Tuesday, June 01, 2021

Our Doctors Say This Is No Time To Bleed

It has been a positive age-and-a-half since yer actual From The North was last updated (well, it's been just over three weeks if we're being completely accurate about it). This blogger could give all dear blog readers a whole ream of crass excuses for this, frankly, right shite state of affairs - one or two of them may even be true. But, at the end of the day, life is not built that way and even the most foresightful amongst us cannot always predict those moments when life bowls a tricky googly which goes the opposite way to what you'd expected. Cricket mtaphor for the uninformed. 
Firstly, in this latest bloggerisationisms update, therefore, we have some cautiously good news. This blogger now is in possession of that there full prickage. Keith Telly Topping is, as a consequence, able to reply to any enquiring tobacconists: 'I am no longer infected.' Which is, obviously, nice for all concerned. The side effects this time around were pretty much the same as with the opening shot; a bit of a headache and some arm pain for a day afterwards but, thereafter, no alarms and no surprises.
Before that malarkey, however, this blogger had a full weekend-and-a-bit of feeling geet grotty-as-shat (it was just a heavy cold, nothing more serious than that, thankfully). It was serious enough, however, to necessitate this blogger spending much of four consecutive days in his stinkin' pit being aal snotty and discombobulated. During which time he managed to re-read (for the third time) all nine hundred and fifty odd pages of Mark Lewisohn's acclaimed Be-Atles biography Tune In between bouts of severe coughing and eating bowls of chicken soup. After that, this blogger subsequently needed a rest to get over his enforced rest.
The Be-Atles incidentally, just in case you're wondering, were a popular beat combo of the 1960s, you might've heard of them.
During this period of enforced rest and much coughing, this blogger spoke on the phone with his brother, an unusual enough occurrence in and of itself. It was a conversation which began concerning a small gift that Our Colin Telly Topping was, very graciously, giving to this blogger in lieu of ... nothing in particular. What can I say, dear blog reader? Some people are just nice. We went on to talk about our collective forthcoming prickage(s), this blogger's prior health issues and other general ephemera. And then, for some bizarre reason which loses a lot in translation, ended up in a lengthy discussion about whatever happened to 'H' from Steps. True story. The Telly Topping family, ladies and gentlemen - mad as toast.
An allegedly 'new' trailer, allegedly, for the 'forthcoming series' of Doctor Who has, allegedly, confirmed at least one - not entirely unexpected - return of an old favourite according to an over-excited piece posted on the Independent website on 21 May. Except that this allegedly 'new' trailer was, in fact, an old trailer - for the 2019 New Year's Day episode Resolution Of The Daleks to be precise. So, pretty much an example of atypical arse reportage which we've come to expect from the Middle Class hippy Communists at the Indi, then? Congratulations, as embarrassing mistakes go, that's a really good one.
On a somewhat-related theme, we should also probably be congratulating some plank of no importance at the Metro for the (one assumes) 'exclusive' revelation that the producers of licensed Doctor Who audio products have undergone something of a piscine regeneration. A product of whales, one imagines. 
There has been something a right old stroppy kerfuffle going down in parts of Doctor Who fandom over the BBC's allegedly 'heavy-handed' stance on copyright (of, let us remember, a creation of their own to which they and they alone are entitled to financially exploit) related to certain fan productions. However, it appears that not everything is as black-and-white as it may appear. Allow the Radio Times to explain further. At great length. 
Meanwhile, old Barrowman his very self continues to lose gainful employment left, right and centre due to his - alleged - past groinal activities and self-confessed 'tomfoolery.' As detailed here and here. If you were ever wondering just how quickly a career can get itself derailed, John me auld china, have a word with Kevin Spacey, one is sure he'll be able to fill you in on the unexpurgated details. It appears that Barrowman's replacement in the latter production - the 'interactive experience' Tim Fracture - will be the very excellent Jo Martin. Who, as far as this blogger is aware, has never been accused to waving her penis about in an untoward manner. And, a jolly good thing too, this blogger reckons.
