05 April 2010


St. Patrick returned to Ireland as a missionary in 456.  Pocahontas married John Rolfe in 1614.  The first civic public park opened in 1874 in Birkenhead.  Mahatma Gandhi was arrested for making salt in 1930.

Born today:  Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679), Jean-Honoré Fragonard (1732-1806), Joseph Lister (1827-1912), Algernon Charles Swinburne (1837-1909), Booker T. Washington (1856-1915), Spencer Tracy (1900-1967), Betty Davis (1908-1989), Herbert von Karajan (1908-1989), Gregory Peck (1916-2003), Nigel Hawthorne (1929-2001), Jane Asher (1946) and Agnetha Fältskog (1950).

It is Hansik in Korea.


  1. Good morning world.

    Good news on the 'advancing international relations' front yesterday, deano!

  2. Great news Chin.

    I'l take on the job of posting the odd note about developments in respect of Montana's UK tour. We still need a little more support, which I'm sure will come in due course.

  3. What lovely news about the Chinese miners- alive after all that time!

  4. Christ, the comments under the Grayling B&B threads are depressing.

    All this "Aaah, but there are gay clubs and I saw an ad for exclusive gay B&B's once , eh? What about that?"

    Your poor, heterosexual, nominally christian, white, lower to upper middle class, Tory supporting male must be most discriminated against, shat upon, screwed over section of society ever to inhabit this wretched earth.

  5. Montana as you/we are developing your UK itinerary we may find the following link helpful if we find we can't cover all the legs of your UK travel by friends cars.

    Bus Services

    Our buses don't have the dangers of your greyhounds ( as far as I know) and they can be a cheaper way of getting around. For example I looked up the cost of a one way ticket from London to Truro (Cornwall)in June and got a fare of £21. Trains are of course much faster but often cost a hell of a lot more.

    Hopefully if things develop well there shouldn't be too much bussing involved in your visit and if our scholarship fund attracts the odd donation there should be some brass to go towards it if necessary.

    Early days yet but all is possible.

    If you want to include Cornwall we can find a way to do it. You will have Andysays email (I think his absence from UT is most likely because of the shortage of funds to get an internet link.)and we should talk with him about lawn space.

    I have it in mind to be in Cornwall sometime over the summer so I could help with the onward journey to say Wales etc. At the minute we may have a gap London to Cornwall - we'll crack it in due course I'm sure.

  6. Sheff I hope you will have time to read yesterdays UT and accept my nomination of you as treasurer of the scholarship fund.

    No great rush but we will need an internet account to which Montanas UT friends who can't offer bed and breakfast, beans on toast or lawnspace etc can donate the odd spare shilling to help with the expenses of her sons UK educational visit.

  7. 13thDuke:

    Your argument is misguided, even if I accept the gesture towards discriminated minorities at the heart of it.

    I lived in Machester for a while (born there as it happens) and one sunny day decided, with my wife and son, to take a drink in a café down Canal Street.

    We were asked to leave by the manager, on the grounds that there were plenty of heterosexual watering places to cater for our orientation, but his place wasn't one of them.

    Being the easy going type, and not wishing to make a fuss, we left.

    But what happened to us was against the law, it was discrimination, and it was gratuitous.

    Futhermore, what's sauce for the goose can easily become sauce for the gander. Gays, of all people, should know that.

  8. BTW, Duke, I'm not looking for an argument, not today anyway.

    I'm alone in the house (my wife has taken the kids to Paris - she's normally smarter than that), the sun is out, fois gras and Chateau Margaux is on the menu, and my stupidly fast sports bike needs a polish (and maybe a spin on the damn fine roads that make France such a pleasure): a perfect day.

  9. Your grace / peterb - I agree with both of you...

    I think that gay establishments are subject to the same requirements not to discriminate per se (and fully agree with that) - and that cafe owner was a prick. I think that the last few years with the anti-dis laws being changed, his approach would change - certainly gay clubs in London no longer 'test' on the door, etc etc.

    But most gay establishments in my experience were 'inclusive' even before that (and remain so in spirit as well as 'in law) - in other words they won't require you to be gay to get in, but will take a view on whether or not you are gay-friendly. That to me seems reasonable - because 'safe spaces' are important.

    There was a thread on this a couple of months back, and the majority opinion from gay posters below the line was 'safe not exclusive' - that excluding straight people was harmful and 'ghettoising'. There are some who like the ghetto, as separatism is supported by some fems, of course - but that's not the majority view, I don't think.

    The Retro bar, my only regular 'gay' haunt, is just off the Strand, so gets a lot of passing tourist traffic, particularly before the theatres kick off - more than once have seen people twig having sat down with their drinks. Sometimes they leave, sometimes they stay - and it is made v clear that they are very welcome. That's how it should be. As I said, that Canal St chap was a prick.

