Great, Recent(ish) Radio Comedy

Laura Solon, Talking and not Talking – Weird, but beguiling. Bloody well done.
Lucy Montgomery’s Variety Pack – Not Laura Solon, but very, very good.
Ed Reardon’s Week – Sublime.
Brian Gulliver’s Travels – Vying for top spot with Ed Reardon.
The Castle – Silly and fun with kick-ass medieval soundtrack. Perfect antidote for these austere times. If it had been ported to TV it could have been this generation’s Blackadder.
Cabin Pressure – Written by that ever-so-clever young man, John Finnemore and with the cast of Parades End to boot.
Double Science – Absolutely, ruddy skilly-wonka.
More or Less – Technically not comedy, but very tongue in cheek and you get to learn stuff too.
Fags, Mags and Bags – Welcome to the world of shop.
Little Britain – Write the feem toon, sing the feem toon. I’ll be so good for you.
In and Out of the Kitchen – Miles Jupp as a gay food snob. Can’t get enough. Only four episodes, so far…
Giles Wemmbley Hogg – So loveable, so naive, so funny.


Bigots at the Golf Club

If a golf club had a rule precluding a woman from becoming the clubhouse manager, or refused to serve homosexual couples drinks, there would be a small outcry. The story would almost certainly make the national news and the golf club in question would be laying itself wide open to litigation.

When a church has a rule precluding women from becoming bishops and refuses to marry people of similar gender – well, there is also a small outcry and the story makes the national news.

But wait, there is a difference; the golf club is obviously run by a bunch of odious old bigots who need slapping down and quickly. The leaders of the church are nice but misguided people struggling with an issue of conscience.

My wife often accuses me of seeing things in binary rather than fully considering the nuances of an argument, so I shall refrain from drawing a conclusion about the church’s recent policy stances other than saying that we often seem to make different judgements about what are essentially identical scenarios based upon the context in which they are given to us.

Here’s another germane example. I have an ISA. I know, aren’t I a bastard? I’m AVOIDING TAX! Of course what I’m doing is perfectly legal, it’s not tax evasion after all, but it is morally outrageous. I’m deliberately, deliberately I say, structuring my affairs to reduce my tax bill and thereby depriving ‘hard working families’ of vital services. It’s worse, I’m a higher rate tax payer (not in the 45% bracket in case you’re wondering), the saving my ISA gives me is MORE than that a basic rate tax payer would get.

What’s that? You have an ISA? You pay higher rate tax (but not 45%) ? You don’t think there’s anything wrong with that?

Have you not been reading the papers? We’re the new lowest of the low. Starbucks, Google, Amazon and now us.

Of course there is no difference apart from Starbucks, Google and Amazon are big and successful and vaguely sinister and they’re companies and they’re American.

I am none of these things.

Buy Apple, Sell Apple

‘Eighty per cent of our revenues are from products that didn’t exist 60 days ago.’

This seemingly extraordinary quote is attributed to Tim Cook, CEO of Apple and it was doing the rounds in the papers at the weekend.

It’s obviously supposed to make you stop and consider what an amazing company Apple is (I agree), but as I was reading this in the business section I also presume it’s supposed to make me consider what a great investment Apple shares will be (I disagree).

To start with the products in question aren’t really new products, they’re newer versions of existing products. Not the same thing at all.

But the real reason I wouldn’t touch Apple shares is because eighty percent of their revenues are from products that didn’t exist 60 days ago.

Any business that relies on industrial levels of creativity to succeed is bound to slip on a banana skin eventually. Just ask the bosses of the big pharma’ companies. They had masses of success in the seventies bringing new blockbuster cures to market, so much so that they decided to reinvest their profits to generate even more innovation. Glaxo’s huge R&D operation at Stevenage is testament to their heroic failure. It turns out you can’t buy creativity and original thinking.

My idea of a great investment is the company that had one wizard idea 60 years ago and is still making money from it today.

Love my iPhone5 though.