19.12.10

Daily Moan #1 and #2

I've decided to start a New Year's Resolution early. It's to be called 'Daily Moan' and is a result of my becoming a Grumpy Old Man of Leisure. What I'm worrying about already, however, is that I might not even be able to write a moan every single day, so I'll start with two. And what about when I go on holiday? Well we'll cross that bridge when we come to it. My cyber-friend Mock Duck started a blog called Draw Anyway (which got hijacked by link farmers and is now in German!) a while back with the intention of posting a drawing every day, but that inspirational endeavour ended suddenly - she'd set the bar too high for herself. Will I make the same mistake? Maybe this should be entitled Monthly Moan?

Anyway Moan No.1: I was just dipping in to the excellent compilation The atheist's guide to Christmas (Friday Books, £7.99 in Sussex Stationers), reading the bit by Robin Ince about the Godless Concerts (I saw one recently at Brighton Dome and what a great line-up - from Richard Herring to Dara O'Briain in one Ken Dodd-length event) when I came to the bit where he mentions the 'Royal Institute Lectures' (p 290). This, I'm afraid, really made me cringe, making me draw back my lips over clenched teeth and furrow my eyebrows in a Wallace and Gromit grimace. Why? One of my earliest jobs was as a sub-editor in the publications department of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, then in Birdcage Walk. One of the first things they drummed into me was that there exist Institutions and Institutes and never ever to get them mixed up. There's the Institute of Physics and the Royal Institute of British Architects, but it's the Institution of Civil Engineers and... a quick Google would have revealed The Royal Institution (of Great Britain)! Shame on you Robin and the subs at HarperCollins! Call me a pedant, but these things matter.

The Royal Institution Christmas Lectures, one of the best series of programmes on TV, starts on 28 December on BBC4 at 8pm, presented by Dr Mark Miodownik, and this year's theme is 'Size matters'. BTW the RIGB website was pretty rubbish when I tried it, so best to look at the BBC4 one. Incidentally, I also once worked in the basement of the Royal Institution, amongst Rutherford's old experimental apparatus, in my final year vac (c. 1968) on a University of Surrey project, growing cadmium crystals and then slicing them up - don't ask me why, I was just following orders. I remember we all used to stop for tea and cucumber sandwiches in the Marble Hall at 4pm.

Moan #2: I love to read the Independent on Sunday, especially the section where it tells me what to look forward to on telly next week. But... why make the film of the week something being shown on Sky Movies Premiere when I can't get it on Freeview! They get me all excited then deflate me, all in the space of a few seconds.
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