Great Olympics-induced feelgood factor in the UK at the moment. The gold medal winning feat of Andy Murray who soundly defeated Roger Federer is a great reversal after the disappointment of Wimbledon just a few weeks ago and  makes a powerful case against Scottish Independence. In a week when the Daily Mail looks out of step with public opinion for its spoilsport carping about the fact that many of the team GB contenders are not truly British for being born overseas, last week’s piece in the FT was spot on in claiming our “plastic Brits” are the secret of London’s success from Prince Philip to Mo Farah

At the time nobody dreamed that Britain’s haul of medals would be so impressive, zooming up from position 21 in the medals table to 3rd in just days.

In the mean-time the only thing anyone might still find fault with are the logos.  Mascots Wenlock and Mandeville with just one pair of eyes between the two of them are hideous compared to eg Montreal Ted fondly remembered from my youth. Very below par from the nation that gave us Wallace and Gromit.

As for this version of the uninspired logo, is it just me who thinks it looks like Lisa Simpson doing something unspeakable to Bart…?

The whole business of the comments of Aidan Burley MP on Twitter decrying the praised-to-the-rooftops 2012 Olympic opening ceremony staged by Trainspotting director Danny Boyle as “leftie multicultural crap” are obviously preposterous. Surely even the most hardened cynic would have melted at the spectacular display. Both that and the tremendous goodwill displayed at the torch ceremonies have turned attititudes around. The example, lamentable though it is, has arrived just in time to get a mention in a paragraph of my next book. Here is an exclusive sneak preview:

…In 2012 the “misunderstood” tweet of Aidan Burley MP at the Olympics “Bring back red arrows (sic), Shakespeare and the Stones!” rendered him even more ridiculous as rhythm and blues, which is the essence of the Rolling Stones sound, is intrinsically multicultural, rooted in black America. As Philip Norman (2002:33) describes music was their escape route from suburbia before they adopted their now familiar stage personas: “Mike [sic] Jagger listened to Muddy Waters, Jimmy Reed, Howlin’ Wolf, giants of the urban blues with heart-shivering voices, calling and answering their virtuoso guitars, that could change the view beyond the lace curtains from Kentish suburbia to the dark and windy canyons along Chicago’s Lake Shore Drive.”

The music emerging from contemporary suburbia continues to be moulded by multi-ethnicity..

It then goes on to talk about grime and dubstep from Croydon. The Stones were from Dartford, Kent where there is now a Mick Jagger arts centre and Sir Mick, as he now is, is also patron-funder of the Red Rooster project to encourage local primary school children to take up playing musical instruments. They played their first gig 50 years ago in suburban Ealing.

As for the idiotic MP as Phillip Schofield@Schofe (hardly a dangerous radical) tweeted to his 1.72million followers:

oh dear @AidanBurleyMP what an arse!

It was retweeted 652 times at last count.

Labourlist by the way has launched a campaign to unseat Burley and the Labour party has announced it as an early selection. Details here. Ex footballer Stan Collymore has said he’d happily stand via twitter although not announced for who yet – in 140 characters I guess he couldn’t go into too much detail.

…is about Multiculturalism twenty years ago and now.  A link to it is here 120727 page 06-07-1 (double page spread including Kevin McGuire + Libor scandal too). Mentions Cornershop album and Apache Indian’s recent appearance at Ealing festival.

… the Lady’s Not For Tweeting

At least this was always my take on the so-called micro-blogging site Twitter

How, I always wondered as a verbose type, can you ever say anything in 140 characters? Well today I’ve finally taken the plunge and for a combination of reasons have got myself an account. – not least of which am aiming to go to the mighty Ealing tweetup this eve details here.

It’s @RupaHuq

so feel free to follow me, as the terminology has it.

That’s not to say it’s the end of this blog  as we know it but I guess having it all is what any girl wants these days…

Bumped into Ealing Borough’s Chief Executive Martin Smith at this afternoon’s Olympic torch rally/ party in Walpole park featuring Rizzle Kicks and and had to convey my congratulations to the Council for pulling it off. The whole area was buzzing with excitement and the weather was great. What a difference from the gloom almost a year earlier when riots hit almost the same spot.

Luckily too there was no repeat today of when famous local girl Konnie Huq carried torch in 08  If any criticism I’d single out the heavy product placement from Coke and Samsung. Whilst there has been cynicism about the benefits that these games will bring your average Londoner you’d have to be a real killjoy to knock all the festivities. Let’s hope the omens are good for GB medals too now.

If you are a sociologist working on UK stuff you’re pretty much duty bound to trot out figures from the Census to substantiate what you say. Problem is for ages, the only data available from this 10 yearly survey dates from 2001. I remember Jon Cruddas MP complaning about it when I interviewed him back in I think 2008. Nothing much changed between then and now until this document appeared.

