Girls, travel, rockets, transport, hotels, films, Martinis, wine, music, food and ranting!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Ottorino Respighi (July 9, 1879 - April 18, 1936)



Today is the 130th anniversary of the birth of one of Agent Triple P's favourite composers, the Bologna born Ottorino Resphigi. Agent Triple P has spent a lot of time in Italy but has never met anyone called Ottorino! The name has an Ancient German root: "Autha" meaning "wealth".

Whilst we enjoy all of Resphigi's music our particular favourites are the three Ancient Airs and Dances suites. Although we are used to listening to them together they were composed some years apart: Suite No. 1 was composed in 1917, Number 2 in 1924 and the rather different strings-only Suite No. 3 in 1932.


Resphigi was a great collector and editor of Italian Renaissance music and these orchestrations of music by French and Italian composers Molinaro, Galilei (Galileo's father!), Besard, Gianoncelli, Rocalli and others is, for us, hugely evocative of the time we spent in Rome in the late 1980s.


Our favourite version is the 1976 recording by Neville Mariner and the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra. We owned this on cassette and we had many happy hours in Rome wandering around the Roman Forum and listening to it on our Walkman. We remember one particularly hot afternoon in August lying on the marble around the edge of an ancient pool on the Palatine Hill with Princess B and listening to Ancient Airs and Dances through shared earphones. We had just had an enormous lunch at La Toscana restaurant and had collapsed in companionable and rather drunken silence. The Palatine Hill (especially in August) is Triple P's favourite part of Ancient Rome as it is possible to escape (or at least distance) the ever-present sound of the traffic. The sense of ancient place, the wine (Gavi di Gavi La Scolca, of course), the heat and the music combined to generate a sense of well being that we have rarely matched. Returning to our suite at the Grand Hotel and having a cool bath with Princess B finished off the afternoon in a suitably langourous way.

We spent many years looking for the CD of this performance. It was not available in Britain at the time we were looking for it but we eventually found it at HMV in Montreal in about 1995. It is, however, now available in Britain


It would undoutedly be one of our eight Desert Island Discs for its music and the fond memories it engenders.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Tour de France: podium girls





A video on the life of a podium girl.



So far we are rather taken by this young lady presenting the King of the Mountains awards. The lady below has some appropriate Mediterranean charm as well.


Tour de France: Le Cap d'Agde-Perpignan


Despite travelling at over forty miles an hour Mark Cavendish still has time to put in a plug for his new mobile phone sponsor whilst crossing the line


It's been a good Tour so far with an exciting stage on Monday creating some unforeseen early splits in the general classification. We're not a fan of the team time trial as we think the race should be about individual achievement. At least this year they have got rid of the nonsense of time bonuses meaning that only time on the road counts towards the total. In fact, it is a pretty radical Tour all round and the mountain top finish the day before the Champs Elysee will keep things boiling until the last day.

It's too early to pick any favourites yet although Lance Armstrong looked surprisingly good in the time trial. We're not sure how he'll handle the mountains though. He was very unlucky not to win the yellow jersey yesterday and in fact they have calculated that after 438km of racing he is just 2.37 meteres and 0.22 of a second behind Cancellara! Contador is looking very relaxed and he's got 10 years on Armstrong. Some pre-race favourites have taken a bit of a drubbing already. Grumpy wombat Cadel Evans has lost nearly three minutes already and Denis Menchov has lost nearly four minutes.


Canet Plage. Doesn't seem to have changed much. Agent Triple P broke his toe jumping off that wall when he was 10!

Today's stage goes through three towns we know very well from our childhood, when we had a holiday home down in a village called Theza in the Rousillion. The nearest beach to us was Canet Plage and the tour will be going through there, St Cyprien Plage and Argelès sur Mer (or Argelès Plage as the official Tour guide erroneously calls it) today. All places where Agent Triple P happily built sandcastles in the 1960s.

Move in, you selfish gits!


Another annoyance on public transport that Agent Triple P has just noticed is the increasing habit of some men (invariably men) to sit on the aisle seat of a train when there is an empty one next to them adjacent to the window. Now, Agent Triple P when presented with two adjoining empty seats will always sit next to the window so it is easier for someone to get into the other seat. If we are in the aisle seat and someone vacates the window seat we will move to the window position for the same reason.


