Wednesday, November 28, 2007


The terrible story of Gillian Gibbons has been headline news for days now.

The Liverpudlian teacher, 54 had the idea of having her class of 7 year old children name a class Teddy Bear at the fee paying Unity school in Khartoum, Sudan. The children would be allowed to take the Teddy home and be encouraged to write stories during their time with him. This practice is fairly widely used in Primary school teaching. The children decided on the name "Muhammed"

The offending Teddy, actually named by the class of 7 year olds because of one of their classmates 'Muhammed' will see Ms Gibbons suffer 40 lashes at a public flogging, a fine, or up to six months incarcaration.

In a statement, the Sudanese Assembly of Ulamas said: "What has happened was not haphazard or carried out of ignorance, but rather a calculated action and another ring in the circles of plotting against Islam,"

How moronic. You could well reword that: "She's obviously a witch, throw her in the water, and if she floats, she's a witch - if she drowns then...... er..... she's a witch"

A Sudanese spokesman said that the same punishment would be applicable if Jesus or any other prophet were insulted. Really? Pardon my sneer. I read this and this and this. There are countless more.

I've heard byte size media report the story as "worrying" and not wanting to cause a "diplomatic row"

My byte size media in relation to those in authority in Sudan would include the words "savage" "backwards", "medieval", "lunatic" and "vermin". It's a good job I don't work for the BBC, and better still I don't work for Fair Trials Abroad as I'm sure I'd be beheaded.

It must be my simple, frank and ADD driven thought process, but I cannot understand why people are sometimes so diplomatically generous to the likes of tyrants in Zimbabwe, Indonesia and Sudan. What sort of vile, xenophobic society would consider such a punishment for a woman?

Do the people of Sudan live in constant fear of their bullying, spiteful Government? I honestly don't know, as I'm not cogniscent of Sudanese society, but I can hazard a guess.

All sane sections of society appear to be shaking their head in astonishment at this dreadful story.

It seems that others share my outrage and disgust. Of course, I'm sure elements of diplomacy need to be involved, but why don't people generally just say it as it is?

Hats off to the Muslim Council of Great Britain for demanding Ms Gibbons immediate release and to Secretary-General Dr Muhammad Abdul Bari for issuing the following statement so quickly :

"This is a disgraceful decision and defies common sense. There was clearly no intention on the part of the teacher to deliberately insult the Islamic faith,"

Sudan is obviously not on my list of holiday destinations and I hope that the plight of Ms Gibbons ends both well for her and shines a spotlight on the savagery of Sudan.

I can gripe about the rising cost of petrol and tax, but I thank God, quite literally that I'm living in a free society - no matter the monetary cost.

News Flash....

Apparently you really can't believe everything a Politician tells you..

As if you haven't heard, Gordon Brown and the Labour party are having rather a hard time of things at the moment.
Revelations with regard to party funding seem to be dragging all and sundry into the net - including Harriet Harman (bless her) and others at senior level.
Brown was likened in Parliament today to 'Mr Bean' "not making chaos out of order, but rather making chaos out of order..."
I had a letter from the Inland Revenue today apologising for the fact that my, Sues and the childrens data have been lost (or stolen).
My apology is one of 25,000 000 that must have been issued in the last few days.
25, 000 000 letters and postage don't come cheap. Never mind, that's what we pay our taxes for...

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Download the MP3 of the show completely free here

podcastpaul podcast 166
Show notes:

Love = Action. Frozen. Awesome. Californian new wave act that remind me of the hugely underrated Climie Fisher.
In Manchester on Friday at the beautiful Midland Hotel in central manchester - great fun. Table moving - and almost been thrown out for singing!
Twitter - really into this, hello to all my mates on there, follow me as paulnicholls at
John Hoskinson - She's changing my mind Californian artist I really like. Cracking response from around around a dozen folks, some mail, some comments - even some folks telephoning me! Saw my brother and an old mate last weekend - first thing Anthony said was 'I liked that ELO track..." Paul P sent me a mail from a train between Luxembourg and Brussels "..Loved the Squeeze ELO song" Lovely mail from John too. I still think you sound like ELO mate! Reminds me of Hollow Horse. Cannot wait to hear the new HH album - especially the collaberated track with Paul Rose.
Can anyone give me an honest review of the Ipod touch? I'm really interested in looking at buying one in the new year. My Ipod is redundant at the moment because of a crashed hard disk. Apple's ridiculous policy of tying tracks to one pc. Ludicrous. Is there a way to reload Itunes and save my albums etc? PLEASE let me know if you know a way.
The old Birmingham connection - Dave Morgan, ELO. Mentioned him briefly on the last show. Recorded a show with Dave last year. Played at Dave's wedding - Richard Tandy was the best man. Tandy Morgan Smith - Martin Smith, Bass in the latter ELO tours and band, Richard Tandy key core member. Paradise Garden from Tandy Morgan Smith - recorded late 80's. Wonderful
Bernie from Oz, can you fill us in on the politics we're getting snippets on here in the UK? Howard is out after 11 years, Rudd is in - is that good or bad news? He'll be sworn in as PM next week apparently.
You cannot escape the brilliance of 3 blind mice. 'The Word'
Fantastic, this track is entitled Audience numbers - nearly half a million different people have listened in the last 18 months - 2 years. Some shows topping 10,500 folks -not massive, but lovely to know folks are listening.
Folio - Floating Away. Another new wave Calfornian act. Reminds me a lot of Ultravox. Great sound.
All music apart from Tandy Morgan Smith courtesy of the Podsafe Music Network found at
cheers for listening!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Back from Manchester

I'm just back from a conference in Manchester. 300 lawyers packed in a room, how boring is that?

