October 31st, 2014 · Posted by Skuds in Life
I came aacross an eye-catching quote this evening:
Britain is a miserable sight. A society of failures, full of apathy, and aroused only by envy at the success of others. This is why we will continue to decline. Not because of our economic or industrial problems. They are soluble. But because the psychology of our people is in such an appalling – I fear irretrievable – state. Meanness has replaced generosity. Envy has replaced endeavour. Malice is the most common motivation.
I could easily imagine coming across it in some newspaper column (if I still read a newspaper) but it is actually from 40 years ago. Certainly the idea that ‘malice is the most common motivation’ rings true.
Yes. I am reading yet another history of the 1970s. Having enjoyed, if that is the right word, When The Lights Went Out by Andy Beckett and State of Emergency by Dominic Sandbrook I got tempted to download Crisis? What Crisis? by Alwyn Turner the other day while it was one of Amazon’s deals of the day. The above quote is from Harold Wilson’s policy advisor, Bernard Donoughue in (I think) 1974 or 1975.
The quote does continue with:
It is time to go and cultivate our gardens, share love with our families, and leave the rest to fester.
But, for whatever reason, Alwyn Turner does not include the final part of what Donoughue wrote:
And if it gets intolerable – because fascism could breed in this unhealthy climate – to emigrate if need be.
I think the overwhelming feeling while reading the book is relief that while all that was going on I wasn’t really old enough to worry about it. It really does make the seventies out to be a terrible time and I feel slightly guilty that I look back on them so fondly. It does help that all I had to worry about was whether Elton John would be on Top of the Pops, whether West Ham would get through to the next round of the FA Cup and whether I would get a snog after the school dance.
I’m feeling a bit tempted to download the Dominic Sandbrook book that covers 1974-79 for when I finish thisbook but since it weighs in at a hefty 992 pages I might postpone that a little while.
October 29th, 2014 · Posted by Skuds in Politics
This is a bit annoying, because I happen to think that proportional representation would be a good thing, but I thought of a good analogy to explain how first past the post isn’t necessarily unfair if a party gets fewer votes but wins more seats.
I should throw in the caveat that by ‘good’ I don’t mean good in the absolute sense, just better than my usual crappy standard of analogies. [Read more →]
October 27th, 2014 · Posted by Skuds in Politics
With all the doom and gloom around, it was nice to see some good news this week - that one of our Tory councillors has been selected as a parliamentary candidate in Stoke-on-Trent. This really is one of those times when everybody wins. [Read more →]
Tags: Elections·Local Government·Tories
October 23rd, 2014 · Posted by Skuds in Music
I watched a bit of the MOBO awards last night, but only about three minutes’ worth. As I tuned in there was a category where two of the nominees were Jessie J and Katy B which made it sound like they were not so much recording artists as child protection cases being granted anonymity.
It seems to be a bit of a trend. Look at the charts (*) and you can find Jamie T, Juici J, Charli XCX and Schoolboy Q which sounds even more like a child protection case than all the rest put together.
When did this become a thing? I blame Jay-Z
(*) Or don’t. Not if you are my age. I looked at the official top 100 singles and I reckon I only know about three of them. And that is only because Snow Patrol are inexplicably in there with Chasing Cars.
October 6th, 2014 · Posted by Skuds in Music
I got round to watching that Genesis documentary on the iPlayer today. (Still available for a few days). It was entertaining enough but didn’t really have much in there for fans. It was good to see the five main members together in one room talking, but not much from that session was actually used – there were a lot more clips from earlier interviews which have already been seen umpteen times.
The main thing about it was that it showed just how good the spoof documentary about Brian Pern/Thotch) was.That spoof was so well observed not only in the way it sent up interviews with bands and their members but also the way it got talking heads slots from music journalists, managers, producers, promoters and record company executives spot on as well so that when you see the real thing it still feels a bit like a spoof.
I think the problem is that there are so many music documentaries on BBC 4 and Sky Arts and so much archive footage available on YouTube that it is hard to tackle a subject without using a lot of material that is familiar. It was always going to be hard to fit the story of a career as long as Genesis’ into 90 minutes, especially if you want to include solo careers as well, and something has to be left out, but I do wonder how they managed to leave out:
- Wind and Wuthering
One of my favourite Genesis albums. Having taken a sort of chronological approach, punctuated by album releases with a little graphic about when they were released and what chart positions they reached, the documentary seemed to include all the albums except this one and…
- Calling All Stations
Maybe not a fans’ favourite or great critical/commercial success, but it did happen and wasn’t actually that bad.
