bookmark_borderWeekend Reading

  • Worcestershire from You’re Probably Pronouncing These 30 Food Words Wrong
    I’ll raise my hand, it’s not “kweynoah” (quinoa)

  • Elena Ferrante: ‘I used to devour news. Now, the uninterrupted rain of it feels like chaos’
    I don’t feel desperate to be informed about everything that happens in the world. As a girl, I merely glanced at the newspaper headlines and occasionally watched the TV news. But a growing interest in politics, which erupted when I was around 20, inspired me to amass information.
    Chaos is the word. Where is the truth and who knows it?

  • Bet You Didn’t Know These Animal Facts
    Vanilla flavoring comes from *what*?
    My favourite ice cream flavour just got complicated..

  • 34 years ago, a KGB defector chillingly predicted modern America
    President Trump was almost universally panned for the press conference that followed the meeting with Russia’s President Putin in Helsinki, Finland. Trump was seen as capitulating to Russia by refusing to confront Putin on the issue of past and present interference in American elections.
    I know, it’s a Trump article but if this is all true then holy shit have we been played.

  • ‘It’s the president we all want’: The melancholy world of liberals watching ‘The West Wing’ in 2018
    Paul and Shirley Attryde drove from Durham, N.C., to Washington this spring for a live taping of “The West Wing Weekly,” a podcast about a TV series that ended 12 years ago.
    It me!

  • The Dog Photographer Of The Year Award Winners Are In, And They’re Fantastic
    This week the UK’s Kennel Club named winners for its 2018 Dog Photographer of the Year contest. As you might have guessed, the winning photos are incredibly precious.

  • Stop Trying to Change Yourself
    You can’t change yourself, so don’t even try. I know that’s not what the infomercials and self-help seminars tell you. But fuck it. They’re wrong. You can’t change. Like a thirsty man in a desert chasing a mirage, or a fat man peering into an empty fridge—there’s nothing there.
    The gentle backlash against hyper-productivity and self-improvement continues. Hey, you, you are ALREADY AWESOME.

  • Gratitude for Invisible Systems
    One way to improve democracy is for more people to appreciate its complex technological underpinnings. Before asking the question of how technology can affect democracy, I’m going to ask: What is democracy for?
    So many things we don’t consider that are so crucial. Peek behind that curtain.

  • Users Sue Juul for Addicting Them to Nicotine
    Juul Labs, the San Francisco-based e-cigarette company, is under pressure from parents, schools, public health advocates, lawmakers, and the Food and Drug Administration for its popularity with younger users, who have gravitated to Juul’s discrete rechargeable vaping device and nicotine pods.
    Shocking. Not. A company with billions of VC money behind it is acting in a ‘not nice’ way?

  • Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: Hollywood’s New “Zero Tolerance” on Offensive Speech Makes Zero Sense
    ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ director James Gunn’s recent firing over old tweets and a Paramount TV exec’s dismissal amid racially charged comments only reinforce an “atmosphere of fear” and fail to account for the “totality of the person,” writes the Hollywood Reporter columnist.
    Not THAT Kareem (for NBA fans). Seeing a couple of articles about this, are we over-reacting? Are people not allowed to make mistakes and learn from them? Where is the line?

  • The Drone Photography Of The Year Contest Winners Are Staggering
    We at Digg dot com have a complicated relationship with drones. But roughly speaking, our views can probably be summed up as follows: drones that have chainsaws = uncool. Drones that take pretty photographs = very cool.

  • For the sake of fuck
    Just go read it.

  • Artificial Intelligence Shows Why Atheism Is Unpopular
    Imagine you’re the president of a European country. You’re slated to take in 50,000 refugees from the Middle East this year. Most of them are very religious, while most of your population is very secular.
    Stepping outside the bubble of my tribe is hard to do, my world view is not yours, etc.

  • What a musical conductor actually does on stage
    I love hearing people talk about how they work. In this quick video, conductor James Gaffigan explains what it is he does on stage and how different composers like Leonard Bernstein shape and enhance the performance of the musicians they’re leading.
    Learn something new every day. Fascinating.

  • Swedish student’s plane protest stops man’s deportation ‘to hell’
    Her successful protest, footage of which spread rapidly across the internet, shines a spotlight on domestic opposition to Sweden’s tough asylum regime, at a time when immigration and asylum are topping the agenda of a general election campaign in which the far right is polling strongly.
    Power is available to everyone if you are willing to stand up.

