The Glottal Stop

BBC receives 545 vuvuzela complaints over World Cup

Posted in General, News by admin on June 16, 2010

On the 15ht of June BBC News reported that

The BBC has received 545 complaints about the sound of vuvuzela horns during its World Cup coverage.

The corporation is considering showing coverage that cuts out the noise of vuvuzelas on its red button service.

On Monday, World Cup organisers ruled out a stadium ban on the plastic horns, which can reach 130 decibels, following complaints from players and fans.

Experts say it is impossible to cut out the horns without affecting commentary and crowd noise.

The BBC says it has already "taken steps to minimise the noise".

Did those 545 half-wits genuinely believe that it is the BBC who is responsible for the wasp-like noise that these horns make?

Thailand’s Songkran Festival. Or, How I lost my Thai Smile.

Posted in Humour, Travel by admin on June 15, 2010
A two part account of one hapless, young man’s journey to the Songkran festival in Chiang Mai.

From Bangkok to Chiang Mai

Waiting at the Bangkok train station is quite a pleasant experience. The great hall is arranged as though into a theatre, though the only show is one of red lights and incandescent, scurrying words; the timetable, that is. There’s also, as is expected in any public building in Thailand, a huge picture of the King, stood rather grandly next to his dressing table.

You, dear reader, find me just as I am about to embark from Bangkok by train on a journey 700km North to Chiang Mai, the epicentre of activity and celebration during Thailand’s Songkran festival of the Thai new year. The most widely known celebration of Songkran is the throwing of water; however, this was not always the main activity of the festival. Songkran was traditionally a time to visit and pay respects to elders, including family members, friends and neighbours. Besides the throwing of water, people celebrating Songkran may also go to a Buddhist monastery to pray and give food to monks. They may also cleanse Buddha images from household shrines as well as Buddha images at monasteries by gently pouring water mixed with a Thai fragrance over them (I happened to be caught up in this particular ritual and carried a sweet scent with me throughout the rest of the day). It is believed that doing this will bring good luck and prosperity for the New Year. In many cities, including Chiang Mai, the Buddha images from all of the city’s important monasteries are paraded through the streets so that people can toss water at them, ritually ‘bathing’ the images, as they pass by on ornately decorated floats. In northern Thailand, people may carry handfuls of sand to their local monastery in order to recompense the dirt that they have carried away on their feet during the rest of the year. The sand is then sculpted into  and decorated with flags.
However, not being a Buddhist myself, my primary reason for visiting Chiang Mai was to experience the prodigious water fight that takes part in Chaing Mai throughout Songkran (13th-15 April); and what and experience it was!

(more…)

Junior-School Musical

Posted in Uncategorized by admin on June 11, 2010

A video packed full of fun and joviality that we thought it worth sharing with. And, let’s be honest, we all wish that something like this had happened at one point during our own school days.

In March the Amesbury CD launch in aid of CRY materialised into a fantasmagorical tour de force for the school.  Months of hard work, planning and preparation on behalf of the Amesbury staff and pupils and Hugh Goldsmith’s team came to fruition.

The video was made by pupils at Amesbury School in Surrey to raise awareness of Cardiac Risk in the Young (C.R.Y).

The video can be purchased here http://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/boys-and-girls-single/id364996125 with all proceeds going to C.R.Y.

Baroness Thatcher visits Cameron in 10 Downing Street

Posted in General, Humour, News, Politics by admin on June 8, 2010
FitzBoodle

The Beeb reported that:

Prime Minister David Cameron has welcomed Conservative predecessor Baroness Thatcher back to 10 Downing Street for a reception in her honour.

They shook hands and waved at photographers before entering the building but did not answer questions.

Baroness Thatcher, 84, is one of the first guests to be hosted in Downing Street since the coalition entered office last month.

She wore a light blue dress and coat for her meeting with Mr Cameron, emerging from Number 10 some 45 minutes after going into the building.

A smiling Mr Cameron said: "It’s good to have her back."

 

This last quote sent shivers down my spine.

