Blog Archives

Top Gear Africa Special: Part One – 3 March 2013

I’m a great fan of Top Gear, but its India Special in 2011 was embarrassing to sit through. Happily, this year, it seems Andy Wilman and his team have redeemed themselves.

REFLECT ON THE SCENE: Hammond observing the Lake from his 'sitting room', atop his car roof.

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London 2012 Opening Ceremony: Isles of Wonder – 27 July 2012

‘The centre of the world’ is a media hyperbole used too frequently to describe something that people from around the world are perceived to be focussed on. But last night’s breathtaking Olympic Opening Ceremony really was just that: a spectacle beheld by an estimated 4.8 billion people (meaning more individual eyes watched than the sum of all populations of all nations). And, taking place just over four miles virtually due north of the Royal Observatory, Greenwich (Greenwich Park the Equestrian and Pentathlon venue for the Games), there’s no denying that, last night, E20 2ST really was the centre of the world.

OFF WITH A BANG: The Opening Ceremony drew to a close in the early hours of this morning with incredible fireworks.

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Review of the Week – 16 to 22 January 2012

Review of the Week: 16 to 22 January 2012

That Was The Week That Was

YOU CAN'T PARK IT THERE: The Costa Concordia stayed at the top of news agendas this week. Week Three has come to an end, but the most recurring news story of the last seven days is still the Costa Concordia disaster of last week. Thirteen people are now known to have died, 64 have been injured, and twenty are still missing. We’ve heard many interesting – and several strangely laughable – quotes from the coastguard, Gregorio De Falco, to the captain: “Vada a Bordo, Cazzo” (get back on board, for ****’s sake”); and also from the captain himself, who allegedly claims he “tripped and fell into the lifeboat“. Whatever happened, though, the investigation into the accident is only just beginning.

In other news, Dutch teenager Laura Dekker today became the youngest person to sail around the world single-handed, almost a year since she set off. However, she’s being refused the world record because both the sailing authorities and Guinness want to discourage young solo attempts. As YouTuber eKriZZLe put it: “Wow…that’s messed up. ‘We know you set a world record, but we’re not going to give it to you because you’re too young.'” Personally, I think it’s a shame that such brute determination – going against rulings of her school, and against greater odds whilst on the water – has been met with a refusal to reward remarkable success.

The shutter closed on American photographic company Kodak, as they filed for bankruptcy. They’re now in complex arrangements, reshuffling the business to try and turn around the terrible state that they’re in. In other film news, Project Pinewood has been given the red light. The £200m scheme was meant to create living, breathing film sets, where homes were hidden behind a London street market facade, or a downtown New York street.

PRESTIGIOUS: Student Elly Nowell wrote a parody rejection letter to Magdalen College. And, of course, Elly Nowell, who wrote a letter to Magdalen College at Oxford. “Much to my surprise,” the 19-year-old would-be student explains, “it has become a bit of an internet hit, and has provoked reactions of both horror and amusement.” That it has. Its content? A parody of the rejection letters that they themselves send thousands of soon-to-be disappointed students every year. Telegraph columnist Mark Norman wrote: “Were I the admissions officer of Magdalen […] I would drive to Elly’s home in Hampshire and beg her to reconsider.” All in all, she’s a brave, clever, and witty person, to whom I wish every success for the future. I  just hope she doesn’t come to regret that extremely brave decision she made.

“I have now considered your establishment as a place to read Law (Jurisprudence). I very much regret to inform you that I will be withdrawing my application. I realise you may be disappointed by this decision, but you were in competition with many fantastic universities and following your interview I am afraid you do not quite meet the standard of the universities I will be considering.”

— Extract from Elly Nowell’s ‘rejection letter’ to Magdalen College

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