  • WW2 Spitfire pilot Mary Ellis dies
    The last living female pilot from World War Two, Mary Ellis, has died aged 101 at her home on the Isle of Wight. Mrs Ellis was a member of the Air Transport Auxiliary (ATA) and delivered Spitfires and bombers to the front line during the conflict.
    Actual legend.

  • Underestimating the power of gratitude – recipients of thank-you letters are more touched than we expect
    We’ve all been there: feeling so grateful to a friend or colleague that we hatch the idea of sending them a thank-you message. But then we worry about how to phrase it. And then we figure it probably won’t mean much to them anyway; if anything it could all be a bit awkward. So we don’t bother.
    Have I thanked YOU for reading these posts? THANK YOU!

  • Merry Clayton Tells the Story of Her Amazing Backing Vocal on The Rolling Stones’ “Gimme Shelter”
    Some of rock’s greatest singers have catalogs that stretch for miles, with B-sides and deep cuts as plentiful as the well-known favorites. We could rattle off handfuls of names that fit the description.
    Didn’t know this story, wow. Imagine that vocal not happening, which it almost didn’t.

  • Why the UK’s biggest lesbian archive is so important
    Glasgow Women’s Library is not your typical library. Finalists for this year’s Art Fund Museum of the Year award, the Women’s Library is part-library, part-archive, and the only accredited museum in the UK dedicated to preserving women’s lives, histories, and communities.
    Mon Glasgow!

  • Negative People
    “Stay away from negative people. They have a problem for every solution.”
    This quote. (that’s all the post is, don’t need to click)

  • The Queer Art of Failing Better
    Some things are just too pure for this weird and wicked world. That video of the golden retriever failing an agility test. Golden retrievers in general. Political science majors who truly believe they can change the system from within. And Queer Eye.  
    Not a fan of the show but might watch a few after reading this article. (Also, my fav ‘viral’ video ever? that golden retriever).

  • Sheffield topiarist ‘disgusted by drunk hedge sex’
    Keith Tyssen has maintained his “privet lady” at his Sheffield home since 2000, but is often woken up in the night by distracted passers-by. Mr Tyssen has considered putting up a sign or an alarm to curb the behaviour.
    Bush. *snigger*

  • A Person Can Instantly Blossom into a Savant–and No One Knows Why
    Savant syndrome comes in different forms. In congenital savant syndrome the extraordinary savant ability surfaces in early childhood.
    I’m still waiting.

bookmark_borderThe baseball

A few days ago a short video clip went viral, in the way short video clips do. It was taken during a baseball game and showed a foul ball (a hit that lands out of bounds) landing in the front few rows of the stand. A child scrabbles under his seat to get it but the ball rolls under his seat and a man sitting behind him reaches down and snatches it up, laughing, and then hands it to the woman sitting next to him.

Watching it and you can’t help but be horrified, a grown man, snatching a ball away from a child and LAUGHING about it.

Needless to say the backlash was swift and I re-tweeted it myself in a pique of righteous outrage. Who WAS this douchebag? Clearly a horrible person, and it wasn’t hard to plop him into the American stereotype; white guy, baseball cap, arrogant, careless, Trump voter, and no doubt an ill-educated, racist, sexist, right-wing asshole to boot. It’s not much of a leap, let’s be honest, given the lens we view America through at the moment but with a quick click of a button I could share my disbelief and mild hatred of this stranger with the rest of Twitter, along with several thousand other similarly gobsmacked people who also re-tweeted the clip.

Ohhh and it felt so so good. Justice has been served!! At least in so much as it ever is in a world where social media skips and bounces across the surface of the inane and newsworthy alike, why deep dive when you can pass judgement and move on to the next crusade. Dreddful times? But then I guess it’s not like we have to wait long before the next thing comes along, the next blip on the radar at which we can direct our moral judgement, all name of correcting wrongs and making the world a better place.

Baseball stealer, Brexit disaster, climate change, refugee activism. Click, click, click, click. And lo I have participated and the world spins easier on its axis.

That’s how the world works now, right? I have shared so I am part of the solution, I can now kick back, relax and feel good about myself. Isn’t social media WONDERFUL!

I know, I know, if only it were so.

One of the first things I ever published here, back in June 1999, was a reaction to another shooting in the US of A. It was the only social media platform we had back then; four years before MySpace, five before Facebook, seven before Twitter. It were nowt but fields but it was all we had, hand-crafted HTML and FTP uploads. Even back then, despite the paucity of blogs (or perhaps because of it) my blogroll was full of similarly minded people, liberal IT geeks. No doubt there were plenty of right-wing GOP bloggers but I had no need or desire to track them down. The news was my source of information on the wider world.

