Sports special – Captain Kane – White collar boxing

Harry Kane

Watching Harry Kane lead England out this week at Wembley reminded me to check in on Darren Farley (my favourite impersonator) to see whether he has mastered his impersonation of this gifted young footballer, and the good news is, yes. Kane has to be right up there with David Beckham in his use of grammar and Shakespearean command of language when it comes to articulate England captains. Darren Farley is good, but his Harry Kane impersonation is very good. Check out this video, Harry Kane is second up.

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Night wonders – Danger vote

Night wonders

The Fat Gladiator has an over-active mind. I often lie awake at night pondering ridiculous questions, many of which I can never expect to have an answer. I thought I would make a list and share of them with you – if you’re prone to the same sort of night-time-pondering where you ask yourself stupid questions, please let me know some of them.

1. What was life really like for Hugh Hefner? Was he truly happy?

I guess if there is a correlation between longevity and sex the answer yes.

How much longer do I have left to live for on this basis?

2. What will go on Hugh Hefner’s tomb stone?

“It’s been a long time coming” was the best thing that I could think of as tons of literature made it around social media this week.

3. Would I make it through Bear Grylls’ “Survivor Island” – and is it just a cheaper version of going to a spa or the Meyer clinic if I want to lose weight?

4. Why did Jennifer Lawrence accept $5m dollars for her last movie and then start complaining about pay and gender equality?

Surely, if this issue is of such importance to her, shouldn’t she have checked payments when signing up for it and boycotted the project?

Does she realise that we live in an imperfect world and that not all men are paid the same wage for doing the same job?

Does she not know that Doctor Who is now female?

I hope so.

Danger vote

Did you see this picture on News Night? Labour party delegates were asked to vote on who they considered the more dangerous of the two men.

A quick blog this week, hope your having a great weekend.

Fat Gladiator

 

 

 

Back to school – Be safe Miami – Follower’s photos

Back to school

It is customary at this time of year to rejoice in the fact that many of our children are returning to school or college after a testing, long summer holiday. It has become a Fat Gladiator tradition in September to remind followers of the advertisement that I consider my favourite of all time, so making an appearance in the Fat Gladiator blog for the fourth consecutive year is this Staples ad, which is now about 20 years old.

It is also customary for me to pass on any useful tips that I have picked over the summer holidays. The fascinating thing about being a parent is, just when I feel there are no mistakes left to make, I manage to make a new one. So this year’s handy tip is – never let your eldest son take your youngest son for a haircut, because the results could end up looking something like this:

Jett before

Jett after

 

Be safe Miami

Well what a difference a week makes! One week ago, my daughter (who is studying at the University of Miami) was being taught this ancient American sporting ritual at 10 a.m. in the morning before an American college football game, by some male students keen to integrate her into the hard working ways of American college life.

A week later, and the campus is completely empty. We managed to get my daughter out on one of the last flights and she said that families who had slept at the airport for two nights were literally crying as they got on the plane.

I have quite a few friends who have decided to stay put and ride this one out, so fingers crossed (Gerry,Steve, Rob, Debs, Sharpy and respective families) I have set up a Whatsapp Hurricane Irma group to amuse and distract you during the storm. Good luck.

Follower’s photos

Finally, a few photos sent in by followers this week

 

Have a great weekend,

Fat Gladiator

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The summer – Empire State of Mind – Little n

The summer

Well, if anyone had told me that I would end my summer sitting with Jay-Z getting a bird’s-eye view of the solar eclipse in the Hamptons, I never would have believed it. Not even my kids believed me, I don’t have a photo to prove it, that would have been too uncool, so I don’t expect readers to believe me, but  let’s just say that if it were a lie, it would be a whopper.

Empire State of Mind

Yeah I’m out that Brooklyn, now I’m down in Tribeca
Right next to DeNiro, but I’ll be hood forever
I’m the new Sinatra, and since I made it here
I can make it anywhere, yeah, they love me everywhere
I used to cop in Harlem, all of my Dominicanos
Right there up on Broadway, pull me back to that McDonald’s
Took it to my stash spot, 560 State St.
Catch me in the kitchen like the Simmons’ whipping pastry
Cruisin’ down 8th St., off-white Lexus
Drivin’ so slow, but BK is from Texas
Me, I’m out that Bed-Stuy, home of that boy Biggie
Now I live on Billboard and I brought my boys with me
Say what up to TyTy, still sippin’ Mai Tai’s
Sittin’ courtside, Knicks & Nets give me high five
Nigga, I be spiked out, I could trip a referee
Tell by my attitude that I’m most definitely from….

Now somewhat weirdly, my daughter and I learnt the lyrics to Empire State of Mind on holiday one year, so I had a few questions for Mr Carter (Jay-Z).

I hope you don’t mind me asking, but what does: “Catch me in kitchen like the Simmons’ whipping pastry” mean?

I think its fair to say that Jay-Z was not expecting this question from a middle-class Caucasian 52-year-old English Jew and was quite taken aback, but I can now exclusively inform Fat Gladiator readers that the Simmons’ whipping pastry is some type of drug cocktail, and the kitchen is where this particular invention is manufactured.

