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Showing posts from January, 2021

A complete bust

 It comes to something when you're being trolled by Barry Manilow.* A question from the BBCs Jon Sopel at yesterday's White House press briefing aroused the derision of the diminutive 70s lounge singer, who was then moved to describe the entire country as "embarrassing". This, bear in mind, from a man who brought the world "Copacabana." And while I yield to no man in my admiration for Manilow's up-tempo Latin stylings, it came as a bit of a shock to realise that he possesses an instinctive analysis of the geopolitical power shift which occurred when Joe Biden moved into the White House, and the bust of Winston Churchill had moved out. Sopel, for the record, asked the question about its removal with his tongue fairly firmly in his cheek, but, as with Liam Byrne's much-lamented note about there being no money left, it's probably a joke that was better left un-made. Because there are a surprisingly large number of people in the upper echelons of Bri

What the papers say

 I have recently, embraced as all middle aged men should, a refreshing change of career. Alternatively, I have recently, as all middle-aged men invariably do, suddenly regressed to acting like a teen-aged boy. Both of these statements are technically true, and both of these statements have a sizable element of contestable opinion. As such, they're pretty much perfect for summing up the subject of today's blog, which is: newspapers, and what I've learned from helping my boy out with his paper round. It was a perfect lock-down storm which drove me to it. In the teeth of a bitter winter cold, in the dank darkness of a January morning, I stood in my kitchen dubiously eyeing two large piles of newspaper. Eldest son had returned, with a defeated and haunted look in his eyes. One of the other paper-boys hadn't showed up, poor old eldest was lumbered with two rounds for the foreseeable, and the absolute state of the roads and pavements, covered as they were with sheet ice, prec

That was the year that was

 Probably a bit late for one of those Year-in-Review bits that have been clogging everything up over the last couple of weeks, but I move very much to my own rhythms here at at Coastalblog Towers, plus I've been too busy eating cheese the last couple of weeks, and so now, as we emerge blinking into the dazzling frosy light of 2021, I suppose I'd better do something to rectify that. The problem is that there's very little left that's original to say about what was, by any standards, a pretty extraordinary year, and also, if it's relevant to me, I've probably already said it, as the hitherto unimaginable amounts of down-time afforded to me meant I actually did keep up with things, for once. There were no fewer than 41 Coastalblogs in 2020, still a fairly paltry effort, but more than I managed in 2010-2015 combined. Looking back through them, I'm struck by a few things. Unsurprisingly, I've spent quite a lot of the year angry at the Government. I still am.