Archive for the Life the Universe and Other Things Category

Tuesday 18th September 2018

Posted in Life the Universe and Other Things on September 18, 2018 by bishshat

Inter Milan 2 Spurs 1

Two late goals flattened Tottenham as Inter Milan came from a goal down to win their Champions League Group B opener 2-1 at the San Siro.

Spurs were ahead early in the second half after Christian Eriksen’s deflected volley had looped in only for Mauro Icardi to hit a sensational volley to level things up.

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And as Inter piled on the pressure late on, Matias Vecino nodded home a stoppage-time winner as Inter returned to Europe’s top table with a dramatic win.
Spurs looked nervy early on as Inter players and fans were energised by a first Champions League appearance since 2011, but the best chance of the first half did fall to the visitors. Picking up Eriksen’s superb lofted ball into the box, Harry Kane’s first touch was perfect, but his second pushed him wide and out of play as he looked to round goalkeeper Samir Handanovic from 10 yards.

But Eriksen put Spurs ahead eight minutes after the break, seeing a long-range effort beaten away by Handanovic before his return half-volley looped over the goalkeeper via a deflection off Miranda.

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Erik Lamela tested Handanovic on three occasions after the opener, but the Slovenian stopper was equal to them as Spurs looked more comfortable heading into the final stages. Substitute Lucas Moura caused problems, and Kane held the ball up well for the visitors, but they were stunned by Icardi’s sensational leveller with four minutes remaining. Running onto Kwadwo Asamoah’s cut-back from the left, Icardi struck a first-time volley into the bottom left corner from 25 yards on his Champions League debut.

Inter pressed in the final stages, and got their winner in the 92nd minute through Vecino, heading home from six yards after Stefan de Vrij had nodded his own header back across goal from a corner.


Monday 17th September 2018

Posted in Life the Universe and Other Things on September 17, 2018 by bishshat

Yesterday at Compton Verney we did a schools session involving marvellous mechanical machines. The very successful exhibition of Automata.
We had near a hundred children from a small village school near Weedon Northamptonshire. They have been coming to Compton Verney for four years now. My group of 37 were at the higher age range 5 or 6 years of age.
I think I have been with these children when they were in the Forest School a couple of years back.

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When we decide first thing in the morning that is the learning team, who has which group and who goes to which gallery first this being a tight schedule especially in this Automata exhibition.
Given the choice I chose the elder year group not knowing that I had 10 more students than the other two delivers had in their groups.
I gasped at 37! But hey ho my roll of the dice lets go.
I will get to the point these students were perfectly behaved and for a large group they were totally into the day, all of them.

There is one part of the exhibition a performance piece, The Machinery, a collaborative performance by Caroline Radcliffe and Sarah Angliss (filmed live at the AlgoMech Festival, Sheffield, in 2016 by Jon Harrison), which articulates the dehumanisation and alienation of the industrial worker subjected to an exhausting cycle of repetitive labour.

The students gathered very hap hazard in front of the screen some sitting on the small seat and most standing in an unorganised group. As luck would have it luck the film had just finished its loop and the students were all wondering what was going to be screened.

I gave them a quick brief as to what they could expect to see and told them it would be great if they would join in and that they would be a part of the performance as performance art especially this one lends itself to total emersion and expression.
But having said that they were a part of the greater machine and they had to move with and like the performer but not to say a word. Also I told them not to crash into each other.

The performance started slowly and I was amazed as the whole room all 37 of them started to move as one. A few voices were raised but the head teacher said that if they talked they were broken part and they would be removed from the performance.
They were astonishing and they never stopped the performance is nearly 9 minutes long and they never stopped they never broke rhythm they didn’t go off-piste they were just brilliant, all 37 of them. I have been at Compton Verney as a volunteer and learning deliver 10 years come 2019 and had many, many great times with the students and the visitors but these students doing this performance, at this moment in time is at the top of my treasured moments. My only worry was that they would all fall through the floor.

