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

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September 7th, 2018
08:36 am


Good article in the Graun...

(Leave a comment)

August 26th, 2018
09:29 pm


Had the kids with me since Thursday...
And for the life of me I can't get my 5 year old daughter to eat anything I cook. She's great with a breakfast croissant and then will eat nothing but pasta in a tomato and cheese sauce. And even then not always. She will eat rubbish like crisps or sweets, and will eat some fruit, but the only carbs she will eat are pasta and chips, and the only proteins she eats are: sausages (of a very specific kind), salami, eggs, and cheddar cheese. No chicken, beef, lamb, pork, or fish (even fish fingers have been given the push). Pizza has fallen out of favour. Now my son, the elder by two years, can't eat eggs, nor can he eat nuts.

Menus can be a right pain. How the kid's nanny, Kay, manages to feed them together is a source of wonder to me, but they do appear to be healthy and growing well. I shall have to have a proper conference with Fred about their eating habits.

H. goes into Year 3 in Sept. Æ. into year 1. I have to think about whether H should be put down for Winchester or not this year. And if H. boards at Winchester at 13 we shall have to offer the same to Æ at Cheltenham Ladies College; the combined fees at today's prices will be some £80K a year. You could set them up with a couple of mortgages for that money instead so they wouldn't each have to buy a house; one wonders which is the best investment for them? I'd always say education; but that's the way I'm brought up. Fred may have a different opinion. Her people weren't quite as clerkish, bookish, or political as my crew; but these days a Public School (in the English sense) education is more of a political handicap than otherwise. The other thing is Æ shows serious academic promise, though 5 is a little early to gauge.

H is second in his maths class, which isn't bad for a Summer baby. (The school year runs from Sept though to July - Summer babies are the youngest in their classes, which at six and seven makes a huge developmental difference.) However, he is lazy, his handwriting is pretty appalling, he makes it up as he goes along, and he's got an explosive temper and a love of subversive behaviour. Also he's charismatic and reasonably good-looking. And we all know how those character traits pan out. I feel I have to lead by example here to give him the desire and structural tools to discipline himself to the right values. I'd rather he didn't go over to the dark side. So there's a lot of "We do it this way" with attendant stories of noble behaviour, heroic self-sacrifice, uncommon decency, and putting oneself at the service of the community. People of my class and age are almost always total and complete psychopaths, mostly socialised through both fear and violence enforcing discipline at school. Learn, leave, or be beaten - that motto worked for generations of schoolboys where the fear of a beating made the lazy among us do the bare minimum of work. The world has changed and corporal punishment is no longer meted out in any shape or form thank the gods. But this does mean that H won't have learning thrashed into him, and therefore may not get the inclination or impetus to actually learn much at all unless immersed in an environment like Winchester which is academic, discursive, and both competitive and co-operative. As I'm a reasonably sane, civilised man I abhor the thrashing, obvs. and will not hit my kids. But that may mean that H never fulfils his intellectual potential unless at the right school. And Winchester may be a bit too academically-inclined for H. I don't want him to ever be bottom of the class, for example. (I knew a chap who came bottom for 4 out of his 5 years at Winchester - it affected him rather badly and he became a Scientologist.) Another option for H is a bit closer to London, but Slough Grammar is just a trifle large, with around 1400 pupils. Dulwich College is a bit populous too. H has mentioned the King's School, Canterbury - it appeals to him being the oldest school in the world. Fred wants the kids near her, and would prefer them not to board. Me too, except I worry about H.

Æ of course will be head girl and win exhibitions. I wonder if she is quite as bright as H, but can state categorically she is far more motivated.

The stuff that keeps us up at nights, eh?

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August 24th, 2018
07:09 pm


If you want to know how fucked the Anglo-Saxon nations are...

We really hate our clever and educated people, don't we? We pay them next-to-nothing to impart information or teach, and then quite rightly, ignore everything they may want to say, because they are essentially worthless people in a capitalist society. They must be worthless; they don't earn much, after all.

Knowledge is worthless. Expertise is worthless. Sense is worthless. The only thing that is worth anything is the medium of exchange.

It is right about now that I become the first communist democratic monarchist of modern times.

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August 14th, 2018
08:31 am


Three men in a pub talk Brexit.

Sometimes you get the right three guys in a pub.


