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What I’ve been up to, week ending 2010-09-05

September 5, 2010 2 comments
  • RT @legaleagleMHM Just opened wheelie bin and a WASP flew out. Who on earth would have put a wasp in a wheelie bin; what's world coming to? #
  • Thing which perplexes me about this TBL piece: how the hell did they find anywhere in Aus that even serves hot curry? http://bit.ly/aGAFvV #
  • I mean, if you go to a curry house, and order 'hot with extra hot', you get something that'd be a 'medium' in the UK… #
  • …and don't get me started on pizzas. Or Mexican food. Yes, I do want 'hot' sauce and jalopenos. No, it still won't taste of anything #rant #
  • Hang on – who *doesn't* sleep with their mobile by their bed? http://bit.ly/blw0WY #andImover30 #
  • Also, Arnie's nickname is the Gubernator. 'Governator' doesn't work. Eejits: http://bit.ly/d1q5eK #
  • 74% of Australians say they drink in a pub, bar or restaurant twice a month or less often than that. In other news, people lie. #
  • Sorry, did a Liberal Senator really just prank-call Rob Oakeshott's wife and pretend to be the Devil? #ausvotes #WTF #noseriouslyWTF #
  • Ok, apparently the Senator in question thought it was one of Oakeshott's kids on the line, not his wife. #sothatsOKthen #ausvotes #
  • Good work, #Kmart, for selling me a $9 toaster. Was almost tempted to buy some $10 organic bread to toast in it… #
  • Stick a report-related fork in me, I'm done. Well, apart from the bit I need to do tomorrow #ebz http://fallenlondon.com/c/234250 #
  • Ok, infinite mega-work is finished and it's a beautiful day – so I'm on a train to IKEA. Doh. At least I get to go with @chrissiem… #
  • I say "on a train", what I mean is "stuck at Town Hall for half an hour". 30 min frequency on daytime urban rail? Seriously, wtf? #cityfail #
  • JG is correct: RT @annabelcrabb: JG says this Parliament is what the people have chosen, and MPs are obliged to try to make it work. #
  • After seven months of living in this country, I've worked out why the Internet varies apparently-randomly between 'fast' and 'dreadful' #
  • Domestic or domestically-cached (i.e. popular foreign) = fast, because (even pre-NBN) it's better than UK ISPs. International is terrible. #
  • …so if I were the next govt's advisor, I'd run a new big cable to Singapore and another one to LA, rather than cocking about domestically. #
  • I love it when TV incidental music is aces (Teachers on ABC2 played out with Boy With The Arab Strap). Also, remember when C4 was good? #
  • I realise the only people who'll get the last tweet are Britpop fans who're Anglophile Aussies or Aussie Brits. That's my niche, baby. #
  • 'Unfollow' posts are tedious, but wanna note realising that 'voice of rank and file' cop World Weary Detective http://bit.ly/ajdt2z is cunt #

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What I’ve been up to, week ending 2010-08-29

