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Oh damn, still in this dream. Below are the 50 most recent journal entries recorded in the "johnny9fingers" journal:

[<< Previous 50 entries]

July 30th, 2016
03:15 pm

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Hmmm.
If there is a God, God gets it, I suppose.

It always pays to have the best informed critics.

(Leave a comment)

July 25th, 2016
04:42 pm

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Update.
I'm a lot closer to moving out. I'm waiting for the flat to be finished and then, when the kids are on holiday, I shall move. I am unhappy about the timing; but both Madame, and Kay our nanny, think that giving the kids a fait accompli is the best option. I am prepared to agree, albeit reluctantly. Still despite the absence of the kids (though I will be looking after them for two days a week and alternate weekends) I am looking forward to not having to live here. I must quit smoking, which I took up again after things started looking irreparable. 

(4 comments | Leave a comment)

July 14th, 2016
04:48 pm

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If.....
(The length of the ellipses is to disambiguate such a title from other things bearing similar titles, Steve Bell springs to mind, god love him, as does Lindsay Anderson.)

But anyway... if Theresa May can lead a government that is true to the principles and ideals of her speech, I will join the Conservative and Unionist party. We may yet have some hope with Aunt May. Maybe not with the Single Market, but just maybe by looking futher outwards again, as we were wont to do. (But this time with trade of substance rather than simple and simplistic exploitations of natural resources, coupled with not-very-thinly-disguised racism.)

We are still good at things. At many things we excel. We should be able to comply with and compete in any market. But it will take much hard graft to make it work. And there's a task for you Aunt May. Sort the house out; and we shall all go and be spectacular for you, or maybe amazing.

(8 comments | Leave a comment)

July 10th, 2016
12:16 pm

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On the other hand....
https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2016/jul/10/chris-evans-says-top-gear-not-meant-to-be-matt-leblanc

Chis Evans (DJ for disambiguation purposes) is not a complete tool then. He's right. Matt LeBlanc is the best choice. He's very watchable in a slightly cool little brother way. But that's my age talking.

(Leave a comment)

July 2nd, 2016
04:20 pm

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Update.
Just about to gig at a party outside Winchester. Get in is 5pm. Sound check is as soon afterwards as poss. I should be back at the hotel by 1am and then sleep. In the morning I have to rush back home for my daughter's third birthday.
And my ears are giving me problems. :(
Never mind. Just more rubbish to deal with, I suppose.

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(2 comments | Leave a comment)

June 30th, 2016
06:36 am

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So the pro European underground...
Recognises each other through Beethoven's Ninth.

Makes a change from Beethoven's Fifth.

Oh, that was last time. Different conflict.

(Leave a comment)

June 29th, 2016
08:11 pm

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Dammit, I have to learn the words...
Freude, freude


Freude, schöner Götterfunken
Tochter aus Elysium,
Wir betreten feuertrunken,
Himmlische, dein Heiligtum!
Deine Zauber binden wieder
Was die Mode streng geteilt;
Alle Menschen werden Brüder,
Wo dein sanfter Flügel weilt.

Wem der große Wurf gelungen,
Eines Freundes Freund zu sein;
Wer ein holdes Weib errungen,
Mische seinen Jubel ein!
Ja, wer auch nur eine Seele
Sein nennt auf dem Erdenrund!
Und wer's nie gekonnt, der stehle
Weinend sich aus diesem Bund!


Freude trinken alle Wesen
An den Brüsten der Natur;
Alle Guten, alle Bösen
Folgen ihrer Rosenspur.
Küsse gab sie uns und Reben,
Einen Freund, geprüft im Tod;
Wollust ward dem Wurm gegeben,
Und der Cherub steht vor Gott.

Froh, wie seine Sonnen fliegen
Durch des Himmels prächt'gen Plan,
Laufet, Brüder, eure Bahn,
Freudig, wie ein Held zum Siegen.
Gladly, just as His suns hurtle
through the glorious universe,
So you, brothers, should run your course,
joyfully, like a conquering hero.
Seid umschlungen, Millionen!
Diesen Kuß der ganzen Welt!
Brüder, über'm Sternenzelt
Muß ein lieber Vater wohnen.
Ihr stürzt nieder, Millionen?
Ahnest du den Schöpfer, Welt?
Such' ihn über'm Sternenzelt!
Über Sternen muß er wohnen.