I only wished I could have filmed it to send to Dr Caroline Radcliffe. Thank you, school.
Dr Caroline Radcliffe

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The Machinery is a ‘heel-and-toe’ clog dance passed on to Radcliffe by East-Lancashire clog dancer, Pat Tracey (1927–2008), who traced the steps, through her own family, directly back to the cotton mills of the early 19th century. Steps are layered with looped sound and images taken from a working 19th-century cotton mill and a 21st-century call centre, emphasising connections between the two industries.

The Machinery is significant for its direct relationship to the mechanical components and actions of the cotton machines with steps mimicking their sounds and movements, their names similarly reflecting them ‘the pick’, ‘over-the-tops’, ‘two-up-two-down’, ‘weaving’, ‘herringbone’, ‘shunts’ and ‘the cog’. Radcliffe and Angliss have demonstrated that The Machinery constitutes a much earlier form of ‘machine dance’ than previously documented, predating more recent forms, such as the Futurist dances of the early-20th century by over one hundred years. Similarly, it has had a significant impact on the revision of noise music studies, providing an early example of industrial noise music comparable to 20th-century Detroit techno and drum machines.

The Machinery clearly reflects Marx’s concerns that to work at a machine, the workers must learn to adapt their own movements to the uniform and unceasing motion of an automaton. Marx’s fear was that this would result in human alienation. By appropriating the movements and sounds of the cotton machinery, however, does the dance represent a celebration of the machine or a surrender to it? The dance might be viewed as a creative resistance to automisation by the worker. Rather than allowing themselves to be subsumed by the noise and repetition of factory work, the worker can be seen to coalesce with the machines. Arguably, the dance becomes an autonomy, overturning the imposed power and order of the capitalist factory system. By embodying and symbolically controlling a simulation of the machine itself, empowering the operative, the dance challenges Marx’s fears of alienation.

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Audiences and viewers of The Machinery describe it as ‘overwhelming’ and ‘moving’. Its enduring appeal as a performance is in its ability to reflect the contemporary human condition via the means of the automaton. When Radcliffe originally learnt the dance with Tracey and Camden Clog, it was choreographed for six people. Taken back to its original solo context “one dancer immersed by the sounds and images of the means of production“ The Machinery perhaps reminds people of their own vulnerability within our current precarious and individualistic society.

John Bishop

Lost Without Your Love


Lost and all alone
I always thought that I could make it on my own
But since you left I hardly make it through the day
My tears get in the way
And I need you back to stay

I wander through the night
And search the world to find the words to make it right
All I want is just the way it used to be
With you here close to me
I’ve got to make you see

That I’m lost without your love
Life without you isn’t worth the trouble of
And I’m as helpless as a ship without a wheel
A touch without a feel
I can’t believe it’s real
But someday soon I’ll wake
And find my heart won’t have to break

Yes, I’m lost without your love
Life without you isn’t worth the trouble of
All I want is just the way it used to be
I need you here with me
Oh darling, can’t you see
If we had love before
We can have it back once more



If a picture paints a thousand words,
Then why can’t I paint you?
The words will never show the you I’ve come to know.
If a face could launch a thousand ships,
Then where am I to go?
There’s no one home but you,
You’re all that’s left me too.
And when my love for life is running dry,
You come and pour yourself on me.

If a man could be two places at one time,
I’d be with you.
Tomorrow and today, beside you all the way.
If the world should stop revolving spinning slowly down to die,
I’d spend the end with you.
And when the world was through,
Then one by one the stars would all go out,
Then you and I would simply fly away



And Aubrey was her name
A not so very ordinary girl or name
But who’s to blame?
For a love that wouldn’t bloom
For the hearts that never played in tune
Like a lovely melody that everyone can sing
Take away the words that rhyme, it doesn’t mean a thing

And Aubrey was her name
We tripped the light and danced together to the moon
But where was June?
No, it never came around
If it did it never made a sound
Maybe I was absent or was listening too fast
Catching all the words but then the meaning going past