August 29, 2010 Leave a comment
  • I need to do five weeks' work in five days #betweenthisandtheeuphoriaoftheelectionresultthiswillbethebestweekever @unsungsongs #
  • RT @serafinowicz: "I hate knowing everything. It spoils films, etc." ~ God #
  • I hope Wyclef does end up as President of Haiti. I'd also like to see Dizzee Rascal as UK PM… #
  • Loads of new content on #ebz. Curses, this was supposed to be my work week… http://fallenlondon.com/c/220040 #
  • Utter genius – the election as manga video game animation: http://bit.ly/bbBUtd (via @mumbrella) #
  • Great Charlie Brooker piece on the Ground Zero mosque: http://bit.ly/9K4kZk (shorter: "it's not on G0 and it's not a mosque, you fucktards") #
  • This made me laugh a lot. I'm not quite sure why. NSFW: http://bit.ly/btAwJ1 #
  • Or Ayesha, for extra lolz RT @emeraldbile: solution for G0 mosque. Build it, but put a statue in the front of Fatima sucking Mohammed's cock #
  • RT @PreachyPreach: There are c. 70k paid jobs as journos and writers in the UK. Each year, there are 70k journalism + English grads. #
  • A good piece for non-Australians who're confused by #ausvotes http://bit.ly/9GuTyj (and probably some Australians, too) #
  • CROWDSOURCE: does anyone have any info on how Hindus/Buddhists/animists (ie non-'people of the book') were treated in Al-Andalus? #
  • Also, BBC needs chess editor says UK Chess Society RT @mediaguardian: BBC needs religion editor, says Church of England http://bit.ly/dbq5KD #
  • Enjoying the new #ebz content muchly. http://fallenlondon.com/c/222064 #
  • Haha, excellent: http://yourmotherlikesit.blogspot.com/2010/08/comic-sans.html (@chrissiem and any other typography geeks) #
  • The official tourist board account for Worcestershire, @Worchestershire_, is following me. #
  • I find this slightly odd, as I've never tweeted about Worcestershire, and indeed have only been there once. It was OK. #
  • Maybe that's their cunning strategy. "If we can get 000s of leading Twitter mavens to say 'yeah, Worcestershire's OK', people will come!. #
  • Damn you, you cunning Worcestershire marketeers. Visit Worcester. It has cunning marketeers, a Wetherspoons, and some sauce. #
  • Right, that's enough work. Well, it's not enough work really, but I'm utterly fed up and it's trivia time. TO THE PUB. #
  • RT @brappy: Fighting two simultaneous land wars in Asia? Sign me up #unfortunatewordsfromhistory #
  • Unless I've misparsed this, SMUGGEST PARENT EVER RT @RJPartington: BREAKING NEWS: One less place at Oxford/Cambridge University for 2028/29. #
  • Fuck, did just fail. I blame geography and Cameron-avoidance. Sorry @RJPartington #
  • Again, sorry to @rjpartington. Disagree, though – Blairlings ended up at non-Oxbridge institutions despite paternal importance… #
  • As ex-target schools (=make Ox less posh) rep, hope Cameronlets don't get in. *disclaimer* or if they do it's on strict academic merit…. #
  • So there's a flight aggregator site for domestic Australian flights promoting itself heavily on TV. Erm, with 3 airlines, we're OK, right? #
  • Yes, there's also Tiger, but seriously – having seen the doco, would anyone really fly with them? #
  • Quite grumpy my dad never got around to buying Monotype – by the time he'd got the (really not very many) $ together, Mr Gates outbid him. #
  • No, my dad doesn't have any *actual money* but he's a typography geek and noticed DTP was gonna make MT profitable. Am still church mouse. #
  • LIKE -> RT @dixewills: Rumour Nick Clegg introducing legislation obliging all new fathers to take 5 years' paternity leave (via @ianvisits) #
  • World Of Accurate Stereotypes FTW RT @unslugged: Polish man "did not remember being shot because he was drunk" http://bit.ly/dBrxJa #
  • Proof that having a physics degree doesn't stop you being a mad crank who believes unscientific bullshit: http://bit.ly/c7jjtx #wifi #
  • Work going tolerably. #ebz going better. http://fallenlondon.com/c/223933 #
  • No. NEXT! RT @itlt: Will Australia be 100% powered by green energy in 10 years' time? http://bit.ly/a4m0X8 #
  • Wouldn't it be delightful if everyone who supports the death penalty were executed by mistake, just as they wish on others? #happydreams #
  • RT @NathanaelB: My Tiger experience starts with lights in corridor leading to tarmac off, so descended stairs in the dark. Oops! @pdidzzy #
