Monday, July 31, 2006

I'll tell me ma when I get home ...

Larks in the Park, indeed. We enjoyed an intermittently sunny Sunday afternoon lazing on the grass by the river, listening to live music and eating ice-cream. I reckon it doesn't get a lot better than that.

The band weren't bad, either - an Irish folk combo who played a Bluegrass set as a duo in the middle. To be honest they were lacking a certain something - but they did 'fess up to being one band member down. For my money, even with the missing bass section, they were a little incoherent which made their performance slightly disappointing. Having said that, they were fine to listen to and on the whole it made for a really pleasant afternoon.

My critical assessment makes me realise that a) I'm still an incurable muso, and b) I really ought to find some musical outlet now that we're settled again. I'm now being encouraged to get involved with the local folk scene. I'd like to find some contemporary folk: more like the "Fisherman's Blues" than "She walked through the Fair", if you know what I mean. I'll keep you posted.

On a slightly different note [ahem], I applaud today's announcement from the government's "The Science Select Committee": that drug classifications should be rethought. I reckon this is long overdue - and I'm pleased to see a more objective approach. I'm also interested to see that this would rate the likes of Ecstasy and LSD (currently Class A) way down the list, lower than tobacco (about the middle of the harm rating) and alcohol (which looks like it'd a class A by this assessment).

Put that in your pipe and smoke it!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Big wheels keep on turnin'

I can't decide whether I must've done something right somewhere along the line, or whether my dear daughter is using some kind of dastardly double-retro reverse psychology on me.

I'll explain: last night, my wife wanted to get "Proud" by Heather Small (ex M People). We decided the easiest way of doing this was to use our eldest daugter's iTunes account. This is, of course, licensed for the laptop which seems to have a permanent residence in her bedroom. [NB: there are a number of tagential threads here .. including, but not limited to the evils that are DRM and the irritating irony of a laptop which never get moved - but I'll leave those for another time.] Having found, listened to and bought the track we browsed through the collection already downloaded. Hang on .. what's this? A mistake, surely? Lynyrd Skynyrd, as clear as day: "Sweet Home Alabama".

But .. but .. that's our music! Teenagers are supposed to rebel against their parents and reject everything from their era. It's not fair!

Actually, I'm kinda impressed that my dear girl has some taste. Music is one of the few areas where we share common ground, and I get a small iota of respect (having played in a band 'n all). I'm planning on making up a CD from her collection - entitled "US College Rock" or somesuch. I've already earmarked Fountains of Wayne ("Stacey's Mom"), Wheatus ("Teenage Dirtbag") and OPM ("Heaven is a Halfpipe").

If I die before I wake ...

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Hot town, summer in the city ...

.. or should I say, glad I'm not in the city.

I've just spoken to my dear family, who are currently picnicing. Round the back of our main supermarket, there is a meadow - complete with a stream - and the river. They've been playing in the stream and letting the dog run round and generally enjoying themselves. Beyond the river is some wonderful scenery with a few houses dotted over the hillside. I'm really enjoying living in a small town. Of course, I'd be enjoying it even more if I were picnicing too and not stuck at work ;^)

... back of my neck gettin' dirty and gritty

Monday, July 24, 2006

Show me the way to go home ...

... I'm tired and I want to go to bed...

I've made another important step forwards towards belonging: I got drunk in my new home town. Not outrageously, of course: just pleasantly. This is probably just as well, as I noticed in the local rag afterwards that there is a new "no drinking" zone in force in the town centre. In fact, things could well have gotten more out of hand if there had been any eateries open at half-past eleven. Plenty of pubs, of course, but no eatieries. Hey-ho.

Note: this escapade is in no way related to the previous rambling post; that came before.

For the last year and a half we've been educating our children at home. This really appeals to my hippie sense of resisting "the system" and having a more caring-sharing lifestyle. It seems that all good things come to an end, however. My eldest daughter has decided she wants to return to school, and has spent the last week of the summer term at her new school. This has caused the middle two to say they want to go back to school, too. I've got a strange feeling of disappointment, like something wonderful has come to an end. I'm sure this will open doors to other, good things, but at the moment I don't know what they are. I'll keep you posted.

... I had a little drink about an hour ago ...

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Morning has broken ...

Ah, blessed rain! The ride to work this morning was GREAT.

I have no particular topic in mind at present - so this will be a kind of stream-of-consciousness posting.

I once heard that the Irish writing style is no successful and so distinctive because of the tradition of rambling, stream-of-consciousness conversations which typically happen between Irish people. Often in the pub.

There's a great (apocryphal?) tale about Brendan Behan, who was employed by Guinness to devise an advertising slogan for them. He was given some crates of the stuff in part payment. After some weeks they checked up on him for any progress. He'd drunk the beer and come up with "Guinness: it makes you drunk" or somesuch. I say apocryphal because I suspect there may be much embellishment to this story - though it's reported in his Wikiedia page.

On the subject of the Wikipedia, I learn from the page on "apocrypha" that many religions have texts whic are considered apocyrphal. I also remember from a colleague at work some years ago that the Qur'an / Koran shares much of its text with the Bible - particularly the Old Testament. Funny how two religions based on the same text can have so much fear and loathing between them.

I'm now waiting for Yusuf Islam's new CD to be released. He must have an amazing insight to the differences between Chrisitanity and Islam. I hope it's worth listening to, as I'm going to want to buy it.

At school, when I was 10 or so we used to sing "Morning has Broken" in assembly. Funny how these little things, which seem totally insignificant at first, knit together in the end to make something meaningful.

Praise with elation, praise every morning
God's recreation of the new day

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Feelin' Hot, Hot, Hot ...

We're back in good ol' Blighty. Not that France is a bad place. In fact, as the years go by I've appreciated their more laid-back approach to life increasingly. T'was hot, though - but I gather it was hot back home, too.

So, is this genu-wine global warming? Pff! Call this a heatwave? I can remember 1976 ...

In other news: here's a wonderful cautionary tale against buying your medical interventions abroad .. enjoy! ;^)