Monday 30 April 2012

We’re only making plans for Nigel

It doesn’t do to be complacent but up to now thankfully Britain has never really had any truck with fascists in government. Yes the BNP has had some very minor electoral success but what little popularity they had is waning. I don’t think they were ever a serious threat to our way of life. But as I say you can’t be complacent.

We have some friends in France. We will be visiting them in a few weeks time. They are a French family. During the last French presidential elections they were horrified at the popularity of Le Pen. They ended up voting for Sarkozy even though they didn’t want to. They felt it necessary to do so to make sure the fascist didn’t get elected. It’s frightening how popular Le Pen junior is now. It’ll be interesting to see how they feel about the current state of French politics.

Nationalism is an abhorrent emotion. It is the politics of the shallow mind. Insularity never does a population any good whatsoever. For me the ideals of a collective EU are far better than an isolated England*. Yes I know Europe isn’t perfect but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t strive for those collective ideals; much better than turning our backs and becoming ‘Little Englanders’. I don’t have a very high opinion of UKIP as I’m sure you can imagine. I have always thought of them as a bunch of dysfunctional renegade Tories. It’s what they are after all. At worst I’ve thought them a joke; at best they take votes from the Tories. But I’m now thinking this is a mistake. UKIP are a problem. A big problem. UKIP need to be afforded the same attention by the left as the BNP. The only difference between the UKIP and the BNP is that the former have sharper suits, more money and went to posh private schools and the latter are a rag tag bunch of social misfits, retired sergeants and assorted Neanderthals. Their respective messages essentially are not that different.

Beware the sinister souls in yellow and purple. Beware the Farage posse!

*I use this term because I know that the Irish, Scots and Welsh have far more sense than turn their backs on Europe.

Saturday 28 April 2012


“The Queen gasped, and sat down: the rapid journey through the air had quite taken away her breath and for a minute or two she could do nothing but hug the little Lily in silence. As soon as she had recovered her breath a little, she called out to the White King, who was sitting sulkily among the ashes, ‘Mind the volcano!’ *

Ditto, ditto on the wall who is the silliest of them all?

Mirrors are like blotting paper they absorb and display back to front.

They can confirm you are breathing. They can confirm beauty.

Opposites attract, but do dittos?

*Lewis Carroll – Through the looking glass and what Alice found there

Friday 27 April 2012

Happiness anyone?

Anyone who includes the sentence “I blame Margaret Thatcher although I tend to blame her for pretty much everything.” In the first paragraph is assured to get my attention. Those are sentiments that i agree with. Thatcherism was a shameful but pivotal moment in our history. Thatcher took away the opportunity from so many for so many to be happy.In his blog post John Linney muses on being happy and perhaps what it takes to get there. Read it. It’s a good read.

For me happiness can be attained provided you have the Maslow basics, an open heart and mind plus much love to give.

Thursday 19 April 2012

Dear Diary Nº1

Dear Diary, I’m sorry it’s been quite a while. Well actually its 32 years to be precise. And, DD you know how I like to be precise. You’ll remember how back in 1980, our last encounter, I made an entry for everyday of that year and then how a couple of years later I destroyed all those entries. Too many hormonal thoughts put to paper do not shared reading make. 1980 was an eventful year for me. I suppose the pedant in me would say but every year is an eventful one, no year is bereft of events, it’s just some events are more mundane than others.

You’ll remember Dear Diary how 1974, 1980 and 1999 were momentous/eventful years. It would appear that 2012 could well be added to that list.

1974 was eventful for many reasons, but I won’t bore you with too many details because DD you already know. We had two general elections that year and it was the first time I’d ever voted in a general election. I voted as I’ve voted in every general election since. For the Labour Party candidate. I’ve never ever elected a member of parliament. I do hope I live to achieve that goal one election soon. This was also the year that I met a group of people, via my employer at the time which was Lloyds Bank, who I had a great deal of fun with. They were short-lived friendships, of the moment. I also left the employ of the bank that year and contact with ‘the group’ fizzled. I had three different jobs that year. I didn’t know then what I wanted to do and if truth be known I still don’t. The real sadness for me that year was the death of my Nanna. My mum’s mum. Nanna was like a second mother to me. I was Nº1 grandchild and therefore possibly afforded a lot of attention. The loss of Nanna was the first heart-felt bereavement that I had experienced.

1980 saw me and two friends on a very cold but amazing holiday to Moscow; the first trip abroad that we as friends had ever organised. It was also the year that I first went out with the woman that was to become my wife. And, it was also the year that I went out with the woman that I’ve too often wished had become my wife. Hindsight is a wonderful thing. I lost contact with the latter young lady a year or two after that time. Thinking I would never see her again I was so surprised when three years ago a message appeared in my Facebook inbox enquiring as to whether or not I was me. We now meet up for coffee or a meal occasionally and DD I can tell you I am most happy about us being friends again.

1999 was the year that my marriage broke up, and the year I met my now partner the lovely Lady. It was also the year that I felt I started to live again. One small change that heralded the dawn of this new era was that I had my ear-pierced. It’s as if it’s a symbol of my new life.

Whilst there have been momentous occasions other years, the death of my other grandparents, the birth of my son, job changes and starting my own business they have all been spread out a bit.

As I suggested earlier DD this year could well be a year to remember, but stating the bleedin’ obvious only time will tell. The death of my father was the big thing. A little while back I found one of my 1974 group of friends on the interweb, on that there Friends Disunited. I’m hoping to meet up with him later on in the year. The Lady has her sixtieth birthday at the end of this year which is in itself is a memorable milestone. And if that wasn’t enough, I have arranged to meet my pen pal in June. An event in itself and something I’m much looking forward to.

