Vices (Part One – Music)

I’ve spent the last couple of hours spending too much money on iTunes. This is a quick list of the tunes lightening my wallet this week. This is as much for me (more in fact) than you, so feel free to move along, if you so wish…

  1. Sweetest Smile – Black
  2. Find Yourself – Brad Paisley
  3. My Declaration – Tom Baxter
  4. Tell Her This – Del Amitri
  5. Dear Hearts & Gentle People – Bing Crosby
  6. Get Lucky – Daft Punk ft Pharrell Williams
  7. Closer – Joshua Radin
  8. That Man – Caro Emerald
  9. Get Drunk & Be Somebody – Toby Keith
  10. Now – Mates Of State

To be honest, they’re all fucking brilliant. Go buy them. Trust me, I know my shit. ūüėČ


A fairway to go

Or a fair way, at least. My last surviving Uncle died yesterday morning (no, there isn’t a joke coming, although death can be funny). My mothers’ elder brother, a diehard Scot in all but accent, after moving to England with my Grandparents in his early teens, was a boisterous, full-barrelled, well-heeled pensioner, often full of spirits bottled in the Highlands and an altogether different kind of spirit reserved for a life lived with few people prepared to argue, or perhaps, worth listening to. He took few prisoners and suffered fewer fools.

He suffered an aneurysm during a round of golf on Wednesday afternoon, was flown by helicopter to hospital, but never regained consciousness, dying at around 7.30am the following morning. He had told my mother on many occasions that when his time came, he hoped it would be playing golf. He got his wish. And in his beloved Scotland too.

Today was the first time I looked up ‘getting a will’ on the internet.

Strangely, I woke this morning not full of remorse for a man I didn’t know as well as I should, but with a lightness of foot into a light spring morning, amidst a delicate and fleeting April shower that made me think that my Uncle was maybe looking down on me, and me alone, at such an unsociable hour, cheering me with some unusual refreshing warmth for the time of day. He made me smile a long, long time ago. I think¬† that is how I would like to remember him.


Denoument is everything, but only if it’s poor

Sat through the entire first ‘Season’ of ‘Broadchurch’ yesterday on the first of two days off work. Sixty percent of my family had already seen it, with only myself and my fourteen (alright, nearly fifteen) year-old-son not having had a look since it started. My plan was to Sky+ the entire thing and then do exactly what I have done. Back to back with Tennant and Colman. It was very entertaining, even gripping at times. Personally, I felt the final episode, which was aired only a few days ago in the UK, was a bit of a letdown. I didn’t think the whodunnit conclusion was very satisfying and the reason for the little chaps’ demise, somewhat insubstantial. Still, can’t have everything. I did get to 2am, as the final episode started with the reveal, and asked myself, “really? is that it?” I waited for the twist, but one didn’t come.I was sure there was going to be one. I was wrong. In all, a strong drama with a weak, feeble and unconvincing finish. Very strong performances by the acting talent as usual,¬† but it could have been anyone by the end and the reason for the murder could easily have been equally true for any of the suspects. Not as clever as it wanted to be, although the previous episodes showed great promise.



Under and Over Performing

Well, you leave your PC alone for a few days and all hell breaks loose. We’ve had Chechnyan lunatics on the streets of Boston and in MIT, scaring the bejeezus out the really clever bods and the general public in equal measure. Add to this that the whole of Texas pretty much exploded, each with the pointless loss of almost as many lives as you could count on your fingers and toes.

At this stage it’s still unclear what the bloody hell these Boston stranglers were up to and why they blew the legs and feet off many innocent civilians and also killed a handful. The media are desperate to pin this on organised terrorism, but it seems that this is no more planned than a hasty fart after a prolonged course of Ex-Lax. You and I could both probably have a pretty good stab at making an explosive from the scribbled notes of an ingenious and overtly aggressive ten-year-old, plus an hour of unencumbered ip ghosting on the internet. That the two numpties didn’t manage to blow themselves up is probably the biggest surprise, not that this wasn’t, in fact, the focused and venomous plans of some uber-villain only usually found operating an underground bunker in an Ian Fleming novel. It might have been easier for Boston and the rest of the United States in general to believe that this attack was by the hand of a foreign threat with enough guile to thwart the alleged talent, skills and budget of the armed forces that came out in literally droves, beating their chests in more and more ridiculous headwear as the pursuit went on. The weight of the problem, the lateness of the hour and the depressing length of time it took to catch the second alleged bomber would have been unbearable, had I not been concentrating on “what a funny hat he had on.”


