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2018 – Get Your Shirt

July 9th, 2019 · Posted by Skuds in Music

As far as music was concerned 2018 was many things: it was even better than 2017, it was a year for female artists and it was a year for comebacks. [Read more →]

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All Killer – Juju (1981)

July 6th, 2019 · Posted by Skuds in Music

Juju by Siouxsie & the Banshees is one of the few albums that I can remember buying on the day of release. I can even remember where I bought it – the WH Smiths at London Bridge station on the way home from work. To be fair though, I only realised afterwards that it was the release dy. It isn’t as if I queued up for it or anything, but it is such a brilliant album that it would have been worth queueing up for. [Read more →]

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2017 – Miami

July 5th, 2019 · Posted by Skuds in Music

When I decided to write about one track from every year of my life I don’t think I realised how bloody old I am – it turned out to be a bit of an epic chore, but the end is in sight now. By that I mean that I am nearly caught up, not that it is all over; despite cancer’s best efforts it appears that I should have a good few years left now. Anyway, 2017, what a year! [Read more →]

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2016 – Hardwired

July 4th, 2019 · Posted by Skuds in Music

It continues to pleasantly surprise me how as we get further from the golden age of the 70’s and I continue to get more decrepit, there seems to be more new music I like rather than less. Admittedly, little of what is in the singles charts does much for me, but long-established artists continued to push out decent music to keep me going. [Read more →]

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2015 – Uptown Funk

July 2nd, 2019 · Posted by Skuds in Music

When I first decided to put together a playlist with one track from each year I have been around I expected that I would agonise over what to include in the years of the late 70’s, 80’s and 90’s and struggle to find anything new in the 21st Century, having lost touch a bit with what the charts look like these days. I just looked at the list of 50 best-selling singles for 2015 and couldn’t tell you how 49 of them go, the exception being the track I put on my playlist for this year – Uptown Funk by Mark Ronson. [Read more →]

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Glastonbury 2019

July 1st, 2019 · Posted by Skuds in Life, Music

I did not go to Glastonbury this year. No surprise there; I have never been to Glastonbury and probably never will. I did see a bit of it on the TV and the iPlayer and what I saw looked pretty good to me, as it usually does. So why have I never been and why am I never likely to go? [Read more →]

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2014 – Little Monster

July 1st, 2019 · Posted by Skuds in Music

Another year where I enjoyed the new music. Admitttedly most of the new music I was listening to and enjoying was from artists that had been going for quite a while, or even a long while. [Read more →]

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Foreign parts

June 16th, 2019 · Posted by Skuds in Life

This month I saw my oncologist and got a plan for the remainder of my treatment. What that means is that we now know when my last lot of chemotherapy starts so we can work out when it should end, add a week to get over the effects, and a couple of weeks to allow for unexpected delays, and get a holiday booked for when I should be feeling better. I already have an outpatients appointment scheduled with the surgeon anyway, so will get him to whip out the dreadful jejunal feeding tube, leaving enough time for the hole to heal up before we go. Who wants to sit around the pool with a rubber tube sticking out of their stomach? [Read more →]

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2013 – Mystery Man

June 13th, 2019 · Posted by Skuds in Music

At some point in the 2000’s I just stopped buying CDs. This is a big deal for me, having over-spent on music for as long as I can remember. The thing is, all my existing CDs are only played through the computer, having been ripped ages ago. New music I just stream. I pay the full-price subscription to Spotify, so no freeloading, but even that is a lot less than I would have spent on physical product. [Read more →]

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The long game

June 11th, 2019 · Posted by Skuds in Life

Way back in 1974 my mother set up a life policy for me with a friendly society. The premiums were a shilling a week, and a man from the society would come round to collect them. Not every week because, after all, it was only a shilling. I think he came round a couple of times a year.

It was a 60-year life policy and over the years the company evolved and changed names a few times. Payment methods also evolved and changed, so at some point they stopped doing doorstep collections with stamps in books and would have ended up with direct debits, but mum kept up the payments. A few years ago she decided it was too much hassle to keep payments of 5p a week going. Of course the payments would not have been weekly, but even annual premiums would only have been £2.60 so she just paid the whole thing up front, which wasn’t a huge amount either.

She sent me the papers for it and we both assumed it would be worth so little it wasn’t worth thinking about. Last month I decided to call the company to see what the policy was because I didn’t know and mum couldn’t remember. I almost fell off my chair when they told me it would pay out £1847 if I died and had a surrender value of the same. There can’t have been more than £120 of premiums paid into it since 1974.

I decided to cash in now. The decision took me about 5 seconds. I filled out the paperwork and the other day found £1888.70 drop into my bank account. Since my phone call the policy value had gone up to £1851 and then they added on the pre-paid premiums that covered now until 2033. Sweet.

I’m not writing all this to brag or anything, but to point out how the miracle of compound interest and long-term growth rates make it worth putting a few quid away when young, or on behalf of somebody who is young. This especially applies to pensions. Retirement may feel like a long way off, but if you wait until it feels close it is too late to do anything about it.

I can add that to the list of things that I wish I appreciated a long time ago. My salary now dwarfs what I was earning when I finished at ICL in the early 90’s and I have contributions of about 15% going into the pension now, compared to 1% or 2% at ICL, but the pension I will get from ICL is way higher than what I will get from my current scheme just because of the miracle of time. If I had joined the pension scheme there earlier and paid a bit more in, maybe packing in the fags to afford it, I could probably retire now!

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