27 December 2022
[nostalgia] ‘Who remembers proper binmen?’ The nostalgia memes that help explain Britain today … A look at nostalgia memes popular within UK social media. ‘Worzel Gummidge. Sweets by the ounce. Icicles hanging from the window frame (“Before central heating!”). Miss World (“All natural. Not a bit of botox in sight”). The power cuts of 1972-4 (“we coped, we were strong”). Scrubbing and polishing your front steps (“That’s when people had pride in where they lived”). Outdoor toilets. Cigarette machines. Flares. Playing in bombsites. Jumping in puddles. Roland Rat. There are no births, marriages or deaths here, no wars, no world-historic events, no great men and women of history. There is no post asking “who remembers the Cuban missile crisis?” or “who remembers the sinking of the Belgrano?” Those questions are too remote from ordinary life. Over here, we have abacuses and Listen With Mother to talk about. The banality is the point. This is a world where a picture of three butter knives can attract 1,300 comments of fond recollections and reflections.’
27 December 2015
[uk] 14 Weird British Laws, Factchecked‘It is illegal to handle salmon in suspicious circumstances. True. This is illegal under the Salmon Act of 1986, apparently. Alas, the Law Commission did not elaborate on what counts as a suspicious way to handle salmon.’
5 October 2014
[life] 26 Times Waitrose Outright Ruined The Lives Of Decent People‘It would be much easier if Waitrose kept the carrot batons next to the houmous.’
18 September 2014
[scotland] This Is What It Will Be Like If Scotland Votes For Independence‘Queen: You lost a whole bloody country, you dishfaced twat.’

Angry Queen Punches PM

16 September 2014
[gif] The Thin Yellow Line … astounding animated GIF of a crowd leaving Wembley stadium. [via jzw]
11 August 2014
[life] Britain On Instagram Vs. Britain In Real Life … amusing comparison of pictures of Britain on Instagram with real life.
21 February 2014
[power] U.K. National Grid status … Statistics about the UK’s electicity supply in near real time … ‘Gridwatch was born, first of all to scrape the data off the BMreports site every 5 minutes and inject it into an SQL database where it would be easy to perform specific searches and do statistical analysis. Then, in a rather retro and humorous way, to display the data in terms of analogue instruments and moving graphs. This is pure personal amusement, I like dials and graphs.’ [via As Above]
30 June 2008
[water] Why I like Cryptosporidium … Mo Morgan reports in from Northampton on dealing with a contaminated water supply … ‘It has reminded me of the value of tap-water. Not only is it there in abundance when I need it, but also that somewhere or other is a team of people in lab-coats ensuring that it’s clean and safe. This is the first time in my life I’ve ever had to put even the slightest thought into whether or not the water’s clean. The truth is, the vast majority of the time, it’s exceptionally clean and safe thanks to an army of boffins and engineers I’ll never meet, and whom I’ve never really thought about before. It’s the oldest of clichés, but I am starting to appreciate drinking-water now that I don’t have it.’
20 October 2007
[blogs] Stephen Fry has a Blog — this is old news but it passed me by. He doesn’t do brief blog entries: ‘I don’t seem to be able to keep things brief. So my advice is that you read it in bits. Or print it out and save it for a rainy day or a recalcitrant motion.’
3 October 2007
[diana] 30 lawyers, 11 jurors and one angry billionaire – Diana inquest begins — Guardian report from the delayed inquest into the death of Princess Diana and Dodi … ‘As he spoke, the coroner’s words appeared in transcript on a screen above the court, like a teleprinter giving the Saturday football scores. The foreign words appeared mangled phonetically: Bastille became Bas eel, Orly transmogrified into Orally airport, Giovanni Versace appeared as January Verse Chi and, best of all, the paparazzi turned into pap rats.’
13 September 2007
[maddy] Madeleine: a grimly compelling story that will end badly for us all — Jonathan Freedland on the McCann Case …

