Monthly Archives: October 2009

I meet Rabelais in Jericho

AT the Mind shop in Walton Street, Jericho, today I rediscovered an edition of Gargantua and Pantagruel by Rabelais – a first limited edition of 750 copies, my copy is 411. It’s a very beautiful set of two volumes.

I snagged it. It only cost 20 quid. I think that I will have to contribute to Mind more than I take from it.

Let me give you another example of my awful egoism. I won a bottle of boiled sweets in a central Oxford shop – the question was to guess the number of sweets. I guessed 93. I was right. As the lass said, not bad for a 50 pence donation to a charity. I’d just been to the dentist.  I should have banged in another two quid to the charity, at least.

I have this notion that I am taking more out of the world than I am giving. I blame the semiconductor companies. They’re easy to blame.  I guess I’d better go back and give some more money to Mind. ♦

Hill and Knowlton screw up@Hackenflacks awards

THE FLACKENHACK awards are some sort of PR gig where the booze runs out early.

I’ve been to one. Lest you have any doubts about this, PRs, generally speaking, despise journalists. Mike Hardwidge didn’t, and Bill Moores doesn’t, but they are totally exceptional.

At an Intel Developer Forum a few years back, my son was standing near the front of the piano bar when one Dan Snyder walked in. My son was then a hack but Dear Dan didn’t know that.

The minute he walked in and saw me, he said “f***** Mike Magee, f***** Mike Magee.”

Tazz is a bit of a rebel. Heck he’s doing PR these days. So when he went to the Flackenhack Awards the other day, he bumped into a spinner from Hill & Knowlton,  a spinner for the Intel Corporation, and asked him what he thought of Mike Magee.

“He’s a f***** t***”, said the spinner. Why’s that, asked my son, faux innocently. “He totally screwed us at the Intel Developer Forum,” said the H&K guy. “He’s my dad,” said Tazz.

Funny how things come around in the end, eh?  Heck. ♥

You got to search for the HTC Hero inside yourselves

MET MY son last night in the Coach & Horses, Great Marlborough Street – a pub that holds many memories for me. I can’t tell you about them all.

In true rebellious spirit, Tazz is now a spinner trying to sell stories to us hacks. But he was greatly enthused by his HTC Hero phone.

It’s got the tilt and spin an iPhone has but better than that, there’s dozens of apps that are free – such as a metal detector yeah. And it works. He tried it on the metal plate in my right leg and it worked. He tried it on my sapphire ring yeah and it worked. It doesn’t just detect ferro-magnetic materials.

It didn’t find the few gold coins I hide up my bum in case of emergencies. That’s good!

Bosch Bosch! Bosch promotes kids’ interest in science, engineering

A PROJECT sponsored by the Royal Academy of  Engineering and sponsored by Bosch really captures our interest, a lot.

The Bosch Technology Horizons Award is an essay writing competition aimed at young people aged between 14 and 24. It’s in its fifth year.

The idea is that a short essay encourages the kids to explore engineering and technology topics – the subject this year being “Is engineering and technology essential for future development?”

The competition has two age categories – 14 to 18 and 19 to 24 years old. First prize for the younger group is £700 and second place $350.

The older group attracts a first prize of £1,000 and a second prize of £500 – there are five runner up prizes in both categories.

The deadline is the 22nd March 2010.

CEO of the Royal Academy of Engineering Phillip Greenish said: “Advances in engineering have formed the cornerstone of civilisation and responsible development in the future will rely heavily on engineers and technologists.”

Enthusiastic youngsters should go here to discover more.

This picture puzzles me

I CAN SING A rainbow – or in Hindi an Indradhanush. How come I took this pic and only just found it?


Only in Oxford: an occasional series

WE HAVE IT ON very reliable authority that when Al Murray tips up at Borders later this month, the resident landlord will not be unrelated to the landlord of the Rose & Crown on North Parade.

Oxford is always messing about with roads and pavements. Here’s a helpful piece of advice if you want to get run over on the crossing between the Randolph Hotel and the Ashmolean. It appears to be on the deck.


How strange to be a Daddy Long Legs

THERE’S A Daddy Long Legs – a Crane Fly –  sitting on the window of the Tower of Light, most beautiful creature when you look at it closely.

It’s been a leatherjacket for quite some time, gnawing away at grass roots, and then it’s pupated and now it’s flying. It’s so fragile that when you catch one in a house, you have to be careful that its long legs don’t just fall off.

Hard time to fly too, it being autumn and the spiders growing and growing, just waiting for a Daddy Long Legs to fly into a web. No doubt that’s why the legs fall off so easily.

What must it be like to be grubbing around for ages, going to sleep for a while and then finding you’re out in the open air, ready to fly?

There’s still a little wasp flying round here, looking for victims to kill and take back to the nest. Wasps get a very bad press – they only start bugging people when the grubs stop being produced by the queen of the nest and the workers don’t get their sugar ration.

I can’t remember being in my mother’s womb, and I doubt the Crane Fly knows any more than me.

MY FORMER EDITOR@ has started a new site with stacks of writers.

That lovely man Wolfgang Gruener has created the site. It’s called Single Parent Gossip, and it’s here.

I’m not sure about this Celtic blackberries thing – perhaps it’s because I’m from Pictland. Mostly we collected the brambles in Pictland around about August, near Dyce Airport.

I wouldn’t go so far as to say it is wrong, however. I am not a TG Daily reader, just a writer.

Would my bum look big in this?

I BOUGHT – yeah bought an Intel t-shirt while I was at the Intel Developer Forum last week.

Because bum doesn’t have the same meaning in the USA as it does in the UK. Bum here means arse here and ass there. Bum also means street bums.  So I was with Rupert Goodwins and he suggested we buy loads of the t-shirts and give them out to the various bums on the street to wear.

Still, at this price tag, maybe we’d be better off organising a shelter or something. Of course with this particular “bum”, Intel is signifying its rather famous jingle, which you can hear here, if you want to.

Bum, bum, bum, bum, bum, bum, bum bum, bum

Bum, bum, bum, bum, bum, bum, bum bum, bum