Sunday, 5 April 2009

The speedy spinster

Two weeks ago, Dulcibella King-Hall heralded her 107th birthday by whizzing round Brands Hatch at 108 mph (90 seconds):

During the last war Miss King-Hall was a military test driver, assessing vehicles commandeered from civilian use.

Asked why she loved the thrill of speed, she reportedly replied: "Why shouldn't I? Don't you like it?

"I have a driving licence. I can drive any vehicle."

She must surely be a relation (perhaps a younger sister?) of the author, dramatist and independent MP Commander Stephen King-Hall, later Lord King-Hall of Headley (1893-1966).

Saturday, 4 April 2009

Many thanks

…to whoever it was who linked to this blog, or otherwise drew attention to it, last Saturday, causing a dramatic spike in traffic.

You rang, my curmudgeon?

The late Lord Kilmarnock was Kingsley Amis's butler.

Art Colony Perverts

Another of those great titles.

Salty old sea blog

Launched this week, Voyage of the Vampire is the never-before-published diary of 20-year-old Captain Sir George Scott Douglas, Bt, as he sails through the Greek islands and on to Istanbul in 1846-47.

Tuesday, 31 March 2009

There's only one Mary Moriarty

…and she only retires once (see "Leith's heroine" below), so let's take a stroll down Memory-obliterated-by-hangover Lane…

Here's a brief but heartfelt tribute to her - slightly premature, as it turned out - from South Leith Kirk, with a really nice photo.

Peter of Naked Blog, her longest- (or longest-equal-?) serving regular, responds to her seventieth birthday last year.

The Evening News had an amusing Dinner with Mary Moriarty in 2002…

…while Liam Rudden did a splendid interview with her in the same year.

And I very much liked this review of the Port in 2003.

Mary - thank you for so much, and every blessing.

Monday, 30 March 2009

Queen of the Nightmare

The agonisingly useless Florence Foster Jenkins (1868-1944) massacres Mozart's "Der Hölle Rache", while dozens of cats suffer (4 minutes):


He's now the all-time oldest British man.

Making music with old computers

Take a bow, Pixelh8.

Enter if curious

"Urban explorer" Simon Cornwell goes where he shouldn't (derelict lunatic asylums, &c) and takes us with him.

London's best pubs

You mean there are still ten?

Man after my own heart

Paul Clark earned his hilarious Guardian obituary just by being Paul Clark.

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

On the Ganges, 1899

Massive stonework, crowded intricate life: a boat-mounted camera glides past the holy city of Benares (not Calcutta as stated - 90 seconds):

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Lammy doesn't know

The Higher Education Minister showed dismaying ignorance on Celebrity Mastermind. Matthew Norman gives him both barrels.

Pushkin: The Sequel

He died after a duel in 1837. Is it time to clone him?

Hat tip: William Bennett

Smile at us, pay us, pass us

Lucy Mangan on Jade Goody:

Despite the supposed democratisation of television, the truly uneducated, those marked by true poverty and deprivation, rarely appear in our light entertainment schedules. And suddenly, there was Jade, an unapologetic and unadorned symbol of all sorts of uncomfortable truths… Because they are so rarely seen in public life it is easy to forget that the people in this country for whom Jade was a peer, not an affront, are in the vast majority.

Suitably Gleanings-esque good cause

Most of the four million people on the shores of Lake Malawi have no access to healthcare by road.

But they do have the oldest ship in Africa, the Chauncy Maples, built in 1898 to the designs of Henry (son of Isambard Kingdom) Brunel.

Solution: turn her into a floating clinic. Simples! (kissing noise)

Thrown out

Three years ago the writers Jonathan and Julie Myerson banned their teenage son Jake from the family home. Now, controversially, Julie's written a book about it.

Ian Jack sets the scene; Julie gives her account of events; Jake responds; and Jonathan adds his version.

LATE EXTRA: Jake changes his surname.

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Free screen cleaner

Handy little gadget, though you do have to walk it every day (20 seconds):

Four screensavers in the same vein here.

Not their best side

Sexy People - a twilight home for the less fortunate portrait photos of bygone decades.