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Saturday, October 18, 2003

Back home after a day's filming in Cwmafon. I haven't seen any news or read any papers for about three days. What's going on? Bought the Saturday Guardian in the Spar at Cwmafon (the woman behind the counter looked at me as though I was from Ursula Minor) but when I got home I realised the Guide bit was missing and haven't picked the paper up in protest since. Not even the Review bit. I hate it when there's a bit missing from a paper. It's always the bit I want. Why is the Appointments section never missing from The Sunday Times? In Chennai the monthly Sunday magazine section of The Hindu never got delivered to me for some reason. Nobody could ever explain why. (I think the gardener used to eat it.) And then I had to sit and listen to my friend Jim tell me how interesting it was for the next four weeks.

Friday, October 17, 2003

Just about to go to bed. Long day ahead tomorrow, filming with Chris Needs for the documentary and also the promo for his Garden CD...

I'm knackered...

Thursday, October 16, 2003

That'll do nicely

American Express have sent me a leaflet explaining their new "enhanced" Rewards system. For every pound I spend, I get a point, which I can collect and use to buy things, like holidays to Mauritius or a Rolex watch. But it turns out that I need to spend about £17,000 to buy a Mars bar.

Am I missing something?
More Cable

Some suggestions for likely career outcomes one year from now for Stuart Cable...

1. Binman.
2. Drummer in dodgy South Wales pub band. (No, that's what he WAS doing.)
3. BBC Wales presenter. (Ditto)
4. Hairdresser.
Cable Switched Off

I'm pleased to see that jumped-up pub rockers The Stereophonics have binned their ghastly drummer Stuart Cable.

The Stereophonics are, of course, one of the worst bands on the planet, following a great tradition of Welsh musical mediocrity established by acts such as The Alarm, Bonnie Tyler, The Manic Street Preachers, Shakin' Stevens etc. etc.

Cable got the sack not because his absurd perm was deemed completely unacceptable (even though it is) but because he wasn't turning up for any gigs. (Surely "play at gigs" is fairly high on any drummer's job description?)

Instead he was making a tedious chat show for BBC Wales, called Cable TV (geddit?)

I was also gratified to note that Mr Cable's dismissal has led to him making it onto this thought-provoking site.
News from the courts...

A group of impoverished Saudi businessmen are suing for libel in London over separate allegations that they are linked to Osama Bin Laden. Some of the allegations weren't even published in British newspapers, but London is now the defamation capital of the world, due in no small part to the fact that the judges here are seen to be "claimant-friendly" (a fact all too familiar to British journalists). The Saudis are following the trend-setting example set by those cuddly Russian oligarchs who made London their litigation location of choice in the mid-1990s.

It's good news for the lawyers.
Bleary-eyed

Another late night last night, filming for the programme I'm making about Chris Needs. Chris is a late-night DJ on Radio Wales who has attracted a cult following of insomniac listeners. Late night = his show starts at 10pm and ends at 1am, so if I film with him in the studio I don't get to bed before 2am. The programme is due to go out on November 13th and it will be a real rush to get it ready in time. Still waiting to hear from the BBC if they have dub and online dates for me that will work with the schedule.

Wednesday, October 15, 2003

Links I like

Here are a few links I click on regularly...

This has all the real stories from America.

Here's where I keep up to date with what's happening in Chennai. Not.

I got the idea for a blog from Stuart Hughes, who's been doing one for ages. Stu is a BBC journalist who was injured in the Gulf. I'm making a documentary about him. His blog is much better than mine. Bah. How do you upload pix, Stu?

My friend Johnny runs a cool video store in Melbourne. Relax, ladies - he's attached.

These dudes regularly extort huge amounts of money from me.

I own shares in a boxer dog called Morris, so it's obvious why I like this site.

I went to university with Andy and now he's a snapper.

Talking of cameras, when this one's working I like to look at the tram stop just around the corner from the bar where I used to drink in Ekaterinburg. (But the camera isn't normally working.)
Booker Book

Congratulations to DBC Pierre, the winner of the 2003 Booker Prize. The £50k cheque goes to the best novel by a Commonwealth citizen every year (no Yanks allowed, thank you very much). Pierre's novel Vernon God Little is the first time a debut has won the prize since The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy in 1997. I'm glad Pierre won this year 'cos he's quite a colourful character: a reformed cocaine addict who sold a friend's flat without telling him, to pay for his stash. (By the way, if anybody knows how to sell somebody else's flat without them finding out, can you drop me a line...?) "DBC" stands for "Dirty But Clean" - a reference to the fact that Pierre (real name: Peter Finlay) is now on the straight and narrow and plans to refund his friend for the missing flat. Aaaah. Isn't that nice?
Hot News

The two sizzling stories of the moment in Britain are...

1) England's football players had a ruck in the tunnel during Saturday's game with Turkey after a Turkish squad member allegedly spat at them (nice). If our football players were as good at kicking balls as they are at booting each other, we would be in a much better position (I thought Emile Heskey's lunge at an offending Turkey team member was particularly impressive) but sadly on the pitch we remain as mediocre as ever.

2) The Conservative party leader Iain Duncan-Smith is in trouble
because he has apparently been paying his wife £18k a year to work for him and er... she allegedly hasn't actually been doing any work. Now, if everybody in Britain who got paid for doing work they didn't do was subject to the same degree of media interest as Betsy Duncan-Smith there wouldn't be room in the newspapers for anything else. But Mr Duncan-Smith's largesse comes at tax-payer's expense - hence the interest. By the way, the average salary in Britain at the moment is £24k a year, so perhaps Mrs Duncan-Smith should be asking her boss for a pay rise?
Good Evening and...

Welcome to What is News? a blog for all those people I used to shout at in Russia and India, as well as any other lost soul who happens to wander in and wants to find out what's bugging me at the moment...

Those of you who know me know how terrible I am at replying to mails, so hopefully this will be a good way for you to discreetly keep an eye on my activities.

Those of you who don't know me will still hopefully find something here to occasionally entertain and/or enrage you.

Whoever you are, feel free to have your say. Or just let me know how you are!

Now all I've got to do is think of something to say...
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