Sunday, 31 May 2020

The New Time

One of the problems with getting older is that the days seem to get shorter and you seem to have less time to do things, well that's how I feel. A number of people with children want to get the children back to school mainly because they are missing their friends, and of course looking after young children 24/7 is not an easy task.

The thing is that six weeks of lockdown for a six year old is a fiftieth of their life , where for me it's one five hundredth so it seems a lot longer for them that it does for me although the actual time is the same.

I am now trying to find a way of perceiving time in the same way that a child does and see a week's holiday or even a weekend as a long time. A weekend is around 62 hours from work finish to work start for most Monday to Friday workers and we should be able to see that as time to enjoy and do things.

I'm often reminded of "The Eighty Minute Hour" by Brian Aldiss where the controllers speed up clocks when we are not at work and slow them down when we are at work, and if that were happening  would we know?

People often waste weeks wishing for Friday , I used to be like that but now think "What Can I Do Today?" . If you are always looking forward to Friday you effectively throw away five days of your week , and the weekend is only two days so that makes your time seem to fly by.

My aim is not only to slow time down , but to do more in that time. I often am bothered by going for
walks because , by it's nature, that takes time, although usually I listen to music while walking as they are complimentary activities and listening to music can almost make the activity go faster. The paradox is that you want to finish your walk , but you want to enjoy your time doing it and if time speeds up you feel you are losing out.

Matt Haig wrote one of his excellent books "How To Stop Time" which also took this as part of his premise, and his self help page from "Reasons To Stay Alive" is excellent , so I am now FEELING TIME as well as taking my final part in the #maywriteabit , because tomorrow is the first of June.

So what song should we go with , there are many songs called "Time" , Pink Floyd and David Bowie come to mind, and even "Five Years Time" by Noah and the Whale and "Minutes" by The Human League came to mind.

I decided to go with "The Waiting" by Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers as it is sort of appropriate for the position we are in now and does contain a lot of pertinent lines to the lockdown situation.

Friday, 29 May 2020

Primal Screen

We're coming to the end of the second full month of working during lockdown and while I have adapted there are a lot of people who still find things difficult . Next week I have a hospital appointment when I will probably use a bus to go. I haven't used a bus for weeks. Although I could actually walk to the hospital I wouldn't have time to walk back to start work.

We have had had sunny days and last night my phone showed a temperature of 17ยบ Centigrade which I thought was hot , though I seem to be the only man in our neighbourhood cluster without a suntan, though I noticed an oddity on my left arm this morning two adjacent two centimetre round spots on my right arm one dark (as in tanned)  and one light (as in white) ,  not something that bothers me , just slightly odd.

I watched "Suicide Squad" last night and while it was good in bits with an excellent cast , the film as a whole was a bit of a mess.

So this Friday morning we go with another song that 6Music have been playing by a band who are new to me BC Camplight , and the song is "Shortly After Take Off" , I'd forgotten thename of the band and the title of the song but thanks to the shows' tracklistings on 6Music (in this case Nemone sitting in for Lauren Laverne) .

The thing is that's how my memory works , I often can't remember things but I can remember what to do to find them . How does that work? If my memory is bad then surely it should be bad for everything.

Another song that Nemone played was the absolutely brilliant "Endless Art" by A House (both versions) and really have to share that as well.

Why "Primal Screen" , well an obvious play on "Primal Scream" and the latest section in Clive Barker's "The Great and Secret Show" is called "Primal Scenes" and I am use my laptop computer screen for work as well as play.

Have a great Friday everyone.

Wednesday, 27 May 2020

On Demand

Yesterday I didn't even listen to the live radio, because now you can listen to shows on demand. I was using the BBC Sounds app on my Kindle Fire. I noticed there was something featuring Stephen King , who , like Terry Pratchett, I don't really like his books , but I like him as a person and like the TV and film dramatisations of his stories.

First up was the 6Music "Paperback Writers" show and the listing didn't include The Rolling Stones song "Dance Little Sister" which came between Jan & Dean's "New Girl In School" and KC & The Sunshine Band's "That's The Way (I Like It)" . King's attitude to disco is the same as mine, and we both love it.

I was looking forward to following this with his "Desert Island Discs" but it ran into Irvine Welsh's show and as I am an admirer of Irvine Welsh I let it run , and his music choices were stuff that I would have played , listened to and maybe even picked.

Both authors' shows were illuminating and gave a good insight into them and their tastes. The only slight black mark for me was Stephen King closing with "My Sharona" by The Knack , but each to his hown and when the other choices were so good you have to allow some leeway. Irvine Welsh's choices were all more than acceptable to me.

I then went back to "Desert Island Discs"  which was more talking and less music but a decent listen nonetheless.

The thing is you can cherrypick what you want to listen to these days and that means that live radio is up against a formidable library of sound, so my listening to live radio is about to get a little less. I think I will share "It Came Out Of The Sky" by Creedence Clearwater Revival" because it is on Stephen King's list and it has the "It" connection too.

Monday, 25 May 2020

Growing Old is Mandatory but Growing Up is Optional.

yesterday I was feeling in a black and down mood that I couldn't shake off, not sure why, but it was like I couldn't snap out of it , but there is always part of my mind that says YOU CAN hit normal again. The weather ranged from sunny to overcast , and overcast doesn't hely.

