Motorways sights…

Friday afternoon.

M40, Birmingham-bound.


It’s not often I see a need for new legislation but this requirement is long overdue…

Vehicle registration plates.

I find that I’m seeing an increasing number of vehicle registration plates that have been tampered with to make them look like something they’re not.

Like right now.

I’m following an Audi on the M40.

I have +20/20 vision.

I am 30 metres behind it.

The registration number on the plate of the Audi is – quite plainly – HOTT X.

I know that this registration number has been manipulated because HOTT X is not a valid registration number.

I close to 20 metres.

It still only says HOTT X.

Traffic slows and bunches up because there’s a jam at an exit ramp so I close to ten metres.

Nope, it still reads as HOTT X – but I can see there’s something after the ‘H’ on the registration plate.

Traffic slows to a crawl so I pull up to five metres.

Guess what?

From this distance I can see that the actual registration number is H17 TTX.

The owner has manipulated it by inserting a black ‘.’ next to the ‘1’ and the ‘7’ has been straightened and placed next to the ‘H1.’ to make it look like ‘]’.

Then the ‘X’ has been extra-spaced away from the first part of the registration detail.

So in ASCII it looks like this: HI]TT  X.

I’m not being a killjoy in calling for legislation to stop this from happening, my reasoning is simple.

If the car in front of me was involved in a hit and run accident no-one would have a clue as to its real identity.

So come on you nanny Conservative New Labour politicians.

Isn’t it about time you got off your collective arses and did something useful, something that would actually benefit the public for a change?

Stop people from screwing around with their vehicle registration plates.

An ear full…

Today’s playlist (drawn from my current iPod tracklisting below)…

* the totally brilliant Hide and Seek by Immogen Heap
* the totally brilliant (do you sense a theme developing here?) Hoppípolla by Sigur Rós
* the intriguing Samson by Regina Spektor, and
* the foot-tapping but slightly cheesy Electric Dreams by Phil & The Human League

