Day 380 – Phil stuff

Just some thoughts about the last 24 hours. Not drum to bang, no product to sell, just a few things I have noticed and that I’m going to write down now. You can learn a lot about people by watching their public reactions to this sort of news.

I recognise that not everyone likes a royal family, and I recognise that Prince Philip may sometimes have been a divisive figure, but some of the comments on social media – particularly those making it all about the individual posting – are both appalling and superb.

It’s true that this is a bit of a new thing for the BBC. No-one as nationally important (I’m talking about his standing in his traditional and ceremonial role, not what you think his rank in society should be) has died since 1952. Things have moved on since then. A lot.

“Timings not great for this”? Yeah. How irritating of him to die now. I’ll have words. Not to worry though, we’ll be sure to get the next public figure to pop their clogs at a suitable time for you, Cazza. Do you have anything free in October next year, for example? “Unbelievable really” actually does sum it up nicely. But your comment rather than his poorly timed demise.

And then this: There are hundreds of thousands of hours of BBC content on radio, TV and the internet every single year. But literally a couple of hours of news about the Duke of Edinburgh dying and John’s wondering where his money is going, the tight-fisted sod.

Other radio stations and streaming services are readily available, and I’m sure that John knows that, but just quietly switching over doesn’t get him the attention he requires. We need to be told about it. He is quite clearly nuts.

Still, could be nuts-er. Hello, Lisa Beaumont.

Nail on the proverbial. This is exactly what it’s like in North Korea. You moaning on social media (despite the fact that speech is forbidden) from PyongYang just like all North Koreans are always doing. Mark Radcliffe playing Aqualung, Zero 7 and Sigur Ros over the airwaves whilst the much beloved leader of the country oversees mass military demonstrations of thousands of conscripted soldiers all marching in perfect unison. Public executions of dissidents. Half the population starving, the other half in concentration camps. Regular botched nuclear missile tests.

“wElCoMe tO nOrTh KoReA.”


But it’s not all doom and gloom. There are some really amusing memories of Prince Philip as well. He seems to have been a fairly jovial character a lot of the time. See this from Private Eye:

Look, I need to get the braai lit, so I’m going to leave this whole thing with one final thought, which has been the one dominating my mind since I heard this news.

Photo story (it’s not the one you keep reading).

They were married for over 73 years. That’s absolutely incredible. I’m approaching n years old and my Dad was only a toddler when they tied the knot. The Queen has reigned for almost 70 years and he was by her side every single day of that. I fully realise that theirs is not a normal life by any stretch of the imagination, but to lose someone who has been your partner for that long must be impossible to bear.

I think a lot of people – especially those rushing to whine or fling insults around on social media – forget that there’s a human side to this as well. They’d do well to take a step back and think again.

Day 377 – Wizard Poison

I spotted this on Twitter and it made me smile.

“Wizard poison” – what a lovely turn of phrase.

The latest anti-vaxxer (for it is they that Patton is referring to under his “idiots” tag) arguments demonstrate a couple of their usual methods very nicely. I thought I’d run through them.

Firstly, there’s their claim that the vaccines amount to “gene therapy”. Nope.
What they’ve done here is looked at the vaccine, seen the acronym “mRNA”, extrapolated the N and the A to give themselves the phrase “nucleic acid” which they then associate with genes (even though genes are actually made up of DNA, not RNA) and then somehow leapt to the assumption that the vaccine will in some way replace the genes within their and your DNA, thus altering their and your genetic code. wut?
This is plainly incorrect, but – as we’ve discussed many times on here and everywhere else – that simple fact will not stop the rumours from being spread far and wide across the internet.
There’s a further point to this as well, though: the suggestion the gene therapy is a bad thing. Not so. Gene therapy will save countless lives, but that’s very much a secondary issue here, because none of the Covid-19 vaccines are gene therapy.

So that’s the one tactic: getting things completely wrong without any care or repercussion. The second one is cherry-picking the data to suit their narrative.

There may be a problem with the AZ vaccine in that there seems to be a link between it and instances of blood clots in patients. That’s clearly not a good thing, and because of that, the anti-vaxxer brigade have joyfully leapt all over it.

