AUTHOR GUY PORTMAN'S BLOG

PORTMAN'S PONDERINGS, PROCRASTINATIONS, PREAMBLES, PROGNOSES & PARODIES.

1
Bieber
2
Olympic Trademarks
3
Twitter Part 3
4
Twitter (part 2)
5
Twitter
6
Update and Book Review
7
CreateSpace
8
The Drought
9
Bitcoin
10
Wenlock and Mandeville

Bieber

Justin Bieber is the marmite of Twitter; you either love him or hate him.  For his legions of fans, known as True Beliebers, the very mention of the infant pop star’s name can bring on a frenzy of evangelical zeal, whilst for Non-Beliebers, it is met by a sigh of derision or a foul-mouthed tirade.

Whatever your opinion of Justin Bieber, he is undeniably the King of Twitter.  The young Bieber is the second most popular official celebrity account after Lady Gaga.  One Twitter employee commented that ‘racks of servers are dedicated to Bieber’.

Here are some Justin Bieber Twitter facts:

  • 23,579,427 – Twitter followers (at last count).
  • 322,244 – Identical social media messages for Bieber’s birthday in March.
  • 11,000 – Average number of new Twitter followers per day (not even the bubonic plague spread this fast).

Whilst many of us might begrudge this angelic star, with the immaculate coiffure, proclaimed love of God and clean lifestyle so in contrast to our flawed musical idols of yesteryear, it is not his actions that have caused the most offense, but rather unsavoury elements within the hordes of True-Beliebers.

One example of this is when Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth (of Hunger Games fame) recently announced their engagement.  Within minutes it was the number one trending topic on Twitter.  Yet no sooner had we digested this news when Selena Bieber became a top ten Twitter trend.  For those not acquainted with Selena, she is Selena Gomez, Bieber’s girlfriend.  They are not in fact engaged and at any rate it is a ludicrous assertion, child marriage is illegal in America, even in Utah.  The whole escapade was merely an effort by a large number of jealous Beliebers to steal back the limelight.

There have also been more serious instances, including the case of Mariah Yeater, who after filing a paternity suit against the singer was bombarded with death threats.  And then there’s the incident in New York, where Bieber was recently promoting his fragrance ‘Someday’, when a man clambered over the barriers and wrestled the young Bieber to the ground.  It transpired the man was Tom Petterson, an undercover cop, who was concerned that Bieber’s fans were becoming rather boisterous and that a riot was imminent.  This misunderstanding resulted in Tom being the subject of numerous death threat tweets.

‘I close my eyes and I can see a better day,’ sings Bieber in his song ‘Pray’.  Perhaps he would be better opening his eyes and taking action against the increasingly fundamentalist elements within his congregation.

On another subject I have just released my book.  Click here to find out more about it.

Olympic Trademarks

The Olympic torch is currently on a seventy day, 8,000 mile journey through Britain (+1 day in Dublin); a trip that encompasses some of the nation’s most remote locations, including the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides and Lerwick in the Shetlands.  Each day, jubilant, Union Jack waving crowds line the route, eager for this once in a lifetime opportunity to witness the Olympic torch passing through their community.  However these Olympic festivities are under threat, not only from the ever present canopy of grey clouds and the risk of rain they pose, but also from something far more sinister, lurking in the shadows, ready to surface unannounced at any moment.  This peril is trademark infringement.

LOCOG officials have had to be ever vigilant in their efforts to protect the Olympic logo and the London 2012 trademarks from a plethora of unlikely villains.  Prompt action had to be taken in Plymouth, where a chef in a café in the Life Centre attempted to profit from the arrival of the Olympic torch by creating ‘Olympic breakfasts’ and ‘flaming torch breakfast baguettes’.  This was not an isolated incident.  At another Olympic torch location in North Devon, Webbers Estate Agents had the audacity to display Olympic rings in their windows made from Hula Hoops, in addition to a homemade torch.

