin at Blacks
Simon Waldman and Azeem Azhar at Blackstom_crop.jpgTom Coates at Blacks
Very privileged to have entertained some of the bloggerati at Blacks on Monday night. From left to right, Dan Gillmor, James Crabtree, some sardines on toast (I think they call it ‘crostini’), Matt Jones, Vic Keegan (who doesn’t keep a weblog but edits Guardian Online which is good enough for me), James Cronin (likewise, but has a hand in many things including STAND and Fax your MP), Simon Waldman, Azeem Azhar, Tom Loosemore and Tom Coates. Although, of course, my guests did all the entertaining and Azeem arranged it all. Click the small pics for bigger ones (the weird, green pics are using the camera’s low light setting).

Cheer up. It might never happen…

I’ve been sarcastic about Steven Pinker’s knee jerk Darwinism in the past but this piece from today’s Guardian is the best debunking yet of the apocalyptic strain of genetic futurology that dominates the pop consciousness at the moment.

“But when it comes to direct genetic enhancement – engineering babies with genes for desirable traits – there are many reasons to be sceptical. Not only is genetic enhancement not inevitable, but it is not particularly likely in our lifetimes. This skepticism comes from three sources: the limits of futurology, the science of behavioural genetics, and human nature itself.”

Neocon update

David Levine's Richard Perle from the NYRB
If you’re trying to keep up with the progress of the hyper-adapted neocon meme – coming soon to a democracy near you – this very good NYRB article by Elizabeth Drew might help. Personally (and speaking as a leftie who supported the war and thus probably the perfect target demo for the whole neocon project), I’m open-mouthed in awe at the progress through the Western body politic of this unlikely ideological virus.

The contemporary British family revealed

Our friend Fiona Kenneth has made two wonderful programmes in a series of programmes about modern relationships, called Mr & Mrs. This is great documentary making in an important British tradition – a steady eye and some amazingly revealing material. I hope someone is planning to keep this stuff for future historians. The programmes are on BBC2, Wednesdays at 9:50 pm for the next three weeks.


Bill Gash, one time commercial head for Yahoo! UK and the motor behind an occasional gathering of Internet old lags called Netvets, is shown auctioning the legendary December 1996 edition of UK Wired Magazine for charidee at tonight’s annual Netvets barbecue. If you can name any of the gang of miscreants shown on the front cover of this issue I’ll give a few more quid to Crisis Fair Share, the beneficiary of the auction. Thanks to Bill and to the nice people at i-level for hosting the event.