Further additions to the cast of the forthcoming - and much anticipated - adaptation of Neil Gaiman's The Sandman have been announced. Although Stephen Fry has already given the game away about his involvement in the Netflix series, as previously mentioned on this blog. Earlier cast announcements were made in February. This blogger hopes - and, indeed, believes - it's going to be great.
Perhaps inevitably, since this is the world we now live in, some self-entitled pricks 'took to social media' to whinge like whinging whingers about some of these recently announced casting decision. As though that has anything to do with them in the first place. From The North favourite Gaiman was, delightfully, having none of that crap and told them where to get off and what to do with the horse they rode in on. Which was, not unexpectedly, extremely funny. Still, one imagines 'being publicly slapped down into the gutter along with all the other turds by Neil Gaiman' is something of a cause for bragging rights in parts of Sandman fandom. Perhaps we'll never care. 
Fans eagerly awaiting the final episode of Kate Winslet's acclaimed drama Mare Of Easttown were made to wait for even longer when streaming service HBO Max crashed just as it was due to start. Winslet plays a detective in the murder mystery, which has been one of the most talked-about TV shows of recent months. For what it's worth, this blogger thought it was great. But many US viewers trying to watch on HBO Max had to wait several hours. And, gosh but were they unhappy about such malarkey? The finale was praised by critics, though, with the Daily Torygraph hailing it as 'an absolute masterpiece. The whodunit has always been only one element of Mare Of Easttown,' wrote the paper's reviewer That Awful Singh Woman. 'What unfolded was a compendium of all that made the show great.' Soon after episode seven was due to be made available on Sunday, HBO Max tweeted that it was 'aware some customers may be experiencing issues streaming.'
With its second and final series now concluded, Prodigal Son co-creators Chris Fedak and Sam Sklaver have reflected on the blood-splattered carnage of the finale featuring Tom Payne's Malcolm Bright and Michael Sheen's Martin Whitley. Not entirely unexpectedly FOX cancelled the series - From The North's 2020 'curiosity of the year' - after two spasmodically interesting but, often, frustratingly uneven series. A report on the Bleeding Cool website suggests that the production company, Warner Brothers, have not yet given up hope of finding Prodigal Son a new home. This blogger's advice, however, is don't hold your breath.
One man in his time really does play many parts, it seems, according to an Argentine newsreader who mixed up the author William Shakespeare with the first man to receive a Pfizer inoculation. Canal Twenty Six presenter Noelia Novillo announced that 'one of the most important writers in the English language, for me The Master' had, sadly, died. In fact it was his namesake, Bill Shakespeare who died in a hospital earlier this week aged eighty one. Shakespeare (no, the other one) died in 1616. However, that was seemingly news to Novillo who told her audience on Thursday: 'We've got news that has stunned all of us given the greatness of this man. We're talking about William Shakespeare and his death. We'll let you know how and why it happened.' With social media proving that all the world is now a stage, commentators feasted on the presenter's silly gaffe. 'The Montagues and the Capulets went to the wake,' one wag wrote on Twitter. 'The UK took more than four centuries to warn of the virus. On top of that, they blame China,' wrote another. Bill Shakespeare, a former Rolls Royce worker and parish councillor, received his first jab in December becoming the first man - and the second person - to receive the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine in a blaze of publicity. He died on Thursday from an unrelated illness, University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust said.