Nor has this surge of Trademark sabotage been reserved only for the Olympic torch’s route.  Film maker Noel Clarke was prevented from using the word ‘Olympics’ in his new film ‘Fast Girls’, about a British female sprint team, much to his chagrin.  Even the very heart of London 2012 is not immune from these threats.  Merely moments from the Olympic stadium in East London, action had to be taken against the Olympic café (founded in 1980).  The establishment is now known as the Lympic café.

Prior to being warned about potential copyright infringement, Joy Tomkins, an eighty-one year old grandmother hailing from Kings Lynn, had planned on selling one pound dolls wearing homemade shorts and T-shirts emblazoned with both the Olympic and GB2012 logos (see picture 2).  LOCOG please note that this picture has been included for the purpose of warning the public about the hazards of Trademark infringement and not because I am not in collaboration with Mrs Tomkins to profit from any potential sales of these dolls.

Twitter Part 3

(I include the first three sections for those who did not read Twitter part 1 or 2).

Introduction

The evolution of Twitter since its creation in 2006 has been unprecedented in the history of the Universe.  Twitter is currently inhabited by approximately 140 million creatures (though it is suspected that some are robotic).  This study examines the role of two of Twitter’s many species.

Aims & Objectives

i).  To observe, document & compare the tweeting habits of two species.

ii). Use the results to draw conclusions on the given species prospects for further evolutionary progress.

Methodology

One hundred tweets from two specimens from each species were analysed over a five day period.  On each day a different hourly time frame was evaluated.  (Note: In instances where not enough tweets were present, the team worked backwards in chronological order until the twenty tweet target was achieved).

The two species are:

Irritating Interloper (Vexo Tertius) & Inspirational Innovator (Inspiratori Novitatis)

The Irritating Interloper

Social Orientation: solitary

Habitat: scrubland & rocky outcrops

Diet: carrion

Behaviour: Irritating Interlopers generally tweet in short flurries several times a day.  Tweeting is sporadic and occurs only during waking hours.  It is very unusual for Irritating Interloper tweets to either be part of a tweeting conversation or to result in one.  Tweets are in the form of statements, generally contain capitalisation and usually at least one occurrence of the word I, Me or My (regional variations may apply).  Other species’ have been recorded recoiling at the sound of a lone Irritating Interloper’s tweeting call, before moving hastily out of tweeting range.

The Inspirational Innovator 

Social Orientation: small family groups

Habitat: burrows are located in open grassland/prairies

Diet: grass & flowers

Behaviour: Inspirational Innovators tweet intermittently on a daily basis.  Tweeting generally occurs about six to ten times in any given twenty-four period, during both waking and sleeping hours.  Inspirational Innovators are pensive rational creatures, who generally tweet about a single topic, which they deem will inspire creatures with an interest in this subject matter and which in turn will aid their own ongoing evolutionary status in the Twitter sphere.

Tweeting data

Breakdown of Irritating Interloper tweets




Breakdown of Inspirational Innovator tweets

Conclusion:

The Irritating Interloper

i).  The research team suspects that the life span of the Irritating Interloper is brief.  Alarmingly, shortly after this study was completed one of the research specimens’s disappeared.  Despite our attempts to locate it by sending tweets that would appeal to its narcissistic tendencies, no reply was forthcoming.

ii). Static follower numbers are evidence that the tweeting habits of Irritating Interlopers are not appreciated by other species’.

iii). The research team deems that the continual use of capitalisation and/or exclamation marks in tweets is both aggressive and intrusive.  Crucially it fails to engage other creatures.

iv). The universally self-serving narcissistic nature of Irritating Interloper tweets is ironically failing to provide them with any tangible benefits.

The Inspirational Innovator

i).  It is evident from steadily growing follower numbers and the convivial nature of the few conversations that were recorded that the original/innovative tweets of Inspirational Innovators will lead to evolutionary success.

ii). Inspirational Innovators relatively low tweeting rate is evidence that it is not only voluminous/vociferous species’ that are succeeding in the Twitter sphere.