    But for someone of the default set to whinge about the presence of safe spaces, well, that's annoying in the extreme. That's 'not getting it' on a fairly big scale...

  10. peterb - where are you in france?

  11. Peter,

    you may have heard of the phrase "Two wrongs do not make a right". You were right to feel aggrieved and were well within your rights to take it further.

    To discriminate against customers on the basis of creed, colour, orientatation etc is plainly wrong.

    The issue is, is that this is not some minor backbench Sir Huffington Bluffington of Reactionaryshire that made the comments, but the potential future Home Secretary. This is what makes his comments so significant.

  12. This comment has been removed by the author.

  13. Peter/Philippa,

    enjoy your Easter Monday. It's 'Tweede Paasdag' here, the sun is shining and we're off out to see what's going on.


  14. Mmmm....foie gras...

    Not got some sauternes chilling for that, Peter? Or a monbazillac?

    You've got me wondering if I have a tin of it knocking about the place. Will go and have a look now.

  15. (By the way, a St Croix du Mont is just as good as a sauterne in my book, and about a quarter of the price.)

  16. YOur Grace

    Spot on about Grayling. As I said on the thread, the Tories really do want to take us back to the 80s. *shudders*

  17. Oooer missus. A day of totally politically incorrect Carry On Films on cable today. Carry On Henry just starting.

    Heheheheheh *imagine Sid James' laugh there*

  18. Phillipa

    In Brighton there are some beautiful hotels and guest houses that cater for the large gay population in Brighton (I think I'm right in saying that Brighton is the Gay capital of the UK?) The owners/hotel management acted normally to non-gays. Straight people are not singled out for 'special treatment' everyone is treated just the same, politeness, courtesy that's what I and I'm sure others want. I was more interested in all the attractions Brighton has to offer rather than who was staying in the BB and what their sexual orientation might be. What threw me on the B&B thread on CiF were the comments about what gay people get upto in bed. Some of the shenanigans that straight people get up to do not bare thinking about.


    From your post last night:-

    I'm sure I would like you - despite you saying I probably wouldn't because of your life style. For one thing we both liked the music yesterday on Classic FM :0 )
    Did you hear the programme a few weeks ago? I think it was a Sunday afternoon when an hour was dedicated to the music that was inspired by the South American bordellos? The presenter gave a good historical background although he said himself he had been largely ignorant about this music and had learnt a lot. Very worthwhile and stunning music.

  19. "peterb - where are you in france?"

    She won't be away that long, Philippa(!) Sorry, couldn't resist it - I'm such a prat.

    An hour or so from Paris, and West of. It's in the sticks of Normandy. Green, but still a touch too North for my liking.

    Now you're living (I think) much closer to my ideal. Provence is truly God's acre. We have friends there - and don't see them often enough.


    I know (ish) Grayling - met him a few times before he made it to the opposition front bench, and wonder why he was promoted to it. Doubt he'll be there for long.


    Haven't acquired the taste for sweet wines. It frustrates my French copines, and confirms their prejudice of the Brits: that we have no palate worthy of the name.

  20. Afternoon all - hope everyones having a relaxing break from the maelstrom.


    It would be really lovely to see Montana and she and her boy would be very welcome in Sheffield. Between Princess, MsC and I, I'm certain we can accommodate both of them and make sure they have a good time.

    I am reluctant to take up the post of the holder of the dosh but if no one else will put themselves forward to do it then I will. What do I have to do?

    Oh dear Peter, fois gras! Have to say I love it too but it seems to be a bit naughty these days what with concerns for the cruelty inherent in the way the geese are fed.

    As to the gay issues - it has always been beyond me why some straight people are so fascinated and/or horrified by what gay folks do in bed. I've generally found that my gay friends sexuality is one of the least interesting things about them.

    In terms of establishments that cater for 'gay' needs, I suppose thats a feature of society slowly emerging from prohibition and prejudice and once a persons sexuality is no longer an issue things will become less polarised. In the meantime can't we let them have a little room to breathe without needing to impose ourselves?

  21. "In terms of establishments that cater for 'gay' needs, I suppose thats a feature of society slowly emerging from prohibition and prejudice and once a persons sexuality is no longer an issue things will become less polarised. In the meantime can't we let them have a little room to breathe without needing to impose ourselves?"

    I can buy that sentiment, sheffpixie. The letter of the law (ahem, BB) says it's wrong, principle says it's wrong - but I see the sense of it, bien sur.

  22. Cordelia - "everyone is treated just the same, politeness, courtesy that's what I and I'm sure others want" - damn right, that's exactly how it should be done. The cretin contingent who seem to think that commenting on sexual practices (which they fondly imagine to be the sole province of gay people, specifically gay men) are just dull. Pointy-finger prurient gigglers, no doubt getting their jollies thinking of all those disgusting things the queers get up to...

