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If I had my time again

July 22nd, 2024 · Posted by Skuds in Life, Music

I have seen Sliding Doors and have read a lot of science fiction time travel books, so I know that if I had my time again I should not change anything. For sure, there have been some bad times, but if those bad time had not happened I would not be where I am now. Where I am now is a happy place. Of course things could be better but they could be a lot worse and I would not want to take that risk.

Having said that, if I had my time again there are two things I would be very tempted to do differently

Firstly I would move Heaven and Earth to go and see the Specials in 1979/1980. It would have also been great to see them in the reunion tour a few years back, but every time I see footage of the original shows I kick myself for never seeing them while I could. There are other bands I did not see, but none of them give me the same sense of regret. Not even the Sex Pistols. With that in mind I think I should go to see the Pet Shop Boys if they tour again.

The other change is that I would not have cooked the sweet potato and haloumi with mango chutney dal that I did on Friday. Not a fan of haloumi.

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Round the houses

July 19th, 2024 · Posted by Skuds in Life

I had an unexpected bonus motorbike ride last night. Jayne called to say that she could not find her car key so I had to go up to West London to take my key (or as she calls then “the spare key”) so she could get home.

It sounds simple enough, but you have to factor in that I am terrible at finding my way anywhere, and doubly so when it is dark. It seemed like there were overnight lane closures, speed restrictions and road closures just about everywhere, from the road up to the M23, the M23 itself, the M25, the A3 and some poxy little road just round the corner from Jayne’s workplace.

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Death by Democracy

July 13th, 2024 · Posted by Skuds in Life, Politics

Anybody who has worked in any sort of office job will be familiar with the phrase “death by powerpoint” to describe the arse-numbing boredom of sitting in one place while being subjected to a stream of bar charts and bullet points. This week I coined the phrase “death by democracy” when faced with a local Labour party AGM.

By the way, that is not to say it was a bad meeting. The atmosphere was great, which you would expect under the circumstances, there were no arguments, and everybody was on the same side. In the past there were times when there were factions and fierce competition for one side or the other to grab the levers of power. There were also times when every decision by the Chair would be challenged, and the wording of proposed changes to standing orders would be debated in Jesuitical detail.

But there was none of that. It is not just that everybody was in a good mood from having won the General Election last week both nationally and locally. When I was unwell I stepped back from all this sort of thing. With a knackered immune system I was avoiding contact with anybody as far as possible, and then Covid came along and everybody else joined in with that distancing. With Corbyn in charge I had little enthusiasm for diving back in even when I was up to it, so there were a lot of old friends I had not seen for a long time and it was great to catch up with them. There were also some newer faces. Even one person who only joined the party a week before.

So why “death by democracy”?

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Just take my money already

July 8th, 2024 · Posted by Skuds in Life, Music

A few weeks ago I was in a record shop, Wow & Flutter in Hastings. I was chatting to the owners, Tim and Susan and complaining about how we do not have anything similar in Crawley, or even close to Crawley. I said that there are absolutely no independent record shops or shops selling used vinyl in the area at all. Anybody round here who wants to browse has to travel, or wait for one of the local record fairs. Or pay £40 for Queen’s Greatest Hits in HMV.

They were a bit amazed by this, perhaps even a bit disbelieving. I have been bothered by this from a frustrated would-be buyer’s point of view, but Tim’s reaction was to sympathise with people wanting to sell. Obviously a shop-owner’s perspective will be a bit different, but it is a valid question. I know that there are always dealers you can find online, and if you go to a record fair you can find a dealer, but for many people they will just take a box of records to the local shop if there is one. When somebody inherits an unwanted collection and don’t know anything about the market (and why should they?) they might just end up chucking them or taking them to a charity shop or car boot sale, but people who do run shops find a lot of walk-ins with vinyl to sell.

Anyway, I did a bit of digging to make sure I wasn’t wrong about the lack of shops local to Crawley, and what I found was quite depressing.

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June 2024

July 3rd, 2024 · Posted by Skuds in Life

June was a bit of an anti-climax after all the excitement of going over to Germany in May, but although I didn’t get as far as Cologne this month, at least I got out on my bike for more than just local trips.

I had a couple of 100+ mile days, one up to Essex and another down to Bexhill and Hastings, and quite a few more local errands like popping down to the chemist or to the record fair in Horsham. It was only an unfortunately-timed bout of illness that prevented another trip down to the coast at the end of the month.

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The drugs don’t work

June 30th, 2024 · Posted by Skuds in Life

I had plans for this weekend. The weather looked like being perfect for motorbiking; dry, sunny, and warm but not so hot that wearing all that protective clothing makes you melt. The plan was to go down to Worthing on Saturday morning, have a look around town, maybe have a coffee and pastry somewhere, and browse a couple of record shops there. I was then going to come home by taking the coast road to Brighton, where there are a couple of shops at the Hove end that I wanted to check out.

That is not how it panned out.

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Politically engaged?

June 23rd, 2024 · Posted by Skuds in Politics

I’m still not sure whether I count as politically engaged.

I always vote in general elections, which should put me in the top 70%. I also vote in local elections, which probably makes me more engaged than the 60% (?) who don’t. I belong to a political party which must indicate a fair level of political engagement. As a party member I have delivered leaflets, knocked on doors and gone to meetings in the past, and also stood as a candidate in borough, county and parliamentary elections and even got elected twice in council elections.

But a lot of that is in the past. I am still a member of a party and still deliver leaflets, but not a lot more than that. The is partly because I got out of those habits when cancer recovery overlapped with the pandemic lockdowns. This is not really for health reasons any more, so much as re-assessing my life priorities after it – and getting used to having leisure time. I’ll be honest though, a lot of my enthusiasm drained away when Corbyn became party leader.

So if you judge by activity and involvement, you could say I am politically engaged, but on the other hand…

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Close Encounter

June 17th, 2024 · Posted by Skuds in Life

A slightly odd thing happened the other night. It was about half-past midnight and I was trying to summon the energy to go up to bed. I heard some banging around outside the front door and offered up some silent swear words to the cat, assuming it was him doing his usual trick of wanting in through the front door, even though we have a cat flap in the back door.

I looked down the hall and saw that the porch light was on. Again I assumed the cat hat tripped the motion detector. Then I noticed a person-sized shape through the frosted glass. Not the cat then. I then assumed it was our son trying to get the front door key from the key safe. He does work shifts nearby and has been known to let himself in if he needs to get something or drop something off and thinks we might be asleep.

I figured I would go and let him in, so went to open the door and found myself face-to-face with a Chinese bloke, which surprised both of us.

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Am I The Idiot?

June 3rd, 2024 · Posted by Skuds in Life, Technology

A thought occurred to me today.

While I was out walking I saw, as I so often do, somebody talking on their mobile phone and holding it in front of them horizontally. I think it might be learned behaviour from watching The Apprentice or something. Whenever I see this my inner monologue is always “look at that fucking idiot!”, though I do worry that one day my lips will move, or that I will even say it aloud.

Today was different though. After the routine, reflex, internalised idiot-shaming, I suddenly wondered: what if young people (because they are always young people. Compared to me anyway) see me holding my phone to my ear and say to themselves “what an idiot!”

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Mai 2024

June 3rd, 2024 · Posted by Skuds in Life

May was a pretty eventful month, seeing me out of the house a lot more for a change. There was a long journey up to Norfolk for our youngest grandson’s 1st birthday party, a day out in Essex to see Mum and take her out for lunch, and a few little trips out on my motorbike. All of that was eclipsed, of course, by my visit to Germany.

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