  • Squee! RT @nickjbarlow: BBC Four adapting Dirk Gently for TV: http://bbc.in/cHx1lW #
  • Politicians: if you make a short factual piece that could easily be in text as a video, I'm unlikely to bother viewing it. @greenjennyjones #
  • BHP Billiton definitely couldn't afford to pay any more tax at all, no, not a penny: http://bbc.in/cazBKq #poorbuggers #givethemabreak #
  • This is what happens when you're an analyst & you move to Aus… RT @punkscience: @johnb78 Fair enough. I crown you King of Coal Geekery!:~P #
  • I actually rather like the terrible Chinese Olympic sock ad – kinda mantra-like… #gruen #
  • Wow, Wednesday night ABC1 is really, really good. #somehowbeentoobusyfor6months #noshutupsarkyBritsAusTVcanbereallygood #
  • Loving the hipster from Melbourne, who's mysteriously Brett Anderson #ywc #
  • I prefer drunk mates: RT @VizTopTips: CAN't afford buckaroo? Simply pile items on a sleeping elderly relative until they wake up screaming. #
  • RT @scattermole: Jajajaja. RT @GrantStatic: http://twitpic.com/2i1ea5 #
  • Ice cream (flogged til the company's on its knees) #brettmeals @reallybanderson #
  • And its counterpart, Holding Back The Ears #bestialitysongs @duckorange #
  • RT @duckorange: #bestialitysongs Bunny's Too Tight To Mention #
  • Nothing Compares To Ewe #bestialitysongs #
  • Cum On Kids #bestialitysongs @martin_carr #
  • Trout Gimp Mask Replica #bestialityalbums #
  • Dinah-Mo Hummingbird #bestialitysongs #
  • Fuck The Penguin Away #bestialitysongs #
  • Ride The Tiger, Hard #bestialitysongs @martin_carr #
  • Chris Rea #
  • RT @hangbitch: RT @TheMightierEvo: Nowadays, the term 'sick pay' means to be on a good wage. #
  • Yay. A new AUS digital channel for US crap that's too lame for even Seven and Nine to show already. Aren't we lucky? http://bit.ly/d6Jh0B #
  • My last tweet was slightly unfair: some of the decent US shows from Ten will be moving to Eleven. Still not exactly a cultural WIN. #
  • Work progresses. UK bank holiday has bought me an extra day, which is kinda lucky. http://fallenlondon.com/c/227918 #
  • I like this piece from @chrisk27 on Bez as existentialist icon: http://bit.ly/aHApf1 #
  • My dog's got no nose. He can barely find his way around, and I should really get him put down @armyofdave @evilflea #accuratejokes #nonjokes #
  • Good news: I've written 3,000 words so far today. Bad news: I need to write another 15,000 minimum by Monday night #eek #
  • Tempted to agree with @hopisen that MPs' sexuality is their business – just cos you're gay doesn't mean you *have* to support gay marriage #
  • Going the other way is almost (not the same as, but similar to) suggesting Jewish MPs are obliged to support Israel, and so on… #
  • Just got 2 emails from @PaddyPower – one reminding me of my GBP100 world cup winnings, one of GBP40 in another account I'd forgotten. W00t! #
  • This is excellent, for all you #media types – Edinburgh lecture from the #bbc's Mark Thompson: http://bit.ly/a85T4m #
  • An essential gift for the paranoid right-wing bigot in your life: http://bit.ly/aTyd2i #
  • Rupert Murdoch (News Corp owns HarperCollins) in 'attempting to dick over the BBC' shock: http://bit.ly/9ZJmzc #
  • Quick #ebz and food break, then Back To Work. I love deadlines, me. http://fallenlondon.com/c/230067 #
  • 20,000 words. 'ave it. #
  • Love the fact that #abcnews has to put a 'this contains coarse language and is not suitable for kids' warning on its political chatshow… #
  • Have worked a lot. Brief #ebz break. http://fallenlondon.com/c/232061 #
  • Is there something inherent on TV vs movies that 'produced by Jerry Bruckheimer' implies TV will be watchable but movie will be dreadful? #
  • Single biggest factor in everything RT @mrpower: Forget the washing machine. THIS is what made the difference: http://twitpic.com/2jd02u #
  • Occasional drinkers are sweet, bless: RT @shutupcaf: is it really bad to drink on painkillers even if it's only ibruprofen? will i die? #
  • #ausmedia types – anyone know how much Ten paid to get top slot on the Freeview EPG for ONE? Non-Ausmedia types, don't worry. #
  • Why no David Mitchell this w/e? Goddamn lazy holidaying Guardian union socialists, etc… #
  • CROWDSOURCING: another whisky before bed, or just a cup of herbal tea? Note: it is very lovely whisky. #

