Snow – #times up – #unintendedconsequences – #theangrycentre



A lot of people in the UK spent time this week sending pictures of their snow-filled gardens, which, whilst very pretty, were somewhat unimaginative. I did, however, collect my favourite posts of the week on the subject of the weather, as we had two feet of snow outside our door. Continue reading

Theme park hell – Views from the road

Theme park hell

It’s been a while since my last blog post, as I have been on the road visiting Toronto, Whistler, Vancouver, Miami and a place that I call “hell” but others call Universal Studios in Orlando.

I first developed my pathological hatred of theme parks when my eldest son, Ben, was only seven. He failed the height restriction for the Hulk roller coaster ride at Universal and when I refused to allow him to go back to our hotel to change into his mother’s high-heeled shoes he went mental in the middle of a crowded theme park. To the average member of the public, it probably looked like I was a father scolding a child for having an epileptic fit, until his tantrum got so bad that I went and hid behind a concession stand and pretended not to be related in any way (a tactic that has subsequently reversed in later years).

The combination of limitless sugar, the hallucinogenic effects of theme parks that have children convinced they just met the real Mickey Mouse the day before and being emotionally tortured by my own children whilst having money surgically extracted from my wallet proved too much to bear, and obviously didn’t help in forming my opinion of these places.

That day, eventually, the pressure got to me and I succumbed to the urge to light a cigarette outside a restaurant, only to be pounced upon by a park attendant who said I was not allowed to smoke outdoors as it was a health hazard.

I tried to explain that renting wheelchairs to people who are so obese that they can’t walk and then serving them foot-long hot dogs and giant cups of Coca Cola was also a “health hazard” but he had little sympathy for my reasoning. If I’m honest, I may not have been quite as subtle as that at the time!

The sad truth is that the only things I enjoy at theme parks are jumping the queue with a fast pass and meeting people who have come to the park voluntarily – without children – for their own pleasure. I think David Attenborough should do an entire series about them, because they must be by far the strangest species on the planet.

Views from the road

As is usually the case, when you’re on the road you see some extraordinary things. My first thought on seeing this photo business was: clearly, they haven’t been paying attention to the ascent of the feminist agenda in North America.

I also saw a Toronto-based business that only sells socks with the picture of Elvis Presley on them, which could face challenging times in a tough economy..

…and a rather amusing cartoon

Anyway, we’ll deal with that next week, when we tackle the very complex issue of #timesup. Now that Doctor Who is a woman, we should probably start to examine what other male characters are fit for conversion – so far, the best I have been able to come up with is – “The name’s Bond, Jane Bond”.

Have a great weekend, and thanks for reading,

Fat Gladiator.


Talking of “sh*tholes” Donald… – Trump cancels UK visit – Pragmatism vs morals

Talking of “sh*tholes” Donald…

This week, Donald’s gone and done it again, issuing unpleasant comments about African nations, Haiti and El Salvador, so I thought I would start the blog with a light-hearted joke, on point.

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My New Year’s Eve with Donald Trump – Defying gravity and time – Lessons learnt

My New Year’s Eve with Donald Trump

It is a rare occasion that I write a blog fearing I may receive some negative commentary from readers, but having received a kind invitation to attend President Trump’s New Year’s Eve party, my curiosity got the better of me. So as a neutral observer and Brit, I hopped on a plane to Florida to see how the leader of the free world operates first hand.

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The Fat Gladiator Christmas Special – Christmas charity appeal

Dear All,

Firstly, let me wish you and your families a very Happy Christmas and New Year.

As is customary at this time of year, I have produced my Christmas video special in an attempt to spread some goodwill and put a smile on everyone’s face I only hope you have as much fun watching it as we did making it.

If you have enjoyed The Fat Gladiator this year and feel able to make a voluntary donation to a very worthy cause (please see below) that would be amazing.

My profound thanks go to Darren Farley and Josh Berry who gave up their time for free. If anyone needs one, or even two, remarkable comedians/impressionists for a corporate event, please contact me and I will happily put you in touch. Everything they did was improvised, and one day I may show you the outtakes, which were equally hilarious.

