Monthly Archives: July 2008

Mike meets Parris in Great Portland Street

I BUY THE TIMES of London every day, and for only one reason, because I used to work for David Aaronovitch at the National Union of Students (NUS) and I don’t like his column that much, defector from the Grauniad that he is. I buy The Times for Matthew Parris’ columns.

Matthew Parris used to be the lobby correspondent on The Times, was once a member of the mother of all parliaments, and I buy the paper so I can read his column, twice a week. I can always skip Aaronovitch.

Today,  I was lucky enough and Parris was unlucky enough that we briefly crossed paths with each other at  Great Portland Street tube.

I was headed up the stairs and briefly chatted with him – once I recognised him,  I said how much I admired his writing. I envy his writing style. He was gracious and modest about his skills, acknowledging me as a fan boy and a fellow journo. At the top of the stairs, I asked him if the yellow shirt he was wearing was a new one. He looked at me with a sharp glance and then laughed, because obviously I had read this column.

It is certainly worth paying an extra 20 pence or so to get his wit and wisdom, even if he sometimes has to scrabble around in fountains and get “Kim” to bale him out by giving him a quid. I’m not sure about his grey suit, but his yellow shirt certainly looks like it was a bargain.

Louis Vuitton [who he?] continues to loom over Bengalaru airport

WHEN I FLEW out of Bengalaru airport last week on a BA fright early in the morning, I took care to get what can be called a “juxtaposition” shot.

This carefully taken photograph below shows a full ashtray, a lonely soul pushing a trolley, and the Louis Vuitton suitcase which is not a walk-in restaurant, as some of my Indian readers have suggested.

India is banning smoking everywhere from the 2nd of October except for in the street.

The BIAL airport is suitably “iconned” – with Departures and Arrivals correctly signalled.  Departures in Sanskrit is Prasthan – I can’t read Kannada yet. Arrivals is Agamana – that’s Sanskrit too but I think it means “coming”, not “arriving”. The two verbs are different.

I was struck at 3AM in the morning by some very very fat sparrows – we call them spuggies in Britain – who seemed to be enjoying the scraps from the Subway restaurant (pictured).

They’re inside the terminal too – opportunistic little birds them spuggies  are. The wild dogs couldn’t be spotted this time round. They must have hunted in packs elsewhere, perhaps tracking down Easycab (sic) and Reliance Merucabs’ drivers while they were dozing, hoping for a fare.

When I went through “Prasthan” which I believe means “out of the country” in Sanskrit, I noticed that the bookshop was still not very well stocked. But the parfumiers, the tobacconists and the vendors of booze were well stocked indeed.  Bengaluru is a charming place, all in all. The city council must prevent the wholesale destruction of beautiful trees. In Bengaluru there are wheelie bins, far more efficiently processed than in the UK, far as I can see.  But so far without microchips…

Hardware man confesses: “I love the smell of a PCB”

IN CASE you ever wondered why some people spend all their active working lives reviewing motherboards and the like, we seem to have discovered the answer.

They’re addicted. Not addicted to the fabulous technology on a motherboard, oh no, but to the smell of a newly created mobo. A printed circuit board. A PCB.

According to an ubergeek journalist into this hardware stuff, he’s not the only one similarly addicted. “Lots of hardware journalists” have admitted to him they have a similar problem.

So all you need to do if you want to attract a hardware journo to your wares is to create a spray –  Eau de Mobo – apply it your product such as a fan, a heatsink, a capacitor or whatever, and you’re almost guaranteed a review. I need a drink.

So farewell Centre of Laundry Excellence!

WE BID A sad bye bye to the Centre of Laundry Excellence – otherwise known as the Executive Inn on 12th Main, Bengaluru last week, close to the ESI Hospital, the Shiva Shakti temple, and the Kali shrine.


If onions weren’t aphrodisiacs we would be pretty sure that we would have jammed a few into our eyeballs and let the eye monsoon break free.

Something  bizarre happened during our last week at this excellent guest house. The breakfast area, now famous for its poached eggs, was totally transformed into a Zoroastrian restaurant, complete with winged bulls and that.

We believe the Zoroastrian restaurant opened today. We wouldn’t know.


We’re back in Blighty and the trip to Bengaluru airport only took 45 minutes this time round, thanks to Reliance car service Meru.


These guys at Meru Taxis work between 15 and 24 hours a day and it really is a miracle that they manage to stay awake while ferrying people backwards and forwards from BIAL.

We are sure international visitors arriving at BIAL will be highly impressed by the packs of wild dogs running around and barking and sometimes biting each other. They’re after scraps. There is a big debate in Bengaluru about wild dogs. The consensus is they shouldn’t be decked.