Twice in the last two days smarmy thirty-somethings in suits (always those nasty Essex boy ones with no vents, worn by people who think they are in Miami Vice) have sat on the outside of an empty space on a very full train. We know why they do this of course. They think people won't squeeze past and they can have an empty seat next to them. Well bad luck. Agent Triple P will always squeeze past you and then spread out as much as possible.


Even worse are the people who spread their newspapers, files and laptops on the the seat next to them whilst pretending to work and then huff when you stand there waiting for them to clear a space. Work at home or get a chauffeur!


The South East of England is overcrowded. You aren't going to get any space in the rush hour! Deal with it or sod off to Scotland.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Essential rip-off


We are not convinced by Waitrose's new "budget" range Essential Waitrose. Waitrose is Agent Triple P's normal supermarket and he has been shopping there for years. However, all this new Essential range is is the old Waitrose own brand repackaged. It's not cheap, its just the same products at the same price with new labels. Trying to flog it as a budget range is misleading. It's just an own brand indistinguishable from Sainbury's and Tesco's own brands. Both these retailers, however, apart from their normal own brands, have a genuine budget range as well.



This effort can't conceal the fact that Waitrose's prices have goone through the roof in the last six months. I would guess that Triple P's standard shop there has increased in the region of 25-40% in price.



It's a rip-off!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Crisp Packet Colours 2


Much to our surprise one of the most searched items on our blog last month was the one relating to crisp packet colours. Indeed if you Google crisp packet colours you find the Adventures of Triple P comes up second.


This has caused us to give further thought to the issue of creating a European Commission committee to standardise crisp packet colours throughout the EU. We would suggest that the best Directorate in which to locate this unit would be Enterprise and Industry.

Title

Colours for Homogenous International Potato Snacks packaging (CHIPS) Committee.

Objective

To produce standard colour schemes for the packaging of fried potato snacks (potato crisps/ Kartoffelchip/pommes chips/patatina fritta/patata a la inglesa etc.) ensuring that colour schemes of packaging relate to and identify the flavour of the snack.

Key Aims

In a multi-lingual Europe, where people travel from country to country more regularly than at any time in history, the importance to travellers, who may not speak or read the language of the country they are in, to be able to identify the flavour of the crisps that they buy is critical. Crisps are an important snack food that can be purchased in a wide variety of outlets particularly when travelling (airports, bus stations, railway stations, ferry terminals etc) and time is often short. Quick and easy decisions on which crisps to buy will: stop confused consumers hesitating and thereby missing their transport or worse still, not buying snacks at all and thereby failing to take in adequate nutrition. Lately, particualrly in the UK, accepted standards have not been followed by a major manufacturer causing confusion amongst consumers. In cases such as this it is important that the European Commission establishes a committe to ensure EU wide standardisation.

Location

Host City

In order to spread European Union groups throughout the enlarged EU invitations to host the CHIPS committee will be welcomed from the following pre-selected cities: Tallinn, Riga, Vilnius, Prague and Budapest.

Location within Host City

Due to the importance of personal interview research surveys a location in a World Heritage designated part of the city (which will provide a good cross section of international survey subjects) will be necessary.

Supporting facilities


Adequate hotels must be available for visiting European Commission, industry and national government officials. The CHIPS committee recommends the Leading Hotels of the World chain as providing a stress-free environment and additional meeting and research facilities as required. For example: will packaging colours stand out sufficiently in the bright light of a swimming pool area?

In order to ensure the participation of senior industry figures adequate entertainment options should be available to visitors. Do you have: an opera house, a concert hall, a sports stadium, an art gallery, a venue where women dance around on poles? Furthermore can any of these women be easily hired to entertain committee visitors at short notice? Do they offer other services? Please note that potato snack samples must not be offered as inducements.

Initial Committee staff

Committee Chairman

This appointment has already been made. The chosen individual has experience of chairing national government committees, does not eat potato snacks for dietary reasons, has a primarily visual approach and has worked in all of the pre-selected cities.

