Viridis Oriens

Last Thursday (3rd September) was the 70th anniversary of the outbreak of the Second World War, a conflict that killed 60 million men, women and children, ravaged the face of much of the world, precipitated the downfall of Europe as the centre of world gravity, and which was, to a large extent, caused by the explosion of competing nationalist fervour throughout the world. To commemorate, I bought myself a jumper in Union Jack colours. (more…)


…at least if you’re a binge drinker, which, let’s face it, we all are. According to scientists at the University of California cannabis protects cells that are damaged by alcohol. In support of this someone called Paul Armentano said:

Alcohol and cannabis appear to have contrasting effects on the body…ethanol is clearly toxic to healthy and developing cells whereas cannabinoids appear to be relatively non-toxic and possibly even neuro-protective.

That’s good enough for me.


Why is it that, like the proverbial London buses, films seem to come in twos?

There are a whole series of films that came out within a matter of months or even weeks of each other which share oddly similar themes, for example: Dante’s Peak and Volcano [which, incidentally, is graced with the brilliant tag line “The Coast is Toast”]; Deep Impact and Armageddon; Antz and A Bug’s Life; Mission to Mars and Red Planet; The Illusionist and The Prestige; Tombstone and Wyatt Earp; and, one from the old school, Turner & Hooch and K9.

This has to be more than a co-incidence. Whether it is because there is a hot script going round all the studios which gets made by one studio and the others make a similar (but invariably worse) movie, not wanting to miss out, or because they get wind of a rival’s big project, I can’t believe that all these films with similar plots and/or premises just happen to come out in the same year.


This is Shatner’s greatest work: greater than James T Kirk, than TJ Hooker, than even Denny Crane himself.

This is a deep lookie-likie because it’s not just skin deep. In fact, it’s barely even about their looks – rather it’s the, like, you know, sort of energy, the inner, like, aura that these girls sort of, like, give off.

New Big Brother housemate, and moonchild, Bea

New Big Brother housemate, and moonchild, Bea

Jam and Jerusalems Tash Vine, portrayed by Sally Phillips

Jam & Jerusalem's Tash Vine, portrayed by Sally Phillips

If you don’t watch Jam & Jerusalem, you should – new season probably starting soonish. If you don’t watch Big Brother, what do you do Friday nights?

My mother tells a funny story about a linguistic mix-up.

A couple she knows were going skiing with some friends and taking their daughter along with her boyfriend. The day before they left, the daughter broke up with the unfortunate chap, but since the holiday had been paid for in its entirety, he came along anyway. Having never skied before, and being on holiday with his now-ex-girlfriend and her parents, he was understandably looking glum while nursing a pint in the bar one evening when one of the family friends came over and commiserated, saying how miserable it must be for him. “Oh well,” he replied, “déjà vu…” (more…)

There’s no denying it. For the last two summers in this country we’ve been shortchanged by the weather and then some. We’ve stumbled into the meteorological kebab shop at quarter past three on a Friday night and handed over a twenty pound note for a chicken donner only to receive £2.50 in change. During July and August for both 2007 and 2008, as Southern Europe was getting Southern fried, in good old Blighty we were donning life jackets and learning how to swim (or not) as record floods swept the country.

This is not acceptable. The reason it’s such a slap in the face is that I’m a staunch defendant of the weather in this country and the constant cheap shots people take at it offend my blind patriotism. (more…)

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