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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The last date the TWIL podcasts will be available from Libsyn will be the 15th March 2012. After that time I may keep a single archive file somewhere for download. If I am able to do that I will update this note.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Going offline...

I will be cancelling my subscription to Libsyn in the coming months. If you want to download any old shows please do so as soon as possible. Thank you.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Mandelson censors Jeremy Clarkson

I spotted this earlier by Jeremy Clarkson in the Times. Great article

Jeremy Clarkson
Sunday Times

I’ve given the matter a great deal of thought all week, and I’m afraid I’ve decided that it’s no good putting Peter Mandelson in a prison. I’m afraid he will have to be tied to the front of a van and driven round the country until he isn’t alive any more.
He announced last week that middle-class children will simply not be allowed into the country’s top universities even if they have 4,000 A-levels, because all the places will be taken by Albanians and guillemots and whatever other stupid bandwagon the conniving idiot has leapt

I hate Peter Mandelson. I hate his fondness for extremely pale blue jeans and I hate that preposterous moustache he used to sport in the days when he didn’t bother trying to cover up his left-wing fanaticism. I hate the way he quite literally lords it over us even though he’s resigned in disgrace twice, and now holds an important decision-making job for which he was not elected. Mostly, though, I hate him because his one-man war on the bright and the witty and the successful means that half my friends now seem to be taking leave of their senses.

There’s talk of emigration in the air. It’s everywhere I go. Parties. Work. In the supermarket. My daughter is working herself half to death to get good grades at GSCE and can’t see the point because she won’t be going to university, because she doesn’t have a beak or flippers or a qualification in washing windscreens at the lights. She wonders, often, why we don’t live in America.

Then you have the chaps and chapesses who can’t stand the constant raids on their wallets and their privacy. They can’t understand why they are taxed at 50% on their income and then taxed again for driving into the nation’s capital. They can’t understand what happened to the hunt for the weapons of mass destruction. They can’t understand anything. They see the Highway Wombles in those brand new 4x4s that they paid for, and they see the M4 bus lane and they see the speed cameras and the community support officers and they see the Albanians stealing their wheelbarrows and nothing can be done because it’s racist.

And they see Alistair Darling handing over £4,350 of their money to not sort out the banking crisis that he doesn’t understand because he’s a small-town solicitor, and they see the stupid war on drugs and the war on drink and the war on smoking and the war on hunting and the war on fun and the war on scientists and the obsession with the climate and the price of train fares soaring past £1,000 and the Guardian power-brokers getting uppity about one shot baboon and not uppity at all about all the dead soldiers in Afghanistan, and how they got rid of Blair only to find the lying twerp is now going to come back even more powerful than ever, and they think, “I’ve had enough of this. I’m off.”

It’s a lovely idea, to get out of this stupid, Fairtrade, Brown-stained, Mandelson-skewed, equal-opportunities, multicultural, carbon-neutral, trendily left, regionally assembled, big-government, trilingual, mosque-drenched, all-the-pigs-are-equal, property-is-theft hellhole and set up shop somewhere else. But where?

You can’t go to France because you need to complete 17 forms in triplicate every time you want to build a greenhouse, and you can’t go to Switzerland because you will be reported to your neighbours by the police and subsequently shot in the head if you don’t sweep your lawn properly, and you can’t go to Italy because you’ll soon tire of waking up in the morning to find a horse’s head in your bed because you forgot to give a man called Don a bundle of used notes for “organising” a plumber.

You can’t go to Australia because it’s full of things that will eat you, you can’t go to New Zealand because they don’t accept anyone who is more than 40 and you can’t go to Monte Carlo because they don’t accept anyone who has less than 40 mill. And you can’t go to Spain because you’re not called Del and you weren’t involved in the Walthamstow blag. And you can’t go to Germany ... because you just can’t.

The Caribbean sounds tempting, but there is no work, which means that one day, whether you like it or not, you’ll end up like all the other expats, with a nose like a burst beetroot, wondering if it’s okay to have a small sharpener at 10 in the morning. And, as I keep explaining to my daughter, we can’t go to America because if you catch a cold over there, the health system is designed in such a way that you end up without a house. Or dead.