Track Name Artist
I’m Mandy Fly Me 10cc
Don’t Know Much Aaron Neville/Linda Ronstadt
Take On Me a-Ha
The Sun Always Shines On T.V. a-Ha
Inquilino Ainhoa
Acéptame Así Ainhoa
No Hieras Más Ainhoa
El Amor Me Está Llamando Ainhoa
Busco Señales Divinas Ainhoa
Cuando Tú No Estás Ainhoa
Decídete Ainhoa
Le Digo Adiós Al Ayer Ainhoa
Resignación Ainhoa
Emotional Rescue Ainhoa
Lo Buena Quada Ainhoa
El Camaleón Ainhoa
Seguiré Estando Yo Ainhoa
Tengo Que Aprender Ainhoa
Mi Oportunidad Ainhoa
Siempre Amanece Ainhoa
Cuando Existe El Amor Ainhoa
Es Mi Juego Ainhoa
Dame Una Razón Ainhoa
A Veces Ainhoa
Salir Corriendo Ainhoa
Buscando Quien Eres Ainhoa
Cristales Rotos Ainhoa
En El Silencio Ainhoa
Big in Japan Alphaville
Forever Young Alphaville
I Say a Little Prayer Aretha Franklin
Shirley Billy Bragg
Walk Away Renee Billy Bragg
Days Like These Billy Bragg
Country House Blur
Best Days Blur
Universal Blur
More Than A Feeling Boston
The Best Is Yet to Come Clifford T. Ward
Politik Coldplay
In My Place Coldplay
The Scientist Coldplay
Clocks Coldplay
Yellow Coldplay
Trouble Coldplay
White Shadows Coldplay
Fix You Coldplay
Talk Coldplay
A Touch Colleen & B.
Don’t Dream It’s Over Crowded House
Four Seasons in One Day Crowded House
Cannonball Damien Rice
Take Five Dave Brubeck
Life on Mars? David Bowie
Hysteria Def Leppard
20th Century Boy Def Leppard
Waterloo Sunset Def Leppard
10538 Overture Def Leppard
Street Life Def Leppard
Little Bit Of Love Def Leppard
No Matter What Def Leppard
Don’t Believe A Word Def Leppard
Strangelove Depeche Mode
Enjoy the Silence Depeche Mode
Policy of Truth Depeche Mode
Walking in My Shoes Depeche Mode
In Your Room Depeche Mode
It’s No Good Depeche Mode
Romeo And Juliet Dire Straits
Private Investigation Dire Straits
Brothers In Arms Dire Straits
Local Hero/Wild Theme (Live) Dire Straits
The Boys Of Summer Don Henley
The End Of The Innocence Don Henley
The Last Worthless Evening Don Henley
New York Minute Don Henley
The Heart Of The Matter Don Henley
The Garden Of Allah Don Henley
You Don’t Know Me At All Don Henley
Still D.R.E. Dr. Dre
Big Ego’s Dr. Dre
Bang Bang Dr. Dre
Smokers Outside the Hospital Doors Editors
I Don’t Want To Go To Chelsea Elvis Costello & The Attractions
White America Eminem
Cleaning Out My Closet Eminem
Square Dance Eminem
Soldier Eminem
Say Goodbye Hollywood Eminem
Sing For The Moment Eminem
When The Music Stops Eminem
‘Till I Collapse Eminem
My Dad’s Gone Crazy Eminem
Forgot About Dre Eminem & Dr. Dre
Return To Innocence Enigma
Silence Must Be Heard Enigma
Mea Culpa Enigma
Tears In Heaven Eric Clapton
Layla Eric Clapton
The Final Countdown Europe
Sweet Dreams Eurythmics
Who’s That Girl? Eurythmics
Here Comes The Rain Again Eurythmics
Time After Time Eva Cassidy
Going Under Evanescence
Bring Me To Life Evanescence
Everybody’s Fool Evanescence
My Immortal Evanescence
Haunted Evanescence
Tourniquet Evanescence
Imaginary Evanescence
Hello Evanescence
My Last Breath Evanescence
More Than Words Extreme
Insomnia Faithless
Don’t Leave Faithless
We Come Faithless
Salva Mea Faithless
Miss U Less, See U More Faithless
Reasons (Saturday Night) Faithless Feat. Ian Drury
Right Here, Right Now Fatboy Slim
Rockafeller Skank, The Fatboy Slim
Superman Five for Fighting
Man Of The World Fleetwood Mac
Firth Of Fifth Genesis
Aisle Of Plenty Genesis
Midnight Train to Georgia Gladys Knight & The Pips
Hide Me Grandadbob
Sh shake there Grandadbob
Pictures Grandadbob
English Summer Grandadbob
Come with Me Grandadbob
Holiday Green Day
Boulevard Of Broken Dreams Green Day
Are We The Waiting Green Day
Give Me Novacaine Green Day
Wake Me Up When September Ends Green Day
Whatsername Green Day
Basket Case Green Day
