I am the ghost of groovymother.com. Woooooo!

This is an old page from Rod Begbie's blog.

It only exists in an attempt to prevent linkrot. No new content will be added to this site, and links and images are liable to be broken. Check out begbie.com to find where I'm posting stuff these days.

Filed under 'uk'

September 25, 2012

National Railway Museum | The East Coast Timeline

As someone who’s taken the Waverley–Kings Cross train many, many times in my life, this app just fills me with nostalgia.

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January 8, 2010

Snow across Great Britain

Fab satellite shot from NASA.

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October 23, 2009

Classic Album Covers stamps

Man, nothing would make me send more letters than being able to put a Screamadelica stamp on the envelope.

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September 10, 2009

Treatment of Alan Turing was "appalling" - PM | Number10.gov.uk

Official apology from Gordon Brown for the way Alan Turing was treated until olde British homophobic laws.

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July 6, 2009

One & Other

A fantastically brilliant, stupid, and downright British arts project. Every hour, a different Briton stands on the “Fourth Plinth” in London’s Trafalgar Square and does whatever they want. The live webcam is somewhere between fascinating and deathly dull. In summary: Amazing.

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February 17, 2009

Amanda Palmer: On Abortion, Rape, and Humor

Amanda Palmer on her song “Oasis” being rejected for airplay by the British music media. While I could understand the “mainstream” (Radio 1, MTV, The Box) knocking it back, it’s sad to see that 6 Music, NME et al are also afeard of perceived offense.

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October 21, 2008

Campaign: Atheist Bus

In response to offensively fire-and-brimstoney religious groups’ ads on the sides of London buses, a comedian started a campaign to run ads saying “There’s probably no god. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life.” After 24 hours, they’ve exceeded their desired £5,500 goal… by almost £40,000!

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October 19, 2008

The Bugle

WHY was I not aware of this sooner‽ A *THOROUGHLY* splendid satirical weekly podcast featuring John Oliver (off of The Daily Show) and the man who I described as his “erstwhile” UK comedy partner (until I discovered they were doing this podcast together), Andy Zaltzman. Absofuckinglutely fantastic.

June 3, 2008

Video speech matching (TheyWorkForYou.com)

TheyWorkForYou has a crowdsourcing project matching the Hansard transcripts of parliamentary debates to BBC video. It’s pretty easy work if you keep going through one debate (and you get to watch a little bit of politics in action). Fancy taking a half hour to help them out?

May 28, 2008

chumby > london tube status

Even though I don’t live in London, I like having this pop up on my Chumby. It’s just a nice way to feel ambiently connected to the UK.

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May 20, 2008

Doctor Who - Steven Moffat Takes Charge

This is amazingly good news. Steven Moffat (writer of Coupling and Press Gang, as well as the best episodes of “new” Doctor Who) is taking over as lead writer. I’m giddy at the prospect of what’s to come.

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April 9, 2008

Absolutely Everything DVD Box Set

The superb 90s sketch show Absolutely is finally getting a complete DVD release. Hurrah!

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April 2, 2008

The Royal Mint: The New Designs Revealed

The new UK coinage is wicked cool — the individual coins are part of a larger picture.

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November 20, 2007

Danny O'Brien's Oblomovka: Celebrating ORG's Second Birthday

Danny outlines the achievements of the Open Rights Group in the political and media spheres in the UK. I’ve been proudly sending them my £5-a-month since they started, and consider it a bargain. You should join them too.

November 6, 2007

'Cool Cash' card confusion - Manchester Evening News

Apparently, the consumers of lottery scratch cards in the UK aren’t particularly good at maths. Whodvethunkit? “I phoned Camelot and they fobbed me off with some story that -6 is higher - not lower - than -8 but I’m not having it.”

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November 5, 2007

spEak You're bRanes

Highlighting the best of the right-wing hystericals who post to the BBC News “Have Your Say” boards.

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September 20, 2007

BBC NEWS | TV cat poll was fixed, BBC says

I can forgive TV companies for running crooked competitions, or faking phone-ins, but overrulling the viewers’ choice for the name for the Blue Peter Cat? That’s just EVIL!

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August 26, 2007

The London Evening Standard Headline Generator

“QUEEN’S CHICKENS STABBED TO DEATH”, “TV CROCODILE AND CAMILLA TO WED” and other randomly generated news-stands.

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May 4, 2007

BBC NEWS | Scotland | Review under way on voting chaos

Who would have thought that having three different voting systems (First past the post, regional list, and STV) on one ballot paper would cause confusion? Gah!

March 20, 2007

BBC NEWS | Judge rules against cheap CD site

A British online music store is being banned from purchasing cheap (legal) CDs in Hong Kong and selling them to British people cheaper than the “official” British release. How in the name of sodding fucksticks is this “copyright infringement”?!

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January 29, 2007

Apple (UK and Ireland) - Get a Mac - Watch The New Ads

The Mac & PC on British TV are played by ace comedy double-act Mitchell & Webb. Genius!

January 23, 2007

PokerFace - UKGameshows

Tremendously enjoyable quiz show format from the UK. Surprised it hasn’t been snapped up by a US network as cheap filler.