Suddenly we have to hold two entirely contradictory thoughts in our head at the same time. For the McCanns have now either suffered the cruellest fate imaginable – not only to have innocently lost their beloved daughter but also to have been publicly accused of a wicked crime – or they are guilty of the most elaborate and heinous confidence trick in history, deceitfully winning the trust and sympathy of the world’s media, a British prime minister, the wife of the American president and even the Pope, to say nothing of international public opinion. One of those statements, both of them extraordinary, describes the truth. As a senior tabloid journalist put it to me yesterday: “They’re either the victims of a horrible smear which they will never fully escape or they are cold, psychotic killers” responsible for the death of their own child.

5 September 2007
[search] Chipwrapper — a search engine for UK newspapers (and BBC and Sky News). [via Pete Ashton]
15 August 2007
[change] Chaos Theory — The Guardian on the changeover to Digital TV and our attitudes to large cultural changes like Decimalisation …

The world’s first seven-sided coins started appearing in Britain’s purses and cash registers on October 14 1969 – strange, alien lumps of cupro-nickel alloy that were greeted with instant suspicion. Bus conductors and Tory MPs fretted that the new 50 pence piece would be mistaken for the old half-crown, causing chaos. Secret documents released years later showed that the Decimal Currency Board – the body charged with decimalising the country by February 1971 – was terrified that the Queen might die before the changeover was complete, forcing it to introduce a whole new set of coins. And according to the BBC, a retired army colonel named Essex Moorcroft founded an organisation called the Anti-Heptagonists, dedicated to eradicating the new 50p on the grounds that it was “ugly” and “an insult to our sovereign, whose image it bears.”

14 July 2007
[blogs] Dave Gorman’s Blog‘I’ve given in to the way of the blog.’
14 May 2007
[blogs] What Would A Group Blog by Daily Telegraph Readers be Like? — a collection of Links and Quotes from Blah Blah Flowers‘So the UK entry for Eurovision was saved the ignominy of nil point by its few European friends left in Ireland & Malta… Cast Terry Wogan and the dead hands at the BBC aside and let another public broadcaster like Channel 4, or even Sky (yes Sky) be given the reigns to enhance the image of the UK in Europe.’
6 May 2007
[funny] The Brain of Britain — amusing cutaway of what is in the brain of an Englishman … ‘BACKBONE!’
3 May 2007
[blogs] To The End Of The Line — another blog about the London Underground … ‘This is a hugely self-indulgent, yet also dangerously ambitious, undertaking. Namely, to document my visit to every single working station on the London Underground. It’ll take the best part of the year, so don’t except regular updates. It’ll also be far from objective, fairly presumptuous, and (hopefully) by no means earnest or exhausting.’ [via Feeling Listless]
1 May 2007
[blogs] Pole to Polar: The Secret Life of a Manic Depressive‘A Guide to Being A Mentally Interesting Girl Navigating the Labyrinth of the NHS Mental Health Services.’
28 April 2007
[weather] Rising Slowly – the original Weather Blog from Giles Turnbull.
26 April 2007
[blogs] In which Weird and Inexplicable Things Happen Involving Letters, Trees, Front Doors and Keys — Dave Gorman on why he’s changed his locks … ‘It was about 9.30 on Sunday night and I and a friend were watching some TV and having a lazy time of it. Pizza was involved and bellies were full. I heard a key in a door and I heard a door opening and there was a moment before I realised that it was my door opening. Now… no one else should have a key for mine and no one else should be letting themselves into my house at 9.30 on a Sunday evening…’ [via Feeling Listless]
25 April 2007
[blogs] The Diary of a Nobody, as a daily weblog‘This is a weblog version of The Diary of a Nobody, written by George Grossmith and originally serialised in Punch magazine in 1888 and 1889. Bringing Charles Pooter into the 21st century, his diary is now available as a selection of weblog-style RSS feeds which you can subscribe to…’ [via As Above]
13 April 2007
[bbc] spEak You’re bRanes — a blog on the wit and wisdom of the BBC’s Have Your Say Site… On the Falklands (I think!): ‘when jim challaan was pm thay got to know some how that the agies where going to invade the fslklands and thats all he did was send a nuclear submaren out there and let the argentenas know that it was waiting for them but we all knew what happened then maggie did she do the same as jim no she let them invade and she was told the same as jim that thay were abought to invade and look what it cost us’ [via The Daily Chump]
10 April 2007
[film] Charity Screening of An Inconvenient Truth — Sashinka has arranged a screening of Al Gore’s Documentary at the End of April for charity. Details below. Please support if you can by attending or if you’re not based in London you can donate by clicking here. Thanks!

