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Monday 21st July

Monday 21st July
Good afternoon.
It is my habit to snatch 40 winks between the Lunchtime News and our London Tonight planning meeting. Suitably refreshed, I attended said gathering only to begin to think I was still dreaming: the Big Boss, who is not only "In Charge" today but is also producing the programme, started talking about two academics from a Dutch University who had cracked the computer codes for the entire Oyster system and could, therefore, rip us all off for a carriage load of cash. Their University security system uses the same soft-ware so not even their top-secret break-through would be top-secret anymore. It is also used by Hong Kong Transit... ... the makers are going to court in Holland to get a writ restraining them from printing their coup.... my mind was whirling at this stage. Had the Big Boss been to an Amsterdam cafe and partaken of some dubious organic, yet flammable, concoctions? I know him too well to know that is a ridiculous suggestion. Had I been drinking? I don't, so that wasn't an explanation , either.
I guess you'll just have to join me at 6 when we can both listen to Ben's explanation which I daresay R.D.Laing couldn't better.
Meantime, you are safe but, just incase, I'd walk anywhere you need to go.
Which takes me, stridently, to my favourite bit of the programme. Arguably there are too many Good Food Guides to the city: you can Harden your way through a five course Michelin of Zagat-try, laced with Harden-esque pleasure 'til you need to take Time Out only still to be in need of the eponymous Good Food Guide. But when it comes to walking it all off, your choices are a lot shorter than a Starbucks list of coffee-types. And if you have children, a desert - not dessert - is out there. No longer, my friends. Step forward the brilliant Liz with a unique solution to all the above. It is a brilliant idea from two brilliant London woman and is fun as well as fruitful.
One group who would find much of it useful but less easy to enjoy than the rest of us are the disabled. They can get round London but without the ease, I often think, that they are entitled to. There's is not always a happy lot despite, in the majority of instances, their remarkable resilience. So, for a hospital to let them down in a particularly personal and sensitive way is distressing. Phil, with his customary aplomb yet steely journalistic intent, will tell you what has gone awry and astray.
Something else that has gone astray is the British Motor Industry: I grew up in the days of Austin, Morris, Vanden Plas, Wolsley, Riley, MG, Sunbeam, Triumph, Hillman and more that have escaped this aged brain. Now there's Morgan which is run by a bloke who used to be a camera-man here, TVR was sold to the Russians and then went broke. So what is there for ExCeL to boast of now we have, again, got that part of our birth-right, The Motor Show, back from the Brummies? We sent Lewis VJ, more of a cyclist on past-experience, to explore. I will show him my Corgi and Dinky collections if he finds more than one British manufacturer amidst all those Japanese and continental European types, let alone the scantily clad dollies, few of whom I fancy know the difference between an internal combustion engine and a carbunkle. Not sexist ; I am just dubious about talent agencies!
No talent agency is big enough to contain the bulging genius of Michael Caine. I am a huge fan, though not a lot of people know that. Also, I prefer Batman to Superman so I am pleased to offer you a double-barrelled bit of cinematographic bliss: the reprise of MC as Alfred the Butler in the latest block-buster from the Capped Crusader franchise. Lucy will shout Karpow or I'll be Zapped !
If we can recover from that under-ground Aladdin's cave of goodies, we'll fly out in the Batmobile and litter the place with papers whilst beaming a weather forecast into the skies over the City.
I am now fully awake, still just a bit confused but really very excited.
See you at 6.
Alastair and Nina "what is he on?" Hossain.