- Knebworth 1978
- Steve Hackett’s solo albums
Maybe his solo works have not been as successful as Gabriel and Collins, but he has had a couple of dozen solo albums with the first six being top 40 albums, as well as some success with GTR. Certainly a more prolific and noteworthy solo career than Tony Banks whose solo work got a good mention.
There was no mention of other projects that the various members had been involved with and Brand-X was one of the more prominent ones and significant because it shows how Phil Collins had other side projects before his solo career.
- Any of the live albums
Especially Seconds Out which still is the definitive live version for many of their songs in the same way that Yessongs is for Yes.
- Drummers (apart from Phil & Chester)
Especially Bill Bruford who played on tour with them and any of the drummers before Phil Collins joined the band
- The flute
Gabriel’s flute was a big part of the early sound but didn’t even get a mention.
While the documentary was not terrible it came across as not something made with the band’s co-operation so much as one made by the three remaining members of the band and only including as much about other members as they wanted, while airbrushing out Ray Wilson and other parts of their history – although that still doesn’t excuse leaving out Wind and Wuthering.
I think this is going to be for sale to support the R-Kive box set, but although it was OK to watch on TV I think buying the Thotch show on DVD would be more rewarding.
Tags: Prog Rock·TV
October 2nd, 2014 · Posted by Skuds in Politics
I missed all the fun of the Scotish referendum the other week because I was away on holiday, which for me means no internet news sites, no newspapers, no Facebook, no TV news, no Twitter, not even any RSS feeds. I did actually find out the result on the Saturday afterwards when I suddenly remembered all about it and asked the barman at the hotel if he had heard anything about it.
Today at work I started to wonder if he had given me some duff information because I was searching on one of my company’s websites and found this on one of the drop-down lists for choosing countries. Notice anything unusual about it?
So… Scotland voted ‘No’ but Aberdeen voted ‘Yes’?
September 30th, 2014 · Posted by Skuds in Politics
Remember this story back in May? William Hague was visiting L-3 in Crawley with Henry Smith MP and Howard Bloom, leader of Crawley council.
At the time Henry said that L-3 was “a great success story for Crawley industry and a great success story in terms of employment and exports as well”. What was not reported at that time, no doubt because the Tory editor of the paper didn’t want to embarrass his Tory friends, was that the company employing about 300 people in the town had just announced that it was making about 100 of them redundant, so not such a great success story for employment after all.
The process of consultation, selecting candidates for redundancy and working out notice periods takes some time and today was the last day at work for many of those 100. Of course, Howard Bloom lost his job as leader of Crawley council a bit sooner than that, despite the best efforts of the media to hide bad news, and only continues as a councillor because he made the chicken run to a safer seat.
With any luck the curse of L-3 will strike again in seven months and Henry Smith will lose his job as an MP and William Hague will lose his job as a government minister.
Tags: Local Papers
September 7th, 2014 · Posted by Skuds in Life
The Crawley News has a story about a man having to be cut out of a wheelie bin, which really gives you nothing about the incident except that “it is unclear why he was in the bin”, but the article starts spectacularly. It says:
THE life of a firefighter is never dull. At the weekend we told how firefighters had been called to East Surrey Hospital to help a man who had a ring stuck on his penis – which had to be cut off with a hacksaw.
I can’t help thinking they could have worded that a bit better.
Tags: Local Papers
September 5th, 2014 · Posted by Skuds in Politics
The required number of Southgate voters have called for an election and so there will be a byelection on October 9th. Which is a shame. Southgate was the first place in Crawley where I lived, and where I usually find myself on election days doing knocking up so I might have fancied putting my name forward for the selection but the timing is just plain wrong because I’ll be away on holiday for two of the four weeks of the campaign.
Good luck to whoever we select, I just hope it is someone good to keep Raj company.
September 3rd, 2014 · Posted by Skuds in Life
If I could live anywhere, I think I would like to live on whatever planet they use to film the many TV adverts for bathroom supplies. Actually, there may only be two companies advertising bathrooms on TV, and they may only have one advert each, but they are shown so often that it feels like a lot more. Also they seem to be just about the only adverts Sky News shows that aren’t charity appeals or ads for ambulance-chasing lawyers.
Anyway, I think I would like to live there, because there must be so much space. All the bathrooms are the size of a squash court, so imagine how big the other rooms must be.