There is no cure for stupidity

Jason Thomas, a 33yo uninsured and disqualified driver from Dudley, West Midlands, collected his three children from school in his Vauxhall Vectra.

On the way home, Mr Thomas was flagged by police. Instead of pulling over, he refused to stop.

In the ensuing chase, he drove through red lights, he drove against traffic lights and road signals, he reached speeds exceeding 100mph.

All this, with his three children in the back of his car.

What stuns me most about this, isn’t his failure to stop. It isn’t that this was his sixth conviction for dangerous driving. It isn’t that he has eleven previous convictions for driving whilst disqualified. It isn’t the futile sentence of 22 months in prison (out in six months with good behaviour), or the extraordinarily pathetic ten year driving ban.


What stuns me most about this was after Jason Thomas T-Boned, at speed, another car, Mr Thomas abandoned his car – with his three children in the back – and attempted to flee the scene.

Three children? Abandoned in the back of a car? After a high-speed chase? After a serious collision?

There is no cure for stupidity.

But how do we allow people like this to breed?

If music be the food of love…

It’s difficult to know which of the elements in this story are the most disturbing.

We have:

  • Robert Foulds, the clerk of Bramley Parish Council in Rotherham, South Yorkshire, and we have…
  • Ken Mackaill, the chairman of the West Mercia Police Federation


Mr Foulds (and God alone knows what planet he is visiting us from) feels it is “outrageous” and  that people in the music profession should expect to get paid for having their work aired in public.

Mr Foulds also feels that the PRS is “a sting”.

Bless him.

And then there is Mr Ken Mackaill who, it must be assumed, is also visiting this planet from far, far away.

Mr Mackaill justifies the taxpayers forking out £24,388 to the PRS through this mind-tripping statement:

“We provide a 24-hour service. It is not unreasonable when an officer is having a sandwich and a cup of coffee at three o’clock in the morning to provide equipment for rest and relaxation.”


It is not unreasonable for the public to pay £24,388?

Not unreasonable, by what shred of logic?

Has Mr Mackaill checked his sense of unreasonableness with the taxpayers?

I think not.

This isn’t a contrary piece.

I firmly believe that musicians should get paid for their work, and royalties are an intrinsic income stream for that payment.

But seriously, a police force spending £24,388 so the lads in uniform can listen to piped music on their breaks?

You couldn’t make it up.

Could you?

Source here

Spam masquerading as a job offer

Does anyone fall for these any more?

ps. What self-respecting HR department would use a gmail address anyway?

pps. Headers trimmed for obvious reasons

ppps. Skip the headers if you’re not interested in the path


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Hello Mr Brennig Jones,

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HR department

I love double standards, me

I picked this thought up from Twitter (original attribution here).

It is weird that because of one failed shoe-bombing attempt in the US, every passenger at every airport in the world had to take their shoes off and be inspected – and even now, most still do.

And yet since the Columbine School massacre (also in the US), there have been a further thirty-one school shootings, and no change in the US law that permits every idiot in the country to legally own lethal weapons.

As I said, I love double standards, me.

Messing with my head

Keen to keep myself at the cutting edge of all forms of technical and non-technical innovation, I have taken the plunge and followed in Blonde’s footsteps, in a semi-medical experiment of sorts.

Unlike Blonde, however, I am using a different product.

On my hair.

This product…

Yes, that’s what it says on the tin (plastic container).

Gallop Colour Enhancing Shampoo for Bay Horses.

And I’m using it.

On my hair.


NEPI: a ghostly vacuum

Very late on Saturday night I went ghost-hunting.

The venue was a manorial house, the seat of a Scottish estate, less than 30 miles south of Edinburgh.

The event, organised by NEPI (North East Paranormal Investigations), started promptly at 9pm.

But shouldn’t the organisers, given that we were in Scotland, be called SEPI (South East Paranormal Investigations)?

Actually, no.

The canny lads and lasses of NEPI were drawn from the north-east of England’s stout-hearted phalanx of ghost-hunters.


The NE in NEPI is an indication of where the ghost-hunting team are based; it isn’t an exclusive label of the area they operate in.

Along with ten other spook-seekers, I arrived a little before 9pm.

I did wonder if our ghostly friends would be similarly prompt.

At the start of the tour/investigation, we were issued with…



















… our ghost meters!

We were given a brief history of the impressive-looking house and were then told what we could (possibly) expect, if we experienced any ‘contact’.

From the physical to the metaphysical.

Our ghost meters were explained to us; what they measured, how they operated.

Infrared and UV devices were shown to us.

The team introduced themselves (I experienced a momentary loss of understanding as my inbuilt universal translator switched from English to Geordie but, truthfully, their accents somehow added to the experience).

And, most importantly, we were given strict instructions on how to faint.

Fainting correctly, it was pointed out to us, would minimise damage to the priceless artifacts within the stately home.

Safe in the knowledge that, should we lose consciousness, we would hit the deck in a manner previously calculated to cause the minimum amount of damage to our surroundings, we gingerly made our way up the steps, and in through the front door.












Fortunately, because we were so far north (compared to home base in Oxfordshire, even at 9.15pm on an August evening, the house was bathed in early evening sunlight.


For reasons never fully explained, there was a grey horse (not a real one, obv), gazing out of a ground-floor window.

Odd, eh?



Our NEPI hosts guided us inside and upstairs to the first floor and, as we went, they explained a few details of the age and importance of various portraits and objets d’art.

The price (or pricelessness) of many was emphasised.


The group was split in half (not literally!); my group was taken in to a ghostly bedroom filled with eeriness and electric atmosphere.

Actually… not.

The bedroom was warm and comfortable; the large four-poster bed looked terrifically inviting and the decor – and carpets – added the dimension of a very liveable-in room.