Canada’s full of people pretending to be French, South Africa’s too risky, Russia’s worse and everywhere else is too full of snow, too full of flies or too full of people who want to cut your head off on the internet. So you can dream all you like about upping sticks and moving to a country that doesn’t help itself to half of everything you earn and then spend the money it gets on bus lanes and advertisements about the dangers of salt. But wherever you go you’ll wind up an alcoholic or dead or bored or in a cellar, in an orange jumpsuit, gently wetting yourself on the web. All of these things are worse than being persecuted for eating a sandwich at the wheel.

I see no reason to be miserable. Yes, Britain now is worse than it’s been for decades, but the lunatics who’ve made it so ghastly are on their way out. Soon, they will be back in Hackney with their South African nuclear-free peace polenta. And instead the show will be run by a bloke whose dad has a wallpaper shop and possibly, terrifyingly, a twerp in Belgium whose fruitless game of hunt-the-WMD has netted him £15m on the lecture circuit.

So actually I do see a reason to be miserable. Which is why I think it’s a good idea to tie Peter Mandelson to a van. Such an act would be cruel and barbaric and inhuman. But it would at least cheer everyone up a bit. onto in the meantime.

Guess what? It's gone

Red Rag to a Bull, I say.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Health and happiness

For those of you not already in the know, I've been a bit poorly of late.  For the avoidance of doubt, I am alive and well.


I spent two nights in Queen Elizabeths Hospital in Woolwich (QEH) early last week attached to lots of machines that go ping. Let me explain a little.

I had a massive dizzy spell a couple of Wednesdays ago which last about three hours. That Friday I came home from work and went straight to bed. On the Sunday, I had some weird shit going on in my chest which lasted a couple of hours. At that point I decided to go to the Doctor's if I had another dizzy spell.

I had that on Monday afternoon.

Monday evening I rocked up at the Quack's and she did some basic tests and sent me packing to the A&E department of QEH. There was a 6 hour wait but I gave them the note, was seen by triage in 10 minutes, had an ECG 10 minutes after that and was in the full blown Resus room within 30 minutes of arriving. They called Janet and she arrived to pick up the car only to see me attached to two drips and an ECG machine. My heart rate was 158bpm, blood pressure was all over the place and I had more drugs thrown at me than I care to remember. At least the Quack didn't hoick me off to QEH in an ambulance.

I was admitted that evening and spent the next three days attached to various drips and machines until I had an "echo cardiogram" which finally nailed my condition down to "atrial fibrillation". [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atrial_fibrillation]

I was released last Wednesday and am now back at work. I have boxes of hardcore heart and blood drugs to take so I've got a multi-day multi-dose pill box into which I have decanted a weeks worth of pills which should make it a bit easier to remember what to take and when. I have regular appointments with the Anticoagulation Clinic who monitor my INR (International Normalised Ratio - a measure of the ability of the blood to clot) and make sure my blood stays nice and non-sticky. The heart is not pumping properly at the moment (the speed is fine, it's just not doing it properly) so there is a risk that blood clots could form in the heart as a result of the blood not being completely flushed from the heart on each cycle. I am taking Warfarin (rat poison) to stop the blood from clotting - thus (hopefully) removing that risk.

The next step will be "cardioversion" which is essentially a rebooting of the heart with a jolt of electricity to put it back into normal rhythm. The last thing they want is for the heart to be rebooted and have all the gunge which has built up in the bit that isn't working properly blasted out into the bloodstream by a working heart. Blood clots in the blood stream are generally considered a bad thing (stroke, pulmonary embolism, deep vein thrombosis being some of the BAD that could happen). This is the reason for taking warfarin - to stop clots from forming. The cardioversion is booked for 24th July assuming my INR is between 2.0 and 3.0 for the two week period beforehand. General anasthetic but in and out in about 6 to 8 hours. The cardioversion should fix it completely but there is a risk it might come back in the future

So until then: no flying, no dramatic increase alcohol intake, no aspirin, no cranberry juice and no cutting myself with carving knives (oops, did that on Sunday, bled like a pig). I was due to go to the GSK in Orlando next week. That's been binned now.

