Saturday, March 29, 2008

Social Media Takeover?

Yesterday morning, Sue and I lay in bed, she was using the laptop chatting to her friends in an online forum and I was using the iPod touch to chat to mine on Twitter.

Christian (16) Jack (13) Mike (19) and even Harry (7) have social networks where they catch up with their friends. Harry uses 'Club Penguin' to feed his 'puffles' and the other three seem to chat endlessly to their mates about music, girls, and whatever takes their fancy.

Just sitting, taking a moment, isn't this all a bit sterile? My family do of course talk to each other, but I'm beginning to worry about the time we're all cumulatively spending on line. It's nice to catch up, but it is, really, a mammoth waste of time. I don't need to blog, I don't need to talk about the things I do online necessarily.

Isn't talking to each other enough? When I talk here, I of course talk generically, I include you, after all. you're reading this.

I've a million and one things to do and they need doing now. So why am I telling you this and not getting up and doing them? Dunno. Force of habit I imagine.
I think, analysing this post that I probably spend far too much time on line and really must moderate what I'm doing. I need tody to cut the grass, fix the curtain rail (again!), see if can find out whether or not my wallet was found at the Twitter meet up last night.... organise a service for the boiler (that's the hot water boiler, not Sue) and the list goes on and on...

So, can I moderate what I'm doing? Haven't a clue, but I'm going to try and it starts today.

Friday, March 21, 2008

A law unto myself - an audio book by Paul Nicholls

Download the MP3 of a law unto myself entirely free from here

Wow! Here goes, the first chapter of a novel devised and read by me.

I've always loved Rumpole of the Bailey, but thought that it was probably a bit highbrow for many. In my book, Nick Poulson, an average Joe fights for the good of the common man - as a common man at a little firm of solicitors in leafy Kenlworth.

All of the stories are true experiences with a touch of artistic licence. I've completely anonymised clients and actions and drawn from stories that have touched me.

I've tried to write in the style of the James Herriot books to give my audience a peek into the daily life of an English lawyer.

I do hope you enjoy it.


all rights reserved : A law unto myself copyright Paul Nicholls 2008.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

What a great discussion....your input please!

I have just come back into the office from the car and did that very rare thing: sat in the car for 10 minutes unable to switch off, compelled by the content.

The discussion was on the 'White Season' - talking about whether the voice of the white working class was ignored. There was an almost unanimous 'yes' - with an older asian female caller sugesting that positive discrimination was entirely wrong and had caused real problems. I had to sit and nod my head vigorously.

Professor Carl Chinn, who I (sort of) know - a Birmingham historian with one of the broadest Birmingham accents known to man gave a superb, clear and articulate discussion on the fact that the white working classes were certainly being overshadowed.

The discussion was not racist, not in any way shape or form - all classes and cultures contributed. This was radio at it's best - and I sent Carl's daughter; Tara (a superb female artist) a text message "your dad is my hero!" Bless her, she replied to tell me he was her hero too...

It's an incredible discussion in itself. It's something I want to probe - and I'm going to speak to Carl to see what sort of debate we can provoke in the podcast. What is Britain? Why is there class? What is 'Britishness' that we appear to be hearing as a buzz word these days.

I absolutely love discussions that are really thought provoking. I'd love your views, mail or audio that can be sent to this mail address: Please contribute whether you're British, non - British, whatever your view.

Hope to hear from you very soon.


Monday, March 10, 2008

New Format and thanks for listening.

Thanks for the folks who've sent mails and twitter DM's etc regarding the new format of the show.

If you haven't heard the podcast, I've changed the format a little - pick a topic, research it, and theme the music to some extent too.

It's amazing how many people say "I just fast forward the music" or "I fast forward the talking". You can't please all of the people all of the time I suppose.... anyway, it's great to see people still listening to the show. There's been a spike in listening figures and some shows are doing great - one showing near 18,000. The number of folks who dip in and out are astonishing - close on half a million in the last two years - that's excellent, thanks!

The blog is something I've neglected a little. Sue mentioned to me that I can sometimes seem a bit 'whiny' or self obsessed - and looking back at some of the posts, and listening to the podcasts I can see that.... sorry! I'll try and be a little more focused. I'm astonished I've kept going since late 2004. it's the fact that you folks listen /read in that keep me going.

Anyway, thanks for the comments, thanks for continuing to listen and thanks to those of you who read the blog (including Lee up at the Burnley office and Jason in his remote Manchester Architect's office..)

Listen out towards the summer months for an audio book I'll be podcasting. I had it in mind to write a book James Herriot / Rumpole style some years ago... then I got back into studying.

Roll on summer...!