Good Riddance Green Day
Redundant Green Day
Worry Rock Green Day
Made Up Love Song #43 Guillemots
Redwings Guillemots
If The World Ends Guillemots
We’re Here Guillemots
Annie, Let’s Not Wait Guillemots
November Rain Guns N’ Roses
Civil War Guns N’ Roses
Will You Hazel O’Connor
Satellite Hooters
You Held The World In Your Arms Idlewild
A Modern Way Of Letting Go Idlewild
American English Idlewild
I Never Wanted Idlewild
Live In A Hiding Place Idlewild
Out Of Routine Idlewild
Century After Century Idlewild
In Remote Part/Scottish Fiction Idlewild
The Passenger Iggy Pop
Heroe Il Divo
Isabel Il Divo
I Believe In You Il Divo
Unchained Melody Il Divo
Si Tú Me Amas Il Divo
Ave Maria Il Divo
Hasta Mi Final Il Divo
Pour Que Tu M’aimes Encore Il Divo
Headlock Imogen Heap
Goodnight And Go Imogen Heap
Have You Got It In You? Imogen Heap
Loose Ends Imogen Heap
Hide And Seek Imogen Heap
Clear The Area Imogen Heap
Daylight Robbery Imogen Heap
The Walk Imogen Heap
Just For Now Imogen Heap
I Am In Love With You Imogen Heap
Closing In Imogen Heap
You Give Me Something (Eg Version) James Morrison
Rock And Roll Dreams Come Through Jim Steinman
Nineteen Forever Joe Jackson
Evil Empire Joe Jackson
Happy Ending Joe Jackson
Be My Number Two Joe Jackson
Steppin’ Out Joe Jackson
Real Men Joe Jackson
A Slow Song Joe Jackson
Is She Really Going Out With Him Joe Jackson
Kung Fu International John Cooper Clarke
Light My Fire José Feliciano
Don’t Stop Believin’ Journey
Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God) Kate Bush
Hounds Of Love Kate Bush
Mother Stands For Comfort Kate Bush
Cloudbusting Kate Bush
And Dream Of Sheep Kate Bush
Hello Earth Kate Bush
The Morning Fog Kate Bush
Be Kind To My Mistakes Kate Bush
Under The Ivy Kate Bush
The Sensual World Kate Bush
Deeper Understanding Kate Bush
This Womans Work Kate Bush
Breathing Kate Bush
Unlike Me Kate Havnevik
Not Fair Kate Havnevik
Nowhere Warm Kate Havnevik
You Again Kate Havnevik
Serpentine Kate Havnevik
Kaleidoscope Kate Havnevik
Sleepless Kate Havnevik
Suckerlove Kate Havnevik
Se Meg Kate Havnevik
Someday Kate Havnevik
New Day Kate Havnevik
Somewhere Only We Know Keane
We Might As Well Be Strangers Keane
Everybody’s Changing Keane
She Has No Time Keane
Sunshine Keane
This Is The Last Time Keane
On A Day Like Today Keane
Bedshaped Keane
Atlantic Keane
Is It Any Wonder? Keane
Nothing In My Way Keane
A Bad Dream Keane
Hamburg Song Keane
Put It Behind You Keane
The Iron Sea Keane
Crystal Ball Keane
Try Again Keane
Broken Toy Keane
The Frog Prince Keane
You And I Will Never See Eye To Eye Kingmaker
A New England Kirsty MacColl
Are you gonna go my way Lenny Kravitz
Fly Away Lenny Kravitz
I Belong To You Lenny Kravitz
Hallelujah Leonard Cohen
First We Take Manhatten Leonard Cohen
Numb Linkin Park
Crawling Linkin Park
Stay (I Missed You) Lisa Loeb & Nine Stories
A Town Called Hypocrisy Lostprophets
California Dreamin’ Mammas and Pappas
A Design For Life Manic Street Preachers
Enola/Alone Manic Street Preachers
Everything Must Go Manic Street Preachers
Australia Manic Street Preachers
Further Away Manic Street Preachers
No Surface All Feeling Manic Street Preachers
Sleepflower Manic Street Preachers
From Despair To Where Manic Street Preachers
La Tristesse Durera (Scream To A Sigh) Manic Street Preachers
The Everlasting Manic Street Preachers
If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next Manic Street Preachers
Heart Of Lothian: Wide Boy / Curtain Call Marillion
Future Proof Massive Attack
What Your Soul Sings Massive Attack
Everywhen Massive Attack
Special Cases Massive Attack
Butterfly Caught Massive Attack
A Prayer For England Massive Attack
Small Time Shot Away Massive Attack
