Barmouth image via visitwales.com
One of the great advantages of growing older is that behaviour that was once considered reckless is now casually dismissed as being merely eccentric. Another joyous consequence of impending dotage is the fact that allegedly “grown-up” children can be expected to feed themselves and not inflict too much damage on each other if left unsupervised for longer than 30 seconds. As hairlines recede or turn to grey, the spontaneity of pre-parenthood can, with courage of conviction, occasionally be reclaimed.
So when by chance a couple of commitments fell through leaving blank diary pages for several days, a late-night internet search trawled up a last-minute holiday cottage in Wales going for a song. Imagine our joy when the kids announced that they could rearrange their work and education schedules and would be able to join us. On Saturday morning with the promise of limited Wi-Fi and intermittent phone signal, we loaded the car and headed to where Snowdonia meets Cardigan Bay. (more…)
I laughed at all of your jokes
Any comparison between British Prime Ministers must surely be based on integrity, competence and policy outcomes and not on gender or the presence of a womb. Few political commentators would helpfully compare Gordon Brown and David Cameron by stating that they are both male and that at least one of them owns a pair of testicles. A simple observer with a somewhat archaic view of women might conclude that both Margaret Thatcher and Theresa May are, or were, female rather than the more obvious comparison that they share harmful ideology. The obvious difference, apart from signs of life, is that one was out of her mind and the other is out of her depth. (more…)
In an infinite, expanding and increasingly bizarre universe where strangeness and what once passed for normality have become blurred, the prospect of George Clooney forming a ZZ Top tribute band to perform at the inauguration of a racist con man as the President of the United States would, astonishingly, not be considered as much of a surprise.
The days when presidential indiscretions were quietly ignored are long gone and the American people have decided, with a little helpful persuasion from a former KGB gangster who is now a presidential gangster, that a shameless sexual predator who uses his fame to molest women is the right man for the job. It would seem that the cruel mockery of a journalist with disabilities is acceptable and that a deeply disturbing attitude towards his own daughter is, in some way, normal and that overt racism encouraging hatred is somehow appropriate in the second decade of the 21st century. When a president elect claims that he will be the greatest president ever created by God and gives responsibility for a massive arsenal of lethal weaponry to a character who likes to be known as “mad dog” and when that same president elect is happy to be endorsed by the KKK, then it might be time to start stocking up tinned foods, candles and toilet paper. (more…)
Unless you are considering a purchase of, say, car insurance, an aubergine, a refrigerator, a holiday or a selection of racy under garments, arbitrary comparison can sometimes be futile. Obviously a soft aubergine should be avoided as should a refrigerator that keeps things warm and a vacation to the Sahara should not be taken if one is heat averse. Similarly, in a northern European maritime temperate climate, nothing beats a pair of Damart Long Johns when the central heating is on the blink.
Comparing inanimate objects might be of some value but comparing subjective taste and preference can be a futile exercise especially when asked to name a favourite. It might be possible to make a binary choice between Judi Dench and Meryl Streep, the Beatles or the Stones, Oasis or Blur or (for younger viewers) Ed Sheeran or Jack Garratt but to prefer one to the other imposes an artificial hierarchy. Shakespeare is not necessarily “better” than Christopher Marlowe; Rod Hull and Emu are not necessarily funnier than Bernie Clifton and his comedy ostrich and Lobster Thermidor served with a chilled 2005 Coche-DuryCorton-Charlemagne Grande Cru does not necessarily taste nicer than egg and chips accompanied by a bottle of Newcastle Brown Ale. (more…)
There are and will be many eloquent eulogies, obituaries and retrospectives of those who breathed their last during 2016 and although some might find the deification of dead celebrities somewhat mawkish, this years` harvest of notable souls has been almost relentless. It is statistically unlikely that 2016 has seen a spike in the demise of the not so rich and rich and famous but it does feel like a lot of the good ones have fallen off the perch and gone beyond and too many of the bad ones are still alive and kicking. (more…)