The 1960s were the beginning of the end as far as the traditional pub was concerned. The beat generation demanded novelty and noise; this was quickly provided by franchise chains and disco bars, which left the poor old dedicated drinker out in the cold. Depending where you stood in the social scale it was ‘the boozer’, ‘the pub’ or ‘the local’. For non-locals, they had names that totally belied the ambience and clientèle within. Only an innocent tourist would expect to meet any of the peerage in ‘The King’s Arms’ or find… Read More
I’ve got a computer that can filter out unwanted rubbish and a sign on my letter box shielding me from junk mail, but when it comes to useless information it seems that I’m just not capable of rejecting it. Those that promote interest in this sort of stuff (pushers) call it trivia, but it’s reaching the point that ‘brain spam’ would be a more honest description. The amount of information that I don’t really need to absorb is pretty scary.
After hearing an old friend’s comments on his final regular broadcast, I couldn’t help feeling short-changed by the folks that run national radio here in New Zealand. Dougal Stevenson’s final remarks were delivered with the same calm dignity with which he had presented TVNZ national news for so many years. There’s far more to Dougal than a BBC accent, there’s a genuine love of the English language, a deceptively dry wit and, as I discovered, a willingness to encourage those new to public performances. My first encounter with him was for the… Read More
Some cling to the ideal of quietly passing away in their sleep while others feel that falling in the field of battle is the best way to go. Sadly, when it comes to kicking the bucket, we don’t really have much in the way of choice. But let’s spare a thought for those that fate decided to exploit to introduce a bit of variety into the process: In 1912, Franz Reichelt, a tailor, fell to his death from the first level of the Eiffel Tower. He leapt off in order to test… Read More