The Edmondson Blog

Smell the Glove

I mentioned my world famous film club to someone in the pub earlier and they suggested I add This is Spinal Tap to the schedule. It's an obvious candidate. I've spent the evening looking up clips on YouTube. This is one of my favourites. And this.

Film Club

I've got to finalise the schedule for my Film Club tomorrow night so get voting! The poll will close 9pm Thursday evening.

New Term

I started yoga again yesterday with a new teacher, now Lucy has emigrated to Canada. I'm now practising Hatha yoga with Anoushka in Earlsfield. I was particularly stiff, having not done any practice over the summer, and a little nervous about having a new teacher. I enjoyed the slower style compared to the Ashtanga yoga and am looking forward to the new term, looking forward once again being able to touch my toes.

Getcha Motor Running

On Saturday, I headed up to Kings Cross for an hour's endurance racing at The Raceway. After realising I wasn't going to take everyone to the cleaners, mainly due to my bulk, I gave it my best shot and came a respectable 7th (out of 14) in both 25 minute races, with some bruised ribs thrown in for good measure. Definitely worth the £65 upfront.

The End of an Era

Homefield is finally on the market. This is the end of an era. No more parties. No more silly string. No more using the trampoline for non-jumping activity. Post your memories.

Stitch Up

I never knew you could have so much fun with an air conditioning unit. What a stitch up!

Old School Curry

On Thursday I ate at Veeraswarmy, which claims to be the oldest Indian restaurant in London. I wasn't sure what to expect: an Anglo-Indian curry house offering the usual fare, trading on past glories, or something offering original and authentic cuisine. Veeraswarmy delivered: I had a starter of unbelievably succulent chicken followed by lamb so perfectly cooked that it was falling off the bone. I wasn't disappointed, probably because I wasn't paying!

This post allows be to show an extraordinary clip from an Indian movie. Indian dwarf does body-popping. Is there anything better? (After some research I can confirm the main player is an adult, not a child)

Fatal by name; Fatal by nature

I've just harvested my first Fatalii chili. Oh. My. Lord. It looked innocent enough. I was slightly nervous as I looked forward to chomping down on my (actually, my mother's) efforts: I cut the chili into small rings and got ready to chow. I only got far as placing the chili on my lip and I knew I was in trouble. This plant meant business. There was an intense burning sensation on my bottom lip for 10 minutes, which spread to my tongue, and I hadn't even eaten anything.

This chili should be illegal. I'm looking forward taking on Charlie and Howard later in the month. I might make something like this.

Big Dollar

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates has been ranked as the wealthiest person in America for the 14th year in a row. Forbes magazine put Gates' fortune at $59bn.

It took a net worth of at least $1.3bn to earn a spot in the rankings.

The collective net worth of the 400 billionaires totalled $1.54 trillion - more than Canada's GDP.

Hot Air

I received an email from easyJet today and I think it sums up the current situation of how air travel is taxed pretty well:

[...]We all have the responsibility to take intelligent and well thought-out actions to ensure we leave the planet in a good shape for generations to come.
However, much of the recent political debate has been characterised by gesture politics and discriminatory, often contradictory proposals. Politicians of all colours recognise that different cars have different emissions but do not see the same distinction within air travel.

We are an island nation in a globalised economy yet the UK already taxes flying more heavily than any other European country while making high-speed rail available only to those living in the South East. The time has come to scrap APD air tax and move the burden of taxation from passengers to aircraft emissions. Taxing families but not private jets is a grotesque insult.

It is time for us all to demand a more intelligent approach to flying. Politicians must incentivise consumers to take the greener option when it is available - this means banning the dirty, old aircraft from our skies; getting the right tax regime in place to reward cleaner behaviour; being realistic about the value of aviation and resisting the temptation to advocate alternatives when no such alternatives exist[...]

I'm a firm believer in incentives rather than punitive taxes, especially with travel where we are an island nation an the economy relies so much on transportation both in and out as well as around the country. We should also be careful of taking a London-based view of travel, where everything is a train ride away.

Edmondson's Film Nights

My fortnightly series of Film Nights will be kicking off on Wednesday 3rd October. Vote for the films you want to watch on the right. I'll then put a schedule together for the next few weeks.


Everyone's invited! Each week, there will be an introduction to each film, including trivia and goofs. I'll supply the beers.

Put it in the diary: every other Wednesday from 3rd October.

Add Edmondson's Film Nights to your Google Calendar!

Click on the button to add my film nights to your Google Calendar.

What Type Are You?

I've always been fascinated by Myers Briggs Type Indicators, both to understand my type and to figure out how best to deal with other people depending on their type.

I'm an ISFJ.

ISFJs are traditional, loyal, quiet and kind. They are very sensitive to other people's needs because they are very observant. They have rich inner thoughts and emotions. They value stability and cultural norms. They are very adept at giving attention to detail. They do not seek positions of authority.

What is your personality type? Leave a comment.

The Only Way is UP!

I've just piled all my money into Northern Rock. It can't get any worse and they're not going to go bust. The discount they're trading at is too good to miss. I reckon within two months everything will be back to normal and all will be forgotten. Let's see what happens...