The Curse of Black Gold: Lest we should forget

Posted in News, Politics by admin on June 7, 2010

The Curse of Black Gold: Lest we should forget
C. Bauby

Workers clean up oil from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on the beach at Grand Isle, La. Saturday, June 5, 2010. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

In 1859 a retired railway worker named Colonel Edwin Drake developed the idea that oil could be extracted from the ground using wells. At Titusville, Pennsylvania, he bored a hole to a depth of 69 feet and got the world’s first ‘gusher’. It was quickly realised that petroleum in volume could be used not just for medical reasons (for example, it was originally used in medicines for the treatment of different ailments), but could be refined into lucrative products like paraffin and kerosene.
After that discovery, Western Pennsylvania boomed inordinately. In three months the ‘Pithole city’ (as John Mcphee, author of ‘suspect terrain’, so aptly named it) went from a population of 0 to 15,000. For a while Pennsylvania had a virtual monopoly on one of the world’s most valuable resources, oil, and it was dominant also in the production of coal. Many people became colossally rich, Pennsylvania prospered, and there began the developed world’s demand for oil. A demand that grew, and grew and grew. But it soon became clear, that satisfying this demand brought its dangers, disasters and uncertainties.

(more…)

New Debate: The Proportional Representation electoral system would be detrimental to democracy and representation in Britain.

Posted in Debate, Opinion, Politics by admin on June 7, 2010

Our fornightly topic of debate has just been updated.
theGlottal Stop invites you discuss and debate the following point of opinion; ’The PR electoral system would be detrimental to democracy and representation in Britain’. A particularly relevant topic given the recent challenges and changes that we, here in Britain, saw resulting from the May 2010 general election.

Please go to https://theglottalstop.wordpress.com/debate/ and use the comment box to carry on the debate.

We look forward to hearing from you…

Caption Competition #2

Posted in Caption Competition by admin on June 7, 2010

Incidentally, the caption ‘Dumb and Dumber’ is too obvious…

Tagged with:

More than Lucky!

Posted in News by admin on June 2, 2010

If ever there was a man who was in the right place at the right time, it’s Lucky Ramaroa, owner of Lucky’s Pub in Phokeng, South Africa.
Lucky is, well, lucky enough to own the only pub in the town where England will play their first world cup game.

Around 4,1000 England fans hold tickets for the match against the USA, although thousands more are expected to turn up at the stadium on the day, leaving Lucky with a large pool of thirsty football fans to fill his 100-person capacity pub.

“I have hit the jackpot here, no doubt,”

Ramaroa said: “Unemployment is very high here, 60%. People have nothing to do but drink, but the World Cup will bring something extra to their lives, some excitement.

“Not much ever happens here and it doesn’t get any better than England coming. I have even been searching the internet for photographs of the Queen.”

He may well be lucky, but with England football fans who behave like this;

We can only hope that he’s more than lucky…

iFlop?

Posted in Books, Humour, Opinion, Technology by admin on May 29, 2010

I feel I have accidentally been swept along by the wave of furore that has accompanied the release of the iPad and other e-readers.

I remember reading an article a couple of years (or so) ago about the coming of the e-readers, the new age in book reading that we were to find ourselves in. These highly portable, highly practical, and highly innovative devices – and highly expensive – would be a must have. Gone would be those cumbersome books that decay and become tattered. Here was a device that would allow us to keep all our books in the same place and read them whenever we found the urge, no matter where we were

A year on and I came across the Sony Reader and I have to say I was a little disappointed. Not that the device did not offer what was promised, it did just that; there was the portability, the practicality, the innovation, and the price tag. There was even a small spark of excitement when the screen lit up to reveal the ‘e-ink’ format. However, I couldn’t help but notice a void, something missing. Where was the emotion? Where was the emotion and sentiment that I feel when reading a good book?

I, like most others, find some strange pleasure in the smell of books, both old and new. Along with that there’s something satisfying about taking a side-long glace at a book and seeing how much you have read in a session. I enjoy the weight of a book; perhaps I can equate that to the knowledge I am to gain; call it a quantitative measurement of the time that the author dedicated to it, if you will. There’s also all the things you can tell about a person from their books. Jottings in the margins, dog-eared books, books that have remained in pristine condition for all their lives – they all say something about past owners. And this raises another point entirely, that is, who in their right mind would be willing to lend their Ipad to someone in the same manner that you would lend someone a good-book?

Let us not forget also the joy of bookshops themselves! With the rise of e-readers and online ebook stores we would surely see the everyday bookstore disappear from our high streets. I personally must spend hours on end in bookshops browsing through the miles and miles of titles on offer, admiring the eclectic mix of cover artwork available for my eyes to feast upon. Bookshops provide a refuge from the bustle of everyday life, a place to find inspiration and to kick-start the creative juices, or at the very least a way to pass the time during a sudden downpour of rain.

