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Monday the 15th of April 2013 PANORAMA 'OUTS' NORTH KOREA....and THEN A COINCIDENCE THAT'S JUST BIZARRE...I switch to DVD - am watching US drama West Wing...and we have a North Korean defection story....
.....'HAN' lined up. This is odd. Very. Honestly not planned. The opening scene: C.J - Head of Press (great female character) calls the North Koreans a bunch of 'punks'. As an aside she adds 'they're lining up 6 nuclear warheads, gotta be careful'.
GOING SOLO AND GETTING OUT OF HIS HOMELAND
The story? A renowned North Korean pianist is to give a solo performance at the White House. He hands the President a gift and scrawled inside, a message saying he wants to defect.
KEY STROKE CONSPIRACY
My jaw dropped, I've just paused the episode, and am writing this. The North Korean leader pic above this wouldn't load for a long time. Is someone somewhere monitoring my key strokes North Korean style? Will I get a 'visit', be captured, and fast tracked to a Gulag concentration camp? I will double check all the locks tonight (as I always do, of course).
TRYING TO BE GODS
This episode of West Wing (series 5) is too uncanny, and too near the knuckle. In the real North Korea (according to Panorama and other plentiful and reliable sources), the leader, Kim Jong Un, is viewed as a deity, worshipped by the people (well most of them), and can do no wrong. Great. A dictator who, at his best is a spoiled child, at worst, a narcissistic psychopath. World, rejoice. His predecessors admired Hitler, aligned themselves with the military and were never challenged. Meanwhile the country's people live in poverty and squalor.
A MOBILE POPULATION WITH NO ELECTRICITY
The people may have mobiles but there's not much electricity. The internet remains unopened in its brand new box; or at least heavily censored. The current tense backdrop? If the latest U.S. intelligence reports are true, then North Korea is planning to test-fire not one but multiple missiles. Kim Jong Un is described by a freer press as 'unpredictable'. Not a comfortable combo.
I'm heading back to the box now...still a little daunted by this telly turn of events. I hope it's not an omen.
12th APRIL 2013 ....Midlife Midfield Dreams.........
....this has NO link to anything in the news as far as I know, except in the general sense. As far as I know Mrs T didn't wear football boots. Do enlighten me if you know different. I was simply looking at converse/vans...and then I saw football boots in the store, and wished I'd had the skills to justify buying them.
WEARING HER KIT ON THE KERB...
Trouble is, I don't play football. I remember the first time I saw a young woman wearing football kit on my street. About ten years ago. I came over all emotional despite Bend it like Beckham. She looked so at ease, natural and happy. Of course we got into a conversation. She'd just joined a football team, and was loving it. She wanted to play professionally. She wasn't sure if she'd get there.
Now, she could. I hope she got her chance. Football V hockey at school. No chance in my time. Freezing to death, playing left half, until Holly whacked me in the teeth prompting expensive orthodontic work, was not a bundle of laughs. Now football's for the girls as well as the boys; so perhaps I would have been spared the hockey horror if I'd had the choice.
APRIL 8TH 2013 NATURE? NUTURE? - WHO WAS MARGARET THATCHER?
....was she the tyrant, the narcissistic leader who trampled over the weak, with no remorse? Was she the living emblem of individualism and self realisation? She fought HER way to the top, so everyone could do it.
IN THE RIGHT PLACE AT THE RIGHT TIME
I am convinced that every distinctive leader is a complex eco system; made up of often unconscious desires that are culturally supported. They are working out some personal narrative/story which, in the right place, at the right time, appears to be the missing piece of the collective jigsaw. Thatcher was despised, for her 'woman hood,' violently and cruelly. No other male leader has been 'handbagged' in the same way. If you can't beat 'em...........hence the 'Iron Lady'.
LOVING/HATING MRS THATCHER...A NATIONAL PASTIME...
Those who hated her: 7:84 (theatre company, formed in the Thatcher years - 7 percent of the population own 84 percent of the nation's wealth), Ben Elton, the unions, Alexii Sayle, Neil Kinnock and everyone in Liverpool. They all had their justifiable reasons for doing so. She was easy to dislike. In hating her religiously, or in loving her obsessively, we are removing ourselves from our own muddy lives, and holding her responsible for our happiness/rage/sadness.
'ARTHUR SCARGILL'S JESUS TO ME.' (Miner in Mansfield who wouldn't break the strike and 'be a scab').
Her decisions, did of course affect more than our individual psyches. Covering the miners' strike in Mansfield; my first news story for local radio, I saw, first hand, the impact of her choices. People were wounded, spiritually, emotionally and physically. I also saw social mobility. The homeowning democracy. Where some of those who never would have had; had, at last.
