Singasnore — What makes a good F1 race?

What do viewers at home love about F1? It is great wheel-to-wheel racing? Lots of overtaking? Strategy calls? Or the venues? Looking at the polarised reactions to this past weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix got me wondering. A few of the journalists were pretty effusive about the race. Will Buxton was particularly euphoric: Epic race. One […]

Walkers crisps — a miscellany of moans

Limited edition crisps Walkers’ limited edition crisps are marketing genius, but culinary crap. Am I the only one to have noticed that Walkers just wheel out the same flavours over and over again? The only difference is the names. From the current World Cup series, I have definitely had ‘French garlic baguette’ some time before. […]

Scotland’s well-behaved nationalists

One thing that really stuck me about the leaflets from Ukip and the BNP for the recent European Parliamentary election was the fact that they were stuffed full of cheesy patriotic symbols — Union Flags, Spitfires, Winston Churchills and so on. Any electorate in the world will have a certain contingent who are enticed by […]

Five disturbing things about democracy

Here it is: that post I’ve been sitting on for upwards of a year. Before I start, I am going to make a few introductory notes about what I do and don’t mean when I call democracy disturbing. I find that all too often debates about this subject are clouded by dogma, which leads to […]

Music of 2008: #25–#11

At the end of every year I write a post ranking my favourite music releases of the year. But for 2008 I was very busy, and I had other things I wanted to write about more. Now that it’s February, I think I’d really better get on with it. I know not many people will […]

Do they have to make it so blatant?

I know that all politicos have a major boner for American politics and that this year is just one non-stop wet dream. But do our lot have to make their affection quite so blatant? As Alex Massie noted a last week, at the Labour Party conference, Gordon Brown was setting himself up as the experienced […]

Was Sébastien Tellier robbed?

One to file under “why on earth didn’t I think of that?”. Ewan Spence has analysed each of this year’s Eurovision Song Contest entries in Last.fm. For those who don’t know, Last.fm is a smart website that tracks your music (or podcast) listening habits. It can generate recommendations for you, but I joined the site […]

Bluffer’s guide — Part 5: Other motor racing series (continued)

This is the second part of my two-part series looking at other motor racing series. Read the first part here. Entry-level series (yellow boxes) These series are — as the heading suggests — ideal for those drivers who have just finished karting and are racing cars for the first time. Formula Renault 2.0 The most […]

Bluffer’s guide — Part 3: teams and drivers

At last, bluffer’s guide makes its return. For the past couple of months I’ve been too busy to continue the series, but now I have some more free time. Previous bluffer’s guides have looked at the rules and aspects of strategy. This guide will look at issues around teams and drivers: how they enter, why […]

Why the Eurovision bloc voting theory is bogus

How Terry Wogan sees Europe So, yet another Eurovision Song Contest, and get another round of chest-beating and sour grapes from people who think that the reason the UK came last was because of a Europe-wide conspiracy against us and in favour of any of those commies to the east. Every year the protests seem […]