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Weirdest book review ever

August 25, 2010 7 comments

There are, obviously, strong historical connections between Australia and the UK. These have created cultural similarities – probably more and closer than most Australians would be willing to admit. The two countries are diverging as time passes, but Australia’s still culturally closer to the UK than anywhere else I’ve visited outside of the British Isles.

However, it still strikes me as very strange, bordering on lunacy, for a US reviewer to take an Australian book by an Australian writer set in Australia about Australian suburban life, and use it to hang the conclusion:

The Slap’s the work of the moment for a nation that I met more at the pubs and picnic tables of England than in any other book I’ve read. It’s the book of the great muttering resistance of England, a dark-witted, vote-nay group who could rival the American Tea Party for influence if they could only agree on a bar at which to meet.

Read the whole thing, if you’re also in the market for bemused American reflections on how Cheryl Cole sounds like Dick Van Dyke (this may explain his difficulty in telling Brits and Aussies apart), and how Londoners are violent, Friends-obsessed drunks who sound like Liam Gallagher making a cameo in Trainspotting. Alternatively, don’t.

Categories: Media Tags: ,

A gift for old times’ sake

August 25, 2010 Leave a comment

The Awl, which is still excellent, has a poem purportedly in the style of Philip Larkin on the UK cuts crowdsourcing farce:

An Elegy For England

We sold the swans for meat and all the toffs came ’round to feast
Big Ben went to a very wealthy sultan from the East
The price we put on Stonehenge didn’t make Boone Pickens blanch:
He bought the lot and now it sits on some West Texas ranch

We made the Queen redundant and we put the corgis down
We shopped her jewels to Beckham’s wife, who also bought the crown
The London Eye, the London Bridge, the Angel of the North
Have all been shipped to Tokyo, as will the Tate henceforth

Most prisoners went to China, where they perished in a quake
The rest were leased Down Under, as a gift for old time’s sake
We melted down the Dome and used the leftovers for scrap
We tried to sell Lloyd Webber but, well, who would buy that crap?

We hawked the best of what we were and went on with our lives
And look at us, we’re now bereft: there’s nothing left but knives

Well, quite.

Update: @anattendantlord on Twitter points out that the poem isn’t actually very Larkin stylistically – the rhyming and scansion are too simplistic, even though the subject matter and sentiment are right. I agree, and reckon that maybe Chesterton’s a better fit; he reckons Kipling. Somewhere between the two. This probably reflects the Awl’s limited poetry skills, rather than a deliberate attempt to channel earlier, more populist poets and label their work as Larkin-esque…

Good answer to a rhetorical question

August 25, 2010 10 comments

On a fairly standard CiF article about the death penalty (the Americans are planning to execute a woman who was involved in a plot to kill her husband, but who was demonstrably too stupid to have led it; everyone sane disapproves; everyone evil and vindictive approves strongly), the standard liberal joke question came up:

i’ve never understood how someone can be pro-life and in favour of the dealth penalty.

Obviously, lots of right-wing idiots came up with failed answers. But a liberal commenter called LinearBandKeramik (no relation) actually came up with an excellent one:

Pro-life individuals are not primarily opposed to abortions because of a concern for the unborn child. It is more about maintaining a social structure in which women’s independence is circumscribed by their ability to give birth. If the choice to give birth or not isn’t fully under the individual control of the women concerned then it allows others (other women, men, the church etc.) to have greater power over them. In other words they’re not really pro-life, they’re pro-control.

Such individuals simultaneous support for the death penalty flows partly from a lack of compassion and also from a belief that violence should be the remedial option of first resort, regardless of the problem.

Pretty much 100% on, there.

Categories: Bit of politics Tags: ,

Easy answers to simple questions, #423

August 23, 2010 18 comments

From the comments on Charlie Brooker’s excellent Guardian piece on the insane fuss over the not-a-mosque not-at-ground-zero:

How many Saudi’s would object to a Church being built in one of their cities if they were asked and polled? How many Americans object to a mosque? How many in Switzerland recently voted against minarets? Are they are all reactionary, sexist, homophobic, racist, xenophobic, nationalist, fascist, intolerant bigots?

Yes.

Well, except for the ‘sexist’ and ‘homophobic’ bits – while those are closely correlated with the other attributes listed, they aren’t directly relevant to the case in hand.

Bonus extra stupidity:

One never knows, there is a definite possibility that an Islamist atrocity may once again occur on UK soil and also an outside chance that a member of Charlie’s family is in the wrong place at the wrong time. I wonder if Charlie, or any of the others supporting this prospective mosque near the Ground Zero site, would have such a positive attitude to this proposed development, if this came to pass.

