Wednesday 19 September 2007

RFU agree new shirt sponsorship

The England team will be wearing these new shirts when they run out against Samoa on Saturday in the Rugby World Cup. "Not without a fight," eh?

Need an explanation? This might help.

Tuesday 18 September 2007

Carbon Commentary: A critical appraisal of issues in the move to a low-carbon economy

The website I have been setting up, designing, tweaking, proof-reading, and customizing on behalf of Chris Goodall, the Green Party's Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Oxford West and Abingdon (and husband of my Hertford College tutor and current OED research project leader, Dr Charlotte Brewer), officially went live today. It's called Carbon Commentary.

Here is how Chris Goodall introduces the first email newsletter (for which the site is built):

"[Carbon Commentary] aims to provide an opinionated appraisal of the main themes in the halting moves towards a low-carbon world. It will analyse the main stories from the world of climate change during the previous fortnight, focusing on the implications for the UK. It is written to be read, and enjoyed, by a wide but scientifically literate audience."

You can read the newsletter online here, or download the PDF version here (printer-friendly with full-length articles).

Any comments, either here or there, are most welcome. Please spread the word to any interested parties.

Thursday 13 September 2007

Bike bastard

The Radcliffe Square bike bastard (for it is he) has returned. I noticed today that the bottle-holder had been stolen from my bike. It had to be unscrewed, so this thief must be really desperate. It might have happened in Jericho as I'm having to lock my bike outside at the moment because the scaffolding makes it too difficult to get past round the side to our garden shed. But I prefer to think it's the same person as before, since this isn't the only time some rascal has taken an interest in Walter (my biped's moniker, because it's a Raleigh). When I was an undergraduate, someone nicked all the spanners out of my corner bag (which I no longer use as a result). And then there was this one time I went to London and someone left me a malicious Post-It note on my saddle as a nice surprise.

Wednesday 12 September 2007

Monday 10 September 2007


A photograph of mine from Flickr of The Victoria Arms pub (above) has been used in an online guide to Oxford called Schmap.

Monday 3 September 2007

This Is England (2006) - ickleReview (DVD)

Tremendous British film set in the north-east of England in 1983, directed by Shane Meadows and based on his own childhood experiences. It will change the way you think about skinheads. Shaun (Thomas Turgoose)'s dad was killed in the Falklands War. He is bullied at school. Woody (Joseph Gilgun) and his gang of skinheads welcome him into their gang, but when Combo (Stephen Graham) is released from prison, the loyalites of the gang are split between Woody's compassionate, tolerant camaraderie and Combo's racist, National Front-inspired direct action against the local Asian immigrant population. Combo is opposed to the Falklands War yet wants to protect England from further immigration because it is supposedly taking jobs away from English-born people. Curiously, he does tolerate second generation immigrants so long as they say they are English.

My own prejudices didn't (until now) recognize that not all skinheads are violent racist. Woody's gang are merely a bunch of outsiders who welcome Shaun into their society, realizing he is friendless and in need of some role models. Even the bad skinhead, Combo, is sympathetically portrayed. His flaws and prejudices are accounted for, if not condoned, but even he has the humanity to do the right thing and take a friend to hospital after he has beaten him up in a jealous rage.

A fascinating, funny, and moving insight into the skinhead code of honour. When they have a problem, they are open and talk about it. They deserve more respect and understanding than they get. A minority of them are violent thugs with racist views, associating themselves with the National Front and giving all skinheads a bad name by their prominence.

Nugget: a superbly written and acted film. The 80s period detail is totally convincing. It really gives a sense of what life was like for skinheads living in the north-east of England in 1983. There is an outstanding performance by Turgoose, whose mother, Sharon, died in 2006, and to whom the film is dedicated. A very special film. Make the effort to see it.