But God I miss the girl
And I’d go a thousand times around the world just to be
Closer to her than to me

And Aubrey was her name
I never knew her but I loved her just the same
I loved her name
Wish that I had found the way
And the reasons that would make her stay
I have learned to lead a life apart from all the rest
If I can’t have the one I want, I’ll do without the best

But how I miss the girl
And I’d go a million times around the world just to say
She had been mine for a day

Words Of live lit event Upstairs at Merchants

organised and run by author Jenefer Heap, and held Upstairs at Merchants, in Warwick. There was a varied and thoroughly entertaining line-up of local authors sharing their work to an appreciative audience. The evening was entitled Once Upon A Word and was an eclectic mix of short stories, poems, monologues, renditions of all sorts on the theme of (you’re ahead of me on this one, I can tell) fairy stories and all that implies. We had Cinders (of course) The Pied Piper, nymphs, sprites, knights in armour, a wonderful re-telling of a traditional Indian tale – we even had the Young Poet Laureate for Warwick, Annabelle Peet join us! It was while I was researching fairy tales that I sank deeper in the internet quicksand of ‘ooh that’s interesting!’ and ‘well I never knew that!’ and by the time my coffee had gone cold I had written a piece of creative non-fiction, rather than a short story.

And here it is. It’s called


Come closer and I will tell you a tale. A tale of love, of power and secrets.

Long ago, when Warwick was a small town on the banks of the river Avon, in a time when the Vikings looked covetously toward our shores, and a long, long time before you and I, there lived a warrior queen called Aethelflaed and a river sprite called Dite.

Aethelflaed was The eldest daughter of Alfred The Great and born into a turbulent world of power, wealth and war. At sixteen she married Ethelred of Mercia but their union bore only one child, a daughter, in 888. Aethelflaed named the baby Aelfwynn and no sooner was she born, than Aethelflaed returned to war – because Aethelflaed preferred the battlefield to babies.

Now, the river sprite, Dite, lived a very different life deep in the shadowy waters of the river Avon. It was said that she was over 500 years old. Others proclaimed her to be a bewitched spirit, cast into the river by the Romans and left to drown when they retreated south across Europe. But whatever the truth about Dite, all agreed: to see her was portentous; for her to speak, then no good could ever come of it.

In 899, when Aelfwynn was eleven, King Alfred died and Aethelflaed’s brother Edward became king of the Angles and Saxons. The war against the ferocious Vikings continued and Aethelflaed felt that soon they would be in Warwick itself. She moved Aelfwynn to the safety of a fortified castle protected by the wealth and privilege that being niece to the King bestowed. But Aethelflaed still worried: her daughter was approaching marriageable age and it was imperative she find a suitable husband for her as soon as possible.

One morning, Aethelflaed took a solitary walk down to the river Avon, deep in thought.

Hidden at the waters edge, Dite silently watched. She studied Aethelflaed’s young face, her sumptuous clothes and her well-made shoes. This, she considered, was a wealthy woman. Perchance this was Aethelflaed, the warrior woman of whom everyone spoke.

“Good day, mistress,” said the Sprite.
Startled, Aethelflaeda stepped back from the water’s edge.
“Good day,” she replied cautiously.
“You look sad mistress,” said Dite. “What ails you?”
“The time has come for me to consider a husband for my daughter, but I know not where to look.”
“A difficult decision, mistress,” said Dite. “But better early than too late.”
“Too late?” said Aethelflaed nervously
“Worry not, Mistress,” soothed Dite.
When she spoke, Dite’s voice was small and soft, as though the wind was sucking it gently from her lungs and blowing it away in a sigh.
“Who does your daughter love?” the Sprite asked.
“No-one. My daughter loves no-one. She is but a child, but she will marry whom I choose,” Aethelflaed replied.
“You control many things mistress, but not all things,” said Dite. “Remember that and all will be well. But forget it at your peril. You do not choose love, it chooses you,” she said, then dipped back into the water and disappeared.