I would also like to thank Stu Denard and all the team at Team GB for their time, patience, and being crazy enough to let me film at their headquarters. If you are one of the many CEOs that receive this blog, and your company would like to do something to help our athletes, there are numerous ways that this remarkable brand can help your company. The healing power and global nature of sport is something that continues to shine like a beacon in a world that appears to have lost the plot in 2017, and is well worth supporting.

Finally, thank you to Andrew Gemmell, whose constant brilliance in video production never fails to amaze me.

Christmas charity appeal

This year, I have once again chosen to support Rwanda Aid.

Several years ago, I was lucky enough to meet the inspirational David Chaplin. He and his family set up Rwanda Aid to make a positive impact on the lives of many Rwandan children. David himself, a retired headmaster, spends many months working on the various projects in Rwanda, and as it is volunteer based, the charity’s running costs are kept low, so you know that your donations are going to the heart of the problems.

If you have enjoyed my blog this year, please make a small donation by clicking here: Fat Gladiator Christmas appeal for Rwanda Aid and please feel free to share the video and link liberally, as I know every year the fundraising environment becomes tougher.

Thanks to you all for reading and sending in your comments and snippets.

I hope you have very happy holidays.

Peace and love to you all,

The Fat Gladiator


Investment Special – Redemption Roasters – Happy Chanukah – iCloud

Investment Special

I would like to start this week’s blog with a piece of inside information. I have decided to make my first crypto investment in an initial coin offering called YouNow, which is great little company intent on disrupting YouTube. Having shared this, I can say with utter certainty that bitcoin and ethereum, and the entire market for initial coin offerings, will collapse sometime over the next few days.

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Welcome back – Motor bike imports – Programme for reform

Dear all,

Sorry for the lack of Fat Gladiator blogs the last month or so, but work has been super busy. I am pleased to say that we have spent most of this week working on the Christmas special, which I think could get a bigger viewing than the Vicar of Dibley on Christmas Day, so please bear with me, I hope it’s worth the wait.

It’s been a great week in the Fat Gladiator house, my youngest son got 10% in his Latin exam, beating my best-ever result by a clear 7%, so we are all made up. It’s lovely when you get to see the next generation progressing and learning from the mistakes of the past, ”just keep improving” has always been my message to the kids, and it’s great when they listen.

I was somewhat overwhelmed by the response to my last blog, which took a fresh look at UK politics. Having dedicated so much of my time to making people laugh at the weekend, it clearly came as a massive shock to most that I posses a brain. Thanks to everyone for writing in, I got some amazing messages of support. comments like: “you never wrote that”,  “you boring twat”, and “not bad for someone with a degree in textiles”.

One person even suggested that I run for Prime Minister (thanks Mum) and another asked me if I would consider joining a government think tank! I responded “yes” but I got an email back saying “only joking it’s not your ideas that are the problem, I just know you could never sit still in a meeting for long enough”.

Anyway, no doubt, as someone who voted to Leave, I feel a certain responsibility to fix the economy single-handedly and get relations with our European neighbours back on a sure footing.

The first thing I would say is that appreciating their sense of humour is always a good place to start, and we may need to import more motorbikes like the one in the video below if we are to find common ground.

If you don’t like serious stop here!

The terrible pain of Brexit, which neither side wished to occur, will inevitably lead to a brighter future. The staple diet of cheap imported labour drying up will undoubtedly cause change that will enforce faster technological adoption and more automation, and encourage investment in UK agriculture and technology as labour costs rise.

The UK shouldn’t model itself on Canada, Switzerland or Norway, but Israel. Not exactly surrounded by friendly neighbours, and considered a controversial trading partner by some, the country has built the second most important tech hub in the world, turned deserts into fertile land, and has a rock solid economy and currency .

This was achieved by placing education and technology at the epicentre of policy. No one should doubt the UK’s ability to carve an incredibly bright future alongside our European neighbours, whose commerce and friendship we should treasure, it is the quality of the leadership needed to implement the programme that scares us all.

