Thursday, May 29, 2008

What... Is The Air Speed Velocity Of An Unladen Swallow?

Regular readers (by which I mean Sid and Doris) may be wondering what I'm doing blogging at half one in the morning. And indeed normally I would save it for a time when, well, anyone was going to read it. But in this case, it's apt to raise the issue during the event that inspired it.

To explain, I'm rather fond of hidden social indicators, the little things in life that demonstrate a wider truth. For years my favourite has been the correlation between the power of the hand dryers at a particular venue and the people you will find therein; for instance, the strongest hand dryers I've ever encountered were in Glasgow Queen Street station, while the weakest were in an independent school in Taunton (and for the record, the ones in Cardiff City Hall are fairly lame...)

In a similar vein, I'm presently watching Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Finals, something that leads me inexorably to Channel Five. As a fan of all the big American sports, many a night over the last ten years has been spent with Jonny and Josh, Nat and Mike, Russ and Nick and Mark and Andre; indeed, I am one of those rare people who actually saw the opening night of Channel Five back in 1997.

Massively fond of it as I am, I must nevertheless admit that in those early days Five's market was, well... a little restricted. Nowhere was this better reflected than in the advertising, which ranged all the way from chat lines to, erm, more chat lines. Quite seriously, it was not at all unusual at that early stage to have an entire ad break filled with nothing other than entreaties to call hot women in your area.

Mind you, things changed pretty soon; it wasn't long before you were being asked to call hot men too. Around the turn of the millennium it became something of a game, watching the breaks intently waiting for the holy grail, an ad break containing only gay chat lines. It never happened, but there were a few “I've got the first two balls in the lottery” moments...

I mention all this because it occurs to me tonight that we're approaching another such moment of advertising saturation; I've just had three commercials in a row for price comparison sites. I'm not sure what the great cultural significance of this is, but as I've never felt compelled to compare any prices at all, I know it's not working...

Monday, May 19, 2008

Missing Off The Score Of The East German Judge

I suppose that one of the advantages of blogging intermittently is that it makes it quite easy to temporarily drop out of the blogosphere if such is necessary. Nevertheless there is a point at which you have to come back (or otherwise you’re missing, as Jack Dee would have it) and so it’s time for me to break cover, as it were, to let you know what’s been going on (as if you couldn’t guess half of it…)

Then again, it’s difficult to know what to say or how much to say, so I figure that for safety’s sake I should just let the numbers speak for themselves…

Llandaff Ward, Cardiff Council, 2004

Gregory Owens



John Sheppard



Heather Douglas



Stephen Gardener



Hilary Borrow

Liberal Democrat


Erik Williams

Liberal Democrat


Ann Miles

Plaid Cymru


Llandaff Ward, Cardiff Council, 2008

Kirsty Davies

Liberal Democrat


Gareth Aubrey

Liberal Democrat


Craig Williams*



Clare Bath



John Sheppard



Gill Green



Gillian Green

Plaid Cymru


* Assembly Candidate, Cardiff West, 2007
** Labour Group Leader,
Cardiff Council

“Normal” blogging service will be resumed in due course, for now I’ll just thank everyone who came from all four corners of our nations to help us achieve this fantastic result.