Healthy Living Financial Times Interview

Interview by Angus Watson in The Financial Times can also be seen here

Boris Johnson Politician

How do you exercise?

I run every weekday morning for 15-20 minutes, and I cycle everywhere.

Out of 10, how much do you enjoy exercising?

10 out of 10, I’m a glutton for exercise.


Do you look good when you exercise?

A little short of superb.

If you could change one thing about your appearance, what would it be?

I could lose a few stone.

What motivates you to be healthy?

It’s vitally important to go for a run first thing in the morning. Once through that barrier, nothing for the rest of the day is quite as bad, so you’ve played a brilliant psychological trick with yourself.

Any exercise tips?

As a cyclist in London, which is by far the safest place to cycle, keep space ahead of you.

Biggest sporting achievement?

Defeating the Oppidans 5-0 on St Andrew’s Day [while playing the Wall Game at Eton].

What’s the least fit you’ve ever been?

In my early 30s when I was about 18 stone.

What’s your guiltiest food pleasure?

I tend to eat the children’s previous night’s supper – spaghetti and meatballs – for breakfast. And I’m a cheeseaholic.

How do you deal with stress?

I don’t deal with stress. I love stress. I need as much stress as possible. Bring it on.

How do you relax?

Painting.

How do you keep colds at bay?

Oranges, spitting and press-ups.

Do you have a motto?

Vote Tory.

Boris Johnson is Conservative MP for Henley-on-Thames. His book ‘Have I got Views for You’ is published by HarperCollins, £7.99

Interview by Angus Watson, angusw01@btinternet.com

89 thoughts on “Healthy Living Financial Times Interview”

  1. Eating “the children’s previous night’s supper – spaghetti and meatballs – for breakfast”? Hopefully not cold, Eew!

    Mind you that’s not as bad as eating last nights chinese takaway that’s morphed into one glutinous colour. Eurgh.

  2. Quite glad to get away from Iraq .It was as if a flood had devastated the street and in the churning water , poignant small reminders of normality , a child’s doll , a bicycle were tossed around , miraculously resurfacing from time to time . ( Steven L and Idlex)
    That seems like a lot of exercise form a man who , as JAQ puts it ;is under tall.

  3. I think you mean Iran newmania. I think it’s quite good to hear a bit of the Iranian take on it all. Student travel brochure are always saying what a friendly place Iran is, however given the current climate in the Middle East, call me a coward, I’ll be staying in Europe for the time being.

  4. Yes of course .Iran. Well Europe could include Turkey in a few years so you will still be able to inhabit an alien culture. I think I `m staying indoors.
    3 days to Boris meeting . Pictures will be taken, obsequious questions will be asked . Ever so `umble me in the presence of the “quality” .Arsenal win , Local Lib Dems just hate me ( Tory in Vitriolic attack….) life is sweet .

  5. MEL- Did I say meeting ? Audience would be a bit more accurate ( I am a mere minion of course)
    On the 18th. It will take place from 6.30pm to 9pm at 7 Millbank, SW1, Room E. Food and drinks will be provided….

  6. As there is a bit of a lull (or not …?) I notice a very interesting article about child care in the DT today (and its inadequacy)?
    I am interested to see how bad it’s going to be for Mz. Jolie who is blacking up to play a journalist?
    Why does David Blunkett use phrases like “street cred” and “take him out”. Why does Salman Rushdie says , “sucks”, are they trying to be trendy ? Can they be stopped?
    FIGHT FOR BOOZE STARTS HERE
    AND more importantly did you se the beginning of the anti- drinking,. The fight starts here. Of course no government would ever be so stupid as to criminalise most of the population Newmania you are talking science fiction…..get my drift? This is how it started with smoking ie with warnings placed on adverts .Anglers chuckled at the thought of trying to ban the countries largest participation sport but they are trying now and making progress. The state is only a stationary bandit and it is wrong to assume there is an end to its desire for power.

    If they take my beer and wine away I `m leaving. With my fags and my un -PC attitudes. Australia? …ARRRRGGHH Australians !

    ok I `m coming back.

  7. Not to change the subject or anything, but anyone with an understanding of kinesiology or biochemistry could tell Boris that 15-20 minutes a day is doing fark-all for his health. The minimum time aerobic exercise must be maintained to have any meaningful impact is 25 minutes, not including warm up and cool down.

  8. Raincoaster
    I am certain a fairly recent study found that doing six lots of five minute aerobic exercise, such as running was almost as beneficial as doing one lot of thirty minute exercise. So running for twenty minutes each morning would certainly be beneficial.

  9. I’m aware of several studies that agree with what you just quoted, but that doesn’t invalidate what I said.

    Burning calories is one thing, and running for any length of time, however short, does burn calories. To make a metabolic or musculo-skeletal change, however (ie to start changing your body so that it burns more fat even at rest, builds bone, develops muscle endurance, gets better at running, ets) you must exercise for a minimum of 25 continuous minutes. Small blocks do not have the same effect, as repeated studies have proven.