Film Club

I'm thinking about starting a Wednesday night video club: every two weeks, everyone round to mine to watch a classic film. You bring the kebab, I'll supply the beers. I'm considering kicking off with one of the following:

Where Eagles Dare
The Good, The Bad and The Ugly
Top Secret
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
Ferris Bueller's Day Off
The Day of the Jackal
Weird Science
Rocky 4
The Wild Geese
The Godfather
The Godfather: Part 2
The Goonies
Saving Private Ryan

Let me know if you want to be involved.

Also, let me know if you want to add any films to the list. I'll then put the choices out to the vote to decide on the excitement for the first week.

Poll Results

The results from last month's poll - What's Your Favourite Disney Cartoon? - is pretty comprehensive. The Jungle Book, The Lion King and Snow White are clear winners; the rest don't really feature. Uncle Walt will be interested.

1. The Jungle Book 31%
2. The Lion King 27%
3. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs 12%
4. The Little Mermaid 8%
5=. Sleeping Beauty 4%
5=. Beauty and the Beast 0%Alice in Wonderland 4%
5=. Fantasia 4%
5=. Bambi 4%
5=. One Hundred and One Dalmatians 4%
5=. The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh 4%
11=. Pinocchio 0%
11=. Dumbo 0%
11=. Cinderella 0%
11=. Peter Pan 0%
11=. The Aristocats 0%
11=. Pocahontas 0%
11=. Tarzan 0%
11=. Aladdin 0%

26 votes.

An Evening with Rioja

I finally had the chance to take part in the fine Rioja tasting course I booked myself on two months ago. along with Mr and Mrs Hills, I tasted eight fantastic wines, rated from 6.5 to 9 out of 10. Unfortunately, all the wines were priced around the £20 mark (one was £45) so weren't suitable to wash down a Saturday night prawn vindaloo. I might buy a couple of bottles for special occasions though.

To complete the evening, the three of us went for some Creme of Sum Yung Gai.

I will definitely be attending the Bordeaux-style wines course on 10th December (apparently we will be tasting some £90 beauties) so let me know if you want to come.

Exploring London Town

Having been blown out on my weekend in Walton, I had the whole weekend in front of me, so on Sunday I decided to head to Speakers' Corner for the first time in six years. I recognised the usual rabble of orators, though there were a couple of characters I didn't recognise from last time. The most interesting was a Catholic convert to Islam who was in heated conversation with various members of his audience. Even though the people speaking have their own agendas, it was both amusing and interesting learning about different religions and the passion they create.

As it was Open House London, we all took advantage of free entry and had a look around the fabulous rooms of 1, London and went up to take in the views of Wellington Arch.

Once we'd soaked up the culture, we headed across Green Park and into Chinatown for an outrageous amount of dim sum for lunch.

It's days like this that make it great to live in London.

Blog Value

I'm a little confused to why the blog is rocketing in value. At nearly $3000 I might sell out; I might try to get £80m, a la Robbie Williams deal with EMI, with an agreement to blog for the next three years. I'll get my banker on the case.

Brian Wilson at the Royal Festival Hall

I had the pleasure of listening to one of the most celebrated song writers of the 20th century last night, someone who undeniably defined the music of his generation: Brian Wilson, the genius behind the Beach Boys. For some obscure reason he considers the Royal Festival Hall his "spiritual home" and was in London to play some new music.

The impressive backing band supported him (and his slightly strange arm waving) through all the old classics: Sloop John B, Barbara Ann, California Girls, Fun Fun Fun and the rest! The first part of the second half was given to his new material which, even though didn't receive the huge reception like the old stuff did, was still very impressive.

Usually at the end of concerts, I'm ready for bed, but last night I wanted Brian back on stage to continue the rock and roll. An awesomely good spectacle.

Man of Kent

West Kent and East Kent are one-time traditional subdivisions of the county of Kent, kept alive by the Association of the Men of Kent and Kentish Men: an organisation formed in 1913.

Residents of West Kent, those living west / north of the River Medway, are called 'Kentish Men', as opposed to residents of East Kent, who are known as 'Men of Kent'.

Simplistically the division is considered to be the river Medway, but apparently corresponds roughly to the Diocese of Rochester.

The division apparently derives from the ethnic differences between the Jutish settlement of the east of the county and the Saxon presence in the west, although its origins are somewhat obscure.

Jason Comes Home

I went to see the Bourne Ultimatum last night. Even though I'm not a massive fan of the first two films, this is getting a lot of attention (even being rated #80 of all time on iMDB) so I thought I'd give it a chance. It was absolutely superb. The set pieces will blow you away. Scenes to look out for are the sniper at Waterloo Station, the hand to hand fighting with Desh in Tangier (one of the best choreographed scenes I've ever seen) and the final car chase in New York. Overall, an easy 8.5 out of 10.

Her Britannic Majesty

I'm disgusted to read that there are plans to change the test on the inside cover of British passports. Every time I'm queuing amongst the chaos of Ryanair check-in at Stansted, my mind is put at rest by the coat of arms and message from the Queen, reminding me that I have the right to travel freely and have the right to protection and assistance.