Yes I bloody would. Because I’m not an appalling, stupid bigot, I’m fully aware that moderate Sufis would have had absolutely nothing to do with such an attack, that Islamist extremists hate moderate Sufis even more than they hate America, and that the best way to combat the ideology that created Al Qaeda is to build bridges with moderate Islam.

Digressionally, Cordoba House would have been a good name for the mosque, given that the Andalusian caliphate was the most religiously tolerant government the European world had ever seen at that time (or indeed, at any point before the 19th century). It was replaced by the genocidal mania of the Spanish Inquisition – a welcome reminder that anyone claiming Islam is inherently less liberal than Christianity is deeply, deeply stupid.

What I’ve been up to, week ending 2010-08-22

August 22, 2010 Leave a comment
  • I've eaten more Subway and KFC on this trip than in the previous 2 years combined. Curse, and yet bless, Finchley. #
  • Excellent hangover day with family. Impressively, I wasn't even the most ruined, despite being highly ruined #welshgenes #
  • LHR T3 isn't a great terminal, but the champagne bar is jolly enough. Next stop: Hong Kong! #
  • UK trip was brilliant, reminded me how much I love my friends… but also how it really isn't my home anymore. #
  • Hong Kong: beautiful. My brane: fuxxored. Valium didn't help this bitch. Well, it shortened this bitch's flight I suppose… #
  • Jesus but HK is beautiful. Green mountains WIN. #
  • Don't take valium and champagne on long haul flights. #donttakevaliumandchampagneonlonghaulflights #
  • I keep pressing the "what's happening" button on snaptu, but it doesn't seem to tell me. #whatshappening? #
  • Fantastic view of the Macau hydrofoil from my hotel room. It is a silly vehicle. HK harbour is cool. I wish I didn't feel like death… #
  • Sun setting on the harbour. Looks amazing. I refer readers to my previous tweets about my unfortunate headstate… #
  • Free gift for spending gbp20 in pharmacy was 3 750ml boxes of, erm, something Cantonese. Possibly cat litter? May not make it home with me. #
  • Now I has toothpaste, bed. Tomorrow will be Much More Excellent. #
  • Bloody jetlag. Should've stayed up all day, got drunk and gone to bed at 2am, instead of dozing/passing out all day and soberish bed by 10. #
  • What's the difference between Spurs and the Catholic Church? Spurs got buggered by Young Boys… #
  • Had a fucking excellent daytime with @emeraldbile (and I like walking round graveyards with sweaty birds). Hong Kong is awesome. #
  • Then had an awesome night out with non-tweeps. Jesus. I could seriously live in this town. Would need a silly job / rich missus, though… #
  • In other news, I'm amazed you can buy a really quite decent camera for HK$1390 = GBP139. GBP175 for same chap at duty free. #
  • I recognise I was still probably extorted, but needed a camera for the bus home from Stanley. Views is amazings. #
  • Apparently, nobody's retweeted me since Jan 2, 2010. Would be reasonably if so, but nonetheless #twitterfail #
  • Apparently, nobody's retweeted me since Jan 2, 2010. Would be reasonable if so, but nonetheless #twitterfail #
  • And that, Tony Harrison, is why we don't fly on recently-invented-airlines named after ropy 1970s rock bands: http://bbc.in/8ZQQDm #
  • I'm not normally up for hanging, but hanging this truckie would be fair play: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-suffolk-11008584 #
  • For those of you (ie, 95% of geeks who use Twitter) love Dr Who, I need to take a photo of the "Ood Jewellery Shop" I passed today… #
  • This is bad. I've finally managed to make my phone and Mac talk to each other, so online feels like normal. Except at $15/mb. #mustshutup #
  • Internet browser writers: if people write 1000 heartfelt words of email, why not randomly delete it if the connection fucks up? @viztoptips #
  • In a very Cantonese cafe indeed. Have ordered some food. Have absolutely no idea what it will be. But it only costs USD2, so that's OK… #
  • Well, let's be honest, I've ordered *something*. I'm hoping it'll be food. #
  • Hooray: it is food, and it's quite good. If Snaptu wasn't made of pants, I'd stick a photo on Twitpic for y'all… #
  • Literally everything is sold in HK backstreets – except noise-cancelling earphones. I guess silence is a concept nobody here understands… #
  • Just went into Chinese medicine shop, asked if they had anything for jetlag. They sold me extract of pineal gland. I *am* Dr Raoul Duke.. #
  • Am glad that @chrissiem's excited that I'm home tomorrow. I'm excited too. Although kind of sad to leave HK. Will definitely be back! #
  • Having almost used up the (good value) HK PAYG SIM I bought today with a few hours' Snaptu, I'm dreading my next UK mobile bill. Eek #
  • Yes, I know that using a non-local SIM for data connections abroad is INSANE, but my brain wasn't working properly when I arrived. #
  • Immi cleared, now in the quarro queue. So I might escape the airport by lunchtime… #
  • And quarro cleared in under 10 mins, thanks to @chrissiem's lollies. JB is back…! #
