Eighties music

Eighties music has been making somewhat of a comeback on my chosen radio station.

It may have something to do with the event of Monday 8 April 2013, when Margaret Thatcher died from a stoke in her suite at the Ritz.  The decision to play more music from the decade that compassion forgot was perhaps a subliminal one; it may not even have been taken – I mean I could have imagined that fact.

One thing is for sure, her death has had a divisive impact upon the people of Britain, much like her premiership did in fact.  I have no love for the lady, her politics or her policies.  I found some of the things which happened, the things that she said and did as Prime Minister of the UK deeply unpalatable.  But what I also find unpalatable is the joyous reaction that her death had amongst many people.

It could be argued, it was her choice to behave in the way that she did whilst alive, and consequentially it is their choice to behave in the way that they are now that she is dead.  This tooth for a tooth mentality would not sit well with someone like Nelson Mandela, a man about whom more than one person has stated that she made less than charitable remarks.

Now I’m not attempting to compare myself with Mandela here, but it doesn’t sit well with me either.  Not for the namby pamby “well she was someone’s mother / grandmother / auntie reason”, but instead because I am at last coming round to the fact that we should behave towards people, all people, in the way that we would like to be treated ourselves.  If we don’t get it back, then too bad, but ultimately we can’t claim to be hard done to when we have acted the c*nt in the first place.  And let’s face it, if we feel the need to respond to such treatment by behaving in exactly the same way it doesn’t really leave us basking in the best light does it?

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Moving house

Well that’s it, we have moved.  It’s all done and dusted now, just the odd box here and there to unpack.

As usual (we do move ever three or four years, it seems), we have done all of the hard work of lifting things from one place and taking them and putting them down in another ourselves.

This is a good thing because,

a) we know who our friends are and we have some good ones;

b) we control all the time and pace of moving – if you drop a clanger it’s your own fault and

c) it’s that much cheaper – labour is such an expensive commodity.

We did have a bit of a let down with our telecomms provider.  I won’t mention the name, but it does contain the word telecommunications.  The phone was sorted on the day that they stated, but in a memory of previous dropped ones, they messed up mightily with the broadband.

Suffice to say, it was supposed to be up and working on the same day as the phone line, but actually took them another week to finally sort it out.  Having waited in all afternoon on the day that we should have received a visit from an engineer (!) – they mean technician – it took a phone call on my part to find out that there was no chance that they would have called.  WTF?!  Preparatory work not carried out in the street, they said.

Question, if you know this to be true then why, as an organisation which is supposed to be about communication, couldn’t you have told me this on the day?  Again, I am left with a sour taste in my mouth because of expectations set, but not met on the part of another.

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Harsh Economic Realities

We are all going through it at the moment, and none more so than dear old BT.

I have recently had reason to communicate with them over t’interweb.  Nothing so strange there.  However, what surprised me was the great telecoms provider’s claim that they are now operating with just one computer.

Their disclaimer at the bottom of the email that I received stated, and I quote, “Please don’t reply to this email – it’s been automatically generated by our computer.”  Tough times indeed.

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Winter eh?

Just do one will ya!

It’s almost Easter and although it is a little early this year I am heartily fed up with all of this cold weather nonsense.  Anti  global warmists might tell us that this proves that the phenomenon is hogwash; pro global warmists will point to the fact that prolonged cold winters is a sign that the climate is messed up due to the phenomenon.

As a global warming agnostic, all ll I know is that it is too bloody cold right now and I want it to stop, ok.

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Here’s a thought on the nature of memory.

We’re currently experiencing a humming sound when our boiler switches itself off.  It’s easily rectified by pressing a button on the control to start it up again, and then turning it off within ten seconds.  Strange huh?  But it works.

Anyway, you may be asking yourself “What (TF) has this got to do with memory?”  Well, I’ll tell you…

If I may take you back to the late1980’s. One night, during my time at University, my friends and I were sat in the pub (nothing so unusual there), when I became aware that a humming sound that I had not previously noted had ceased.  Now if that’s not strange enough in itself, I mentioned that fact to the group and they all said that they had noticed it too.

