Saturday, December 17, 2005


My research tools are limited at the moment, so no links please, but what in the name of Darwin is the point of the appendix in the human digestive system? Is it solely to keep surgeons, anaesthetists and the manufacturers of industial strength painkillers in business?

Tuesday, December 06, 2005


I have found it! A new and useful role for Peter Mandelson. He can be a test-driver!

Busy Aardvark

Sorry I have not been able to respond to Corder's abuse (you fiend, you) and I tend to ignore that nit-wit Magster out of principle anyway. But it has been a hectic week or two for this Aardvark.

I must bring people's attention to a skit on Five Live which appeared on The Station message board today.

I wonder if Anita Anand recognises this?

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

The Ginger Ninja

It could have been a cricketing landmark but Durham all-rounder Paul Collingwood couldn't quite pull it off: the flame-haired Durham hero fell just four runs short of his debut Test century in Lahore.

But the real question is this: has a ginge ever made a Test ton for England?

Monday, November 28, 2005

Yeah Yeah

(Courtesy of AFP):

"India's cricket chiefs plan to speak to national coach Greg Chappell over a rude gesture he reportedly made to crowds in Kolkata last week, an official said.

"TV clippings showed Chappell putting his right hand out of a window of the team bus and pointing a middle finger towards the crowds outside the Eden Gardens on Thursday, a day prior to the fourth one-dayer against South Africa.

"Newspapers slammed the former Australian captain for what they said was an insulting gesture to fans who were taunting Chappell for excluding local hero Sourav Ganguly from the one-day side.

"Team spokesman M. Baladitya said "Chappell had injured his finger during practice and he said he was just attending to it. He did not gesture at anybody."

Reminds me of a game I was playing in the other week when one rather dull-witted prop lamped me on the side of the head at a ruck. His defence? "Sorry sir. I meant to hit someone else but he [me] got in the way."

Wales: Not All Bad

I made my first visit to the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff on Saturday, and darned impressed I was too. Pretty much everything about it is "a good thing". It's convenient (so close to the railway station: why would anyone ever drive there?), warm and dry (the roof was closed), atmospheric (again, the closed roof might have helped), has good sightlines (we were pretty much at ground level, but had a feel for the whole game), the staff (both security and bar) were courteous and efficient, and the marshalling for getting back on return trains was organised and sensible. Oh, and seeing the Aussies lose wasn't exactly the worst of it either.

Just 2 gripes, neither of them the fault of the Stadium. (1) Just how little bladder control must one have to need to urinate in hand basins and rubbish bins when the queues for the urinals were minimal? (2) How did First Great Western manage to display a "Last Trains" notice which showed the last train to Paddington leaving 30 minutes before a specific train onto which I had booked? When I asked the station staff about this, I got the refreshingly frank answer that "That's been confusing us all day too".

Friday, November 25, 2005

Radio Hell?

What is wrong with BBC7 at the moment? I can live without Paul Temple (just) but its schedule is heaving with programmes that can only be described as tosh. Granted, The Clitheroe Kid is loathsome in the extreme but it is safely tucked away in the bowels of Sunday night. No, this is serious. Westway and The Little Toe Show used to be the only blots on the BBC7 weekday landscape but now there are some hideous carbuncles starting to ruin my radio vista.

The malaise has set in on weekdays. There is some endlessly tedious thing about a copper lying in his hospital bed, dull Miss Marple (Poirot or nowt), a dreary thing about a will and a colourless radio adaptation of Our Mutual Friend (Dickens doesn't work for me on the radio).

As if to make matters worse, Michaela Saunders is on holiday and Nicholas Parsons is tomorrow's Comedy Controller. Predictably, Parsons has opted for The Goons and Just a Minute, two programmes which leave me depressed more than amused.

Happily, People Like Us is receiving another airing but, inexplicably, the ineffably smug Mark Steele remains a Monday-night fixture.

What, with endless drivel on Five Live (yes, Eamonn, Beverley, Football Breaktext, Anita, StePHen and the gloriously dim-witted Vic, that's you) and the clanging Mockney tones of Nemone (who is ruining the wonderful Jane Gazzo's Dream Ticket on 6 Music), I am starting to think that the gods of radio are conspiring against me.