    Ten minutes of running beats ten minutes of sitting on your butt, it’s true. But if it’s only ten minutes at a time you’re never going to get any faster, stronger, or measurably fitter.

  10. Here’s a link to one such study; actually, it shows that the 10-minute exercisers had a 16% improvement in their mitochondrial profiles (a pretty good barometer of fitness), which is much higher than I expected, but hey, it’s still not worth getting sweaty for if you ask me. Might as well go for a half-hour and build bone, muscle, cardiovascular endurance and fitness(which shows NO improvement with less than 25 minutes of continuous work), and be able to eat more without getting fat.

    I have a friend who believes strongly that ten minutes a few times a day is plenty of exercise. He’s still fat, though, much like my Atkins-fan pals.

    compared to sedentary rats, the 10-minute per day exercisers had about 16-per cent more cytochrome c, while the 30-minute workers boosted cytochrome c by 31 per cent. However, rats who ran for an hour expanded cytochrome c by 38 per cent, and the two-hour rats increased it by 92 per cent!
    Holloszy’s study provided nice support for the specificity of training principle, too, for during a rugged endurance test staged at the end of the research period, the 10-minute rats lasted 22 minutes, the 30-minute ones for 41 minutes, the hour-long rats ran strenuously for 50 minutes, and the two-hour trainees stayed on the treadmills for a whopping 111 minutes! Of course, run time to exhaustion was directly related to cytochrome c concentration; the more c a rat had, the longer it could run at a tough pace (‘Skeletal Muscle Respiratory Capacity, Endurance, and Glycogen Utilization,’ American Journal of Physiology, vol. 228(4), pp. 1029-1033, 1975).

  11. Vibrations

    Cold winter morning
    We walk along the hedgerows
    Looking for Sloes to pick…

    The bones of a bird
    On the fieldtrack
    Not saying a word…

    Sharing his wool knit cardigan
    Trembling we kiss
    Watched by starlings…

    Eliza, 16 October 2006
    for my Let-them-eat-pies-Boris with love…

  12. RAIN COASTER -you’re never going to get any faster, stronger,.

    You mean more like a man?

    Most of the women I watched at the gym, when I went, just bent themselves into interestingly sculptural shapes to a funky beat . I must go back

    Now work 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 stretch 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 . Feel the burn wooo hoo ( Love the aerobic leotard darling) push stretch 234… and …rest..

  13. That’s right, newmania. As long as Boris only runs 15 minutes, he’ll never get any more macho. Very good.

    I could tell you were the type who hangs out at the back of the aerobics class before you even posted.

  14. I’m not sure jogging is any good for you at all. Mr dad used to work with 2 joggers, both died of heart attacks before they were 50.

    Try cutting out the cheese and red wine (I’m guessing as an etonian Boris is a red wine buff) for a month or 2, and take up smoking instead. You’ll be rid of that extra stone in no time.

  15. Actually that’s true – smoking does keep you thin as you lose interest in food because you have no sense of taste.

    raincoaster – I’m certainly not the one to remind you that you have forgotton the obvious to remind not just Boris but all the people here – that you can have 30 mins of sustained exercise without leaving your bed. Hmn.

  16. (bit like a vegan remembering how delicious roast beef could be because they saw a picture once and have been dreaming about beef juices ever since)

  17. I would imagine Steven L`s fitness routine consists either of lifting big dusty books about foreign policy or running away from the variety of people he will offend by knowing something about it.
    RAIN COASTER – I have been promised an eternity of hanging out at the back of the aerobics class . I just have to blow up a tube station .Thats some sweet action .I `m in.

  18. ‘I would imagine Steven L`s fitness routine consists either of lifting big dusty books about foreign policy or running away from the variety of people he will offend by knowing something about it.’ (Newmania)

    Not at all, tonights fitness routine will consist of walking down the hill to the shop, buying a bottle of red wine and some fags, then walking back up the hill and settling down to watch Spooks. But then I don’t need to lose a stone or two.

    I don’t really know anything about foreign policy, I just pretend. Although I’ll confess someone who does know about it did once tell me about the Iranian nuclear stuff being burried too deep for the US or Israel to bomb. I just thought I’d better keep schtum, but then Boris went and let the cat out of the bag last Thursday.

  19. I’m not sure jogging is any good for you at all. Mr dad used to work with 2 joggers, both died of heart attacks before they were 50. (Steven_L)

    My own intuitive feeling about jogging is that it does nobody any good at all.

    I base this on my own experience of school cross country runs. My whole body was screaming “STOP!” after I’d gone about 100 yards. And I thought that one should pay attention to what one’s body told one. So I used to walk along at the back.

    A few people drop dead during more or less every London marathon. This does not surprise me at all.

    Somehow or other, such exercise always seems to me to be a form of self-punishment, not very different from flagellation. It’s a form of asceticism. It is necessary that it is unpleasant, for mind to overcome body. By contrast, games like football (unless they are compulsory games) are enjoyable, and during them mind acts in harmony with body, rather than against it. Same with dancing. Or sex. But these latter forms of exercise are generally not encouraged by our health police – whose agenda is essentially of a moral rather than physical nature.

