Sunday, 23 June 2019

jean-michel jarre and kraftwerk

Jean-Michel Jarre was better than Kraftwerk. But he was French and they were German, so it was they who were critically acclaimed. #unpopularopinion

Friday, 21 June 2019

the women's world cup

It struck me that I'd be happy if England won the Women's World Cup, a point I've not reached about the men. I concluded it's not because it is less important, but because the kind of people who would go on about a male World Cup win for the next 50 years think it is.

Monday, 17 June 2019

on the train

Enjoying hearing the train conductor repeatedly explaining us slowly and distinctly and in detail that this train will be splitting, as if we are idiots, which of course is exactly what is required. [May 18th tweet]

Sunday, 16 June 2019


My latest theory is that if you're miserable and wasting your life you might as well be doing so at work, however apparently futile, and doing something and getting paid for it as doing so at home doing nothing.

song for guy

My favourite Elton John song is Song For Guy. It only has one line of lyric, which far into adulthood I believed was 'Life is a terrible thing'. The internet eventually told me it was 'Life isn't everything'. As misheard lyrics go, even in 1978 at age 11 this was very on-brand.


Nearly down below following 500 on Twitter. Eventually I'll be following nobody and my joy will be made complete.

fathers day

Fathers Day. A book, a giant Galaxy, a sofa, a daughter. Who could ask for more?

Friday, 14 June 2019

in the hall of the mountain king

Edvard Grieg wrote 'In The Hall of the Mountain King' as a satire of terrible music and said he could barely stand to hear it. It is now one of his most played and best remembered pieces.
(A @qikipedia Tweet, 9th May. Qikipedia Tweets are sometimes a bit annoying, as you want more context to their facts, but this one has enough.)

totp facts

I've kept following the @TOTPFacts Twitter account even now that I no longer regularly watch the old TOTP episodes on BBC4 to which they relate (which are into 1988 now), because it's a good source of facts which people like me find fascinating.

book twitter

A thing I see quite a lot in my Twitter timeline is people posting photos of the books they've read that month, often in a pile. I enjoy it, and wouldn't want to stop seeing it, but on balance I find it more disheartening than inspiring. I'll be doing well to hit my 'book a week' target this month.


On 17th May I tweeted, 'Whenever certain social issues are in the news I am reminded of the extent to which I do not live in a bubble on twitter, which is good for me in some ways but quite bad for me in others.' (Don't remember the specific issue on that occasion, but possibly US abortion-legislation-related news.)

On 9th June I tweeted (RTing a news one reporting that Jeremy Hunt would like a reduction in the legal time limit for abortions), 'I'd been thinking about how grinding down my timeline can be when people I like tweet about how awful people who think some of the things I think are, then started getting this one RTed, only by people who think this an evil monster's view. At least my Twitter is unbubbled, eh?'.

With the follow-up, 'But sometimes I do wonder if a bit more of a bubble might be better for me.'

(The latter pair of tweets were only liked by one person, a small-follower account which follows me though I don't know how they came across me; an American Christian, I'd say. I can generally remember or work out where I picked up most of the people I follow, but sometimes some of the people who follow me can be a mystery from the moment start to follow me.)


On 12th May on FB/T I said, 'Anyone got any tips on how to work out when talking about something will make it worse and when it will make it better?'


I'm not a *major* Led Zeppelin fan (although yes, I do own all their albums, as it happens), but I do like to find instrumental versions of my second-favourite Led Zeppelin song - and I think I will be hard-pressed to find a cover version of Kashmir that I will enjoy more than this one I've just found by the estimable children of the Louisville Leopard Percussionists.

(FBed/Tweeted on 28th May.)


In a Twitter conversation recently I said 'I must say I have always been glad that alcopops weren't around when I was in school because they could have been my downfall.' I stand by that.

upcoming gig

FBed and Tweeted earlier this week, along these lines, sharing a link to the FB Event and the Morris tweet and gig page: 'This is a week on Saturday, which I find alarmingly close. Come along and hear me sometimes sing and sometimes play guitar, in the company of a sufficient number of people who are better at singing and playing things than I am. Oh, and we will be singing a song I wrote the words for, which is an unexpected turn of events.'