(Leave a comment)

June 27th, 2016
02:25 pm

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Maybe the one way to fix all of this.
Right. The UK is a parliamentary democracy. Parliament is sovereign.

Cameron needs to ask Parliament to reconfigure according the Brexit or Remain camps, and beg Her Majesty to dissolve Parliment and call an election on the basis of Brexit or Remain, with a specific mandate that the next Parliament would vote immediately upon the issue, and invoke article 50 as next business if required, or bury the issue if not.

But that's not going to happen now, is it. It would require politicians to be bigger than their party, and not purely out for their personal gain. It would require a bit of soul-searching and self-sacrifice from MPs, voters, newspaper proprietors, and maybe even Brussel's bureaucrats.

Oh well, no win there then. We're fucked and we know it. Well, some of us do.

Maybe it's only a minor thing. Most likely it won't affect me much unless I get mugged in my old age by a feral member of a new underclass. Note to self: use the armoured cars from here on in. This is how Syria developed. It was once a fairly civilised place, I hear.

I exaggerate, I hope.

(3 comments | Leave a comment)

01:17 pm

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More....
So strange...our constituency, Southwark (73%), and the neighbouring one, Lambeth (75%), had the highest remain vote of all the mainland English contstituencies, but was comprehensively beaten by the slightly offshore constituency of Gibraltar (92%). Dulwich (mainly in Southwark) is a pretty educated and haute bourgeois enclave, so no surprises there then; but Lambeth is home to some very deprived areas. I suppose that many of the folk in the most deprived areas are either immigrants, or live close enough to immigrants to realise that they are people much the same as the rest of us.

Nasty pockets of racism have broken out. The leave camp has retracted all of the promises made before the referendum. How strange that supposedly honourable people should do such things. So... no cap on immigration, which was the main issue used to stoke up the less than enlightened amongst us. No extra money for the NHS. No extra anything. However, the losses are beginning to mount up. Scotland, Northern Ireland, Gibraltar...

It is almost as if the Brexiteers haven't thought this through.

If we remain in the EEA we need to maintain freedom of movement. Also it will cost us; maybe more than membership of the EU costs us now with our various rebates. But still, we will be free. Free to pay more for an associate membership of an organisation we once had a small say in running.

I don't suppose it was actual treason on the part of the Outies. When it comes to thinking of the consequences of their opinions causality seems to be entirely beyond their comprehension. Folk I know knew Boris of old. Apparently he was once a bright and clever chap even if somewhat given to indiscriminate leg-over activities. You'd never guess that now.

As for Gove... a shit is a shit is a shit. And he's all of that.

Off the cliff

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June 24th, 2016
12:52 pm

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Ye gods...
So we have voted to quit the EU by a margin of 4%.

Scotland's parliament is preparing legislation for Scotland to cede from the United Kingdom, as Scotland as a country voted to remain. This is reasonable and will no doubt go through.

David Cameron gambled. He gambled the Union of England and Scotland, the Union of Britain and Northern Ireland, and much of Britain's future prosperity on a single stupid issue to appease the right-wing of his party, none of whom wanted to see the breakup of the United Kingdom, but all of whom appeared too foolish to see the bigger picture.

It's normally the Tower for folk who have done our nation such wrongs. Cameron and Blair do make an awful pair of ex Premiers.

(1 comment | Leave a comment)

June 21st, 2016
03:29 pm

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Gigged at the weekend...
In Tiverton, Devon.

Used the Helix and the Dickinson 2 x 12" combo. Sounded good, although the sound engineer wanted to take a line out from the Helix, so I had to re-engage the speaker emulations on the four patches I used. Apparently the FOH sound was pretty damn good. Always a win when the sound balance is right. :) Everyone played well though Frankie was a trifle, um er... wired. Singers, hey?

(Leave a comment)

June 16th, 2016
07:46 pm

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Ye Gods... Tragedy... Woe.
Some (British) looney has stabbed and shot a British MP: Jo Cox, MP for Batley. She was in her early forties.

Lord rest her soul, and console her family in this their hour of grief.

She was a Cambridge grad and a committed campaigner for justice and human rights in the best way. More than this, she was a mum.