ic thumbnail   Charity screening of Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth 

  Date: 29th April 2007
  Where: Tricycle Cinema, London
  Time: 12.30pm  Price:£12.50

  (or click to support Sasha’s Charity Mission to Moldova)
4 April 2007
[press] The Ten Things Most Likely to be on The Daily Express Front Page — Currybetdotnet analyses the Daily Express so you don’t have to … ‘I’ve looked at just over 150 stories which have been published on the front page of The Daily Express during the first three months of 2007, and I think I’ve come up with the definitive list of the ten most important things that have happened so far this year. Well, according to The Daily Express, anyway…’
12 March 2007
[blogs] Shaggy Blog Stories: a collaborative blog-stunt for Comic Relief — Mike at Troubled Diva is producing a self-published book of funny blog-entries from UK Bloggers for charity. (Submission deadline is 6pm tomorrow night – so don’t procrastinate about entering!) … ‘Occasionally, in my more delirious moments, I feel like the Anneka Rice of British blogging. At the Nottingham blogmeet on Saturday afternoon, I was tempted to run into the bar in a canary yellow jumpsuit, squawking “OK gang, we’ve got SEVEN DAYS to WRITE A BOOK!”‘ [quote from Mike’s Progress Report]
21 February 2007
[tv] 50 funniest Homer Simpson Quotes‘I’m normally not a praying man, but if you’re up there, please save me Superman.’ [via Limbicnutrition Weblog]
18 February 2007
[mail] You’ve got Mail! — Jon Ronson on Junk Mail … ‘It is slightly chilling to realise there are rational, functional people up there employed to spot, nurture and exploit those down here among us who are irrational and can barely cope. If you want to know how stupid you’re perceived to be by the people up there, count the unsolicited junk mail you receive. If you get a lot, you’re perceived to be alluringly stupid.’
28 January 2007
[politics] Downing Street E-Petitions: We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to replace the national anthem with ‘Gold’ by Spandau Ballet‘What we specifically want to see, is that the National Anthem be changed in favour of “Gold” by Spandau Ballet. Further, we would like our National Olympic Committee to decree that Tony Hadley is the only person permitted to handle medal ceremonies where the National Anthem is played. We don’t mind what he wears when he does this, but preference is given towards a a gold colured suit.’ [thanks Phil]
[blogs] Feeling Listless: ‘I was ten years old and owned a Raleigh Grifter.’
2 October 2006
[google] Eric Schmidt to address Tory conference — the Chairman and CEO of Google is speaking at the Conservative Party Annual Conference tomorrow … ‘Googling for policies?’
30 September 2006
[books] An Evening with J.G. Ballard — a transcript of an interview and questions with the author of Empire of the Sun and Crash‘At the end of the last century, people would ring me up and ask me my views about the future. I said I can sum up the future in one word — it’s going to be boring. Vast suburbs that extend around the planet: utter boredom, broken by acts of unpredictable violence. The man in the supermarket who opens fire with a machine gun. And the suicide bomber, a man who has nothing, setting off a bomb in a desperate way to prove himself. The idea of meaningless violence, which I looked at in my previous novel Millennium People, has a huge appeal. I can understand that. It’s in the roots of one’s childhood — all children smash their toys. The trouble, of course, is that people get killed.’ [via As Above]
26 September 2006
[911] Meet the No Planers — The New Statesman visits with David Shayler who has become one of the the UK’s prominent 9/11 conspiracy theorists. [thanks Phil] …

