Oh yeah

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I was gonna write summat wuzn’t I?

Maybe I should just copy and paste some of the bonehead spam mail I get on here, but any wordpresser will no doubt get the same.

I still smile when a post congratulates me on the ‘useful info’ in my posts on ‘this subject’, when the post is a pome, a pic or a short story with about as much info as a Microsoft User Guide.

I don’t even care what the ones in Japanese say.

But it’s been a busy ol’ day, still cataloguing the SPA portrait entries and I’ve bought a wee desk to turn my bedroom into an office/sleeping quarters for my wee Chinese houseguest in August.

And that, said John, for now, is that.

Time Out

Your humble bloggist is going to take a break.

My foot hurts. That’s nothing to do with it. Nor is what I’m told is a 20% chance of a stroke or heart attack in the next five years.

No, there are a few things on the old plate at the moment. Not that one is in much risk of getting what is sometimes called ‘a life’, but administering a short story and a portrait competition, one in the throes of judging, the other rapidly approaching its closing date, with concomitant rush of entries. Also helping a small Chinese schoolmistress negotiate her way around Europe, vicarious tourism and an emotionally trying experience, as daily pics of blue-sky locations and exotic foods can be viewed under cloudy grey Scottish skies.

Arranging other activities, helping an elderly friend move to a new computer, medical attention and other minor things that impinge on all our lives from time to time, mean that there is precious little of that time to devote to the novel in hand, so this luxury, this all-but-unread blog, should really fall by the wayside for a wee while.

I might pop by and post the fruits of my novelising labours, I suppose. But if not, let’s make a date for some sort of post after the UK’s general election, which is shaping up to be slightly less depressing than at first seemed likely. Say June 22. Or 15.

Watch, as they say, this space.

 

Postscript:
Apart from expressing my sorrow and sympathy for the folks affected by the attack in my old university town this week, I have little to add to the general outpourings.
Well, I have a lot to say, but don’t feel like saying it here.

Political Songpost

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I wanna be green
(after Ian Dury, I Wanna be Straight)

 

I wanna be green, I wanna be green,
I wanna hug trees and save all the bees,
If you know what I mean
I wanna protect, I wanna protest
Eat organic Quorn on an organic lawn
in an organic vest

I wanna be green, I wanna be green,
I want the sky and the water supply
to be lovely and clean
Yeah, gonna be hip, yeah gonna be true
While I’m saving the whale and saving the Earth
from the twats who vote blue

I wanna be green, I wanna be green,
Give drivers hard looks and read Monbiot’s books
on my Kindle screen
Don’t tell me I’m soft, don’t tell me I’m cracked
You won’t be so cool if we use all the fuel
and we’re totally fracked!

Does meditation
Aid conservation?
Is your elevation
The only chance that we’ll survive — eh?

Yeah! Green, green, green, green
Green, green, green, green
Green, green, green, green, green!

I wanna be green, I wanna be green,
I know that I’m right and I know that you’re wrong
and there’s nowt inbetween
But it isn’t for me, with a capital G
Perhaps I’m an arse, but I’m not middle clarse
so I’ll vote SNP

I wanna be green
I wanna be green etc

 

4/5/17

… and another thing …

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Some pearls of wisdom

Stop saying, ‘life’s to short’ to do annoying or boring stuff.

Life’s not too short, it’s too long. If it was short, it wouldn’t really matter if the odd bit was dull or annoying, cos it’ll all be over either way before you know it. But if it’s long, then it’s worth trying to minimise the proportion spent doing tedious stuff like reading this blog.

As Clement Freud said, if you give up smoking, drinking and sex, you don’t live any longer: it just seems longer.

So stop using that annoying cliché, because the next person I hear say it will suddenly find out just how short life can be, capiche?

 

and…

 

There’s no such thing as ‘too much information’. Just too much sensitivity.

OK, maybe the finer details of my bowel movements are not something you want to hear at the dinner table, but apart from that, I can simply ignore you if you choose to tell me about your sexual activities, abd who knows how interesting somone might find it.

