Free the Naked Rambler

It is rare for anything in Fly Fishing and Fly Tying to make much of a splash. Articles such as “How to tie a Hairy Hotchkiss” or “Agostino Roncallo demonstrates how to tie an extended body dry fly purely from cul de canard feathers” emerge (if at all, because the latter is sadly paywalled) onto the surface of the general public’s consciousness with all the fanfare of a mayfly hatching on a misty morning in a quiet meander of the Itchen.

But fishermen are patient, so it is not surprising that having cast his damsel onto the limpid waters of the letters pages of Fly Fishing and Fly Tying last November, eventually the wider press took an interest in Nigel Bond’s complaint about skinny dippers in the River Dart. According to Mr Bond, there is a growing “scourge” of swimmers disturbing the peace of Devon rivers:

On a recent visit to Black Pool upstream of Buckfastleigh, I found the peace of the river shattered by several very aged, lily white and scrawny humans cavorting stark naked in what is one of the best pools on the lower river.”

It was not the effect on the fish that he objected to, but the effect on his own peace and quiet:

I don’t think that the fish would have been too disturbed – the passage of an otter would have disturbed them more – but to an angler, having paid good money to enjoy a little tranquillity by the river, the sight was altogether too much.” Continue reading “Free the Naked Rambler”

Rugby World Cup: a festival for lawyers too

The laws of Rugby are notoriously incomprehensible to most spectators, many players and top referee Craig Joubert.

But if you thought the rules about behaviour in the scrum were murky, spare a thought for the maul of rugby loving lawyers who administer an equally complex set of disciplinary rules. Continue reading “Rugby World Cup: a festival for lawyers too”

Exaro has created nothing but misery and confusion. It’s time for it to shut up.

I had not really wanted to blog yet again about Exaro. There are many other subjects about which I would prefer to write. The subject matter is unpleasant, to express any opinion invites a torrent of abuse, and I would, frankly, like this blog to move away from the rather sterile trench warfare that has now developed between Exaro and its voluble supporters and those, like myself, who think that its influence has been malign.

And yet … Continue reading “Exaro has created nothing but misery and confusion. It’s time for it to shut up.”

Where now for Exaro?

Is Exaro News on its last legs? The online news company faces a number of difficulties.

The fundamental difficulty may be financial.

Exaro has been largely funded by the entrepreneur and hedge-fund manager Jerome Booth. In 2013 Dr Booth was named the 425th richest person in Britain in the Sunday Times rich list (at £189M his wealth was slightly greater than Rolling Stone Keith Richards). Sadly (according to the rich list), he has been losing money recently – £73M last year – reducing his wealth to a mere £112M, and relegating him to a disappointing 847th= in the 2015 list (in the same period, for what it is worth, Richards has increased his wealth to £210M). As we shall see, Dr Booth’s involvement with Exaro does not seem to have eased his cash flow problems.

It all started in 2011 when he was approached by the journalist Mark Watts, and PR man Tim Pendry. Their objective was to set up a news gathering organisation that would, as Exaro’s mission statement now puts it, “hold power to account.” Continue reading “Where now for Exaro?”