Some things I’ve been in to this week:
A TV programme (and a book and an app and a place): I’ve been fascinated by Hatton Garden in London ever since I used to go to the area every couple of months for a meeting that was held in a church hall there, and so this week I was drawn to what turned out to be a really interesting documentary on ITV about jewellery dealers who work in the area – Diamond Geezers and Gold Dealers which is still available on ITV Player. The bit that really amazed me was how one person hoovering and cleaning a tiny workshop found £1,300 worth of gold amongst all the dirt and dust that the owner didn’t know was there. There’s bits of it that felt mercenary and extravagant but other parts that made you realise this was the ultimate in recycling. This programme also gives me a good opportunity to promote the brilliant book I read last year called Diamond Street by Rachel Lichtenstein a social history about the people, the history and the characters of Hatton Garden. Rachel Lichtenstein has also produced an app that you can listen to when walking round the area to find out more about it which is a great way of bringing her book and the general history of the area to life.
A song: This song comes from the Pulp Fiction soundtrack but having not seen the film the first time I heard it was at a party I went to in Birmingham (a slightly random party that I went to with a mate and I so I can’t remember whose party it was or where exactly it was). The song is If Love Were a Red Dress by Maria McKee and is so much better played live. Emotional and dramatic.
A TED talk: This talk by Steve Richards is from TEDxHousesofParliament which is one of the locally organised TED talks rather than those organised by the organisation itself. I only became aware of Steve Richards’ talk and tour when I saw people tweet about him as the speaker at a dinner during Labour’s National Policy Forum last weekend. It’s a good talk as it shows the dilemma that politicians find themselves in when trying to both appeal to the electorate and be themselves, and also the dilemma of authenticy. It is so very true. It’s funny how I’d already watched this in the last week when Ed Miliband pleaded for people to judge his substance. Or perhaps it was as a result of the Labour National Policy Forum.
A speech: There’s been a lot of talk this week about Tim Farron’s Beveridge Lecture to the Social Liberal Forum Conference. As I tweeted in the last week, I don’t really do party factions but the Social Liberal Forum Conference looks as though it was pretty good. Tim’s speech was excellent and really summed up some of the main political challenges at the moment and gave some guidance as to what our priorities should be. I was particularly pleased to see infrastructure as a key part of it. Some have billed it as setting out his stall for a future leadership challenge, but I don’t really see it as radically different from current party policy (although it may well be different from government policy). Well worth a read though.
An article: This article appeals to both motor racing fans and statistics nuts. I’m neither, but also a little bit of both. The article from the BBC Magazine assesses who the greatest Formula 1 driver is. It shows how complicated using statistics can be, but it’s interesting to look at the different ways of assessing it.
Another song: … and another song from an artist who started to make it big in the 1980s. In my local pub quiz there was the inevitable picture round and I never recognised this singer, but she’s someone whose Greatest Hits album I love and feel is massively underrated. It’s Alison Moyet. As a result All Cried Out has been going round in my head for several days and it is a great song. Performed with her distinctive deep voice and sort of power ballady but also slightly dark.
A TV series: It’ll come as no surprise to anyone who reads my This Week posts that I also enjoy Undercover Boss which is now in its second week on Channel 4. Whilst I prefer the series where someone spends an intensive time properly interacting with the owners of a business to look at what they can improve, this one looks at more high profile companies and the day to day more mundane problems they face. This series has been interesting so far as they’ve covered Moss Bros (a company I do occasionally interact with) and Oxfam (who I once volunteered for) and so it’s not been a completely unknown type of business. I sometimes do wonder however how many other members of staff in a business resent the special help the boss gives to the person they just happened to work with.