Nvidia, ATI legal PDF is here

ThIS IS THE PLACE to host a PDF relating to a story on The IT Examiner, which you can find here. And this is the PDF in question – nvid.

Kali shrine is close to Laundry Centre of Excellence

JUST A FEW yards away from the Centre of Laundry Excellence – the prize winner in every Google poll – is a Kali shrine. The locals call the goddess Kali some other name down this neck of the woods in Ole Bengaluru.

A fence separates the mundane from the spiritual – you can detect the car trying to encroach on the spiritual from the pic below. This shrine is carefully tended. It is a mound covered with flowers underneath a beautiful spreading tree. We doubt that commercial incursions into Indiranagar can ever wipe out these centres of ancient excellence.

Security guy gets cap as demolition starts anew

WE’RE GLAD to report that the poor security guard pictured a few days on this bog has now got a smart new cap to go with his uniform.

He works all day every day, and as far as we can tell sleeps on site too.

We’re not so glad to report that a rather handsome house next door to our office is due for demolition. The rather nice Indiranagar district is being trashed at the altar of the Great God Commerce.

The coconut tree in its precincts can’t apparently go, because it’s considered very bad form and luck to chop these trees down. But the scaffolding and tarpaulins have already gone up. We used to write construction stuff a lifetime ago. Unlike China, where they use bamboo, in India wood scaffolding is bound together with rope to create the superstructure.

Pretty soon, we guess, we’ll see the whole place downed and soon enough it will have a security guard whose uniform will get smarter by the day. Progress! ♥

Laundry Wars: Mike Magee’s knickers exposed

NOW THAT WE have reached the dizzying heights of number one and number two when you search for “laundry wars” on Google, we thought it was time to reveal the secrets behind the stories.

Many of our reader – yeah that’s right – one reader, has asked how our laundry is packaged when it turns up as it infallibly does. Here are the facts. The laundry turns up in a brown paper bag. In the case of this shot, one brown paper bag. Thus we have ripped apart one bag – or as Isuppli has it “torn down” one bag, which sits on top of three other unmutilated brown bags.

I trust you find my knickers to be in good taste, my socks to be in good repair, and my jeans to be clean and spanking old!

The kinks have really got me

I’VE BEEN WATCHING the building site across the road from the Centre of Laundry Excellence closely, ever since Jack the Woodchopper downed a very old tree by the old fashioned method, using a very very small axe.

A week or so ago, a large number of bent iron rods was delivered and they sat there for a few days until a couple of lads tipped up. Their job is to unbend the iron rods so that they could be used to build the shuttering for the concrete architectural wonder that will undoubtedly rise from the huge pit given time and an infinite workforce.

This is how they unbend the rods. One holds one end while the other runs into the road and swiftly unkinks the main bend in the rods and then unbends the other lesser bends to make a straight rod. This also means, no doubt, that somebody at the steel factory or at the distributor is bending the rods to make them easier to transport.

But running out into the road to the first unbend the rod makes the lads’ jobs very very tough because the traffic on this road never entirely stops.

You will notice a little mini-construction in the picture above. This, last week, is where the security man lived, to prevent the bent and unbent rods being made off with. Things have changed, I am pleased to report.

Yes! The security guard has got his own very little hut in which he can sit all day being absolutely bored to distraction guarding the bent and unbent rods. You will notice there is still a little unbending to do. We have watched the security guard (not pictured) throughout the day – what is going through his mind as he sits inside his little box?

He could be reading books or writing books, he could be learning languages or creating ideas which will change the world. All we know is he has got a very smart security guard’s suit, and doesn’t have to squat under the previous mini-construction. This, we think, is a very good thing.

Pub capital of India to license “taverns”

FLYING BACK from Chikkiville (trademark Mad Mike Magee 2008), we chanced on the secondmost  top story on the front page of today’s Times of India. Now this is Masala News.  It is about “taverns”. The top story is about Congress and politics. The news editor obviously decided to spice up the front page.

It appears that for only Rs 5,000 you can open a “tavern” in Bengaluru which serves not beer, not spirits but wine. The journo writes that “tavern culture” is quite common in the West. Indeed, according to the newspaper, the “tavern” held a proud place in the culture of the United States in the 18th century.

In the 20th century we called them “wine bars” and they sold food along with wine. One of the more famous was a bar in Covent Garden called “Brahms and Liszt”. No one was so vulgar as to deck a pint of wine there, or ask for a “breezer”. Yet numerous bottles of wine were consumed, while creative subjects were discussed, a bit like the “coffee bars” of the antecedent centuries.

But plenty of bottles of the finest wine were consumed, along with food. And you could smoke. Yes, wine bars are coming to Bangalore, it appears.