Thursday, February 02, 2012

The King is Dead, Long Live the Queen 60 Years On

Sixty years ago George VI died of his lung cancer at Sandringham Palace out in Kenya the young Princess didn't know for some hours. She returned by plane a week after he had seen her off. To mark that Diamond Jubilee here is how, the event was reported.

Here is some footage of her coronation the following year.

The public perception of the Queen has often been one of seriousness of purpose, but of course over her 85 years and 60 years as Monarch there have been occasional glimpses of some of her lighter side.

Monday, May 09, 2011

I've moved

To find my up to the minnute blogging please follow the link below.

Also check your blogroll or other tracking source if you have me listed some of you are still linking to here.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

RIP Elisabeth Sladen (Sarah Jane Smith)

A young Elisabeth Sladen with K-9
The BBC has just confirmed the news that I was seeing across Twitter when I got in a few moments ago. Elisabeth Sladen the actress best known as Sarah Jane Smith companion to both Jon Pertwee and Tom Baker's Doctor as well as appearing with with David Tennent and Will Smith has passed away aged 63.

As a result of her appearance along with K-9 in that David Tennent story School Reunion she was given what was her second spin off series The Sarah Jane Adventures having previously been in the short-lived K-9 and Company in the 80s.

The new generation of Doctor Who fans including my nephews will always have as their first companion Rose Tyler as played by Billie Piper. For people of my vintage the first companion we remember is Sarah Jane. So her return to the new series was like us revisiting our childhood. Indeed when she left the series in 1976 serial The Hand of Fear it was the first time that the leaving of a companion caused as much media interest as the previous three Doctors leaving.

She first appeared as an investigative reporter when the Doctor himself was undercover to the Smith and Jones was born, the Doctor used in the pseudonym Jones when he needs to have a last name. But she also was the first of the companions to actually have a strong personality and really be able to get some solutions even before the Doctor managed which is why she stands out as a iconic assistant. She will be sadly missed amongst the Whovians from here to the co-ordinates of Gallifrey, although I suspect some lifeforms within metal containers may well CEL-LE-BRATE. However, I'm sure if they do so in front of the Doctor his sonic screwdriver may well get revenge for us all.

Elisabeth Sladen 1948-2011

Not all sports are first past the post

By Bob Moran in The Guardian 19 April 2011
The above cartoon in this mornings Guardian was to some up the two cross party events yesterday by the Yes and No campaigns in the AV referendum. However, it also draws to mind the No2AV literature which starting arriving on people doormats yesterday morning as well. There were three sportsmen from three different sports featured inside.

The first was Amir Khan the boxer, the timing of his appearance in this literature couldn't have been worse timed. At the weekend Khan retained his title when a doctor stepped in to controversially say that a cut above Khan's opponent eye was too bad for the fight to continue. The thing is in boxing there such event do occur, on Saturday Khan was ahead on points at the time the doctor intervened, but there have been occasions when the boxer leading on the judges score cards has been deemed unable to continue because of a cut. Sometimes such cuts are also the result of illegal actions earlier in the fight like a boxer using the thumb of his glove, or rubbing heads together. Even if the referee has giving warnings or point deductions for such activity if this results in the other boxer eventually bleeding, the fight could be stopped and given to the opponent who may have cheated and may have been trailing to get that far.

The second was Olympic rower Sir Steve Redgrave. Redgrave took part in one of the events that has a strange route to getting to the finals of an event the repechage. This is a way that the rowers who didn't quite qualify for the final as of right in their heats have a second race in which to do this. Redgrave himself is not superhuman and has had off days that have necessitated going through a repechage to get to a final. He's even come through a repechage and gone on to win gold at World Championships. If he'd been trying to qualify for a USA or Kenyan position in a Olympic team athletics event there would have been no repechage no second change, the top three only get to go to the Olympics there is no discretion for the selectors. Yet Redgrave and other rowers do benefit from having that second change within their sport at the highest levels.

The final choice is Sir Bobby Moore the captain of the 1966 England World Cup football sq. Yet in football we now have the misnomer of a Champions League, when in some cases the team that has come 4th in their national championship can go on to lift the title, unlike in the old European Cup where the national champions and the holders fought it out over knockouts from the start. Even as a Liverpool fan I have to admit that our 5th title in 2005 was achieved from just such a position, champions of Europe despite not being champions of England since 1990. Or teams can lose out on aggregate to a team in the various group stages and then go on to win the trophy. There has even been cases of teams being unbeaten on the way through losing out to a team that had lost in the group stages going out on away goals after two draws in the knock out stages.