  • I iz on ur eastern distributor, distributing ur eastern. In a cab, obviously – am not feeling suicidal right now… #
  • So, I've been out of the country for 2 weeks – am I right that if the ALP lose, it'll be pretty much Kristina Keneally's fault? #ausvotes #
  • If anyone knows a commercial building that's more full of WIN, don't tell this one. http://twitpic.com/2gc4ky #
  • Crikey on #ausvotes: "The culture war has become personified. The candidates represent something not by what they do, but by who they are." #
  • I'd agree with that. And I'd add that for all JG's flaws, if you don't identify with her more than with mad Tony, you ain't my friend… #
  • Aww. @firstdogonmoon's "the federal election" cartoon today is terribly sad and sweet. #ausvotes #
  • Christ on a bike. The area of the Pakistan floods would cover pretty much the whole habitable area of Australia: http://bit.ly/9iXtIo #
  • (yes, I know people claim to live in Adelaide and Perth, but you don't really believe them, do you?) #
  • More Pom accents in Bondi Jn Westfield than in bloody London! #sendusback #
  • RT @drueyjay: RT @anildash: Because of their track record of killing Americans, I can't support the construction of a Ground Zero McDonald's #
  • Freaky. Just minutes after that last tweet, I got an (apparently unrelated) email from Westfield Bondi Junction… #
  • Support Democracy! Vote 1 Bandicoot, add a #twibbon to your avatar now! – http://twb.ly/9DWjFx #
  • The biggest population of illegal migrants in Australia by nationality is British @roooney83 @TimMav27 #
  • NB I won't *actually* be voting Bandicoot, as I'm a wicked job-stealing foreign & don't get a say. Even though you lot can vote in the UK… #
  • "The great Labor party machine has failed", says Joe Hockey – I'd love to see @firstdogonmoon draw this occurring… #
  • #ifabbottwins I'll probably be deported… #ausvotes #
  • If Labor lose because of the swing in QLD, then Mr Rudd will be Australia's Smuggest Man… #ausvotes #
  • Gash FOR THE WIN #gilmore #ausvotes #puerilejokes #
  • Labor retain #Batman. Coalition retain #CaptainAmerica #Ausvotes #
  • Glad I researched the independents last week – assuming the two NSW guys'll support Labor and the QLD guy will support Coalition? #ausvotes #
  • Pleased to see the Libs have put up a redhead candidate in Lalor #battleoftherangas #notaveryconvincingbattle #ausvotes #
  • When @chrissiem says 'election party', she's not being euphemistical. We really are that geeky. #ausvotes #
  • #unlikelycouples Farmer & Ewan McGregor #
  • Diane and Tony Abbott #unlikelycouples #ausvotes #
  • Bandt wins. #melbourne #fuckyeah #itspronouncedthesameandhasthesameroot #ausvotes #
  • OMG! Poor hypothetical Mischa… RT @manipillai: #unlikelycouples Mischa & Joey Barton #
  • RT @nickjbarlow: The and John Band? #unlikelycouples #
  • If my calculations are correct, @beaugiles can just about beat Wyatt Roy to youngest ever MP at the next election. Bring it on, Mr G… #
  • This is the best election night party EVER. And not even the worst election result I've experienced this year. #ausvotes #dualloyalties #
  • According to @chrissiem's mum, 6.5% of votes in Lindsay were informal. The current split in Lindsay is 50.3/49.7. You stupid cunts #ausvotes #
  • 100% true -> RT @krs133: The ABC coverage urinates from a great height on any of the broadcasters' coverage of UK elections. #ausvotes #
  • My and @chrissiem's election party now on bottle 2 of tribute wine – we've finished White Australian and movingon to Ranga (well, Rose) #
  • LIES! RT @theday2day: plenty! > RT @spikester: what's wrong with drinking alone? #
  • YES WE CAN RT @politic_animal: Can we now tell ppl who said Gillard shows UK Lab shld have dumped Brown for D Miliband to shut up? #ausvotes #
  • This is sport! RT @hungbunny: Lots of political tweets coming out of Australia today. Why? Is there no sport on? #ausvotes #
  • Some people say 'individual votes don't count;. LIES. Am hugging the person whose 3rd-preference vote could decide the election. #ausvotes #
  • 69/69 ALP/LNP. Australian Sex Party sadly not on 69. jb78 and @chrissiem election party briefly distracted #ausvotes #toomuchinformation #
  • .@michaellund coalition is a massive improvement on majority Tory (=L/NP) government, which was the UK's only real alternative #ausvotes #
  • Hockey sticks #obvious #ausvotes #
  • Ashamed to read so many leftwing tweeters rating "obvious vile conspiracies" vs "must be PC about all rape lies" and coming down for #2. FFS #
  • Woohoo, the racist party probably wins, but at least we've got a token blackfeller in the house. Representing the racist party #ausvotes #
  • Dr Kelly killed himself; people who believe otherwise are loonies. The government did, however, kill thousands of Iraqis based on lies. #
  • #whilenooneisincharge let's promote the irresponsible service of alcohol. DRINK LOTS OF GIN THROUGH A STRAW! #
  • "Rather than a climate change denier, the bogan is simply a change denier." < @thingboganslike describes the entire CC 'sceptic' mindset #
  • Re the #BirminghamThree: if 3 BNPists were sacked for not being bigoted tits, saneworld's reaction would be 'welcome to saneworld'. #