Saturday, March 08, 2008

podcast 171 Surveillance Society

Podcast Paul No. 171 – download the MP3 direct from here

Welcome to the show:

Music in the podcast

Out of the Cold - Settle
Daniel Adam Johnson - Lets watch the world
Green Room - Spybeats
Chris Tapper (of the Push Stars) Feelings without weight

All music from

I talk about surveillance in the UK - and play some comments. What do you think?

I voice my worries over the EU.

Send an email –

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

British Democracy in tatters.

I was sickened at the very suggestion that the people of the UK are precluded from a referendum on their very future. I am polaxed that our Government have taken that opportunity from us.

The Government secured the opportunity to steam roller over what is thought to be the popular vote of the nation - to say no.

Labour clearly and absolutely promised a vote. So did the Liberals. So what has changed?

We've an unelected Prime Minister wreaking havoc. The very fabric of our country is being chipped away.
I'm disgusted and entirely disillusioned at what I thought was the most democratic country in the world.

What an absolute farce. I have never thought so seriously at emigration.

What cost free speech?

Europe is something that I feel very passionately about - and against.

This story on the BBC site caught my eye.

I am astonished that our Government is deciding on whether or not we, the people of Britain should have a say on our very future. Of course we should! We're a tiny nation with an ever eroding culture that have had the worst policy of immigration for decades. We've simply allowed anyone to enter, and, seemingly stay even if enering illegally. Policy is changing now, but it's all too little too late.

Semantics are irritating - should we have a referendum as to the contents of the Treaty - even though it's not the constitution? It's virtually the same thing!!!!

The function of Government is to be a mouthpiece for the people, so why are Labour, and to a large extent the Lib Dem's not wanting the people to have a say? I'm afraid that when I'm told I have no say, that's the very time I want to speak - and having something that affects the very country I live in is something I feel I absolutely must participate in. It seems incredibly sinister to me that my say is taken away, I'm patted on the head and told to sit in the corner and not to worry. Why are people not shouting from the rooftops? I'll tell you why - the Government are desperately anxious that we'll follow suit with a number of other member states (even those words sound Big Brother-esque; 'member states') and vote no.

Whether or not you share my views on Europe is by the by. Having the most important things decided for me without a say is hardly democratic, in fact it's essentially Totalatarian with the darkest Orwellian shades.

Until I studied EU law I thought Europe was all about silly regulations and the permitted curve of bananas. How wrong I was.

Britain's very sovereignty is under threat. The EU demands sovereignty and very few, notably Germany and Britain resist with a dualist approach to law - i.e. retaining the right to withdraw.

We are a strong, proud nation that has a rich and proud heritage, standing on its own two feet in the world. To be subsumed into a soup of differing cultures, clashes of laws, people groups and unnecessary jealous beauracacy is to spit in the face of those who fought and paid the ultimate price for that we have today. Politicians weren't there in droves at the front line in the great wars - the people were.

Of course I'm not daft enough to think in xenophobic terms, we should welcome folks into Britain (and have) knowing they have things to offer and knowing that we can learn from them. To simply allow all and sundry in, provide benefits and have them demonstrate by burning the Union flag and / or not tackle the flow of illegal imigration has been disasterous. yes, I know that this a minority, but the minority have an extremely loud voice.

Why were we surprised that hundreds of thousands of Eastern Europeans flooded into Britain from poorer climes unnder the EU revolving door policy? I'd have jumped at the chance to do that if I were them, and I certainily don't blame them, the revolving door is ardly reciprocal. Would I want to work in Hungary or Poland? We're too small to accomodate and everything is breaking down.

We've a creaking, faltering NHS system, crime is on the increase, public services crashing, spiralling insidious hidden outrageous taxes and a massively overstretched benefits system.

Europe is a minefeld of clashing jealous cultures and the mere fact that the EU budget has not been ratified by reason of corruption for the last 10 years is one pointer as to why we, the people of the UK should at the very least have a say.

Look closely and carefully at EU politics - the British play with a very fair bat. Notably the French and Italians do not. The French have outright refused to pay fines levied against them, and demanded an unnecessary parliament in Strasbourg at massive, ludicrous cost, despite the framework of Brussels being in place. The list goes on and on.

I for one am exceptionally concerned at Britain and it's eroding culture now. To simply hand over, lock stock and barrel a nation and heritage of generations that has gone before without even wanting to consult the people is breathtakingly arrogant.

Of late we have allowed and tolerated a self styled 'muslim parliament' to speak out. Why? Would anyone like to join me in Saudi Arabia, Yemen or Pakistan to place a flag in the ground and demand a 'Christian Parliament'? I imagine we'd last a few minutes before being carted off by the state. Of course I wouldn't ever countenance the idea, I would not be so brash as to not live within cultural boundaries and would not want to seek to offend.

