Saturday night

Readers might wonder how I spend a typical Saturday night.  Well, I’m not telling – but I will reveal (some of) how I spent this current Saturday night.

There was no going out painting the town red (or in any other shade) tonight as I am rather tired after all my recent work-related travelling (and associated work-related work) and am “resting up”.  This is partly to repair past damage but also in preparation for next week’s work-based travel.  I’m really not cut out for the life of the international (or intra-national) jet (or turboprop) setter – mostly down to my issues with both powered flight and sleep (though only as they relate directly to me – I have nothing against either in principle and am keen for more of the latter, if it could be achieved).

I must admit that I am not a fan of soi-disant reality television – I feel that there is already a significant volume of reality in existence (possibly even an infinite amount, depending on your preferred cosmology) and there is really no need to create very poor, unconvincing and needlessly gaudy, facsimiles of it.  Nevertheless, reality TV did form the basis of part of my evening…

I have relatively recently discovered the writer Stuart Heritage:  a man who has the world’s best first name (obvs) and is also a significantly more successful and amusing writer than me (though I’ll admit that neither of these last two claims are all that hard to achieve).  He does appear to be a lovely – if sometimes rather shiny – chap.  For at least some of his presumed income, he writes for The Guardian and among his varied duties he has drawn the short-straw and is required to watch X-Factor (so we – or at least I – don’t have to).  He then live-blogs the full horror of his experience very amusingly and I spent part of this evening laughing at the suffering of another.  As well as giving me a good laugh, it also gives me a smattering of knowledge of popular culture (which may be important should I happen to encounter a young person) – though I’ll admit this is very superficial and may not be entirely accurate.

At the same time, I have been speed-reading my way through the thrilling document entitled: French Capacity Market: Report accompanying the draft rules (available from the RTE website, should any of you care to join me).  Whilst the document has much to commend it (not least the fact it has been translated into English – were it still in French, the speed of my reading would have been reduced by several orders of magnitude), I am mostly reading it for work in the hope that I will not appear any more of a chump than is absolutely necessary at a panel discussion in Krakow next week.  I hope it might also help to heal some of the karmic damage caused by tonight’s other main “activity” – though I fear  this hope probably just reveals the extent of my ignorance of the operation of karma.

Clearly, I also ate some food – previously prepared by the author (I cannot safely go more than a couple of hours without calorific intake, such is my pointlessly overactive metabolism).  Tonight continued my autumnal infatuation with soup and a tasty cream of mushroom number I knocked-up (by which I do not mean that it is now expecting my issue, it was the issue).  Good as this was, it is not a patch on my cherry tomato soup which is a thing of wonder.  I’ve been meaning to make more (or indeed any) soup for years – but this year I have finally made good on this promise-to-self.  I think this may have been aided by my discovery of a tomato soup recipe which did not require peeling the tomatoes (which always stuck me as perilously close to hard work) and then discovering how delicious it was (for which thanks to one Gary Rhodes).

Anyway, as you can well imagine after an evening of such over-stimulation I need some rest – so I am off to bed (I can’t afford to forego any hope of beauty sleep in my condition).  Frankly, with a life like this it is hard to believe I’m still single!

Saving the planet…

…one Saturday night at a time.

The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC for short) has been running a competition for several years now.  The contestants are hoping to win the chance to build a carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) scheme on a coal-fired power station of their choice.  CCS is a fairly hefty bit of kit, which might most easily be explained as a scrubber (get your minds back out of the gutter, please) which scrubs a power station’s exhaust to remove most of the CO2.  In this way, we can head off global warming at the pass – or at least mildly slow its implacable advance.

OK, to be honest, it’s not so much the chance to build CCS the contestants hope to win as a huge wad of (taxpayers’ hard-earned) cash to pay for the thing.  Unfortunately, the competition is dragging on a bit and almost all of the contestants have left – some willingly, other less so.

I feel there is a clear opportunity here which our government seems to have missed.  We have a need to choose a winner from a number of entrants – and this is something Saturday Night TV has been doing for several years now.

Our entrants need to be “tested” against a number of criteria – which seems to lend itself to weekly trials (an obvious error in the current competition is that it takes too long, which destroys the narrative tension – the viewers need a weekly fix and probably backstage access on ITV2).  These trials will need to be judged – I suggest an older man, a rude man, a pretty girl and A N Other.  In the early rounds, we will have some complete no-hopers which could be handled by the judges on their own.  Once we have weeded these out, then the viewers would get to vote for their favourite – following some guidance from our judges, but probably picking the one with the most tragic backstory.  The entrant(s) with the least votes would leave the competition – perhaps after some sort of dance-off – in floods of tears and with frequent mention of having “been on a journey”.  The revenue from the phone votes could fund the winner’s CCS – and the blanket coverage in Heat (oh, the delicious irony) magazine should help to raise public awareness of the electricity industry and climate change (it might even make me and my job “cool” – or is it “phat” now, or “sweet”? “Groovy” anyone?).

The final element of this format is two loveable, if vertically challenged, Northern lads to present the show.  We already have DECC, so we just need to find an ANTT!