RIP Michael Foot

We are not here in this world to find elegant solutions, pregnant with initiative, or to serve the ways and modes of profitable progress. No, we are here to provide for all those who are weaker and hungrier, more battered and crippled than ourselves. That is our only certain good and great purpose on earth, and if you ask me about those insoluble economic problems that may arise if the top is deprived of their initiative, I would answer ‘To hell with them.’ The top is greedy and mean and will always find a way to take care of themselves. They always do.

— Michael Foot, 1983

George Stewart

BBC NEWS | UK | Scotland | Glasgow, Lanarkshire and West | Man ‘killed as he walked his dog’

I’m not sure what made me look at this article on the BBC News website, but when I did, I think I just discovered that one of my friends from Strathclyde University has been murdered.

George Stewart was a mature student from Darvel (or ‘Dervel’, as he insisted it be pronounced) who joined Mechanical Engineering in second year in 1988. He’d worked for de Havilland in Ayrshire, and was a time-served engineer. He was working for one of the big engineering companies (maybe Howden) that were just waning under Maggie’s relentless efforts. George breezed through practical work (especially drawing) but found some of the theoretical stuff more challenging. He was a jovial soul, and good company in a lab or tutorial.

I can’t say for certain that this is the same George Stewart – but Darvel’s a small town, his picture looks the same, and he’d be the right age. Condolences to his family and friends – George was a great guy.
If you know anything, please contact Strathclyde Police Force.

Woody’s gone

Forrest S. “Woody” Stoddard passed away last week. He was a pioneer of wind energy in the USA, first working on the UMass Wind Furnace, then dedicated his life to the industry.

Without people like Woody Stoddard, there wouldn’t be large scale wind energy today.

John Herald, RIP

I was sorry to hear that John Herald had died. We saw him play in Glasgow, just as he was recording Roll On John, his last — and probably only in-print — CD. He was a great entertainer.

The CD (linked above) was recorded with members of Radio Sweethearts, Battlefield Band and Belle & Sebastian. You’d like it.

BCG, RIP

The scourge of British school life is going away: the BCG injection is being dropped. Thisteen year olds from the 1930s have sported suppurating left shoulders because of this. It was a favourite target of school bullies, being whacked on the tender injection site. My BCG scar, 23 years on, is greatly faded, but still there

So goodbye, Bacillus Calmette-Guérin; we hardly knew you … ow, my BCG!

Hovis Presley, 1960 – 2005

I rely on you

I rely on you
like a Skoda needs suspension
like the aged need a pension
like a trampoline needs tension
like a bungee jump needs apprehension

I rely on you
like a camera needs a shutter
like a gambler needs a flutter
like a golfer needs a putter
like a buttered scone involves some butter

I rely on you
like an acrobat needs ice cool nerve
like a hairpin needs a drastic curve
like an HGV needs endless derv
like an outside left needs a body swerve

I rely on you
like a handyman needs pliers
like an auctioneer needs buyers
like a laundromat needs driers
like The Good Life needed Richard Briers

I rely on you
like a water vole needs water
like a brick outhouse needs mortar
like a lemming to the slaughter
Ryan’s just Ryan without his daughter
I rely on you

© H Presley 1994

The Passing of The Grammarian

Eleanor Gould died last week.

In subsequent years, friends at the magazine would visit or send gifts: books, flowers, a basket of cheeses and fruit. But after a while she found such attentions hard to bear. She missed the work that she could no longer do. To one correspondent she sent a beautiful letter, frank and kind, needlessly grateful, which ended with the sentence “Please forget about me.

UofT Solar Car

UofT Solar Car
I was very sad to hear that the UofT solar car crashed, killing the driver. I didn’t know Andrew Frow, but I knew some of the Blue Sky Solar Racing team from the sustainability/renewable energy project around UofT.

Goodbye, Cecilia

cecilia zhang poster
I really wish this weren’t true: Police confirmed Sunday that the human remains found in a wooded ravine west of Toronto are those of nine-year-old Cecilia Zhang, who went missing last October.

Anyone who has been in Toronto since last October can’t have missed the news about Cecilia’s abduction. And until today, I think everyone had a wee bit of hope left.

bad news

Despite what I hoped when I said Don’t be dead, Mr. Spalding, it has been confirmed tha Spalding Gray’s Body Found Washed Ashore on Brooklyn Waterfront.