SMALL IS BEAUTIFUL
As an individualist, she mistrusted large institutions: Royalty, the Bank of England and the civil service's Sir Humphreys who loitered in Westminster's corridors stopping politicians do their jobs. She was intrigued as well as frustrated by the Church of England. 'What do they believe in? Anything?' Source, undisclosed. The church, in turn didn't llike her much, either.
THE 'REAL' MRS T, SPITTING IMAGE STYLE....
Did she really mind 'not being liked?' This, for too long the malaise of many women bosses and some male ones too. She was a caricature, because we caricatured her. A larger than political life dominant woman (god help us! Said her critics. A WOMAN in charge!), who was also bright, stubborn, kind (I am told), single minded, loved deeply, was lonely after her husband's death, and of course, a distinctive leader.
There'll be angry, malicious, vicious, fawning, admiring, loving, and neither one way or another, columns/editorials prompted by her death.
What and who was she really?
APRIL 7TH SWEET MEMORIES........cause RAGING ROOT CANAL SHOCK......
.....I was on my way from crisps, to coke 6 packs in Tescos, when I had a mid life moment. There they were. Tutti Fruities, wine gums, and fruit pastilles, ALL MIXED UP TOGETHER! (Sorry to shout, it's all too exciting).
LIQUORICE AND LEEDS
Suddenly I was back amongst the sweets of yesteryearrrr and the experiences that went with them. The trip to Esso, age 10, dropping white sherbet in the back of the car. I only needed one football club emblem to stick on the card folder thing, and I would have THEM ALL. I got Leeds in the end. They were having a heyday, and they were all HEROES.
GOB CHOMPING POPSWAPPING
Then it was 3 toffos all chewed at once. as I queued for the first Popswap. You got a floppy Chicory tip single FREE. Ok, so it was warped, but it was worth the wait, and I was too young for Cathy and Claire. The single was as rare as gold fillings. (You see where I'm going with this).
REMEMBER THE 70'S? RIP OUT YOUR ROOT CANAL...
Back to modern day mid lifery, and a chewing fest in Tesco car park and then my mouth was attacked by a dagger. It was actually a wine gum, red, that had stuck onto my root canal, stage two tooth. Apparently it was dodgy before the wine gum got its way.
Antibiotics and painkillers have been my friends all weekend. But I still have fond memories of the 8 fruit salads you could get for half a D. And for a farthing.......
4th April 2013 - NO ethics please we're British....!!!!
If you're not a mid lifer, you won't remember the play of almost the same name. 'No sex please, we're British', ran from 1971 for 16 years in the West End. I was 11, and we didn't have 'sexting', then. So I didn't really ask too many questions about what I didn't understand. Suzie, who was an early developer, explained all to me during physics after we'd dropped the iron filings.
Ethics - a county on the up....
The phrase on the right is the one you will know, with just a letter change at the end. Ethics are on the up, according to something I read in the newspaper ( so it must be true). I thought I'd kept the cutting, as I do think about what I write as a compliment to you, and so I don't look like an idiot. I can't find the wretched thing, and it's too late to trawl the net. I've got to unload the washing machine, watch another episode of West Wing and swat up for a job tomorrow. That's my excuse. The journalist in me feels uncomfortable without the actual 'source', but I guess I'll/we'll live.
Being 'good'; trending on twitter now....
Ethical experts are being brought into banking, as whoever decides these things, is feeling the need of some legit academic armour. The feeling is they (ethics) disappeared at the beginning of the last century along with child chimney sweeps and suffragettes.
'My word is my bond'. 'As a gentleman I will keep my side of the bargain'. Obviously, women didn't do much banking in the 1900's. If they were lucky, they stood in the queue. The important stuff was left to wing collared moustached, masculine and important looking types. Except for the clerks, who pushed paper and were paid in buttons.
Pit Bull Banking.....
A handshake now? I don't think so. A modern deal would include a 50 page plus legal document and lawyers with pit bull legal precision, and teeth to match. We ditched the Financial Services Authority this week and replaced it with another set of inititials, the FCA. That's the Financial Conduct Authority. The FCA is in bed with the PRA (sounds like babies' powered milk), the Prudential Regulation Authority.
Lordy, this is so gripping I'm turning to a life of crime.
'Don't panic'! Said the head of the FSA when Northern Rock was more popular than Alton Towers in 2007. I remember the radio interview. It was patronising and completely out of touch with customers' terror and outrage at possibly losing their life savings.
Let's hope that the FCA and the PRA don't get divorced too quick. If it all goes horribly wrong, send in the 'man from ethics'. (woman doesn't read as well, sorry).
