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Jake Arthur Simkins, 2 November 1970 – 8 June 2012


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On 8 June this year, my friend Jake Simkins was killed BASE jumping in Greece. I attended his funeral this afternoon, where I agreed to share this photo from our skydiving trip to Portugal in 2009: In a world of near-universal anxiety and neurosis, Jake chose to live life fully. A poem by Jake was read this afternoon which ended: It’s a pity that I can’t sit just here, And think about my death of fear. Jake leaves behind a wonderful […]

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Via TED, Yves Rossy: Fly with the Jetman


Via TED talks (“Ideas worth spreading”), Yves Rossy talks about flying as only he can: TED is well-worth keeping an eye on for “Riveting talks by remarkable people, free to the world”. TED began as a conference bringing together people from Technology, Entertainment and Design. Occasionally, a politician speaks at their events: here’s Rory Stewart calling for an end to the war in Afghanistan.

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I confess: I went skydiving last weekend


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Here’s the proof (I’m second from bottom): In the last year, I had only jumped 10 times: politics had simply consumed all my time. Eventually, I decided I had to keep on living, so I put in a short weekend’s jumping. The country’s problems are huge. They were before I was an MP and they will be afterwards. In the meantime, now and then, I am going to keep making time to live.

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Great footage from the National Geographic


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Parachuted in? Only literally


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I enjoyed two skydives at Weston on the Green this afternoon, in cloudless skies. For the first, I floated out stable, looking up at the plane, before surveying from freefall the constituencies represented by John Howell MP and the Prime Minister. It’s a slightly flat landscape for my liking. For the second, I exited sitfly before rolling onto my back. My transitions are still unstable and I back-flipped several times before spinning wildly upside down. Tunnel time required perhaps… I […]

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