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July 2nd, 2018
06:53 am


Something I just though I had to share.
One of the things about being a guitarist is when you hear and see the best there is out there, you simply have to tell folk. There are lots of different "bests", obviously, but Jon Gomm is one of a rare group - folk whose playing has moved me to tears.

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June 28th, 2018
11:39 am


Jack Straw needs to be in the dock over this, along with Tony Blair.


Justice needs to be done. No-one is above justice; not the Home Secretary, nor the Prime Minister.

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May 7th, 2018
08:33 pm


It is rare that I find myself in agreement with Boris Johnson...
Nevertheless I do agree with him when he states that the Iranian Nuclear Deal is better than none, which was the other alternative. Alas for the Donald the Iranians appear to have conformed to the requirements of the deal.

The last time we went down routes of sanctions etc we did so in a more concentrated fashion. If we are interdicting Russia, Iran, Syria and other nations at the same time, and then add China to the block, we will have effectively set up the largest trading group in the world; because that is what would happen just because it is a big enough set - the set of folk who don't trade with the US.

Can someone try to show 45 some part of a bigger picture please. Any bigger picture might be a start.

(Leave a comment)

May 6th, 2018
11:32 am


A chum of mine on LJ...
Reblogged this:


Which is indicative of a strain of Nationalist thought I have encountered once or twice in Ireland, but is thankfully uncommon now. But somewhere buried in the article is this wonderful story...

When the American Civil War started Mitchel moved to Richmond, Virginia. He never sympathised with the enslaved black population of the South but yet felt sorry for the “poor negroes” of the North who he claimed were tricked into fighting against their best interests.
These were the same “poor negroes” of the Union army who helped win the war and free over three million slaves. As the war progressed, two of his sons died fighting to defend the Confederacy/Slavery and a third lost an arm.
As the Confederate side became desperate, it was suggested by some of their Generals to use slaves as soldiers to bolster their ranks. It was proposed that the slaves who fought would be freed afterwards. An incredulous Mitchel condemned this idea as fundamentally wrong-headed.
"…if freedom be a reward for negroes — that is, if freedom be a good thing for negroes — why, then it is, and always was, a grievous wrong and crime to hold them in slavery at all. If it be true that the state of slavery keeps these people depressed below the condition to which they could develop their nature, their intelligence, and their capacity for enjoyment, and what we call 'progress' then every hour of their bondage for generations is a black stain upon the white race."
Since Mitchel consistently believed that Africans were born and bred slaves he opposed this measure, but it is fascinating to see him elucidate the moral consequences if he was proved to be wrong.

Something maybe to remember before bleating about the curtailment of our privileges to be patriarchal white males and behave in loutish ways.

Folk don't always extrapolate the consequences of being wrong in and of themselves. A simple move towards self-awareness in context might help. One must always consider that one might be wrong and attempt to predict the worst that such wrongness could do, then avoid or at least mitigate any wrongs. I mean at least the folk in the West have enough awareness to ask the question "What if we are the bad guys?" without those speaking out ending up in a gulag.

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April 26th, 2018
10:06 am


So this is what we've come to...

It has to be said that the Home Office is a place where folk who like telling people to fuck off congregate; and I suppose if they can do that to a High Commissioner in the F.O. then the poor blighters without Mr Snell's connections or status will get told to fuck off quite a lot more. With manacles if the Home Office can get away with it. And detention centres. Maybe a little barbed wire spread around, just for the look of it. Armed machine gun posts? I've never been a good interior designer, and I suppose concentration camps detention centres partake of unusual accoutrements. What counts as proper fascist bling in these circumstances, I wonder: uniforms designed by Hugo Boss? motorcycles with sidecars and armed outriders? maybe an armoured car or two?

What about the numbers deported? The peoples lives made misery? The jobs lost, the families sundered, the alienation of folk forced to move from their homes and friends and support network, and the country which they have always known as home?

Let's call a fascist a fascist, shall we? We allow our fascists in the Home Office and Police Force and Prison Service because for some reason or other they have a zeal for telling folk to fuck off, or do this, or do that. And then, instead of controlling those nasty tendencies with sensible discipline and oversight in order to keep the Home Office honest, we have allowed them to run riot; aided and abetted by the usual suspects from the top down. It is not strange that historically right-wing newspapers are still right-wing, though their influence is diminishing exponentially in the face of new media. What is both strange, and appalling, is that even when she was Home Secretary, Mrs May should have had a "Sir Humphrey" to steer her away from such evil stupidness, and either she didn't, or she ignored him or her. None of us are Nostradamus (and even he wasn't, so to speak) but it doesn't take a lot of foresight to realise that such policies will come back to bite you somewhere you don't want to be bitten.