The Premier League has agreed to roll over its existing television deal with broadcasters for a further three years. The new deal with Sky Sports, BT Sport, Amazon Prime Video and BBC Sport will run from 2022 to 2025. The current 4.7 billion knicker deal, agreed in 2018, represented a ten per cent drop in value. Which, one imagines, comes as a considerable blow to the more greedy of football's current hierarchy. They - and you - know exactly who they are. So, good news there, then. The Government has approved the deal 'in principle' with an 'exclusion order' under the competition act, which allows the league to renew without its normal tender process. 'In light of the damaging impact of the Covid-19 pandemic throughout the English football pyramid, the Premier League was able to demonstrate to Government exceptional and compelling reasons for the Exclusion Order,' the league said. As part of the new deal, BT Sport say that to help with the fixture congestion, they will change their Saturday lunchtime game to an evening slot when teams involved have played in Europe on the previous Wednesday. Clubs had been concerned that there could be another fall in value if the usual open-market auction started as planned next month. The value of rights for domestic leagues in Europe also appears to have peaked. The Premier League say that the renewals will provide financial certainty to professional clubs and also enables an additional one hundred million smackers of funding to be provided to clubs throughout the football pyramid over the next four years. The extra funding will be available to more than a thousand clubs in the National League system, women's and girls' football, EFL League One and League Two clubs and the Football Foundation. It will also support a number of football-wide projects, including the Premier League's work looking at head injuries in football, anti-discrimination and fan groups. The EFL said it 'welcomes' the increased funding but warned: 'It is important to acknowledge that the current media rights deal will preserve the status quo of an unbalanced, unsustainable and unfair financial distribution model across English football. While we recognise the attempts by the government to increase the level of solidarity provided to League One and Two clubs through this process, what is more urgently required is a fundamental reset of the game's financial model - both in terms of fairer distribution of monies at all levels and sensible, realistic cost control measures to ensure clubs will live within their means.' This blogger is decidedly unsure about this entire 'preserving The Status Quo' malarkey, however. Forty years of imaginative use of demin and ponytails is, surely, enough? 'Covid-19 has had a significant impact on football, and renewals with our UK broadcast partners will reduce uncertainty, generate stability and promote confidence within the football pyramid,' said Premier League chief executive Richard Masters. 'We know that, once concluded, this will have a positive impact on the wider industry, jobs and tax revenues.' The Football Association has welcomed the extra one hundred million knicker of funding which chief executive Mark Bullingham says will 'help the pyramid get back on its feet.' David Kogan, the former Premier League rights executive, said the government's involvement in the deal was a 'really marked difference in the way football's been run in the past.' He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: 'This will buy the Premier League three years of some peace.' Sky Sports and BT both claimed the deal was 'good news' for its viewers. And, for their pockets, obviously.
The football season has now, pretty much concluded and socherball fans are looking forward with considerable 'oh, yeah, I'd forgotten about that' to the - much-delayed - '2020' European Championships coming up next month. But, in the meantime, now is probably an opportune moment for a round-up of how the 2020-21 season unfolded. The one hundred and forty first season in English football concluded with Sheikh Yer Man City winning the Premier League. In a season played almost entirely behind closed doors, City overcame a shaky (no pun intended) start to the campaign and secured their third Premiership title in four years; having been in eighth place in mid-December, the team went on a thirteen-match winning run that sent them rocketing up the table and, despite a couple of unexpected losses in the closing stages of the season, secured the title on top of a fourth consecutive League Cup victory and reaching their first ever Champions League final. But, they lost that one. City's local rivals, The Scum, finished second in the Premiership, despite not really being in the title race for much of the season, a consequence of a poor start which included three home losses in their opening six games; however, The Red Devils at least ensured Champions League football once again, thanks in part to a remarkable run of form