Monthly Archives: March 2015

The A-Z of Music: R

You’d best put seatbelts on your ears, ‘cos I’m gonna take them for the ride of their lives.

This is ‘Gimme Shelter‘ by the Rolling Stones (with female vocal backing by Merry Clayton).


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General Election: Scottish National Party Edition

The starting gun has been fired for the General Election. In a series of blog posts I’ll look at some of the key players and arguments in election campaign. First off, the…

Scottish National Party

The Scottish National Party, or SNP for short, is a party committed to making Scotland an independent country.

Ex-leader Alex Salmon almost persuaded Scotland to quit the UK last year. Now, under Nicola Sturgeon, it looks likely the SNP will win most of the Scottish seats in the UK Parliament – making them the third largest party and king-maker.

Alex Salmon and Nicola Sturgeon

Alex Salmon and Nicola Sturgeon

Economy spokesman, Hamish Trout, has committed the party to taxing high earners and reducing austerity – causing consternation among more affluent English voters if the party should prop up a left-wing Labour government.

Perhaps more worrying are the Culture spokeswoman, Morag Haddock’s plans to replace the National Anthem with ‘Hoots Mon, There’s A Moose Loose Aboot This Hoose‘, Received Pronunciation with Sean Connery‘s accent and the image of the Queen with that of Wee Jimmy Krankie on all stamps and coins.

Wee Jimmy Krankie

The real importance of the SNP’s success lies in the changed relationship between Scotland and the rest of the Union. It is well-known that the SNP wants to break up the 300 year old marriage, despite its outstanding success – and will continue to push to do so.

Even falling short of this, it is likely that Scotland will get more powers to set its own taxes and decide how to spend the revenues. This has led to demands that England and Wales should get similar powers.

There are questions about whether Scottish MPs should be allowed to vote on English matters, or whether this should be reserved for English MPs only. Wiser heads question whether MPs should be allowed to vote on anything at all, with any signs of clear-thinking, consistency or courage still forthcoming.

Plain Cigarette UK Constitution

One thing all MPs can agree on is that it’s good news that they have recently passed legislation to introduce plain cigarette packaging, as this will leave more space for them to hastily write out a new Constitution in the weeks after the election.


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Is It Just Me Or…

…are kids becoming teenagers much sooner now?

My 11 year old sister is doing a pretty good impression of Kevin the Teenager right now:

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Camera On Cameron

Speaking of egregious howlers committed to celluloid, Prime Minister David Cameron seems to have put his foot in it by ruling out a third term during a television interview*.

Everyone is now wondering whether he’ll be a lame-duck PM, and there’s even speculation about a Tory leadership contest.



Mr Cameron made his frank comments in an interview with the BBC. Viewers were treated to scenes of the PM making a meal in his designer kitchen, slicing up carrots, and talking with this beautiful wife; fueling speculation that the PM is bidding to become the new Jamie Oliver on retiring from politics.

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If He Only Had A Brain

For the last several months, I’ve been working on a website called Mathematics Monster. I hope that one day it will be the go-to website for people wanting to find out about any mathematical subject.

Today, I have been writing about Pythagoras’ theorem:

In a right angled triangle:

the square of the hypotenuse is equal to
the sum of the squares of the other two sides

More visually, if you have a right angled triangle (where one angle is 90°), and draw squares onto each of the sides…

pythagoras_visualization…then the area of the red square is equal to the area of the blue square added to the area of the yellow square.

This is useful for those wanting to pass Maths exams*, but a little dry.

So I added a little bit of movie trivia…

In The Wizard Of Oz**, Scarecrow joins Dorothy and the gang’s quest to find the Wizard, hoping to get a brain:

I hope it’s no great spoiler to tell you that Dorothy & Co. finally reach the Wizard, and after melting the Wicked Witch of West are duly rewarded with a ride back to Kansas, a brain, a heart, and  ‘the noive’***. But, once Scarecrow is given a brain and handed a Diploma, the straw-headed nincompoop only goes and commits one of the most egregious mathematical howlers ever committed to celluloid.

He says…

scarecrow“The sum of the square roots of any two sides of an isosceles triangle is equal to the square root of the remaining side”

..which is neither Pythogoras’ theorem nor correct.

That Wizard of Oz, eh?! You’d think he’s some charlatan hiding behind a curtain, pulling on levers…

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I’m* back on stage this week, dahhhlings!

I’m performing with the Sounds Musical Theatre Company in a production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s classic musical, ‘Carousel‘ at the Devonport Playhouse.

Broadly speaking, the plot goes something like this:

Boy meets girl.

Boy falls in love with girl, and she with him.

Boy loses his and girl’s job.

Boy hits girl.

Boy gets girl pregnant.

Boy gets killed in an attempted theft.

Boy comes back as a spirit 15 years later and hits his daughter.**

Hmmmm… Doesn’t sound very promising, does it?

Actually, it is my favourite musical, with an absolutely beautiful score and a heart tugging plot. I thought I’d share some of it with you.

Firstly, one of the most beautiful ‘falling in love’ songs on the stage, If I Loved You‘:

Secondly, an incredible solo where the leading man has to sing (and talk) for seven minutes non-stop, ‘Soliloquy‘:

Finally, a song beloved of Liverpool FC fans, ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’:

P.S. You can still catch the show. Performances at 19:30 each evening until Saturday (plus a 14:30 matinee on Saturday). Full price tickets £12. Call 01752 510934.

P.P.S. All clips taken from the 1956 film of Carousel.

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Where’s Putin?

People have been looking for him for days

Where's Putin

…but now he has, alas, been found.

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