So no, the rise of the e-reader was a phenomenon that I thought would not catch on, or more honestly, a phenomenon I was hoping would not catch on. I didn’t want to see the real thing taken away from me and from all those many millions that share my love of books and bookshops.

But, something changed. And this change was the announcement and release of the iPad. Ashamedly, from what I have seen of it I can’t help but feel a little drawn to its aurora. It has everything that is to be promised in an e-reader (though there are of course the countless other functions and apps), the practicality, the portability, the innovation (something that apple has always excelled in) and, sweet heavens, the price-tag.
But it has achieved more, much more, than I had come to expect from an e-reader. Put simply, it has given the e- reader ‘emotion’. It is not the dull device that I found to be the Sony Reader – it has a wow factor to it. You can’t help but be drawn in, just as humans are drawn to anything that possess a certain ‘beauty’.
There are gasps of ‘ohh’ and ’ahh’ at the swish of the pages as you delicately turn them with your finger tips. There’s the satisfying swivel of the text when you rotate the device. The colours are vivid and bright, they dazzle (something that apple has highlighted with the inclusion of ‘Winnie the Pooh’ free with the device). And the feeling of an iPad in your hands, though not the same as a book, is just as pleasurable in other ways. It’s crisp and it’s light, but it also has a solid, sturdy feel about it. It has quite simply blown the tech-world away, just as most Apple creations do.

But there’s one thing that it won’t ever give you; the ability to brag. Yes, you may win a few fans by flashing your iPad at work or on the train, but what can be more fulfilling than having all the books you’ve ever read shelved and on display in your home. Think of the gains in esteem you’ll achieve as your parents-in-law eye that ‘War and Peace’ sitting on the shelf in your lounge (no matter if you’ve read it or not, chances are they haven’t). A beautifully bound collection of Dickens books are sure to provide an air of ‘Je ne sais quoi’ to your living room. And in the eyes of any guest, that complete works of Shakespeare will make you the master of the English Language that you deserve to be.
But truthfully, there’s nothing wrong or arrogant about looking at the shelves of books you have read and thinking ‘’I have tackled that. That is the weight of my knowledge”.

And it is because of this that I sincerely hope it is books, and not e-readers, that continue to remain the most superior and most sought-after medium for reading.

Long live the book!

The Best of Friends

Posted in Opinion, Politics by admin on May 27, 2010

Since its conception I cannot but help find something strange about the relationship on display between the Prime Minster and Deputy Prime Minister.
Since overcoming their differences – and forging their new love in the Number 10 rose garden – it seems that Cameron has allowed Clegg to take on an unexpected role, i.e. a prominent one.
Cameron’s conciliatory acts towards Clegg were always to be expected, but a sort of wet, over-zealous, corny comradery has developed on the part of the two men, and frankly it is has started to become unbearable.

The press conference within the rose garden of number ten could only have been completed by a holding of hands, and Clegg’s jaunt down Downing Street to be greeted by Cameron at the door of number ten (apparently budget cuts have run so deep that the PM must open the door himself) as though to welcome him to his tea party was unnecessary and actually quite nauseating. It’s as though Clegg specified this as a condition to the coalition, “and I want a nice picture outside number 10”. More of this odd behaviour was to be seen as the two love birds left Downing Street together and made their way to parliament on foot for the Queen’s speech.

It’s not the coalition itself I have trouble with, in fact I think the two parties bring a number of excellent policies and initiatives to the table (which of course is one of the great things about coalition-governments). But I cannot for the life of me understand why the two party leaders feel they must feign this ‘best of friends’ routine. Do they expect us to believe it? Do they really expect us to believe that two parties with such ideological differences can obtain such cohesion; well we need only look to the back benches of each party to see that they cannot, and one feels that no amount of repeating the words ‘Change’ and ‘New’ over and over again, until they become worn out cliches, will disguise this fact. And was it not only a few weeks ago that they were throwing insults at each other? The particular favourite being Cameron’s calling Nick Clegg the ‘best joke’ he knew.

One expects that where you have a system of politics built on adversary (particularly on the run-up to elections) there is always going to be red-faces of embarrassment after any election that results in the need for a coalition, perhaps even a little grovelling. In the back rooms of ten downing street, amongst the inner circles, does Mr Clegg really hold as much prominence as this public facade would depict? And if so, that leaves us wondering; who is really running the show?

Tagged with: , ,