December 5, 2013
Hello! Hello! News flash! Google hasn’t spent any time at medical school, hasn’t walked the wards for hours on end, hasn’t spoken to any real live patients,hasn’t asked the pertinent questions, hasn’t learnt from doctors with years of experience and expertise, hasn’t seen real pain behind the eyes, hasn’t felt a cold and clammy hand, hasn’t watched someone turn blue, hasn’t laid a hand on any flesh, hasn’t felt a thready pulse, hasn’t talked to nurses about a patient, hasn’t ranked the likelihood of each differential diagnosis. In short; Google is not a doctor.
Yes it can be useful for looking up information on a given disease but it doesn’t diagnose and it doesn’t take your specific circumstances in to account.
Google is simply a repository of information. Some good. Some bad. Some pretty ugly. I would say it is akin to a library, but a library has real people who choose which books are stocked. Google spews out the answers to the questions or key words you type in. Not in an order of likelihood of diagnosis, but based on how popular the article is. How well the authors have optimised their site so google picks it up. It’s not a quality assessment.
Unlike the doctor, google doesn’t listen to what you say and then ask a relevant question to exclude lots of possible diagnoses. Google doesn’t ask any questions. And any of the sites that do run those basic diagnostic algorithms seem to end up with ‘Call a healthcare professional’ anyway so are a waste of time.
PLEASE DO NOT ASK ME ANY PERSONAL MEDICAL QUESTIONS AND THEN SAY “WELL GOOGLE SAYS…..”. If you want to take your medical advice from google feel free to do so. Just don’t use it as if you are testing my knowledge and certainly don’t expect me to defer to its greater wisdom.
December 2, 2013
It is three years ago today that my dad died. I have blogged of him often and we miss him still. He loved people and would take every opportunity to find interesting people with views to share. He thoroughly enjoyed his grandchildren as he was retired for nearly the whole of their childhood so had the time to appreciate them. Nearly as much as hubby and I appreciated having them looked after so we could go off for a night!
Here is a poem he wrote as he awaited their arrival.
The Ealing Three (undated)
Natalie, Georgina and Michael
Are coming to Knighton quite soon
So Grandma, I just have to tell you
Is not surprisingly over the moon.
She’s thrilled by the thought of their coming
Here excitement is shown in her eyes
They’re flashing and sparkling and flickering
Like all the bright stars in the skies.
It’s easy to think that there’s nothing
That makes her so happy and glad
Than the prospects of visits to Knighton
Of two special girls and a lad.
Her joy is quite truly unbounded
She just can’t wait for the day
When three jolly Clarkes from the Avenue
Come to Cae Ceri to stay.
Though there’s work to be done for the visit
It is done with great gladness and glee
So she sings as she dusts and she tidies
With no stopping for coffee or tea.
The baking and the cooking’s a wonder
There are biscuits in tins by the score
And as for the soups and the jellies,
They’re of flavours she knows they adore.
Since all is now finished and ready
For the Clarkettes she waits to arrive,
Their Grandma is waiting to greet them
At the foot of Cae Ceri drive.
She sits there all day and the evening
By the light of the sun or the moon
And Taid who is starving and hungry
Is hoping they’ll com fairly soon!!
November 27, 2013
Let’s get this straight, I haven’t seen them all, and have no desire to watch Made in Chelsea, TOWIE , Policemen beating the crap out of lowlife hooligans, but I have realised the the ones I really like have a common thread. And it is that the people like each other and are supportive of each other. So when the Strictly competitors are finished we pan to see their competitors and other professionals all cheering each other on. We see the back slapping as the come up the stairs. And the cheering of each others efforts. It warms my heart. We don’t get any of that on X factor .
And although I haven’t watched Celebrity Jungle for a few years, when I did watch it I liked the encouragement of each other. Not the twattish behaviour. And OK, yes I liked the challenges till the novelty wore off.