First reports indicated that the unbalanced chap who shot her was a bit of a loner, and an outer. Not a Muslim, not an Irish Republican, but a Brexiteer. I'm sure that these first reports will be shown to be mistaken, and anyway, I'm pretty sure that most Brexiteers aren't quite as extreme as to want to murder their Remain-inclined parliamentary representatives. But, as always, I'm prepared to be put right about this.

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June 3rd, 2016
07:16 am

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This makes me angry
http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/jun/02/paraplegic-work-esa-benefits

Really angry actually.

(Leave a comment)

May 26th, 2016
04:55 pm

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No way of titling this at all.
"So was it Walt Whitman, or A. E . Houseman who wrote 'Seven Types of Ambiguity'?"
"Neither, it was Empson, who was a Wykehamist; and at heart, a Wykehamist."
"Isn't that just a pretty tautology?"
"That's the thing with you scientist chaps: you think that a distinction without a difference doesn't matter: in language it is sometimes called emphasis...old thing."
"Well, you passed the Whitman and Houseman stupidity without blinking, which was impressive. And then proceeded to explain Empson."
"I did wonder if a peculiar form of dementia had settled on the table: I fear I may have been ahead of myself."

And a third voice...

"Ah, the scent of contrition: sometimes it is good to be humble at this table, but never meek. Is that 'a distinction without a difference' enough for you? I can assure you it matters." The Master's gravelly baritone, posh Welsh, never either humble or meek, brought the subject to a close.

It was almost time for the Cherry Pie. What to do with the stones? What to do with the stones?

Answers on a postcard please to the usual address.

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May 3rd, 2016
02:25 pm

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Well done...
Leicester City.

And I speak as a Spurs supporter. :)

(Leave a comment)

April 21st, 2016
07:24 pm

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2016 seems to be quite a year for it...
Prince, aka Prince Rogers Nelson has died. He was a bit good. What a crying shame.

I think litotes or meiosis may be the term for emphasis through understatement.

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April 19th, 2016
03:05 pm

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More monkey business....
Why even go abroad?

The link between fraud and deregulation is rarely more apparent then is shown in this article.

http://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/apr/19/offshore-central-london-curious-case-29-harley-street

So now other folk get to look at what the post-Thatcher-and-Blair, post-deregulation, market-driven UK business environment is really like.

Napoleon was only half-correct. We are a nation of fraudulent and corrupt shopkeepers.

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(Leave a comment)

April 14th, 2016
07:17 am

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And just in case people thought that US companies were any different...
They seem to "offshore" just as much as anyone else:

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/apr/14/us-corporations-14-trillion-hidden-tax-havens-oxfam

They are all run by arseholes businessmen, accountants, and lawyers.

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April 13th, 2016
09:48 pm

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The governments priorities are pretty fucked.
http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2016/apr/13/benefit-or-tax-evasion-row-over-the-tories-targets

Oh well.

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March 9th, 2016
07:43 am

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RIP
Sir George Martin.

Musician, producer, arranger, and above all mentor of the greatest composers of popular music the world has yet seen.

Sadness.

(2 comments | Leave a comment)

March 5th, 2016
07:16 pm

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Art and stuff...
There is an exhibition of Hilma_af_Klint's at the Serpentine Gallery on at the moment. Having seen some of her abstract work, and understood its context and historicity, I really want to see this.

Some examples.







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(Leave a comment)

February 3rd, 2016
09:08 pm

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Oh dear
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-35476904

Pretty shoddy from the government. Pretty damn shoddy indeed.

(Leave a comment)

January 26th, 2016
08:36 am

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Tracey Ullman
Pretty damn good show from la Ullman. Standout moments must be her Camilla and the theatrical dames Judy and Maggie. But it is all good.

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(Leave a comment)

January 25th, 2016
01:51 pm

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Trump, Racism
http://forward.com/opinion/331449/that-time-donald-trump-retweeted-nazis/


I can't believe that this hasn't begun the process of Trump's political derailment. It is so outrageous.

Either that, or the US is actually a far more racist place than the rest of the world ever imagined: and if so, it has gotten to that point by the toleration of the gradual and systematic erosions of the gains made in the '60's by the Civil Rights movement exposing the injustices and inequities of the system.

Twenty years after the end of a war fighting against the evils of fascism and racism, it was possible for the average man to know and understand the wrongs inherent in racism. Seven decades away, it seems our media cannot draw the same obvious conclusions based on similar evidence.

