It is the Eurovision Song Contest this week. I have to admit to quite enjoying the Eurovision Song Contest.

It is a good excuse to post this brilliant Belgian effort from 1980 — Euro-vision by Telex.

Telex said they had hoped to finish last. But they were thwarted by Greece, Portugal and the UK, whose juries all awarded the song points. Portugal even gave them 10 points! So Belgium came 17th out of 19 songs.

I don’t watch a great deal of football. That is partly because I find it a dull game. But I also attribute it to the fact that my father brought me up to support Dumbarton FC. Not only are they pretty dismal to watch, but their football ground is over an hour’s drive away from where we lived in Kirkcaldy. There were plenty of away matches near us, all in shiteholes.

I have long since stopped following Dumbarton in any meaningful sense. But tonight is unusual because I can sit and watch them from the comfort of my home. For the first time, a Dumbarton match is being televised live as the SFL First Division play-off is on BBC Alba.

Watching football on BBC Alba is a bizarre experience. It is quite transparently there only for the ratings. While the majority of the presentation is in Gaelic, there is just enough English to stop you from going crazy.

Anyway, tonight I am supporting Dumbarton, even if it’s just to make the most of the fact that I can do so without freezing my nuts off in a freezing cold stand.


Last week I finally got my hands on something I’ve wanted for a while — an Omnichord. It is a kitsch electronic music instrument produced by Suzuki in the 1980s. It makes a very charming sound and is addictive to play.

The key feature that makes the Omnichord stand out from other instruments is the sonic strings. This is essentially a plate that you run your fingers over to imitate strumming. You select a chord you would like to play (there are 84 to choose from), and strum away.

It is amazingly easy to play. I haven’t played a musical instrument seriously for a very long time, but just mucking around on the Omnichord has been very satisfying already.

I first heard of the Omnichord when I was a fan of the indie group The High Fidelity back in about 2000. They released an entire album inspired by the Omnichord.

Since then, I have noticed the Omnichord cropping up in the music of many of my favourite artists.

The otherworldly sound of the Omnichord intrigued me, as did the passion that so many people have for the instrument. Ever since, I have toyed with the idea of getting my hands on one of these cult objects. Last week I bit the bullet at last.

It is an eBay job — these Omnichords were discontinued in the 1980s. I think I got lucky. I got my hands on this one for £120. I had already lost an auction a couple of months ago. On that occasion it went for well over £200.

Apart from a couple of sticky buttons, this Omnichord — which is older than I am — is in remarkably good condition. It feels robust, so with a bit of luck this will have quite a long life, despite it being quite old already.

I am super chuffed with this purchase. Here is an audio clip of me mucking about with the Omnichord.


Hopefully I can progress beyond just mucking about with it, and maybe start getting into playing music properly again. I’m even starting to wonder about getting the Qchord, which is the successor to the Omnichord.

Here is a video of Sean Dickson from the High Fidelity performing Teenage Kicks on a Qchord.

I was reminded of this amazing video of a disastrous edition of the One O’clock News from Christmas 1986. The video contains talkback, so you can hear the director and other activity in the gallery. It’s fascinating and stressful to watch!

It seems to begin well enough, but the first alarm bell is raised during the title sequence when we learn that “the lead story won’t make it”. Then things go from bad to worse.

The director comes close to losing his cool at around minutes 4 and 5, but he soon recovers. Everyone seems to do a good job given the circumstances, apart from Mike seemingly!

It was a baptism of fire for Philip Hayton too. Apparently it was his first time reading the BBC One O’clock News.

Paul di Resta 2012 Malaysia FP2

Twitter was alight with speculation during this afternoon’s qualifying session for the Bahrain Grand Prix.

Force India pulled out of yesterday’s second practice session due to safety concerns. Since then, the team’s cars have been conspicuously absent from the television coverage, which is centrally provided by Bernie Ecclestone’s company, Formula One Management.

Despite the fact that at one point the Force Indias had set the two fastest times during Q2, they were nowhere to be found on the coverage. Viewers noticed. Knowing the way Bernie Ecclestone operates, it’s not difficult to imagine that he has decided to retaliate against Force India for their decision not to run in practice 2.

F1 journalist Adam Hay-Nicholls let slip that FOM have been ordered in the past to avoid filming particular teams.

He expanded on this point, saying that the repercussions for Force India could go beyond today’s qualifying session, and even beyond the race weekend.

What disgusts me about this is that Force India withdrew from yesterday’s practice session for legitimate safety concerns. Four of their employees were caught up in a petrol bomb attack while going about their normal business in Bahrain. In these circumstances, it really is not surprising that the team would prefer to pack up early in order to avoid travelling in the dark.

If Bernie Ecclestone really has decided to exact his petty revenge on Force India for this, it makes me feel sick to my stomach. He is putting his narrow business interests ahead of lives.

The only clue Adam Hay-Nicholls has provided as to the identity of the other team that has been ‘censored’ by FOM is that the team no longer exists in the form it did at the time:

This suggests that the team was effectively put out of business, or that the owner of the team had to leave the sport. Clearly, a lack of television coverage does not help on that front.

On the one hand, it’s incredible to think that FOM think that the viewers are mugs not to notice this petty behaviour by not filming Force India. But it’s also worrying that FOM have done this before, and we haven’t noticed.

I am considering buying some Force India merchandise in a show of support. The way they are being pressurised into neglecting their own safety is absolutely disgusting.

There is no way I will buy any merchandise from the official Formula 1 website, but this Force India flag available at Grand Prix Legends looks quite good.