MARCH 31ST 2013 : ...WHAT'S IN YOUR OMLETTE? Easter Sunday...and...
there've been a whole host of flavours/messages that will have emerged egg/omlette/Easter wise. I remember them well:
Church sermon 1: (kids in front being given eggs..kids leave to go play) Sermon kicks off on the real meaning of Easter, and how the sentimentality of it all is a TRAVESTY (said loudly and with emphasis) and it's the 'REAL meaning of EASTERRRR,' (repeated loudly - the speaker is now sweating) that matters.
Everyone leaves feeling....... awful. The rest of the day is spent in a guilt ridden chocolate fest.
Church sermon 2: (Tarantino or ...shame on you - Mel Gibson - even more violent and without the gags) Styley..... Not suitable for children - certificate 18. An almost pornographic description of the death of......... Violence, blood n' guts on the wide screen HD TV to illustrate the point. A couple of people leave early feeling ill.
The message? This was done for YOU you ungrateful numpties. This was done BECAUSE of YOU - so get with the programme and be GRATEFUL....
Number three. None of the above. An OPENING OF THE LANDSCAPE. There was this wilderness where the world was at the feet of the leading man and the leading man said (maybe) 'if I collude with all that 'stuff,' and don't get me wrong, it's a tough call and it's not necessarily bad in itSELF, but if I get too involved with the 'other,' I am not sure what will happen to the 'ME.'
Perhaps finding out who we are is about not being labelled any more. 'Christian? - all that seems to do is prompt endless questions about denominations, gay marriage and women bishops.....like 'religion' it means so much, it means nothing at all.
If you've ever met someone who swears, says what they think, likes a drink, won't take shit and is so THEMSELVES, you can feel edgy and slightly small as you become aware of your own self deceptions and petty concerns. 'Oh lordy, I forgot the stuffing/insurance/email/ipad/pod/pedicure.' THEY don't want you to feel that way, in fact they're oblivious. But you do, just the same.
If there is, or ever was such a person. What human options do we have? Notice our discomfort and wonder why we have it? Project all our shadows - and perhaps dismiss/slander/punish and kill that which we cannot bear to be near.
Some can cope with the brutality of true honesty, some can't. Denial is a great protector. It's not wrong either. And it's not my place to rip away the blanket because I want to tell you what the 'REAL meaning of xxxxxxx ' is. It's a mystery, I don't know what the REAL you/meaning/point is either. You and I can both find that out for ourselves, in our own time. We may choose the materially obvious or invest in non loving behaviour towards ourselves and others. Perhaps it is just too scary to look elsewhere or look into what seems like a 'nothing.'
Just a theory. Like the lop sided egg on the right, there would have been hundreds of Easter interpretations, or none at all today. 'You could have carried that bunny back in your hand luggage if you'd crushed it.' My dad said to me on the phone yesterday. Pieces of chocolate in my pants? I went to the local shop and bought replacement mini egs.
An act of love via a crushed (not real) bunny. I like that.
MARCH 27 2013.....Flat Flat FLAT BATTERY.......
I KNOW I'M SHOUTING........BETTER OUT THAN IN .....
MY 'NEW-TO-ME' BOY RACER (DARK BLUE, MIRRORS THAT SOUND LIKE A DENTIST'S DRILL AND WHEEL TRIM) FIESTA DIED (CRYOGENICALLY) AT 7.45AM EARLIER TODAY. THERE WILL BE NO FUNERAL. IT'S JUST IN A DEEP ICY SLEEP UNTIL CLEVER CAR BOFFINS FIND A WAY OF RESURRECTING IT AS A PORSSSHHHHHHEEEEEER. (THAT IS HOW YOU SAY IT?)
IN THE MEANTIME, I MAY GET A NEW BATTERY TO GIVE IT A TEMPORARY LEASE OF LIFE AND LET IT FREEZE IN THE NEXT 'COLD SNAPPPP' (DON'T YOU LOVE WEATHER EXPRESSIONS) JUST TO GIVE IT A FIGHTING CHANCE OF RE-INVENTING ITSELF.
LET'S FACE IT...THAT'S WHAT MIDLIFE IS ALL ABOUT - SHEDDING THE OLD TO MAKE WAY FOR THE NEW - OR IF THE WIND IS IN AN EASTERLY DIRECTION - PREPARING FOR THE ROLLS ROYCE OF RESURRECTIONS AFTER THE ENGINE HAS CUT OUT FOR THE VERY LAST TIME........
