Archive | July, 2012

House of Lords Reform

9 Jul

(HT Unlock Democracy)


Seven Years, Never Forgotten

7 Jul

James Adams, 32
Samantha Badham, 36
Lee Baisden, 34
Phil Beer, 22
Anna Brandt, 41
Michael Stanley Brewster, 52
Ciaran Cassidy, 22
Rachelle Lieng Siong Chung For Yuen, 27
Benedetta Ciaccia, 30
Elizabeth Daplyn, 26
Jonathan Downey, 34
Richard Ellery, 21
Anthony Fatayi-Williams, 26
David Foulkes, 22
Arthur Edlin Frederick, 60
Karolina Gluck, 29
Jamie Gordon, 30
Richard Gray, 41
Gamze Gunoral, 24
Lee Harris, 30
Giles Hart, 55
Marie Hartley, 34
Miriam Hyman, 31
Ojara Ikeagwu, 55
Shahara A Islam, 20
Neetu Jain, 37
Emily Rose Jenkins, 24
Adrian Johnson, 38
Helen Jones, 28
Susan Levy, 53
Sam Ly, 28
Shelley Mather, 26
Mike Matsushita, 37
James Mayes, 28
Anne Moffat, 48
Colin Morley, 52
Behnaz Mozakka, 48
Jennifer Nicholson, 24
Mihaela Otto, 46
Shyanuja Parathasangary, 30
Anat Rosenberg, 29
Philip Russell, 28
Atique Sharifi, 24
Ihab Slimane, 24
Christian Small, 28
Fiona Stevenson, 29
Monika Suchocka, 23
Carrie Taylor 24
Mala Trivedi, 51
Laura Susan Webb, 29
William Wise, 54
Gladys Wundowa, 50

Adios Mark Ramprakash!

6 Jul

A fan shaking hands with Mark Ramprakash on the day he went on to score his 98th first-class century against Lancashire. [Taken 16 Apr 2008]

He’s one of the few English cricketers I remember dad telling me about as a boy. As a Briton with Asian heritage he always intrigued me, not least for the fact that both parts of his surname feature in my own. But despite a glittering twenty-five year career, Mark Ramprakash was unable to fulfil his prodigious talent on the sport’s biggest stage, Test cricket. His average of 27.32 in 52 Tests (with just two hundreds) pales in comparison with his first-class record of 35,659 runs at an average of 53.14 (with 114 first-class hundreds), along with 13,273 runs in one-day cricket. It is a distinct possibility that he will remain the last cricketer to ever score a hundred first-class centuries, a landmark he reached during the 2008 County Championship. I was fortunate enough to watch him in action earlier that season when he notched his 98th first-class century at The Oval in a rain-affected match against Lancashire. He was always one of the more stylish English batsman of his generation and many will rue the fact that he will perhaps be remembered not so much for his run-accumulation, but for his success in a reality dance competition in 2006. Thanks Ramps for the entertainment and I wish him all the best in the future. Along with Graeme Hick’s retirement four years ago, this truly is the end of English cricket’s 1980s era.

England’s flawed technician (David Lloyd, Cricinfo)
A champion of elegance in helmet and pads (Jim White, The Telegraph)

Asians on Desert Island Discs

5 Jul

You can’t filter the DIDA results by ethnicity so here’s an up-to-date chronological list of all the programme’s South Asian castaways. Surprisingly there have only been twenty so far, so I’ve added two “honorary” South Asians.

Ravi Shankar*

V.S. Naipaul
Zubin Mehta
Gayatri Devi
Ved Mehta
Madhur Jaffrey
Ben Kingsley
Ismail Merchant
Salman Rushdie

Imran Khan
Hanif Kureishi
Saeed Jaffrey

Meera Syal
Gulam Noon
Karan Bilimoria
Satish Kumar
Tariq Ali
Sanjeev Bhaskar
Shami Chakrabarti

Vikram Seth

Ruth Prawer Jhabvala [24 Jan 1999]
Mark Tully [15 Jun 2003]

(* Unfortunately there is no audio available for this episode but you can still see his choices of music, book and luxury.)

BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs archive expansion

4 Jul

It’s one of the best radio programmes ever devised and now all of you (including those outside the UK) can access free official audio versions of episodes dating back to 1951. Most can be downloaded as mp3s directly from the website or as podcasts through iTunes. Due to copyright issues (involving the creator Roy Plomley’s wife) the programme had not initially been available on the iPlayer, but once these issues were resolved, the Beeb gradually uploaded all of the complete programming from its archive (a total of 1565 episodes).

For the uninitiated the programme follows a simple but effective interview format, in which a guest (or “castaway”) is asked to choose eight pieces of music, a book and a luxury item for their imaginary stay on a desert island, while discussing their lives and the reasons for their choices. Originally devised and presented by Roy Plomley in 1942, it is one of the longest-running radio programmes in the world. And although it celebrated its sixtieth anniversary earlier this year, only four people have ever presented it! Besides Plomley, who hosted it until his death in 1985, the other presenters are Michael Parkinson (1985-88), Sue Lawley (1988-2006) and Kirsty Young (2006- ).

Since I was introduced to it four years ago, I have spent many hours listening to the archive and its current broadcasts. I can’t think of any other weekly programme that brings out as much emotion in the listener as Desert Island Discs. As a national treasure it must be preserved in cotton wool for current and future generations to enjoy. I only wish many more of the archive episodes which have probably been lost forever, particularly those from before 1975, could somehow be recovered. As a rule until 1976, the music was edited out of the majority of the programmes and only the speech was archived.

But all is not lost. The Beeb’s archivists have kindly uploaded a user-friendly database of every episode listing the castaway’s eight pieces of music, book and luxury item. The database is searchable by name, year, occupation, presenter and gender. There’s also access to four specials that have been recorded since 1992 and other random useless information (aka trivia) in the About section.

Official Website on the BBC
Wikipedia Page

Hello world!

4 Jul

I’ll be blogging here on a variety of topics including London, British politics, English law, human rights, India, Oman, Sport (particularly football, cricket and tennis), music, etymology and anything else that catches my fancy.

Look forward to you joining me on this cyberspace journey.

In the meantime, Happy American Independence Day!