Sunday 14 November 2010


It's been a long week. From last Sunday night and throughout a busy though successful Monday to Friday (including our best ever AGM/Conference) I had a nasty cough and sinus headache which only lifted yesterday. This morning it took a supreme effort to get up early, go to the gym, and put in a long session to open up the lungs and generally jump-start my creaking mortal carapace.

While puffing along on the running machine I watch Match of the Day with nice Gary Lineker whose good manners make up a bit for the soporific Premier League "highlights" (what an earth can the rest of these matches be like?) followed by Andrew Marr who is usually good value but the report from Burma is spoilt by John Simpson sweatily telling us nothing at all - what is the point of sending "senior reporters" to news hot-spots about which they clearly know nothing? Anyway, I won't comment myself on Aung San Suu Kyi's welcome release beyond saying what everybody else must be thinking but not daring to say for fear of sounding trivial: I want some of whatever she's on, making her serene and perfectly poised as well as looking hardly a day older than when she was banged up 20 years ago, in spite of her husband dying without her and all the other shocking treatment which would have made a lesser mortal bitter and twisted in both mind and body. Notwithstanding the media frenzy she really is inspirational, very like old Nelson M who surprised everybody when he emerged from prison looking like a mature film star and, even more impressively, with a sunny and generous disposition belying his terrible experience of captivity.

Then to Lush in Swansea for two tubs of their "Prince" shaving cream, a hideously expensive luxury which I allow myself. The hovering neo-punk shop assistant volunteers that her boyfriend uses it, and when I go to the counter the girl on the till says she uses it - I give her a look and she adds without blinking "for under me arms". This does not surprise me as it is evidently part of their training to make you think you have made the smart choice and I've heard the same about Sex Bomb "bath ballistics", Iridescent Glitterbug massage bars, and "Honey I've washed the kids" soap, among many joyful purchases. I love Lush with its charming if implausible staff and crazy fruit and veg aromas, unlike Bodyshop with its indifferent service and cheap smell reminiscent of old bubblegum found stuck under the table of a Great Western train.