Monday, 30 January 2017

Discuss, Debate - but Please don’t Hate

They say there is more that unites us than divides us.

Let’s start with the fact that we’re all human.  That alone should be enough of a leveller.  We start life with no pre-conceptions of others, and are shaped by our environment, influences and experiences.  All of us are flawed in some way or another and we should therefore be more tolerant of anyone else’s personal shortcomings.

But when it comes to opinions it’s evident we’re becoming increasingly marginalised.

What’s wrong with someone having a different point of view?  It allows us to consider both sides of an argument in our quest to reach a balanced understanding of important issues.  But many of us are too quick to accept anything presented as fact without verifying its validity through reliable and unbiased sources - making us vulnerable to fake news sites or groups with a narrow, militant agenda.

About the only thing that prevented the recent Women’s March descending into total farce - because the individual agendas were so jumbled there were actually areas of moral contradiction - was that they were united by a common cause, albeit that the banner of oppression they were rallying under was incongruous with the freedom of speech and right to demonstrate they were clearly being allowed to exercise.

Debate is healthy but it’s getting personal now and we need to be hyper careful when we find ourselves disagreeing with family, friends or anyone else whose views we usually value on other matters.  We should listen with open minds and in a spirit of love and respect or we’ll be playing into the hands of those who are out to divide, corrupt or even destroy us at the core level of human relationship.  No cause is worth alienating those with whom we share blood or a mutual bond.  By all means try to bring them around to understanding your point of view, but don’t reject them for not adopting it.  We will never agree with anyone about everything, so accept that they are as entitled to their opinion on some matters as you are yours.

We often discover that some of the convictions we held in our youth weren’t fully formed and we’ve gone on to take a completely different stance on issues we used to be ignorant or blinkered about.  So recognise our own susceptibility to misguidance before allowing ourselves to become consumed by the arrogance of certainty that everyone should think as we do at any time - time can make a fool of you.   Instead, turn that negativity around and enjoy the warm fuzzies that come with tolerance, compassion and understanding.

None of us know it all.  We need each other because we all have different knowledge, skills and strengths.  We can create a better society by drawing on diversity to find some middle ground in the interests of serving the greater good.  Our leaders should be guardians and effective administrators, working together, not career politicians.  Giving way a little, whether at a government or personal level, needn’t be seen as compromise because everyone pays the same price to move forward instead of fracturing into ever more specific belief systems.  It doesn’t need to get political.  We are stronger united than divided.

Accept it.

Embrace it.

Be it.

Thursday, 12 January 2017

Fake News - "Gimme Some Truth"

Recently I've become increasingly concerned that so many of my normally rational and intelligent social media contacts can be sucked in by websites and Facebook pages that post pictures or videos taken out of context to serve some other dodgy agenda.  I encourage them to always check the facts with credible news sources before promulgating false information - but what happens when even those agencies succumb to corruption?

Just "Gimme Some Truth", as Lennon (not to be confused with the Russian Communist leader with a similar sounding name) sang:


Saturday, 28 May 2016

What have I just seen / heard? - Holly Herndon

Image from artist's Facebook page
60 year old bloke (me) and my 20 y.o. son at the Roundhouse, awaiting Radiohead ... a shared passion.

Will there be a support?  Who cares?  Just killing time before the Masters come on.

Enter Holly Herndon.

The crowd stands perplexed as not much happens for some time except for a cacophony of set-up noises.  And then all audial hell breaks loose.  Chest-thumping beats and sound production second to none ... but what was the sound?

A tsunami of electronica and loops, that's for sure, interspersed with squeals akin to a crow/kookaburra hybrid.  And a relentless base rhythm that disappointingly works itself pretty much through the entire set.

Can you dance to it?  Perhaps in an altered state - and my own expertise in this area is an uncoordinated and embarrassing flailing of limbs - but I'm not convinced the Kung-Fu, head-banging antics of the androgynous Colin ("Gender is Over") Self match this musical outfit's aspirations toward the avant-garde.  You're gonna need more than a mouth-held pulsing LED light to cut it.  And Mat Dryhurst?  He's has an endearing smile and a talent for moving a cursor around a digital landscape.

From the first minute, my son and I continued to exchange bemused looks to see if either of us were getting it.  Me, wondering if he related to my suggestions of influences from the ethereal (Enya) to the experimental (Laurie Anderson), and him ... well, in truth, begging me to bludgeon his face in so he didn't have to listen to any more.  This from a guy whose eclectic musical tastes are often beyond even my own broad frames of reference.

I remain agnostic as I try to assimilate the assault on my senses - all I'm prepared to commit to at this stage is that I feel I have been daringly challenged.  I just need to decide if it was in a good or bad way.

Monday, 11 January 2016

Ashes to Ashes - Funk to Funky

It was Bowie who led me on the path to my eclectic taste in music, having grown up with standard verse/chorus/bridge songs.  Yes, he did enough of those too but my mind did a flip on hearing the hypnotic opening strains of 'Five Years' on the Ziggy album.  My first thoughts were "This guy can't sing and doesn't even put all of the notes in the right order" and then BAM - lying on the floor with my portable record player, a speaker set on each side of my head - the magic began to flow. *Ashes to ashes, Funk to funky* ... and Station to Station, my friend. May your next stop be Heaven. R.I.P

Friday, 24 July 2015

What gets my Goat? (Work in Progress ...)

Everyone has their own pet hates, so I thought I'd start listing mine here for posterity - I'll keep adding them as they occur but, for a start, these make me GGRRRR!:

Real Estate Agents sign boards that damage property or aren't properly removed:

What blatant disregard for their clients' properties when the monkeys they employ to put up their signs go about nailing boards onto fencing or, even worse, into the mortar of brick walls?  You can't see it in the pic, but this particular example was on a main supporting post and there was a sufficient gap to have used plastic cables. Don't even get me started on bricks ... how best to de-stabilise a wall? - give it a few good whacks with a hammer!

Walk up any high street and look at the frontage of shops - property boards are normally placed above the shop signage.  Now look at how many bits of timber have been left up there, often just painted over with the re-vamp, despite the fact that the agents' signs have long been removed?

So, not only vandals but visual polluters ...

Half-arsed Pooper Scoopers:

I don't know if it's just a London phenomena, but I often see dog poop bags littered in the strangest of places rather than placed in the designated bins.  I can't understand how you can be socially conscious enough to pick up after your dog but cause another environmental eyesore by then leaving the bag and its contents lying in the gutter, wedged in shrubs, hanging off fences ... and even at the very base of the dog waste bin you've taken the bother to walk to.

Guys on noisy little scooters who think they're Hell's Angels:

We've all heard them, getting off by revving up their little 50cc pathetic excuses for 'motorbikes' in underground car parks to amplify the sound or buzzing along with their annoying ring-ding-dings like agitated mosquitoes.  As a motorcycle purist who's ridden 'real' bikes I may be a bit biased but, seriously, have some dignity instead of drawing attention to your impotence.


- Sticky labels: Particularly the highly adhesive ones that leave residue or obscure wording on CD covers.

- Car dealership stickers on rear windscreens: Obscure your view, never attractive and you're a mug to give them free advertising long after you've bought the car.

- Speed bumps: Manufacturers spend a fortune on developing a smoother ride and the local council put these monstrosities in to damage your suspension and wheel alignment.