Recommendations

a).  Irritating Interlopers would do well to remember that carrion eaters were generally regarded as loathsome beasts in the Old world.  It is evident that this opinion remains in the Twitter sphere.  Irritating Interlopers are urged to take a more flexible approach to tweeting and engage with others in order to change this commonly held view.

b).  Inspirational Innovators are remarkable in that their evolutionary success comes despite the fact that they are far less sociable than the other successful tweeting species’ documented over the last two weeks.  Irritating Interlopers are advised to observe and learn from the tweeting habit of this species.

Comments welcomed

Twitter (part 2)

(This blog post is a continuation from last week’s.  I include the first three sections for those who did not read it).

Introduction

The evolution of Twitter since its creation in 2006 has been unprecedented in the history of the Universe.  Twitter is currently inhabited by approximately 140 million creatures (though it is suspected that some are robotic).  This study examines the role of two of Twitter’s many species.

Aims & Objectives

i).  To observe, document & compare the tweeting habits of two species.

ii). Use the results to draw conclusions on the given species prospects for further evolutionary progress.

Methodology

One hundred tweets from two specimens from each species were analysed over a five day period.  On each day a different hourly time frame was evaluated.  (Note: In instances where not enough tweets were present, the team worked backwards in chronological order until the twenty tweet target was achieved).

The two species are:

Continual Commentator (Semper Nuntius) & Convivial Communicator (Amica Garrulus)

The Continual Commentator

Social Orientation: solitary.

Habitat: swamps

Diet: foraging omnivore.

Behaviour: Continual Commentators tweet primarily in the evenings, after completing their foraging activities for the day.  It is not unusual for an individual specimen to tweet sporadically at other times.  Their tweeting call can be recognised by the fact it is nearly always in the form of a statement and not part of a conversation.  Responses to their tweets have only rarely been recorded in the wild.  Continual Commentator tweets are generally made up of observations.  These often contain opinion.

The Convivial Communicator

Social Orientation: small groups.

Habitat: ranging from savannah to wooded areas.

Diet: Herbivorous (mostly bulbs, roots and fruit).

Behaviour: The Convivial Communicator is a social tweeter, whose tweeting call is audible throughout its waking hours.  Its tweeting call can be distinguished in part by the lengthy pause between each uttering.  Tweets generally take the form of RTs’, conversational tweets and on occasion self- promotion.  Convivial Communicator tweets very rarely contain facts, quotes, criticism or judgement.

Tweeting Data

Conclusion:

The Continual Commentator

i). The repetitive, tedious, negative and often judgemental nature of Continual Commentators tweets suggest that the species is unsatisfied with its swamp dwelling existence.

ii). Whilst the research team recognises that commentary can be a worthwhile activity, it is to be noted that continuous commentary on the lonesome activities that make up the existence of the Continual Commentator is banal and offers little hope for improved evolutionary status.

The Convivial Communicator

i). The relatively high percentage of tweets that are part of/or result in a conversation is evidence of the ongoing evolutionary success of Convivial Commentators.

ii). The regular RTing of other similar species’ tweets is evidence of an interest in others, which in turn will lead to respect and reciprocation from the benefactors of these RTs’.

Recommendations

a). Whilst the team appreciates that foraging in swamps is an unfortunate existence, it never the less encourages Continual Commentators not to spread this negativity.

b).  Were the Continual Commentator to consider communicating with others as the Convivial Communicator does, it might find that other species’ would allow them the opportunity to reside in a more benign environment than they currently occupy.

c).  The research team reminds all Continual Commentators to remember that in the old world talking to oneself was viewed as a sign of madness (in severe instances often resulting in incarceration in a mental institution).

Final part next week

Twitter

The evolution of Twitter since its creation in 2006 has been unprecedented in the history of the Universe.  Twitter is currently inhabited by approximately 140 million creatures (though it is suspected that some are robotic).  This study examines the role of two of Twitter’s many species.

Aims & Objectives

i).  To observe, document & compare the tweeting habits of two species.

ii). Use the results to draw conclusions on the given species prospects for further evolutionary progress.