which saw them go unbeaten away from home all season. But, they ended the season on a downer, losing the final of the Europa League on penalties to Villareal. The battle for the other two Champions League spots went to the final day of the season, with Moscow Chelski FC, Leicester City and The Liverpool Alabama Yee-Haws all in it to win it. Taking third spot were Liverpool, whose first title defence since 1990 was, mostly, one of struggle; whilst they stood top of the league at the end of 2020, a collapse in form in the new year saw both the team's hopes of retaining the title as well as their sixty eight-game unbeaten run at Anfield implode under the weight of a lack of fans and an injury crisis, including a season-ending injury to Virgil van Dijk just five games into the campaign. However, a strong late run (including that outrageous victory over West Brom in which goalkeeper, Alisson, scored the winner in the final minute of injury time), coupled with the teams above them dropping points, helped The Reds squeeze into the top four. Moscow Chelski FC finished fourth, a strong second half of the season under new manager Thomas Tuchel pushing The Blues from as low as ninth near the end of January to both securing a Champions League spot again and winning their first Champions League final since 2012, a successful end to a mixed season (which included a second consecutive FA Cup final defeat). Having spent most of the season in the top four, another stuttering end to the league saw Leicester City finish fifth and miss out, again, on the Champions League, with inferior home form costing them badly. However, The Foxes at least finished the season with a trophy, winning their first ever FA Cup and giving Brendan Rodgers his first piece of silverware with the club. Finishing sixth were West Hamsters United, who surprised many in going further than their seventh-place finish in 2016. The Arse and Stottingtot Hotshots enjoyed differing form across their respective campaigns, The Gunners even hovering just above the drop zone in November, but ended up battling it out for seventh place and the last European spot - which ultimately went to Spurs, at least ensuring European football for the club next season. Dirty Leeds's first top-flight season since 2004 proved to be highly successful, both the team and manager Marcelo Bielsa attracting plenty of praise for their attacking brand of football and providing some spectacular results even in defeat. Despite achieving a few superb results, including taking four points off city rivals Liverpool, Everton's hopes of European football were done-for by a poor run of form at Goodison, securing just six wins compared to eleven on the road. They ended their season in a disappointing tenth position. In what proved to be Nuno Espirito Santo's last season as coach, Wolverhampton Wanderings endured a less successful campaign than their previous two, the loss of striker Raúl Jiménez to a freak accident in a win at The Arse contributed to Wolves sliding down the table after a decent start and only avoiding a relegation scrap because of the poor form of the teams below them. In what also ended up as Roy Hodgson's final season as manager, Crystal Palace also comfortably avoided the drop, extending their record run of top-flight seasons to nine in a row for the next campaign. This blogger's beloved though (still, sadly) unsellable Magpies finished a creditable twelfth thanks to a fine late run of form which, effectively (and, much to many fans severe disappointment) saved the job of Mister Bruice (nasty to see him, to see him nasty). At the bottom of the table, all three relegated teams had their demotion confirmed with at least three games to play and, for the first time since the introduction of three points for a win, none of the relegated sides broke the thirty-point barrier. Just one season after breaking into the top ten and strutting around like they owned the place, Sheffield United endured one of the worst seasons in their history, breaking many unwanted records and equalling the record for the most losses in a Premier League season and the lowest goals scored in a thirty eight-game season. Ultimately, The Blades simply weren't sharp enough. West Bromwich Albinos finished above them, the controversial decision to sack manager Slaven Bilic in December in favour of that odious lard-bucket Sam Allardyce going against The Baggies, the former England manager suffering his second relegation in his managerial history (his first since 1997). Also returning to the second tier after one season was Fulham; despite enjoying a much better campaign defensively, the London club's hopes were ultimately let down by a lack of goals (including a mere nine scored at Craven Cottage), making it the fourth season in a row where they moved between the Premier League and the Championship. Burnley and Brighton & Hove Albinos comfortably avoided the drop as a consequence of the bottom three's significant inadequacies. 
