I saw a concert version of this tonight with Simon O’Neill in the title role. While the plot is quite weird and distasteful in places, the orchestra and singing were excellent. I saw Simon O’Neill in 1997 (I think) in a small role in the play Master Class in Auckland. He has certainly gone up […]

Rare events

Yesterday was an unusually busy day, but different from most unusually busy days of the last 15 years, because it was mostly fun. I took my younger son to the opening game of the FIFA Under-20 World Cup (NZ vs Ukraine). Despite obvious inadequacies in the logistical planning at the venue, it was a great […]

A vain attempt to recapture lost youth

At short notice I decided to enter the 2015 NZ Rapid Chess Championship, lured by the location and presence of foreign grandmasters. My first competitive games for over 27 years were a very mixed bag, as might be expected. I had problems playing at that speed (approximately 30 minutes per game per player). I ran […]

Some of my encounters with Iranian culture

On 30 November I gave a short presentation at an event called “I for Iran – a celebration of Iranian culture”. I was asked to discuss my encounters with Iranian culture as an outsider. Here are the speech notes and the accompanying slides. For those wanting to learn Farsi online, I suggest easypersian.com as a […]

The lecturer

This may not be the final form, but I will post it now so as not to forget. To the tune of “Killing me softly” I heard he gave a good talk I heard he had some style And so I went to see him To listen for a while And there he was this […]

East Coast humour

Late last year I had a trip to Philadelphia, New York and New Jersey. A few humorous things I saw there: Newspaper headline: State police forces shrink ( to do what? ) Congratulations Albert Greenfield school for making adequate yearly progress Welcome to Philadelphia – Mayor Mike Nutter

Chess and Computers

Garry Kasparov’s book review is a lot more interesting than the book probably is. A lot of really interesting anecdotes from one of the greatest chessplayers ever (perhaps the greatest). I remember following his first match with Karpov via the newspapers while at high school. Now my  local paper doesn’t cover any sort of chess […]

Shop humour

I saw this while waiting in the butcher’s shop today. Jamaican Jerk spice mix. Contains: (among other things) nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon, chilli, kaffir lime, black pepper. Allergens: contains celery. This is funny in at least two ways.