Posted in Events dear boy. Events at 9:41 pm on 6 December 2013
There’s not much you can say.
Perhaps the greatest person to come to prominence in my lifetime, almost the only one who set an example of forgiveness.
He was 95 and it was too much to expect he could linger for much longer.
He will be missed in South Africa.
Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela: 18/7/1918 – 5/12/2013. So it goes.
Posted in Dumbarton FC, Events dear boy. Events at 12:00 pm on 4 December 2013
Before Saturday’s game at Shielfield there was a minute’s silence to mark the helicopter crash in Glasgow. The photo below was taken immediately prior to that minute.
While the events at the Clutha Vaults were tragic I can’t help feeling that there was something mawkish about this rush to commemorate it while the rescue efforts were still in train.
I can remember the time when the only such silences took place on the death of a former player, manager or director of either of the clubs concerned; I don’t think they even took place on the Saturay before Remembrance Sunday.
This looks to me to be a symptom of the creeping sentimalisation of the culture which began on the death of Diana, former Princess of Wales.
The current prevalence of minute’s silences is in danger of minimising their impact.
Posted in Events dear boy. Events, Science Fiction at 12:00 pm on 19 November 2013
I see Doris Lessing has died.
For all that she won the Nobel Prize I only ever read one of her books, Re: Colonised Planet 5: Shikasta. I found it hard going, told rather than unfolded and turgid. Perhaps I was too young then to appreciate it. It came out in 1979.
It read to me like the sort of Science Fiction written by people who don’t write Science Fiction. It meant I never sought out any of her other fiction. My loss it would seem.
Doris May Lessing (neé Tayler,) 22/10/1919 – 17/11/2013. So it goes.
Posted in BBC, Events dear boy. Events at 10:00 pm on 27 October 2013
Lou Reed has died.
Member of The Velvet Underground (of whom it was said that not many people bought their records but everyone who did rushed out immediately and formed a band) and inspirer of David Bowie plus countless others.
He became well-known in the UK due to the song Walk on the Wild Side becoming a hit. Much, much later Perfect Day was turned into a magnificent BBC promo video.
I suspect everyone will be posting one or other of the above two tracks so here’s another of his better known songs.
Lou Reed: Satellite of Love
Lewis Allan “Lou” Reed:- 2/3/1942 – 7/10/2013. So it goes.
Posted in Events dear boy. Events, Politics at 7:19 pm on 27 October 2013
While it is welcome that INEOS has reversed its decision to close the petrochemical works at Grangemouth and that the threat to the oil refinery’s future and to jobs has been lifted I wonder how long for.
It seems likely that INEOS really wanted to close the plant and has only relented because both the UK and Scottish governments pressed hard for this and UNITE, the union, has accepted all their conditions – in effect allowing the management to do whatever it likes in future. So what are these jobs worth now?
Whether the commitment of INEOS to a presence in Grangemouth will survive beyond the short term is seriously in question.
I suspect that once the monies contributed by the taxpayer to the investment apparently required has been spent they will up sticks anyway.
Whatever, I expect total employment in the Grangemouth complex to be substantially lower in five to ten years time. If, that is, there is any at all.
In the wider context it is profoundly worrying that necessities of modern life such as energy provision and oil refining are in the hands of companies not domiciled in the UK. The irony is that especially in the energy sector past UK governments insisted that state provision of energy was not to be encouraged – indeed it was to be frowned upon and eradicated – yet a large part of the energy supply industry in the UK is now in the hands of state-owned companies. Unfortunately, however, not owned by the UK state.
Posted in Events dear boy. Events at 7:28 pm on 22 October 2013
I heard this morning that actor and singer Noel Harrison has died.
He first came to general notice when he played Stefanie Powers’s co-star in The Girl From U.N.C.L.E. - a spin-off from The Man From U.N.C.L.E. whose theme tune I featured a week or so ago.
The Windmills of Your Mind – a hit in 1968 – might have been recorded as a further cash-in but it’s quite a haunting song.
Noel Harrison: The Windmills of Your Mind
Noel Harrison: 29/1/1934 – 19/10/2013. So it goes.
Posted in Events dear boy. Events, Politics, Reporting Scotland at 8:22 pm on 21 October 2013
One of the mysteries – to me at any rate – of the dispute between management and workers at Grangemouth petrochemical complex is that the company that owns it, INEOS, says it is losing £10 million a month there.
The workers are faced with signing up to significantly reduced terms and conditions or the prospect of redundancy.
But…… Losing £10 million a month running an oil complex? One, moreover, that is capable of supplying all the petrol stations in Scotland, Northern Ireland and much of the North of England?
What sort of mismanagement led to this situation? How can anyone in this day and age not make money from owning an oil refinery and its associated petrochemical works?
On Reporting Scotland tonight a glimmer of an answer appeared.
It seems INEOS has been expanding rapidly. We were told – in passing – its owner Jim Ratcliffe has incurred debt in doing so even though otherwise he appears to be doing all right.
Reading between the lines it seems he wants to make the workers at Grangemouth pay for it.
The most disturbing thing about this whole rigmarole is that little mention has been made of this aspect up to now. Politicians and the media have been shying clear of criticism of the company’s conduct. Serious questions ought to be asked of the company and politicians – UK wide. I doubt the Scottish Government has much real clout in a situation like this. I’m not holding my breath for the UK coalition to do anything about it though.
Is Jim Ratcliffe a fit and proper person to be in charge of any commercial enterprise? Have the losses been built up deliberately to engineer a diminution of workers’ conditions and pay?
How on Earth was such a chancer allowed to get anywhere near control of Scotland’s largest industrial asset?
The whole thing stinks.
Posted in BBC, BBC news, Events dear boy. Events, Politics, Reporting Scotland at 12:00 pm on 21 October 2013
First spotting of the season, BBC Scotland News on Friday 18/10/13. Just shy of one week less than a month before Armistice Day.
At the SNP Conference, Alex Salmond addressing the devotees – complete with poppy.
The next news item featured a farmer or something (he was in the great outdoors, whatever) who sported a poppy in his lapel. I wonder if the BBC supplied it to him.
Curiously the presenters in the studio were sans poppies. Give it time.
Posted in Events dear boy. Events, Football at 11:18 pm on 12 September 2013
I see Ian Black of Rangers has been banned for three matches (with a further seven suspended till the end of the season.)
For betting against your own team?
It’s hardly draconian. It’s less than you get for kicking somebody.
Doesn’t this just give carte blanche to Scottish footballers to bet when and how they like? If it’s only going to be a three match ban where is the deterrent?
Posted in Events dear boy. Events, Science Fiction at 8:15 pm on 4 September 2013
Another of Science Fiction’s prominent authors, Frederick Pohl, has died.
His contribution to the genre started early in its history, mostly pseudonymously at first but later notably in collaboration with C M Kornbluth. His writing career also developed under his own name and he won four Hugo and three Nebula awards overall.
It was not just as a writer that Pohl was important to the field. He was an influential editor of the magazines Galaxy and If in the 1960s and for Bantam Books in the 1970s where he took a punt on Samuel R Delany’s Dhalgren and Joanna Russ’s The Female Man.
Pohl also wrote an autobiographical account of his early years in the SF field and his meetings with the group of SF fans (many of whom were writers) known as “The Futurians” in The Way The Future Was.
In later years he adapted this title to take up blogging, at The Way The Future Blogs, an unfailingly entertaining and informative blog which I shall miss.
Frederik George Pohl, Jr. 26/11/1919-2/9/2013. So it goes.