Here is my programme for reform:

1. Unilateral declaration of friendship

Lead by example and allow all Europeans currently working in the UK to reside here as permanent citizens. The idea that these people can be used as a bargaining chip is simply ridiculous. This decision would be made immediately and unilaterally without any need for European reciprocity because it is simply good news for the UK to have talented tax paying citizens as part of the fabric of our society.

If the European nations want to kick out Brits that are living and breathing life into their economies on the continent, let them. It would be a terrible decision for them in the same way it would for us, so they will not do it. Politicians on both sides of this issue are behaving illogically under the pretence that they are protecting the rights of British citizens abroad, when actually they are just dragging out the inevitable, an agreement for our countries to reciprocate.

2. A quick divorce – Don’t let the lawyers get rich

In a protracted divorce, the lawyers get rich whilst the family is dragged through unnecessary pain. Brits are smart enough to know this, pay up and extend the time period that the money has to be paid over as a compromise.

The lingering uncertainty of Brexit is currently doing more economic damage to both UK and European trade than any one off payment. Stop the pretence that you can drive a hard bargain. Logical arguments trying to accurately assess cost ignore the big picture. We need to concentrate on what matters, which is giving growth and transparency back to business.

Those who say that money is needed for public services are really only interested in promoting their own political agenda. Without a functioning growing economy no one will get the vital public services or pay rises they so separately deserve.

3. Issue 250,000 technology visas with immediate effect

Establish a Ministry of Technology to oversee the appropriation of 250,000 technology visas (the current number is 20,000). The newly-set-up ministry would also be responsible for regulation of existing disruptive technologies like virtual reality, AI and autonomous cars and all new technologies.Rather than holding back change, its purpose would be to harness the power of good technology and minimise unwanted side effects in much the same way that the FDA does with new drugs.

4. Hero status – Help for Heroes, but not just the army

Let’s promote social care, nursing, teaching and all of society’s most important jobs to hero status just like the armed forces. Let’s treat them like we do entrepreneurs, with tax breaks, public recognition (awards) and anything that can be done to help encourage talented individuals to take up the most underappreciated but vital of all professions. Recognition for all stay at home carers is vital as well.

5. Environmental tax for online sales
It’s tough to tax online giants based on current global tax treaties so let’s do it by the package, based on the environmental impact, and help drive trade back to the High Street.

Companies like Amazon would pay a fractional payment on every package shipped and consumers would be given an allowance, much like tax bands, with society’s most disadvantaged paying nothing and serial online shoppers (who exceed their allowance) paying more after a certain number of parcels, so the revenue would collect on both sides.

This type of policy could limit damage caused to the environment by parcel packaging and transport, draw people back into physical shops, encourage a sense of community, and limit the evolution of an unnecessary “sale and return culture”. It would be good for the profitability of retailers (lower return rates), good for the High Street, good for the environment, and good for raising revenue if indulgent online shoppers continue to use the internet as a sheer convenience.

6. Give the NHS its independence like the Bank of England and issue 250,000 health worker visas

We should de-weaponise healthcare so that politicians cannot use people’s health as part of their campaigns.  If central banks can be given their independence to stop interest rates being used for political purposes during an electoral cycle then why can’t we do something similar with healthcare.

The NHS should be run by a cross party committee made up of NHS workers, politicians and technology experts, and have funds appropriated accordingly as a fixed percentage of GDP.

7. Political Academy – Make it law for every MP to spend four weeks a year training

Let’s create political academies whose sole purpose is to train politicians at an apprenticeship level and throughout their careers. Use public money to recruit, train and educate people from all backgrounds and political beliefs so that they are better equipped with the skills necessary to do the job. Let them be exposed to some of the scientific and economic case studies underpinning their beliefs so that they can more closely scrutinise the foundations upon which their emotional responses are based.

The institutions should be cross-party training facilities teaching a new generation of politicians about automation, gene sequencing, the environment, foreign affairs, economics, disruption and a host of other different subjects.

Put simply, our politicians are subject to the same laws that govern every single student, teacher, lawyer, nurse and business, let’s train them!

Nick Finegold