If that someone happens to be a journalist or a blackmailer, storing up info for a future date, that’s your problem, not mine.

Until then, tell me everything you know and I promise to at least pretend to be fascinated.

 

See you next Wednesday…

What are the oddities?

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My ex’s late Father, a proud Welshman, always bet against his nation’s rugby team, on the grounds that he’d be happiest if they won, but would have some financial compensation if not. I have known (and made good money from) folks who consider betting against your ‘own’, even in the matter of  sport, to be a form of high treason. Each to their own. Wonder how they’d feel on the matter of politics?

Because, on that same basis, your wacky correspondent just put a tenner on Marine le Pen to be the next French President, at five to one. There’s probably never been a bet I’d be more pleased to lose. I nearly put one on Trump but the odds fell to fours. Waiting for them to go up again, they were kiboshed by the Hillary emails ‘story’. It’s true that the le Pen win seems less likely than the Trump one did, but remember how few of the chattering classes expected that. Likewise Brexit, though it did occur to me that the money I could have made at four to one would be worth a lot less in real terms after the vote knackered the pound.

Yet still, only the other day, I was told on facebook, the le Pen bet was a waste of money because “This always happens in the first round of the French Presidential election: people vote in protest. But in the second round they vote with their heads to keep out extremists.”

As I pointed out, these days “People have stopped doing what they always do”. That’s what makes these bets so attractive. An accy on Trump and Brexit was up to 40/1 and probably higher at some points. But who actually won those votes?

Thinking about these comments and how to share them on a narrower stage,  thought I should share some other pearls of wisdom from antisocial media. Yrs Trly is not one for starting topics. As has been pointed out in earlier blogs, having negative charisma means few replies are forthcoming, let alone full-blown debate, but weighing in to existing ding-dongs, , usually giving offence in the process, seems to elicit some response, even, rarely, lots of likes and even one marriage proposal.

So why not share some other political shit from facebook with my regular reader?

Just to make it more fun, I’ll not give the original posts and you can try to guess what they said…

 

April 19

My main sadness is that Brexit will not be stopped and will be a fiasco. Were it not for Brexit, I’d be saying let’s hope we can weather the next five years, Labour can get its act together without buying the Blairite sellout which disenfranchised working people and started all this shit and the Tories will be seen for what they are by the folks voting to be shafted by them and hopefully there’ll still be a vestigial NHS to save too.

Sadly with being divorced from Europe too and many institutions having buggered off, we’ll have a huge mountain to climb.

What we need is a real grass roots party – not a fake one like UKIP but something like Podemos in Spainland. I wonder if we have the culture in which such a thing could take root though.

One tragedy is — and even Tory fan Laura Kuntsbugger said this on telly today — when you present voters with Labour’s policies, ie Corbyn & Co’s policies as policies, they poll really well. Present the selfsame policies to people prefaced with the words Labour or Jezza, and they poll dreadfully. But I wonder how well Hunt’s writings about wishing to dismantle the NHS would play if you read them to people, without mentioning Tories or May. Well, they’ve seen the squeeze on welfare on social care and they’ve heard the thoughts of Ian Duncan Gradgrind and still the polls show they’d rather have more of that than t’other.

 

20/4

Just for once ‘better the bastards you know’ won’t cut it, because we know this lot want to dismantle the welfare state, screw us up on the word stage and replace the NHS with a for-profit based system, creating a low-wage economy to boost their mates’ coffers. I’d rather have the psychopathy of Hannibal Lecter and Dracula with the competence of Gerald Ford than that.

Problem with Labour is that the Blairite canker is going to ensure it’s a house divided against itself for some time to come and the Corbynite delusion is going to keep trying to paper over that. But at least the intentions of most of them are good.

I find myself wishing that Tim Farron would have a Damascene conversion to humanistic atheism and create a credible party of social democracy. I’m just glad I live in Scotland, though I worry that Nicola making it too Indyref based will alienate a lot of voters who like SNP left(ish) politics but don’t want, for some inane reason, to break away.