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Finding a new Foster home

August 22, 2010 3 comments

So there’s an interesting piece on Bloomberg quoting the Sunday Times saying that Fosters Group, the Aussie wine and beer company, might sell its beer operations (branded Carlton & United Breweries, confusingly enough) to SABMiller.

This makes sense. Since I was working as a drinks industry reporter getting on for ten years ago, I’ve been saying Fosters should flog off the beer business. They’re a combination of a global premium wine company, a low-margin domestic beer business, and one mysteriously popular global beer brand – which, oddly enough, has almost entirely disappeared from their home turf. Being a global wine distributor, while providing a global beer company with a global brand, and an opportunity to distribute their other brands into Australia, was always going to be a better call.

I’d always taken a British take on ‘appropriate buyers for CUB’, on the basis that Heineken (formerly Scottish & Newcastle) owned the EU rights. Obviously, that would’ve been a good fit. But I’d forgotten the fact that the USA is the world’s largest beer market, that Foster’s is a popular import brand in the USA (“throw another shrimp on the barbie”, etc), and that Miller owned the US rights to the brand.

Meanwhile, SABMiller – which, like Kraft Foods, is part-owned and heavily cash-backed by Altria (= Phillip Morris) in a desperate attempt to stop all their shareholders’ money going to compensate lung cancer victims – has fallen way behind Anheuser-Busch Inbev in the “being a serious global brewer” stakes.

A leading position in a mature but profitable beer market (yes, oddly enough, selling beer to Australians is popular. See: selling crack in Baltimore; selling expensive houses in Mayfair) is nice from a cash-generation point of view. And for some utterly mystifying reason Foster’s is a much-loved beer brand everywhere except Australia, and as brand promotion becomes global it’s becoming important to have the rights to your most important assets, rather than having them owned by some comedy convict jokers [*].

So if the news is true, then it’s a good call on SABMiller’s part, as well as a bloody relief to Fosters Group (who’ll presumably have to rename themselves to ‘Australian Wine Company’ or a made-up name like Geadeo or something). And some kind of deal with Heineken to sort out the global rights would probably also be sensible.

And no, none of my alcoholic drinks market wisdom would have made the slightest difference to share-tippery at any point ever. If you want to make money on markets by thinking you know more than people about fundamentals, horse-racing is still a better bet. Stock analysts are still voodoo-merchants; my skills are only worthwhile if you actually want advice on what to do if you’re trying to market grog.

