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Getting Old - Mercury Prize list
at 12:25 23 Jul 2020

Here's the Mercury Prize shortlist. I recognise 3 of the names - and it diminishes every year.

Is anyone even less 'with it' than I am?

Anna Meredith - FIBS
Charli XCX - How I’m Feeling Now
Dua Lipa - Future Nostalgia
Georgia - Seeking Thrills
Lanterns on the Lake - Spook the Herd
Laura Marling - Song For Our Daughter
Kano - Hoodies All Summer
Michael Kiwanuka - KIWANUKA
Moses Boyd - Dark Matter
Porridge Radio - Every Bad
Sports Team - Deep Down Happy
Stormzy - Heavy Is The Head

And can anyone recommend any of these albums?
West Ham v Watford
at 23:14 16 Jul 2020

Big game at the bottom tomorrow.

Any thoughts on value bets for this one? Result, score, scorer - as you prefer...
What is going on with VAR?...
at 09:56 10 Jul 2020

The Premier League has confirmed THREE VAR penalty errors on one night.

This is really past a joke now. They have had how many months while no football has been played to do a proper review of VAR and get the whole thing scrapped or sorted out and yet it's just the same old sh!t.

VAR would interrupts and therefore spoil the game, even if it is was making sure that every decision was 100% correct.

Currently it is spoiling the game for no real improvement in the standard of decision making. Sure, it is correcting some obviously wrong decisions, but I'd say it was making an equal number of really stupid decisions about handball and offside. And if it can't even get the penalties it reviews right, what is the point?

David Luiz and Saints' defenders
at 09:45 18 Jun 2020

Watching David Luiz's horror show last made me wonder whether we set the bar too high for Saints' defenders? I can imagine the meltdown on here if Vertergaard, Hoedt or Stephens had done what he had done.

Also makes me wonder wether the idea that we can shore up our defence with the purchase of an 'experienced' central defender. The frailties of defenders past their prime all too evident last night.

Calling all statue lovers...
at 16:41 15 Jun 2020

To avoid as much controversy as possible, I'll give you every statue of Churchill, Wellington and Florence Nightingale, and all sport related statues too.

Other than these, what are your Top 3 UK statues deserving of 16-pint protection?

I'll start:

1. Thomas Paine in Thetford.
2. Allenbrook in Whitehall
3. George Loveless in Tolpuddle

Leadership vacuum
at 21:56 27 May 2020

There's a lovely slot for Starmer to now fill as de facto moral leader of the country.

He should tell the country to ignore what Cummings has done and the public health risks that Boris is prepared to take by not condemning it. He should reiterate the message that the public needs to abide by the letter and spirit of the rules and act in the interests of everyone, even if Boris and Cummings clearly can't.

Starmer has the authority to do this and should do it. Boris and his cronies have lost that authority.

Open goal.
[Post edited 27 May 21:56]
Fans of car crash TV...
at 12:12 27 May 2020

Boris Johnson is appearing before the Liaison Committee at 4pm today. Hopefully we can watch it live here:

First ministerial resignation in response to Cummings' nationwide tour
at 11:25 26 May 2020

Is this story going away?

Care homes
at 19:14 28 Apr 2020

At the start of this pandemic when 'herd immunity' was the only game in town, I heard a prof of epidemiology say that ideally (theoretically) all the vulnerable people would be taken to the north of scotland and isolated, and all the young and healthy people would be taken to Kent and given the virus to build the herd immunity - obviously impossible, but you can follow the logic.

So the question is this: how has it turned out that the UK's care homes - where a lot of the most vulnerable live - have become a significant breeding ground for this virus?

While deaths in hospitals have fallen, deaths in care homes have increased, and may still not be under control....

Not only, is it a complete tragedy that the most vulnerable have been quite so exposed but the fact that cares home are still virus incubators, is now hindering our escape from lockdown.

My guess is that it is this that will turn out to be the biggest 'fail' of our Corona efforts.
Corona testing?
at 21:29 20 Apr 2020

Does anyone have their ear to the ground about the test numbers?

I was prepared to give Matt Hancock the benefit of the doubt when he said testing would be seriously ramped up, but I think he promised 100,000 tests per day by the end of the month and yesterday's number was 19,000.

Is this going to ramp up next week does anyone know? Because increasing it fivefold in 11 days seems a very big challenge now, and I think testing is going to be key to getting us out of lockdown.
Trump doubling down
at 23:29 14 Apr 2020

Trump has just announced that he's suspending US funding of the World Health Organisation.

He always needs someone else to blame. Blaming the virus doesn't work. He tried to blame China but pulled back on that one. Got to be the WHO next, hasn't it.

Suspending funding to the WHO at this time. Let's all just pause and take that one in.

Musical instruments for lockdown
at 12:42 3 Apr 2020

I posted the other day about language learning during lockdown and an interesting mix off TUI language learners revealed themselves.

What about musical instruments - has anyone dusted off that old Fender or harmonica for another go?

Be interesting to see what we can do in terms of putting together a virtual TUI band or orchestra!

Foreign languages for lockdown
at 09:53 1 Apr 2020

I am trying (and mostly failing) to encourage my kids to try to use all this free time wisely and I am trying to get my youngest to learn a few French words every day so that he will have fair vocabulary by the end of the lockdown period.

Anyone else going to use this free time to learn another language? As a nation, I think we remain really poor at speaking other languages and I wonder how many on here speak another language or would like to?

Beautiful timelines
at 11:42 25 Mar 2020

Trump thinks the US churches can be packed again by Easter (12 April). He thinks it would be a 'beautiful timeline'.

Say what you like about Boris, Cummings, this government, herd immunity, but at least we don't have a complete madman running the country.

Does any one know, it is possible to 'section' people in the US?

UK death rates...
at 17:36 19 Mar 2020

Anyone heard or read anything about why UK death rates are so high?

In terms of percentage of deaths out of reported cases, we don't seem to be doing as well as other countries. For example, as of today...

UK 137 out of 2692 (5%)
US 161/11329 (1.14%)
France 262/9134 (2.89%)
Netherlands 76/2460 (3%)
Germany 43/14544 (0.2%)

In fact, looking at the numbers, it seems that only Italy and Iran have higher % death rates.

I am not trying to make a political point here. For what it's worth it seems that Johnson and the government are doing a good enough job to me and certainly their current policies can't be blamed for the fact that more people who get it are dying here than in similar countries.

Presumably we have state of the art info on how to treat the very ill? Presumably, the NHS is not yet overrun with cases?...

Of course, we could be seriously underestimating the numbers and maybe that's the answer.

Just wondered if anyone else had noticed this or had heard why it might be the case?
How do you rate Gao's period of ownership?
at 16:50 13 Mar 2020

How do you rate Gao's period of ownership?

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Defensive errors
at 12:04 8 Mar 2020

It's been bugging me for a while that every time someone has scored against us recently it's been put down to 'the usual/typical' defensive errors.

Not every goal conceded is down to a defensive error. Even the best defences concede.

Valery's yesterday was a defensive error, a disappointing unforced mistake which gifted a goal to the opposition.

Can we use that as our benchmark in the future?
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