Having been relegated with a whimper the previous year, Norwich City responded in emphatic style, securing both an immediate return to the Premier League and their second Championship title in three campaigns. Finishing second were Watford, who overcame yet another mid-season managerial change (their sixth in just over a year) to join The Canaries in returning to the top-flight after one season. Taking the final promotion spot through the play-offs by beating Swansea City - and ending a barren run of nine play-off campaigns - were Brentford. Who made amends for their narrow play-off loss the previous year and secured promotion to the Premier League for the first time, their win also sending The Bees back into the top-flight for the first time in seventy four years. Despite ultimately losing out in the play-off semi-finals, Barnsley were the surprise package of the campaign; having looked likely to battle relegation again at the end of October and then seeing their head coach depart for America, the appointment of virtually unknown French manager Valérien Ismaël saw The Tykes rocket up the table and comfortably secure fifth place just ahead of Bournemouth. After having battled against relegation since losing in the play-off final in 2017, Reading also enjoyed a much improved season under Veljko Paunović, only missing out on promotion owing to several bouts of indifferent form. Despite hovering above the relegation zone for much of the season, Coventry City managed to get their shit together in their first season in the second tier since 2012, a good run of results in the closing months pushing them into mid-table whilst The Sky Blues also received some good news off-the-pitch, managing to secure a contract to return to The Ricoh Arena after two seasons away. For the second reason running, the battle to avoid relegation saw all three places open going into the last round of games. Taking bottom place in the closing minutes of the season were Sheffield Wednesday, who fought valiantly to avoid the drop, only for the points deduction (twelve later reduced to six on appeal) for breaching financial rules imposed prior to the start of the season result in survival falling out of their reachand sending the Yorkshire club back into the third tier after a nine-year absence. Rotherham United finished second-bottom and were relegated back to League One, making this the fifth successive season in which they swapped between the two divisions; despite ending up as statistically the worst team in the division, they managed to keep themselves in contention for survival - mostly because of having a multitude of games in hand as a result of two COVID-19 outbreaks - and would, actually, have survived had they not conceded an eighty eighth-minute equaliser in their final match. Despite having what proved to be a spirited first season in the Championship, Wycombe Wanderers endured immediate relegation back to League One, their chances ultimately being undone by a dreadful start which saw them lose their first seven games. Derby County, who struggled all season following the appointment of Wayne Rooney as manager in November, would also have been relegated if not for Wednesday's points deduction; they did secure survival on the final day by holding Wednesday to a draw, albeit the result would have relegated them both without Rotherham conceding that late equaliser at Cardiff.
Playing in the third tier for the first time since 2005, Hull City made amends for their dramatic collapse in form and consequent relegation the previous season, this time being in the top two for almost the entire campaign and ultimately emerging as League One champions. Peterborough United finished as runners-up, making this the third time that manager Darren Ferguson had taken The Posh into the Championship and his fourth promotion with the club overall; Peterborough successfully achieved promotion in a three-three draw with Lincoln City. Qualifying for the play-off final were Blackpool and Lincoln with The Seasiders winning the final, two-one at Wembley to secured their return to the Championship for the first time since 2015. Whilst missing out on promotion yet again, The Mackem Filth did at least secure some success, winning the EFL Trophy whilst also gaining new ownership, in the form of businessman Kyril Louis-Dreyfus. Nevertheless, their defeat to Lincoln in the play-offs will be a bitter blow to Sunderland's long-suffering support who now face a fourth season in the third tier. So that's, like, really sad, obviously. A poor start to the campaign for Burton Albion saw The Brewers pulled into a relegation battle, which was won with games to spare following the return of influential manager Jimmy Floyd Hasselhoff for a second spell as manager. Wigan Not Very Athletic endured what proved to be yet another turbulent season both on and off the pitch, battling both a potential second successive relegation (and a potential fourth in seven seasons) and an uncertain future; however, a good run of form late in the season which coincided with The Latics finding new ownership saved the club from the drop. Bristol Rovers finished rock bottom and returned to League Two for the first time in five years, with three different managers - the most recent being Joey Barton - all trying and failing to improve the club's fortunes. Swindon Town's season rapidly fell apart after promotion-winning manager Richie Wellens moved to Salford City early in the campaign, finishing the season with both the most defeats and the worst defence in the division as they suffered relegation back to League Two; fellow newly-promoted side Northampton Town joined them in immediate relegation, The Cobblers being undone by a terrible run during the winter. Rochdale occupied the fourth relegation spot, bringing an end to their longest spell to date in the third tier and finally enduring the relegation they had battled against in previous seasons. Elsewhere, Ipswich Town finished ninth, Accrington Stanley in eleventh and Fleetwood Town in fifteenth. 
