Overwhelmed was I to be accepted a Tweader in the most magnificent 11ysses project to rebirth, as ‘t were, from old into new, that infamously complex and suigenerisly celebrated of Modern Novels – even peut-etre the MODERN NOVEL – Ullyses, into cyber-shunted stutterings – as the great doubleJ might say, electronic ejaculates, sent tottering twitterwords into the grand gabbling widing web of the world, on Bloomsday (when else), relishing the great émigré and his effluences and inviting by challenge a generation of virgins to soil themselves at the first on Molly’s bloomers.

Leaping quixotic, like a salmon into the headlights, a deer catched in the river, a blinded minotaurus skewering capewards onto the matador’s welcoming blade came I and ouched to the pain of recognition as the Mocking Master’s mots just put me to the realisation of how Herculean a task was this.

“Help!” I cried, from a Young Man or a Dead one I cared not.  And there riverrunning, twitterstreaming, watching and leaping the bold words of the Brave, and I bemuttering in silence.  Ah well, as the Great Critic would have us each know: anxiety blossoms under the influence of a quivering king (6,5).

Anger was hidden within a man finding fault with others, but also a reflected truth more clear than betwixt the cracks of a looking glass.  With that I was off, like an auld drabbing skunk, Father Jacking meself up on uneven crutches from me wheelchairiot of geriatric remembering.  Goaded and chided and cheered along by a reJOYCing Delaney (who clearly had not gone back on the whine at all) to the soundtrack of the Joyce Gang getting In Yer Face, I was wearing my Sunday best and bareknuckling down for the fight!

To do, to do, whatever to cock-a-doodle-do!?  How to dress a Giant in shorts and not give him the smirk of a hopscotching schoolboy?  How to transform text into characters, losing neither meaning nor colouration, appearing not audacious/brave nor pompous/fool but failing just as any human must since lacking the mental muscle we all dost in this darking night coming after the Fall.

I am chastised as a Jesuit, comforted as if by a fraternal Christian, scaldy cheeks and fingers rapped, but at the end of it I have ended it.  Not what it would have been could have been should have been but instead what it was and is and hoping to be.  It is not the intoxicating perfume of the love of your life on your first night together / perhaps it is at least the hungover stench of your unmade bed, sheets lipsticked and soiled – and a mocking aching failing flailing back to the ungraspable preciousness of a snatched moment that is now lost.  Forever.

Selfish I am in my helpings and thankings richly I must bestow on @11ysses for in this labour I have come to love (with the rapture of a young man, hopeful man, unsullied and unbeaten-by-the-World man) this great oeuvre that has ouvred again my blinded eyes to the beauty of the World and the glory of this ordinary day in that Dirty Old Town which is proof as ever there can be that every day must be Joycefully faced with the broadest of grins and the proudest Stately Gait towards that eternal and unending ending YES!!!


kettleblitz II

Posted: April 17, 2011 in fighting fit, kettlebells

The second of my basic kettlebell routines, also performed as a super-set, currently on a 53/10 split (53 seconds of exercise and 10 seconds rest/changeover).

Exercise 1: Right Hand Snatch
Exercise 2: Left Hand Snatch
Exercise 3: Double Hand Good Mornings
Exercise 4: Right Hand Bent Over Pull
Exercise 5: Left Hand Bent Over Pull
Exercise 6: Double Hand Upright Row
Exercise 7: Double Hand Kettlebell Swing

The hardest part of this routine is definitely the snatch section at the beginning.  I definitely need the Good Mornings to catch my breath!  The range of pull exercises make this a solid routine to build the guns and a fine complement to kettleblitz I.

kettleblitz I

Posted: April 17, 2011 in fighting fit, kettlebells

My basic kettlebell routine: a superset of 7 exercises, performed for a fixed period (increased week by week) with a 10 second rest/turnaround time allowed between each min-set.  Each Superset is performed 3-4 times with (if necessary) decreasing weights of kettlebells.