Methodology

One hundred tweets from two specimens from each species were analysed over a five day period.  On each day a different hourly time frame was evaluated.  (Note: In instances where not enough tweets were present, the team worked backwards in chronological order until the twenty tweet target was achieved).


The two species are:

#Hyperactive #Hashtagger (Perquam strennus)& Harmonious Helper (Concordi adiutor)


The #Hyperactive #Hashtagger

Social Orientation: small troops or alone.

Habitat: trees.

Diet: fruit, bulbs & insects.

Behaviour: #Hyperactive #Hashtaggers are incessant tweeters that usually tweet twenty-four hours a day.  During peak tweeting hours around dusk and dawn single specimens have been recorded tweeting as frequently as every 19 seconds.  #Hyperactive #Hashtagger tweeting calls can be distinguished from other species of the voluminous variety due to the ubiquitous #.  Nine #’s have been recorded in a single tweet.  The tweeting calls of the #Hyperactive #Hashtagger is rarely targeted at a given individual and are usually not part of a conversation.  It is unusual for a #Hashtagger’s tweet to be met with a response.

The Harmonious Helper

Habitat: herd dwelling grazer.

Diet: grass & flowers.

Behaviour: The Harmonious Helper is an enthusiastic and contented tweeter, who usually tweets about a 100 times per day.  Tweeting occurs only during waking hours and rarely at a rate of more than 10 tweets per hour.  The tweeting call of the Harmonious Helper rarely contains quotes or facts, is always positive and often contains words like thank you/greeting/welcome (regional variations may apply).  Its tweets are recognisable not only due to their positivity and prevalence of gratitude, but also by the high percentage, about 49% of tweets that are either part of or result in a conversation.  On occasion Harmonious Helpers’ provide detailed instructional tweets for the benefit not only of the herd but also other species.

Tweeting Data

Conclusion:

The #Hyperactive #Hashtagger

i). The emaciated and exhausted state of many #Hashtaggers’ observed during this study raises concerns that their relentless tweeting has left them in dire need of rest and nourishment.

ii). Though the study acknowledges that the # has been instrumental in the exponential rise of the Twitter sphere, the #Hyperactive #Hashtaggers incessant, unnecessary and prolonged use of the # clogs up Twitter feeds unnecessarily, resulting in other species losing faith in the #.

The Harmonious Helper

i). Ever expanding follower numbers are evidence that Harmonious Helpers are gaining allies from a wide variety of species.

ii). The high proportion of tweets resulting in conversations signifies that Harmonious Helpers are listened to and that their tweets can be interpreted by other species.


Recommendations

a). The research team recommends that the #Hyperactive #Hashtagger population cease tweeting and listen to their Twitter feeds.

b). Though the team recognises and encourages the evolution of language, it views with alarm both the #Hashtaggers’ persistent disregard for old world language and fanatical embrace of the #; particularly # tagged lists in place of sentences and/or statements.  Especially pertinent in this regard is the demise of the preposition amongst the #Hashtagger population.  This has resulted in other species either not understanding and/or feeling alienated by the #Hashtaggers # tagged deluge.

To be continued next week.

Comments Welcome.

Update and Book Review

You might remember that last week I was so exasperated with issues over formatting my book for CreateSpace that there was a minor tantrum.  Fortunately my fourth attempt was met with success and to my palpable relief the odd pages appeared on the right hand side of the virtual book.  I am now awaiting the arrival of the proof copy from America.  Having paid a priority shipping fee I was under the impression that it was to arrive on Wednesday.  It did not.  And it did not arrive on Thursday either.

Friday – 10:30 – I peer out of the window biting my finger nails anxiously, waiting for the arrival of the postman.

10:34 – A figure appears in the distance at the end of the road, clad in a red anorak like top, as worn by Royal Mail employees.  I wait expectantly.  It is evident as the figure approaches closer that he is not the postman.  Not only is he not pushing a mail trolley, but he is holding a can of Super Kestrel, a high alcohol beer popular with alcoholics.  He stumbles past, mumbling incessantly and continues up the street.

10:37 – I return to my desk.