In a campaign marked with constant changes among the top three, Cheltenham Town secured promotion back to League One for the first time since 2009, having stayed in the promotion race for nearly the entire season before edging back into the top three in late February. The battle for both the remaining automatic promotion places and the play-off spots ended up going to the final day, with eight different clubs involved. Taking second and third place were Cambridge United and Notlob Wanderers; despite a poor run of form in December, promotion had never looked unlikely for Cambridge, The U's securing promotion to the third tier for the first time since 2002, giving manager Mark Bonner the first promotion of his managerial career. Having spent the majority of the season looking likely to battle a third successive relegation, a surge in form in 2021 saw Notlob head up the table and edge into third place, securing an immediate return to League One. Qualifying for the play-off final were Morecambe (without Wise), a remarkable achievement considering their consistent battles against relegation in the previous seasons and Newport County, who successfully saw off Forest Green Rovers in a tightly fought semi-final second leg. Morecambe (sans Wise) ultimately gained promotion thanks to a controversial penalty in extra-time. In their first ever Football League season, Harrogate Town defied all expectations and achieved safety with a number of games to spare - whilst inconsistent form prevented the Yorkshire side from challenging for promotion, they were never in any serious danger of an immediate return to non-league football. Barrow's first Football League season for forty eight years saw the club ultimately secure survival against all odds - whilst first hit by the loss of manager Ian Evatt to Notlob and then sacking two different replacements before the end of February with results and form looking bleak, the club managed to pull themselves over the line thanks in part to caretaker manager Rob Kelly, who oversaw ten of The Bluebirds' thirteen wins in both his caretaker spells. Scunthorpe United endured the worst season in their one hundred and twenty two year history, finishing third bottom of the league though results elsewhere meant their defeat to Stevenage on the final day of the season did not send them out of the league. Grimsby Town had a season full of struggle and woe on and off the pitch which culminated in relegation - with even the return of manager Paul Hurst, who had overseen their return to the Football League in 2016, failing to help the club escape another drop into the National League. Finishing just above them were Southend United, who suffered their second consecutive relegation and fell out of the Football League for the first time in their history, a run of just one win in their opening fifteen games on top of an inability to score (their twenty nine goals being the lowest scored by anyone in a twenty four-team division since 1982) ended up setting the tone for the club's hopes. And, in similar circumstances to Grimsby, the return of former manager Phil Brown late in the season proved unable to save The Shrimpers from losing their one hundred and one-year Football League status. In a season marked with different teams taking top spot in the National League across the season, as well as postponement, delays and expunged results off the field, Sutton United finished top in their penultimate game and secured promotion to the Football League for the first time in their one hundred and twenty three-year history. The battle to qualify for the play-offs saw the last two spots open going into the final round of games. Torquay United and Stockport County finished second and third, with the play-off quarter-final places being taken by Hartlepool United, Notts County, Chesterfield and Bromley. Mounting financial problems finally took its toll on Macclesfield Town, who were expelled from the National League and then finally wound up in the High Court before the campaign even began - the only positive coming late in the season, with the creation of Macclesfield FC and the new club being given the go-ahead to enter the tenth tier for next season. Dover Athletic also encountered financial problems, which resulted in the team refusing to play due to a lack of promised funding and their results expunged for the season. As a result of the National League electing to declare the sixth tier null and void, no teams were relegated or promoted between the fifth and sixth tiers; a combination of all these factors proved beneficial for King's Lynn Town and Barnet, who were at threat of being cut adrift at the bottom of the table with the most losses and the worst defences in the division, ensuring fifth tier status for both clubs for next season.
