Thursday 30 April 2009

We’re all doomed!


The recession, that catastrophic financial near-Armageddon is over. We are no longer going to be forever bankrupt as a nation. The reason: The Media has a new scare to generate an abundance of hot air. WE ARE ALL GOING TO DIE! Well I suppose that’s stating the bleedin’ obvious, but our doom is considerably more impending than perhaps we imagined if the newspapers, radio and telly are to be believed. Swine Flu is the latest craze, and boy are they going to town on it.

The News Media could best be described as a nagging old busybody, and “The lady doth protest too much, methinks.”* It seems to have nothing better to do than whip the public up into frenzy. In a world where there is so much disease, famine, poverty, injustice and war that largely goes unreported it is sickening when something that affects a few white people gets so heavily reported.

We received this email at work today. Opportunist or what?

I fully expect that any day now that a newspaper will report that the government has awarded a contract to Capita to recruit staff to push hand-carts, ring hand-bells and shout “bring out you dead!”

Is it me?

* Queen Gertrude - Hamlet Act 3, scene 2, by Willy the Spear shaker

Thursday 23 April 2009


"Shakespeare was a man of wit,
And on his shirt he had some sh…

…irt buttons!"

Had he lived, young Willy would have been 445 today.

Today should be a bank holiday, but only in celebration of The Bard!

William Shakespeare (1564 - 1616)

Sunday 19 April 2009


It had been thirty five years since I’d been to a really huge concert, the last one being Emerson Lake & Palmer back around this time in 1974. I’ve always liked AC/DC although I wouldn’t claim to be their biggest fan, but when a friend asked if I’d like to go and see them at the O2 Arena I jumped at the chance. So on Tuesday afternoon we trogged off to Londinium to see the show.

The support band was The Answer, from Belfast, and I’m sure they’ll go far. The singer sings in a Robert Plant style, nasally, a style that has never done Robert any harm. For all I know they could well be big already, but if they keep it up no doubt they will be filling arenas in their own right one day.

AC/DC were everything you’d expect. They are not the most innovative of rockers but they have a winning formula and they deliver it with great precision. There is no mistaking who the star of the show is and that’s Angus Young. If you don’t know who Angus is then if I say he’s the guitarist who wears the blazer, short trousers, school cap and satchel you’ll know, unless of course you have absolutely no interest in the popular culture of rock-a-boogie.

I remembered why I don’t go to large arena concerts when I got there. Even in the decent seats you are still a long way away from the stage. Most of my concert going is to smaller venues, I like the intimate feel, and I like to see the whites of their eyes! Although distant you could still appreciate the action, and the large screens that flashed with graphics and close-ups all add to the experience and ensure that you miss nothing. The show started with a short animation, staring Angus obviously, about a runaway train and inspired by the latest album. It builds up the tension very well the train crashes, the stage lights up and the band start to play. The set is a mix of old favourites and samples from their latest waxing - something for everyone.

Apart from some lengthy pauses between songs the show was perfect. They are a well rehearsed band with a tight road crew/organisation. The lighting, graphics, pyrotechnics and even the not so tasteful inflatable Rosie were all slotted in seamlessly along the concert timeline.

Brian Johnson, the lead singer struts, well waddles really, around the stage wearing his trademark cloth cap and sporting a six pack that probably owes more to the likes of Newkie Brown rather than any gym. He knows his place. I suspect when the Ex-Geordie singer was recruited to the band after Bon Scott’s death he was told not to ‘hog the limelight’. Meanwhile Angus dominates the proceedings through his undoubted skill and sheer energy. Having said that I don’t think I’m completely sold on the merits of his strip-tease although I did think it was a nice touch when he dropped his trousers to reveal the AC/DC logo on the arse of his pants.

In theory I shouldn’t really like AC/DC but I always have. I bought their first album on vinyl at the time of its release, when they were relatively unknown. They are the musical equivalent of Jeremy Clarkson. Their show is mighty on the macho. Macho by definition borders on the misogynistic which obviously fills me with unease. But on a baser level I thoroughly enjoyed myself. Oh the angst of the white middle-class middle-aged ponderer!

Brand AC/DC is a powerful and lucrative brand to be sure. It does what it says on the label and as a result I suspect that many a happy punter went home that night from the concert. I know I enjoyed it. My hearing didn’t recover for a day and a half. Boy, were they loud!

Further info:
concert pictures
official website

Wednesday 15 April 2009


Easter was a busy weekend, unfortunately I was busy decorating. I hate DIY with a passion. Yesterday I went and saw AC/DC at the O2 Arena. Excellent! If I have time I’ll blog about it.

Tuesday 7 April 2009

No-pay day

This recession, this unwelcome manifestation is hitting people in many different ways. I feel for those that have lost their jobs, for those that are about to lose their jobs, and those on short time working, which incidentally includes myself. I have no idea if I will come through this with my job intact but hopefully these measures that the company I work for is taking will do the trick. Each employee has to take five days off without pay per quarter. Small beer compared with what is happening in some companies, but never the less it represents a cut in pay; a cut that most of my colleagues are not happy with. I feel sorry for those single parents and others with young families and large mortgages, for them the loss of 1.6 days money per month is a hardship, although it might not sound like it. No doubt some will have to tighten their proverbial belts a bit further.

For me, whilst I shall miss the money and have to watch the pennies a bit more carefully, I welcome the extra time off, and I plan to put it to good use, writing this for a start. Whilst it’s considered as a no-pay day you do get some money. The government actually gives you £21.50 for the day. Hardly compensation for most, but it’s better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick. As far as I’m concerned time not spent at work is a valuable commodity, and I see this as an opportunity to do something that I enjoy, write. I plan to write a book. I’ve no idea if it will see the light of day, but I’ve made a start. I shall use my other no-pay days to continue this project. Today was my first no-pay day. Watch this space.