Football like boxing or rowing is a game where the team that is leading at the first stage isn't always the winner at the end. As Kris Akabushi said when he appeared at a Yes2AV event even in the 100m at the Olympics there are the first and second round and semi-finals. It is rare that the eventual champion will have won every round of that race. What is important is that they win on the final round. Just like Alternative Vote it is getting over the final line, the one that is set at 50%, the one that doesn't move that is important. That will lead to more competitive elections where you are the IPPR report said yesterday.

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Gabrielle Giffords shot, child dead and staffers and others injured

Rep. Giffords with her husband Capt. Mark E Kelly NASA Astronaut
The news this evening that Democratic Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords has been shot  point blank shot to her head while out campaigning is harrowing news. The fact that some of her staffers and others in the grocery store when she was holding her first Congress on Your Corner were hurt or killed sadly highlights that in some cultures where guns are readily available, reaching out into the community isn't always safe. The fact is that a nine year old child has died and eight others are being treated, four others along with the congresswoman in a critical state.

Read the rest of this post here.

The blog has now moved, please make it your News Years Resolution to update you blogroll, blog reader etc to

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

The Day the Music Died Twice ; 4 January 2011

I have a confession to make.

Well not so much a confession as any of you who knew me in the 80s will know I walked around school, blazer sleeves rolled up, the hair as big and up (as an athlete could have it without causing blindness by sweaty hair gel), and a dash of colour in the paper clips on the label. Any one who has seen me since will know my aversion to still wearing anything covering the end of my arms as a result.

Yes I was a...

Read the full article here

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Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Anne Francis Stars in Forbidden Planet 1930-2011

Anne Francis with Robbie the Robot in a still
to advertise Forbidden Planet
As Jennie and others noted yesterday the acting world lost Pete Postlethwaite, but the day before we lost one of the stars who warranted her own line in Science Fiction Double Feature the opening song over the titles of The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Yes Anne Francis may have starred in Forbidden Planet (1956) but...

Read the full article here

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Friday, December 31, 2010

How did I do with my predictions for 2010

Well with a minute to go to midnight how did I do with my bloody obvious predictions from last year.

1. There will be a General Election this took place on May 6th

2. The boat race will be won by Oxford....or of those two teams at any rate. Yeah, I was right here too.*

3. The ice and snow currently covering large swathes of Scotland will melt. It did, the last from out the back of my house in Bathgate melted in March.

4. During the Football World Cup in South Africa there will descent from players against at least one official. Take you pick of a number of incidents.

5. There will be new boxing world champions....what you want the divisions, belts etc?...hey these are the bleeding obvious predictions not Nostradamus or some Mayans. Yes.There were quite a few changes check here.

6. Talking of Mayan's somebody somewhere during the year will point out that the end of the Mayan calendar has happened before, and if only some Mayan were creating new far reaching calendars the film 2012 might not have happened. Need to check this one

7. There will be 5 men and 5 women nominated for the best Actor and Actress awards for the 2010 Academy Awards. Yes they were Morgan Freeman, Jeff Bridges, George Clooney, Colin Firth, Jeremy Renner, Meryl Streep, Sandra Bullock, Helen Mirren, Gabourey Sidibe and Carey Mulligan. 

8. David Cameron will smile, look pensive and wave. Yes, he did all of this on the day he walked in number 10 for the first time.

9. Gordon Brown will look glum, look glummer and try not to smirk again. Yes he did the first two quite a lot during the general election. He may have tried and failed with the last during the leaders debates.

10. The Earth will do a complete circuit of the Sun, the moon will make approximately 13.4 orbits of the earth and Vogon Constructor Ships will not demolish us to make way for a Hyperspace least not this year.  Yes, result and not a Vogon in sight.

Of course I also made some considered predictions

So how did they go?

1. Britain will take their best return ever in the Winter Olympics with 5 medals. We'll start with the local pair Sinead and John Kerr who will win their first Olympic medal. Zoe Gillings will snowboard her way to the podium and not to be outdone in form Chemmy Alcock will bring her best to the piste to also lift a medal. On the bobsleigh track two Britons Amy Williams and Shelly Rudman will stand on the podium in the women's skeleton bob. Only Amy medalled, even though it was Gold it was not GB&NI's best performance.

2. The results of the General Election in Scotland give Labour 28, Lib Dems 16, SNP 13, Tories 2. Labour 41, Lib Dem 11, SNP 6, Tories 1. Miserable fail but I would still have guessed more for everyone bar Labour at 7am on polling day.

3. After the result and Gordon falling on his schian dubh, the Milliband brothers tie up most of the remaining Labour MPs nominations between them. Inspired by the Polish President and Prime Minister, or maybe Jedward they decide to run a joint leadership bid. They try to use the name Dedward Milliband, although rumours that Louis Walsh, or PM Cameron are going to either sue or use the 'deadwood' sounding name they decide on Edvid instead. Well they did tie up most of the Labour nominations, some of their supporters lent their nomiation to get Diane Abbott on the ballot. Of course there was no joint leadership bid but they were the last two standing.