These days the news is a source, and even then I’m much more wary of trusting it to be reported without agenda or bias, and I look to social media to sense check what I’m reading. Which means it can be a vicious circle of lies and deceit that self-perpetuate. Clearly social media is simply heralding the downfall of what little humanity we seem to have left.

Which is complete nonsense, after all I wouldn’t have heard about many glorious things at all if it wasn’t for social media. It’s not like the news headlines are dominated by acts of kindness and love, is it?

I know my life is richer for social media in many positive and uplifting ways. Which is lovely. Seeing the good side of humanity is a wonderful thing and genuinely makes me happy and reminds me that the shit-storm that is plastered all over newspapers and TV banners is the worst tip of the shitberg. Dig a little (ewwww) and there are stories of care and compassion to find. Phew. What a relief. Except it should be no surprise that my personally curated and selected social media feeds bring me things of joy and beauty in this horrible horrible world.

At this point I find myself searching for an analogy, one that pairs manure with roses, perhaps, but I then I realise that like most analogies it’s easy to realise how flawed they are; sure roses like manure, but too much manure and the roses will be weak and lack vibrancy, not enough and they are stunted and dull.

Which is all just a really clunky and roundabout way of saying I don’t think I have enough manure in my social media, which is not a statement I thought I’d ever make but there you have it. Like most people my social media is within my bubble, it shares my world view, it reacts the same way I do, and it’s why it’s a key part of staying connected to my “tribe”. I know that not looking outside of your tribe is, in and of itself, a dangerously blinkered view of the world to have.

I think I need to be challenged more, to have my gaze shifted from time to time, or I’m in danger of falling into the same knee-jerk reactions that I see elsewhere, the ones I point at and laugh at because what kind of idiot reacts without thinking?

In the world of fake news this is all the more important. Challenge your presumptions, pause your reactions, find the other sides to the story, assess.

That baseball guy, it turns out, had already snagged one foul ball and handed it to the kid in front of him. Apparently he’s a nice guy and does that from time to time. Various tweets from people sitting near him during the game confirm this, calling out all those horrible people who’d hate-shared the video clip portraying him as some form of child-hating monster.

I was one of those people.

I’d been faked news’d.

And worse still, I’d reacted just like the morons I see do it over and over again – Trump is great, women need to know their place, immigrants should just go home – I see those idiots scream and shout.

And I sit by and retweet those who rail against them, comfortable in my quiet home, safe from any backlash.

bookmark_borderSix by Nico: Mexico

Glasgow has quite a few good Mexican eateries (Topolabamba being a personal favourite) so I was intrigued to see how this wouldn’t just be a more refined version of the usual taco, burrito, and salsa we all know and love.

Looking at the menu set my mind at ease a little, although my dislike of bell peppers (not chilli) already had me doubting the third course, ELOTE.

  1. CHICKEN THIGH TACO – Guacamole, Strawberry Salsa, Whipped Creme Fraiche
  2. NACHOS – Heritage Tomato, Housemade Queso Fresco, Avocado Gazpacho
  3. ELOTE – Sweetcorn Risotto, Green Chorizo, Pickled Red Peppers
  4. SEA BASS CHILPACHOLE MIXTO – Mussel Escabeche, Crab Mole, Sikil Pak, Orange
  5. PORK CHEEK BARBACOA – Refried Beans, Tomatillo, Rainbow Chard, Crackling
  6. CHOCOLATE TACO – Tonka Bean Ganache, Banana Ice Cream, Chipotle & Banana Caramel

As I was driving I had a sip of the Apertif, a tequila and cointreau based pineapple margarita which certainly hit the mark, and then, as always, SNACKS!

There is a theme developing for the snacks, sourdough and flavoured butter (paprika for this menu) with some olives, then the ‘theme’ specific snack. The menu on the website suggests we were getting Masa Fries, with Jalapeno ketchup and Sweet Ancho Chilli Popcorn, what we got was nachos. Well, they LOOKED like Nachos and tasted like nachos, with rich and vibrant dabs of pureed avocado, that ketchup too. A nice way to kick start the palate.

I felt a bit odd eating the next course, it was a Wednesday evening you see which threw out my whole Taco Tuesdays thing… but they were tasty enough. I’m not sure I got much from the strawberry salsa, and the guacamole was a little on the thin side for my liking but overall a nice way to start the meal.