So. Now I have a choice. Do I vote for Corbyn, who would rather believe the Russian intelligence services over the UK's, the US's, the French, the Germans, or the Five Eyes network? Or do I vote for a party with recent quasi-fascist policies?

And that's even before the lunacy that is Brexit.

Our country is pretty well fucked as of now. There will be no long slow decline and managed transition into a more sensible position in the world. We shall plummet like a stone dislodged from a bridge. One thing I will say to the right-wing wankers and Brexiteers which has to be said; if the steep decline of Britain and the UK follows on from your policies, you will have failed the one institution you always swore to uphold - you will have failed HM by diminishing her realm.

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April 21st, 2018
09:57 pm


The Grocer's apostrophe.
I've been thinking about this for a bit.
The Grocer's apostrophe is one of those things which really annoy some folk.
They tend to forget that "Grocer's", though possessive, also partakes of a conventional linguistic ellipsis; to wit, the "shop" part of the sign is often omitted, as being understood without being read because of context. Not of course that there are any grocer's shops left.
Elisions often take an apostrophe too, though placement is often critical. There is a world of "strictly literate" difference between is'nt and isn't, or ain't or aint even if meaning is conveyed.
But I'm prepared to give the grocer's a pass, but not necessarily one to anyone else; context is defining after all.

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December 23rd, 2017
10:33 pm


So what is on your wish-list from Santa?
On mine are unobtainable things. And of the many, what I would like more than anything (apart from world peace and no brexit, obvs) would be this; which is useless in a world of satellites and digital timekeeping, but is still the most beautiful single example I have ever seen of the Horologist's art.

Alas, no-one anyone knows has enough money to buy me that. Nor would I really want them to. This is the pinnacle of the Pre-Daniels co-axial escapement, and was made by the man for his personal use. If I ever had the money, and had already put my entire extended family's children through Public School, and had given suitable equivalent scholarships to disadvantaged folk, and I could spend money on myself and fripperies, I would go to George Daniels' apprentice, Roger W. Smith, and beg him to build for me something similar, but with his improvement on Daniels' co-axial escapement. Halfway to seven figures sterling and two or three years later I might receive a visit from Master Smith (for he is a Master) and be presented with his work of art. If money were no object I might commission a second, exactly the same too, for Master Smith's personal collection. A piece like this is without price: funding a second for a museum piece therefore is negligible. I wish. I also wish the insanely wealthy thought differently about how to use their wealth; but folk like George Daniels and Roger W. Smith need to exist and be paid for. Excellence in craft and skill is never bad in and of itself; and folk who turn out masterpiece after masterpiece are good for our society, even if expensive.

As an aside, until he moved to the Isle of Man, Daniels lived a few miles away from where I live now; in the extended environs of Croydon. On summer days he would sometimes drive one of his classic Bentleys through Croydon's streets, often on the way to Glyndebourne. The Daniels clan had originally been East Enders. One of Daniels' brothers (there were a dozen or so siblings) lived next door to my parents. John Daniels had been a docker and a communist party member. John and George didn't speak to each other much by the time my folk knew John, so I never met George. My loss. John Daniels ("Danny" to his chums) was a pretty good bloke though, for all that we came from different worlds. I sometimes wonder if George Daniels ever met my Godparents when at Glyndebourne? (I'd have told Geoffrey and John to get Dr. Daniels to make them watches by hook or by crook charm, persuasion, and outright bribery.) Maybe that would be just one connection too many for me not to mortgage the cottage for a watch. I jest, obvs. But I do wonder at just how small a world it is. Or mine is.

I shall never have that sort of money. And those impossibly expensive and insanely beautiful things are beyond me. What is not beyond me is the gratuitous and vulgar adornment of mind, the bling of brain, and the other things that money cannot buy: good senses, educated and refined tastes, and a deep appreciation of quality, be it of thought, craftsmanship, or creativity. You can't buy those things; you have to achieve them; and without any external validation excepting bragging rights and sometimes winning slightly more of your arguments than losing. Until senescence, obvs. But I'm still maniacally checking for signs of early-onset dementia. The things that we obsess over...

Happy Christmas to one and all. Wrap up warm and go well and do good things. Oh also have a really good time. Deck the Halls, etc & etc...