    In many ways, it all comes down to what you trust: your own feelings, or the assertions of various so-called authorities?

  20. Gosh I’ve just re-read the post I made whilst cooking a meal and it seems really rather odd!

    Excuse me, as Jeff Foxworthy would say, I need a nap, real bad!

  21. smoking does keep you thin as you lose interest in food because you have no sense of taste. (Jaq)

    No. That’s not true. Smokers can taste food perfectly well.

    As a smoker, I generally simply find myself mostly not very interested in food. Indeed, sometimes I even forget to eat.

  22. idlex said:

    I’m not sure jogging is any good for you at all. Mr dad used to work with 2 joggers, both died of heart attacks before they were 50. (Steven_L)

    My own intuitive feeling about jogging is that it does nobody any good at all.

    I base this on my own experience of school cross country runs. My whole body was screaming “STOP!” after I’d gone about 100 yards. And I thought that one should pay attention to what one’s body told one. So I used to walk along at the back.

    I totally agree with both of you…cross country runs…the very memory makes me shudder. The only decent part of my games mistresses cross country torture regime was when my friend and I hid behind bushes and had a quick fag:-)

  23. Actually, I hated gym in school, but once I got out and there was nobody shouting at me, I started enjoying running. I enjoy rollerblading a lot more, but the weather is such that I can’t do that every day.

    Whereas the one time since school that I was talked into playing team sports, I got two stress fractures in one day. So much for Ultimate.

    Besides, they were shouting at me again and I hate that (they shouted even more when we were winning. I nearly punched them).

  24. It’s vitally important to go for a run first thing in the morning. Once through that barrier, nothing for the rest of the day is quite as bad, so you’ve played a brilliant psychological trick with yourself. (Boris)

    I worry about Boris, torturing himself with 20 minutes of running every morning, before going home to polish off last night’s spaghetti and meatballs. The more I think about it, the more this seems like a particularly fatal combination.

    I mean, 17 stone moving at full speed must create considerable physical stresses on heart, lungs, and knees and ankles. Rather than strengthening them, he may be damaging them. After all, his heart and lungs are going to have to be working harder than those of smaller people doing the same thing. And his knees and ankles must be getting an equally tremendous hammering. And the heavier he gets, the higher the stresses. This isn’t medicine; it’s simple physics.

    Is he trying to kill himself?

  25. I belong to the opposite type than Boris, and weigh half what he does. Instead of taking on more food energy than I expend, and getting too fat, I tend to take on less food energy than I expend, and start getting too thin. Just as one’s weight can slowly spiral upwards, it can also slowly spiral downwards.

    Once, a long time ago, more or less homeless and penniless for a week, I hardly ate anything at all – except a few Mars bars. When I arrived at the home of the parents of a friend of mine, I was having difficulty even holding my head up straight. I still remember the wonderful restorative plate of eggs and bacon and sausages and tomatoes they served up for me. They were feeding a starving man.

    These days, when I begin to experience the beginnings of those familiar symptoms of lassitude, I now order myself to do a little light exercise. About 5 minutes of gentle knee-bends and press-ups. So slight that they probably wouldn’t even be counted as exercise by keep-fit enthusiasts. But the effects of this small effort are almost instantaneous: my heart beats faster, my lungs breathe deeper, my legs step stronger. And I get hungrier. And within a few days of this regime, I’m back to my normal slight strength.

    I see no reason to get any stronger. I see no more virtue in excess strength than in excess mass. I only want the strength enough to do what I usually do. What more does anyone need.

  26. idlex, what you’re doing is muscle-building, and duration isn’t the issue there. What’s happening is that you’re stimulating a different kind of tissue than running or other endurance/aerobic exercise, and those muscle fibers respond to absolutely any increase in exercise with increased muscle production.

    There haven’t been many studies that correlate that with an increase in appetite, though; generally the opposite, but as you’re probably aware, most people in exercise studies are either athletes already or trying to lose weight. What could be happening is simply that the exercise is making you more aware of your body and responsive to how it feels, because suddenly it feels different. Then you pick up on hunger signals that would normally fly under your radar.

    I don’t want to do what I’m normally doing now; I want to be able to walk as long as I feel like it and take on any sport that I want at the beginner level. After three years of alternating illness and lassitude, those goals are something I have to work towards. I also want to lay down a foundation so that when I get older my life isn’t marked by helplessness and fragility; things you do now make a huge difference to your quality of life later, not to mention its duration.

    Actually, a very reputable study showed that people who floss regularly live on average two years longer than those who don’t, but I hate flossing so much I’m just making that informed trade-off.

  27. Oh ho ho lucky me. Did you notice, I `ve got a date with Mel . CU Mel and very interesting it will be too.
    I also hated cross country, my father was a decent local athlete and in the army did a slate of times from 440 upwards at 4.27 mile standard. It was insufficient for him that through sheer remorseless endeavour ( and no talent) I scrambled into the football rugby and even hockey teams . I had to do cross country at which I “sucked” Just misery, and I love sport .
    Why do fathers want little junior versions of themselves? I hope I will not but I fear I will. Elliot sits at the computer watching me type my nonsense with unconditional admiration. For how long ….