4. Andy Murray will win a Grand Slam this year....(I know I said that last year). If he hasn't won the Australian watch out for the US Open. He will reach the semi-finals in all four (if he is fit). Came mighty close to this one in the Austrailian he was leading 6-3, 7-6, 3-0 before Federer came back to win it in 5 leaving Andy in tears. He didn't reach the semi-finals in all four and didn't blame injury for either the French or US exits (although he had a number of trainer calls out in New York).

5. Michael Schumacher will win two of the first three races of the F1 season, but a shunt mid-season brings his comeback to an end when he aggravates old injuries. Oops! Schumey failed to impress upon his return, no major craches ended his career either.

6. Team Sky Rider Bradley Wiggins will ride along the Champs d'Elysee behind his Green Jerseyed compatriot Mark Cavendish to the best finish ever by a Brit in the Grand Tour when he podiums. Brad said himseld he'd done badly in preparing. A couple of crashes cost Cav a close run in the Green jersey. But he won all the sprints he took part in at the line.

7. The Church of Scotland to stop the anti-gay grouping in the church continually breaking the moratorium of silence over homosexual ministers will bring forward a decision on the issue at this years General Assembly. Err no. There are still whispers on this one but it will come to an end at this years General Assmebly, I predict fireworks.

8. Russell T. Davis after bringing back Doctor Who announces that he is try it again. He plans to bring back to the small screen Charlie's Angels with a twist, Charlie is female and the angels are a mixture of male and female eye candy. No word from RTD on this.....yet.

9. A small group of Premier League footballers hold a joint press conference to announce that they are gay. Football fans are surprisingly supportive with the news. Fans of both sets of fans drowning out the homophobic numpties who try and make something of it. Still no out gay footballers in the Premier League and as Qatar have been awarded the 2022 World Cup to Homophobic comments from the FIFA President I don't think it will happen soon, at least not willingly.

10. Strictly Come Dancing sees the return of Arlene Philips as a judge in the new five judges format.Still no Arlene on the main show. She has her own show in development though.

* For the record it was Cambridge that won on 3 April 2010

My Rollercoaster Year

Those of you who know me ought to be aware that I love a big, fast rollercoasters. I really need to go back to the States and experience some of the new rides since last I was there (1996). However, this year has certainly been one hell of a rollercoaster ride with its highs and lows, switchbacks and unexpected turns.

This time last year I was sitting in Bathgate, looking forward to kick starting the local Lib Dems into the General Election year, then onwards to the Scottish Elections and the council elections beyond. The same old routine as laid out by the election cycles. Or so I thought.

Sure enough the year started out in just that manner. On St. Patrick's Night I was selected as the Prospective Parliamentary Candidate (PPC) again for Linlithgow and East Falkirk, with Charles Dundas once again my colleague in the other seat for the local party, Livingston. In the end I came third once more, was agent to Kieran Leach in neighbouring Falkirk (in which campaign I met some new friends). But I was very disappointed on the night that Kevin Lang in Edinburgh North and Leith and Fred MacIntosh in Edinburgh South had done exactly what the party thought was required to win only to no get elected as MPs.

Well eight days after the General Election I had my CV in to start the selection process for the Edinburgh Central seat  for the Scottish elections next May. So there wasn't any real rest between the elections cycles as I started to plot and plan just what I would have to do, first for the seat and then for the list. In the end after another solid 2/3 months of planning and canvassing local members it wasn't to be, but Alex Cole Hamilton had been selected.

So as I started to work for Alex and was settling down to work on the list selection process, which overlapped with the end of Edinburgh Central, I was brought to a sudden halt. Somehow in all the activity of the previous months I had managed to not notice that certain bills were not being paid, kind of major expensive ones. I tried to get finance from the bank but that wasn't happening. I then felt that the only way to deal with this was to return to Northern Ireland and proposed to work that I could continue to work for them from here. With time running out and me having a letter of notice to hand over if there was no decision on that day I was finally given the go ahead to be a home-worker.

So with that then came the task of packing up 9 years accumulated stuff and with the help of Michael completed Operation Evacuate at the end of August. I'd a week to settle in before I started work, but I was also looking for something a little more permanent over here because work, as close friends can attest, was getting me depressed in a major way, even before I moved over.

