Accepted Wisdom?

Is the world the way it is because we’ve been following the rules or breaking the rules?

The rules, in this case, are the axioms and homilies of common sense. For example: a stitch in time saves nine is a saying we use here in the UK to indicate that you should fix or replace things as soon as they show the first signs of wear or disrepair. I contend that this saying is a tool of capitalist manufacturers who are driving this planet to the brink of destruction by dint of their policy of more-more-more. I have a perfectly good sweater that’s a little frayed at the neck. It keeps me warm and comfortable in the bleakest of autumns and to say that it needs replacing is beyond madness

Similarly, there are hundreds, if not millions, of well-meaning saws like this that have been keeping our world on the same trajectory for more years than I have experienced. But ask youself this: where is the current trajectory leading us? Yep: straight off the edge of a cliff.

So here’s my plea to you: next time you read, hear or remember some piece of wisdom that’s been handed down to you by our seemingly sage elders, think about it before you act. Do you want to be a lemming and march on towards mutual destruction, or do you want to be an iconoclast: someone who wishes for a better, kinder world order. Remember as you do so: the future is in your hands.

Conversation

I used to wonder what I would do if I was put in prison. No, no, don’t worry, I haven’t committed any crimes that I’m aware of. At least, nothing that would warrant being incarcerated at her majesty’s pleasure. No, I was thinking about it as a way of maximising opportunities. You remember that guy who was imprisoned in Lebanon (or somewhere like that) and instead of bemoaning his ill-luck (although I’m pretty sure he did a bit of that too) he improved his golf handicap instead? Terry Waite? Anyway, like that.

By the way, if I was put in prison, I’d read a lot and educate myself more. Which, thinking about it, is what I do now. Ha, that says a lot about my life, right?

(my life is a prison -just in case you didn’t get it)

So, yeah.

The reason I started to write this post is that I had a thought. It went like this: when I get home I have an hour’s grace then I get the opportunity to walk to ASDA (a shop) without being able to read, listen to music, play with my phone or turn cartwheels in the muddy fields. Then I thought: what can I do to make this walk enjoyable? And the answer is?

CONVERSATION!

I’ll let you know how it goes it you’re interested. Let me know in the comments. We can converse about it. 😃

Three Things

You ever feel like something happened to you, like some childhood trauma or something, but you can’t think of, or remember, anything like that? I’ve always felt a bit like that. I’ve just been watching a movie called Marwen, with Steve Carroll, and the way that a trauma has affected him is ringing bells for me, but nothing specific is coming up in my memory. Weird, huh?

On a brighter note I got some good news yesterday. Here it is verbatim: “Your skin lesion is not cancer. I will call back to discuss ointment or lotion you can use.” So that’s good, right? I’m the downside I now have no reason to continue my zombie novel about the seven stages of grief. Hey-ho.

Oh, and I found out why I talk so soft on the radio. It’s because my voice is fed into earphones that I wear and the volume on those headphones was turned right up. I was speaking quietly to compensate. I’ve turned the volume down now so that I have to speak up to compensate. Every day’s a learning day.

Topical Quiz – Thursday 21st October 2021

Question for the Topical Quiz tonight (6pm BST) on 5 Towns Radio:

  1. If you were sat in your car in Pontefract on lovely summer day with the windows wound down and your favourite snack in your hand, what time would it be three hours before the end of a week from tomorrow?
  2. What has Lord Robathan urged the government to tell the people they should do less of? To stop them getting grossly overweight.
  3. Which stocks are back to normal in the UK after countrywide shortages last week?
  4. Which remote British island has never had a case of Covid?
  5. How old is Zayn Ali Salman – Arsenal’s latest recruit?
  6. Is the UK being too relaxed about coronavirus?
  7. What date has the US just announced as being the earliest UK citizens are allowed to enter the US?
  8. Which former Sheffield Wednesday manager has just been sacked as the manager of Newcastle United?
  9. Whose Space-Race deals could make him the worlds first trillionaire?
  10. Which actor boldly went where (almost) no man has gone before this week?

