bookmark_borderHow to win Eurovision

Some people think that Eurovision could be fixed by not revealing the nationality of the songs. I guess the thinking behind this is that people vote based on nationality rather than what they actually like.

However, Rod Liddle in The Spectator has a different idea: Perhaps people actually vote for the songs they like, but cultural differences mean that they like different tunes in different parts of Europe. In his own words:

The UK’s song was a piece of savvy, soul-inflected 12-bar blues; that’s what we usually do for the Eurovision, sometimes witlessly, sometimes — as with Andy Abrahams — with a degree of panache. But the one thing none of the countries east of the Oder-Neisse line have is a tradition of 12-bar blues. It may, up to a point, form the basis of our pop music, but it is an alien, disconcerting life-form in Chisinau and Belgrade and Vilnius. Over there, they like stuff in a minor key, the melodic extension of the Imam’s wail or the pobodny liturgies of the Russian Orthodox Church.

If we take part next year, here’s the way to win. Choose someone swarthy and hirsute — preferably a woman — and shove her in the sort of dress worn by Joan Sims in the early Carry On comedies. Ensure that she does not shave her armpits. Give her a song in a minor key wedded to a moronic 4/4 disco beat but which begins with a sort of quasi-spiritual ululating. Let the chorus be along the lines of ‘Life Ees Good!’ or ‘We Are All Frentz!’ — and, from Riga to Baku, watch the votes roll in.

bookmark_borderDubai Metro

Metro Station
Originally uploaded by nolifebeforecoffee

I saw an ad in The Economist selling the names of metro stations in the new metro in Dubai.

That’s a wonderful idea, isn’t it? Why give metro stations meaningful names like Cowcaddens and Kelvinbridge when they could be Irn-Bru Station and Bank of Scotland Station, bringing in money for the city council?

But why stop there? Why not bring in more money by changing the name of Glasgow to Coca-Cola City?

And just imagine how much money Bill Gates would pay to rename the United Kingdom Microsoftland.


Jeg så lige i Spiegel Online, at Sachsens nye ministerpræsident taler sorbisk (vendisk).

Det er jo desværre et meget lille sprog, men jeg har da engang tilbragt en yderst fornøjelig halv time i den sorbiske boghandel i Budyšin (Bautzen), mens mine forældre var ved at gå i panik, fordi de ikke kunne forstå, hvor jeg var blevet af.

Sorbisk er et dejligt slavisk sprog – dualis er fx relativt velbevaret. 🙂

bookmark_borderRange cooker

Range cooker.
Range cooker.
We’ve now stripped the future kitchen complete bare – I’ve even removed the laminate flooring.

Next week, the plan says we’ll get an electrician and a plumber round to put in electricity, gas and water.

After that, we just need to buy a kitchen and install it. Easy!

So at the moment, we’ve browsing through kitchen catalogues to choose everything from worktops over taps to cookers.

At the moment, the range cooker that is tempting us the most is the Belling Sandringham 110DF. It has a plain oven, a fan oven, a slow-cooking oven and a separate grill, as well as seven burners (including a wok one).

Anything we should watch out for?

bookmark_borderScottish beavers

Originally uploaded by *n3wjack’s world in pixels

I was thoroughly annoyed a couple of years ago when the Labour government in Scotland rejected a proposal to set beavers free in Scotland, just because some landowners thought they would be a hassle.

So I was very pleased when I learned that the proposal has now been given the green light by the SNP government.

Beavers were released in the wild in Denmark a few years ago, and it’s been a big success. Sure, they build damns and flood fields, but that’s the whole point – the resulting wetlands are great for lots of animals, not just the beavers.

bookmark_borderIt’s a long trip to get an ice-cream

Nardini’s, Largs
Originally uploaded by PhylB

Phyllis and I thought it was a bit unfair on the kids to do DIY for three days in a row, so Phyllis suggested that we should go for an ice-cream at Nardini’s in Largs.

Sure, it’s a long trip, but she claimed the ice-cream was worth it. (She says it was the first place she ever had a non-vanilla ice-cream in her life.)

However, when we got there, we found out it was closed (see the photo). We later met Joyce (with Steve, Karen and Andrew) who said it closed years ago, so Phyllis must not have been to Largs for longer than she thought.

Today we had our ice-cream at a different Nardini’s near the ferry terminal, and it was absolutely lovely!

All hope is not lost for trying the original Nardini ice-cream, though – according to this article, it is due to open later this summer under new ownership (but with the original recipes).

bookmark_borderL’Écosse: Nul points?

Originally uploaded by drgillybean

Just finished watching the Eurovision Song Contest (“Europæisk Melodi-Grand Prix” in Danish) with Phyllis and the kids.

The UK did badly, as usual.

According to this article, there should be nothing preventing Scotland from participating separately from the UK: “There’s nothing to stop Scotland submitting its own Eurovision entry . . . as the European Broadcasting Union has confirmed. The BBC, ITV, STV and Border Television could submit an entry.”

Surely Scotland could do better outwith the UK?