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.

shakespeare in swimwear

T’other day I caught a glimpse of myself in a heated debate concerning a subject that divides the nation, pits father against son, mother against daughter, polarises opinion wrt leave or remain and currently engulfs the majority of media airtime, and let me tell you a pretty sight it wasn’t. Yes, Love Island’s back on the tele and you need to decide what side of the divide you’re on.

eat, drink, exercise and be merry

We live in such an inquisitive society today that when someone pegs it we invariably want to know why and how, and did they bring it on themselves or could they have dodged the bullet? I’m now at ‘that’ age where I’m slightly more aware of my mortality than I used to be, and, like most of my peers, do obsess a little about my health and likely longevity. However, I drink too much and, if you’re one of the few who consider midnight doner kebabs to be bad, then I certainly have a highly questionable diet.

a card to trump all

OK, OK, enough already. Having served-up for your delectation the analyses of Vlad the Impaler and Ming the Merciless it was only a matter of time before THE BIG ONE was to follow. But with so much opinion already out there, most of it highly subjective and polarised, it’s difficult to get to the fact of the matter and the heart of the man. Let’s start with some unabashed truths…

vive le republique

To completely misquote latter-day US film & TV bombshell Mae West “Marriage is a fine institution but I’m just not ready for the institution of monarchy!” No, my problem’s not Harry and Meghan, my problem’s the monarchy. And when it comes to royal events, especially one relieving the public purse of £32,000,000.00, it’s this institution that remains in the dock. It could of course have been done quietly and, God forbid, privately, but to be the effective and powerful symbol it needed to be, it had to be supersized, in glorious technicolour.

sweet dreams are made of this

Whilst researching the earlier post concerning data privacy and the impact of GDPR legislation I unearthed some deeply worrying evidence of a post-1984 Orwellian world which is far closer to a reality than, I suspect, we would all believe. Just imagine for a second a society where the majority of our activities and behaviours – where we are, what we are doing, whom are our friends and how we speak to them, what we access online, what we buy and how (or if) we pay for it, whether we game incessantly, exercise daily or download illicit material at al – are constantly monitored and evaluated. And it’s all done with our complete consent.

off with their head

Well what a bank holiday that was – the sun shone and the populist UKIP vote sank without a trace. I don’t know which I enjoyed the most. Mind, the major parties would be wrong to read anything overly significant into the local election results apart from the majority of the UKIP vote naturally defaults back to the Tories. Nothing to see here, please move on.

pleased to meet you

Last night I had the good fortune to meet two separate groups of pals, friends & acquaintances at the local hostelry. All well and good I hear you say but it did throw-up a certain conundrum that, as a cold, emotionally up-tight northerner, that I’ve struggled with for many a year. A hug, a handshake, a well-intoned nod, an air kiss or a firm squeeze on the forearm – when did saying hello become so complicated? And let’s not forget the high-five, sportsman’s hand clutch, hair ruffle and fist-bump that further muddies the dishwater.

damned if you do. damned if you don’t

Just the other day I bought a book, Hired: Six Months Undercover in Low-Wage Britain, where James Bloodworth pulls back the covers on the personal reality of zero-hour contracts, double shifts, social isolation and real-life minimum wage on the British breadline. One such job involved a stint in one of Amazon’s mega warehouses and pretty reading it does not make.

the brexit museum

Occasionally I read an article that, for whatever reason, needs no interpretation or enhancement, requires neither spin nor further comment. The Guardian’s Stuart Heritage wrote just such a piece this weekend where, with time running out, he proposed the building of a Brexit museum for all us remoaners. As the most seismic event in living memory it makes sense that, when your grandchildren ask why everything is so bad, you can all pop along to its open doors and show them the truth via these top-ten inventive and interactive exhibits.

ming the merciless

Several of you have mentioned that, in commenting only upon Vlad the Impaler, I’m being a tad biased and should fill in some blanks wrt the other political chess-players on the world stage. Your wish is my command! In a tale of pantomime quality, the world’s most ambitious leader, Xi Jinping’s backstory is truly one of riches to rags and back to riches and goes some way to explaining why this man is on a mission like no other.