Moving in zig zags

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte, Juventus goalkeeper Buffon and Theresa May

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte, Juventus goalkeeper Buffon and Theresa May

We can often begin to think that what is now will be forever more. The future is a prolongation of the present. Yet History can hit another gear, shifting suddenly in speed  and scale. The invincible can be beaten. The unstoppable shudders to a halt. Inveterate losers galvanise themselves. Everything that is solid melts into air.


An in- form Chelsea faced a sometimes dismally disorganised Arsenal in the FA  Cup final. They lost 2-1. A seemingly impregnable Juventus defence went to the European Champions League final. They conceded 4 to Real Madrid. Theresa May called a snap election confident of a significantly increased majority. It didn’t happen.


This is what Lenin meant when he said that “history is moving in zig zags.”


Arsene Wenger,Real Madrid player Marcelo and Jeremy Corbyn

Arsene Wenger, Real Madrid player Marcelo and Jeremy Corbyn



On Commitment


Arsene Wenger has just signed a new contract as Arsenal manager:

“I have desire. I love my job. I love to win. I love to build. I love to get people going. I love what I do. It’s as simple as that. I invite you, for one day, to live with me and one thing you cannot question is my commitment.”


The Guardian 29th May 2017.




On Diversity



1973 Miles Davis,  Dark Magus.

1973 Miles Davis, Dark Magus.



This is a  brilliant photo from the gatefold of a 1973 Miles Davis album called Dark Magus.


The picture says a lot. Miles is encircled by a disabled Jewish saxophonist, Dave Liebman; a seated Jimi Hendrix – inspired Reggie Lucas; ex-Stevie Wonder and future soul star, Michael Henderson, on bass; James Mtume, himself to become a jazz-fusion superstar; on congas and in the forefront sits Badal Roy on the tabla.


That is what you call diversity. It wasn’t contrived and it worked. The music is wild, experimental and open-ended. It is wonderful to hear one of the musicians take a different turn, to sense the others listening and then beginning to pick up the beat and the new direction. Miles was the conductor but, within a broad framework, anything was possible.


A similar approach is a hallmark of BSix. Diversity is an inherent core of its identity. The whole college,its staff and students, are a celebration of difference and draw inspiration from it. Difference is an education in itself and a fertile source of sensitivity and tolerance. Difference is a virtue, not a threat. Difference is a strength, not a weakness.


As important, this acceptance takes place within a single community bound together by common values and a common purpose. This community is safe, nurturing and aspirational. An Ofsted inspector recently visited the College and noted the “very harmonious environment.” BSix, like the Miles Davis band of 1973, represents what Pablo Neruda called ‘the unity and diversity of mankind.’



On Honesty

King Lear 1971

King Lear


The weight of these sad times, we must obey
Say what we feel, not what we ought to say


William Shakespeare, King Lear



On Compromise

Lenin's arrival at the Finland Station

Lenin’s arrival at the Finland Station


On April 16th in 1917 Lenin arrived back in Russia after years in exile.  In a speech at the Finland Station, having just disembarked from the ‘sealed train, he called for a socialist revolution in Russia as a prelude to a worldwide revolution. Not for the first time, and certainly not for the last, Lenin had shocked his supporters with his crystal clarity about the goal but his endless flexibility about how to achieve it.


He was often derided by supporters and enemies alike for his willingness to compromise in the interests of the longer-term aim. He explained his reasoning in an article written when he was terminally ill in 1922 and published posthumously:

“Let us suppose the car you are travelling in is attacked by armed bandits. Let us suppose that when a pistol is put to your temple you surrender your car, money and revolver to the bandits, who propose to use this car etc to commit other robberies.


Here is undoubtedly a case of compromise with highwaymen, of agreement with them. The agreement, though unsigned and tacitly concluded, is nevertheless quite a definite and precise one: “I give you, Mr. Robber, my car, my weapon and money; you rid me of your pleasant company.”


The question arises: Do you call the man who concluded such an agreement with highwaymen an accomplice in banditry, an accomplice in a robber’s assault upon third persons  despoiled by the bandits with the aid of the car, money and weapons received by them from the person who concluded this agreement?


No, you do not.


The matter is absolutely plain and simple, down to the smallest detail.


And it is clear that under other circumstances the tacit surrender to the highwaymen of the car, money and weapon would be considered by every person of common sense to be complicity in banditry’.


The conclusion is clear: It is just as silly to renounce the idea of literally all agreements or compromises with robbers as it is to acquit a person of complicity in banditry on the basis of the abstract proposition that, generally speaking, agreements’ with robbers are sometimes permissible and necessary.”


V.I.Lenin, Collected Works,vol. 30 pp.492-3



The wisdom of Pablo

Pablo Picasso

Pablo Picasso


On 8th April 1973 Pablo Picasso left us:

“Our goals can only be reached through the vehicle  of a plan,  in which we must fervently believe, and upon which we must vigorously act. There is no other route to success”


Inspired by the bombing of Guernica, Spain, during the Spanish Civil War, Pablo Picasso completed this most famous piece, Guernica, in 1937.

Inspired by the bombing of Guernica, Spain, during the Spanish Civil War, Pablo Picasso completed this most famous piece, Guernica, in 1937.






And I always thought


And I always thought : the simplest of words

Must suffice. When I say what things are like

It will rend the hearts of all.

That you go down if you don’t fight

Is surely clear to you.


Bertolt Brecht (1898-1956)


Bertolt Brecht (1898-1956)

Bertolt Brecht (1898-1956)



On paranoia

Dr Monro


Dr Monro is concerned: even paranoids have enemies. He is regularly receiving emails from three sources. The Hong Kong tailors often inform him that they are in town and would like to arrange a fitting. The Eat Out Magazine frequently flies into his inbox. Finally, a company keeps asking him:do you need a new golf buggy?


Dr Monro’s internet profile is clearly that  of a well -tailored, obese golfer.. Dr Monro pleads not guilty on all three counts


Follow Dr Monro on twitter -


Dr Monro tweets!


Dr Monro, aka BSix Principal, is now tweeting!



Brian’s Brexit

Brian Clough

Brian Clough


There is a lovely story in Daniel Taylor’s book, ‘I Believe In Miracles ‘ about Brian Clough’s European Cup -winning Nottingham Forest. Clough was notorious for wanting the ball played on the ground (‘If God had wanted football played in the air he’d have put grass in the sky ‘) and to feet. When he joined the club in 1975 a player asked him if he should play the ball down the channel.


Clough replied:


” The Channel is a stretch of water between England and France. Pass it to feet or I will be throwing you in it.”