Name Taken Massive Attack
Antistar Massive Attack
Martha Meat Loaf
Relax, Take It Easy Mika
All For Believing Missy Higgins
Ten Days Missy Higgins
Scar Missy Higgins
Don’t Ever Missy Higgins
Nightminds Missy Higgins
Unbroken Missy Higgins
Any Day Now Missy Higgins
Katie Missy Higgins
The River Missy Higgins
The Special Two Missy Higgins
This Is How It Goes Missy Higgins
The Sound of White Missy Higgins
Irish Blood, English Heart Morrissey
Take A Bow Muse
Starlight Muse
Supermassive Black Hole Muse
Map Of The Problematique Muse
Soldier’s Poem Muse
Invincible Muse
Assassin Muse
Exo-Politics Muse
City Of Delusion Muse
Hoodoo Muse
Knights Of Cydonia Muse
Plug in Baby Muse
Citizen Erased Muse
Sunburn Muse
Muscle Museum Muse
Unintended Muse
Miss You Like Crazy Natalie Cole
Smells Like Teen Spirit Nirvana
Come As You Are Nirvana
The Man Who Sold The World Nirvana
Set You Free N-Trance
Souvenir Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark
Joan of Arc Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark
Maid of Orleans Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark
So Tired Ozzy Osbourne
Between Angels And Insects Papa Roach
Diamonds On The Soles Of Her Shoes Paul Simon
You Can Call Me Al Paul Simon
Under African Skies Paul Simon
Crazy Love, Vol. II Paul Simon
Sledgehammer Peter Gabriel
Don’t Give Up Peter Gabriel
Digging In The Dirt Peter Gabriel
More Than This (Radio Edit) Peter Gabriel
Red Rain Peter Gabriel
Here Comes The Flood Peter Gabriel
Cloudless Peter Gabriel
I Have The Touch (Robbie Robertson Mix) Peter Gabriel
I Grieve Peter Gabriel
Lovetown Peter Gabriel
Signal To Noise Peter Gabriel
Alphadog Ping Pong Bitches
Roc Ya Body Ping Pong Bitches
The Beast Ping Pong Bitches
Kinky Boots Ping Pong Bitches
Chains Ping Pong Bitches
Beat You Up Ping Pong Bitches
Bedsitter Ping Pong Bitches
Learning To Fly Pink Floyd
On The Turning Away Pink Floyd
The Gunners Dream Pink Floyd
Comfortably Numb Pink Floyd
Wish You Were Here Pink Floyd
Ça plane pour moi (Original 1977 Version) Plastic Bertrand
Sour Times Portishead
Roads Portishead
Glory Box Portishead
When Doves Cry Prince
Purple Rain Prince
Kiss Prince
She Hates Me Puddle of Mudd
It’s Late Queen
No One But You (Only The Good Die Young) Queen
Exit Music (For A Film) Radiohead
Karma Police Radiohead
No Surprises Radiohead
Lurgee Radiohead
Creep Radiohead
Stop Whispering Radiohead
Feels Like Home Randy Newman
Overnight Sensation (Hit Record) Raspberries
In The Morning Razorlight
Who Needs Love? Razorlight
Hold On Razorlight
America Razorlight
Before I Fall To Pieces Razorlight
I Can’t Stop This Feeling I’ve Got Razorlight
Pop Song 2006 Razorlight
Kirby’s House Razorlight
Back To The Start Razorlight
Los Angeles Waltz Razorlight
Vice Razorlight
Dalston Razorlight
Golden Touch Razorlight
By The Way Red Hot Chili Peppers
Universally Speaking Red Hot Chili Peppers
Don’t Forget Me Red Hot Chili Peppers
The Zephyr Song Red Hot Chili Peppers
Tear Red Hot Chili Peppers
Scar Tissue Red Hot Chili Peppers
This Velvet Glove Red Hot Chili Peppers
Road Trippin’ Red Hot Chili Peppers
Fidelity Regina Spektor
Samson Regina Spektor
Clubbed to Death 1 Rob Dougan
The Ballad of Bill Hubbard Roger Waters
Three Wishes Roger Waters
Amused to Death Roger Waters
5.06 Am (Every Strangers Eyes) Roger Waters
The Tide is Turning Roger Waters
Oh Yeah Roxy Music
Pyjamarama Roxy Music
Virginia Plain Roxy Music
More Rock ‘n’ Roll Ruarri Joseph
Let The Children Play Santana
Hold On Santana
Santa’s a Scotsman Scottish Quest All Stars
Bully Boy Shed Seven
Takk… Sigur Rós
Glósóli Sigur Rós
Hoppípolla Sigur Rós
Með Blóðnasir Sigur Rós
Sé Lest Sigur Rós
Sæglópur Sigur Rós
Mílanó Sigur Rós