Of all the dishes the next one piqued my interest the least. Tomatoes are not high on my list of desirable eating and unfortunately this dish didn’t do much to change that. A fresh and cleansing dish for sure but it lacked any depth of flavour, or much in the way of balance. All of the flavours on the plate were gentle but didn’t seem to combine to be anything greater than their parts.

The third course was the one I was least looking forward to. I am not a fan of bell peppers and wasn’t convinced that pickling them would help. So being told on presentation that the dish also included smoked peppers and my heart sank. Ohhhh how wrong I was. Easily my favourite dish of the menu, the sweetcorn risotto was delicious, the pickled peppers (which I presume were picked by someone called Peter?) were a revelation only topped by the smoked peppers. Belter of a dish with some good hearty flavours that complimented each other without being overwhelming.

Sea Bass next, always a sign of a hearty dish as it takes flavours well and also a first try of escabeche for me. The mussels were tasty and the sea bass well cooked but the crab mole was a bit bland, thankfully the orange and pickled vegetables helped add some flavour.

The next dish was one I picked out as being likely to be a favourite, Pork cheek barbacoa. Alas whilst it was well cooked and well presented, it didn’t really hit the mark. It wasn’t bad per se just underwhelming on the whole and it was at about this point in the meal that I realised something that had been missing. Heat. Specifically, chillis. Not one dish had offered any subtle hint to what I take as being a quintessential part of Mexican cuisine, but perhaps that’s because I was basing my expectation on westernised Mexican cuisine? I’m not well informed enough to know but this dish seemed to highlight the absence of spice.

And then dessert. A friend of mine was dining that night, and we chatted as she left. She neatly captured the essence of this final dish for me “Nice but a bit too banana-ey”. She was right, the ganache was delicious, and some hunks of banana bread on highlighted just how ‘banana-ey’ the ice cream was but then, finally, we got a little heat from the chipotle and banana caramel.

As always, all of the food was well prepared and beautifully presented but on the whole this menu doesn’t rank high. It might be down to personal taste (isn’t it always?) but there just didn’t seem to be enough variation on each plate, too many pureed, reduced, and smoothed sauces, not to mention a distinct lack of big punchy flavours. Chilli or no, that’s what I expect from Mexican food and I think this menu suffers from those expectations. Does that mean the food was bad? No. It just wasn’t all that great.

That said, it was a pleasure to eat and I was delighted to have my expectation flipped on pickled peppers. And at £28 for six courses of wonderful food, plus £5 for an apertif and £5 for snacks (between two) Six by Nico continues to be ridiculously good value.

Hat tip to the staff as well, always friendly, and were very quick to remedy a delay between a couple of courses (we hadn’t even noticed) with the offer of a free drink.

And yes, we are already booked in for the next menu.

bookmark_borderWeekend Reading

  • An Honest Look at The Personal Finance Crisis
    Millions of baby boomers are moving into their senior years with empty pockets and declining choices to earn a living. And right behind them is a younger generation facing the same challenges.
    And the rich keep getting richer. Hello dystopian future.

  • 100 Best Movies to Stream on Netflix Right Now
    Some belters in here. Some I’ve never heard of, time to explore!

  • Leader comment: A denunciation of Donald Trump
    Donald Trump, due to arrive in the UK later today, is a racist, a serial liar, and either a sex abuser or someone who falsely brags about being one in the apparent belief that this will impress other men in a metaphorical “locker room”.
    I don’t do Trump stuff here often but this piece in the Scotsman is worth it. Water off a ducks back of course but 10/10 for effort.

  • Sacha Baron Cohen hits back at Sarah Palin as Roy Moore admits being duped
    The former Alaska governor and vice-presidential candidate called the comedian “evil, exploitative and sick” in a Facebook post on 10 July after he duped her into an interview for his new show Who Is America?
    Alas the reviews for the show are less than stellar. But it’s good that SOMEONE is doing something.

  • A Master’s Twist on Making Ice Cream in a Plastic Bag
    There is no easier way to prove that you’re a capable person than by making, from scratch and without special equipment, foods that seem inherently store-bought and expensive.
    Say whhaaaattt!

  • How to Tell the Bad Men From the Good Men
    When I moved down to London, on the morning of my 18th birthday, to become a young, idiotic, yet hopefully noble lady rock critic, I had a bin bag full of clothes, a laptop, a dog, and one terrible flaw — other than the tendency for my hair to assume an unflattering triangular shape…
    All those in favour of Mz Moran as PM?