Dite’s words bothered Aethelflaed greatly; the Sprite had sown a seed of doubt and over time it began to grow. Slowly at first, but as Aelfwynn blossomed into a young woman Aethelflaed’s distrust of her daughter began to sour their friendship, gnawing like a rat at their bond. By the time Aelfwynn was fifteen her mother’s anxiety had fermented into an obsessive suspicion. Aethelflaed forbade Aelfwynn to speak to anyone unless chaperoned, permitted her only to socialise with the ladies of the court. Aethelflaed’s quest to find a husband for her daughter gave her sleepless nights and Aelfwynn became isolated and lonely. And yet… a determined and bright young woman, she soon learned to be resourceful.

“I came to your chambers last night,” her mother said one morning, “but could not find you there.”
“I was afeared I was sickening so took a walk down the river – it is so cool there. I feel much better now,” replied Aelfwynn. Aethelflaed looked at her daughter’s pallor. Was it sickness that made her so pale, or was it lies?

As battles with the Vikings continued Aethelflaed and Ethelred spent much time away from their daughter employing spies to watch her in their absence. But Aelfwynn was shrewd: she used her time wisely making friends, becoming an interpreter and diplomat, and successfully side-stepping all attempts to marry her off, finding one excuse after another. Aelfwynn still remained unmarried at 23, when her father died.

Now Aethelflaed heard Dite’s words more than ever: Better too early than too late.
“I will not marry him!” Aelfwynn protested when her mother suggested a man who had sworn a never-ending hatred of the Vikings. The two women had been arguing for hours.
“I will marry for love, Mother, not to prolong this hated war! Will this bloodshed never end? I will marry for love, not hate!” Aelfwynn declared, “and you will not stop me!”

The tension between the two women spread through the court, spilling out onto the streets of Warwick where the townsfolk gossiped and chattered. Was Aethelflaed losing her touch? Suitors were presented one after the other. Time was of the essence and Aethelflaed’s pride was at stake: she would make her daughter bend to her will.

On June the 12th, 918, however, Aethelflaed unexpectedly died. Aelfwynn became ruler of Mercia.

But…you know…things don’t always work out the way we want them to, do they? Within three months of Aethelflaed’s untimely death, King Edward removed Aelfwynn from power and banished her to Wessex. She disappeared from the history books never to be heard of again and Edward seized control of Mercia. Tracing what clues they can find, Historians wonder if Aelfwynn, with her newly acquired freedom, had defied convention and married without permission. Perhaps a love she had kept secret for many years had instantly become a secret marriage – a marriage that enraged the King because her husband was the enemy: a Viking.

Was Aelfwynn put in a nunnery to live out her days as no more than a prisoner? If so, was she with child by then – a child with the mixed bloodline of a Viking warrior and an Anglo-Saxon princess? Whatever became of her we shall never know – her history has been denied the chance to speak. Perhaps Aelfwynn’s ancestors walk amongst us now.

Maybe a young man, on visiting Warwick four hundred years or more after these events found himself resting on the banks of the Avon, and maybe he found himself in conversation with a river Sprite who urged him to right this wrong. May be the river sprite encouraged him to write about star-crossed lovers and their warring nations. That also, we shall never know. But it’s a nice thought.

Have you been to Warwick recently? Walked the streets where Aethelflaed and Aelfwynn once walked? Picnicced perhaps, on the banks of the Avon?

Look deep into the bulrushes, pay close attention to the ripples in the water… you never know what you may see… because Sprites, I hear, love to tell a story or two…

Bears 24 Seahawks 17

Seahawks couldn’t make up for an offense that managed just 80 yards through three quarters and made one final, fatal mistake — a Wilson pass intended for running back Rashaad Penny that was instead picked off and returned 49 yards for a touchdown by Chicago cornerback Prince Amukamara that gave the Bears the breathing room they needed to beat Seattle 24-17.