No matter. Fighting Talk tomorrow (BBC Radio Five Live, 11am).

Last Hurrahs

Two old dogs refuse to go away, though it's a case of too

  • too little

  • and, sadly,

  • too late

  • Thursday, November 24, 2005


    Well, it was touch-and-go but England just about stay in the series. Inzy seems to relish English bowlers as much as he does his pakoras but Badger-Head, Lord Flintoff and Hot Potato saved the series. Happily.

    I am looking forward to more of Shoaib's impersonations. We've had chickens, aeroplanes, a demented hyena and even a hint of Morris dancing from the Rawalpindi Express's repertoire so far. What next?


    (From Reuters)

    "Brown to take tough line on wage deals:

    "Chancellor Gordon Brown will take a tough line on pay deals in a speech on Thursday, urging workers and employers to play their part in bringing down inflation.

    "Bank of England policymakers have already warned they are closely watching the upcoming wage round for signs that higher oil prices are spilling over into pay growth, which could necessitate interest rate rises...

    "And he will reiterate that employers and workers must help temper inflation by keeping wage demands reasonable and he will flag the services sector -- which accounts for half of household spending -- as key."

    The Office for National Statistics reveals:

    "In the year to September 2005, pay growth (excluding bonuses) in the private sector was 4.0 per cent, the same as for the public sector.

    "This is the first time that pay growth, excluding bonuses, in the public sector has not been above that for the private sector since September 2004."

    Excuse me, Gordon?

    Let us leave aside the fact that private sector wages tend to have a larger bonus element than positions in the public sector - if you remove bonuses from the equation then private sector wage increases lag even further behind the state sector (2.9 per cent in the year to April 2005) .

    Given that the government has created more than 700,000 public sector jobs since 1997 (governments do not create private sector jobs or, for that matter, anything that could be deemed 'wealth' in any sense of the word), and given that about 1.1 million manufacturing jobs have been lost in the same period, one simply marvels at the breathtaking cheek of this deceitful, loathsome man.

    Cats - Why?

    Cats are annoying little shits. I have a cat called Biggles and I don't like him very much. He gets under my feet and he is always hungry. And I mean always hungry. He eats more than a small Central American country.

    He dribbles. From time to time he goes mad and starts tearing up and down the house for no reason. Even when he is asleep he annoys me because he parks himself on the floor next to a door and it goes without saying that I shall trip over the little blighter.

    I have come to the stark conclusion that Biggles does not actually exist. I think he is a physical manifestation of my most deep-seated irritations and phobias. A ginger equivalent of loud, shrieking voices in my head.

    Wednesday, November 23, 2005

    Stealth Pedestrians

    If you are a pedestrian approaching a busy road from the pavement, can I humbly suggest you look both ways before darting out onto the thoroughfare? Otherwise, you might end up with a broken collarbone when you step in front of a cyclist who, whilst doing his very best to avoid you, hits you head on and himself ends up splayed on the road in front of traffic.

    Thanks for your consideration.

    We Have Been Warned

    Smokers, drinkers, self-abusers and other dissolute ne'er-do-wells beware.

    Too Close to Call

    "Udal's very next delivery was an arm ball that a distracted Butt failed to spot."

    Salman Butt will have to live with the appalling stigma of not being able to spot 'Slugger' Udal's arm-ball. What could possibly have distracted Butt in this way? Maybe he was concerned the deterioration in George Best's health?

    BBC Radio Five Live's grandes fromages were distracted by an ailing liver in west London. They were similarly embarrassed:


    This is my own corridor of uncertainty in the forbidding great tower-block of life.

    Strange, ghoul-like figures lurk in the darkened rooms of my consciousness: some of them - like Gordon Brown, Eamonn Holmes, Dido and Chris Martin of Coldplay - are deeply sinister and lurk in the corners; others - Michael Vaughan, Rod Liddle, Jeff Randall and Steven Wilson of Porcupine Tree - are shining apparitions who light up all before them.

    As progressive rock legends Emerson, Lake and Palmer once said: "Welcome back my friends to the show that never ends. We're so glad you can attend. Come inside, come inside."

    Happily for music fans everywhere, their show ended some time ago but this one is just starting.

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