March 25th 2013 Just THREE days away from....
meltdown, mayhem and our money disappearing. We think we're in control; it's ALL an illusion. Cypriot banks are holing up the hole in the wall, someone somewhere forgot to put 'electricity' on the UK's forward planning to do list - we might not have enough, sooner rather than ...oops, pass the torch. AND extreme snow fall, snow drifts and snow one knows why. ' A freak of nature?' Or is the planet weary of us using, using and using? We can't kick the habit. Sobriety's not a great selling point for civilisation.
HANDLE US WITH CARE...pleeeese....
Now there's a word. 'CI-VIL-I-SA-TION.' Handle us with care, we're fragile. But, after three days, turn off the lights, and that's it. Time to turn ourselves in.
I haven't got enough cash to build a bunker. I could just about get myself under the bed (the best place to put your cash now, if you're a saver) ..or perhaps where the cat sleeps on top of the kitchen cupboard.
I've got some loose change, if that's any help....
What is it that UK PLC owes now? 9 billion? Or is that just part of a bigger debt? Best rummage away down the back of the sofa for 50p: carrying a candle, wearing 8 layers plus a balaclava and that's looking on the bright side of things.
March 19th........ IT'S THE 20TH OF MARCH - ...and HeeeeeeeeeEEEEER'S THE BUDGET SHOW.......!!!!!!!!
............................TV ROLLING NEWS: 3 PM onwards.....
SET: Pub in the norf'; well norf of Ruislip....
CHARACTERS: BusinessMan, PublicSectorWorker, UnemployedPerson
REPORTER:' We've seen more cuts in the public sector - but private companies are not stepping in...................'
...................................MR Wealthfilstersdown: ..
......'That's not strictly fair; we're doing all we can. Now they're paying Chinese workers too much over THERE (they ALL have satellite TV - don't talk to me about poverty) .....we're moving our manufacturing back here. SEE - we're doing our bit.......
If they cut the minimum wage to 2.50 an hour - we'd hire EVERY jobless sponger in the UK (sneers.......).... hmmm child labour's not a bad option either...
REPORTER:' If the country hasn't got the cash to fund public services, then you've got to make cuts?'
...................................MR. Looktoth Estate:........................ '...If it wasn't for the BANKERS ruining everything, the BANKERS causing all the problem, the GREEDY BLOODY BANKERS, I don't KNOW a nice BANKER do you?
The bloke in my bank - he's a BANKER he's to BLAME.....'
REPORTER:' ...and how does it FEEL being out of work - what do you think of the Chancellor's plans so far?'...................................
MS/MS Despair ofemall...........................'haven't seen much of it to be honest - only came to the pub because the leccy's been cut off -
we're burning old Christmas crackers: jokes in the others were bad anyway - woman at the job centre says there's not much.
They're moving us to Wigan anyway - something about having too much room....
17th March 2013: Freedom of the press, the little black dress and not making a mess....
...at my cousin's 50th. Just LOOK at how neatly I've stacked those shelves; whilst gearing up for tomorrow's/Monday the 18th's commons vote on the press. Cameron V everyone else. This 'potpourri (lovely word) of politics and parties is called multi-tasking.
Most of us do it. I'm sure you've been there. 'What are you doing, love'? 'Oh me? Nothing really. Just grilling sausages for 12, keeping an eye on the New England Patriots, shovelling snow, checking my eldest's temperature, paying the 'phone bill and doing a facial workout.'
CROCKERY, SAVED. ALL OF US HAVE SOME SPECIAL SKILLS....
Truthfully, someone else was doing the sausages, and my sister was shovelling snow in another country. I washed up a few mugs, brushed the kids' hair, paid the 'phone bill, and did not arrange the crockery. It was someone else's and I'm secretly holding up the shelf out of shot with my left hand; hence the grimace
RED SOLE NEEDS REPLACING? YOU'VE GOT TO CROSS THE CHANNEL
The commons' vote was not a huge talking point: but we did smuggling, those shoes with the red sole, 'you can only get that darned sole replaced in France,' she told me. I've always wanted a pair......using felt tip on the bottom of well worn boots really does not work; I was just about to mention 'utilities,' (got this thing about the soaring price of everything,) figured that might be like watching paint dry, so changed my mind. We did Eastenders instead. Or was it Holby City? The one where the doc with the high cheekbones might have an ectopic.
Party was great, the Hammersmith and City line was working and no-one had nicked my new to me boy racer fiesta. Now I'm looking forward to statutes, last minute deals, and everyone shouting in the House of Commons.
CLICK TOP LEFT 'CATFORD BLOG 2' - FOR BLOGS ON:
* Wanting a Brazilian, but getting an Argentinian....
* Side Effects - the movie : great on drugs, depression, doctors AND drama
* The Viagra economy: just needs a bit of extra help...
Top left, Catford blog 2.