The thing is I feel fine! On the outside I'm still me. I'm still active and okay. The machines in the hospital were telling a very different story though.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

This Week In London - Xmas Shout Out Podcast

Full shownotes to follow but here's a link


And a special video link to my favourite Christmas song. Evar!!!!!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Free Copy of London Nobody Knows and Les Bicyclettes de Belsize DVD


Here's a quick one for you. Send me an @parkylondon message on Twitter and give me a 140 letter or less reason why you should have it. The best Tweet (IMHO) will get a copy of the above DVD which has two films on it. "The London Nobody Knows" is particularly interesting as it shows London in the early sixties. It's a Region 2 (Europe) DVD but that shouldn't stop anyone with skillz from watching it! I'll let the competition run for 3 days from today so get cracking.

I was going to set up a competition in the show but have something else in mind - so here's a freebie.

Here's a review of the disk from Amazon. I couldn't say it better:

"This DVD consists of two films, 'The London Nobody Knows' and 'Les Bicyclettes De Belsize'. There are similarities in both films: both are short, the first 45 minutes, the second 30. Both were filmed in London, in colour, in the 1960's. And both are collector's items.

'The London Nobody Knows' is, as the title suggests, a look at some lesser known sights of London and is narrated by James Mason. We begin in an old music hall in Camden which is almost literally falling down. There is a sense of eery seediness here; one of the singers who performed here was the wife of the notorious Dr. Crippen. It was clearly a beautiful hall in its heyday, but was caught on film just before the very final curtain fell. We move through some street markets, and to an extraordinary sight in Holborn. Here we see a gas-lit gent's toilet, with, above the urinals, a fish tank- complete with living fish! Apparently some goldfish suffered the indignity of being moved into this tank (which really did house fish once) for the cameras, and were then safely taken back to a better place afterwards. Another old gents' toilet is shown down an alleyway, and it's in the style of the classic French pissoir- completely unexpected in London. We see an ornate gas lamp near the Savoy theatre which acts as a ventilation system for the sewer underneath. Is that still there I wonder? But this film is about people more than things, and we see a number of, mostly, men who are down on their luck. The Salvation Army Hostel provides a home for many, and Mason is seen chatting with a number of the men, all of whom seem quietly resigned to their lot. But this is not a film where the presenter intercedes too often; most of the time the director allows the camera itself to tell the tale. We can let our own minds decide what life journeys these men have experienced. There are true London characters too, the sort who seem to have disappeared off the streets altogether now. A couple of true street entertainers are shown, flamboyantly dressed. And one of the delights is seeing little incidentals; these entertainers take a break in the pub, and a pump on the bar is clearly visible- the dreaded Watney's Red Barrel! The Salvation Army band is seen marching the car-free streets, children in tow; remember that sight? And there is a really moving moment where a man, poor but obviously proud, sings a sad lament (in Hebrew or Yiddish, I think) whilst the demolition ball is seen crashing into walls, bringing them crumbling down. This is not a morose film though, far from it. A sense of community was just about hanging on in there in the sixties, and we see crowds of people everywhere. In the streets, in a huge family shop where all the staff wear white coats, in markets. And children actually lark around in the streets. This is all wonderful stuff, and is professionally filmed and edited.

The second film, 'Les Bicyclettes De Belsize', is a real oddity. It is more in the French style than the British, from the very opening which features a long continuous pan across the roofs of Hampstead Village. A very French-sounding song plays in the background. A man in underpants is seen escaping through an open window. Another man in underpants is seen, through a window, shaving. Then we see another chap, not in underpants, cycling across the roofs. As you do. This ultimately leads to him chasing a blonde beauty. Will there be a happy ending? Watch it and see. This film was photographed by Wolfgang Suschitsky, the father of the distinguished cinematographer Peter Suschitsky, incidentally, so again we are seeing a high quality production. It may not be your cup of tea, but you must see it.

Two outstanding and original films then. The picture and sound quality is excellent in both. There are no extras. You don't need them. I had just read that day's listings in Radio Times and seen what dross was on T.V, watched this DVD, then watched it all over again.

This is a collector's item; buy it while you can. "

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

I am sending emails!

To : Jennifer

I am sending replies - I sent a quick one today. Can you check your spam bin and see if my emails are in there? Could you let me know via email (so I know it's okay)

And yes, if it's possible I'd be happy to do that!