The Shard

Computer generated image of the Shard Building in London

The Shard by Renzo Piano

Shard London Bridge becomes the UK’s tallest skyscraper

The Shard London Bridge, currently under construction, has been crowned the UK’s tallest skyscraper.

The tower, designed by Italian architect Renzo Piano, outgrew previous holder Canary Wharf’s One Canada Square, which stands at 235m (771ft).

I live fairly close to the Shard and have been noticing the speed with which it has been growing over recent weeks.
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Swiss Bank Lifts Lid on Kafka Manuscripts

Photograph of the author Franz Kafka

Franz Kafka

Lawyers open cache of unpublished Kafka manuscripts

Franz Kafka wanted all his manuscripts to be burned after his death, but his friend Max Brod disregarded the request, seeding a complex legal battle over thousands of manuscripts that has the literary world agog. That legal tussle takes a new twist today as four safety deposit boxes in a Zurich bank containing the manuscripts are opened.

The boxes are believed to contain thousands of manuscripts by Kafka and Brod, including letters, journals, sketches and drawings, some of which have never been published and could provide literary detetectives an insight into one of the 20th century’s greatest writers.

Franz Kafka is one of my favourite writers, shame this looks like turning into a shit fight about ‘ownership’, I’d be really excited if some new Kafka work was to be published.

Netherlands 0-1 Spain

Nigel De Jong 'tackling' Xabi Alonso

Nigel De Jong taking out Xabi Alonso, Kung Fu style

Not the greatest World Cup I can remember, especially so as an England supporter, being spanked 4-1 by the Germans was an absolute shocker and we were utterly diabolical in general.

There was still plenty of drama and incident. What happened to the French is anyones guess, in particular how badly they played, but also how mad their coach is and what a farce the whole campaign was for them. Maybe a bit of karma for that handball against Ireland. It’s pretty amazing to think the two finalists from the last World Cup, France and Italy, both finished bottom of their groups.

I was disappointed to see Ghana lose to Uruguay with a missed penalty in the last minute after a goal line handball, no justice there. I thought Germany played really impressively, scoring a load of goals in the process.

The Spanish played some brilliant football despite never really taking any game by the scruff of the neck. I thought they deserved to win the final, not nice to see the Dutch resort to such cynical tactics, that De Jong tackle was particularly bad.

London 2012 Mascots Unveiled

London 2012 Olympic Mascots

Olympic Mascots Wenlock and Mandeville

London 2012 unveils Games mascots Wenlock & Mandeville

London 2012 organisers have unveiled cartoon animations named Wenlock and Mandeville as the mascots for the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Focus groups of children and families helped form the designs and children’s author Michael Morpurgo added a story concept for an animated series.

“We’ve created our mascots for children,” said Locog chair Lord Coe.

“They will connect young people with sport, and tell the story of our proud Olympic and Paralympic history.”

The characters are named after the village of Much Wenlock in Shropshire – which hosted a precursor to the modern Olympic Games in the 19th Century – and the birthplace of the Paralympic Games, Stoke Mandeville hospital in Buckinghamshire.

Mascots often seem like a lame side-thought to me, created  for the purposes of selling tacky merchandise. However I do quite like these ones, especially the concept behind them and the idea of having a story behind their existence.


Eyjafjallajökull Volcano

Eyjafjallajökull Volcano Erupting

It’s not been much fun for people stranded at airports across Europe and elsewhere, but some of the images of the eruption of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano in Iceland I’ve seen recently are truly spectacular. This photo  during a lightning strike is a pretty awesome reminder of the power of nature.

I have no idea how to pronounce that name though.