The juicy stuff is I guess yet to come but it looks like the first dribs and drabs of the 2011 exercise are out. About ruddy time too. Summary stuff is here. Main headline so far is that:

On census night the population in England and Wales was 56.1 million, 53.0 million in England and 3.1 million in Wales. This was the largest the population had ever been.

So immigration and rising birthrate have swelled the UK’s ranks – not news to anyone with primary school aged children where extra classes are being added all over the shop, unlike a few years ago when schools were being shut down.


  • The median age of the population in England and Wales was 39. For men, the median age was 38 and for women it was 40. In 1911, the median age was 25.
  • The percentage of the population aged 65 and over was the highest seen in any census at 16.4 per cent, that is one in six people in the population was 65 and over.

So more numerous and older than before. More to follow…

1989 was significant for many reasons. As well as the fall of the wall it also marked the birth of the Simpsons. Now it seems that the show might be at an end from comments let slip by Harry Shearer who provides the voice for Mr Burns, the obsequious sidekick Smithers, the god squadder next-door Ned Flanders and Principal Skinner. The Daily Mirror has the story here along with Shearer in action. A longer thing from the Huffington Post here also goes into contract disputes across the pond. In short it’s all about money – when isn’t it? Fox News are apparently making all the cash and expecting the voice-actors to take dramatically slashed pay.

I’d hate for this blog to turn into a site simply for obituaries for discontinued tv shows (eg the Desperate Housewives post below), but can’t these guys get over to ACAS or round the negotiating table whatever it may be called over there? I reckon it would be nothing short of tragic if  last orders were called for the last time at Moe’s bar. The special commemorative 1989 edition of Time out in 2009 reckoned that the Simpsons “was a show about everything. Through insufferably wholesome next-door neighbor Ned Flanders, the show became about religion. Through fatuous local news anchor Kent Brockman, it became about the media. Through Springfield’s venal Mayor Quimby, it became about politics”.

The same thing/ depth/ range would not work with substitute voices.


Q Who was it that said “The next decade will be defined by a simple idea; ‘we are all in this together‘.”

A It was actually not Boy George Osborne but newly reappointed Labour advisor Tony Blair. The time was 1997 and place was the Aylesbury estate in Peckham. If you don’t believe me see a BBC report on it here.

Shows how unoriginal these Tories are in their choice of soundbite – not to mention unsuccessful in choice of policy for economic growth.

The Independent here has a list of graduate rankings for getting jobs by degree subject. Have reproduced it in case you can’t be bothered to click through:

Dentistry 83%.
Medicine 87%.
Pharmacology & Pharmacy 68%.
Architecture 56%.
Civil Engineering 72%.
Chemical Engineering 59%.
Town and Country Planning & Landscape 48%.
Chemistry 34%.
Mechanical Engineering 59%.
Social Work 65%.
Celtic Studies 29%.
General Engineering 53%.
Physics & Astronomy 29%.
Mathematics 34%.
Law 20%.
Economics 42%.
Aeronautical & Manufacturing Engineering 49%.
Electrical & Electronic Engineering 51%.
East & South Asian Studies 45%.
French 40%.
Anatomy & Physiology 25%.
Computer Science 52%.
Middle Eastern & African Studies 36%.
Iberian Languages 42%.
Materials Technology 42%.
Biological Sciences 28%.
Italian 41%.
Geography 34%.
Russian 38%.
Business Studies 46%.
English 29%.
Archaeology 32%.
Anthropology 31%.
Psychology 29%.
American Studies 32%.
Sociology 30%.

The arts and humanities do not fare well. It’s particularly bad news for sociologists but (i) as these seem to be the newest figures they have (from 2008) and (ii) there is no clear methodology stated I think we can find fault for at least two reasons.

Not new news exactly but now available (sadly again) is a property that’s only changed hands once in 40 years: Amy Winehouse’s former des res in Camden. The estate agent website is here (where a viewing can be booked) and another stat porn site features it here. It’s yours for a few pennies short of £2.7million for wihch you get 2,500 square feet – that’d have to be a pretty big cat to be swinging. Rooms include a basement gym and this tasteful kitchen:

The floorplan of the layout is here (bit chopped at the side but you get theidea):

I remember asking my parents as a kid why the late popular entertainer Bob Monkhouse was not called Bob “Monastery.” By my same childhood literal logic maybe Amy should’ve been called “Cellar”. Hopefuly whoever the next occupants will be able to enjoy it longer than the last one and not too bothered by any onlookers wanting to turn it into a macabre rock landmark/ shrine.

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