Down the Procurement Pub with Yes Minister, Proxima b, and Fatherson

I had a very pleasant pint at Hart’s Boatyard down by the River Thames near Surbiton this week, on one of the hottest days of the year, talking about the latest thinking in public procurement and other vital matters, including forthcoming procurement marriages … more on that another day!


Sir Antony Jay died this week. The creator of Yes Minister and Yes Prime Minister (along with Jonathan Lynn), he will go down in history as a genius in his field - the writer of probably the cleverest and most perceptive UK sitcom of all time. Just watch this excerpt below, still as topical as ever.  We’ve written a few “homages” to the programme like this one but recognise the unequaled brilliance of the original, which I have been told is still shown to new civil service fast-stream graduate trainees. Once they have had a good laugh, they’re told that this is not a bit of fun, rather they should watch it as a documentary! There is so much truth in the way the relationship between civil servants and Ministers is portrayed, and in the way the civil service follows an agenda that goes beyond apparent “politics”.


We won’t have any new articles until next Tuesday with the Bank Holiday weekend, except for our Reading Festival reviews (see below). Have a great weekend, watch out for the traffic jams, and we will be back ready to go and re-invigorated on Tuesday.


Green GuyMuch excitement this week in scientific world as astronomers discovered a planet that is rather like earth, and not that far away. It orbits the nearest star to our sun, and has been named Proxima b. There is hope it could sustain life, and that we may finally find those elusive “little green men” (or women) loved by science fiction fans everywhere. In fact, in a world exclusive, we have what might be the first picture of one of these “Proximen” as we might call them …


Today (Friday), 50% of the Spend Matters Editorial team is at Reading Festival. We almost persuaded Nancy to attend too, but, alas, family commitments! We’ll have reviews of each day posted over the weekend (Saturday, Sunday, Monday) as long as I get up early enough each day. (No, we don’t camp, we do a daily commute).

There’s a lot to look forward to; it is not the big bands on the main stage that excite us, but the chance to see up-and-coming bands that might one day hit those dizzy heights. We’ve seen acts like Bastille, Hozier, Florence, and Catfish & The Bottlemen on the smallest stages at Reading, playing to a few curious onlookers.

So in case you want to re-create the experience at home via YouTube, here are just some of the lesser known acts I have marked in green highlighter (“absolutely must see”) or blue highlighter (“want to see”) on my clashfinder printout for this year; Fatherson, Transviolet, Lewis del Mar, Tin Pigeons, the Beach, Sunset Sons, the Hunna, Spring King, Strong Asian Mothers, Inheaven, Blaenavon …  Here is the first on that list; a band that sound ready for the main stage already, to be honest, with their big, emotional, anthemic songs.

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