    I'm no psychologist, but I'd suggest that some of them need to admit a few things to themselves - they'd have more fun...


    Peterb - cheeky...Languedoc is getting a bit the same way as Provence - one of my friends bought himself a beautiful house in a little village, and had a chat with a neighbour (in French) - after about ten minutes they realised they were both Brits. Steve has now discovered that about 25% of the village are expats. Local presse says the most popular newspaper they stoc is the Telegraph...

    But it's beautiful here - just wish I could drive, see more of the countryside.

  23. peterb - I think the point is that 'gay establishments' now (due to legal requirements but also in principle) are 'gay friendly', i.e. run by gay people, promoted particularly to gay people, but will accept bookings / reservations / drinks orders from anybody. So, as before, they are 'safe spaces' - where you can just be with your partner without getting funny looks (and do not underestimate the saddening power of funny looks) - rather than 'gay only'.

    Yes, this will probably change as social acceptance improves but, from some of the 'opinions' vaunted on CIF, I'm not holding me breath.


  24. Strikes a chord Christina I seem to have it in my mind that was presented by the old tory chorister David Mellor? But I could be confusing it with with something he did on South American composers. It might have been that young guy who was doing the A-Z .... I listen to the station a lot so I'll probably have caught it.

    Who knows perhaps you might like me if we ever met but I'm well established in my trampish ways although fairly easy going.....not everybodys cup of tea though.. Although I no longer live with the love of my life (me sometime wife) she still quite likes me so who knows.

    There is a well established trailer trash mentality directed at those who live on the margins of society in caravans. But some folk,as leni demonstrated last night, are very tolerant of the 'alternatives' and I'm lucky in that regard were I am. I think I'm just seen as being a bit nutty.

  25. Sheff early days yet so nothing urgent the lady may not yet be able to make it but it is sounding promising..

    My idea was simply that she may for example not want to visit my bit of Yorkshire or be unable to fit it in to her schedule. That being so I would then want to send her few bob to have drink or fish and chips on me whilst she was in the UK. I kinda assumed that some of her other UT friends might find themselves in a similar position (she won't be able to visit us all) and want to contribute the odd shilling to the venture.

    I chose you 'cos you have a honest face and I would trust you to make sure that my shilling got to it's intended destination. As I say early days yet so no great rush. Whilst we are all anon here you have been outed in the past so we know who you are!I thought the lady might not like her actual address posting openly so I thought of you as a kind of postbox.

  26. Peter - as long as your not still drinking your pastis by the time you get to the main course....

  27. Montana wishes to visit Britain. She should come to Scotland.

    Other than that, quiet day. WADDYA has not been updated, so it takes ages for all 600 comments to load.

    Other than that I am busy as hell. Thinking of doing an OU module about essay writing, that should be useful if I one day hope to get comissioned by cif. Not to mention doing other courses at the same time.

    Finally eating too much French Brie, heaven on earth. I will go to the sports centre and work it off soon.

    Finally x2. Looking to move away from my dear old mother. Looking on listings websites for flatshares etc, plus opportunities of jobs etc. I will probably go to one of the central cities of Scotland.

  28. Welcome Napoleon - quiet day on here too, by the looks of things.

    Where abouts in Scotland are you? Half my family is up there, although spit on a windy day and they're in England...

  29. Hiya Napoleon - welcome to the UT.

    Central Scotland huh? Perth is a good little city - more going on there than most people know about and the highlands are very accessible. The highlands and the north west coast in particular being my most favourite place on the planet - the bloody midges aside...

  30. Hello all. Back from sunny Slovenia.

    Self-justifying piece by Today editor recently up.

  31. Interesting programme on Nat King Cole just finished on BBC4. My mother thought he was great.

    He really did have an amazing voice, could just have been the easiest singer the in the world. The amazing sounds just slipped off his vocal chords without any apparent effort.

  32. Having for years gone to Canal Street in Manchester with my wife and children I simply don't believe Peter Bracken's story. If there is any truth in it all then, judging by his persona on CiF, he was probably behaving like an obnoxious little right-wing twat with the added deficiency of being a pretentious know-nothing gobshite and was quite reasonably asked to fuck off before he bored everyone to death with the fourth-rate sixth form jizz that constitutes his idea of thought (this on a generous estimate).

  33. Hello All

    Sunshine Medve ? It seems to have deserted this part of Wales completely. Dank drizzle reigns supreme here.

    Hi Napoleon and George - though you seem a bit cross ! ( George that is )

  34. The controversy about gay couples in B&B.

    I cannot understand people who make such a fuss about things which simply do them no harm. Gays or women who cover themselves in public hardly constitute a threat to anyone else - far to many people go around looking for something to inflame ' moral outrage '. Silly beggars.