Answers:

  1. 9pm
  2. A Conservative ex-minister, Lord Robathan, has urged the government to “tell people they must not eat so much” in an effort to stop them getting “grossly overweight”.
  3. Petrol station stocks are back to normal. Filling station storage tanks in Great Britain were 45% full on average at the end of the day on Sunday, statistics from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy show.
  4. St Helena. Located some 1,200 miles (2,000 km) west of the African nation of Angola, and 2,500 miles east of Brazil, St Helena has a population of around 4,500 people, and is 47 sq miles (121 sq km) in size. To put that into context, it has about the same landmass as Jersey in the Channel Islands. St Helena’s claim to fame since March 2020, is that it remains one of only a handful of places on Planet Earth to have not reported a single case of coronavirus.
  5. Zayn Ali Salman was just four-year-old when he was scouted and recruited by Arsenal while still at nursery
  6. Attitudes to coronavirus in the UK compared to other parts of Europe may mean that the government must reimpose restrictions this winter following a 16% rise in cases and 10% spike in hospital admissions.
  7. 8th of November.
  8. Steve Bruce sacked by Newcastle and reveals: ‘It was hard being called an inept cabbage-head’.
  9. Elon Musk, the owner of SpaceX, which is set to become the most highly valued company in the world.
  10. William Shatner: Star Trek’s Captain Kirk took a trip to the edge of space (65km high) in on of Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin rockets.

Aw Gosh

Since I announced yesterday that I had something important to say I’ve been in a state of nervous anxiety (or maybe it’s anxious nervousness) because, truth be told, I have nothing that I can guarantee that you will find important. Oh, sure, I have stuff that I find important; but that’s not the same thing now is it?

Here’s the stuff that I find important:

  • I did a radio show on my own and it wasn’t as polished as the ones I did with Phil (the station manager) in attendance. There are various reasons for this. One is that I had to make my own way from the train station to the studio. On the face of it, this isn’t such a bad thing because I like to walk and I was able to read while I walked. It took me about thirty minutes to complete the 1.7 miles, which meant that I arrived at the studio about fifteen minutes before my show was due to start. I thought I would have enough time to familiarise myself with the equipment, bring up my song pad (a list of songs that I want to play), think about what to say and generally get myself in the right frame of mind. Thing is, by the time I peed (essential if you’ve just travelled for two hours to reach the studio and are then going to sit down and do a two hour show) I was down to thirteen minutes. This then turned into nine minutes when I realised that the pre-recorded show that was currently playing was going to go end four minutes early. Nine minutes probably sounds like a lot of time to you but when you have to do everything by yourself then it’s a little tight. I mean, think about the radio shows you listen to on the big networks. For example, I happened to catch the first show by Craig Charles on BBC Radio Six today after he took over from Shaun Keaveny and, as part of his nervous intro to himself, he announced that he’s not on his own in the studio and I thought to myself, oh, he’ll have a producer with him. He then proceeded to say hello to not one, not two, but three people helping him along with his show. Three people! No wonder he didn’t totally suck! So, yeah, I had nine minutes to put together a list of songs, think of something to entertain the nation with and vet the tunes I’d chosen to play. Now, that last point is particularly important. Why? Because we’re not supposed to play songs with cuss words in them. The sponsors don’t like it apparently. And here’s the thing: I’m a trusting kind of a person. If I’m given a list of songs on a system to choose from for my playlist, I’ll think to myself: oh, if they’re on the system then they must be clean versions. Guess what? Nope. The first song was by Dua Lipa. I can’t remember which one, but, according to one caller, she was appalled to hear me play such vile stuff. There were only a few seconds left and so I let it play out, but I listened to those few seconds and she was right: there was an f-word in there. How embarrassed was I? So I kind of alluded to it after the song and put another one on: Happier Than Ever by Billie Eilish. I was pretty sure this one would be okay, but I listened in anyway, partly because I like the song and artist and partly to check on what she was saying. One sh*t and one f*ck later the song ended. OMG, what is happening?! So I made another half-hearted apology and put something on that was sure to be clean. Can’t remember what it was. Something by Disney I suppose; just to give me time to think. By this time my mood was kinda shot. I turned to the computer on my right to try to look up the current singles chart to give me some idea as to what to play because, what with the f-bomb situation, I still hadn’t had time to get my stuff together. Guess what? Yep, the internet wasn’t working properly. It was taking several minutes to load up one page. Aaargh! Luckily my phone was connecting to the mobile network, but I really didn’t feel like turning it into a mobile hotspot and using my entire month’s data just to connect a computer to the internet. So I didn’t. But still: downer. Anyway, I struggled on. And on. And on. But it wasn’t the best. And by the time it got around to the last song, I was kind of done-in. I read a story (just something from this blog: The Last Morning), said my goodbyes and set up the next show to play according to the instructions I had. I figured that it had taken me 30 minutes to walk up to the studio and so I could make it back down to train station in 24 minutes. A good plan, right? So, my show ended. I stopped the recording, pressed the right buttons. Waited for the next show to play. And waited a little more. And a bit more. Nothing. Frantically (with a cool veneer) I called Phil and he took me through the same instructions I’d just followed. This time it worked and so I was out of there. Thing is, I had sixteen and a half minutes before my train was due to leave. Sixteen and half minutes!! Well, I’m a pretty fit guy and so I got on with it. I pelted down the hill in the dark thinking hard about not breaking my legs. I slowed on the flats when I got out of breath, and then set off again. Sixteen and a half minutes to do 1.7 miles. What’s that … about 6mph? I could do that. Well it turns out I couldn’t. I was a heart-breaking 2 minutes and 35 seconds late for my train. B*mmer! Anyway, I bought another ticket (a waste of money because the nice ticket inspector told me I shouldn’t have bothered because she would have let me off) and waited the extra half an hour for my train. Which was delayed. So I got home late. Hey-ho, never mind. Since then I’ve been collecting my own versions of songs to play on the radio. Songs that I know are clean. And I’ll spend more time thinking of interesting things to say on the radio. Or maybe I’ll tell them this story. Heck, I could even read it out to them! Or maybe not. Anyway, that was my Thursday night for the 14th Oct 21. What did you do? On the bright side I heard a podcast on the internet the other day that said ‘don’t sit in a comfortable chair’. Yeah, it took me some time to figure this out too. What he basically meant is that we shouldn’t let ourselves get into a rut and do things that are well within out comfort zone. I certainly didn’t do that.
  • The next thing was going to be about this funny patch of skin on my face that the doctor said was some kind of a seborrhoeic wart (yeah, I know; the spell corrector doesn’t even know what one of these is) before sending pictures off to the dermatologist to make sure it wasn’t cancerous. He said he’d have word in two week. Three weeks later I got a text to say ‘make an appointment’. I sent a message back through the website (you can’t call up to make an appointment these days) to say I wanted an appointment and I got another message to say that I would be contacted with an appointment date within the next 2 weeks. Anyway, I then got another text to say that I now had a telephone appointment for this Thursday (the 21st Oct) in the afternoon and I’m then thinking I hope that they don’t call when I’m running up that hill to the recording studio to do my radio show. But, at the same time, I’m thinking oh, well, it can’t really be bad news if they’re taking this long to get around to speaking to me. Again, I’m out of my comfort zone and so this is a good thing, right? No comfy armchairs for me! And, if the worst becomes worsted, I can always crack on with my lightly veiled (heavily) allegory for going through the five stages of grief (a zombie novel with a serial killer twist in other words): Embodying.
  • There was something else, but that’s probably enough for now. It’s been a long post and I bet your attention is waning. Hi Dad if you’re reading. Hi Phil if you’re reading. Goodnight.