The chap after whom the Edwardian era is named, Edward VII: a rake, a playboy, a ne'er-do-well, was unusually anti-racist for his time, or even it appears, for these times. When accused of race-crime in supporting the Japanese over the Russians he is quoted as saying [he]"could not see it. The Japanese were an intelligent, brave and chivalrous nation, quite as civilised as the Europeans, from whom they only differed by the pigmentation of their skin"; and thought the N word too offensive to use; and in letters home from India he complained of the treatment of the native Indians by the British officials: "Because a man has a black face and a different religion from our own, there is no reason why he should be treated as a brute."
And he died in 1910. (I must confess here that I'm a bit of a fan of "Bertie" despite the sideways trouser-crease. Unusually in a man, and even moreso in a King, he was a man who knew how to live, live well, and, whilst within the constraints of masculinity in his era, live honourably.)

Sometimes even historical Kings are better than current Presidential candidates.

Some of us are of the opinion that we should shackle those who rule over us properly: that is what a constitutional monarchy is all about. Shame about the life sentence they get, though. And all that bloody soldiering: especially if you're more interested in architecture or interior design.

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January 11th, 2016
07:28 am

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Ye Gods
David Bowie has died.

Impossible to quantify the loss.

(Leave a comment)

January 6th, 2016
05:34 pm

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Helix....
And since I have gotten it, I've been doing an awful lot of playing. :)

I can get my Marshall JCM800 50wt single-channel-no-reverb head and my c.1968 model 1968 4x12" cab sound to about 99% of the real thing, even through my stupid powered monitors. Through the Dickinson 2 x 12" combo, well, it sounds pretty damn amazing.

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(Leave a comment)

December 27th, 2015
04:19 pm

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Good lord...
My Helix has arrived. O frabjous day!

(2 comments | Leave a comment)

December 18th, 2015
04:29 pm

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There is a situational modifier called context. It's a funny old world, hey?

In the season of Christmas, when in the close dark we can move from hangover to inebriation without even pausing for breakfast, some things become obvious to me.

Firstly, having grown a full beard for the first time in my life I can confirm I look like a slightly slimmer version of Gerry Adams. And also growing such a beard is a tacit admission that actually I probably won't get laid too often now. And probably I don't care. Much.

Secondly, that even if Metrocamel get up and running I still have songs that won't fit in with the band's oeuvre, if that's the egg I'm stretching for, and as the inimitable philosopher/poet Wodehouse would say.

Thirdly, that I'm not in the habit of giving other chaps ammo when debating. Especially when I think I have a point.

(1 comment | Leave a comment)

07:00 am

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http://benjaminstudebaker.com/2015/12/17/how-austerity-destroyed-the-british-empire/

Required reading.

(2 comments | Leave a comment)

December 11th, 2015
04:42 pm

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NSFW at all...
( You are about to view content that may only be appropriate for adults. )

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November 30th, 2015
08:25 am

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Happy birthday felephant

Guitars in the New Year?

All the best, old thing.

Slàinte.

(3 comments | Leave a comment)

November 27th, 2015
05:51 pm

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Update
Last night I went out with chaps from a band I was in at the turn of the millennium.

I'd met Paddy, the drummer, on the tube a few months ago, and we exchanged phone numbers. So I met him and Phil, the pianist/singer, in a pub in Battersea.

We all have partners and children now. Nannies and school fees are things with which we are all familiar.

But more importantly, everyone was itching to make music.

So...

Anyway, I'm still waiting on my Line 6 Helix. GuitarGuitar in Epsom have had my deposit since October. I rang them today and they prevaricated. Not impressed really.

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(3 comments | Leave a comment)

November 19th, 2015
06:40 am

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Oops
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-34857015

Well, back to Edwardian medicine here we go.

As an aside, I've been informed my health issues aren't urgent, which is nice, and a relief. :)

(9 comments | Leave a comment)

November 1st, 2015
09:46 am

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This is why Rugby is better than football
http://www.theguardian.com/sport/2015/oct/31/sonny-bill-williams-world-cup-winners-medal-14-year-old-fan

Though football is the beautiful game, it has been spoiled by the people playing it, and even more by those administering it.

(1 comment | Leave a comment)

October 21st, 2015
06:41 pm

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Yet another great footballer has been implicated in the FIFA scandal.