Life tag – Be Bop Deluxe – Love is Swift Arrows

Saturday 14 April 2012

If music be the food of love, play on

I love music.
Music loves me.
Music soothes.
Music excites.
Music prompts.
Music bonds.
Music is a faithful old friend that consoles and lifts the spirit.
Music can make you cry when it reminds you of times past.
Music can make you laugh when it reminds you of good times past.
Music makes smiles.
Music catalogues life.

Monday 9 April 2012

Inspired electronic doodling...

...but inspired by what or who and why?

What’s in a smile?

Smiles cost nothing yet pay dividends.
Smiles are infectious and thankfully there is no cure.
Smiles heal
Smiles bond
Smiles are just plain nice

I smile in the face of smiles

What's this ear?

Sunday 8 April 2012

Is art the new rock and roll?

You would only ever hear me utter those words in jest. Sardonic irony is the best protection against the pretentious broadcasting nonsense by the likes of Andrew Graham Dixon and Brian ‘a lemon stuck up his arse’ Sewell.

We are just back from a couple of days in London. Well actually we spent the night between in Essex, but we’ll gloss over that. Who wants to admit to going to Essex? In London we visited two different art exhibitions. Two very different exhibitions. The first was the Hockney Exhibition at the Royal Academy, and the second Yayoi Kusama at The* Tate Modern.

I work with someone who could organise a piss-up in a brewery. Unfortunately he can’t organise much else. And, in a similar vein the RA can organise an art exhibition but not much else. What a shocking place to go and gawp at art! I never want to go there again that’s for sure. I suppose in fairness the David Hockney exhibition is very popular. I’ve never seen so many people trying to get into an exhibition. Hence the title of this post. We were thankfully lucky enough to have pre-booked tickets, so we strolled in at our allotted time. It was very full inside the exhibition, which made it difficult getting round and seeing the pictures, but it was well worth it. I’ve always liked Hockney’s work although only ever seen relatively few pieces ‘in the flesh’. This exhibition changed all of that for me. There are just so many wow pieces. And some huge pieces. Huge and wow. I love Hockney’s use of colour on his landscape. He has the ability to convey the light like no other artist I’ve seen. He makes blue trees work.

This is very much a mouth wide open experience and with every new room comes more colour. More colour and shapes to absorb. I just soaked it all up like a sponge. Hockney has always been at the cutting edge of technology in art and I particularly liked many of his iPad (other tablet computers are available) creations. They make for very interesting pictures when printed out. The huge ones of Yosemite are just breathtaking. The only pictures that I didn’t care much for, because of the subject I suppose, were the ones of ‘The Sermon on the Mount’. They filled an entire room and were basically Jesus on a giant carrot proselytising to a multitude. Rum do that!

New day and a new exhibition. Up until a month or two back I hadn’t heard of Yayoi Kusama. There was a documentary about her on one of the Beeb channels. And when the lady’s nephew suggested we all go to her exhibition we happily agreed; he’d done his thesis on her for his degree. The Tate Modern does know how to put on a good exhibition. It is always a pleasure going there. Thankfully whilst her exhibition was busy it wasn’t as heavily subscribed as the Damien Hirst one. Rather uncharitably I felt slightly smug as we passed the large queue of Emperor’s New Clothes devotees waiting to glimpse the mediocre. Little did I know what a surprise was waiting for me inside. I’d have felt even smugger. Bad I know.

Yayoi Kusama is big on spots, vivid colours and phallic symbols. Her exhibition is a mix of pictures, sculptures and installations. Yayoi is in her ninth decade, sporting bright red hair and still producing great stuff. Her paintings of the fifties interested me greatly. Some seemed to contain hints of Miro but mostly they are uniquely hers. Spots and twisted shapes feature heavily. When she first went to the states she did a series of canvases painted with white dots and splodges. I didn’t greatly enjoy these, I have to confess, but just about everything else was pretty neat. The latter pieces of her work gave me the most pleasure. One room filled with large square canvases painted in striking colours absorbed me for ages. Paintings with faces, eyes, amorphous shapes, stick people, spots and circles. Prior to that was an installation which was a room furnished like a small flat; the walls and furniture were covered in fluorescent dots of various colours. The room was lit only with a small amount of ultra violet light creating an effect that made the dots stand out and very bright.

Just when you think nothing can possibly beat this you enter the last room and the last installation. Room 14 Infinity Mirrored Room – Filled with the Brilliance of Life. I’ve never experienced anything quite like it. I didn’t want to leave. It was a room with masses of small round coloured lights, suspended from wires and then a series of mirrors around the edge of the room. The effect was truly amazing. I found myself a little corner and stayed there for ages. Lights changed colour and the lights went out and each time a change occurred it put a whole new perspective on the room. Infinity Mirrored Room? Infinite possibilities room more like. This exhibition is a must see. This woman, who voluntarily lives in a mental institution in Japan, is a pure genius.

*I’m taking a leaf out of Stewart Lee’s book, sort off

Tuesday 3 April 2012

Bodgit & Scarper

One of the most important economic drivers in this country is the house building industry. If you build houses people spend money when they move in. The more houses you build the more money the new residents spend on their new houses.

If the government were serious about economic growth they would be investing in house building.

If the government was serious about house building they would make sure that Britain had a credible and quality driven house building industry.

The house building industry in quality build terms is the equivalent to British Leyland in the 1970s. Shoddy is the order of the day. I know I live in a brand new property. Oh how I wish that Honda built houses.