Additional Staff


The Committee will be exempt from equal opportunity legislation. The Chairman will, however choose staff on completely objective criteria. Because of the negative health connotations of potato snacks staff working for the Chairman will be required to have a waist measurement of less than 60cms. This requirement does not extend to the Chairman who must demonstrate a sympathetic image to potato snack manufacturers.

Personal Assistant to the Chairman (2 appointments).

To provide various personal services. Must be prepared to accompany the chairman on extensive international travel. Must have experience in identifying key hotels and restaurants across the whole of Europe.

Head of Research Eastern Europe
Head of Research Western Europe
Head of Research Mediterranean

Main role is to buy potato snacks at random locations in all areas across Europe in first year to assess brands and packaging colour distribution. Chairman will accompany research expeditions to key tsurvey areas (South of France, Mediterranean islands, Alpine regions etc)

Transport

Air-conditioned (to preserve samples) cars of EU manufacture are required.

Chairman

Speed is more important than capacity. Fast enough to be able to take advantage of no speed limit zones in Germany when crossing from Western Europe to Eastern Europe. Large carrying capacity is not a factor. Accompanying PAs will have to restrict themselves to small bag holding very lightweight clothing. Suggested marques: Aston Martin, Bentley, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Maserati, Porsche. Note: no French cars are deemed appropriate.

Staff


Suggested marques: BMW, Alfa Romeo, SAAB, Audi, Jaguar. Note: no French cars are deemed appropriate.

Committee Workplan

Year 1

Collect samples of potato snacks from every country in the European Union. Visit manufacturers. Produce visual database of packaging.

Year 2

Survey:
1 Residents of the European Union and
2 Visitors from outside the EU,
regarding what correlation there is between taste and colour of packaging

Research historic packaging colour choices made by manufacturers.

Year 3

Begin colour/flavour allocation process. Conduct tests throughout the EU for stakeholder feedback. Create advertising campaign inviting feedback.

Year 4 and onwards

Publish standards and set up regulatory and enforcement units for ongoing control. Design uniforms of enforcement officers.
Budget


Due to the important nature of the committee an appropriate budget has been set:


Salaries

Chairman: €750,000 pa plus expenses
Chairmans Office: €180,000 pa
Research Unit: €450,000 pa
Support staff: €100,000


Office Accomodation

Rent: €250,000 pa
Office furniture and decoration: € 250,000 (year one only)


Transport

Cars: €900,000 amortised over three years
Hotels and other travel: €700,000 pa


Total €2,980,000 pa
Bargain!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Most searched item: June


Linda Lusardi just pips Margaret Nolan for number 1 this month by a solitary point! The top three had over twice the searches each over number 4.

The top 15 is as follows (last month's position in brackets):

1 (3) Linda Lusardi. Page 3 girl who denied doing full frontal (fibber)
2 (1) Margaret Nolan. Busty English sixties model
3 (2) Ayshea Brough. UFO babe and pop princess
4 (14) Sophie Howard. English model with real breasts bounces up the ratings again
5 (-) Keeley Hazell. Another busty English girl.
6 (7) Irena Shayk. Easily the most popular of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit models here.
7 (8) Brande Roderick. Grape treading girl is most popular Playmate
8 (-) Luci Victoria . Number 1 English Playmate on the site.9 (5) Agent Triple P. Its us!
10 (-) Stripping Danish Schoolgirls (a re-entry for this one) compete for canteen places
11 (11) Brigitte Barclay. English Penthouse Pet.
12 (-) Lauren Pope. Yet another busty English model.
13 (6) Gabrielle Drake. UFO babe.
14 (15) Cindy Morgan. American actress from Tron and Caddyshack.
15 (-) Aline Nakashima. Surprisingly, second most popular Sports Illustrated girl.



Highest climber is Sophie Howard (10 places). Highest new entry (or rather, a re-entry) is Keeley Hazell.



Top 10 non-girlie searches:

1 (1) Agent Triple P
2 (2) Norman Bel Geddes
3 (4) How to Murder your Wife Soundtrack
4 (-) Crisp packet colours
5 (3) Hotel Babylon location
6 (-) Sellotape
7 (-) UFO
8 (5) Aphrodite Kallipygos
9 (-) Space Shuttle
10 (8) Sanger-Bredt antipodal bomber

Crisp packet colours ere exercising a lot of people for some reason!