How many great people have been corrupted by Blatter and his minions? Platini was bad enough: a really great player and from what I understand, a good man too. But Franz Beckenbauer? No, say it ain't so, say it ain't so. Not Kaiser Franz. If there were ever a man whom one would have thought incorruptible it was Beckenbauer.

I don't want this to be true.

(Leave a comment)

October 19th, 2015
04:11 pm

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Ye Gods...
And as an addendum to yesterday's post.

http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/oct/19/homan-square-chicago-police-disappeared-thousands

Habeas Corpus, anyone? Rights to representation? There should be some sort of restitution for this. Prison sentences for those promoting this, and compensation for the victims?

Hahaha...it will never happen.

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October 18th, 2015
04:30 pm

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Food for thought?
American justice seems almost as bad as British justice.

http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/oct/18/judge-bias-corrupts-court-cases

http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/oct/18/tony-blair-warpath-from-early-2002-colin-powell-memo-chilcot-inquiry-invasion-iraq

Oh well...

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(Leave a comment)

September 30th, 2015
03:40 pm

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A Guardian article worth reading....
http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/sep/30/how-the-banks-ignored-lessons-of-crash

And this situation is au courant, if that's the phrase I'm looking for. Sometimes one just has to laugh.

(1 comment | Leave a comment)

September 24th, 2015
04:13 pm

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Post Corbyn World.
The news that a senior serving general has opined to the Sunday Times that if Jeremy Corbyn gets elected the army would mutiny does rather give the impression that we in the UK are living in a banana republic rather than a first-world democracy.

Now, given that my ancestors have fought for this country since Waterloo, I should have an opinion on this. So I have.

The thing about democracy is that we accept the will of the electorate. When our present government was elected, I didn't take to the streets and hurl petrol bombs at those I consider to be culpable in electing the present arseholes. Instead I complained in print and in person, and have tried to stop the present crew being re-elected. I did much the same during Bliar's government, though I complained rather less under Brown. But I must reiterate: I did not strike, I did not mutiny, and especially I did not break or forsake an oath to Her Majesty the Queen.

If the army, or any portion of it, should do these things after a general election, I hope the folk concerned are charged with treason. Because that is what it is. If it comes down to parliament, representing the will of the people, and the army, representing certain interests outside the democratic process, like money for example, then the army is positioning itself as the British equivalent of some South American Junta funded by CIA drug dealing. (Also, I think many of the Scots and Welsh regiments may well side with parliament...so that means civil war: the army against the people and the Celtic regiments.)

Bizarre that the Chiefs-of-Staff should let the bounder get away with saying this sort of hogswash. Early retirement, I reckon.

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September 23rd, 2015
02:47 pm

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Oh dear...
Pulmonary nodules.

Maybe I should have given up smoking years ago. Certainly have now.

Oh well. Let's see how good the quacks are then. :) This could get unpleasant. If so I shan't bother you chaps much if it's all the same to you.

Go well and do good things.

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(6 comments | Leave a comment)

August 4th, 2015
11:13 am

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From the personal...to the political.
In my fiftieth year I became a father for the first time.

Before that I really had no idea...about anything human, outside of friendship and sex, anyway. I thought that I had, of course; I thought that I had plumbed the depths of despair with a Tristan-like passion over lost loves, missed opportunities, and failed ideals.

Becoming a parent has put that into perspective. (I ramble as preamble.)

My elder child, Henry, is four. He is allowed approximately 45mins of TV a day as a maximum. On many days he watches no television. At weekends he will sometimes, if it is raining, be allowed to watch a film. Because his viewing time is so limited, he has become used to being selective in what he watches, which is a good thing. His favourite shows and films over the past year or two have been enlightening for me as a parent. I have had to sit through many episodes of: Postman Pat, Fireman Sam, Ben and Holly's Little Kingdom, Peppa Pig, and Octonauts. His most recent favourites are Tree-Fu Tom and, amazingly enough, the original series of Thunderbirds.

In all of these programmes young children are exposed to the sorts of problems where the solutions can be found with a bit of thought and sometimes a bit of super technology, or maybe magic, or maybe good old fashioned common-sense. In almost all of these programmes rescue, repair, and respect are the main themes which underlie the plots, such as they can be said to have. Within these shows the problems the characters face are ones within the compass of small folk to understand; and given an adult's perspective, can be said to have narratives with positive agenda.

