Andrew Neil’s splendid opening monologue for the This Week programme

I watched yesterday evening’s BBC’s This Week programme. I enjoy Andrew’s opening monologue and the take of the week by Michael Portillo and whomever sits on the sofa with him. The two things neatly encapsulate the happenings of the political week.

Andrew Neil’s opening monologue is truly worthy of setting down here. Punchy, caustic, and delivered with his usual elan. Stirring stuff.

Keith Palmer had been a copper for 15 years, a husband, a dad, brother, uncle, public servant. Before joining the police, he’d been in the army, defending our nation.

Yesterday he was murdered defending our democracy, defending the very heart of our democracy from a barbarian at the gate.

Just doing his duty, reminding us of something we badly needed reminding, that the most important people in this country are not the rich, the powerful, the famous but those who run to confront the enemies of our civilisation while the rest of us are running away. First responders like PC Palmer.

Brutally stabbed to death by a jumped-up jihadi, not fit to breathe the same air as the man he killed.

Now I know there are still some ‘Jihadi Johnnies’ out there who think they will eventually triumph because their love of death is greater than our love of life.

So let me say this to you. Do you have any idea who you’re dealing with?

This is the country that stood up alone to the might of the Luftwaffe, air force of the greatest evil mankind has ever known.

If you think we’re going to be cowed by some pathetic, Poundland terrorist in an estate car with a knife, then you’re as delusional as you are malevolent.

Yes, you have the power to hurt us. Sometimes the hurt is more than we can bear – but you cannot defeat us.

Because for every brainwashed, brain dead Islamist you send to do us harm, we have thousands upon thousands of Keith Palmers. You find them in every walk of life and in every part of the land, they come in all shapes, all sizes, all colours, all faiths. They are the British people and against them you will never prevail.

Reflections on the sacrifice of others for our freedom

330px-Noor_Inayat_KhanI read the story of the heroism and sacrifice of Noor Inayat Khan, and other SOE agents in WW2, on the information boards at Wanborough Great Barn during our recent visit there.

My quiet contemplation while reading the stories of SOE agents caused me to reflect on my emotions.

It’s this. My respect and thanks to those who sacrificed their lives to protect our freedom increases as I age. Something to do with cumulative value of years lived, if that makes sense.

A Dylan-tastic week of Bob Dylan songs: It Ain’t Me babe

I’ve posted three Bob Dylan songs so far. I hope you’ve enjoyed them. The previous song – Desolation Row – was more of a long balladeer’s story. This Dylan song – It Ain’t Me Babe, is both shorter, more tuneful, and a tad more upbeat. the song was recorded in June 1964, and appeared on the Dylan LP – Another Side of Bob Dylan.

The version on this video was recorded in 1965 at the Free Trade Hall in Manchester, England. As for earlier songs, the lyrics can be seen below the video.

Go ‘way from my window
Leave at your own chosen speed
I’m not the one you want, babe
I’m not the one you need
You say you’re lookin’ for someone
Who’s never weak but always strong
To protect you an’ defend you
Whether you are right or wrong
Someone to open each and every door
But it ain’t me, babe
No, no, no, it ain’t me babe
It ain’t me you’re lookin’ for, babe

Go lightly from the ledge, babe
Go lightly on the ground
I’m not the one you want, babe
I will only let your down
You say you’re lookin’ for someone
Who will promise never to part
Someone to close his eyes for you
Someone to close his heart
Someone who will die for you an’ more
But it ain’t me, babe
No, no, no, it ain’t me babe
It ain’t me you’re lookin’ for, babe

Go melt back in the night
Everything inside is made of stone
There’s nothing in here moving
An’ anyway I’m not alone
You say you’re looking for someone
Who’ll pick you up each time you fall
To gather flowers constantly
An’ to come each time you call
A lover for your life an’ nothing more
But it ain’t me, babe
No, no, no, it ain’t me, babe
It ain’t me you’re lookin’ for, babe

A Dylan-tastic week of Bob Dylan songs: Desolation Row

Stick with me here, please. You’ve, hopefully, listened to Don’t Think Twice It’s All Right and Mr Tambourine Man. Today’s Bob Dylan song could be more of a challenge, especially if you’re not ‘into’ Dylan. The song is Desolation Row. It’s over 11 minutes and has imaginative lyrics, which are shown below the video.

They’re selling postcards of the hanging
They’re painting the passports brown
The beauty parlor is filled with sailors
The circus is in town
Here comes the blind commissioner
They’ve got him in a trance
One hand is tied to the tight-rope walker
The other is in his pants
And the riot squad they’re restless
They need somewhere to go
As Lady and I look out tonight
From Desolation Row.