I also mentioned that I came from a long line of Jewish rap stars and asked if he could integrate the line “first there is the engagement ring, then there is the wedding ring and then there is the suffering” into one of his songs as I think it has legs. So, if you hear a Jay-Z number with those lyrics you will know we met for real, as I do believe he put them in his mobile.

Little n

As I was leaving my friend’s house Beyoncé showed up.

“Hi, I’m B”, she said.

“Hi, I am N”  I said.

I had wanted to say “but I am just a little n, and you are a big B”, but I thought it could be misconstrued as rude, so I let the moment pass. With the benefit of hindsight, I suppose the 300 lb bouncer in the black Cadillac also had a dampening effect on my enthusiasm to be funny.

Finally, I will leave you with a small insert from our Whatsapp family chat line after my chance meeting:

Me – Just spent an hour with Jay-Z and shook hands with Beyoncé

Ben – Bullshit!

Hope – Bullshit!

Gemma – How did you pull that off?

Ginny – Well, I just spent an hour in the school shop in Tunbridge Wells getting Jett’s new school uniform, and I have been to WHSmith, so beat that.

Thank god I have a wife with a great sense humour.

Anyway, it’s good to be back. I hope you all had a wonderful summer and enjoy the rest of your weekend,

Fat Gladiator

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

UK’s next Prime Minister? – Political authenticity and its impact on society and elections

Introducing the next UK Prime Minister?

In the last few weeks, my two daughters have started to talk about Jacob Rees-Mogg and follow him on Twitter for a bit of a laugh. I am not sure that they have looked into his politics too closely, but he is getting what his Twitter fan club calls “Moggmentum”. This slightly amazed me, because I thought a posh, Oxford-educated, Catholic, Euro-sceptic, old Etonian who historically opposed gay marriage was not exactly what the doctor ordered in the current politically correct world. But start to think of him as the absolute opposite of Donald, and maybe it makes sense. The interview below is not for the fainthearted, it’s about as politically incorrect as it gets from the Ali G side of the fence, so be warned.

Although the footage is old, it does demonstrate a young Jacob Rees-Mogg doing a reasonable job of holding off one of the world’s greatest pranksters. It also goes some way to explain why this clip has recently had 175,000 hits on Facebook despite the footage being years old.

The odds on Rees-Mogg being the next Prime Minister have been slashed to 4-to-1, and the posh father of six’s moggmentum in the polls comes from the young and old. I’m not a fan of many of his policies, but what does that have to to with popularity in politics these days? What fascinates me is what being authentic in a world of scripted politics can do for your popularity.

If you can be bothered, have a read of the article I have written below, which I think contains a couple of interesting ideas.

Have a good laugh and a good weekend,

Fat Gladiator

 

 

 

 

The credibility gap 

The biggest problem currently facing the world is not the standard of public health services, the grotesque inequality that exists in society, or even the somewhat terrifying geopolitical risks facing the world, it is the quality of politicians we entrust to run our countries and address these issues on our behalf. The logic is simple, without world-class talent running a country, how can we attempt to fix the vastly complex problems listed above?

Symptoms versus cause

The meteoric rises of President Trump in the US, Emmanuel Macron in France, or Jeremy Corbyn in the UK, have two simple root causes.

Firstly, the deflationary impact of technology over the past decade has eroded real incomes for the middle- to lower-class. In practical terms, this means that people have been working harder for less, and it is quite natural that they blame the incumbents who oversaw the decline in living standards.

Secondly, a disenfranchised electorate has become so disillusioned with the authenticity of candidates across all parties, that they now feel compelled to disrupt the status quo no matter how great the pain.

Business versus politics 

If one thinks of countries as socially-conscious businesses looking to maximise their tax take to help society’s most disadvantaged and our politicians as untrained CEO’s placed at the helm of their state or constituency, then it’s easy to see the absurdity of the situation.

It is almost inconceivable that we require stringent training of our doctors, nurses teachers, lawyers and even football coaches, but expect our politicians to be fit for the complexities of running the country with “on-the-job training”.

Maybe if the UK’s MPs had been trained in risk and compliance, two thirds of them might not have transcended the parliamentary rules in the Commons expense scandal several years ago?

The unelected adviser

Due to a poor fundamental grasp of so many deeply complex situations, and being moved from job to job, our politicians have become too heavily dependent on unelected advisers. This causes further trauma with the electorate, which wants politicians to be fluent in their understanding of situations and have conviction in their own beliefs; most sound-scripted politics have become a breeding ground for electoral disaffection.

I would argue strongly that recent political results suggest voters treasure authenticity almost as highly as their own political beliefs. This goes some way to explaining the Trump effect. You may violently disagree with his politics and his behaviour, but somehow people became enchanted by his authenticity, not his politics.

It has been obvious for years that since the modern media became so incredibly intrusive, our most talented members of society shy away from politics and for good reason.

It’s time to come up with some really big ideas to help lift the quality and training of the people in power, for without inspirational leadership almost any cause is lost. Here are a couple of my ideas to help drag politics out of the abyss.