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September 22nd, 2017
12:38 pm


It appears that Madame's operation was successful so far.
Fingers crossed.

And some more good news:


Today looks to be a herald of a small victory for Madame, and one potentially huge one for millions of other folk. Fingers double-crossed.

(Leave a comment)

September 20th, 2017
11:12 am


Fred has her surgery tomorrow.
Fingers crossed.

She's told the kids she needs to have an operation in hospital and won't be around. Her mum is staying with her in Dulwich. I have the kids over this weekend and from Thursday next. It's all been a bit hectic, and, as with our separation, we've kept the kids in the dark about stuff. Who knew that parenting entailed such subterfuge and moral equivocation? But it seems that some information is best kept on a "need to know" basis, as we protect the kids from stuff they may not need to know if everything works out fine.

Stage 1 (b). Radical surgery and a lymph-node-ectomy, and maybe some radio and chemo. They got it early, thank the gods. Madame of course is caught in the bureaucratic void between private patients and the NHS. They don't talk much to each other. Paperwork isn't shared. Stuff can slip between the cracks. And it's just more hassle when she doesn't need it.

Anyway, I'll know more in the next few days.

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September 18th, 2017
10:44 pm


Went to Charlie's funeral today...
Lots of folk there. Chaps from the Popes sent messages. Lots of musos, folk from Upland Road, and friends and rellies from all around.

We'd talked about putting a band together last year. Instead I moved out to my flat, and Charlie, who was only fifty-three, found he had Cancer. He fought against it, of course. He is survived by his wife and son. May their grief be short, and their memories everlasting.

Also saw someone else pertinent to my life has died. Pertinent to all of our lives, actually.


Honour to Lt Col Stanislav Petrov, and to his memory, and to his shared humanity.

(Leave a comment)

September 6th, 2017
11:48 am


Brexit shambles.

Andrew Duff has some interesting things to say.

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September 5th, 2017
11:14 am


At long last...

Those of us whose parents fought in the relevant theatres during the war, or those who had legal relatives who were on the periphery of the Nuremberg Trials heard about some of this stuff. What is amazing is that when the wall came down, this archive wasn't opened up for historical analysis. This may be too little too late.

(Leave a comment)

August 18th, 2017
12:47 pm


Oh bloody fucking hell...
Fred, or my ex, or SWMBO... the mother of our children (for which I will never be able to thank her enough despite everything else that has happened) has been diagnosed with cervical cancer.

Everything else gets put on hold now until she's better. If I have time to do anything else I will, but none of the rest of it is important.

May she be cured. May she heal well. May she recover without too much damage. My prayers and thoughts are with her, alongside anything whatsoever I can do for her.

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August 15th, 2017
09:40 am


Oh those reasonable folk...

Not impressed that we have let the Saudi regime get away with kidnapping folk. But I suppose the Saudis are just following Israel's lead.

Now who fancies spending the rest of their lives in a Saudi oubliette?

(Leave a comment)

August 13th, 2017
08:28 am


This is what I want my policemen to be like.

Someone more than a jobsworth mindlessly applying rules with no concept of society. Someone with some humanity, and enough empathy to see the best outcome with the smallest intervention.

I hope someone re-imburses Constable Niran Jeyanesan, and that the young man concerned buys him a drink, even if it's only a coffee or a soda.

And I hope that whatever Niran Jeyanesan's sins are (because we all have sins) they are never damaging to his professional life, and are of an order that he can deal with them with self-discipline. I'd guess if he passes the exams, a move up the ranks seems appropriate. If not, he is an example of how good ordinary everyday coppers can be. More like him, please.

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July 29th, 2017
11:40 pm


Without Jeff, no Radiohead...

I was in New York in '94 and I caught Jeff live before he became really famous. I came back to Blighty and raved about him to my chums.

Whenever I see some half-arsed tosspot pretending to emote I turn to this. Pop stars and wannabes, this is what it is about. And if you can't do emotions like this, or like Kurt, just don't fucking bother. Or if you do, know your place.

(That young Wainwright lad does ok too, but his market is somewhat more specific alas.)

(Leave a comment)

July 23rd, 2017
02:29 pm


So my old chum Aaron got married yesterday. I was best man, deputising for an unfortunately crocked Steve Asher, who is stuck Down Under and under doctor's orders not to travel. Aaron's whole family pitched up: the Hollywood crowd, consisting of his Dad, Laifun, Thomas, and Alexandra, who was there with her Bulgarian Fiancé, as well as Kate and Josh, Aaron's other siblings from Ted's first marriage.