Free Speech allows this to happen, but it's thought of as wrong to question it. I don't agree with a Muslim Parliament and I find the very thought of it as concerning and isolationist. But that's my take, and I'm allowed to think that in a right thinking, free society. I should not tolerate any state interference with my views, as long as they remain within the boundaries of the law.

Liberal namby-pambys complain that we shouldn't call ourselves a Christian nation and that it's offensive to display the union flag / St. George's flag or to sing God Save the Queen too loudly. These idiots offend me and I find their rationale concerning.

OK, there's free speech, but, there's free speech and there's taking liberties. People are too afraid to speak out, and those who do are termed racist. Eh? Britain has a fantastic number of Britons who are proud to be called British, whatever colour and I know that many share my view, no matter what colour or creed. We should not simply be happy with our lot and stumble on, we should be allowed to say precisely what we think and ensure our voice is heard. If you think I'm a nutter, fine, move along. But don't stop me.

I'm English first, British second and I'm proud to call myself that.

Of course there should be a referendum!

morning musing

It's a beautiful sunny cold crisp March morning as I type this blog entry.

I'm working from home today, lots to do, but when I'm in the mood, it's a pleasure rather than a chore.

Emily, my 11 week old cocker spaniel is sitting curled up on my lap, pretty contented too. She's been a joy in the main (apart from the very odd accident) and seems to be learning and coping really well. She's in and out of the dog flap, having lots of lovely walks in the morning (from Sue, not me!) and really is settling into the family well. We've a cat named Oliver (he always wants more food) and a fish whose name I cannot recall but is something to do with Doctor Who. I'm not a great animal lover, but I do love Emily and still miss Tilly, my old trusted cocker so much.

A lovely steaming hot cup of tea is smoldering into the sun's rays at the side of me and I'm working safe in the knowledge that at 1pm today I go to a celebration lunch at a Michelin star restaurant to celebrate a big High Court win from Monday. Unfortunately I'm not permitted to talk about the action even though it was in open court. It's just satisfying to know that the hard work of some years now means that the 8 crates of 40 lever arch files can gather dust in the cellar for 6 years before being subject to the waste incinerator.

Work is really busy, I've a mammoth five trials this March, hopefully a couple will settle I'm sure.

Everywhere I look in my house I see a DIY job, I must be geting older as I'm actully quite looking forward to doing them (?) When one talks of work / life balance does it mean that you should be as ludicrously busy in the home as you are at work? I'm sure its the same for us all, and you're probably nodding your head as you read this post.

I'm still losing weight... at my heaviest point last year to now I've lost 32 pounds and I'm still losing weight. The conservatory is becoming ever full with rowing machines, weights, exercise benches, etc etc. I really must start using them! I'm finding a new wardrobe of clothes from a few years back and finding that some of my bigger clothes are now just too big. Weird.

A podcast is in the offing, I promise.

Anyway, time to sign off - companies to sue, trials to prepare for etc!


Sunday, March 02, 2008

good nature?

Sorry this sounds cryptic. It's a marker post for me, and a general reminder when I review my blog.

If you're good natured and willing to help, or even be thoughtful, be ready to be misconstrued and dumped on.

If you're generous, be ready to be made a mug of, and seriously taken for granted.

Sadly you need to put yourself first and say no when your instinct tells you yes. Acts of kindness can make you appear odd sometimes. I'm afraid that being forthright is something I'm going to be from now. I hate being used and made a mug of.

Rant over.

Join the forum and get interactive!

Hello again!

It's Sunday morning and I'm at work preparing for a big trial tomorrow. I'm rewarding myself with a break... the way you do....

Please let me encourage as many of you as possible to join my forum at podcastmatters - you can get to the link by pressing here or accessing the address by copying and pasting this link:

I would really love to get the site moving with as many folks joining in the discussions as possible.

Hopefully I'll see you there!

Do remember you can follow me on twitter as paulnicholls.

I quite like the idea of social media when it works. When it's abused and intrusive I don't like it - Facebook and MySpace both seem to suffer from all sorts of rubbish that I can't be bothered to filter.

Twitter seems to be a great site that has held my interest for around six months - and something I visit regularly. I'm into my fourth year of blogging and podcasting and there seems to be no prospect of my interest fading in that. Friends Reunited has been the longest social network I've been involved with, I even set up a couple of reunions with old mates at school that were pretty well attended. Seesmic, the video blogging site seems to be a thriving network that I daren't get involved with, I know I'll get addicted and have even less time on my hands!

What social network sites do you have a view on? What are the pros and cons of social networking?

Any recommendations? Anything to stay away from?

comment here or send a mail to paul (squiggly 'a') podcastpaul [dot] com