Exercise 1: Right Hand Clean
Exercise 2: Left Hand Clean
Exercise 3: Right Hand Press
Exercise 4: Left Hand Snatch
Exercise 5: Right Hand Swing
Exercise 6: Left Hand Swing
Exercise 7: Halos

I’m currently performing these on a 53/10 split (53 seconds exercise, 10 second turnaround) over 3 sets using weights: 24kg, 24kg and 20kg.  That’s 18 minutes 33 seconds of actual exercise – an entire evening of promised hell!


Decision Time in Switzerland

What more can be written about this circus that is the World Cup Bid Process?  Well how about simply this – I don’t want the World Cup!

I have no faith in a FIFA Committee that believes that technology is ‘dangerous’.  I have no trust in a Committee that votes in secret.  I have no respect for a Committee that believes that evidence of past corruption by its members is irrelevant.

Leave aside, if you can, that FIFA and UEFA have consistently shown great resentment towards English Football and the Premier League in particular.  Disregard the great challenge of finding common ground with countries where ‘simulation’, ‘diving’ and ‘playing the ref’ are theatrical skills to be applauded.

This competition was never going to be contested on a level playing and it is both naive and remarkably English to imagine otherwise.

“Power Corrupts” they say “and absolute power corrupts absolutely”.  I wonder what John Emerich Edward Dalberg Acton, first Baron Acton, a man whose name is longer than the quotation for which he is most famous, would have said of Sepp Blatter and his cronies?  Perhaps they would have been after all the living proof of his proposition.

We await the outcome of the decision being made by these men as if it were in some way important.  As if their opinions held any value.  Prime Ministers, Heirs to the Throne and Global Superstars travel the world to supplicate themselves before members of this Committee.  Is it any wonder that their own sense of self-importance in the world is so misplaced?

And so what of the Bid Process itself and the role of the Great British Media?  Well there has already been plenty of blood on the carpet over this dreadful mess.  Lord Triesman was made a scapegoat for suggesting (in private) that other bidding countries might have been participated in underhand tactics.  Who know thinks for a second that there was no truth to these rumours?  The BBC Panorama team have made another challenging documentary that made new the flesh wounds of past allegations of corruptions and tended them with salt.

Sitting here now, barely minutes before the announcement is due to be made and surrounded by a virgin white snow that is quite ironic in its metaphor, I wonder if the Media hasn’t done us the most enormous favour.  

The only possible outcome that will demonstrate FIFA’s impartiality is to award the 2018 World Cup to England.  Surely if any other nation is successful it will be as a result of bribery, corruption and underhanded tactics?  If England are unsuccessful then one might see a campaign by the British Media lasting many years.  The investigations will continue, the questions will not stop and the criticism will be relentless. 

Perhaps the Sunday Times and the BBC are more cunning even than Herr Blatter?  Perhaps they reasoned that Blatter would conclude that the sensible option would be to award the World Cup to England and then to announce a ‘comprehensive’ review of FIFA’s ethics (via a process controlled by him).  Perhaps.

Well whether we win or lose I will not be cheering.  As a sport football has much to commend it.  At the end of the day it is just a sport.  If Marx were alive today he would surely have concluded that football has displaced Religion as the Opiate of the Masses.  Perhaps after all that is why our illustrious leaders take such interest in it.

So the hour is upon us at last and we will find out if our recessionary, snowbound melancholy will be thrown off, albeit briefly, by the decision of 22 fat old men in Switzerland.  The greatest irony of all, when Sepp Blatter reveals the winner at the ceremony this afternoon, it will be preceded by the opening of a brown envelope!

And the winner is ….

(reposted from 2 December 2010)

(reposted from 2 December 2010)


Class: John Cleese, Ronnie Barker & Ronnie Corbett

Will Hutton has recommended that the salaries of staff who have managed to climb to the top of the Public Sector pay scale should remain within a given multiple of the amount paid to staff at the bottom of the scale (http://bit.ly/hzh674).