And then 24 hours in the NHS was another uplifting series showing what real healthcare staff do all day and showed people striving to do their best for patients and I loved it. Similarly the Educating Yorkshire series which I only saw a couple of was at its best when we watched people giving their all for each other. Secret millionaire, Undercover Boss – I loved both of those because watching people have their eyes opened and reality flood in and humble them was great as was listening to people really keen to give back to society. Faith-restoring stuff.
But now my favourite reality show is gogglebox. It’s not a reality show in the conventional sense. It’s a fixed camera documentary (like another brilliant one – Chicken shop) where we watch edited highlights of various families or friends watching various TV programmes from throughout the week. And I love the warmth in the room. That they get involved. That they are families and friends talking to each other. That the TV is the common cultural currency of their lives. And they sing with Sam Bailey, they shout when people are being nobs and they take the piss out of each other.
Particular participants have become celebrities in their own right – the ‘posh couple’ who coiff champagne as they imitate Nigella or excoriate Downton Abbey’s Lady Mary for having short arms (you had to see it to realise how hilarious it was) . Then they hold hands and cry at Children in Need. The Liverpudlian retired teachers, the gay couple in Brighton, the Asian family, the huge family, the two Afrocaribbean women from Brixton. A fabulous cross section of our society. Edited yes, but unscripted and spontaneous it makes great viewing.
They could all easily be written off as stereotypes but they have insight, humour, pathos and wisdom.
Especially when telling Gary Barlow fuck off.
November 26, 2013
I never go to see films at the cinema – and then I go twice in a weekend. And I have to say I enjoy the experience -I completely suspend disbelief and am taken with them wherever they decide to take me. I think I leave my critical faculties at the box office (scorched paying over £11 for Acton vue!!) and never predict what will happen next so am perfect fodder for a director.
Gravity was the first proper 3D film I’ve seen. Billy Connolly made us wear red and green shades for his live show in Drury Lane in the 70s, and I saw some crappy prehistoric thing around the same time. Then I went to Thorpe Park and saw Pirates 4 D and was literally quaking and turning away in my seat. I honestly came out thinking I had fortuitously sat in the best seat of the house as “Literally, the bee put his sting right in my face.” I imagined the rest of the audience had somehow only watched this happen sideways, looking at me.
But anyway, Gravity 3D was Breathtaking. Awesome. You felt the enormity of space. Its silence. Its depth. And the 90 minutes flew by. I am an action pic fan and also love Sandra Bullock and George Clooney so was well set for this. But it is much gentler and more realistic than I expected. But heartstopping. Not that I’d know if it is realistic but their task in space is made fairly routine and not ‘sci fi’ and it becomes a thriller as the debris from another space station hurtles towards them. It is breathtaking. I don’t know how to describe it, but Sandra Bullock’s pain and resolution are palpable. And her body is incredible .George Clooney the avuncular old lag on his last trip, desperate to break the space walking record. is touching and believable. I cried. I jumped. I gasped. I ducked to avoid the debris. I loved it.
Philomena was also a two hander. Dame Judi and Steve Coogan. And I hate Steve Coogan. But in this I enjoyed him. It is the story of a sacked journalist who agrees to do a human interest story he feels is beneath him and he helps an old Irish woman track the son that she had taken away from her by the nuns she was living with. The contrast between the atheist. Oxford-educated political spin doctor and the simple Irish nurse with her staunch belief makes for great comedy as Dame Judi bursts his bubble, and great drama as he helps her trace her son. It is warm, moving, horrifying and a great Sunday afternoon movie (or in my case, Monday night).
November 22, 2013
It’s never a good sign if I’ve nodded off during the show. But this time it may have had a lot to do with the bucket of wine I had at the interval when hubby decided his was off and undrinkable so I relieved him of it.
Mojo is a revival of Jez Butterworth’s debut play and so I had high expectations having loved his more recent Jerusalem. It also had a good cast and was on at the intimate Harold Pinter (aka the Comedy theatre to old lags like us) so what’s not to be excited about? Well the journey there took the shine off the evening to begin with as we were trapped in traffic and one way systems and diversions and literally ran in to our seats as the action started.