Campaigners are calling for a Grade-II listed estate, owned by the BBC, to be opened to the public. Reading's Caversham Park was home to BBC Monitoring before it moved to London when the site was put on the market in 2017. Local residents have now launched a campaign to reinstate footpaths they claim existed in the grounds and to have a say in its future. A BBC spokesman said the corporation was 'still seeking offers' for the site. Don't Fence Me In founder James Denny, who chaired an online public meeting on the issue last month, said residents in Caversham 'felt strongly' about the lack of recreational space. He said the group would first look at opening the estate's footpaths to the public and would then look at working with any potential developer in a bid to use some of the space 'in almost cohabitation - so a museum, an art space, a day centre, or opening up the old swimming pool.' Deputy leader of Reading Borough Council, Tony Page, said: 'In the meeting a number of former employees of the BBC said they thought previous footpaths, they remember using across the site, had disappeared. Whether they are registered rights of way is unclear but I have invited anyone who used to work there, or local residents, to submit evidence of paths that went across the site so we can do further validation on the status of those footpaths.' The BBC spokesman declined to comment on footpaths but said: 'As we've said previously, we are currently seeking offers for the Caversham Park site and we will provide an update once a sale has been completed.' Reading East MP Matt Rodda said he was working with the local community and the council 'to protect the historic building and open it and the grounds, up to the public.' He added: 'I would like to see the house open to the public with a museum celebrating its links to the BBC and earlier history incorporated into any redevelopment.' The Victorian stately home and ninety three-acre estate was bought by the BBC in 1941. Two years later it served as headquarters of BBC Monitoring, which summarises news from one hundred and fifty countries in one hundred different languages for the BBC and is now based at Broadcasting House in London. The service played a key role in analysing communications from Nazi Germany during World War Two - while at Caversham Park and in defusing the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962.
Ed Sheeran (he's a - bafflingly - popular beat combo, yer honour) has admitted that his eight-month-old daughter 'just cries' when he sings his new songs to her. So, it's nice to know that at least one member of the Sheeran family has normal faculties shared with the rest of the human race.
On one of the days where this blogger was feeling less that wholly chipper a couple of weeks back - but, after he'd finished the massive Be-Atles book re-read - he spent four and a half hours watching Rosseter's Twin Peaks ACTUALLY EXPLAINED (No, Really) on You Tube. And then, he needed a stiff drink and a pee. Before watching the sequel.
A thread on one of this blogger's fine Facebook fiends page concerning Marine Boy reminded this blogger of one of the most traumatic moments of his, then, young life. The popular Japanese anime series, with its excellent jaunty theme tune - imported into the UK and dubbed into English - had been a regular part of many of our lives since it began its BBC run in early 1969. Then came that moment. It was 30 July 1971 at 5.20pm. The latest episode of Marine Boy ended, the last in the current series and the BBC continuity announcer stated, confidently: 'Marine Boy will be back later in the year.' And now, it's 2021 and we're all still waiting ... (Actually, the series did have a couple of repeat runs in 1976 and 1977 but, by that time, many of us had moved on to other interests. Like punk rock and girls.) This blogger hates it when TV lies to us. It destroys ones faith in humanity so it does. Or, in this particular case, it destroys ones faith in dolphinity
A cluster of decapitated bodies discovered at a burial site were 'probably' from victims of Roman military executions, archaeologists have said. Cos, they didn't mess around with community service and ASBOs in them days. The 'exceptionally high' number of Third Century decapitated bodies were found at a military supply farm settlement at Somersham, Cambridgeshire. Several were kneeling when they were struck from behind with a sword. Archaeologist Isabel Lisboa said thirty three per cent of those found had been executed, compared to six per cent in most Roman British cemeteries. Three cemeteries were excavated revealing fifty two burials, of which seventeen were decapitated. At least one of those executed - an older woman found face-down - appears to have been tortured immediately before death or mutilated afterwards. Their heads were found placed at their feet or lower legs. Doctor Lisboa, from Archaeologica, said they dated from a time of increasing instability for the Roman Empire, when legal punishments became harsher. 'The number of capital crimes doubled in the Third Century and quadrupled in the Fourth Century,' she said. 'As it was part of the Roman army, directly or indirectly, the severity of punishments and the enforcement of Roman law would have been more severe at the Somersham settlements,' she added. The settlement is believed to have supplied the Roman army, part of a wider network of nearby military farms at Camp Ground and Langdale Hale. A 'lack of genetic relationships' between the bodies suggests they were either in army service or slaves. At least two of those found were born in Scotland or Ireland and another in the Alps. Doctor Lisboa said 'Knobb's Farm has an exceptionally high proportion of decapitated bodies - thirty three per cent of those found - compared with burial grounds locally and across Roman Britain.' Cambridge University's archaeology unit excavated Knobb's Farm between 2001 and 2010, ahead of gravel extraction by Tarmac Trading. Analysis of finds has just been published.