There then came an email from a friend saying "Have you seen this job?", I applied and found myself up against Michael for what were probably the most angst ridden two weeks in either of our lives. Until I finally was told the position was mine within an hour of a Nationwide conference call for Yes to Fairer Votes as the Northern Ireland Organiser. I just had time to talk to Michael before that call, and he has been a great help and support from that time on.

Since I've got back I hadn't been completely politically inactive, along with Michael we as local Liberal Democrats wrote a couple of responses to consultations from government departments. I've also been involved in the LGBT consultative forum, help establish Delga within the local party, been back across for Scottish conference. As well as attending two party conferences and meeting with others as part of the Yes to Fairer Votes drive.

This year I attended three Pride Parades Edinburgh, Glasgow and Foyle. Somehow I found the time and a person to fall in love with, though sadly that didn't go as I'd hoped. I've also been elected unto my new local party's executive committee as well as keeping up my record of being a conference rep, Sheffield and Birmingham here I come.

So what does 2011 hold?

For a start there is an referendum on May 5th, not the campaigning I expected to be taking up every waking and quite a few of the sleeping moments of my life. But there you are I'm working towards that and looking forward to getting back into the phonebank as people carry on talking to people across Northern Ireland about fairer votes.

After May, who knows. I have no idea what comes next.

Last year I felt that I'd love to find someone I could really connect with that didn't abhor the time I spent with politics and maybe settle down. Seeing as how intermittent my love life has been in the last twelve months it is almost like I am saving myself for that person. Maybe I might get lucky this year and find what I'm looking for in that department. My love life has been a bit of a roller coaster in recent years maybe I just want it to be a gentle punt down life's river from here on. But then knowing the passion I put into things maybe not.

After May I'll be looking for a new job. No idea that that will actually be yet, have an idea what I'd like it to be just need to see if there are openings that I can fill, it may mean a move once more, it may mean staying right here, I just don't know and nobody is able to tell me the answer to that right now. So it looks like 2011 might be another roller coaster year as well.

Stay tuned I'll return to blogging full time in May.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The "Weekly" Show with Jon Stewart #More4 #Fail

As a political geek one of my secret passions, though I guess not now, is to sit down at 8:30 to watch The Daily Show with Jon Stewart on More4. It's on late enough that if I am in on the evening I will have caught my daily news fix, or if I've done a little campaigning I can often fit in in just after I've finished, then do the news junkie bit.

Rumours that all Americans don't get sarcasm and satire are quickly dispensed by watching this show. The fact it is on Daily means that it covers a lot of ground to fill its slot. Of course some of it is better satirically than other parts of it, but all of it makes you sit up and think.

Therefore this morning when someone pointed out this Guardian story that instead of the four nights of the The Daily Show Tues to Friday with the round up The Daily Show: Global Edition on Monday, we were being restricted to a diet of just the latter I was upset. The reason being that they wanted to schedule more high end American programming. So I wrote the following to Channel 4.

I understand from this morning's Guardian that the Channel is to cut our daily doses of the high-end American satirical take on politics down to the once weekly highlight package the Global Edition.

I'm rather disappointed at this decision as this is the one show I tend to come home to sit down and watch either before or between catching up on the rolling news channels. The Global Edition while invariably picking up what the US editors believe to be the highlights often miss out some of the things that I personally enjoy from the shows through the week. Some of the stuff that has been missed out often leads me to looking more in depth at some of the actual news coverage of that item, because it is often lacking from the UK centric news that is available most readily.

I would ask you please to reconsider this decision.

I got a curtesy email saying someone would get back to me within 7 days. I thought that isn't isn't going to happen, but then I returned from lunch to find this:

Dear Mr Glenn,

Thank you for contacting Channel 4 Viewer Enquiries regarding THE DAILY SHOW WITH JON STEWART.

Thank you for your e-mail.  We are sorry to read that you are disappointed about More4's decision to discontinue showing The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, however, you will still be able to view The Daily Show Global edition every Monday night from the new year.

Please be assured your complaint has been logged and noted for the information of those responsible for our programming.

Thank you again for taking the time to contact us. We appreciate all feedback from our viewers; complimentary or otherwise.


Grace Dawson
Channel 4 Viewer Enquiries

Please note that while my initial email did acknowledge the Global Edition I said that in my opinion it was not enough. The Global Edition does tend to emphasis the world news featured more in the week and miss out a lot of the localised American stuff, but often this content is what makes me dig deeper, I'm that sort of creature. Curiosity doesn't kill this cat, it's what I thrive on.

Clearly I have merely got a standard response from somebody trying to clear their inbox before they leave for Christmas. Sadly it failed to address the point I was making. People who take the line that they 'appreciate all feedback from our viewers; complimentary or otherwise', should really learn to listen to that rather than regurgitate standard responses because the name of a programme or product crops up in the right box.


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