Waves “as high as houses” in Devon

Wow. Torcross is generally sheltered inside Start Bay (map), but this morning it’s been absolutely pummelled by the sea. Here’s a video from the Start Bay Inn.

Another on YouTube

Before-and-after photos from childhood

Nice idea, this: grown-ups reenacting old photos:


Money madness

Things I learned this week:

At $51m the Sochi Olympics is the most expensive ever.

Apple’s revenue for the last quarter exceeded Luxembourg’s annual GDP. Annual!

This is bonkers. What the hell is Apple going to do with all that sloshing dosh? Just sitting there making minor, underwhelming improvements to iPhones and iPads?

Musik macht frei: the Auschwitz cellist

Yesterday was the 69th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, and Newsnight had a wonderful piece on Anita Lasker-Wallfisch, a cellist imprisoned by the Nazis but who survived thanks to her being a musician.

The really remarkable thing about the video is what she said of Dr Joseph Mengele, the notoriously murderous physician who did all sorts of foul experiments on twins and the general population. It was he who decided who lived, who died and who should be experimented upon, yet even he and his broken brain saw beauty in Schumann. Musik, nicht arbeit, macht frei.

NFL bad lip reading

I should not find this as funny as I do. Whoever does this for a living is ridiculously lucky.

Bieber on a rollercoaster to destruction

I never imagined I’d have cause to write about the spoilt little brat, but here I am – and at least I’m forecasting his demise, not applauding his genius like his misguided disciples. I just got a CNN alert (I’ve had them for 12 years and still don’t know how to turn them off) that he’s been arrested. That alone made me angry; how has Justin Bieber become of the global breaking news agenda? He “was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence and drag racing this morning”, and for some reason CNN seem to think this is a shock or bad news.

Bieber’s actions today are a positive sign. The world of music and entertainment doesn’t need him and clearly he feels the same way, edging towards the cliff of destruction before he jumps off spectacularly. He’s clearly growing up and showing an existential awareness beyond his years; he acknowledges his own pointlessness and is seeking a way to rectify it, and in doing so, obliterate his name from public life in the only sensible way possible.

Well done Biebs

Bill Murray makes the internet good again

Occasionally you hear of people who claim to love their jobs. “I am so lucky because my job is my hobby!” they gush, rosey-cheeked, nauseatingly energetic and somehow managing to pull off that unkempt look which doesn’t damage their reputation among their peers.

I may not be quite so enthusiastic as these cherubic imbeciles but I do enjoy my industry  -  for the most part. The internet is still morphing at a rate of knots, and it’s that unrelenting pace and change which can exhaust your enthusiasm. It’s easy to loathe, sometimes, for the simple reason that it has woven itself inextricably into our lives. Sometimes we need to peel off the internet jumper and sacrifice it to the god of MS DOS.

But then Bill Murray appears on Reddit and answers any question thrown at him, completely unmoderated, and we genuflect to Sir Tim Berners-Lee and wonder how this ridiculous thing came into being, for a life without Bill Murray talking crap is a life not worth living at all.

The anguish of Adelaide

I often enjoy Simon Barnes’s pieces at The Times and he’s produced a really crisp and imaginative recollection of the nightmare of the 2nd Test at Adelaide.

It was cricket as it might have been written by Kafka: a hideous punishment, as unjust as it was incomprehensible, inflicted on people who had earned the right to expect better things from life. It was like playing cricket against the Gestapo: cricket as a form of atrocity in which resistance is useless. It was cricket as torture, in which pain and hatred become distorted into a loving and grateful submission to the torturer.

I shall never forget the streets of Adelaide afterwards, the numb shock of the England supporters. These things don’t happen. We couldn’t have seen that. Brains simply refused to process the information they had received. The England press corps, a more resilient bunch on the whole, were to be found the next day at the airport, each with the thousand-yard stare of the Vietnam vet.

That the torture only lasted an hour was something of a reprieve for us, for England. It was quick – still painful – and violent, and will never be forgotten. Like someone slitting a capillary on their wrist, England bled fatally. Barnes even goes as far to say that “it was the most extraordinary passage of cricket I have seen and one of the most shocking things I have witnessed in any sport”. I’m not sure I can quite agree, but nevertheless it was a period of play which must go down as one of the most captivating (or unwatchable, depending on which side of the fence you sit) in modern times.