Gong Sigur Rós
Heysátan Sigur Rós
Nothing Compares To U Sinead O’Connor
Simple Sixteen Millimetre
More / Less Sixteen Millimetre
Cannonball Sixteen Millimetre
The Breath of Your Majesty Sixteen Millimetre
Hedonism – Just Because You Feel Good Skunk Anansie
You’re All I Have Snow Patrol
Hands Open Snow Patrol
Chasing Cars Snow Patrol
Shut Your Eyes Snow Patrol
It’s Beginning To Get To Me Snow Patrol
You Could Be Happy Snow Patrol
Make This Go On Forever Snow Patrol
Headlights On Dark Roads Snow Patrol
Open Your Eyes Snow Patrol
Signal Fire Snow Patrol
Set The Fire To The Third Bar Snow Patrol Feat. Martha Wainwright
Hug My Soul St Etienne
Inside Stiltskin
America Stiltskin
Inside extended Stiltskin
Caught By The Fuzz Supergrass
Marlene On The Wall Suzanne Vega
Telegram Sam T.Rex
Metal Guru T.Rex
It’s My Life Talk Talk
Blame Temposhark
It’s Better To Have Loved Temposhark
Invisible Ink Temposhark
Not That Big (Ft. Imogen Heap) Temposhark
The River (Richard Norris ‘The Other Side’ Remix) Temposhark
Tribute Tenacious D
Pretend Best Friend Terrorvision
House of the Rising Sun The Animals
Eternal Flame The Bangles
Zombie The Cranberries
Friday I’m in Love The Cure
You And Me The Delays
Valentine The Delays
This Town’s Religion The Delays
Sink Like A Stone The Delays
Winter’s Memory Of Summer The Delays
Given Time The Delays
Hideaway The Delays
Lillian The Delays
Out Of Nowhere The Delays
Waste Of Space The Delays
Flathead The Fratellis
Cuntry Boys & City Girls The Fratellis
Whistle For The Choi r The Fratellis
For The Girl The Fratellis
Creeping Up The Backstairs The Fratellis
Vince The Loveable Stoner The Fratellis
Everybody Knows You Cried Last Night The Fratellis
Baby Fratelli The Fratellis
Got Ma Nuts From A Hippie The Fratellis
Ole Black ‘N’ Blue Eyes The Fratellis
How to Save a Life The Fray
The Air That I Breathe The Hollies
He Ain’t Heavy He’s My Brother The Hollies
Don’t You Want Me The Human League
Together in Electric Dreams The Human League
Sam’s Town The Killers
Enterlude The Killers
When You Were Young The Killers
Bling (Confession Of A King) The Killers
For Reasons Unknown The Killers
Read My Mind The Killers
Bones The Killers
My List The Killers
This River Is Wild The Killers
Why Do I Keep Counting? The Killers
Exitlude The Killers
Where White Boys Dance The Killers
There She Goes The La’s
Staring At The Sun The Offspring
Pretty Fly (For A White Guy) The Offspring
The Kids Aren’t Alright The Offspring
She’s Got Issues The Offspring
Walla Walla The Offspring
Why Don’t You Get A Job The Offspring
Pay The Man The Offspring
Another Girl, Another Planet The Only Ones
Smack My Bitch Up The Prodigy
Breathe The Prodigy
Diesel Power The Prodigy
Mind Fields The Prodigy
Narayan The Prodigy
Firestarter The Prodigy
Climbatize The Prodigy
Sheena Is A Punk Rocker The Ramones
This Charming Man The Smiths
Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now The Smiths
The Boy With The Thorn In His Side The Smiths
Bigmouth Strikes Again The Smiths
Panic The Smiths
Ask The Smiths
Girlfriend In A Coma The Smiths
There Is A Light That Never Goes Out The Smiths
Dry Your Eyes The Streets
Reward The Teardrop Explodes
Bittersweet Symphony The Verve
The Drugs Don’t Work The Verve
2-4-6-8 Motorway Tom Robinson Band
Beautiful Day U2
Stuck In A Moment You Can’t Get Out Of U2
Elevation U2
Walk On U2
In A Little While U2
I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For U2
Duel Various Artists
Fade To Grey Visage
Excitable Boy Warren Zevon
Roland The Headless Thompson Gunner Warren Zevon
Desperados Under The Eaves Warren Zevon
Johnny Strikes Up The Band Warren Zevon
Teenage Dirtbag Wheatus
Making Plans For Nigel XTC