Whilst scientists have amassed considerable knowledge of the rocky planets in our solar system much less is known about the icy water-rich planets, Neptune and Uranus. In a new study recently published in Nature Astronomy, a team of scientists recreated the temperature and pressure of the interiors of Neptune and Uranus in the lab and, in so doing, have gained a greater understanding of the chemistry of these planets' deep water layers. Their findings also provide clues to the composition of oceans on water-rich exoplanets outside our solar system. Neptune and Uranus are conventionally thought to have distinct separate layers, consisting of an atmosphere, ice or fluid, a rocky mantle and a metallic core. For this study, the research team was particularly interested in possible reaction between water and rock in the deep interiors. 'Through this study, we were seeking to extend our knowledge of the deep interior of ice giants and determine what water-rock interactions at extreme conditions might exist,' says lead author Taehyun Kim, of Yonsei University in South Korea. 'Ice giants and some exoplanets have very deep water layers, unlike terrestrial planets. We proposed the possibility of an atomic-scale mixing of two of the planet-building materials (water and rock) in the interiors of ice giants.' To mimic the conditions of the deep water layers on Neptune and Uranus in the lab, the team first immersed typical rock-forming minerals, olivine and ferropericlase, in water and compressed the sample in a diamond anvil to very high pressures. Then, to monitor the reaction between the minerals and water, they took X-ray measurements while a laser heated the sample to a high temperature. The resulting chemical reaction led to high concentrations of magnesium in the water. Based on these findings, the team concluded that oceans on water-rich planets may not have the same chemical properties as the Earth's ocean and high pressure would make those oceans rich in magnesium. 'We found that magnesium becomes much more soluble in water at high pressures. In fact, magnesium may become as soluble in the water layers of Uranus and Neptune as salt is in Earth's ocean,' says study co-author Sang-Heon Dan Shim of Arizona State University's School of Earth and Space Exploration. These characteristics may also help solve the mystery of why Uranus' atmosphere is much colder than Neptune's, even though they are both water-rich planets. If much more magnesium exists in the Uranus' water layer below the atmosphere, it could block heat from escaping from the interior to the atmosphere. 'This magnesium-rich water may act like a thermal blanket for the interior of the planet,' says Shim. Beyond our solar system, these high-pressure and high-temperature experiments may also help scientists gain a greater understanding of sub-Neptune exoplanets, which are planets outside of our solar system with a smaller radius or a smaller mass than Neptune. ub-Neptune planets are the most common type of exoplanets that we know of so far and scientists studying these planets hypothesise that many of them may have a thick water-rich layer with a rocky interior. This new study suggests that the deep oceans of these exoplanets would be much different from Earth's ocean and may be magnesium-rich. 'If an early dynamic process enabled a rock–water reaction in these exoplanets, the topmost water layer may be rich in magnesium, possibly affecting the thermal history of the planet,' says Shim. For next steps, the team hopes to continue their high-pressure/high-temperature experiments under diverse conditions to learn more about the composition of planets.
The From The North 'well done, them' award this week goes to the Independent for managing to get headlines concerning both cheese and crackers onto the same page.
It's also nice to see that the Gruniad Morning Star's readership haven't lost their sense of humour in these dark and troubled times. Or, one of them, anyway. 
And finally, dear blog reader, sometimes naming and shaming is the only way some people learn.