Tuesday 25 April 2017

Listen to Me!

At Easter I spent a couple of days in a recording studio. This is what my band sounds like now:

If you're interested there's a load more here:

Richard "Dirge and Downbeat meets Smooth Jazz" B

Wednesday 19 April 2017


Journalists and politicians are living in a "post truth" world, but I'm doing my laundry "post irony"

I'm a bit like one of Pavlov's dogs in that I have been conditioned to perform certain behaviours. Finish a sound-check; go outside and smoke a cigarette. Finish Sunday lunch; do a crossword puzzle. Wake up in a hotel; eat a fried breakfast.

As a schoolchildren there were certain domestic routines that my family had to follow. On Sunday night you had to locate your P.E. kit and you were subject to a mandatory bath (need it or not, like it or not). Finding my P.E. kit has turned, over the years, into finishing my ironing, which I always do on a Sunday as well as having a bath.

When I was 40 I was given a clothes-folder like the character Dr. Sheldon Cooper uses. For some reason I remind my friends of a socially awkward professor. When next I did laundry I played with the clothes-folder, ironically imitating the good doctor. The problem is that it makes a really good job of folding T (and short sleeved) shirts and you can stack them in neat piles. This bastard contraption has imperceptibly become part of my laundry routine and I can't pretend that there is an ounce or irony left it using it.

Richard "post irony post ironing" B

Tuesday 11 April 2017


When I was in Seattle I visited the Centre for Rotting Boats. They might have called it the Centre for Wooden Boats, but as all the exhibits were 100 years old and they kept most of them afloat any of them could have been kicked a pile and called a bonfire.

One of the themes at the Centre for Rotting Boats was "The Great Compromise" of trying to design a boat that both sailed and rowed well. You can see that it's a fool's errand because you either have too much deadwood and drag under the surface, or you have gunwales too high for rowlocks.

Unfortunately I seem to have done exactly the same thing with my kit car. I spent the weekend in South Wales and went to a track day at Pembrey circuit. Perhaps the best £20 I've ever spent bought me a charming racing driver who took me for a spin in my own car and then critiqued it. It was fantastic fun and very impressive. It's not a slow car. The brakes and steering geometry are good. Initially he enjoyed the luxury of having a windscreen and padded seats but he said the suspension was far too soft. I explained that I also use the car and that I drove it from Plymouth to the circuit and he made some encouraging noises about compromises. Perhaps what I've done is to build a uniquely uncomfortable and impractical touring car that wallows slowly and lazily around a circuit.

Never one to be daunted when my hobby starts to involve simultaneous equations I'm now trying to understand his idea of increasing the roll stiffness while leaving the bump stiffness and damping rates unchanged.

Richard "oversteer gradient" B

Tuesday 4 April 2017

Perfumed Ponce

A request for readers' suggestions.

One of my go-to recipes is for a dessert called a Whim-Wham. I got it from a book of Victorian puddings and it's a low-effort emergency trifle. It's made quickly with simple ingredients (cream, white wine, lemon, sugar and ready-made sponges spread with redcurrant jelly.). The problem is that the Co-op at the end of my road has stopped selling jars of redcurrant jelly. "Oh that's OK, said my mum, here's a jar of Japonica jelly". Unless you're a very keen horticulturalist you're probably now asking "What the fuck is Japonica?" That's easy, it's an ornamental quince.

Anyway my question is: What main course could possibly be pretentious enough to be followed by a Japonica Whim-Wham? I imagine it'll involve a jus and I wouldn't be surprised if it were served with quinoa or romanesco.

Richard "traditional Cornish medley of steak and root vegetables served on croute" B