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.

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.

an ever-rising tsar

From Salisbury to Syria and back via St Petersburg there’s no denying that Russia has re-entered the world stage with a considerable bang. And embarking on yet another six-year residency, once lowly ex-KGB enforcer, Vladimir Putin is now their longest-serving ruler since the days of Stalin. As befits his shadowy past, President Putin has managed to keep much of his early life, beliefs and personal doctrines largely under wraps, so who is this man, where does he come from and what are his ultimate ambitions?

precious little in common

Shock. Horror. Adam Gemili fails to make the 100m final. Max Whitlock beaten into second-place on the pommel. Adam Peaty misses out on gold in 50m pool disaster. What is the Commonwealth coming to?

pump-up the volume

Spotify’s decision today to publically trade its shares on the New York stock market comes at a time when I am also in unaccustomed deep-thought about what to do wrt music streaming. I thought I had already taken the decision a couple of weeks ago when I finally succumbed to the shifting sands of time and committed to an all-singing-all-dancing music streaming player. Sadly, through a series of late-night self-inflicted eBay key-strokes I ended-up with a PURE Evoke H2 as opposed to the anticipated F6.

green and pleasant land

Spending time in nature, as I’m sure we all know, is good for us, really good for us. We all criticise Tiny Hands Trump for spending too much time on his own golf courses but just imagine for a second the damage he could’ve wreaked on the world where he not being continually calmed and soothed by the beauty of flora and fauna surrounding him.

nudge, nudge

The phrase ‘you never see a poor bookie’ has stayed with me as long as I care to recall so, apart from a flutter on the Grand National and the occasional euro lottery ticket on big jackpot nights, I’ve never seen the appeal of gambling. Sadly, plenty of others find it difficult to resist and, with the Gambling Commission’s deeply disappointing report caving in to industry pressure, more will be lured in to spin the wheels of the iniquitous fixed-odds betting terminals.

nostalgia ain’t what it used to be

It was very kind of ol’ Postman Vince to remind us exactly how those wanting to return to a blue-passport-white-faced-pink-empired nation have condemned us to the Brexit pickle we find ourselves in. Obviously, there are always exceptions to the rule but broadly speaking, the north voted out, the south voted in, Scotland voted in, England voted out, the old voted out, the young voted in. And we are where we are. We all know this but the real value would be in trying to appreciate exactly why these people, my people, your people, wanted to return us to this nostalgic utopia?

whore’s drawers

It’s up. It’s down. It’s all around. The recent furore over malware hackers hijacking thousands of government websites to mine cryptocurrencies perhaps goes to highlight again that there’s no such thing as bad publicity as, having peaked in December at $19,434, the price of bitcoin seems now to have stabilised at around $10,000. However, during this one-month period of volatility, the fourth in its short lifespan, the cryptocurrency market witnessed some $400bn in ‘virtual wealth’ being swept away.