10:41 – I hear footsteps followed by the sound of post being forced through the letter box.  Going through to the hallway I am disappointed to see there is no book.

On another matter I recently attended a book launch for The Bitter Sea, a fictional account based on real events, at the time of the civil war in China.  The book is published by Quartet.  Please find my review for it below.

The Bitter Sea by Chung Yee Chong

Canton, China – 1948 – The matriarch of the influential and wealthy Fu family is the Dowager and it is her birthday celebration that serves as the opening scene for this compelling novel.  This annual event is interrupted by the attendance of an unsettling presence in the form of a stranger, who casts an ominous shadow over the proceedings and heralds the start of a series of tragic events that will ultimately lead to the disintegration of the family unit.

In this carefully crafted literary masterpiece the tribulations faced by the Fus act as a microcosm for the monumental changes facing China during this turbulent period in her history.  The long civil war is drawing to its inevitable conclusion with Mao Tse-tung’s Communist forces poised to overthrow the Nationalists, led by the ineffectual General Chiang Kai Shek, whose grip on the South of the country is loosening, threatening the traditional fabric of Chinese society with dissolution.

The story follows the Dowager’s three very different sons; the eldest of which is Chuo Kuo, the leader of a political party, desperate to bring peace to his suffering nation.  His role as a go-between for the two warring factions allows the reader an insight into the opposing leaders’ very different personalities.

The author successfully employs a descriptive, often melancholic narrative that offers a deep understanding of the fragility of social and political conditions, as the Chinese old order disintegrates and is replaced with an uncertain new era that will irreversibly change the nation forever.

CreateSpace

I have been very fortunate in receiving a great deal of assistance with cover design (see front cover on right of screen), editing and proof reading for my soon to be released book, all of which I am most grateful for.  An eBook conversion company is formatting the book for the Kindle, whilst I am preparing the paperback version myself.

Monday

07:00 – The paperback formatting begins in earnest with the downloading of a special Word template courtesy of CreateSpace.  With a meticulous eye for detail I diligently change fonts, alter images, move chapter headings, in addition to a whole host of other tasks.

18:00 – The formatting is finally complete.  I convert it into a PDF document and upload it onto the CreateSpace website.  A message informs me that I will be informed within the next forty-eight hours if it has been successful.  I am confident all will be fine.  After all what could go wrong.

Tuesday

13:30 – A message from CreateSpace arrives in my email inbox.  It says congratulations your files have been accepted.  I punch the air with delight.  This feeling dissipates on scrolling down and reading the rest of the message.  I am informed that there are a number of problems; most pertinently is the fact that even pages are appearing on the right of the book.  I open the online virtual version of the book (can only be viewed once CreateSpace have checked your files).  The even pages are indeed on the right.  Deciding that I am hardly in a position to change centuries of tradition (all books have even pages on the left) I sigh with annoyance and make some alterations.  These include adding a blank page at the start.  The next few hours are spent checking the document thoroughly for any untoward changes that might have occurred from my changes; of which there are many.

15:27 – I press upload.

Wednesday

14:00 – The email arrives from CreateSpace.  Despite it saying congratulations I do not celebrate.  On opening the file I find the even pages on the right once again, causing me to swear loudly and scrunch up the piece of paper in my hand violently.  Having calmed down somewhat I analyse the virtual book carefully before checking online for information on the subject.  I then move the text, add some further blank pages and begin the tedious checking process yet again.

17:00 – The file is converted to PDF and uploaded to CreateSpace.  I am not entirely confident that my efforts will be met with success.

Thursday 

13:00 – Pacing nervously in circles I chew on the end of my ballpoint pen, my breathing coming in harried gasps.

13:23 – The email arrives from CreateSpace.  As I hurriedly open the virtual reader, I mutter a prayer to some as of yet unknown deity.  Seeing the even pages on the right again, bitter acrimony descends upon me.  I scream out aloud a number of times and then proceed to throw objects at the far wall, including a large glass ashtray that weighs several pounds.  It smashes into pieces on impact, leaving a large dent in the wall.  More items are thrown, though this time lighter ones; small books and the like.  Sometime later I stop throwing things and lean back in my chair, seething with hopeless introspection, as the gloom from the grey day outside pervades the room.

