Category Archives: Life

Paul Actual McCartney

I’ve waited 30 years for this, but on Saturday 23rd, at the O2 Arena in London, I finally saw Paul McCartney live!

He’s 72 years old — he’ll be 73 in less than a month. Yet he played forty songs.

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My quest to become overweight

I am 1.81 meters tall — I know this, because I got the nurse to measure me at my annual health-check a few days ago. For the last decade or so, my weight (or mass, if you’re scientifically inclined and pedantic) has hovered between 100 and 105 kg. At the bottom end of that range, 100 kg and 1.81 m gives me a body mass index of 100 / 1.812 = 30.5. According to the standard categories, that makes me obese — only just, as the threshhold is 30.

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A busy few days

These are busy days. In a few minutes, I’ll drive down to Newport, just across the Welsh border, to do a short set at The People’s Folk Festival. Tomorrow morning, I’ll play in a competitive football match for, I think, the first time in a decade (for Cinderford Veterans). Then I’ll watch proper footballers in the afternoon, as Liverpool play Aston Villa in the FA Cup semi-final. Then I’ll drive down to London to stay with old friends for a couple of days as I participate in the Royal Society’s discussion on The Future of Scholarly Scientific Communication. Oh, and I made sushi a couple of days ago.

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Great service is not dead

Several years ago, my brother Gerard gave us an Xbox 360 Elite for Christmas. At the time I was sceptical: we had a PS2 already and I didn’t see the need for another console. But time showed Gerard’s wisdom: the Xbox has been used for many thousands of hours of gaming — I myself have played well over a hundred hours of Just Cause 2 on it.

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It’s impossible to melt a Cadbury Flake

I discovered by accident that it’s impossible to melt a Cadbury Flake — our son needed to melt some chocolate for school-related reasons at short notice, and the Flake was the only chocolate we had in the house. Although it tastes identical to other Cadbury’s chocolate, it simply will not melt, instead breaking down into a coarse chocolate powder.

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How to run 5 km (aging, overweight people edition)

[A quick break from the Heavy Metal Timeline series. We’ll get right back to that after this announcement.]

I am no kind of athlete. Even as a kid, I was a slow runner. I loved football, but I was never a good player. Humiliatingly, I could never think quickly on the pitch, to spot the pass others miss — the one thing I might legitimately have expected to be good at.

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And now I’m 46 years old, I weigh 104 kg, I have a BMI of 31.3 which makes me clinically obese, and my job is the most sedentary imaginable: I walk the five meters from my bed to my desk every morning and spend all day sitting in front of a computer.

That means that if I can run 5 km, so can you!

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Consider driving a hire-car home from the airport

Here’s a handy travel tip if, like me, you live out in the countryside. Getting home from airports on public transport can be cumbersome, time-consuming and risk-prone: one delayed train early in a sequence can badger up your whole journey. I’ve found it useful to hire a car for a one-way journey.

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Several times on business trips, my inbound flight has dumped me at the airport at a time when there’s no good public transport to get me home, so I have rented cars in advance, picked them up from the airport, driven home, and had the rental company pick the car up from there. Continue reading