    I am not happy with Idlex `s contempt for the body. It is an unfortunate part of the Christian tradition especially protestants to loathe the corporeal and seek release into the spiritual or intellectual. When I first read the famous Idlex I imagined him as a young, monkish, possibly albino, book worm, flitting about the corridors of a Gothic Library. I was wrong obviously but still I detect a desire to elude the prison of the flesh. We are not just minds, we are body mind and soul . For example when I meet Mel I will be quoting Joan Armatrading thus.” Animal mineral physical spiritual .I`m the one you need, I `m the one you need ……” Bet she can’t wait!

    STEVEN L – Glad to hear it nonetheless I will be featuring your stuff on my blog from time to time
    (Let me know when you get to Camden)

    JAQ Thanks for your nice comment on my painting. You are I `m afraid easily impressed . Please come round and listen to my songs. You are just the tonic I need.

  28. I am not happy with Idlex `s contempt for the body. It is an unfortunate part of the Christian tradition especially protestants to loathe the corporeal and seek release into the spiritual or intellectual. (newmania)

    I really don’t know what you’re on about. When did I express such contempt?

    I don’t have contempt for the body. In my view, it’s people who ignore what their body is telling them, and who nevertheless drive their bodies through agonising pain on cross country runs and the like that are the ones who have such contempt. And such people are very often puritans seeking spiritual mastery over the corporeal. I’m not one of those people.

    And I’m not famous either.

  29. Actually, a very reputable study showed that people who floss regularly live on average two years longer than those who don’t.

    How can you of all people, Raincoaster, fall for that pseudo-scientific tosh?

    People who eat lobster at least once a week probably live longer than those who don’t, but it doesn’t mean lobster is prolonging their life. They simply have a higher standard of living which, as we all know, tends to increase longevity.

    And did you know 71.369% of statistics are made up?

  30. PaulD, please respect that it is extremely difficult to come up with a punchline to a comment about health and longevity. Please note also that I didn’t claim causality, any more than the authors of the study did; in fact, they speculatively attributed the longevity gains to “comprehensive self-care as typified by flossing” but that, as you can see, makes a rather crappy exit line.

    Lobster, my friend, is full of cholesteral, as any Newfie could tell you. They don’t live anywhere near as long as us BCers, by the way.

  31. IDLEX” I only want the strength enough to do what I usually do. What more does anyone need.”.. Monkish?

    I thought I detected a lack of appreciation for exuberant excess in phyical pleasure. …..

    Fame : Well known then.I know people who know who you are.

    FLO : Tell us more of your days as a poorly behaved schoolgirl. I have a scholarly interest…At school we smoked behind a bush that had long since died . There was nonethless a convention that we could not be seen by masters looking directly at us . It seemed to work.

  32. I have only just worked out that the lines under names mean you can visit someone’s site. Raincoaster`s is amazing if bewildering. Are you a professional? It’s so slick. I `m not sure I understand what your mission is . I am trying to be a local news sheet for the party with national political and cultural stuff thrown in. What would be your equivalent sentence?

    Now I am going to look at them all

  33. Thanks, newmania. I’ve blogged professionally, although at a dollar rate that made it more practical for me to go on welfare. I’m looking for a better-paying blogging job now.

    My mission? For that blog? Just to point out things that I think should be pointed to, whether it’s DC Luigi’s impression of Christopher Walken’s mother talking about the Google-YouTube merger or Kimveer Gill’s blog. Whatever I feel like, really.

  34. RAIN COASTER – Well our office certainly likes it.

    JAQ- I have posted in yours .Its very interesting and again looks good I will read more later. ( and I have more to say on your unfair comments about men)

    STEVEN L …aha ( I dread to think ..footage of a beheading mayhap lets open it up and see,……)

    I am hoping for stark text to back up a theory I have.”Why do girls cover their excercise books with wall paper ?”

  35. Newmania, your little friend is a traitor who recommends his readers back the aussies to win 5-0 this winter. Give him a clip around the ear from me.

    You thought my blog would be all snuff movies? I’ve only ever seen one snuff movie, it links to an anti-Islam website raincoaster posted months back when we were talking religion. The internet and the picture was so bad you could hardly make out that the poor dears were being stoned.

    I couldn’t be bothered with a politics blog, there are far too many around already. I’m not sure I can be bothered to continue blogging about cricket much longer to be honest.

    It’s more fun writing stuff on other peoples’ blogs if you ask me, especially Boris’s and raincoaster’s.

  36. PaulD, please respect that it is extremely difficult to come up with a punchline to a comment about health and longevity.

    OK Raincoaster, here goes…

    A rich but ageing multi-millionaire turns up at a party with a beautiful twentysomething blonde on his arm.

    Old friend takes him to one side. “How on earth did you pull a stunner like that, Bill?”