13:32 – The doorbell is ringing.  I head forlornly downstairs.  Opening the door, I am surprised to see two policemen.  Before I am able to greet them, the shorter of the two informs me that a neighbour has raised concerns about a disturbance on my premises.  I inform them it was merely a solitary outburst brought about by exasperation over an IT issue.  Thanking them for their concern I begin to close the door.  One of the policemen places his hand on it, preventing this from occurring.  They insist on looking inside.  Several minutes later, satisfied nothing sinister has occurred they are ready to depart.  On the way out I ask them if either of them knows anything about CreateSpace.  They say they do not.

Friday

13:39 – I am waiting anxiously for the latest update from CreateSpace.

The Drought

Looking out of the window, I notice that the rain has stopped, for what feels like the first time in weeks.  With no printer ink and an excess of printing to be done, I decide to take advantage of this temporary respite in the weather and head off hurriedly in the direction of the stationery retailer Rymans.

Barely two minutes later I am ordering black Kodak ESP C110 ink, my breathing coming in harried gasps.  The shop assistant examines the shelf behind him for what seems an inordinate amount of time before informing me that it appears to have sold out.  I am at the point of offering a response when he says he will quickly check the store room.  Through the shop’s window tenebrous storm clouds of the cumulonimbus variety are visible as they surge through a foreboding sky.  I wait anxiously as the seconds pass like an eternity.

Eventually the shop assistant returns empty handed and informs me that the printer ink is out of stock.  With a cursory goodbye I flee the premises.  Predictably the deluge begins seconds later.  Lamenting the loss of my umbrella, which had met its demise the previous day when blown inside-out and damaged beyond repair in a howling gale on this same street, I hurry onwards.

I am about to turn the corner when a large advertisement on the side of a bus on the other side of the road catches my attention. Convinced that my senses are deceiving me I stop to inspect it more closely, struggling to read the poorly designed white font over a brown background.  The advertisement is courtesy of Thames Water (see picture) and consists of a drought warning and the plea to use less water.   A car drives past sending a wave splashing onto my trousers, soaking me to the point of saturation.

Continuing my journey I am astounded after what has been the wettest April in living memory how we can possibly be in a drought.  Merely half an hour earlier I had been informed by Sky News that flood warnings were in force across several counties.  Yet despite this seemingly endless torrential downpour, much of the United Kingdom is officially in drought whilst the kingdom of Saudi Arabia with an average rainfall of only 100mm per year is not.

Here are three April rain related statistics from the UK.

  • Wettest April for over a 100 years.
  • 121.8mm has fallen.
  • 75% more than average.

Bitcoin

By Guest Blogger – Adam Riley

It’s a story I tell a lot.  In 2006 I was looking for a way to prolong my life of sybaritic ennui when I stumbled across an article on gold.  At the time it was trading at $400/oz.  Having some cash in the bank from various deaths I thought about buying some.  Why not?  And while I’m at it, get my trotters on some silver as well, at $7/oz.  There is a shop near The Savoy Hotel where you can walk out with a bar of bullion as easily as buying a Twix from WHSmith.  Even I, with a C in GCSE Economics, could do that.

Instead, I proceeded to invest in an Xbox 360 and spent the next six years playing FIFA, GTA and CoD, frittering away my inheritance on Ask pizzas and low quality cocaine.  Not a bad way to live through the credit crunch, you might think, until you reflect that gold is now $1650/oz and silver $30/oz.

Last year I sold the Xbox to pay an electricity bill.

What I’m trying to say is: my instincts were right.  It’s just that I’ve stultified my responses to the level of an inert gelatinous blob with ME.  I guess I’m also saying: do as I say, not as I do.  Because I think I’ve found a new opportunity to squander.  Bitcoins.