It’s a black comedy about a seedy 50s Soho club and their new star Silver Johnny who another gangland boss wants to own. I think. And the first act had lots of fast, funny, filthy dialogue as the lowlife drug taking backroom boys discuss what’s occurring and buzz on their pill popping. Some excellent physical comedy from Daniel Hays and enjoyable characterisation from Rupert Grint. But we didn’t care about any of them. Even when Baby’s father (the club owner) got murdered and they were supposed to be terrified that they were next it was more farce than fear. Then came the wine incident and I may have shut my eyes for a few minutes in the second half as the plot opened up and became darker as Baby (Ben Wishaw) revealed his oddness to be psychosis. Hubby tells me the second half was much better and he would give it four stars. But it only scraped three from me.
November 21, 2013
Leo Sayer at 229 (not his age but the venue name) was on cracking form. The pocket popster was back. And still with all the hair and no dress sense. But now a pensioner so it was glittery jackets rather than clown outfits or dungarees. But the voice was still there and he just cracked out the songs – ones I’d forgotten were his and hadn’t heard since about 1974.
The venue had been changed from the Troxy (in hip happening East London) to 229 Great Portland Street. Much easier for the coaches from the suburbs to get to I expect. And not so large to fill. We arrived from a neighbouring pub just as he was about to come on - 8pm – (nice and early so no one has too late a night) and rows of bald heads and greying ‘sets’ were sitting in rows on chairs that had been laid out specially. It looked like they were waiting for a talk on heart disease. We were having none of it. We got another bottle and stood at the back determined to make this more of a gig than a concert.
And sure enough we were swaying and singing and clapping throughout the first set. The rest of the audience stayed seated but were loving every minute. After the interval (and another bottle) there was no holding us back. We charged to where the mosh pit would be and started dancing at the front. Suddenly everyone joined us and we discoed the final 45 minutes. It was brilliant. We had a ball. A glitter ball.
Friday night and Balthazar Covent Garden felt the perfect place to be. A younger sister to its famous NY counterpart, this brasserie has wonderfully recreated retro Paris. The lighting is perfect, the mirrors huge and speckled, the waiting staff attentive. You know it is old school as they are in white shirts and aprons not the modern black ones. And with that slightly superior French waiter disdain. But in an OK way in that when we ordered our nth bottle of wine he pursed his lips and said “Yes, get pissed why not? It is Saturday tomorrow.” The ambiance and company were perfect and the Chablis didn’t touch the sides. The food on the other hand was a disappointment. Surprisingly bland and ordinary.
And so on to the Library in the Lanesborough where one of our party immediately crashed out (hard week at work of course, nothing to do with the Chablis) and we relaxed in gentleman’s club-like surroundings and the rum flowed. Unfortunately completely overindulged on the three tier presentation of nuts, mini pretzels and olives and felt sick in the cab on the way home. But held it together.
Saturday was the journey from hell to get to the Comedy store in Leicester Square – tickets to which we’d been given as a present. Cab to Northfields tube only to find station closed and cab gone. No cabs at nearest taxi rank. Black cab refuses to stop. We walk home as hubby has remembered he forgot the tickets and we try to decide how to travel in. The 15 minute walk home has a frosty atmosphere as I am blamed for suggesting public transport in the first place.
We drive in, park outside the flat and get a cab from there where the compere is just starting. And he is great. Witty Jewish guy we have seeen before and creates a great vibe. The next two comics are OK, but the compere much better. The final two acts are hilarious. Otiz Cannelloni a classic one liner, crap magic brilliant routine. And Phil Nichol a Canadian who veers between loud and violent and fey and camp. With a bit of guitar playing thrown in. An excellent second half.
Then back to the flat and daughter who is living there takes us to a local family Italian. The classic trattoria where we grab a quick bite. I haven’t had Pollo Milanese since I used to go to Milli Pinis off Russell Square as a student. Perfect.