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January 17, 2007

privatecopy - epetition reply

The UK goverment has started posting public responses to petitions filed using their “Petition the Prime Minister” site. They’re mostly your standard “don’t worry your sweet head” brush-off you’d get from writing to your MP, but it’s good to see, nonetheless.

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January 13, 2007

Stupid Comics

A collection of first panels from the annuals of British girls comics such as Bunty and Mandy. All the ponies, photo stories, and boarding school hijinx you could ever hope for.

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January 5, 2007

Singles chart set to go retro | The Guardian | Guardian Unlimited

This weekend, the UK charts will switch to including sales of all digital tracks, not just those marked as “singles”. As a result, album tracks and one-hit wonders are likely to hit the Top 100. Anything that gets The Proclaimers into the charts *has* to be a good thing.

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December 10, 2006

BBC NEWS | UK | 5.5m Britons opt to live abroad

About 10% of British citizens live outside the UK. /me waves from the U.S. of Stateside.

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December 8, 2006

BBC NEWS | Children 'swap music via phones'

Of course they do. And when I was a kid, we used tape-to-tape decks. Just because this is using shiny new Bluetooth technology doesn’t mean it can/should be stopped. Surprisingly, the BPI take a rather sane approach: “Ultimately the way to grow revenues with mobile will be to offer music fans what they want and encourage them to get their music legally.”

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December 7, 2006

BS 1363 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The awesomeness that *is* the British 3-Pin Plug. The article covers most of the beautiful design decisions, such as the longer earth pin (so earth is the first connection made when you plug it in) and the cable being attached to the bottom, so you’re less tempted to pull the plug by yanking the cord. Well done British Standards chaps!

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November 29, 2006

b3ta: Virgin Trains Customer Satisfaction Form

“How late was your train? [ ] Hours. [ ] Days [ ] In my day, all this was fields”

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November 26, 2006

Health fears lead schools to dismantle wireless networks - Education - Times Online

Good bloody grief. Damn that 2.4Ghz band, and all its illness-causing ways. Hope the schools also removed all cordless telephones and, erm, microwave ovens. Won’t somebody think of the children?!

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October 24, 2006

News Sniffer - Revisionista

A Winer-Watcher for the BBC — Tracking revisions to BBC News articles.

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Guardian Unlimited | Weekend | Jon Ronson goes behind the scenes of Deal Or No Deal

For all the US version of DoND is bright, brash and loud, the UK version is subdued, complex and, from the sounds of this report, completely fucking barking insane.

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October 22, 2006

Walk It - A step in the right direction

Site which gives you walking directions around London. Since most major cities have wacky one-way restrictions, driving directions are rarely handy. I’m surprised Google Maps et al don’t support this kind of thing.

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October 15, 2006

Guardian Unlimited | Mark Thomas on demonstrating near the Houses of Parliament

To protest against the stupid law that prevents “unlawful demonstrations” near the the UK Houses of Parliament, Mark Thomas stages 21 licensed one-man demonstrations in one day. “10.45am, Hungerford Bridge: Demonstration to demand Trolls for London Bridges”

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October 8, 2006

YouTube - New BBC One Ident Montage

Montage of the eight new idents for BBC One continuity announcements. The “hippos” one (starts at 3:35) is my favourite by far.

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October 1, 2006

BBC NEWS | Entertainment | Hippos help revamp BBC One idents

BBC One’s done a revamp of their Idents, and they’re brill — especially the synchronized hippos. There really seems to be an element of humour about them that was missing from the politically-correct dancers.

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September 25, 2006

BBC NEWS | Question Time video podcast

Sizable chunks of Question Time are being made available as a podcast. Hooray for Auntie Beeb and her new media tendencies. Grumpy arguing politicians is hawt.

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September 20, 2006

BBC - Press Office - This Life returns

The BBC’s filming a 10-year anniversary episode of the superb soapdrama “This Life”. Hope they don’t screw it up, because This Life was one of my favouritist dramas ever.

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August 12, 2006


I’ve decided that on my forthcoming trip to Scotland, I’m going to play the British National Lottery.

The plan: Buy one lucky dip ticket for the main Lotto draw, every day that I’m in the UK . None of those scratchcards or EuroMillions bollocks for this punter.

I’m aware that the lottery is a mug’s game, and the statistical odds are crappy, and all that. Don’t care. Pappa wants a HDTV.

Indeed, Joy & I have been quite lucky on previous trips. On our cruise to Alaska, the very first quarter Joy dropped into a slot machine netted her $80. Of course, we pissed that up the wall, and I now have a conspiracy theory that on cruises, the slots are looser at the start of the week to trick passengers to spend more as the week goes on, but luck nonetheless.

It doesn’t hurt that UK lottery winnings are tax-free. And there’s no need for Uncle Sam to find out, right?

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June 29, 2006

BBC NEWS | Have Your Say: Where next for national identity?

Fascinating bitchfest on the BBC discussion site around Scottish folks not supporting England in international sporting events. Interestingly, most of the kneejerk racist comments are from the English, accusing Scots, amongst other things, of being “bitter miserable idiots”.