Large, but liveable-in.

I’ve stayed in creepier hotels. And with creepier people accompanying me.

As our paranormal guides explained history and consequence, we were given the opportunity to stand, in the dark (windows had been shuttered) in a separate bedroom.

To await the ghostly arrival of something from another place.

I gave it a go.

I stood in the pitch blackness of a neighbouring bedroom, waving my ghost meter around in front of me, as if it were some kind of micro Jedi lightsaber.

I may have started to make the ‘buzz-whoosh’ sound that lightsabers make.


And then my ghost meter went off and I cacked myself.

It lit up, it beeped loudly; starting with a slow intermittent beep then getting quicker and quicker as the thing it was detecting got nearer and nearer.

My ghost meter went ballistic as it got next to my pocket.

My pocket where my phone was.

I switched my phone off.

The ghost meter went back to its previously inert state. I cursed the GPS in my phone and hoped I hadn’t actually cacked myself.

I sauntered back in to the main bedroom, looking relaxed and nonchalant, and joined my fellow ghost hunters and ghost hunterets.

A couple of hours later, as the hour approached midnight, our ghostly tour drew to a close in the most impressive gallery.












This is a beautiful room with a vaulted ceiling that has been designed as a central – glassed – feature.

Unfortunately the glass served to reflect the emergency exit lights. This added a ghostliness all of its own, to the half-gloom of the midnight hour.

Our NEPI hosts held a kind of mock séance where they commanded, in a slightly passive/aggressive tone, the spirits to appear.

I think if I were a spirit I would have taken umbrage at such a tone; I would probably have packed my ghostly bags and gone to the Edinburgh Fringe!

Sadly, there were no spirits to be found, and the tour of the main house concluded.

We were taken across the courtyard to the kitchen.














Apart from the ghost hunters and hunteresses, there was no-one around. And there were no pigs heads.

I leaned against the range (in the background of this shot) and actually fell asleep, standing up, whilst another attempt was made to contact the dead.

Maybe the line was down; contact failed.

About half-past midnight the ghostly tour wrapped up.

It was, if I’m honest, a fun evening.

The NEPI guides could work on their patter, but the way they delivered what they did was charming.

The settings were, actually, lovely.

And, during the séance, I got to hold the hand of a girl I had never met before.

Whether one is a believer in ghostly goings-on or not, it’s a night out. It beats an early night in bed with a mug of tea and a bar of chocolate.

But only just.

I don’t get it

Qantas Chief Executive Alan Joyce has blamed an engine design fault for the well-documented problems with the A380, VH-OQA.

But, you know, if it really was an engine design fault, as Mr Joyce has said, wouldn’t every single Trent 900 fitted to every A380 show some kind of a problem?

And yet Emirates has inspected their fleet, found no issues, so they continue flying?


Bonkers economics

News just in from the Department of Silly Ideas

All public services in the US City of Chicago have been shut down for the day and the city staff have had to take the day off as an enforced unpaid holiday.

This is being done, we are told, in an attempt to deal with the city’s £184m budget deficit.


While other folk might read this story and think fulsome, praising thoughts along the lines of ‘Good for them, at least they’re trying to do something about the problem’, all I can do is sit here and think…


I’ve heard of the silly season, but has that now become the stupid season?

Am I honestly expected to believe that all of the private/partnership organisations who have contracts with the City of Chicago won’t be charging for their services, even if their contracted services are not taken up?


Because if that’s what I’m expected to believe, I don’t believe it.

So what’s the real saving here?

Are the police still patrolling the streets? Well yes, of course they are.

Are the fire services still on the same degree of on-call readiness? Well yes, of course they are.

So what is really being saved here, apart from the salaries of the teachers and administrative staff?

Overhead costs on the building services?


A bit of electricity here or there?


But everyone knows that a building standing idle – an asset not in the production cycle – is a loss-maker, everyone knows this simple rule of economics.

Or, to put it another way: an asset not in use is a liability. It ceases to be an asset when it is not in production.

So really, all that’s being ‘saved’ is the salary that would have been paid to the city workers.


Had these same city workers been in paid employment they would have paid taxes on their salary, and that’s a big bunch of lost income to the US Treasury.

How is taking revenue away from the US Treasury a saving?

No, go on, I’m all ears. Please tell me; how is this exercise saving the city of Chicago money!

Oh, and one final thought.

America, being the over-litigious society that it is; how long do you think the city leaders will have to wait before a collective of Chicagoans club together and sue the living shit out of the city for the day of lost services that they have paid for via their taxes.


Don’t make me laugh.

Do I look that naive?


Peculiar news made by peculiar people

Peculiar news from Oxfordshire where the local Powers That Be have chosen to rename Kidlington Airport, Oxford.

It’s now called London Oxford Airport.

Yesterday it took me three hours to travel to from Oxford to the 02 Arena. It also took me three hours to get from Victoria back to Oxford.

London Oxford Airport.

When I see those words I expect to see a hyphen between the first two.

London – Oxford Airport, as in ‘London to Oxford’.

Because with a six-hour round-trip yesterday, surely the only way London and Oxford can fit so comfortably together in a sentence is linked by air travel!


The people responsible for the rebranding of Kidlington Airport, sorry, London – Oxford Airport have said that Kidlington is the only airport between London and Birmingham.


As Birmingham International Airport is the only international airport between London and Manchester, does that mean that we should expect Birmingham International Airport to be shortly renamed London Birmingham International Airport?

Where does it stop?

London Glasgow International Airport?

London Reykjavik Airport?

London Sydney Airport?

This is obviously one of those ‘silly season stories which, because of the quiet news cycle, is being picked up and played out in the media.

But unfortunately it’s a silly season story being perpetrated upon us by some incredibly silly people.

London – Oxford Airport?

Give me a break!