    “I lied about my age”

    “What, told her you were 40?”

    “No, told her I was 95”

  37. IDLEX” I only want the strength enough to do what I usually do. What more does anyone need.”.. Monkish? (newmania)

    Why? The same could be said by a professional wrestler.

    Fame : Well known then.I know people who know who you are.

    Really? How very strange! Has someone been reading this month’s Journal of the British Interplanetary Society, which features my idea of how to get into space using nothing but a very long piece of string? It’ll be 50 years before they ever try doing that.

    Melissa knows who I am. I wouldn’t have got my various Boris books if she didn’t. But I’m sure she’s aware that I am not in the least bit famous – or even well known.

  38. … which features my idea of how to get into space using nothing but a very long piece of string? (Idlex)

    So you found the pulley I attached to the moon, Idlex. Damn.

    Doing cold turkey at the moment to beat the weed habit. It may not last.

  39. At school we smoked behind a bush that had long since died. (newmania)

    Another victim of passive smoking? It’ll be the next warning on cigarette packets: SMOKING KILLS TREES.

    I envy you meeting Melissa, though. I have formed the firm conviction that she is the spitting image of the Avengers’ Emma Peel. And I fear that after you have quoted Joan Armatrading to her, you will find yourself travelling at high speed through the nearest window.

    And somebody please tell Boris to lay off the spaghetti and meatballs.

  40. And somebody please tell Boris to lay off the spaghetti and meatballs. (Idlex). (Why do I keep quoting you?)

    Don’t worry, it’s a public school thing. We were usually so hungry that leftovers were a treat, something to be sneaked with great satisfaction. Rather like smoking behind the bush.

  41. Once again I find myself saying y’all have different metaphors over there.

    PaulD, good one. You know Anna Nicole Smith?

    idlex, think of it this way: your civilian, secret identity is well-hidden, but given that 10,000 people read this blog every day, I’d have to say that by now you’re, if not famous, then at least well-known.

    Steven L: yes, give up cricket blogging. Blog about polocross. As far as I can tell there are no blogs dedicated to the sport of polocross, and it’s full of rich men who might give you jobs and their wives (see PaulD’s comment for background on that).

  42. You know Anna Nicole Smith?

    Not personally but it rang a bell. According to Wikipedia, this Playmate of the Year married oil billionaire J. Howard Marshall, aged 89, when she was 26 while also being squeezed by various bodybuilders.

    Can’t imagine much happening there.

    And another…

    Old boy goes to confession, admitting to the priest that he’s had a passionate affair with a 22-year-old nymphomaniac.

    Priest: “As a good Catholic, how did you allow this to happen?”

    “But I’m not a Catholic”

    “So why are you telling me?”

    “I’m telling everyone!”

  43. Yes, another good one.

    The now-widowed (quel suprise) Anna Nicole Smith recently gave birth to a girl; the same day, her 20 year old son died in her hospital room, of a combination of prescription drugs and methadone. A week or so later she married her lawyer.

    Yeah, so nothing much to report…

  44. but given that 10,000 people read this blog every day, I’d have to say that by now you’re, if not famous, then at least well-known. (raincoaster)

    This is highly improbable.

    I would think that most of those 10,000 come to read Boris’ latest pearls of wisdom, as set out on his website’s front page. And having feasted their eyes upon those lustrous pearls, and absorbed the Solomonic wisdom, and eaten of the sacred spaghetti and meatballs, they either move on to pastures new, or simply gaze in enlightened rapture into space.

    The comments are anyway set apart, beneath the archived pearls. Only a tiny minority of the 10,000 will venture into the forbidding crypts of such archives, to drop a “Well Said” or an “Utter Tosh” votive offering into its wishing well, before hurriedly ascending to the light of the real world, before their guttering candles are extinguished.

    I suspect that the denizens of these archives are simply those few chance visitors who ventured into those crypts, and tossed in some offering – and then lost their balance, and themselves plunged head first into the well. And they have never managed to climb out. They are, as someone put it some years ago, “monkish, possibly albino, bookworms, flitting about the corridors of a submarine Gothic Library,” – and lost in their own interminable, cryptic, and off-topic disputes. Did not Plato write of humanity as dwelling in a cave, and seeing their own shadows upon its walls – or something vaguely along those lines?

    And if anyone in the upper world should ever speak of idlex, I am sure it is to say, with a sad shake of the head, “Poor bugger. He’s been lost down there for well over a year now.”

  45. Of course, Plato didn’t have pageviews to let him know his shadow was doing, fame-wise. Technorati such as Melissa will be able to inform you that pageviews (as opposed to hits) reflect people who’ve actually read comments as well as the post. Still what I’d call impressive.

  46. OK Raincoaster. One more on the confessional.

    A tramp shuffles into church to escape the rain and settles down in the confession box, unaware that the priest is in residence.

    After a couple of minutes the priest taps on the partition. Then taps again… and again.

    “Stop that knocking, will you?” says the tramp. “There’s no paper in here either.”