As it happens, it wasn't at all boring - it was great fun. At dinner in the evening, our table of 12 was stashed away in the corner of a massive room. It was then that I had the great idea of getting everyone to move the table, an inch at a time every few minutes or so without anyone really noticing. We got to around 50 - 60 foot. We were moving the table two or three feet at a time in the end. We made it across the dance floor and to the opposite end of the room.

I then had the great idea of moving everyone, one at a time to the one single table a few feet away, over 5 minutes or so. We did it... it was only when the waiters decided to clear the now empty table stashed at the side of the dance floor, that the whole thing collapsed. One of the legs had folded under itself.... down came all the glasses, empty bottles of wine.... you get the general idea. I looked across, tutted and shook my head and supressed a snigger.

Later, my mate (and managing partner) Pete and I were asked to keep the singing down or be chucked out of the bar area. Eh?! We'd even taken song sheets....

Thursday, November 22, 2007


I'm off to Manchester tomorrow for a conference. I just don't get excited about these bashes anymore. In fact, I really miss being away from home, that's so different from just a few years ago.
It's less than five weeks from Christmas and I can't wait for the break - studies finish in May / June and I'm 40 in just over three weeks, I think I'm turning into an old bloke....

Saturday, November 10, 2007

podcast 165 Great American Artists, Finland, Bullying and the Apple iphone

Download the MP3 of podcast 165 right here..
podcastpaul podcast 165
John Hoskinson - I hope I die before you do; Californian genius with a Squeeze / ELO sound...
Hello to all the new listeners!
Hi to Ed Ross from Portsmouth - and I'll check out the kids choir! Watoto children's choir from Uganda. Nothing in the world like African voices - awesome. Memories of Swaziland. How I wish I was there.
Laurence Elder - surrounded by you -one of he best ever tunes on the network from Florida. Very apt for the next discussion.
Awful scenes of yet another massacre, this time in Finland. Pekka Eric Auvinon apparently felt cast out and bullied by fellow pupils at Jokela High school, this of course os no excuse for the appalling act of violence. The bullied became the bully. Bullying is a cancer - you can still feel the scars many years on, I was bullied at school and hate anything that constitutes bullying. Bullying in the work place - a staggering one in four people feel bullied at work, costing the industry billions of pounds. Take action immediately if you feel bullied either at work, school or in whatever situation. It's easier looking out than in. A podcast I did some time ago on bullying saw one of the biggest influx of emails.
Joan as Policewoman - eternal flame. New York artist. Kicking myself I missed her at the Glee club. doh!
Pakistan in the news - The lunatic antics of Musharraf, imposing a state of emergency as his power slips, the sacking of nine judges refusing to endorse Musharaff's state of emergency as 'unconstitutional. Benazir Bhutto becoming the living martyr as she fell under house arrest. Many are saying that she's out of touch and not that great a hope for the people of Pakistan. We've much to moan about in the West, but, thank God, literally we're not in the same state.
Patrick Hall - California one for the ages.
One for the ages indeed... all ages. The apple iphone. Lucrative tie in with O2. Many now attempting to hack the phone to unlock it from the network - 1/4 million Americans have cracked this. Apple have changed the software! It's already been done according to ITN. Apparebtly software will be available within the week to unlock it. Why tie in the network?
Evangelical clapping and whooping as the store opened. Weird.... I want a new phone.... help!!
Anduze from Calfornia - Falling.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

I think I want a Nokia N800...

At least, I think I do... I really would like to replace the PDA I had with a Wifi PDA that has Word, Outlook, internet access and a decent MP3 player - preferably with an SD slot. If there's a good smartphone that could handle the applications, I'd even go for that.

Has anyone got any recommendations?

It seems to me that there's a trade off between a good PDA with Outlook / Word capability and that of a decent unit to give wifi internet access.

Then again - look at this baby! This looks the absolute biz....

What do you reckon?

Saturday, November 03, 2007

podcastpaul podcast 164 Living in a modern world..

Download the MP3 direct from the site here
podcastpaul podcast no164
Bridgefield - Get there
Sounds like Blondie from North West London / Bucks
How's your week? Delerious at the NEC!
What on earth is Halloween about? Trick or treat, eh?! We'll be doing thanksgiving next...
If you like Jools Holland, you'll love......Johnny Ferreira - Swing That Thing. from British Columbia, Canada.
I wish there was more Johnny Ferreira's around. I've seen Jools Holland half a dozen times - the absolute king of swing. Smooth music like Jamie Cullum, Diana Krall, Michael Buble and Harry Connick Jr. Listen to any Dean Martin, Louis Armstrong, Nat King Cole, Ella Fitzgerald, Ray Charles. Music that's a cut above the rest.
My day at the Birmingham Law Library...The Beautiful Girls - She's Evil. From California - lovely blend of rock and reggae - from California, influenced by Pearl Jam - they remind me of the Police.
Carrie Catherine biggest mistake- a cross between Amy Winehouse and Tammy Wynette..beautiful vocal from another British Columbian
I love Birmingham - my recently received books...I've a hankering to want to know more about the history of Birmingham.
I'm moderned out... the laptop annoys me, mobiles aggravate me and email irritates the pants out of me. I love fountain pens, books on old Birminbgham and hanker after wanting to know more about Britain's history. I must be finally growing up!
and finally... I love the groove on this! Sounds like the proclaimers meeting Blue Oyster Cult.. Orange Snow - Stay - from the Netherlands - Leo Sienot.
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