‘These 9/11 truth campaigners merely add a supposedly scientific gloss to already existing conspiracy theories, trying to make the ridiculous seem respectable. In the process, they actually do a disservice to “historical truth”. History gets reduced to a mysterious force beyond our control, and politics – real politics – is imagined to be the preserve of unknown, faceless puppet-masters whom we can never hope to influence. And the rest of us are reduced to the status of helpless spectators, searching amid the rubble of 9/11 and the aftermath of 7/7 for signs of truth and meaning.’

[headlines] Some interesting Evening Standard Headlines on Flickr: Headlines fron 1986 and Gay Bondage Classes on the NHS (from 1998) …


(My Evening Standard Headline Project continues here.)
24 September 2006
Jonathan King on YouTube — King is posting a series of autobiographical videos to YouTube – perhaps inspired by Geriatric1927. [via]
12 September 2006
[london] Dave Gorman is stopped and searched by the Police whilst taking a night-time picture of Battersea Power Station for his photostream on Flickr‘”Oh flickr!” said the WPC, stopping her form-filling for a moment. “I’ve got photos on there. Photos of my wedding from 7 weeks ago.” “Really?” I asked. “It’s good isn’t it? Oh… and congratulations on 7 weeks ago.” “Thanks,” she said with a smile. “So… have you ever been arrested?” “Err…. no”‘
9 September 2006
[movies] The Queen Trailer — it’s probably a very British thing but I’m really looking forward to watching Helen Mirren’s performance in a film about the Queen’s reaction to the death of Diana.
1 August 2006
[murder] 39 Years After Boy’s Murder, Police Arrest Two Men‘It was almost 40 years ago that a young grammar school boy set off on a sunny Saturday afternoon to buy a geometry set, still wearing his distinctive uniform as he wandered down a rural bridle path nick-named Happy Valley. Harold Wilson was in Downing Street and the new car sensation was the Mark 2 Ford Cortina, but both were wiped off the front pages by what happened to 12-year-old Keith Lyon before he reached the village store at Woodingdean, near Brighton. In a brief attack, he was stabbed 11 times in the stomach with a serrated kitchen carving knife after a mob of older teenagers from a rival school jumped him, according to local people, then left him to bleed to death on the path.’
26 July 2006
[london] The Hunt for the Killer Hairballs — great article about the men who flush out the sewers of London …

‘Fat is the bane of flushers’ lives. Millions of litres, from half-eaten breakfast dishes, chip-laden frying pans or fast-food joints, are tipped into sinks each day. Eventually they find their way into the sewers. They represent the effluence of affluence. They are the graffiti that the contemporary leisurepolis scrawls on subterranean environments. Thirty years ago the Thames, unloved and abandoned, created few problems for flushers; now, the river’s banks are congested with clubs, boozy eateries and art-complex gallery cafés, all of them disgorging fat.

I wade through some of it at Victoria Embankment. It is at once crunchy and spongy, like putrid bran. Brown and white and grey: a pigeon-shit potage sprinkled with an extra top layer of mop heads and tampons. Flushers tell stories of accidentally getting a gobful of the sewer flies that feed on the fat or of metal grating giving way so that they fall into eight-feet-deep fat-quicksands; the mouthfuls of the stuff they swallow leave their guts raw and hollering for months on end.