  47. I’m very glad to hear these stories from over the pond, as I don’t think I’ve ever actually laid eyes on a confessional, except in Gabriel Byrne movies.

  48. “And then lost their balance and themselves plunged head first into the well. And they have never managed to climb out.”…

    I think that about sums it up for me, famous Idlex .
    This posting is the reason for your justifiable celebrity . Perhaps I should have some tee shirts done .. I am Idlex . ( and Stig why not ?)

    Good gags Paul D. I smirked. This is a problem as I work in a no smirking office with a government hot- line to snitch on offenders.
    I `m waiting for the invention of passive drinking . (See my blog for much more moaning of this sort.)

    STEVE L . Your blog is excellent. Everyone here looked at it. Your predictions are entertainingly inaccurate in almost every detail.

    CONFESSIONAL- Raincoaster as a transatlantic person wouldn’t you go to see your psychiatrist for your confessional needs .” Forgive me father for everyone except me has sinned and thereby causing me to behave rather anti socially ”
    I think spiritual agony might be passed to the jurisdiction of the Metropolitan Police. I`m sure they would be able to extract confessions about things you didn’t even know you were guilty of . Whatever you do don’t confess to looking slightly foreign and having a duffle bag . For this crime the punishment is death by several bullets to the head .
    Everything else you can do with impunity

  49. Oh, good lord. Shrinks are so retro! Nobody’s seen a psychiatrist for decades except as a condition of a restraining order. And as for spiritual agony, isn’t that a Catholic thing? Thank god I’m not Catholic.

  50. Aha a chance to correct than Idlex ; I leap like a starving raptor . Shadows in the Platonic cave are not of ourselves but of pure Platonic Forms. This philosophy works at a number of levels but it was ( in my view) at one level, a groping towards problems that have ultimately come to be seen as linguistic . Plato wondered how it was that we recognised so many various things as Tables and posited that was a pure form of table of which we see only a degraded shadow. The notion of the world being a shadow of pure forms clearly has mystical dimensions as well.

    Platonic love, by the way, is not, just removing all the good bits It is also the conceit of immortal souls recognising their immortal other halves in their mortal and corporeal dressing. I use the word “conceit” advisedly as it was the Metaphysical poets who made much of the emotional truth of this ,”soul calling to soul”, before the object of desire was known. Donne and Marvell spring to mind.

    I noticed this Romantic theme cropping up in the work of Noel Gallagher:

    “You know I think I recognise your face though I`ve never seen you before ”
    And “You and I are gonna` live forever”
    In fact this fine poet is very much in an English tradition with his frequent reworking of the “gather ye rose buds “, carpe diem motif.
    “you gotta make it `appen. You gotta we gotta …” and so on

    The small part of Plato`s thinking dealing with love has rarely been far from the English romantic imagination and it was indeed just like that when I met my own “Soul-mate” Mrs. N . It was an ordinary evening in the smoky East India pub on Fenchurch Street. It was, in fact, some enchanted evening when, you may see a stranger, across a crowded room…. You may additionally buy that stranger a couple of drinks, have a quick fumble in the taxi and “Robert est votre oncle ”
    FAVOURITE LYRICS
    Oasis : My favourite lyric is rocking chair .” I `m older than I used to be. This town means no more to me . all my life I `ve tried to make a better day.

    Another fave. Eddie and the Hot Rods ( Do anything you wanna do )

    “You`ll get so lonely. Well maybe its better that way. But it aint you only . You`ve got something to say “….

    Who would be a politician when you can be a Rock Star?
    Anyone else got any favourite lyrics ?

    .

  51. I know I shouldn’t be doing this but v.quickly then: Name that tune Newmania –

    Standing on a golf course,
    dressed in PVC,
    I chanced upon a golf girl,
    selling cups of tea,
    she asked me did I want one,
    asked me with a grin,
    for thruppence you can buy one,
    full right to the brim,
    her name was Pat,
    and we sat,
    under a tree,
    she kissed me,
    we go for walks,
    in fine weather,
    all together,
    on the golf course,
    we go for walks.

  52. JAQ isn’t gay .Her blog is one big girly flirt. (Very pleasant it is as well)Perhaps she’s bi. This reminds me that I need to book up tickets to Cabaret . Apparently “Two Ladies” is done with nothing left to the imagination.

    “[GIRLS]
    Beedle dee, dee dee dee,
    [EMCEE]
    Two ladies.
    [GIRLS]
    Beedle dee, dee dee dee,
    [EMCEE]
    Two ladies.
    [GIRLS]
    Beedle dee, dee dee dee,
    [EMCEE]
    And I’m the only man,
    Ja! ”

    Ja ! indeed ….
    By the way rain coaster splendidly acid on the Anna Nicole Smith.

    Beedle dee dee dee dee

    I liked it .
    ( Can`t place the song JAQ)

  53. Good gags Paul D. I smirked. This is a problem as I work in a no smirking office with a government hot-line to snitch on offenders.

    Well thanks, Newmania. I did wonder whether the confessional gag might offend under religious hatred law, even though not a shred of hatred was involved.