Another Fraud

The title says it all. It doesn’t matter what you do now, you’ve been caught. You can’t escape a trap like this. I already know you were here. Even if you stop now, you can’t get out. Unless …

Topical Quiz – Thursday 14th October 2021

Question for the Topical Quiz tonight (7pm BST) on 5 Towns Radio:

  1. What date will it be on this date next month?
  2. Climate protest group Insulate Britain, which has caused disruption to major roads during the last five weeks, is to suspend its campaigning for 11 days. What is Insulate Britain’s aim?
  3. What have GPs just been told to do?
  4. PC Chris Dwyer, a police constable in West Yorkshire, has just been sacked. Why?
  5. The UK’s largest poultry seller has warned that the price of what is due to rise?
  6. David Swanston, deputy principal at St Vincent’s School in Liverpool is in the last ten to win how much money?
  7. What has the queen just used in public again? To help her walk?
  8. Which beloved British institutions backlog has almost reached 6 million?
  9. Which pizza company is planning to hire 8,000 delivery drivers in the run up to Xmas?
  10. Which town does 5 Towns Radio broadcast from?

Answers:

  1. 14th November 2021.
  2. Insulate Britain is a recently-launched group that calls for a national programme to ensure homes are insulated by 2030, which government experts on climate change say is essential to meet targets on reducing carbon emissions.
  3. GPs told to see more patients face-to-face. Face-to-face GP visits still near lockdown levels. A&E wait tine is over 4 hours for 1 in 4 patients.
  4. A police constable who took two packets of Jaffa Cakes from a charity stall without paying full price has been sacked from West Yorkshire Police.
  5. Chicken. The founder of 2 Sisters Food Group, Ranjit Boparan, warned that chicken prices would rise by 10%. “Significant” inflated costs of packaging, energy and CO2 were also “bulking up the price of food”.
  6. David Swanston, deputy principal at St Vincent’s School in Liverpool, is in contention to win $1m (£730,000) after making the top 10 for the world’s “best teacher” award.
  7. The Queen uses walking stick again as she visit Wales for first time in five years.
  8. The latest NHS England figures show that a total of 5.7 million people were waiting to start routine hospital treatment at the end of August.
  9. Domino’sPizza. The fast food chain set out its plans as it revealed an 8.8% increase in quarterly sales, including a peak in online orders during England’s Euros clash against Ukraine in July.
  10. Castleford!