However, somehow or other (Nursery School?) Henry has become aware of Power Rangers. A TV Series which has never met a problem it couldn't punch, shoot, or stab its way out of. Of this fact I was unaware until I sat down with Henry to watch the second episode I had recorded; him having sat through the first one on his own while I busied myself in the kitchen. As of now I wish he'd stuck to Postman Pat as he has spent three days trying to punch or kick me, SWMBO, Kay (the Nanny) and his sister Æ. I am less than impressed.

Ye gods, when your children's narratives only contain ridiculously reductive and simplistic battles between good and evil, and necessitate extreme violence as the only solution to any of the problems faced by the good guys, it is no wonder that American children grow up into American adults.

No more Power Rangers for Henry, though he does appear to have energy to burn. But maybe the self-discipline brought on by sport, or the Dojo, or a musical instrument will be his punishment. I shall not put it quite like that, though. At his prep they start on violin in Reception. I shall have to enrol him for football and cricket. Karate too.

At the risk of repeating myself, I do wish he'd stuck to Postman Pat, or maybe even Thunderbirds.

(4 comments | Leave a comment)

July 29th, 2015
02:12 pm

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Sitting in the shed...
...(or the music room) guitar in hand, listening to Test Match Special on BBC Radio5live. Australia are 3 wickets down for 72 runs at lunch on the first day. A good morning with the ball from Finn and Anderson. Nowt for Broad as yet.

For the past week or so I've managed to play every day. Some scales, arpeggios, chord changes. Practice really changes things. The problem with lots of scales and alternative picking is that such an approach doesn't always give notes time to "breathe" and ring. We lose touch with the beauty of phrasing, which is the real signifier of greatness in playing. Which is why Jeff Beck is the musicians' lead guitarist, I suppose: and why, for all of his technical limitations, Gilmour is a genius; and Jimi is the electric guitarist sine qua non.

Every now and then we have to slow down and milk the notes for meaning outside of harmonic invention; or the rattling of machine-gun notes; or the noise, feedback, or guitar as car-crash (think strat abuse à la Adrian Belew) which sometimes seem the totality of practice. Or maybe just my practice. But great phrasing comes less from practice, and more from playing. And even more from playing and responding to other people's playing.

I need a regular working band.

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July 26th, 2015
09:42 pm

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Oh well...time to eat some crow...
I have to take back everything I've ever said about Jools Holland. He has grown into a musician, showman, and bandleader of some taste and learning. And may even be a damn good bloke to boot...well, he always had that, I suppose.

(Leave a comment)

June 12th, 2015
08:50 pm

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Oh well..
So Sir Christopher Lee has died.

Lord Summerisle was better than Dracula. Saruman was better than pretty much anything, including all the other performers in any of the movies, despite the botching of the script and storyline in translating from the book.

Few of us will ever manage a career's twilight as he did: the coda was better than all the movements before, including the scherzo.

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May 23rd, 2015
09:13 pm

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Good old Ireland.
Well done to the people of the Republic. Good for you guys. Actually voting to express tolerance is a wonderful thing. I tip my hat to you all.

Sláinte.

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May 19th, 2015
11:44 am

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Because I'm unwell....
And I have to rehearse tonight with the wedding band I'm listening to this:



I do love to listen to great genius. This is what humans can do when they really try...well, maybe superhumans. 

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May 14th, 2015
01:03 pm

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General update...
So...it's not diverticulitis...According to the quack (a good sort, knowledgable and with the appearance of great competence) it looks like gall bladder problems. The Bro' had his gall bladder removed at the end of last year after stones gave him a few episodes worse than mine. I'm at present on an almost no-fat diet. Now this ain't perfect for a chap who is 6'2" and under 140lbs...and one moreover who rather loves his cheese, oily fish, and chips. (Not together, I must add...or not necessarily anyway.) So now I'm wandering around wondering what to eat...Aargh!

As an aside, Steve K. came to visit yesterday. After he lost TPA Studios it's been a bit of a bumpy ride for him, nevertheless, things may change. Fingers crossed. We chatted of this and that as we recalled the past, like the two old codgers we are, and through the recollections a song came to mind, sung by soldiers, in another of life's little ironies.