  • Sisters in Arms
    Is the #MeToo “moment” the beginning of a new feminism? Coined by the civil rights activist Tarana Burke in 2006, the term took off in 2017 when celebrities like the actress Alyssa Milano began using it as a Twitter hashtag.
    Still a long long way to go.

  • ‘How we made Now That’s What I Call Music 100’
    The 100th edition of Now That’s What I Call Music will be released this Friday, featuring the biggest chart hits of the last four months. We went behind the scenes at Abbey Road as the Now team chose the tracks for the compilation’s centenary.
    I tapped out at release 67 I think, an institution?

  • The Power of Positive People
    Are you spending time with the right people for your health and happiness? While many of us focus primarily on diet and exercise to achieve better health, science suggests that our well-being also is influenced by the company we keep.
    As I get older I get much more selective, and give many fewer fucks if people don’t like it.

  • The French World Cup Win and the Glories of Immigration
    Those of us who have spent a surprising chunk of our lives rooting for—supporting, as they say in Britain—Les Bleus, the French national football team, have to feel a special exultation and delight in seeing them win the World Cup.
    How many of the English team came from immigrant families?

  • The Twitch streamers who spend years broadcasting to no one
    When John Hopstead first descended into the virtual world of Dark Souls in 2013, his mission was to save a decaying world.
    Awwww internet, never change. (except the shitty bits, hurry up and change already)

  • It’s Not Your Fault If You Can’t Get Anything Done in the Summer
    I can’t get anything done in the summer, which I’d long assumed was due to my body’s preference for the school-year calendar of September to May. Though I haven’t been in school for many years, I figured there was some lasting psychological impact which made my brain give up every June.
    Thank you science! (Now, about the rest of the year…)

  • Welcome to the Open Book
    35.3k Likes, 1,506 Comments – “Welcome to the Open Book. It’s a #bookstore in Wigtown, Scotland, that offers a literary experience…”
    People are wonderful.

  • Saoirse Ronan on Growing Up on Camera, the Changing Politics of Ireland, and Becoming a Queen
    Saoirse Ronan is describing the aftermath of her first acting job. “I went into this melancholic state for a few weeks,” she tells me. “I remember sitting on the bed with Mam next to me, and I was like: ‘I’m never going to have that experience again.”
    Massively talented and all round down to earth lovely person, how can you NOT admire her?

  • How the world’s last Blockbuster will keep the DVD dream alive
    Age: From the beforetimes. Or, 1985. Appearance: Dwindling.
    I, for one, do not miss the trips to the video store.

  • Biologists are bugged about the ant emoji
    Of the 2,666 emoji in the wild, there’s one symbol that really bugs a group of keen-eyed users. Tech companies can’t seem to draw the black ant emoji properly, as several ant enthusiasts have noted.
    “Several” enthusiasts? Is that the same as “all”? I mean, I like ants but still…

  • Telling Is Listening: Ursula K. Le Guin on the Magic of Real Human Conversation
    Every act of communication is an act of tremendous courage in which we give ourselves over to two parallel possibilities: the possibility of planting into another mind a seed sprouted in ours and watching it blossom into a breathtaking flower of mutual understanding; and the possibility of being misunderstood.
    Communication is so important and so very hard.

  • Look up at the moon every night—not just during the lunar eclipse
    On July 27, a blood moon will glow an eerie red ahead of the longest lunar eclipse that Earth will experience in the 21st century. For one hour and 43 minutes, the moon will disappear from the sky, entirely obscured by the shadow that our planet casts upon it.
    Amen. The sky (particularly at night) is a constant source of fascination.

  • 15 Podcasts That Will Make You Feel Smarter
    The French polymath René Descartes (1596-1650) lived after the Renaissance, but he personified that age’s interest in mathematics, philosophy, art, and the nature of humanity. He made numerous discoveries and argued for ideas that people continue to grapple with.
    Some new ones to explore. I can recommend Hidden Brain from this list, always great!

  • Is “Piano Man” The Greatest Song Ever Written?
    I realize this sounds absurd. “Piano Man” is not even my favorite Billy Joel song. Nor is it his. Joel appeared on Stephen Colbert’s late night show once and Colbert asked him for his top five Billy Joel songs. “Piano Man” was noticeably absent.
    No comment required. Move on.

bookmark_borderA man I hate

Last Friday I had the great pleasure of going to see a man I hate. He was reading some of his essays.

