Saturday, 16 May 2009


This is one of my least favourite times of the year. It is the longest I will have to go without watching the kitsch celebration of all things European in the form of song and interpretive dance. I was a little bit disappointed with this year's outings though, none of the songs really stuck out for me. Alexander Rybak was a worthy winner though for Norway, because his 'Fairytale' song was actually quite sweet...and he is a good piece of eye candy ;o) .

I have to admit, I do take the Eurovision contest *somewhat* semi-seriously. Perhaps it is due to the small, still-surviving European part in me. I can't remember missing any of the contests in my living memory, I even remember watching one while I was still in Croatia, and it has got to the stage now where I can quite accurately predict how a country will distribute its top 3 points. That does look set to become slightly more challenging now, what with having a jury deciding 50% of the voting. Nevertheless, the good old Balkan countries still mainly stuck together. "We may have fought a bloody and useless war, but here's 12 points! Zivjeli!"

Denmark's entry, performed by Brinck, sounded like the poor-man's Danish version of Ronan Keating (though I guess that is hardly surprising given that Ronan wrote the song). That cracked me up good and proper! It was nice to see Britain finish at the top for a change though. I was looking through past performances, and it is only really since 1999 that the UK has been consistenly bad, with the exception of Jessica Garlick in 2002 - she got to 3rd place. But before that they have pretty much always been in the top 10 since 1957, bar the performances of1978 and 1987. So it can't be the case that the UK has always been 'hated by Europe'. Either they have been coming out with crap songs for a decade, or Tony Blair was good at losing allies. Incidentally, it was in 2003 that Britain got 'null points', the year that the war was declared on Iraq. Though that was the year that the female twin from Jemini sang the whole first verse out of tune... I'm sure that had more to do with it!

Anyway, I am going to cry myself to sleep now that I have 364 days to wait 'til Croatia, or any one of my other adoptive countries, have another shot at the Eurovision crown.

Tuesday, 12 May 2009


This morning I read an interesting BBC news article about the cocaine market -

World cocaine market 'in retreat'

In some ways I guess it is quite reassuring to know that even the drugs market is suffering during this recession. Although that is not what the article explicitly says, I'm sure it could well be a contributing factor. Anyway, the best bit about this is that the agency which has come up with all these figures and facts is called the 'Serious Organised Crime Agency'... seriously?! It makes them sound like a bunch of mumbling men in suits, saying things like "We seriously must find a way to tackle that organised crime, what. Too much cocaine on our streets, what. It's just not serious. What."

Well, that is just the image conjured in my head. I'm sure the more 'serious' among you will think this a silly observation ;o)

One things that did shock me though, was the finding that 30% of seized cocaine was only 9% pure. "My goodness, what am I stuffing up my nose?!" says George Osborne. Of course, I'm sure someone with his status and connections would get nothing but the purest type of coke around, and then add it to his expenses list no doubt, perhaps under "stimulant for long working hours".

On a serious note, this highlights just how little cocaine users know about what their cocaine is mixed with. There is no real solution to this I suppose, and in a lot of ways it is a redundant consideration - if an individual is set on taking coke, they will do so without a great deal of thought regarding what else s/he is inadvertedly taking with it. But I guess such is the price one pays for freedom of choice.

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Brunch in Bristol

I am spending the best part of a week in Bristol. My friend, who I call posh despite her claims to the contrary, took me for brunch this morning. I ordered Eggs Florentine. For those who, like myself this morning, don't exactly know what that entails, the eggs came poached on a bed of spinach and a very generous helping of hollandaise sauce, all enclosed in a muffin. Or two, as I had opted for the large version (I was very hungry!). It was simply delicious! If this is how the other half live, then I definitely see the attraction. 

In other news, I am turning mine eyes to short sci-fi stories by Philip K Dick. I have read two ("Nanny" and "The Commuter") out of nine so far. Both have been thought-provoking, although the second one seemed to require more explanation of the events than was given in the narrative. I will leave a review of it (the whole book, entitled "The Turning Wheel and other stories") once I have got through them all. Given that a 4-hour train journey awaits me on Saturday when I return to York, I would deem the probability of such an endeavour as more than merely unlikely. 

Bristol is very pretty, although I am unimpressed by the GIANT hill in the middle of the city...I think becoming used to the flat plains of York has completely destroyed whatever appreciation I might once have had of geographical contours. I also find it somewhat amusing that the Law Dept, which also houses a library and is the graduation building, is called the "Wills Memorial Building". Most of the people entering seem to be wearing Jack Wills clothing. The power of suggestion? Probably not. ;o)