The thing is that we’re looking at 30 suspected cases in the UK, after 18 million doses of the vaccine in question. That amounts to 1 case for every 600,000 doses administered. Those are the numbers, and that’s what’s prompted a full investigation.


Blood clots are also a side-effect of Covid-19, possibly by triggering an autoimmune antibody. The instance of this is approximately 1 in 6,000 cases (nice number). So while you might – possibly – suffer from blood clots as a result of having the AZ vaccine, if you get Covid-19 as a result of not having the AZ vaccine, you’re about 100 times more likely to have problems with blood clots.

Surprise surprise, this is the bit that the anti-vaxxers choose to omit from their shitty monologues.

You can’t believe everything you hear. Or indeed anything that comes from their mouths.

Take it from me: the vaccines are far safer than running the risk of getting Covid, which is very much not safe.
And they contain very, very little wizard poison. Promise.

Day 367 – Festival

It’s been a while since I went to a music festival. A long while. And while I love to listen to music, there’s nothing quite like proper live music with one act after another, weeing in horrific portaloos, and – optionally – sleeping in a tent.

6Music would love to be having their annual festival at the moment, but for some weird reason [checks notes] – apparently it’s the coronavirus pandemic – they can’t. So they got loads of musicians and bands into empty studios across the country and got them to play live sets as if there was a crowd there.
No, of course it’s not quite the same as a real festival, but it’s still a whole lot better than nothing. There’s some jazzy stuff (that pianist!), some electronic stuff, some happy folk rocky stuff, some just plain weird completely indefinable stuff (cool song, but I just don’t think that it works live) and some indie rock stuff.

That electronic stuff link is Bicep’s Apricots. It’s not my favourite song of theirs: they’ve done much better songs recently, like the dreamy Saku, but you have to just watch it for the lighting alone. So completely simple, so symmetrical, to straightforward… but wow. So massively effective.
You just want to be there, like a lucky pillar of blue light.

The whole youtube playlist is here, and is being added to, daily.
And if you just want to listen without pictures, check out the more comprehensive playlist on BBC Sounds.

Day 343 – Win

Day 3-4-3, although we were actually playing a 5-3-2.

Too little too late? Possibly. Probably, even. But the commitment and the sheer effort last night was a proper Sheffield United performance, not one of a team seemingly doomed to relegation.
Our defeating both Aston Villa and the best efforts of the officials and their laughable red cardism was wonderful to watch (if slightly stressful at the end).

You have to watch that DMG goal a couple of times. Once to see the inch-perfect cross-field ball, and then a second time to ignore the inch-perfect cross-field ball, and watch McGoldrick’s run once he had pinged the pass out to George Baldock.

What a goal. What a performance.
And a Sheffield Double as Wendy lost to relegation rivals Toytown in the last minute.


Day 334 – Crooked

Not a post about our erstwhile government.

But yes, Chesterfield does have a church with a crooked spire.

It’s quite a thing.

You drive right past it on the A61 when you’re heading to Sheffield because you’ve taken junction 29 off the M1 North in an effort to avoid the Catcliffe Link and the city centre traffic (and that’s really the only reason that you’d be in Chesterfield).

The spire was added in the 14th-century tower in about 1362, and is 228 feet (69 m) high from the ground. It is both twisted and leaning, twisting 45 degrees and leaning 9 ft 6 in (2.9 m) from its true centre. The leaning characteristic was initially suspected to be the result of the absence of skilled craftsmen (the Black Death had been gone only twelve years before the spire’s completion), insufficient cross bracing, and the use of unseasoned timber.

It is now believed that the twisting of the spire was caused by the lead that covers the spire. The lead causes this twisting phenomenon, because when the sun shines during the day the south side of the tower heats up, causing the lead there to expand at a greater rate than that of the north side of the tower, resulting in unequal expansion and contraction. This was compounded by the weight of the lead (approximately 33 tonnes) which the spire’s bracing was not originally designed to bear.

There are around a hundred twisted spires on churches across Europe, but this is the only one that you’d be likely to be passing if you were on your way to Sheffield