Disaster Area – Too Many Cooks…

Well actually, too few cooks.

One too few to be precise.

I put tonight’s pasta on, made sure it was nicely settled then came upstairs, sat in front of the laptop and began pulverising the SciFi short story that I’ve been working on for a few weeks.

I started out doing an arty-farty light-touch edit – you know what I mean, tidying a word here, changing punctuation and making a sentence pithier there – but things got out of hand.

Before I knew it I was in full on re-write mode, bashing away at the keyboard, totally captured by the new plot development and character twist that I’ve been mulling over for the last day or so.

I really need to get it to the state where I can declare it Finally Finished; I have a buyer for it!

As I was reworking a particularly explosive scene I began to smell something.

Something not good.

Holy Hell!

My pasta…

I dashed downstairs and skidded across the kitchen lino (much like Tom Cruise did in the film Risky Business, but with more clothes on, much better looking and way, way taller).

Pulled the pan off the hob.

Holy overcooked pasta Batman.

It was boiled dry and comprehensively cooked on to all surfaces of the hideously expensive saucepan.


I managed to salvage 2/3rds of the pan contents, scraped it in to a bowl, added pasta sauce, sat at the table and ate the remains meal with my left-over Lucozade (it’s been a really tough day).

Then I set about resurrecting the pan.

And here’s my tip…

Clothes-washing powder.


Half a tab of Biological (it has to be biological for some reason that’s completely beyond me) clothes washing powder soaking overnight in the offending pan will give you, the next morning…


Oh yes.

Trust me, I’m a doctor.



Custard? Frozen???

Oh my God!

It happens once in a while.

You hear about a place and think ‘That’s gotta be cool! I have to go there/try on one of those/see if it’s as bad as it sounds…’

Here’s the latest:

Leon’s Frozen Custard Drive-In.

Oh yes!

I can hear the conversation now.

Hey babe, I’m just going to pop round to Leon’s Frozen Custard Drive-In for ten Benson. Can I get you anything while I’m there? Some erm, frozen custard…?


Erm, literally.

The downside is that Leon’s Frozen Custard Drive-In is in Milwaukee.

Oh bum.



Dim Cymraeg ‘yn warthus’

There’s an English bit below for those of hard of hearing…


Mae Llywodraeth y Cynulliad wedi dweud bod penderfyniad cwmni teithio i ofyn i’w staff beidio â thrafod eu gwaith yn Gymraeg yn “gwbl annerbyniol”.

Dywedodd y Gweinidog dros Addysg, Diwylliant a’r Gymraeg: “Mae’n hollol annerbyniol fod Thomas Cook wedi gwahardd staff rhag siarad Cymraeg yn y gwaith.”

Mae Carwyn Jones wedi gofyn i’r cwmni gyfarfod ag e i drafod eu polisi at yr iaith Gymraeg,

“Ein amcan ni yn y tymor hir yw creu Cymru ddwyieithog, fel bod pobl yn cael y cyfle i siarad y Gymraeg neu’r Saesneg”.

Roedd y cwmni wedi dweud y dylai sgyrsiau am waith fod yn Saesneg am mai hon oedd “yr iaith oedd yn cael ei defnyddio fwya ym Mhrydain”.


Roedd ymddygiad y cwmni’n “warthus,” meddai Cymdeithas yr Iaith ac yn tanlinellu’r angen am Ddeddf Iaith newydd.

Mae’r mudiad am brotestio y tu allan i gangen y cwmni ym Mangor ddydd Sadwrn os nad yw’r cwmni yn newid eu hagwedd.

Mae Bwrdd yr Iaith wedi dweud fod penderfyniad Thomas Cook wedi eu siomi.

Ac mae penaethiaid Thomas Cook wedi dweud nad yw rheol iaith y cwmni yn y swyddfa ym Mangor yn wahanol i unrhyw un o’u siopau eraill.

“Er tegwch i bob aelod o staff, lle bynnag mae’r swyddfa, mae disgwyl i’r staff drafod busnes yn Saesneg,” meddai llefarydd.

Ond dywedodd y cwmni eu bod yn caniatáu sgyrsiau personol yn y Gymraeg neu unrhyw iaith arall.


Mae Comisiynydd Cymru y Comisiwn Cydraddoldeb Hiliol, Aled Edwards, wedi rhybuddio y gallai’r polisi busnes dorri’r ddeddf cydraddoldeb hiliol.

Os oes prawf, fe allai’r comisiwn gynnal ymchwiliad ffurfiol, meddai.

“Dwi’n credu bod diogelu hawliau pobl i siarad eu hiaith eu hunain o fewn eu gwlad eu hunain ac yn y man gwaith yn rhywbeth priodol i’w ystyried,” meddai.

“Mae gen i’r pŵer i fedru cefnogi person cyflogedig os ydyn nhw’n teimlo eu bod nhw wedi cael cam.

“Os ydw i’n teimlo bod anghyfiawnder fan hyn, dwi’n medru cysylltu â’n pwyllgor cyfreithiol”.