The pick six was only the second of Wilson’s career in the regular season, the other coming in what was the fifth game of his career on Oct. 7, 2012 at Carolina by Captain Munnerlyn.

“Had a running back out there and he (Amukamara) hung for it, and really he just took a shot at it, and he was right and he made a great play,” Carroll said. “Made a perfect play. You can’t even remember the last time Russ did that where he threw the ball and the guy stole it like that. It just happened.”

The interception gave the Bears a 24-10 lead with 6:37 remaining and Wilson followed with a fumble on the ensuing possession and that was that as Seattle fell to 0-2 and into a precarious state as one of just seven NFL teams to start the season by losing its first two games.

“Very difficult to take,” Carroll said. “Because we ain’t used to this. We want to win some football games and get rolling.”


One of the recent teams to overcome an 0-2 start to get to the playoffs was the 2015 Seahawks. But this team hardly seems primed to make the kind of run the 2015 team — which had just played in two straight Super Bowls — was able to pull off.

This team, in fact, could almost never run when it wanted or needed Monday night, nor could it really pass as Seattle was forced to punt on seven of its first eight drives before using a no-huddle offense to finally get going in the fourth quarter, when it gained 196 yards.

The Seahawks came to life to start the fourth quarter, going to a no-huddle offense and moving 75 yards for a touchdown on a 19-yard pass from Wilson to Tyler Lockett to make it 17-10 and, somewhat amazingly, give Seattle hope that it could still win.

But then came the interception by Amukamara, and the fumble recovery that allowed the Bears to run a bit more time off the clock. Seattle added one final TD on a 99-yard drive that ended in a 2-yard Wilson to Will Dissly pass with 14 seconds left.

Until the pick-six, a gutty defense and some inconsistent play by second-year Chicago quarterback Mitchell Trubisky helped keep Seattle in the game despite the offensive ineptitude.

“We really gave ourselves a chance with a couple of turnovers and we weren’t able to capitalize on those,” Carroll said. “But still they stopped them, and got their offense off the field a couple of times that were huge.”

Chicago could hardly have asked for a better start when the Bears stopped the Seahawks on their first possession, then drove 96 yards for a touchdown.

The Seahawks helped jumpstart the drive with penalties on the first two plays — offsides on Quinton Jefferson and a face-mask on Griffin — and the Bears scored on a 3-yard shuttle pass from Trubisky to Trey Burton.. On the scoring, first-time starting middle linebacker Austin Calitro, playing in place of injured Bobby Wagner, appeared to move out of position on a run fake, which left a wide space for Burton to score.

But from there, the defense stiffened — the Bears ran for just 42 yards on 14 plays in the first half and had no gain of any sort longer than 18.

But Seattle’s offense could do nothing throughout the first half other than a last-gasp 37 yard drive — again when the Seahawks went no-huddle, the only thing that seemed to consistently work — on its final possession to set up a 56-yard field goal by Sebastian Janikowski as time ran out. On some of Wilson’s sacks it appeared he had time to throw but either could find no one to throw to or was reluctant to pull the trigger.

“I think they made some plays,” Wilson said of the sacks. “That’s what I think. They are a good defense. We’ll watch the film and figure out how to continue to get better. That’s the only assessment we really need right now.” It was the first time since Wilson’s rookie season that he was playing without Doug Baldwin — who missed the game with a sprained MCL suffered last week against Denver and could be sidelined for another few games. The receiving corps sorely missed his presence.


Veteran Brandon Marshall — making a return to one of his former homes — was the only receiver whom Wilson seemed to feel was open in the first half, catching four of Wilson’s seven completions for 44 yards. Lockett, who became the primary slot receiver in place of Baldwin, had just one catch for 8 yards on two targets in the first half, and free agent signee Jaron Brown had just one catch for 10 yards. Lockett, though, finally got going in the second half, particularly in the no-huddle, to finish with 60 yards on five receptions.