I have a dripping tap that I can't fix and don't want to risk a flood despite the online help that shows how to "simply" fix , but I have contacted someone to actually do the job so awaiting a call back (it is a Bank Holiday).

I don't think my mood was helped by watching episodes of "White Lines" , "Vikings" and "Altered Carbon" , all excellent TV but not exactly taking you to happy place (and still 50 episodes of "Vikings" to go)  , but actually watching "Spy" with Melissa McCarthy and Jason Statham really lifted my spirits ant the end of the day , both of them providing comedy gold in this James Bond spoof  with lots of violence and swearing but absolutely great entertainment.

I also couldn't even be bothered to write, but enjoyed listening to a few records. Sat at the keyboard to learn Tom Waits' "In The Neighbourhood" and then at the guitar for a run through "Crossroads" and "Cocaine" all of which were adequate but not yer shareable.

I didn't even want to walk, but then got myself out and actually completed my 11K steps for the day and that again made me feel better.

For me , it's basically find something that makes you feel better and do that that. Hitting targets is usually good , but maybe avoid the darker things.

Having said that I am going to share Tom Waits' "I Don't Wanna Grow Up"  which featured in the "Cracked Jukebox" documentary broadcast on the BBC, and is really one of my aims of life. The song appears on the soundtrack of the film "Jojo Rabbit" as well.

Apparently the Ramones covered this , so I need to find that don't I? I did, and really OMG that is soooooo god The Ramones covering Tom Waits , almost as revelatory as Hendrix covering Dylan, that is brilliant and has made this weekend end on a definite upward trajectory.

Great quote from the Youtube feed:

"My dad always said growing old is mandatory but growing up is optional."

Today is Bank Holiday Monday and I intend to enjoy it very much.

Saturday, 23 May 2020

A Slightly Different Perspective

By actually posting , I am continuing with the #maywriteabit , although I know others are doing it and my interaction with them has fizzled out a bit.

I've been doing this three month rolling million steps for a couple of years by doing 340K steps a month. This is fine but in months with less than 31 days the extra daily steps are just a slight pain. Then looking at it from an annual view 11K steps a day will result in just under four million steps , which is a million every three months, and given that most days I tend to do a bit more than 11K then I should just aim for a daily average of 11K a day and that will sort me over each year.

It's only taken me a couple of years to realise this , and make my step counting so much simpler.

So that is a good thing at the start of this Bank Holiday Weekend. I don't have much more to say apart from to share another great record that 6Music have been playing  "PDLIF" by Bon Iver to raise money for Direct Relief . 100% of streaming proceeds will be directed to Direct Relief, a humanitarian aid organization working to protect workers and patients alike so if you watch the video you will be contributing to this charity. Here's a description from the Direct Relief site:

"The release marks the first time a music video has premiered on Direct Relief’s website and reflects the myriad of new ways artists — and individuals in general — are helping support Covid-19 relief efforts. Along with the novel distribution method, the song was created in a new way as well, because of safety precautions necessitated by the pandemic. Each contributor worked on their part of the song in isolation before sending their work on to their bandmates and audio engineers."

Enjoy the song , stay safe and look after yourself.

Friday, 22 May 2020


One of the things I like about the English language is because it is so ludicrously and ridiculously complex it opens itself up to lots of of wordplay , sometimes clever , sometimes funny , sometimes rubbish. Take the title of this post "Impossible" , but the addition of a space and and apostrophe turns it into I'm Possible which obviously changes the meaning (although doesn't really make sense , but you see where I am going)  while using the same letters in the same order.

Then you have homonyms and homophones ( which I started #maywriteabit for the first ten days of May)  like WIND could sound like WINED or TWINNED depending on what context it's actually used in. William Shakespeare's plays were full of plays on words , sometimes becoming almost unwatchable because of continuous punning and the like.

So what should I go with tonight , I think with the mention of Shakespeare we should go with the  Reduced Shakespeare Company's "Othello Rap".

Wednesday, 20 May 2020

Not The End of The Books

I've just finished the excellent "Not The End of The World" by Christopher Brookmyre, and was very impressed , and I was right that he is in the same universe as John Niven. He also has a huge back catalogue so I have the option of buying more of his stuff.

Instead I'm revisiting "The Great and Secret Show" by Clive Barker, one of my favourite authors and these revisitations means that I have an endless supply of books because I can read and reread. As I have said before my memory is not too good so while I have a vague recollection of what the book is about the words are still a joy to consume and the lead me into a different world once more.

I have other favourites too who I need to revisit , JG Ballard and F Paul Wilson to name but two, and this could keep me going til next year or longer.

Music is the same, once you have things in your collection , you have them because you want to revisit them , usually again and again. I've sort of regressed because I play music either digitally or on vinyl with a preference for the latter because it limits you to around twenty minutes of songs, so it connects you even more closely with the music.

Today I revisited "The Lodger" by David Bowie which like all Bowie albums is full of off the wall musical directions and is over far too soon, and that is me listening to it digitally while walking. Possibly tomorrow "Gouster" (unreleased excellent album around the time of "Young Americans") may get a spin. It's only available as part of a big digital box but you can buy the tracks individually to get your own copy at a reasonable price. One of the benefits of digital downloads.

6Music have been playing "Nowhere To Hide" by Ghostpoet from the album "I Grow Tired But Dare Not Fall Asleep" which has definitely caught my ear, so that's what we go with tonight.