Aaron married a distant cousin of mine so I was on both sides of the aisle, so to speak.
No dramas at the church; a solid C of E service of the traditional kind.
The reception was held at Aaron's house. Which is an 1890's large family house. Two staircases, bultler's pantry etc. Marquee on the croquet lawn. The wedding band did the gig, so I was on double duty and didn't get off my feet until 2.30am. Fuck-up over money so Aaron and I had to empty a local cashpoint to pay the band. Bit angry with the boss of the wedding band over that one. Never mind. Apperently Alexandra's upcoming nuptials are big news in Bulgaria. She's a very good-looking lass I suppose, and Ted Kotcheff is quite well known in Bulgaria, having some cultural significance and originally hailing from there. Mr K senior is looking a bit frailer than when I last saw him. Young Thomas is taking care of him adroitly. I like Thomas. Apart from the fact he's an exceptional musician and composer, he's also a nice guy. Mr K senior's second family are as cool as the first. First met Thomas at a UK premier of one of his compositions a few years ago. After the band packed up he played half an hour of flawless and beautiful Debussy in the parlour as antidote to the '60's and '70's soul, disco, and pop music that are the standard fare of the wedding band.

However the real stunner yesterday was Celine, who looked unbelievably beautiful. Good on Aaron, making an honest women out of her even if you had to drag her to the altar kicking and screaming... which you didn't, of course, but it still took you fifteen years and two kids to get around to doing it.

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June 27th, 2017
11:33 am


And as if by magic...
I have access to LJ again.

Now I have to work out if I want access to LJ again. :)

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08:19 am


so this is what comes up when I try to get on to LJ: 

Access Denied

Either you are trying to access a page you do no not have permission to view or your ip address is banned. If you feel this is in error, please email support at webmaster@livejournal.com with the bulleted information below.

  • Client IP:
  • Client User Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (iPad; CPU OS 10_3_2 like Mac OS X) AppleWebKit/603.2.4 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/10.0 Mobile/14F89 Safari/602.1
  • Error code: swlb-403
And that's not just from my iPad. I get the same message on all my devices. I guess Uncle Vlad's minions have decided that I'm not complimentary enough to the old bastard. Oh well.


(Leave a comment)

June 26th, 2017
08:53 am


Poor old LiveJournal...
So it finally appears that the powers-that-be at LiveJournal have blocked my account and prevented me accessing any of my entries or any of the comms I've been on.

Who knew Uncle Vlad's minions could be so irritated by me (and at a guess many people like me) that they prevented me from participating in debate, or even continuing my much-neglected blog.

What a good time we had, when it still was something.

Of course, if it's just me that's been banned for pointing out how it appears that Uncle Vlad does things, well... such is. I've tried to do my bit against the spread of disinformation and manifest fibbing, and even correct other folk's misinterpretations and misunderstandings, and I guess that doesn't sit too well with some of the people now running LJ.

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May 23rd, 2017
04:47 pm


A very interesting article...

We have come across this quite a bit on the old [community profile] politicartoons comm. Now I wonder who springs to mind here?

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May 7th, 2017
01:35 pm


 Good article in today's Observer.


But what does it matter? If a few billionaires control us, isn't that what capitalism is all about? At the simplest it reduces to Monopoly with one eventual winner and the rest of us bankrupt.

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May 6th, 2017
02:46 pm


 A chum on LiveJournal posted this link and I thought it so apt I have reposted it.


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April 21st, 2017
07:55 am


We buried Jeremy.
Juan came from Oxford en route to a conference on the continent. Kenton flew down from Glasgow. Sue took the train from Manchester. Jeremy's brothers and extended family all came, as did a number of Jeremy's chums from hospital and many of his musician pals who had played with him over the years. Lots of old faces I hadn't seen in ages.
Everyone celebrated Jeremy's life. We spoke of his generosity and kindness. And of course, the Jeremy stories started to circulate.

Blimey, sometimes mad buggers can say really truthful things elegantly and wittily. 

RIP Jeremy.

(Leave a comment)

March 24th, 2017
08:32 pm


My old chum, Jeremy, aka "Poor Mad Felix" went off the radar about 5 weeks ago. This happens from time to time. The thing about mad folk is sometimes they go AWOL. About three weeks ago, his brothers started to search for him. The police became involved. I wracked my brains but could think of nothing in addition to the information they already had which would have helped the search.