Under new changes, however, it has been suggested that the coat of arms are scrapped and replaced by the EU emblem of 12 stars with the message underneath reading: "Every citizen of the Union".

Nobody really expects that if you were hanging by your ankles in a Thai prison being beaten to within an inch of your life for insulting your new bride, you could wave your passport in front of the sadist guard's face and he'd apologise, let you down, and you'd be back in SW6 in time for afternoon tea.

But I do hope that the simple text is a contract between myself and HM Government, that, as a tax paying citizen of this country, if I do get myself into a spot of bother abroad, I could call on the services of the local consulate. And I'd rather trust them than some faceless local EU bureaucrat. LEAVE IT ALONE!

Mom Brings a Cake

Hat tip: George

The Wedding of Nicky to Alex

I've been down in Hampshire for the weekend for Nicky and Alex's wedding. I didn't manage to get my usual photo with the bride, so here's one of the bride and groom, outside The Walled Garden at Cowdray Park. Click here for all my other photos.

Filipino Fun

Last Tuesday was World Diners night, so Will, Olivia and I dealt with "F", as in Filipino. We headed to Josephine's near Goodge Street. Filipino cuisine is supposed to be a mix of Oriental, European and American flavours, though a lot of the menu looked like what's on offer at your local Chinese takeaway. With some careful advice from the young waitress we avoided the generic foodstuffs and managed to order what tasted like the real deal. The dishes varied between OK to very good. Maybe put your head in if passing by, but not worth a trip to the area.

Gnawing on the Bone

Met up with Kennedy last night for a night on the toon. After a few pints of Guinness to warm us up we dealt with the main event: Magdelan Restaurant near London Bridge. I started off with bone marrow and English snails followed by lamb and white beans. It was an absolutely superb meal, skillfully supported by two bottles of Rioja. I'd give the restaurant a good 9 out of 10: go if you're in the area.

Hello from Weston Super Mare

Jack and Will Bollom say hello

Dirty Harry

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly - The Duel

Superman 4: The Quest for Quality

I watched Superman 4 last night, part of my Christopher Reeve Superman Collection, to remind myself why it was panned by the critics so comprehensively. I can now see why. The movie was originally budgeted at $36 million dollars. Just before filming was to begin, Cannon Pictures, which was starting to suffer financial problems, slashed the budget to $17 million. It is a truly budget film:

- The vast majority of the external scenes, such as the U.N. building in Metropolis, were filmed in and around Milton Keynes
- When Superman is fighting Nuclear Man on the moon, there are several shots where black curtains can be seen off in the distance of the moon surface
-It's daylight in China, New York, Italy and Russia at the same time
- Cars with UK license plates are visible in several shots
- In a fight between Nuclear Man and Superman, a platform is visible under their feet, although they're fighting in space
- In the shot where the piece of space debris strikes the Soviet space capsule, you can see the head of the Cosmonaut (a model, that is) actually break off. In the next shot it is intact
- A fire hydrant Nuclear Man blows up is clearly made of foam when it explodes
- Nuclear Man abducts a girl and flies her into outer space where she is unaffected by the lack of breathable atmosphere and air pressure

Weak from start to finish. I listened to the screenplay writer's commentary on the DVD and he's obviously still bitter, twenty years on, about the producer's lack of respect for the Superman franchise.

The Talk Box

I've always wondered how people make that noise with their mouths. Is it a harmonica or some voice distortion effect. Naturally, Wikipedia has the answer:

A talk box is an effects pedal that sits on the floor and contains a speaker attached with an air tight connection to a plastic tube. A foot-operated switch on the box directs the sound either to the talkbox speaker or to the normal speaker. The other end of the tube is taped to the side of a microphone, extending enough to direct the reproduced sound in or near the performer's mouth.

When activated, the sound from the amplifier is reproduced by the speaker in the talkbox and directed through the tube into the performer's mouth. The shape of the mouth filters the sound, with the modified sound being picked up by the microphone. The shape of the mouth changes the harmonic content of the sound in the same way it affects the harmonic content generated by the vocal folds when speaking.

The performer can vary the shape of the mouth and position of the tongue, changing the sound of the instrument being reproduced by the talkbox speaker. The performer can mouth words, with the resulting effect sounding as though the instrument is speaking. This "shaped" sound exits the performer's mouth, and when it enters a microphone, an instrument/voice hybrid is heard.


Reg Prescott

I remember watching Kenny Everett on TV when I was younger and recall a lot of his sketches were just weird. He was simply mad, though often a comic genius. This is one of my favourite clips.

Brazier's Wedding

Was up in Cheltenham for the weekend for Mark and Hannah's wedding. The service itself was held in the majestic chapel at Cheltenham College and the reception back at Hannah's parents after drinks outside the chapel. As an usher, I executed my duties perfectly and received thanks from all for the skills shown as head car park attendant and chief holder of seating plan. It was a superb weekend: good food, great band, quality booze and some particularly amusing guests.

© 2007 The Edmondson Blog