I DON’T WANT TO BE A SOLDIER

I don’t want to be a soldier,
I don’t want to go to war.
I’d sooner hang around
Piccadilly underground
Living on the earnings of a Wh-High-born lady.
Don’t want a bullet up my arsehole,
Don’t want my bollocks shot away,
I’d rather live in England,
In merry, merry England
And fornicate my fucking life away.

So I looked for a version on YouTube. I found a substantially cleaner version, with a slightly different melody than the version I recall:



I think this old guy gives the song some of the spirit of the thing, even if his timing and phrasing aren't exactly perfect: but when was folk music ever perfect? Well... good "real" folk music, anyway.

One of the things we talked about was how, when we were brought up, hitting children was perfectly acceptable. Now we realise it is barbaric. I went to schools where the teachers, in loco parentis, would cane children. In many schools, prefects could cane other children. Er... Now from time to time, in an excess of spleen and rhetoric, I sometimes suggest that beating education into children may be in their own best interests. This is mainly because I would prefer there to be a better way of educating the little blighters. Whatever. But educated they really need to be.

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May 11th, 2015
03:43 pm

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Henry's Fourth Birthday.
So..Today is Henry's Fourth Birthday (Capitalised).
Over the weekend we had two parties, and the in-laws staying. I had a stomach upset, but thankfully that didn't dent young H's celebrations. On Saturday H had a party for his schoolfriends on the theme of Spiderman. There was a Spiderman children's entertainer, and all the kids ran around and made lots of noise. A good time was had by the parents too. Wine and beer was laid on for them, and they were plied as far as their driving commitments allowed: which meant quick discussions among the couples, no doubt. The family had a second party on Sunday where I was again rather laid-up (my diverticultis returned with a vengence) and today we are all going out to a resturant for supper (including Kay, H & Æ's nanny) and then H will be given his new scooter.

This is the nature of privilege. Some young folk have stuff, things...and ideas thrown at them from birth. (Even then they can go wrong...I mean, look at our new Conservative government. If only that Osborne chap had had basic economics bounced into his cranium he might have done better for his country...but no ranting Ninefingers, now is not the time.) And we are privileged. It was once the case that everyone had access to books from the public library, access to elite education provided for by the state, and access to proper medical treatment. Also there was a welfare state that meant those out of work would have the basics of their living requirements met. But because there were books available, and proper medical care, and good schooling, a young person could manage to get from a council estate dwelling, with both parent's on the dole, to a Grammar School, and from there go on to Oxbridge. It didn't happen often, but it did happen. Now we have a huge number of graduates, many saddled with debt, most of whom could be considered one of the varieties of "Middle Class". Of course my kids are less likely to have debts when they come out of university, but that's because they won't have to borrow money to pay their tuition or lodging fees. The generations preceding me have assured that. No doubt they will have gambling debts or owe money to drug-dealers, but that's pretty much par for the course: 'twas ever thus.

But I doubt that everyone's kids will have the same opportunities as mine will, and, although I can feel that is credit to the generations before me, and my tremendously industrious wife, I still rather feel it is unjust that such life opportunities are given to few. If we are going to return to an Edwardian notion of England, where the Gentry and Commoners are distinct and separate, and where poverty and opulence co-exist easily, then I think we are going to have to be very careful and very lucky indeed if we want to avoid bloody revolution.

The Tory Party's narrative about Labour spending has been pretty thoroughly debunked by many political economists worldwide. In fact, it seems that the Tories are much less competent than the last Labour administration was.*
But because it 'sounds' like common sense, our electorate has bought it. Now we wait for the first installment of payment.

*. http://benjaminstudebaker.com/2015/05/02/britain-for-the-love-of-god-please-stop-david-cameron/
    http://benjaminstudebaker.com/2015/05/06/13-terrible-tory-counterarguments/

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May 8th, 2015
12:25 pm

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The day after....
http://benjaminstudebaker.com/2015/05/02/britain-for-the-love-of-god-please-stop-david-cameron/

This should have been written and gone viral months ago. But now it doesn't matter as we still have the party of fiscal responsibility in charge, doing the right thing.

Oh well. We have the government we voted for. Ain't life grand?

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April 22nd, 2015
04:00 pm

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And here we go again....

So, today I've prevaricated like a master. There shall be cooking tonight and then telly and then bed.

What a rock 'n' roll life, hey?

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