MJ

“He touched a lot of people”

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The plight of the homeless

Famous, Rich and Homeless

Format: Five Celebrities (whatever that means) attempt to live the lives of homeless people in three-day trials that get tougher.

Prize: None

Great show on the Beeb brought to light the perils and hardships that homeless people in Britain face. Must watch for everyone. Some of the stories brought tears to my eyes.

Kensington Roof Gardens

I watched a programme yesterday about wildlife refuges in London, and they showed a beautiful rooftop garden, the largest in Europe, on top of an ex-department store. They are open to the public unless booked, and accessible through a doorway marked ’99 Kensington High Street’. The garden had oak trees in 18 inches of topsoil and four swans, a couple of which where called Splosh and Pecks!

May you never.

Heard this beautiful song on the radio today. By British Singer/Songwriter John Martyn.

May you never lay your head down without a hand to hold
May you never make your bed out in the cold

You’re just like a great strong brother of mine and you know that I love you true
You never talk dirty behind my back and I know there are those that do
Won’t you please, won’t you please, won’t you bear in mind
Love is a lesson to learn in our time
Won’t you please won’t please won’t you bear in mind for me

May you never lay your head down without a hand to hold
May you never make your bed out in the cold

And you’re just like a good close sister me and you know that I love you true
You hold no blade to stab me in the back and I know that some do
Won’t you please won’t you please won’t you bear in mind
Love is a lesson to learn time
Won’t you please won’t you please won’t you bear it mind for me

May you never lay your head down without a hand to hold
May you never make your bed out in the cold

May you never lose your temper if you get hit in a bar room fight
May you never lose your woman over night

May you never lay your head down without a hand to hold
May you never make your bed out in the cold

May you never lose your temper if you get hit in a bar room fight
May you never lose your woman over night

Will the sex life of insects ever stop interesting us?

I just read about the humble pond skater. More precisely, about how male pond skaters are forced to dance for sex.

Apparently, the females of one species have evolved a genital shield (now there’s a scary thought; sort of like a portcullis/guillotine (both of these French words, I note) clamping shut when she’s not happy) and only mate with the male if they like the song he taps out on the water surface.

Reminds me of Sting’s eight-hour sexathon claim, which he says included “four hours of begging then dinner and a movie”.

Yes, according to New Scientist it takes “an elaborate mating ritual lasting about 15 minutes” before the poor male will get a nod and a leg over. Which makes you wonder how much energy he’ll have left…

You can’t make these things up, and here’s the proof. The next time I see a male red-backed water strider, usually found in stationary pools beside mountain streams in Korea, Japan and China I’m reliably told, I will send a genuine wave of empathic feeling his way.

Tiananmen Square – 20 Years on

I watched a documentary on BBC2 yesterday presented by reporter Kate Adie who was on the scene in Beijing during the Tiananmen Square massacre of June ’89. Returning 20 years later for the first time, her views, memories and impressions were very interesting.

I did not realise that the People’s Liberation Army actually did most of the slaughtering in the side alleys leading off the square, where the narrow streets were turned into shooting galleries, and people were injured and killed by bullets flying through thin walls.

I was also unaware of the fact that this episode in the history of China has largely gone missing from public record, and a new generation has grown up unaware of the atrocities committed. Banyan of The Economist has also reported in his article this week “The Party goes on” on the effective white-washing of the incident by the Chinese Government, and noted the fact that modern youth will look to this year’s military parade with a sense of pride in a symbol of Chinese resurgence and power.

I wondered why I hadn’t had a discussion on this topic with my numerous Chinese friends here in the UK.

I applaud the courage of the students and workers, and mourn the unnecessary loss of life. I note that 20 years on the Politburo hasn’t changed its modus operandi much.