    Question: Would it be worse if the tramp was having his dump in a mosque?

  54. Newmania – “Her blog is one big girly flirt. (Very pleasant it is as well)Perhaps she’s bi. This reminds me that I need to book up tickets to Cabaret” ha!! cheek!

    You think misogynistic behaviour, classic literature, EU membership, the 70’s revival, Matthew Parris and the Thatcher years, Terry Pratchett, the G8 Summit, Billy Bragg, Fathers for Justice and street art, Dylan Thomas, potty training, David Cameron, slavery and the sex trade, Jamie Oliver and nutrition, Childrens TV and contractual obligations, Mac, Dante and Virgil in Hell and Peter Hitchens are “one big girly flirt”??

    Peter Hitchens and Mac are “one big girly flirt”?? well ok I’ll give you that one. Both complete tramps, God love ’em.

    Come back Mac!!!!!!!!!

    pleeeeeease.

  55. newmania said:

    FLO : Tell us more of your days as a poorly behaved schoolgirl. I have a scholarly interest…At school we smoked behind a bush that had long since died . There was nonethless a convention that we could not be seen by masters looking directly at us . It seemed to work.

    Nothing to tell that isn’t implicit in my smoking on cross country runs story. I was a rebel, had – and still have – problems with authority in any shape or form. One other horrible memory is of the repeated clashes I had with my old maid of a headmistress:

    ‘Does your mother know you’re associating with that boy, Flo’?’

    ‘Oh, yes, Miss Bitter & Twisted, he comes to my house, she quite fancies him.’

    ‘Oh, really? How old is he? He’s not really a boy, is he, he’s a…a…a…(cough, cough) a…man, isn’t he?’

    ‘RATHER, Miss – and so sexy! But he’s only 2 years older than me, Miss……
    Miss….are you alright? I thought you were going to faint for a moment there.

    Then there was Mrs Cobweb-Drawers who taught DS. She called me Miss Peacock, so I called he bluetits. Two year battle of wills she and I had because I kept wearing non-uniform stuff.

  56. Guess what?!

    I have met Newmania and had the greatest fun. He was on fine form at the Islington Conservatives event this evening and it was a laugh a minute. I won’t hear anything against him from now onwards…..

    **waves to Newmania**

  57. This is not possible. As Idlex has surmised, Melissa is the ghost of Emma Peel. My own theory is along the same lines: She is Humph’s Samantha in a dual role or, at a stretch, Boris disguised as a woman. Please verify, Newmania.

  58. It was great fun . If I could convey to you the horror on the faces of the great and good when Boris came in and said ”

    Where`s Newmania?

    Oh joy . He does read and he does take note .He was able to quote JAQ, FLO, IDLEX , RAIN COASTER ,and many more . STEVEN L and PAUL D got a mention and so on . In fact he didn’t talk to anyone else. You would be amazed how intimately he knows everyone who posts regularly here .Most I don’t know, lots from the past few months . I was astonished. What fun it all was !!How thoughtful. He totally ignored all the creeps. Faith is restored, so impressive.,

    (I am quite drunk)

    BUT : Mel is a super fox and does actually look like Emma Peel. She really does.

    Good old Boris .

  59. Mel is a super fox and does actually look like Emma Peel. She really does.

    I knew it! I knew it!

    But if Boris has been reading the comments so avidly, he must feel the urge, every now and then, to actually post a comment or two himself.

    Either something restrains him (bashfulness???), or he posts under a pseudonym.

  60. Newmania said – “Mel is a super fox”

    I’ve been telling you all that for years! Now you think I’m bisexual?!! No, just not blind, yet.

    I love men. The little dears.

  61. … oo what a hangover. Mel I have to say went home at a civilised hour. Myself and my chums went of to talk a little treason in a nearby Inn… oh dear.

    I was able to tick Boris off ( in a cringing unctuous way of course) about his silly suggestion that Nukes are just the thing Iran needs . He claimed he got three quarters of the way through it and began to think the same thing but blundered on hoping for the best. I am the proud owner of a signed Biography containing a most gratifying note and in general am puffed up with an entirely false sense of my own importance.
    A slightly embarrassing moment was when Jacqui Lait MP actually asked to be introduced to me ! . I had to ask here who she was . She is the shadow Minister for London so I really ought to know. She was conspiratorial about tactics to get rid of King Ken and seems a very good sort indeed .

    END OF REPORT.

  62. Sorry to disappoint, Idlex, but Diana Rigg is coming up 70 and more Orange Peel than Emma Peel (oooh, bitch).

    I prefer Samantha. She’s ageless. And smokes.

    (Humph: “Samantha likes a ciggy but, of course, the studio is a no smoking zone. So during the break she pops out to enjoy hand-rolling a Cuban in the alleyway round the back”)

  63. Samantha Stevens from Bewitched?

    Samantha Jones from Sex and the City?

    Samantha Perrin, the transgenderiste?

    Samantha Robichaud, world-renowned Maritime Fiddler?