So far, such an odd story.  The thing is, I remember this event like it were happening at the moment.  I don’t remember what the conversation was about although I do recall that we had only just arrived at the pub, so probably not much, but I do remember who was there.  My question is, why can I remember the instance of the humming noise ceasing, but have not an earthly about any of my lectures on that day?

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Or, to give it its full title, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1.

You might ask what a forty something year old man like me is doing talking about this film.  It’s a kids’ film after all.  Well, you know, I do like to consider myself as a well read person, having read such titles as Solzhenitsyn’s One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich and Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks.

Plus I have read tons of Dickens; just enough Austen; plenty Pat Barker and Schindler’s Ark.  I’ve even managed to get through the interminable Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, not to mention An Instance of the Fingerpost.

So why do I love this film so much? Well, I was put on to the original Harry Potter novel by a good friend – a successful lawyer doncha know (so his tastes in literature are not to be sniffed at – fact).  Upon reading that I was hooked – lucky for me, the second installment was only weeks away.

Of course I got swept up in the hype surrounding the Potter series and of course there are inconsistencies in the books.  But these points overlook the fact that at its heart, Harry Potter is a great story.  Like many other sagas, you just want to keep reading and the sense of loss when you’ve finished is palpable.

That’s why I do so much enjoy watching HPXII(i).  You know it’s near the end of the story; you know what’s going to happen.  This one just keeps things bubbling away, the excitement still beating in your breast.  The anti-climactic sense of loss when it’s finished delayed who knows, for ever…

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Finding equilibrium

Finding equilibrium in life is one of the great challenges facing us all.  By equilibrium, I mean being in a state of rest, with no stresses, no pressures on us.  I suppose that we get a mini one of these every weekend – you know, the weekly rush is done and we get chance to put our feet up for a while; lay in bed that little bit later and so on.

We get longer periods of equilibrium at less regular intervals, spaced further apart.  I guess you’d call this a holiday.  A week off pottering or perhaps a fortnight away in the Canaries.  Perhaps.

And then there’s Christmas, that year ending festival of indulgence, punctuated with two big days, Christmas Day itself and (my particular bete noire) New Year’s Eve.  These are all times for relaxation and for not worrying at all / too much / as much* about those day to day things which can really get on top of us.

As for the the best way of getting into this state of equilibrium, well, I can’t put it better than Stephen Patrick Morrissey himself, “I was happy in the haze of a drunken hour, but heaven knows I miserable now…”

*delete as applicable

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Mad balloons

I was on the way to work this morning, my wife driving me, through the fog when all of a sudden it cleared and a beautiful day appeared.

Off to the left, high in the sky I spied a really rather marvellous hot air balloon.  At first viewing, it looked like there was a sponsor’s logo adorning it.  However, as my wife drove along it turned towards us and I could see that it was actually shaped like a pair of Y fronts.

Too far away to photograph using my phone, alas I have no picture to share.  Posting on facebook about it, I was accused of having taken one mushroom too many… really, some people have no imagination.

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The power of thought

This will be short, I promise.  Last night after having been out playing football in the garden with his two brothers, number three son was in a state of extreme tearfulness.  The reason for this was that he was worried about dying young due to eating poorly.  Fact is that we as parents must bear a good deal of the blame for  his feelings.  You see the thing is, the wee fella was always a bit of a fussy eater, not keen to try new things and only really happy with bread and / or cheese based meals.

When he started to eat more varied fare such as lasagne and toad-in-the hole we hit on this and were happy to eat him have these.  The fact that he wouldn’t eat much in the way of veg passed us by.  We’d cook lasagne and serve it up with broccoli, green beans, carrots and all sorts for us and the other two.  He’d be happy-ish to eat carrots but no much else in that way.  Not wishing to make food an issue with him, we’d not insist, just happy that he was eating (slightly) more varied food.   However, yesterday he resolved to change, to try different things.  He had a banana when he came home from school, ate broccoli with his carrots and lasagne and then ate and apple and a half for his afters and supper.  Making his butties for today, he passed up on a chocolate biscuit!  Way to go boy.

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