Dywedodd Bwrdd yr Iaith Gymraeg eu bod yn falch bod y comisiwn yn dangos diddordeb.

“Dwi’n siomedig iawn bod cwmni fel hyn, cwmni mawr rhyngwladol, wedi gwneud penderfyniad o’r fath, sy’n ymddangos i mi ddim yn un call iawn,” meddai Meri Huws, Cadeirydd Bwrdd yr Iaith Gymraeg.


Dywedodd Dafydd Iwan, Llywydd Plaid Cymru: “Mae hyn yn dangos yn eglur fod rhagfarn afiach yn erbyn y Gymraeg yn bodoli o fewn rhai o’r cwmnïau mawr hyn, ac mi fyddwn yn annog pobl sy’n byw yn ardal Bangor i ddefnyddio’r cwmnïau teithio lleol sy’n parchu’r Gymraeg, ac yn barod i drafod eu busnes yn yr iaith.

“Mae agwedd sarhaus Thomas Cook yn brawf arall o’r angen am Ddeddf Iaith newydd a fydd yn rhoi statws gyflawn i’r Gymraeg, ac yn rhoi hawliau mewn deddf i siaradwyr Cymraeg.”

Dywedodd Hywel Griffiths, cadeirydd Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg: “Mae gwaharddiad Thomas Cook yn amhosib i’w gynnal.

“Disgwyliwn y bydd pwysau wrth eu cwsmeriaid a chyrff cyhoeddus, yn ogystal â thwpdra eu sefyllfa eu hunain, yn eu gorfodi i dynnu nôl o fewn dyddiau, efallai yn ystod y dydd heddiw.”

Ychwanegodd Carwyn Jones, y Gweinidog dros Addysg, Diwylliant ac y Gymraeg: “Fe ofynwyd i Fwrdd yr Iaith Gymraeg yn eu llythyr gorchwyl wrth Lywodraeth y Cynulliad yn 2007-8, i ddatgbygu’r defnydd o’r Gymraeg yn y gweithlu, gan gynnwys hybu ymwybyddiaeth a sensitifrwydd ieithyddol.

“Mae Bwrdd yr Iaith Gymraeg wedi cynnal cynlluniau peilot gyda Heddlu Gogledd Cymru a Chyngor Ceredigion er mwyn datblygu’r defnydd mewnol o’r iaith yn y sefydliadau yma. Mae Llywodraeth y Cynulliad wedi datblygu ei defnydd mewnol o’r iaith Gymraeg er mwyn gwireddu ein ymrwymiadau yn ein Cynllun Iaith Gymraeg yn fwy effeithiol”.


So what Thomas Cook are actually saying here is that:

  • it’s OK for the staff to have private and personal conversations amongst themselves in Welsh
  • it’s OK for the staff to have professional conversations with members of the public in Welsh
  • it’s not OK for the staff to discuss things like ‘training and team performance’ amongst themselves in Welsh.

I’m beginning to think that Thomas Cook managers might need to be replaced.


Is it me…?

Just outside the Limehouse Link tunnel there’s a big sign that says what is – and isn’t – allowed on the road through the tunnel.

It lists ‘Inflammables’ and ‘Explosives’.

Erm, isn’t petrol inflammable and, erm, explosive?


Music hath charms to soothe the savage breast…

do you know how many people misquote that erm quote and say savage beast? no, me neither. but it’s got to be a big number…


Last night’s drive to the house in Brixton was accompanied by Smokers Outside the Hospital by Editors.

When I say accompanied I mean the whole trip.

It’s brilliant (Ted).

So brilliant that it’s only surpassed by this morning’s dose of Sigur Ros.

Back to Smokers Outside the Hospital.

I loved this track the first time I heard it on Mark and Lard Radcliffe and Maconie on Radio 2 a couple of weeks ago.

The track has a slow build but makes it to an anthemic hook that could have been written by Embrace, U2 and Snow Patrol had they met on a boozy night after a large quantatity of McCafferey’s had been put away.

The vocalist is reminiscent of Brad Roberts of Crash Test Dummies (the Canadian group who had a stormer in 1993 with Mmmm Mmmm Mmmm Mmmm).

And that’s the thing…

Is Smokers Outside the Hospital so notably good because it’s as different from the bulk of the pap that’s in today’s charts as Mmmm Mmmm Mmmm Mmmm was different from the stuff that was around in 1993?