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A Dylan-tastic week of Bob Dylan songs: Mr. Tambourine Man

I hope you enjoyed yesterday’s Bob Dylan song – Don’t Think Twice It’s All Right.

Today’s choice is Mr. Tambourine Man. While there’s a video version of the song Dylan singing at the Newport Folk Festival in 1964, I prefer is the plain audio version of Dylan singing live in Manchester in May 1965. As before, the lyrics follow the video.

Hey, Mr. Tambourine man, play a song for me
I’m not sleepy and there is no place I’m going to
Hey, Mr. Tambourine man, play a song for me
In the jingle jangle morning I’ll come following you

Though I know that evenings empire has returned into sand
Vanished from my hand
Left me blindly here to stand but still not sleeping
My weariness amazes me, I’m branded on my feet
I have no one to meet
And the ancient empty street’s too dead for dreaming

Hey, Mr. Tambourine man, play a song for me
I’m not sleepy and there is no place I’m going to
Hey, Mr. Tambourine man, play a song for me
In the jingle jangle morning I’ll come following you

Continue reading

A Dylan-tastic week of Bob Dylan songs: Don’t Think Twice It’s All Right

It’s going to be a ‘Dylan-tastic’ week, with a Bob Dylan song every day. Here’s the first song, Don’t Think Twice It’s All Right. Written in 1962 and released in 1963, and on the LP The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan.

The Dylan songbook accompanied my late teenage years. I won’t prattle on about his influence on the culture of the time, other than to say the freshness of his music, originality of his lyrics, were the backdrop to an amazing period of change. While Dylan never wanted to be anyone’s hero. He is one of mine,

Here’s a couple of peerless lines from from this break-up song. Lyrics below the video.

Still I wish there was somethin’ you would do or say
To try and make me change my mind and stay

It ain’t no use to sit and wonder why, babe
If you dont know by now
An’ it ain’t no use to sit and wonder why, babe
It don’t matter anyhow

When your rooster crows at the break of dawn
Look out your window and I’ll be gone
You’re the reason I’m travelin’ along
Don’t think twice, it’s alright

Well, it ain’t no use in turnin’ on your light, babe
That light I never knowed
An’ it ain’t no use in turnin’ on your light, babe
I’m on the dark side of the road

Still I wish there was somethin’ you would do or say
To try and make me change my mind and stay
But we never did too much talkin’ anyway
So don’t think twice, it’s alright

It ain’t no use in callin’ out my name, gal
Like you never done before
It ain’t no use in callin’ out my name, gal
I can’t hear you any more

I’m a-thinkin’ and a-wonderin’ walkin down the road
I once loved a woman, a child I’m told
I gave her my heart but she wanted my soul
But don’t think twice, it’s alright

So I’m walkin’ down that long lonesome road, babe
Where I’m bound, I can’t tell
But goodbye’s too good a word, babe
So I’ll just say fare thee well

I ain’t sayin’ you treated me unkind
You could have done better but I don’t mind
You just kinda wasted my precious time
But don’t think twice, it’s alright

A magical hour spent listening to Richard Feynman

I said that I’d follow up on Richard Feynman. Well, there’s no better hour to be spent than listening to Richard Feynman’s interview for BBC Horizon in 1981.

You can watch it a number of ways, in this video in DailyMotion, or through the BBC iPlayer repeat of the programme, and even in bite sized chunks on the BBC iPlayer HERE. There’s even more to see about The Fantastic Mr Feynman – again by the BBC.

Whichever way you choose, it’s simply riveting.

Memorable talk on Operation Zest on Tristan da Cunha

1280px-TristanfromspaceAt our lunch meeting at Camberley & District Probus Club this week we hosted a memorable after-lunch talk. Our speaker was Mike Forster whose gave us a riveting talk on Operation Zest – to rebuild the damaged Calshot Harbour in Tristan da Cunha.

Bonus points if you know where Tristan da Cunha is located.

It’s known as ‘The remotest island in the world’. It’s a volcanic island in the southern Atlantic Ocean, of just 82 square miles with an almost continuous coastline of steep cliffs and a huge volcano peak some 2,060m above sea level.

Mike Forster was, at the time of the operation in March 2008, a Major in the Royal Engineers, and led a team of specialists from the Royal Engineers and Royal Logistic Corps to rebuild the harbour.

He spoke about his reconnaissance mission to the island to assess what was needed for the project. Being so remote all the operation’s needs had to be provided at one time. If equipment broke, obtaining spares would be impossible.

Assembling the Operation, Mike said he asked for a ship, and was surprised to be given RFA Lyme Bay, then only having just been made operational. Asking for medical support Mike was provided with a complete medical team. The Captain of RFA Lyme Bay was in overall command of Operation Zest.

I’ll let you trawl through these links to find out more about a successful HM Armed Forces operation.