    Samantha Wolov, erotic photographer?

    Samantha Bullingdon the fitness model and bodybuilder?

  64. Raincoaster – you are forgiven for not knowing this particular Samantha. She is the hostess on Sorry I haven’t a clue, the jewel in the comedic crown of Radio 4, the one good station remaining on the airwaves, if not the one good thing left in Britain.

    It’s a panel game with no prizes, relying entirely on the wit of the panellists to deliver the funniest programe you have ever heard (apart, possibly, from Boris chairing Have I got news for you). Many’s the time I’ve had to stop the car to avoid ditching it through uncontrollable laughter.

    The chairman, the lugubrious Humphrey Lyttelton, makes constant reference to The Lovely Samantha who is, we suspect, nothing more than a figment of the audience’s imagination. Rather like Melissa was until Newmania went and spoilt it!

  65. The chairman, the lugubrious Humphrey Lyttelton, makes constant reference to The Lovely Samantha who is, we suspect, nothing more than a figment of the audience’s imagination. Rather like Melissa was until Newmania went and spoilt it! (PaulD)

    He didn’t spoil it at all. He confirmed my prior convictions. And Emma Peel is, and always will be, the ageless star of the Avengers. Although I suspect that Melissa wears glasses, and spends most of her day sending text messages.

    And anyway does this Samantha ever say anything on this radio show? It reminds me that I used once to listen to a late-night radio show featuring a Canadian DJ called Di Luke. She had a gorgeous Canadian purring bedroom voice (Americans mostly have harsh, screechy voices by comparison with Canadians), and I would listen not to the tedious music she played, but to her between-track commentary. One night she was running a phone-in quiz, and I got one answer right before anyone else, dialed the number, and found myself – Oh, Heaven – actually talking to her.

    I have no idea what she looked like. She may as well have been wearing a burqa. It didn’t matter.

  66. And anyway does this Samantha ever say anything on this radio show?

    Idlex, you astound me. This sounds like someone who has never heard the finest 30 minutes on the radio calendar… the one remaining reason I do not emigrate. I cannot believe it of you.

    And no, she never speaks. That’s the whole point.

    Humph: “Samantha has been helping the elderly archivist collect records from the higher shelves in the library. She climbs the ladder and passes the record down to him, whereupon he cleans the dust and wax off beneath her.”

    (Probably wasted as we’ve all moved on to Elgar)

  67. I’m not a great radio listener, Paul. Listening to Di Luke was an enchanted aberration. As was listening to Radio 5 a few years ago. My greatest radio experience was, perhaps, to listen to Neil Armstrong step onto the surface of the Moon in 1969 or whenever.

    I recently gave up reading the Independent, simply because it was no longer the balanced paper I knew when I first started reading it some 10 years ago, but is now dedicated, as someone said somewhere, to “misanthropes and cranks”. I should remark that I gave up reading the Times, the Guardian, and the Telegraph for much the same reasons.

    I hate most television, except documentaries. It’s apparently all going to to go difital (I think I’ll leave that typo in) in the next few years. But I’m not sure I can really be bothered. I didn’t have a TV set when Neil Armstrong landed on the Moon, and I’m not sure why I need one now.

    And over the last few days, all TV channels have been mounting an attack on women who wear burqas (or maybe parkas). And it’s an attack that is being mounted by our b*st*rd Prime Minister, no less. I profoundly hate every single day this man continues to be our Prime Minister.

    I belong to the 60’s generation. I went through the whole darn thing, flower power shirts and all. And we were as demonised then as Muslims are now. Indeed, we still remain demonised, us ancient would-be hippies. But the latest new crime is not to smoke cannabis, but to smoke tobacco. I’ve seen it all before.

    It’s just that Evil Eye…

  68. I gave up reading the Times, the Guardian, and the Telegraph for much the same reasons.

    This is an outright lie.

    I gave up reading the Times because their printers went on strike for a year. It used to have a great letters page, and Bernard Levin.

    I next took up with the Guardian, and Jill Tweedie. I only gave up the Guardian when they started adding on supplement after another, to the point where it took a whole rain forest to print a single issue of the darn thing.

    I started reading the Telegraph, rather against my will, because it happened to be the household newspaper. I was told that it had the best news sections of any paper, if it was a bit short on considered opinion. But when the Telegraph started printing obscure web pages as news, I stopped believing even in their vaunted news reporting integrity.

    The Independent, as I knew it 10 years ago, was a sober newspaper. But in it’s current manifestation it has become degraded into a vehicle for a kind of cultural terrorism. Global Warming. Bird Flu’. Etc.

    I’ve given up. I no longer read any newspaper at all.

  69. That’s nothing. Daily Kos did an analysis where they took the front page of CNN.com and stripped out the advertising, advertorials, “synergized marketing,” and meaningless feelgood non-news. They ended up with something like nine lines of text. Would dig out the link, but have been at a writer’s conference all day pimping the Shebeen Club and as perhaps you know, most of the action at a conference is in the bar. My research skillz r not @ their finest.

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