The brainchild of a mysterious internet figure with a Japanese name, Bitcoins are an online peer to peer currency that has been running for three years. There’s no central bank.  All transactions are processed through a network of people who have decided to become miners.  These miners are continuously running a program on their computers that is attempting to solve a complex mathematical problem every ten minutes.  The one that solves it will receive fifty Bitcoins, giving everyone an incentive to keep their computers running so that the transactions can be processed.

But that takes electricity and a fast computer.  You don’t have to be a miner.  Bitcoin markets have evolved where you can buy, trade and squander them in your own time.  One enterprising Chinese schoolboy has developed a complicated Bitcoin exchange where you can leverage yourself several times over and thus recreate the global financial crisis from the comfort of your own desktop.

“They’re not real!” I hear you vomit in my face.  It’s true, and the online retailers accepting Bitcoins as payment are a little obscure.  But on Mt. Gox, the most respected Bitcoin exchange, 1 Bitcoin is trading at around $5.  When Bitcoins started they traded at 30 cents.  Last year, someone tried to corner the market, jerking up the price to a stiff $30.  That spike’s viagra has now worn off, and the market flops along at $4 to $5, manifestly the new baseline.

Bitcoins also have built in scarcity.  Only 21 million Bitcoins will ever exist, 7 million are in circulation at the moment.  They are divisible to eight decimal places so there will always be enough currency around.  And even though that means Bitcoin miners will no longer have a reason to maintain the network, the theory is that they’ll start to charge a small reasonable fee.  Well, that’s the theory.

There are some dodgy aspects.  Despite numerous safeguards a high profile Bitcoin robbery was carried out last year, and given the anonymous nature of everything in the network, they are impossible to trace.  The Silk Road, the online black market where you can buy microdots and Tec 9s, will only accept Bitcoins.  That probably can’t last.

On the other hand, what’s the worst that can happen?  Invest in Bitcoins and you’ll have a little online money to buy something particularly useless.  Or maybe, just maybe, you’ll be in on the first viable economic revolution since Communism, that might free the entire world from the tyranny of central banking and represent a step towards our ultimate destiny as immaterial beings of pure intelligence, unencumbered by the mortality of physical existence, a nodal mist floating blissfully through space, dishing out Bitcoins to the aliens as we go.

Wenlock and Mandeville

What represents Great Britain’s cultural heritage, are the embodiment of Great Britain’s Olympic team, the pride of the British public and are made in China?  The answer is of course London 2012’s two mascots; Wenlock and Mandeville (Wenlock on left & Mandeville on right).  To some they are they are the very essence of this festival of sport.  To others they are merely ludicrous and infantile phallic eyesores.  London 2012 chairman Lord Coe has skilfully deflected any potential criticism by stating that the mascots are aimed at children and have the ability to inspire them to participate in sport.

Wenlock is named after the Shropshire town of Much Wenlock, home of the Wenlock games and the birthplace of the modern Olympics.  Mandeville is named after the famed Stoke Mandeville hospital in Buckinghamshire, where Sir Ludwig Guttman, the German neurologist and father of the Paralympics founded a spinal unit in the 1940’s.  The story of Wenlock and Mandeville’s creation could have come from the annals of Greek mythology.  It is said that they were formed from the very last drops of steel from the final support girder used to build the London 2012 stadium.

Not only do Wenlock and Mandeville have their own website, they also have Twitter and Facebook pages, in addition to their own story written by Michael Morpurgo and an animated film.  Over the forthcoming months we will all become very familiar with Wenlock and Melville, as they will be making regular  appearances in a wide range of attire, emblazoned with the much maligned London 2012 logo.

Will Wenlock and Mandeville’s legacy be synonymous with the success of London 2012 or will they be remembered only as objects of ridicule?  If in two or three Olympics time the next Chris Hoy or Jessica Ennis cite Wenlock and Mandeville as being their childhood inspiration for abandoning their sedentary lifestyle to pursue sporting excellence then their legacy will have been secured.

What is your opinion of Wenlock and Mandeville?

Copyright © 2015. Guyportman's Blog

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