Society

People, politics, tech, money, sport, work and entertainment all intertwine to make up today’s ever-changing, crazy, delightful and frustrating society. The majority of my second-hand-views are about life within our society and, with a left-of-centre stance, there’s bound to be something here that gets your goat. When it does, buy a bundle of tibs, donate one to my charity of choice, Stay Close to Neve, and get it off your chest with a retort – better out than in. Have fun, be good and keep at ‘em.

the hokey-cokey

About a year ago, in the run up to the EU referendum, the most sensible voice was the one that quietly, rationally explained that nothing was going to happen. Overnight. And so it has been. The economy continues to operate, dysfunctionally or otherwise. The NHS is still massively under the cosh. I remain rubbish at squash. The sun rises in the morning and sets in the evening. Same-old, same-old. Life goes on. However, with the agreement from both houses and section 50 about to be actioned we are now set to find out more about the impact of Brexit.

you have mail. sadly

Regular readers, and those poor souls who’ve had the misfortune of working with me, will know I live by the to-do list. Life without lists would not be worth living as they allow me to take control of plans, convert them into actions and, theatrically, scribble them out: job done. As it turns out the new-age self-explanatory phrase for this approach to personal productivity is ‘knowing-doing’. Seems pretty obvious to me but apparently the ‘knowing-doing gap’ comes into play more often than its more positive forerunner as we all know what we have to do but seldom get around to actually doing it. More knowing, less doing. And nowhere is this more visible than in our email inboxes.

early to bed, early to rise

There’s no denying our Donald doesn’t intend to let the grass grow under his feet. Since setting-up shop in the White House, his audience-baiting has consistently kicked-off around six-ish and those tweets have become a staple of many a breakfast. Obviously an early-riser, the president is clearly in the Thatcherite ‘four hours a night’ camp in terms of his sleep needs, but unlike our very own first lady, he’s never held back his disdain of those who require a little more, labelling them as chronically lazy. This thinly veiled barb was aimed at Barack Obama, who had a very different morning routine.

locker room talk

Contrary to what he would have us all believe, I don’t think our Donald has spent much time in any locker-room. I, on the other hand, qualify as a bit of a locker-room expert and can be found loitering with intent of using someone else’s hot water on virtually a daily basis. President Trump is, however, quite right about the fact that there’s definitely a certain tone and timbre to many of the conversations that take place in this most testosterone-fuelled of environments. Sadly, almost exactly the opposite of what he believes to be the case.

guilty pleasures

OK, I admit I’m oft accused of doing a ‘Kermode’ (a ‘Barry Norman’ back in the day) and concede that my ultimate top-ten does include more than its fair share of art-house, black & white and world-cinema releases. It’s even been levelled at me that, due to my obvious elitist snobbery, I remain intentionally close-minded to the popular blockbuster. But I’m only human and I have to concede there are a number of films that, whilst they wouldn’t be accompanying me to Roy Plomley’s desert island, are nonetheless, beyond reproach, and non-negotiably so. These are my celluloid guilty-pleasures and if they’re on TV you can bet your bottom dollar they’ll be on my TV.

many happy returns

Happy birthday, dear smartphone, happy birthday to you. As it is with all things that become ubiquitous and part of society’s seamless fabric it’s hard to envisage life without them. And so it is with the smartphone: can anyone remember life without it? Consequently, it may come as a surprise that it’s only ten years old. Yep, the smartphone isn’t even yet a stroppy teenager as it’s only been a decade since Steve Jobs unveiled the communications game-changer to the delight of his adoring minions.

no going back

Sunk cost bias. Even if you don’t yet know what this is, trust me, you’ve been there. Sunk cost bias refers to what economists call a situation where we persist with a decision, direction or action because we’ve invested so much that we just can’t bring ourselves to commit to the inevitable (and entirely rational) U-turn. Too much effort, too much time, too much money, or too much ‘face’ has been thrown at the issue to contemplate backing down, and admit defeat.

cash is king

As we all know, various tokens of commercial exchange and stored of value have been around forever, with the East leading the paper money way in the seventh century and Europe eventually following suit about a thousand years later. Different communities, countries and economies obviously adopt different tokens & trends at different times and so it is with the cashless society.

another year older

And another year wiser. Probably. For me, new years are like birthdays in that they present an opportunity to feel one year closer to the impending hip-replacement, one year closer to enjoying elastic-waisted trousers and one year closer to eventually making the acquaintance of our maker. However, without getting too maudlin, whilst I do concede my marathon times are not going to be improved upon and I don’t feel like undertaking a second Ironman anytime soon, I do sincerely believe my best squash remains ahead of me, my swimming can only be improved upon and I do consider I’ll be a dab hand at the ol’ crown green bowls when the time comes.

waiter, there’s a fly in my soup

I am an unabashed fan of MasterChef, and, not that many of their creations, or ingredients for that matter, ever make it to my table, follow each delightful twist & turn of the cooking series. This year’s competition was won by a short ginga from the north of the country – what’s not to love! Furthermore, for all the nonsense they talk, I hang on every word the judging chefs spout on about as they all seem to have come from humble backgrounds and appear to have started at the very bottom, as chief-pot-washer, and worked their way up.