  35. Well, true to form (if George's estimation of me is anything to go by) I missed this sumptuous farrago of nonsense from the interim chair of Amnesty:

    "Moazzam Begg and others in his group Cageprisoners also hold other views which they have clearly stated, for example on whether one should talk to the Taleban or on the role of jihad in self-defence. Are such views antithetical to human rights? Our answer is no, even if we may disagree with them..."

    The Taleban blow up innocents in the name of defensive Jihad. And Amnesty has just declared its support for the dross.

    The case against the deluded Left is stacking up.

  36. BB (if she is still around)

    I live in Stornoway on the isle of Lewis. Sometimes nice, often miserable. It is blowing a gale outside. Full crazy of Presbyterians. No wishy washy Anglican stuff, full on fire and brimstone.

    I have had enough really. I have no problem living in a city like Glasgow, despite many people's prejdices- that snobbishness makes it cheaper than Edinburh. Obviously there are still rough areas, I think Glasgow has more gangs than London (I have been looking at these 'gangs' on youtube.) There are plenty of mueseums, theatres and art galleries though. I will probably be looking at a flatshare.
    Although to be honest I can go literally anywhere in Europe. I am studying online via the OU so location does not matter.

  37. Hey folks!!

    I've been absent for a few days, but I see things have been 'interesting' once again - Thursday night in particular.

    RE the B&B thing:

    I'm not entirely sure where I stand on this, if anyone's interested.

    It's a complicated issue, and, initially I sort of get the feeling that it's a kind of 'set-up' for some sort of trap.

    By that I mean that I have quite consistently argued that landlords should be allowed to choose whether they allow smoking, for example, if they're running a business and they think that a decision either way effects it, and this sort of thing falls into that same sort of area I think, regardless of how despicable or bigoted I myself find it....

    Also, perhaps more worryingly, I think there's a definite hint of misdirection in the timing and scale of the furore surrounding the comments.

    (I'm currently trying to write something about New Labour using identity issues as a smokescreen/diversion tactic, and, the cynical bit of me, can't help but think this might be another such example...)

    *ducks for cover...

  38. Leni:

    Sunshine Medve ? It seems to have deserted this part of Wales completely. Dank drizzle reigns supreme here.

    Slightly tongue-in-cheek comment, the weekend was pretty good weather-wise in Ljubljana and surroundings and Tieste Italy until yesterday evening when it started to rain. Today i brought the bad weather with me to Hungary and it is raining here now.

  39. Thanks Medve - I feel better now !


    Identity politics I hate - they are diversionary tactics and used to separate people and therefore weaken both opposition and any attempt to build an equitable society.

    I am working up a complain and whinge campaign on behalf of coeliacs ! Cafes and resaurants are not required by law to provide gluten free food - this means that dining out is restricted. I can only ever eat about one third of anything on offer - yet pay the full price. This will add to overall catering costs so I expect opposition.

    We all have to learn give and take - not everything can be to our personal liking - in a trully diverse society which recognises difference - of many kinds - we must sometimes expect to be inconvenienced. Difference is both a fact and a right and is compatible with a fair society.

  40. Leni,

    I agree that they are quite powerful diversionary tactics, and have also been used as a wedge to divide a population that should have possibly been in uproar about other things.

    With regards to B&B's, we could, in the run up to the general election, for example, be talking about the difficulties faced by most small businesses, about how banks are failing to give credit etc, to those tax-payers who bailed them out in the first place, or about how an expanded bureaucracy/H&S executive etc has made life increasingly difficult.....

    Or, we could all spend our time getting worked up about how, if the Tories get in, all non-heterosexual/white/whatever couples will be outcast by a homophobic and bigoted home secretary, and businesses will all be encouraged to do the same.

  41. James

    i see the election will be ' announced ' tomorrow.

    The real issues facing people on a daily basis will be ignored - there will be a lot of diverting from the issues, personality politics and scapegoating.

    Practical measures for small businesses, jobs and housing to name a few pressing problems will be ignored. Immigration - rather than the difficulties of everyone in the deindustrialised towns will be a favourite topic allowing the BNP to join the obfuscatory arguements.

    There is noone in the current batch of politicians who actually represnts the interests of the majority of people in this country - not one has the courage or the integrity to even define the problems in human terms.
    I was obviosly joking about coeliacs , it's not really a problem but there are many, many people who are marginalised , are neither accepted nor catered for by mainstream political thinking. Disadvantage is about a lot more than shortage of cash .

    There is an impotent anger felt by so many - there is no direction for it and it is manifesting itself in various destructive ways by being diverted from the real target to minority groups - identity politics allows this channeling of aggression and lets the real villains of the hook.

  42. Leni

    absolutely agree!!

    Very well said!!