Part of me thinks the left wants to lose this time. Corbyn, as a Benn disciple (but no Tony Benn) is probably far more Brexitish than he admits. But it is an old leftist belief that it has to get worse before it gets better and no doubt a tactic to let the capitalist system completely show its terrors and then encourage a landslide, if not a revolution, when the masses are herded into workhouses and too poor for anything but rudimentary health care. Not only that they maybe realise they can’t carry the pink Tories in their party with them and dream that this would help get rid of them (rather than resulting in the resurrection of Tory Bliar and his soft-right cohorts of the undead).
But I’m probably taking shite there.
Labour just cannot grasp the alienation from their voters. I’m no fan of the buzzphrase but they really should have a think about what ‘metropolitan elite’ signifies. Fuckin’ bourgeois lefties, get us working class anarchists a bad name.

 

on democracy in the modern world 24/4

We (or they) have seriously lost sight of something here. We now have one place after another in which elections are spilt almost 50-50, and yet the (flawed) principle of majority (little more than, ‘if it came to a fight, we’d win’) means commentators speak of ‘the will of the people’, and a winner-takes-all, ‘suck-it-up-losers’ mentality stalks the land. And politics is about getting out the max of one’s supporters while trying to discourage or suppress the other side, using old-fashioned propaganda or modern data analysis.

It no longer even looks like politicians have much interest in proposing and explaining an idea, the art of persuasion. This is what Proudhon was talking about, when he argues that democracy could be the enemy of reaching decisions via reason and discussion.

And don’t get me started about ‘the will of the people’ being a vote nine months ago and being ruled by the past; or I’ll be forced to start quoting Thom Paine too!

Nothing to see here. Go away.

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Lots on the old plate this week, two paintings on the go, poems to write for a project I promised my little Chinese friend,

and a book to be getting back to getting on with.

So all you get is a pic of me as the Mad Hatter and a link to me performing, You Are Old Father Peter, from Parodies Lost (still available at £5) at the Scottish Arts Club’s tea party.

 

Harping On

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It’s been a busy week here at Grieve-not Lake, what with logging hundreds of last minute entries to a short story competiton what I administer. It was not helped by the payment site we use crashing over twelve of the final 24 hours, which led to an extended deadline and even more entries.

But I did find time Monday, while the dust was lingering just above ground, if not exactly clearing, to go the Edinburgh Harp Festival out at Colinton, at the Merchiston Castle School for the sons of rich bastards.

A visit to this gig once a year is an enjoyable experience, even though I don’t play. Harpists seem to be very nice folk. The lovely Bethan was inveigled into taking a picture of me pretending I do.

I remember my dear owd Mam often quoting (probably for allegorical purposes) the title of the Gracie Fields song, I Took My Harp to a Party, to which I have related maungily my whole life,

But I took me harp to a party, nobody asked me to play
The others were jolly and ‘earty but I wasn’t feelin’ so gay
I felt so ashamed at not strikin’ a note
That I tried to hide the thing under me coat

and which I have brought up to date for you here…

I took me ‘arp to a party but nobody asked me to play
I’ve always been quite arty-farty, so imagine my utter dismay
That the music were all One Direction and stuff
And they all played guitars and they played ’em reet rough;
I took my harp to a party but nobody asked me to play
So I took the damn thing away

They asked Morag from Stronsay to sing some Beyoncé
And somebody else sang Adele,
And the whole bloody crowd murdered poor Girls Aloud,
Until I was left feeling unwell.
At the end of the session, Bert’s Tom Jones impression
Collected a fair pile of knickers
Including the pants of me Sisters and Aunts
And more than one pair of the vicar’s

But I took me ‘arp to the party and nobody asked me to play
I’ve always been quite arty-farty, but I found to my utter dismay
That it wasn’t my scene, I were like a sore thumb,
So I sat like Jack Horner and feelin’ reet glum;
I took my harp to a party but nobody asked me to play
So I chucked the damn thing away

Toodlepip!