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June 26, 2006

Radio Times | Big Brother Blog

For my sins, I’m hopelessly addicted to the current British series of Big Brother (damn you UKNova!). Since it’s not covered by TWoP, I’m delighted to find this excellent snarkblog on the Radio Times site.

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June 16, 2006

Swansea North Residents Association - NEWS

Tango do a nice spoof of that Sony bouncing-balls-in-SanFran advert. The rest of the astroturf site is pretty decent too.

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June 4, 2006

Blair plans state funeral for Thatcher

State funeral for the old bag? NFW! My mum was riled enough by this to write to Tony Blair and complain!

May 12, 2006

Big Brother's Golden Ticket

The Brit version of Big Brother is going to include a contestant picked by finding a “golden ticket” inside a Kit Kat bar.

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April 30, 2006

OFF THE TELLY: Comedy: "Fool If You Think It's Over"

Incredible story of how a fan bought the DVD rights to the excellent, but forgotten, BBC sitcom “Joking Apart” (written by Stephen Moffat of Press Gang and Coupling fame). I only caught a couple of episodes, but loved it, and can’t wait to buy this.

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April 26, 2006

BBC Programme Catalogue

The BBC Archives database has been put online in an searchable and hyperlinked format. How long until the archives are web-accessible too?

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April 22, 2006

The New Amsface Animatronic Sir Alan Sugar

Wow, this is some shoddy merchandising. It makes “Trump. The Fragrance” look positively classy.

April 20, 2006

renew for freedom - MAY 2006 - renew your passport

British citizens — Renew your passport in May to guarantee yourself ten years before being forced onto the National ID database.

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February 8, 2006

Rentaghost The Musical - UK Theatre Production

Classic British kids TV show turned into a touring musical by Joe Pasquale! (via my sister, whose email had the subject line “Yes, really”)

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January 27, 2006

Channel4.com - IT Crowd

Channel 4 are streaming the first episode of Graham Linehan’s new sitcom. It’s good, but not great, but then I didn’t think the first episodes of either Father Ted or Black Books were all that good, but the series turned out to be fantastic.

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January 25, 2006

Digital Spy: BBC World gears up for US launch

Auntie’s 24-hour international news channel will hopefully start appearing on US TVs soon. Hooray!

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January 23, 2006

Evening Standard Headline Crisis 2005 - a photoset on Flickr

Fear and Loathing on the streets of London.

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January 12, 2006

Mailwatch Vote 2005

Vote for the most outrageous Daily Mail or Daily Express headline of 2005. I’m having trouble deciding between “1 IN 4 TERROR SUSPECTS ARE ASYLUM SEEKERS” and “GIVE MORE LAND TO GYPSIES ORDERS PRESCOTT”

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December 5, 2005

New Scientist: UK case for holding terror suspects 'misleading'

Politicians’ claims that police need to hold terror suspects for 90 days because of the time taken to decrypt files. Ross Anderson refutes it, saying “You find the key lying around, or you give up.” Tsk, those pesky experts ruining Tony Blair’s day.

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November 5, 2005

Off The Telly

Immensely thorough and thoughtful UK TV reviews and history. Quality stuff.

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October 31, 2005

hackdiary: The BBC's programme catalogue (on Rails)

This has the potential to be fantastic, and knock IMDB into a cocked-hat for UK telly info.

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October 26, 2005

Motorway map of England, Scotland and Wales

Nicely done map of the British motorway system in the style of the London Underground map. Not particularly *useful*, but man, is it pretty.

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October 19, 2005


“Sign up to hear from your MP about local issues, and to discuss them with other constituents”. Fantastic idea. Build up a captive audience for your MP, effectively forcing them to speak to you, then giving you a forum to discuss.

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September 27, 2005

Wikipedia: List of British English words not used in American English

This’ll come in handy as a tool to fend off funny looks when I throw random Britishisms into conversations across here.

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September 24, 2005

BBC THREE - The Comic Side of 7 Days

Britfolks — Watch this show on BBC Three, cause it’s dead funny. Non-Britfolks — Download it off of UKNova.

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September 22, 2005

Guardian Unlimited | Suspicious behaviour on the tube

Tube station shut down because of man “acting suspicously” (wearing an overcoat and sending text messages, apparently). Police arrest him and confiscate lots of computer/electronics equipment from his house. They eventually drop charges (although they don’t return his property). Unfortunately for them, said man has the skill and contacts to get his story told on the front page of The Guardian. Feeling safer, Britain?

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September 9, 2005

The Grauniad's new look

So farewell then, Garamond Italic and Helvetica Black.

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January 22, 2005

Monster Munch

Monster Munch

Another treat unleashed from my mum's suitcase: 28 bags of Monster Munch (22 of which are Pickled Onion flavour. Hurrah!)

Super Noodles

Super Noodles

A treat from the UK, thanks to my mum -- 20 packets (in various flavours) of Bachelor's Super Noodles.

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About This Site

This is an archive of groovmother.com, the old blog run by Rod Begbie — A Scottish geek who lives in San Francisco, CA.

I'm the co-founder of Sōsh, your handy-dandy guide for things to do in San Francisco this weekend.