This evening I had a call from Jeremy's brother.

Jeremy's body had been recovered from the river Thames on March 7th. It was identified today by his brothers. Some two weeks beforehand someone had reported seeing someone jumping from one of London's bridges, but no body was recovered. It's taken till now to put all the pieces together to provide Jeremy's family with a body, and a name to the cadaver in the Coroner's fridge.

When he was young he was glorious: brilliant, charismatic, athletic, and the guitarist most likely of my generation to have made a musical difference. It went haywire before he turned twenty.

Dear Jeremy, may Vishnu gather you into the world past the circles of the earth, and beyond the cycle of birth and rebirth; and may you repose in the breast of Brahma.

(10 comments | Leave a comment)

February 1st, 2017
11:30 pm


Gordon Bennett...
I saw the Glam Ex today for the first time in years. She came over for guitars and catch-up chatting.

I always did like her. But then again she looks like a combination of the best bits of Audrey Hepburn and Gina Lollobrigida. It is easy to see why I was smit. And still am rather, despite everything.

She still has her Senegalese partner who is half her age. And nine feet tall. So should she visit again I don't think I'll mention how beautiful she is in anything other than a completely dispassionate way.

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January 24th, 2017
09:49 pm


Oh, the Donald...

Now this is from 1993, some twenty-three and a bit years ago. One sincerely hopes the leopard has changed his spots.

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January 14th, 2017
01:56 pm


When I moved out, my ex redecorated comprehensively. I had removed 90% of my library from the house, so it made sense. She also bought new blinds, and had the place painted from top to bottom.

Today, my almost 6 year-old son told me he wanted to go home. I suggested to him that he only thought that because Daddy was too strict. After some thought he replied along these lines:

"No, it's just you have too many books."
"What do you mean?" I asked him.
"There are too many books. Your flat is too cluttered. The blinds aren't right. The sofa is too big. And there are books everywhere."

Evidently my son has become too much of an interior designer to want to stay in my flat.

It's right about now that I start thinking of paternity tests.

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(Leave a comment)

January 13th, 2017
10:49 am


Here goes.
First dreamwidth post.


Whoever thought I would leave LJ? Not me. However the Putinbots (some remarkably clever and nice-seeming, the sort who disguise appalling views as jolly banter, and who are unfailingly polite and courteous - others of course being not quite as adept at pretending to the values of civilisation) have finally made of LJ Dodge City before Wyatt Earp.

It's a fun place in a desperate sort of way; and the few communities in which I still participate are, for LJ purposes, and in the world of FB and Twitter, vibrant.

LJ may be a fun place, but it has become even more a small battlefield in the phoney-cyber-conflict between polities, virtual polities, and political alignments. The levels of casual racism have risen to a point where I am having difficulty controlling my temper. Maybe it was always thus, but like Edward VII, I am of the opinion that even these casual forms of racist behaviour are disgraceful.

The problem then becomes, of course, when faced with this, do all of us sort-of-informed non-gender-specific chaps engage against that which we consider to be objectionable, or keep quiet for the sake of harmony?

I know I paraphrase some part of a Hamlet soliloquy, but taking virtual arms against a sea of prejudice and disinformation seems like a reasonable thing to do. (You can never end it though, in this Hamlet is wrong; I suppose the struggle just gets passed on to other folk.)

Anyway, it's time to borrow Achilles' armour. Epistolic aristeia awaits, if not for thee, then for me.

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January 1st, 2017
02:08 am


A Happy New Year to one and all.

I want 2017 to be less interesting and event-filled than 2016. But my wants are pretty immaterial.
All my misgivings about 2017 may prove to be wrong: Que sais-je?

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December 26th, 2016
10:34 am


And 2016 brings us another unwelcome present....
George Michael has died.

My commiserations go to his family and friends.

He was a nice chap and possessed of charm and wit. That's aside from the talent. I worked for him as a guitarist once, long ago. (I was part of Toby's band when George recorded Toby's song "Waltz Away Dreaming".) He'd just been done for cottaging and was really amusing about it all, telling the tale whilst ensconced in the studio control room in Tin Pan Alley. Quite a brilliant raconteur. Always had excellent weed too.

Sorely missed.

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December 22nd, 2016
04:45 pm


Well, I think that's all the Christmas shopping done. A few last hand-delivered cards and present-wrapping left.