[*] dear the Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship: I don’t believe that all Australian businessmen are comedy convict jokers. As the owner of an official certificate of being an Australian Businessman, I take Australian business very seriously. And mentioning Alan Bond and John Elliott at this point would be deeply unfair, and the fact that Mr Elliott used to own CUB isn’t even slightly relevant.

And the JB returns

August 20, 2010 Leave a comment

Apologies for complete lack of recent content: I’ve been assortedly in the UK and Hong Kong, trying to squeeze a year’s worth of catching up with people, a wedding and a stag do into two and a half weeks.

I’m now planning to chain myself to the desk for a couple of weeks and do some fairly serious work. This will almost inevitably lead to bloggage; aren’t you lucky?

In other news, Cathay Pacific are an excellent airline in economy as long as you have short legs, which luckily I do.

What I’ve been up to, week ending 2010-08-15

August 15, 2010 Leave a comment
  • Good: fun stag (buck/whatever pre-venison term you like) party. Bad: more than a week of no @chrissiem. She's officially addictive. #
  • Actually, I'm not that up for partying. Maybe a cup of tea and a book? #thingsAndrewWKwouldneversay #
  • Note to self: #mlf is the Melbourne Literary Festival and has no affiliation with #milf #
  • Just passed the world's longest (former) rail platform; now travelling on the world's oldest proper railway. #whereami? #
  • Idiot driver. But more importantly, 'D'Marion'? RT @msgracefh RT @MENnewsdesk: Breastfeeding mum is ordered off bus. http://ow.ly/18wlDj #
  • I'm using 'proper' to mean 'passengers & freight between towns' – pit lines don't count… #
  • Now at the site of the first recorded fatal passenger train accident… #
  • Twitteratifail! Manchester to Liverpool, via Newton le Willows, where the first train on the line in 1830 ran over the local MP… #
  • Longest platform is the one that ran between Man Victoria and Man Exchange stns. Insert 'man exchange' joke here. #
  • RT @minifig: RT @mattuk: How many SEO specialists does it take to change a lightbulb light bulb light-bulb? #
  • Now on the Isle of Man ferry. It's grey and the sea's rough. This could be the best 3 hours of my life. #not #
  • My boat's called the Mananan. This may be because there are only 3 letters in the Man alphabet… #
  • Chap opposite me is from the Falklands. Clearly he has some kind of weird affinity toward cold, remote, British-ish islands… #
  • RT @TheFagCasanova: Apparently at his time of death, Jean-Paul Sartre was working on a children's book called 'Why's Wally?' #
  • Ferry leaving the Mersey now, leading to an unwanted remembering of Gerry & Pacemakers… #
  • Purser is very Scouse. The fillim today is "wharr the wailed things arrrr", apparently. #
  • I was wrong; we're *now* leaving the Mersey. #bouncybouncy #
  • Assuming T-NoSignal will fail shortly. At sea, hurrah! Doesn't seem as rough as feared; there are even signs of sunshine… #
  • RT @duckorange: Rupert Murdoch to sue Murdock from the A-Team over a crime he didn't commit #
  • RT @WiredUK: EMI reveals (yet again) why numbskull-run music labels really do deserve to be left to their slow, unlame… http://is.gd/ecSzP #
  • On the isle of man. Oddly, foot passengers forced to wait on boat and listen to bad r&b for ages while cars disembark – outrage! #
  • On a steam train. Hurrah! I didn't even choose or know about this one… #
  • RT @thejimsmith: I just ate a venison sandwich. Can only top with with a swan omelette. #
  • RT @each1teach1: Building a mosque at Ground Zero isn't insensitive to victims of 9/11 … but threatening to bomb it *is*. Do you see? #
  • On BE163 to the glorious holiday paradise of Luton. Hurrah! #
  • Trekking from NW London to SW London is taking even longer than normal, thanks to #tubefail. Currently on a bus c.nowhere (Cricklewood Ln) #
  • Approaching office where I used to work several jobs ago. It's still above a strip club. Whole building appears to be empty & to let. #
  • Evening timing FAIL. No matter how much you love all the ppl involved, never schedule more than 2 events for the same night. #
  • What a beautiful wedding. #mustnotmakePanicAtTheDiscoreferences #
  • My girlfriend and I are not entirely the same: RT @chrissiem Morning already. Who switched the sun on? As usual, I don't have a hangover. #

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