Regardless, this farce, starring thousands of the nations’ finest crime-solving illuminati couldn’t locate the man that was finally discovered lurking in a boat under a tarpaulin in a back garden of one Watertown resident, just a hundred feet up the road the where the press conference (that really is a funny looking hat) was taking place. Despite the warning of the man being ‘armed and dangerous’ and ‘not to approach him’, the resident in question went to have a look at the blood on the side of his boat that wasn’t there before and found a dishevelled teenager, cold, bloodstained, and decidedly free from the menace that the authorities would have had you believe he was capable of. Well done, nosey resident. Boo, hiss at the ineffectual authorities for not finding them on their own. Still, they got him and that was the plan. Well, they didn’t actually get him. They have him. Yes, that’s better. They have him. Still, that’ll do.

I still haven’t got my DVD back. I did ask for it again, and I thought she might crumble as I have been doing my utmost to behave myself and not piss her off too mightilly. There was a moment when she nearly gave in, but it passed as quickly as it appeared. I had a go, I failed. There you go. I might leave it a week.

Today was the second saturday in a row that I got out of work early, but the first saturday that I ventured to Worthington Park, to watch my nine and eleven year olds try their hand at a spot of acting. A local director of some renown, accompanied by a BBC cameraman, was shooting a short film and had politely asked if it was okay to give my two youngest kids a few lines. When we had established that he wasn’t in fact a member of the dirty mac brigade, propositioning my children with cocaine, both my wife and I duly agreed. He paid them for their time with a huge bag of assorted chocolate from Sainsbury’s. A work of genius. Cheap, but highly effective. This was their first effort (more of this in a future episode, including youtube footage, I expect) into the world in which my wife inhabits almost perpetually. They were both pleased with their performances. We all grinned happilly in the car on the way home, opening a big box of Celebrations to, well…you know, celebrate.


Boston Explosions & Media Blanket

You cannot have failed to pick up on the story that is causing widespread consternation. Yesterday¬† a couple of explosions were witnessed in Boston, situated at the finish line of the annual marathon event that is held there. The bombs (if that is in fact what they prove to be) were allegedly set to detonate at fours hours into the race, a time when most people would have been finishing, subsequently causing the most pain and suffering possible. As usual, the media leapt at the chance to tell us all about it, like all bad news. In the UK, BBC News 24 covered the story almost exclusively for at least three or four hours, keeping me from my date with the sandman, and it’s still headline grabbing here the following day.


The phrase that the BBC picked up on from the reports coming from the site from the FBI was ‘potential terrorist inquiry’, which is a dangerous thing to bandy about without proper justification. Even if this was stated by the FBI, shouldn’t media channels have the responsibility to avoid a conflagration of what may turn out to be nothing more than a careless gas leak and someone who really wanted a cigarette. It continues to highlight the insistence by global corporate media, beholden to tyrannical owners, to scaremonger and potentially (as there is currently no evidence that this is the case, or any one terrorist person or terrorist group is claiming responsibility) delude its audience into believing there is a threat to them and their loved ones, anywhere and all the time. This blanket and blinkered accusation is the first excuse when bombs go off, or suspicious behaviour is carried out by anyone without (and even some with) a white face or recognisably western surname. If this had been a couple of gas explosions, do you really believe that Obama’s advisors wouldn’t at least dwell on the possibility of calling it something else, in order to create further divide?

Luke Skywalker was a terrorist. It really just depends who you are and what angle you’re looking at events. The old adage that ‘one mans’ terrorist is another mans’ freedom fighter’ is as true as it ever was and as in all things, there is at least two points of view to consider. This is what makes me doubt my news providers. This is what makes me go and look at lots of news services¬† to get the real story, something impartial and unabridged. The track record of our media in the UK is not exactly above reproach, and I would challenge them to, in their heart of hearts, convince me otherwise.

Forgotten to a greater extent are the deaths of the people that this caused. In an effort to bring the shock and horror to our screens, the deaths of the victims becomes little more than a pawn of numbers to beat you into submission with. Whilst it is undeniably tragic that lives were lost in this incident, and if we are being as truly morbid as your news provider would hope you are, then wouldn’t any ‘terrorist’ worth their onions be disappointed by such a result? The threats, this peril in our midst, apparently warrants hours of endless news coverage and political debate, yet only manages to be smart enough to kill three people? Are we buying into this? Really?