As they had pledged to do all week, the Seahawks seemed intent on getting the running game going early, with Chris Carson getting the ball on the first three plays and gaining 9, 2 and 2 yards. But from there, the running game basically disappeared as Carson had just three carries the rest of the half for 11 yards, while first-round pick Penny had 2 yards on two carries. Carson never got another carry as the Seahawks went to Penny in the fourth quarter when Seattle went mostly up-tempo, with Carroll saying one reason was that Carson was “gassed” from also having to play on special teams.

But just when the Seattle defense gave the offense another chance to maybe pull off an improbable win, Wilson’s interception turned it into a desultory loss and lots of questions about where the season is headed.

“We are still a work in progress,” Carroll said. “You can see how hard our guys play, how they fought throughout all the way to the last seconds on the clock. That is going to help us win games. And we need to get going. We need to get our wins going.”

Sunday 16th September 2018

Posted in Life the Universe and Other Things on September 16, 2018 by bishshat

Saturday 15th September 2018

Posted in Life the Universe and Other Things on September 16, 2018 by bishshat

Spurs 1 Liverpool 2

Our return to Premier League action after the international break ended in disappointment at Wembley on Saturday afternoon as Liverpool left London with all three points thanks to a 2-1 win.

Goals from Georginio Wijnaldum and Roberto Firmino – one in each half – did the damage and we were also indebted to some fine saves from goalkeeper Michel Vorm, with the visitors having 10 shots on target.

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In contrast, we struggled to break down Liverpool’s defence, forcing Alisson into just two saves until Erik Lamela cracked home a volley deep into stoppage time. The returning Heung-Min Son might have snatched an even later leveller, but the chance slipped away.

We were slow off the blocks and Liverpool had a goal disallowed for off-side in the second minute as Firmino steered towards the net and Sadio Mane may have got a touch before Vorm saved Trent Alexander-Arnold’s free-kick shortly after.

Liverpool then added their second nine minutes after the interval. Andy Robertson clipped down the left flank for Mane whose low cross was deflected against the post by Jan Vertonghen, Vorm couldn’t collect the ball and Firmino slammed home from virtually on the goal-line.

It probably should have been 3-0 on 63 minutes when Liverpool countered with a three-against-two attack, but Vorm pushed Naby Keita’s effort over the bar.

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In the closing stages, our goalkeeper produced another good save to deny Salah, while substitute Lamela was just wide from 18 yards as he burst through the middle of the Liverpool defence. The Argentine did find the back of the net in the 93rd minute, collecting a corner at the back post and driving right-footed past Alisson.

That led to some late drama that had seemed unlikely for so long, with another substitute, Son, back from the Asian Games, weaving his way inside the area in the dying seconds, but he fired wide and the final whistle sounded moments later.

Vorm was in my opinion at fault in both Liverpool strikes.

Friday 14th September 2018

Posted in Life the Universe and Other Things on September 14, 2018 by bishshat

What A Fool Believes

The Doobie Brothers

He came from somewhere back in her long ago
The sentimental fool don’t see
Tryin’ hard to recreate
What had yet to be created once in her life
She musters a smile
For his nostalgic tale
Never coming near what he wanted to say
Only to realized
It never really was
She had a place in his life
He never made her think twice
As she rises to her apology
Anybody else would surely know
He’s watching her go
But what a fool believes he sees
No wise man has the power to reason away
What seems to be
Is always better than nothing
And nothing at all keeps sending him …
Somewhere back in her long ago
Where he can still believe
There’s a place in her life
Someday, somewhere, she will return
She had a place in his life
He never made her think twice
As she rises to her apology
Anybody else would surely know
He’s watching her go
But what a fool believes he sees
No wise man has the power to reason away
What seems to be
Is always better than nothing
There’s nothing at all
But what a fool believes he sees …

Thursday 13th September 2018

Posted in Life the Universe and Other Things on September 14, 2018 by bishshat


Wednesday 12th September 2018

Posted in Life the Universe and Other Things on September 12, 2018 by bishshat