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.

black mirror

Not by anyone’s stretch of imagination could I be classed as a box-set binge-watcher although I have to admit Charlie Booker’s Black Mirror almost lured me to the dark-side. Named after the ubiquitous device screen, Booker and his co-writers, have produced a series of deeply disturbing satirical programmes that envisage a dystopian view of the none-too distant future. Its success lies in its ability to highlight the potential downsides of the technology we are using, the attitudes that are prevailing and the politics that are taking hold, today.

mind games

It seems ages since I last had a dig at Silicon Valley and it would appear that in the meantime California’s finest have moved on from designing ‘next-generation’ sexting apps, driverless cars or take-away drone-delivery services. The current hot-cake of investment within the circles of Harvard & Stamford elite is brain hacking. Just as, back in the 70s, our tech titans began engineering with motherboard and chip, so the current crop are attempting the same but engineering the human mind for optimal performance is now the name of the game.

whack-a-mole…

We all know Brexit means Brexit and, that with precious little buyer’s remorse, there ain’t no going back, but at times it’s all starting to feel somewhat like a grown-up game of Whack-a-Mole. Immigration? Up it pops and whack it back in the hole. Customs union? Quick, crack it one. Border control? Thwhack. Out of the ECJ? Whoops dropped the mallet. Transition period? Damn, missed. Final payment terms? Gotcha! And it’s because, as we’re finding out, the devil is in the detail and it’s the detail we’re all still waiting on.

please release me, let me go

Having managed to get to the end of her sparsely attended Davos speech needing neither cough lozenges nor double-sided gaffa tape, Mrs May now returns to the UK to re-proffer a warm welcome to tiny-hands-pussy-grabbing Trump. This, in the same breath as she very publically, and quite rightly, condemns the groping of female hostesses at the ironically named Presidents’ Club charity dinner. With that moniker you could almost be forgiven for thinking this was an instruction as opposed to an act of isolated incidence.

one day, all this will be yours

With regards to the ‘peace sells’ post, several of you have commented that the only thing you’re going to do is leave a basic last will & testament and let them fight over everything else. Fair enough, though we’re often told that there’s nothing more natural than a parent’s desire to want to ensure a modicum of security for their offspring and ease their way through this wicked wide world. However, recent data from the Resolution Foundation highlights what’s really going on with our inheritances.

peace sells but who’s buying?

From arms & drugs, to self-righteously paying for your passage to the pearly gates with a lifetime of good deeds, death has always been a money spinner and right now, it’s hot. Once merely the inevitable end to your days on this planet where, if you were lucky, a few pals raised a glass to your distant memory, death has now become a rite of instagrammable passage that must be planned, personalised, celebrated and executed to, well, within an inch of its life.

the fellowship of the device

Many of you will recall JR Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy where one ring of power was able to rule all others, enabling it to ensure its bidding alone was done. Well, applying this logic to Apple’s iPhone it becomes clear this is the one device of power that ensures its bidding alone is done. More than a billion have been sold since its launch a decade ago and it’s not only the bestselling mobile phone in history, it’s also the bestselling camera, music-player, computer and video screen. The iPhone is almost without peer as the ultimate product of capitalism.

walk the walk

Who else can recall Mrs May promising to build a “country that works for every one of us and not just the privileged few”? Eighteen months on and it would appear that, following the resignation, en-masse, of the board of the Social Mobility Commission, and the departure of her spunky education minister, Justine Greening, Mother Theresa’s memory is failing her a little.

the princess diaries

As a loyal and respectful lifetime royalist I thought I’d share with you Morwenna Ferrier’s Guardian scoop where she managed to gain access to Meghan Markle’s personal diary for the month of December. It quite brought a tear to my eye.

ai, robot

Like many of you I have certain celluloid guilty pleasures, films you just have to watch when they’re on TV irrespective of how many times you’ve actually seen them. T’other night one was on, I Robot, where an uber-intelligent man-made machine goes off the rails to dramatic effect and it got me thinking. It slowly dawned on me that many column inches in the new year’s press appear to have been dedicated to the burgeoning topic of Artificial Intelligence with driverless cars, killer drones, automated shopping malls and robotic surgeons being all the rage. In short, 2018 has been dubbed the year of the robot.