A week last Tuesday I was at a choir rehearsal for the first time when they sang Better Days, which was an odd experience; I couldn't sing it to start with, and not just because I didn't know the tune (Michelle gave it a better tune).

gardening advice

Some wise advice in the May issue of The Rudhach: 'It is not worth watching the gardening programmes on TV unless you store them for a month before following their advice. We have a different set of seasons in Point and sometimes they get swapped around.' I am reliably informed that sometimes things in Lewis gardens - and similar nature - are well over a month behind things in London and the south of England.


Sometimes in life it can feel like you're having to make bricks without straw, while the people you're making them for are tying one arm behind your back and kicking you in the head.

Saturday, 8 June 2019


On the bus home from choir on Tuesday I was telling Ginny how before Bethan went away for the weekend we were talking about what we might do at the weekend, and Bethan wondered if we might get a lunch invite on Sunday at church. Maisie said, 'The recluse and the vegetarian? No one's going to invite us for lunch!'

I said how Maisie can be pretty perceptive. Some time ago we had a conversation which showed that she had realised that I don't have many close friends at church, which not everyone might have noticed. I explained (to Ginny; Maisie knows) how a significant factor in this was turnover in our city-centre church - people always coming to and leaving London, so over time a lot of people who have become particular friends have gone, and generally speaking the people who come are younger (while I somehow nevertheless continue to get older...).

Regarding church - and I didn't say this on Tuesday, though I've said it to people before - another common misapprehension from people outside my church (and particularly from people outside any church) is that church is a 'safe, comfortable space full of people like me', whereas that's not what churches are like at all in general, but in particular in our church because of the unusually varied demographics (people from all over the world coming to London and googling Presbyterian/Reformed congregations of which they might expect plenty but only find a few, and us right in the middle of the city). Churches are full of disparate people drawn together by one big fact of faith, often people who are not like you, and who you would not naturally spend much or any time with, or possibly even encounter at all, and in truth quite often people you'd not naturally like.

In fact, the area of my life which is closest to a 'safe, comfortable space full of people like me' is my choir. (Of course for me in choir, on the other hand, the knowledge of key differences in key issues between let us say current Western liberal thinking and conservative evangelical thinking (or, to put it another way, between me and most/all others in the choir) brings its own private tensions for me, not least whether it is cowardly and dishonest to hope to avoid discussion of such issues.)

Thinking about it later, it has struck me that actually what I need is more good or close friends, which seems an odd thing to be thinking at my advanced age, but I'm thinking that it's true. I'm not quite sure what the best way to go about it is. Put more effort into current lower-level friendships to move them up a level is the obvious thing, rather than going out to seek new friends, I guess. I don't think I need to be 'strategic' or coldly analytic about it, but just be a bit more intentional and put a bit more effort in to friendships.

Because I am also thinking that as your number of good/close friends goes down, there is a danger that those friendships like that which do remain then get put under unnecessary pressure of one kind or another; there is the danger of over-relying on or overloading or expecting too much from or being too intense about or overanalysing a friendship, and so friendships become damaged in one way or another because of artificial and unnatural strains you are placing upon them. I am so grateful for the good friendships I have, and I must look after them, and also try to add to them.

And so the usual conclusion is reached: just try to be a bit more normal and a bit less overthinky. (The length of this blogpost suggests I've got a bit of a way to go in becoming 'less overthinky'.) And be a better person, and a better friend, which is always true. And try to have more, closer friendships, which was this week's unusual conclusion: we'll see how I get on with that one.

Oh, and Maisie was of course right: we didn't get a Sunday lunch invite, but that was fine. We had a nice afternoon together.

Friday, 7 June 2019


On Saturday evening, Bethan being up in Shrewsbury, Maisie and I watched Arrival on the digibox, which we both enjoyed. I like thoughtful science fiction with good internal logic that helps you suspend disbelief.

Friday, 31 May 2019

alanbrooke's war diaries

This afternoon I finished reading Field Marshal Lord Alanbrooke's War Diaries 1939-1945, bringing my total of books finished in the month for May up to five just before month end.