Political academies 

Holding politicians to the standards they hold for others

Let’s create cross-party political academies whose sole purpose is to train politicians from an apprenticeship level and throughout their careers. We should use public money to recruit, train and educate people from all backgrounds and political beliefs so that they learn the skills necessary to do the job. Where possible, let’s expose them to scientific and economic case studies underpinning their own beliefs so that they can better scrutinise the basis of their political foundations.

These institutions should be set on modernising politics and teaching both incoming and existing politicians about automation, gene sequencing, the environment, foreign affairs, economics, disruption and numerous other different subjects.

Students could graduate and specialise with recognised qualifications and, most importantly, reinforce their knowledge with regular and relevant maintenance courses over the duration of their careers in a rapidly-changing world.

If you study medicine, you very often go on to specialise. It’s unusual to see a brain surgeon being given the job as Head of Oncology, and yet with politics that is exactly what happens. Under the current system, the finance minister of any country could be innumerate, they can then be moved on to run foreign affairs. Put simply, our politicians are not immune to the same laws that govern every single student, teacher, lawyer, nurse and business – they need constant and continual training.

Independent healthcare 

Finally, let’s deweaponise healthcare so that politicians can’t use people’s health as a campaign differentiator. If central banks can be given their independence to stop interest rates being used for political purposes, then why can’t we do something similar with healthcare?

Healthcare policy should be run by a cross-party body with experts in genomics, liquid biopsy, gene editing, AI, telemedicine, finance and a representative body of healthcare experts and employees. Budgets would be set at a percentage of GDP and the institution given autonomy in the same way as central banks. This would achieve two potentially important things.

Firstly,  it would stop politics descending into the abyss during campaigns, which protects both the elected and the electorate, and secondly, it would be fit for purpose in the rapidly-evolving world of healthcare.

Unlike many, I believe that our current crop of politicians are exceptionally well-intentioned people who really wish to make a difference. I also believe that they are set up to fail, due to a lack of structure in recruitment and training.

What better use of public- or privately-donated funds than to invest in the people who run the country, by applying the same philosophy to them as they wish to apply to others when it comes to education, training and apprenticeships?

 

Photo sharing

For the Fat Gladiator blog this week I thought I would publish some of the pictures that people have been kind enough to send me over the previous weeks.

Best marketing campaign

 

On politics

 

About Brexit

On Roger Federer’s historic triumph

 

On the birth of a new family member

 

Have a great weekend,

Fat Gladiator

 

 

Love Island special

Love Island special

As promised last week, I want to explain why I think Love Island has done for reality television what George Clooney did for tequila. For those unlucky enough not to have watched the show, Love Island can be described as follows.

The show’s producers hire a luxury villa and populate the premises with six incredibly beautiful women and six extraordinarily-handsome men who have a combined 12 GCSE passes between them.

Now, here is the cleaver bit, those 12 GCSE passes are shared entirely between two girls in the house called Amber and Montana who have six each. The remaining members of the house, because they struggle with basic English, have invented an entire language of their own, which is extremely resourceful.

Source: ITV

Some examples of Love Island language:

  • To graft – To work hard to make someone you find physically attractive like you so that they can be unfaithful several days later.
  • To be mugged or pied off – To be rejected or denied access to someone you find physically attractive, so that after you have slept with almost everyone in the house, they can be reintroduced into the villa for one final fly past.
  • To stick one on someone – I believe this to be the act of procreation.
  • To banter or “are you bantering me?” – To wind someone up intentionally or talk so inarticulately that no one in Western civilisation has a clue what you are talking about.

So why have I watched every episode?

There are many reasons. Yes, I have enjoyed learning an entirely new language, and the girls are pretty, but I genuinely believe that many of the ladies in the house will be around for a long time to come, although this is mainly because parts of them are simply not biodegradable.

I also enjoy being able to share the experience with my kids. Whether it’s skiing, horse riding or watching Love Island together, the programme offers a small window to their world. So now when the children get pied off by someone they tried to stick it on I can give ‘em good bants.

Thirdly, and maybe most importantly, the programme has the ability make me feel incredibly physically inadequate and intellectually brilliant simultaneously – the best-looking guy in the show, known as “Muggy Mike”, makes me feel like Albert Einstein and Pee-wee Herman rolled into one. However, because I feel confident he has reached peak IQ, I take some consolation in knowing that his looks may fade before I become more stupid, and this makes me happy.

Finally, when grown adults mispronounce words it can be genuinely funny. I learnt this lesson many years ago in the City, where I had the pleasure to work with some particularly inarticulate people who also used to get their words wrong.

I remember a client once saying that he had found out some information because he had “The ears of a hawk”. I also had a colleague in New York who would frequently get the words “incensed” and “incest” mixed up, which led to some interesting conversations between the two of us. Maybe my favourite of all time was the same guy constructing a word that sounded so realistic I spent a week asking people if it really existed.

He said: “I was down the social security the other day and there was an enormous line of “Pakistinians” so I didn’t have time to get my social security number and will have to try again another time.

Anyway, if you like words being mispronounced by reality TV stars, don’t be spectacle about Love Island, tune in – there is still another week to go.

Have a great weekend,

Fat Gladiator