I am not, it has to be said, up on all the various types of music that are around for the the young and fashionable - garage, house, hip, hop, Indie, etc. But reading today the latest novel of my very old friend, Michael Carson - set in the New Brighton of our youth - I came across a reference to 'Scouse-house'. Can this really exist, as a sub category of house, presumably? Before I ask Michael himself whether this is his invention, I'm giving someone the chance to pour scorn on me.
The novel is called Benson at Sixty and it's a sequel to Mike's very first, Sucking Sherbet Lemons, which Simon Callow (think Four Weddings and a Funeral) described as the funniest thing he'd read all year. Click here and here for Amazon data on both books.
I see David Jackson, down in the South, is even more sceptical of the AVE high-speed train ever arriving on his home turf than I am in respect of Galicia. The key question, as he says, is Why the hell would a new administration, whose first priority is cutting the budget wherever possible, and kickstarting the ailing Spanish economy, be interested in throwing another few billion at a 'pork barrel' project that goes nowhere in the back of beyond?" Quite. Being positive, we do have a PP conservative party in control of our region and we may have our projects looked on more favourably by a PP central administration.
There are, of course, larger fears circulating in Europe (and, indeed, the rest of the world) than ours in respect of the AVE train development. Here's our Ambrose opining on what he thinks is the last chance to avoid a global catastrophe born of Europe's 'dysfunctional' plight. Or the "nuclear option", as he calls it. Essentially . . . The US has had to take charge. The multi-trillion package now taking shape for Euroland was largely concocted in Washington, in cahoots with the European Commission, and is being imposed on Germany by the full force of American diplomacy. It is an ugly and twisted set of proposals, devised to accommodate Berlin's refusal to accept fiscal union, Eurobonds, and an EU treasury. Click here for the details. Am I wrong to be as worried as AEP seems to be? Even if the €2 trillion "Geithner Plan" does get off the ground, it can do no more than buy time - not to be sneezed at, for sure. The root of the euro crisis is a 30pc intra-EMU currency misalignment between North and South. That structural flaw cannot be solved with debt guarantees or bank rescues. Nor can this gap in competitiveness be bridged by austerity alone, by pushing Club Med deeper into debt-deflation and perma-slump. On the other hand, will the value of my pension rise when the New Peseta depreciates against the pound?
Click here for the (alleged) German view on what seems to be happening/imminent.
Finally . . . Some news that cannot possibly be seen as anything but positive:- "British researchers who looked at the relationship between diet and fracture risk found moderate amounts of wine appeared to boost bone density in the spine. But other alcoholic drinks, such as beer and spirits, did not have the same effect." I suppose the last sentence could be considered negative by some.