May your Christmases be merry, joyful, and er, um, rainbow-coloured and multi-cultural. And I'll still call it Christmas and not the holidays, so there.

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December 17th, 2016
01:13 pm


So... since my separation I have been rather kicking over the traces (if that's the phrase I'm looking for) when I don't have the kids with me. The kids though are the ludic meaning of life, for all that one has to correct them.

I'm too old for Tinder (there's a cut-off age I have somehow exceeded) and most dating sites seem... er... well I'll give 'em a go, but am not that hopeful.

Added to which the impulse to explore those things which I have never really gotten around to doing, yet were still within my moral framework, means there are so many possibilites that I'm as confused as a schoolboy about to blow his yearly allowance on a trip to the tuck shop.

I feel a dash of the Scarlet Pimpernels coming on. Or is it Valmont from another book I mean instead? Or maybe even I could try to be Marguerite this time around? Or Isherwood in Berlin...
Or maybe even just make sure I have the Adagietto to Mahler's Fifth on constant rotation on my iPod, and Venice shall be my Jerusalem.

After finding the small shadows on the lungs, and in light of this new single status, I think the bucket-list has to be explored pretty thoroughly. With appropriate decency to the other people involved, of course. And I should definitely try to get it all on cam to embarrass my descendants in the years to come.

Maybe not a woman this time. Unless the right one comes along, of course.

(Leave a comment)

November 8th, 2016
10:53 am


Young Harry has just released a statement from Kensington Palace.



Now this is about the British press of the semi-fascist variety. The Scum, the Daily Fail, the Getsworse, and the Torygraph. (I happen to be a Tory, btw, though of a different kind to the sort that reads those not-fit-to-wipe-your-arse rags.)

How can you tell they are semi-fascist newspapers? Why, by the dog-whistle racism which they evince... hardly even in the closet.

I stand with Hal. I'm not the shape to be Falstaff, being too skinny by half, but I would be happy to attend him in his cups of both joy and sorrow.

Damn the gutter press. Damn them, damn them, damn them. William and Harry are both good blokes as well as being princes and gentlemen, and if either Harry's or Will's lass needs chaps to defend them against cowardly blackguards hiding behind thinly disguised prejudices expounded in polite language, I'm happy to call those blackguards racist fucking arseholes to their faces. And in print. And in front of their friends and family.

For those who don't know, the Royals can trace their family tree back quite a long way, and folk of most races appear on it. Harry is descended from both Attila the Hun and the Prophet Muhammed, as well as various Guelphs and Ghibellines. (And also from Ghengis Khan IIRC.) Someone needs to shake some decency and honour into the fourth estate. I blame the editors and proprietors. Maybe they should be held accountable in some way. Hahahaha.

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October 28th, 2016
05:58 pm


Why do I bother...
When this dude can do this:

He's called Brock Davisson; and his notes, to my ears, have weight, resonance, and meaning.

(8 comments | Leave a comment)

July 30th, 2016
03:15 pm


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


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. 

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July 14th, 2016
04:48 pm


(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.

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July 10th, 2016
12:16 pm


On the other hand....

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


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.

Tags: , ,

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June 30th, 2016
06:36 am


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


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)

02:34 pm


Personal update. Locked. FFO.

My tenant has moved out of the flat. I shall go round with a tape measure to see what I can fit into it. One room will have to be the kids' bedroom for the alternate weekend's stay. I shall have to shelve the entirety of the front room for those books which I am taking. I shall be leaving many behind: I will not have my children growing up in a house with no books.
I shall take about half my library with me, which will still leave them in a house of some two thousand books.

I shall also leave some of the furniture I inherited, and some of the art works too. Those in which Madame has expressed an interest I shall allow her to keep in the house. Thus far it's a few pictures, some statuettes and a few Georgian bits of furniture.

I shall miss living in this street. I shall do my best to ensure that my children do not miss me, and that I am available to them at all times. But as for the rest of it, it is better this way.

I will always wish Madame well, but to be candid, living with her can require armour of the kind I no longer wear, or maybe can no longer bear.

I shall be in Dulwich on Tuesdays and Thursdays, I shall have the kids on alternate weekends, and the rest of the time I will concentrate on trying to put my playing back together in my flat some 6 miles away. That and the dating apps, obvs.

(Leave a comment)

June 27th, 2016
02:25 pm


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


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


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.

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