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

A sepia-toned black and white head-and-shoulders photograph of Lady Randolph "Jennie" Churchill, who probably didn't have a tattoo at all.
Lady Randolph “Jennie” Churchill, who probably didn’t have a tattoo at all.

Most news about Selfridges‘ new tattoo parlour mentioned the fact that Winston Churchill’s mother had a snake tattoo on her wrist, even The Guardian’s cheeky Pass Notes and the FT’s front page story. 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. And 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)

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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).

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Keeping an eye on Ofcom

I can’t tell from his weblog what Luke Gibbs does for a living but I think he’s going to save me a lot of effort by trawling the media to keep me up to date with the activities of Britain’s new ‘media super-regulator’, Ofcom. He also links to Russ Taylor’s Media Frenzy, which is mainly about Ofcom’s US model the Federal Communications Commission.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Cycling lawyer blogs…

Mark Lloyd has been my lawyer for years and is now keeping an interesting weblog – mostly about sporty things and cycling in particular – Mark’s passion. Should be worth watching during the Tour De France. Speaking of the Tour, The Observer’s excellent “cheat’s guide” is a jaw dropping account of drug abuse, short cuts, bribery and sabotage going back 100 years.

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