Earlier today I popped over to see a cycling buddy who had taken a tumble over the weekend and broken his collarbone in a couple of places. Whilst not in too bad a shape, he was in some considerable pain and, having taken a couple of the (analgesic) painkillers he had been given at the hospital, complained that they didn’t seem to make that much a difference and he would love some that had a little more kick. Mind, he needs to be careful for what he wishes and if our NHS ever needed a cautionary tale about the perils of painkillers, it need only look across the pond.
Following twelve days independently investigating poverty in the UK, Philip Alston, United Nations Special Envoy, has concluded that recent welfare reforms (aka Universal Credit) have officially inflicted undue misery on millions of Britain’s most disadvantaged. His analysis confirms what many suspected: that these reforms, initially introduced under the auspices of austerity, appear now to be motivated less by economic necessity and more by a political will to achieve a high degree of social re-engineering.
Last week on the on the (very) delayed 16.40 to London Waterloo, we were informed that “those passengers travelling to Twickenham, Richmond or Clapham Junction are advised to either change at Staines and join the Windsor & Eton Riverside service travelling twenty minutes behind or return to those stations via Waterloo.” The (very) pretty lady opposite looks up from her phone, confused and I offer the opening gambit of “decisions, decisions.” I see her visibly recoil in both surprise and horror.
Apparently, there’s a gentleman in Colorado who, it’s safe to say, is pretty hacked-off by the noise created by Denver airport. How hacked-off, exactly, I hear you cry? Well, to the tune of 3,555 formal complaints in one year alone, that’s how much. Now, as an inveterate easy-going pacifier I have to admit I don’t think I’ve ever made an official complaint about anything, but I do regard myself as not too dissimilar with Colorado Man in as much as I am a bit of a moaner.
Not one of my posts but a nationally published letter sent by singer-songwriter, comedian, author, poet, broadcaster, multi-instrumentalist and professional northerner, Mike Harding, to Theresa May. If you’ve not already seen it, it’s certainly worth two minutes of your time.
Apparently, there are 7161 people in the UK who are currently registered as owning a black-and-white television. Now, from Schindler’s List to The Artist I love black-and-white films and I fully concede that, by eschewing much of today’s tech gimmickry, I do live a little in the past, but a black-and-white tele, come on peeps get with the programme, literally and metaphorically. Notwithstanding the lower licence fee, £49 as opposed to the more colourful counterpart’s £150.50, what’s that all about, is it not a curiously high number and completely fascinating?
Jeff Bezos has recently announced his New York homecoming by declaring the two new Amazon HQ offices will be sited on the east coast as opposed to Seattle, and about time too. The Big Apple has always been the spiritual home of the corporate giant since it was here, in 1994, that Bezos, then managing a hedge-fund on Wall Street, had the idea for the retail company. At that point, however, Amazon had yet to be named and the two front-runners were ‘Cadabra’ and ‘Relentless’.
Having survived what many consider to be her darkest, of many dark hours, and with the whole world railing against her, I’ve been confronted with a somewhat unprecedented feeling towards our beleaguered Prime Minister: sympathy. Thankfully, I recognised it just in time and was able to take myself in hand for a good stiff talking to. The key, I realised, is to look at it in the whole, to see her current predicament in the context of her past decisions and actions.
Broadsword Calling Danny Boy. Come in, Danny Boy, do you read me? I make no apology for the fact that this post will mean absolutely nothing to the vast majority of you. But to the one or two that is does, it will be pure gold! Several months ago an earlier post detailed my celluloid ‘guilty pleasures’ – films that arguably hold precious little technical, photography, acting or even story-telling merit but, for whatever reasons, keep drawing me back to watch them.
After watching the beautiful remembrance day service on the tele last Sunday, I had a sudden rush of pride and patriotism. There’s nothing like a turn-out of the great and good to focus our attention: high profile dignitaries, polished top-brass, secretive Whitehall officials, brave soldiers marching in perfect time, Chelsea pensioners and humble aged veterans standing to attention with an old school dignity that evokes an unavoidable stir of emotion.