It was wonderful but he makes me sick to my stomach whenever I read anything he’s written, but I’ve long made peace with my ongoing resentment towards him. Hate is such a strong word, as my Mother liked to remind me during my teenage ‘strop’ years, so perhaps I’ll tone this down a little and say I merely dislike him an awful, awful lot.

But no, let’s not tone this down. He wouldn’t, so why should I?

I hate David Sedaris.

If you aren’t aware of who he is then let me offer a description of the man. He is a slight, balding, bespectacled, man with a high octave voice, and the air of a lightly eccentric literature professor and, according to his own website, “With sardonic wit and incisive social critiques, David Sedaris has become one of America’s pre-eminent humor writers. The great skill with which he slices through cultural euphemisms and political correctness proves that Sedaris is a master of satire and one of the most observant writers addressing the human condition today.” (bio).

I can’t recall when I first had the misfortune to stumble across his work, nor what that piece was but since then I have read many articles and essays, listened to him talk on the radio, bought his books, and yet regardless of the medium he remains cuttingly funny and poignant all at the same time.

I do hate him so.

I’m such a huge fan.

When I found out he was coming to Glasgow I snapped up tickets the day they went on sale and we were not disappointed. Always forthright, hearing him talk about his brothers suicide brought a lump to my throat, yet never strays too far from humour and satire. And this is why I hate him. The way he balances his stories, the comic timing, the gentle misdirection and deliberate provoking of sentiment are expertly intertwined with some brutally dark humour and pinpoint observations that are so seated in our humanity that you are laughing before you realise it.

He is a ridiculously talented writer, less so a public speaker but as he tends to read his own essays that’s not so much of an issue but this is a minor detail. He is eloquent, funny, and that wry self-deprecating humour is exquisitely tuned, particularly to UK ears.

It was an absolute joy to hear him speak, a marvel to my ears as his finely honed word play washed over my ears. The talented bastard. I hate him.

bookmark_borderSporty sport sport

The World Cup is over. Wimbledon is over. Someone is quite happy about this.

I am not.

I bloody love watching sport, me.

I usually put this down to my Dad being a P.E. teacher and I always enjoyed learning about various sports when they were on TV (usually the Olympics). Equally my Mum loved the cricket (back in the Beefy Botham days) and gold, mostly because they are both sports you don’t have to pay attention to so she could watch them whilst knitting.

It’s the learning I enjoy and as sports broadcasting improves, so does the level of information available.

Many years ago, Channel 4 had the rights to a season of the NFL. I’d never really watched it before and in the opening couple of shows they explained how the game works; what is a first down? what does 3 and 18 mean? And so on. And the more you learn the more you appreciate why the game works the way it does, how skilled the players are and how hard it is to achieve success.

Thankfully Le Tour is still on the go (rest day today mind you) and, again, the ITV coverage continues to be superb. David Millar offers insights as a previous Tour rider, explaining what is going on when it’s not always evident; the tactics, the team hierarchy, the psychology, the mental and physical fatigue and everything else that goes with it. It becomes utterly engrossing (watching an entire team in a sprint stage, leading out their main sprinter is a wonder of power and precision which usually comes at the end of 100+km of cycling).

More recently I’ve gotten into UFC. I’m not a big boxing fan but the mixed-martial arts approach of the UFC is intriguing. It’s not, for me, about watching someone beaten to a pulp, but the expertise, the speed and precision that some of the fighters have. A split second takes you from standing to the ground, a few seconds later you are ‘tapping out’ as your opponent has you in an arm bar. Again, hearing the co-commentators/pundits explain what is happening, whether it’s grappling or striking based, helps me understand the intricacies of timing and technique. UFC is not just two idiots beating the shit out of each other, honest.

But it’s basketball where my heart lies. Largely because I was above average at it at school, and because of a VHS tape my cousin gave me which featured a man called Magic who played with a smile on his face and made the game seem fun. I was barely into my teens and looking back now at what he achieved and how he played the game, now that I know a lot more about the basics, it’s all the more remarkable. Unfortunately a guy called Michael Jordan turned up and the Lakers fell away, then Shaq and Kobe did their thing for a few years and all was good. And now the current ‘greatest player’ has joined so I’m stupid excited for the next few years as a Lakers fan.

I don’t play any sport these days (stupid knees) and it’s something I’m trying to figure out a way to get back into. Ideally basketball, but I’m not sure where I’d find a team of middle-aged, not very fit, average-and-below level players who’d invite me along… I’m still looking though!

I do love me some sport.