A quick round up of Weekend (FT) reading

I mention here about coffee in the Southern Hemisphere and say that Australia is one of my best places for coffee (although see our previous post about best places which takes into account atmosphere as well has other factors) . The mass dedication in Australia and NZ to making a decent cup is unrivalled. On Saturday I had to walk out of a cafe in London because they only had styrofoam take away cups. Now the eponymous Flat White is here in London and the FT takes a look at what ‘connoisseurs’ are getting all steamy under the collar about. It’s odd that this is seen as new, but so long as I don’t hear anyone going rah rah rah about it I’ll be happy.  It is a bloody tasty coffee and I recommend anyone to have one if it’s on offer. Hopefully we’ll also introduce a training certificate that all baristas in Australia (and possibly NZ) have to have before getting a job. It might raise the standard across in this country.

I went for a job at Viking in January 2009 and submitted three ideas for non-fiction books (this links to the ones that didn’t make it), one of which was about the Somali priates. It looks as though other publishers had the same idea and now those commissions have come to fruition. The FT reviews them here (You might have to sign up for a free account to read these). Of course I could be tempted to say my idea was better, but I’ll let you judge. But I reckon it’s because I jumped on the pirate bandwagon (a mixed metpahor if ever there was one) that I wasn’t shortlisted (and I’m sure there were other factors). I reckon everyone was scrambling around for some pirate stories when they were heavily in the news in late 2008. Anyway, I stand by it so here’s the blurb/proposal I submitted:

Pirates of the Gulf of Aden In 2008 Somali pirates collected an estimated $150 million in ransom money.  It is a trade of relative little risk and utilises their skills learnt during years of conflict.  But what gave rise to this phenomenon and what are the consequences?  Somali pirates seem to originate from the region of Puntland and there can now be found ‘English’ style cafés opening to cater to hostages in some of the villages.  Young men have new cars and big houses. Security and negotiation specialists are demanding their own cut of the ransom money.  But what gave rise to this phenomenon and what are the consequences? 

Hey that ‘aint bad!


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