rashbre central: October 2021

Wednesday 20 October 2021


I thought I'd better take a look at the phenomenon of Squid Game. It's a South Korean-made Hunger Games where the down-and-out players are trying to win huge amounts of money by playing children's playground games in pastel tinted surroundings.

Everyone has been saying how marvellous and satirical it is, although I have to admit to not really liking it.

Our main protagonist is a gambling addict loser who shouts everything on a setting of 10. It is as if the director has said 'I want you to be angrier in this scene than the last one.'

Then there is the excessive body count, often involving people who have already been given a few lines. It is not like Star Trek, where they take the expendable and speech-less crew member to the new planet surface, only to see him gobbled up by the human-eating plant or crushed by the unexpected avalanche. This is like a loop of the summary execution of Nguyễn Văn Lém during the Vietnam War. 

I realise that the screenplay has been translated from Korean and re-dubbed in English, and that some of it must have been a Netflix rush job to assist boost their share price. Now that's a thought, given that the theme of the show seems to be 'runaway capitalism is bad.'

The production company took over a South Korean town to make the movie all without CGI, although with lavish sets and hundreds of extras. Then, as a small counterpoint, they have a refugee from North Korea in the band of players, although she must be wondering whether this is even more totalitarian than up north.

And, as Simon Cowell would probably say, 'There can only be one winner'.  {Korean trailer with English subtitles}

Monday 18 October 2021

New lamps for old?

Another of the current Government's schemes just in time for COP26 is to replace traditional boilers with heat-pump based systems. There is supposed to be a £5,000 rebate available to the householder, who would merely need to shell out £2,500-3,000 (according to the Tory press), but there are a couple of not-talked about catches.
Firstly, there is still a unit about the same size as a conventional boiler, which will hold water. But then, there is another device about the size of a washing machine, which has to be situated outdoors. And the pipework from it, to the inside boiler device must be insulated. 

Or, alternatively, a ground source heat pump, which merely requires the digging up of the back garden to lay at 30cm-60cm depth, curled pipework to harvest the ground temperature. To relay the patio, masonry and turf is probably around £5k alone.

Now let's say the unit can be installed.

Take a look at the pre-existing boiler. It will have a number like C24 or C30. It's the model number, but as importantly it is the heat output of the combi unit in kilowatts. For example 24, or 30 kilowatts. Our well-insulated house has a 24kW appliance. 

Now take a look at the Heat Pumps. They top out at about 18Kw and cost (with a boiler substitute) around £10k. 

Something is wrong with this. I'd get £5k from the government, then pay £10k for some equipment which was less heating-efficient than the equipment I'm replacing.

Add to that the labour charges, maybe it is only a few pipes around the outside of the house, plus commissioning, but I can't see it costing less than £2k, what with the two specialists who would be called in to fit it all together.

The new, greener system might then heat our house, but it will take longer and be less cosy, using the lower output from the heat pump.

And I. like many in the UK will have shelled out at least £7 or £8k for the privilege, assuming it all works, unlike the government-provisioned smart meters we have had at this house and the last one, and which never worked.

Thursday 7 October 2021

billy bunter's bombastic buffoonery

They said in F*r*i*e*n*d*s scriptwriting that every line needed to end with a gag. It looks as if our straining comic-book Prime Minister was trying for something similar yesterday. It wasn't bad as a club warm-up act, but somehow it didn't reveal any policy nor acknowledge the latest erupting issues. 

I know, they would be mere detail to such an august leader as Boris, like his example of 'Levelling Up' using, confusingly Stoke Poges which isn't even north of Watford. Come to think of it, it's only 7 miles from Uxbridge, which is Boris' constituency. And I've aloways thought that levelling up is something from a Super Mario game.

It was a joke heavy but detail light speech. No mention of the same day removal of the UC £20 - which should replenish the deficit created by the comforting 'The meals on Rishi deal' after the first lockdown. Then there's the 30%+ rise in spot gas prices. Or any number of other isuues skittered over in favour of crowd-pleasing jokes about Hereward the Woke. I seem to recollect that Hereward the Wake was a prototype for Robin Hood? 

Not quite the 'take from rich and give to poor' model being used for NI contributions by our man at the top as he presides over skill shortages and long lines awaiting Post-Brexit supplies.