The Friday Fillip: My Last Friday Fillip

After many hundreds of Friday Fillips, it’s time to call it quits. It’s been an honour and a whole lot of fun to be able to punctuate your weeks in this way.

I thought I might spend a moment or two here looking back at the Fillips published at this time of year.

  • 2005 Fillips hadn’t begun then, the year Slaw started. But my announcement of a holiday break contains a nice set-break quote from a band I (still) like that serves to round out a decade of Fillips too: “Thanks for the applause, we’ll take a pause for a good cause — the band would like a little medicine.”
  • 2006 Google’s on the scene, buying up likely properties, SketchUp, in this case, a 3-D drawing program. And, mirabile dictu, the link to the program website is still good. Some things endure. Google’s spun it off, though.
  • 2007 Here I reveal my fascination (much exercised over the years) with the sun’s course and the length of our days. Again, and again to my surprise, the link to the site I used for my sun data and graph is still good.
  • 2008 Seems we were getting snowed in then. So I suggested a mindless online game running under Adobe Air, a sort of web platform that has vanished pretty much, rather like the site behind link itself.
  • 2009 This was all about people’s peculiar names, real and fictional. Readers chimed in with their favourites. I still keep a list of unusual names on which you’d find a quote from a piece about the poet Herrick: “[He] … had, after all, highly placed friends such as Mildmay Fane, second Earl of Westmorland; Sir Clipsby Crewe; and an officer in the royal household, Endymion Porter."
  • 2010 Then I pointed you to Stephen Fry’s QI project and TV program, still going strong as it happens. The QI website (the link is still good) was, and is, chock full of bizarre facts. My favourite from 2010: Florence Nightingale had 60 cats and kept a pet owl in her pocket. (Is that a pet owl in your pocket or are you just raptorous to see me?)
  • 2011 The holiday season is a time for music. So I offered you Stephan Wolfram’s WolframTones, a way of making music out of generated patterns. The link’s still good, and I’ll be revisiting this.
  • 2012 A meditation about nostalgia in which I asked “Mais où sont les neiges d’antan?”, a question that we in Toronto could well put this year. Going back to this was a kick for me, because I found I’d used an old photo of a house I used to live in when I was very young; and I’d forgotten entirely about the photograph.
  • 2013 A couple of years ago it was virtual travel that I talked about. (Though I mentioned the length of the days yet again, pointing out that after the solstice, it’s all “downhill” from there — or are you someone who would say “uphill” when things are getting progressively better?) And again I’m glad I went back to that Fillip, because I’d forgotten all about the really interesting Radio Aporee, which offers up field recordings from a large selection of places around the globe.
  • 2014 Last year it was all about colours, perhaps prompted by the greyscale nature of most winters. The Pantone colour of the year was Marsala, a pleasant addition to your holiday collection of pixilating potables, as it happens. What was fun, though, was the conversation that followed about the number of possible colours, answers ranging from 1.92×1028 to a mere 16 million.

Now the number of possible Fillips is a good deal smaller, my Fillips at least, and finite.

I don’t say I won’t poke my head into Slaw from time to time. And should you want to find out what I’m up to, you can always follow me on Twitter @fodden and now on the new and eclectic, not to say scattershot, If that’s too much for you, may I recommend my brand new venture, The Monday Letter, a weekly email distillation of along with some notions, nostrums, and nonce matter that might amuse.

Happy holidays, all.


  1. What a run you have given us, Simon – a lovely way to signal the end of the week, or at least the possibility of a change of tone. Thank you so much for sharing your eclecticism for so long.

  2. After all these years, I still feel like you’ve given us but a glimpse of what’s inside that noggin of yours. I will look forward to your occasional drop-in.

    Thank-you, Simon. And a very happy holidays to you & your family.


  3. Thank you for all of the happy Fridays, Simon.

  4. Simon,

    Thank you so much for giving us something to look forward to every Friday. I can’t go cold turkey without know what interests you, so I’ve signed up to your Monday letter!

    BTW – among many, these filips stand out for me as exemplars of your ability to convey new or unexamined wonders in the most welcoming way:

    Music is Fractal
    Tea, Earl Grey, Hot


  5. Thank you Simon. We will all be the poorer for your absence here. Do visit often!

  6. I echo the comments above and am thankful that you are continuing to share your insights and reflections with us at, I will be a frequent visitor!

  7. Thanks Simon… Merry Chritsmas and all the best in the new year and new ventures !

  8. Simon — you are The Man. Nothing more can be said. Thank you for this column, and for Slaw itself. Come back as often as you can! Merry Christmas and happy holidays,