But it’s the bouquet that makes their flesh crawl: “You smell it initially. You breathe it all day long. You pass wind and what comes out is the smell of the fat. You can go home and shower as much you like – even with washing-up liquid – but at the end of the day you’re still farting the smell of rancid fat. My wife’ll say: ‘Oh, I see you’ve been sorting fat problems out?'”‘

24 July 2006
[property] Apartment for Sale, Manchester — an attempt to sell a flat using the blog format … ‘Looking for a stylish, contemporary apartment in Manchester City Centre? Interested in cutting out the middleman and going for a quick, private sale? You’re in the right place then!’ [via Feeling Listless]
8 July 2006
[7/7] Seeing isn’t Believing — The Guardian on the 7/7 Conspiracy Theories … ‘”I’m not a conspiracy theorist,” insists Dunne. “I was just trying to make a cohesive, coherent story from the facts.”‘
7 July 2006
[7/7] Diamond Geezer on 7/7Aldgate, Edgware Road, King’s Cross St Pancras, 30. ‘…it’s just something I have to do every day. It’s just another train. It’s just another carriage.’
4 July 2006
[7/7] The Mysterious Case Of The Non-Existent Train Time — a blog investigating the messy loose-ends in the story behind the London Bombings on July 7th last year … ‘I have only one reason for starting this blog. It is to ascertain the facts behind the events in London on and since the 7th July 2005. I have made many attempts to ascertain a few simple facts (and therefore truths) about the events on that morning…’
10 June 2006
[fruit] Innocent Drinks Blog — a blog from the popular Smoothies Company‘We need somewhere to share our thoughts and to give other people a chance to comment on what we’re doing. We need somewhere to post our pictures and tell our stories. We need somewhere to let off steam. We hear that there are these amazing things called blogs that help you do all of this.’
8 June 2006
[history] Britain celebrates the Queen’s Silver Jubilee — on this day in 1977 … ‘All things considered, it was not a good day for the anti-monarchists. “We were going to have a proper meeting and then march to Buckingham Palace to proclaim the republic,” the organiser of one stuff-the-jubilee rally, Terry Liddle, observed. “But unfortunately it was too cold and only five people turned up.”‘
7 June 2006
[news] Ten things I learned by reading the Daily Express — one man reads the Daily Express so you don’t have to … ‘7: There is insufficient police brutality.’ [via Pete’s Linklog]
24 May 2006
[spy] Tomlinson v MI6 — the blog of a former MI6 agent who has a long running dispute with the UK’s Secret Intelligence Service. ‘…readership has gone ballistic to the extent that I may run out of bandwidth this month. So suddenly, my long-standing dispute with MI6 is back in the public domain. Well MI6 have only themselves to blame for the creation of this blog…’ [via]
10 May 2006
[business] What does Amstrad actually do?‘[Paul Tulip], who said of himself, “I think I’m brilliant”, had not exactly done scrupulous research before going on the show. Quizzed on air about what Amstrad actually does, he replied with his usual stirring confidence. “Computers.” “Amstrad doesn’t actually make computers now,” came the reply. “They distribute them,” Paul tried, gamely. “They don’t.”‘
7 May 2006
[web] Hot Gossip — a profile of Popbitch from the Guardian… ‘[Popbitch] did introduce advertising on the site after three years and the annual revenue is now roughly £100,000, just about covering the costs of the server, technical support staff, legal fees and Camilla Wright’s salary.’
24 April 2006
[ukblogs] Park and Write — BBC News article about a blog called Wandering Scribe by a homeless woman living in her car in London … ‘A woman becomes homeless, so she gets into her car and drives. Except she has nowhere to go – so she stays in the car, with all her possessions heaped in the back, sleeping in the front seats, parking in secluded streets. For eight months, no one notices her, because she makes sure she looks respectable, taking showers and even ironing her clothes in public places like hospitals. She has made herself invisible, out of touch from anyone she used to know – and keeping separate from other homeless people. But this is the information age…’
3 April 2006
[property] Agents Diary — the blog of an anonymous Estate Agent somewhere in the UK … ‘A dreadful day today, I realised at three-thirty that I hadn’t left my desk, apart from one brief trip to the kitchen for a cuppa and two pisses. If I could get one of those colostomy bags and coerce one of those idle bastards to actually make me the occasional tea I could sit here permanently.’