It’s a brilliant track.

Book review – Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovsky

This novel was the set text of a book group I attend.


I struggled with it from the outset.

But because it was a set text I kept up my struggle, battled on with it long after I would have given up on a novel-of-choice.

From the very first page I found it difficult to frame.

Suite Francaise is a fictionalised story of a group of characters set against the backdrop of the early days of the Second World War in France.

I tried to read it in the mental setting of the novel that it purports to be, but felt uncomfortable with it in this light.

My head kept trying to position the work as if it were a factional narrative, something along the lines of a ‘Diary of Anne Frank‘ kind of work…

But this too felt uncomfortable.

There is no doubting the sheer horror of the story of the persecution of the French Jews (by the French, implicitly, as well as by the Germans) that lies behind this fictionalised account.

There is also no doubting the sweeping vista that the authoress had intended Suite Francaise to become; five distinct tales set within the framework of a classical symphony, each with a differently paced-movement, Allegro, Andante…

We shall never know the pace of – or melody behind – the other movements because Irene Nemirovsky perished in an entirely predictable, tragic manner, long before she could finish creating her planned scenes, characters and settings.

I did wonder if it was the fictionalisation of the tale that made the book such a difficult read.

And then I slept on it and the next day remembered the two versions of ‘War and Peace‘ I’ve read.

The first was an early translation that had the feel of an old black and white move: strong atmosphere but stiff characters, stilted dialogue, seemingly cardboard-constructed settings.

The second – and much later – translation felt far more comfortable. Yes it had depth and character but it was as if the scenes somehow had removed their corsets; they became softer, less wooden, not as formal.

This makes me wonder if a different translation of Suite Francaise might find what, for me, this version is missing.

History repeats (wiser heads than Bush and Blair)

General Carl Philipp Gottfried von Clausewitz (01/06/1780 – 16/11/1831) wrote between 1816 and 1830 his acclaimed and (even now in the 21st Century) influentially pivotal text ‘On War‘.

On War‘ is the strategic thesis that effectively dictates what will win and what will lose the modern military battle.

Von Clausewitz’s thought-provoking exploration in to the logical rule of war is required reading at most modern military colleges – the Army college at Sandhurst is no exception.

The learned General makes it plain that ‘a war should never be fought on two fronts’.

Book 6, Chapter 7 – The Offensive Battle – is particularly interesting in the following observation of the flanking/outflanking manoeuvre:
‘To be able in turn to operate with success against the flanks of an enemy, whose aim is to turn our line, it is necessary to have a well chosen and well prepared position.’

Indeed Von Clausewitz’s contemporary, the Prussian Field Marshall Alfred Graf von Schlieffen sought to ignore this rule when he put forward a plan to fight a campaign on two fronts.

Von Schlieffen’s plan was later executed by the advancing German forces in the early stages of the First World War and resulted in a massive, costly (in human terms) and unbelievably painful period of trench warfare in which the better-armed, better-fed and better-equipped Germans comprehensively lost the battle.

It seems that two modern-day Generals haven’t read von Clausewitz’s definitive philosphy on warfare.

Bush and Blair.

It was a huge error in military judgement for Bush and Blair to commit a massive amount of military materiel to the open-ended and undefined ‘War or Terror’ which has resulted in the wilful slaughter that now defines the US-led invasion of Iraq.

But this error was compounded and magnified a hundred times when taken in the context of the other two military fronts that the US and UK were already fighting.


Yes, the war in Afghanistan is being fought on two fronts – and that’s something worth reminding ourselves of:

Afghanistan is currently host to the NATO-led military force which includes a large number of US forces.

Outside of this deployment – and external to this military structure, chain of command and communications model – are the US-led forces (almost exclusively composed of US ‘Special Forces’) who are fighting the local ‘War on Terror’.

So we have two distinct military operations in Afghanistan:
* The ‘regular’ forces that comprise the NATO operation and,
* The ‘special’ forces that comprise the ‘War on Terror’.

And in Iraq we have a third military operation; tens of thousands of staff fighting under the US-led ‘War on Terror’ (Iraqi Chapter) banner.

So the ‘alliance’ is actually fighting a war on three fronts.

I wonder what von Clausewitz would have said about that?