It’s terribly British isn’t it?  The demonization of those who make more money than we do.  (Except for footballers, of course, reality show winners and tycoons, provided they have no education and exhibit no greater facility with the English language than an extra on a modern day soap opera).

It’s bold of Hutton, so they say, to suggest that one person should not earn disproportionately more than another.  Bold and laughable.  But more than that, I think that Hutton has missed an opportunity here to recommend something truly challenging.  We could establish a model for public sector pay that would revolutionise the way that it was perceived, and change it for good.

The problem, you see, is one of benchmarking – that is really what the Hutton review is all about.  If a cleaner is worth £ x per week then a Chief Executive cannot morally be worth more than £ 20x, can he?  But under Hutton’s approach, all of these models are esoteric, unimaginable sums that belong more to a math class than a salary review meeting.

The solution is Minimum Wage Contracts.  Now that we have adopted a National Minimum Wage we have utterly failed to grasp the potential benefits that it brings.  Rather than writing an employment contract as being at a certain rate for a certain number of hours,  we could simply express the rate of pay as being a multiple of minimum wage. 

For example, a cleaner working for a Council and earning minimum wage (£5.93 per hour) working 37.5 hours per week would earn an annual salary of £ 11,563.50.  The Chief Executive of the same Council might be earning £ 150,000 – virtually 13 x the rate of pay of the cleaner. 

Of course you would need to take some account of benefits and also of pension rights.  Each of these can easily enough be given a financial value.  These can then be expressed as multiples of an annual Minimum Wage contract.

So the Cleaner would be on an MW 1 contract and the Chief Executive would be on an MW 13 contract.  Suppose that the Cleaner received no benefits and no pension.  The Chief Executive  might receive pension contributions worth £23,127 per year and additional benefits worth £ 11,563.50 per year.  His contract would then be stated to be MW 13 + P2 + B1.  On a consolidated basis the Chief Executive is actually on a Gross MW 16 basis.  He earns 16 times the amount that the cleaner earns.

So what benefit is there in knowing this ratio?  Well first of all, it would expose public sector managers to the warming disinfectant effect of sunshine.  With our embarrassed attitude towards money that in itself would act as a brake to the wilder excesses of public pay.

There is of course a much wider potential benefit, which we would feel year after year.  Once fixed, this method of awarding pay would eradicate the need for pay review bodies and the endless battles between Unions and Management.  At the beginning there would be jockeying for position of course.  If a policeman is worth MW 2.3 and a fireman is worth MW 2.1 then why should a nurse be worth only MW 1.6? 

After that, we would have achieved something extraordinary.  The value of every type of public sector employee would be set in stone.  Each person would know his or her place on the great public sector pay ladder and would know his or her proper place in society.  As a society, do you think we are ready to cope with that knowledge?

In his report (http://bit.ly/e7sudY), Hutton says that “basing a ratio on the national minimum wage would be too unresponsive to organisational and regional differences in pay“.  What Poppycock!  There is no regional adjustment in the Minimum Wage.  A member of staff being paid Minimum Wage in Cornwall receives the same as a person doing the same job in Central London.  There would always be scope for a range of pay bands, including regional adjustments. 

It is such a shame, this bumbling British mediocrity.  It will be some kind of comfort to know that senior executives will not earn more than a certain ratio above that of the lowest paid staff, but the half-hearted implementation of this review will achieve no great or lasting benefit.  It will serve only to satisfy the eager public demand that Fat Cats should be brought down to size.

It is sad enough that, as a nation, we feel such embarrassment about money.  It is a moral crime to have too much of it and to earn success by academic achievement and intellectual exertion is unjust alongside the sweating brow of the honest working man. 

If we are truly to free ourselves from this recession we should glory in the creation and acquisition of wealth.  But we are English, and we wear our sackcloth with pride.  Those who line their pockets from the public purse need to take care that they are earning every penny of the money that they take!

(reposted from 3 December 2010)

the buck stops here!

Posted: May 7, 2009 in body politic