June 2021

June already.

The year is flying by. We have passed the longest day and now the days are getting shorter. It hardly feels as though summer has even arrived yet. Maybe there’s a treat waiting for us just down the road a while.

Meanwhile, due to the complete and utter mismanagement by the government, we can no longer go to our beloved Cropredy festival in August. After all that bollocky hoo har about borders and taking back control, they utterly failed to do so and allowed twenty thousand people to enter the country from India where the Delta variant was spreading like wildfire. They deny it, of course, they deny everything, but the fact of the matter is that they have completely failed the UK population and the entertainment business in particular. Even when restrictions are lifted, it is still virtually impossible to tour Europe anymore. Sure, big names will be able to suck up the extra expense but I have a few friends who regularly went abroad to perform and they have no idea how they are going to manage that now. They have to pay tax on every item of merchandise they take across and, when they return, they can claim it back for those items not sold. No small enterprise has that much money sloshing about unused. And we all know how easy it is to claim tax back. 

And now we have the latest scandal from the government. The secretary of state for health finds it impossible to keep his todger in his trousers. Even when he knows that there is a camera and that he is perfectly visible to it. Despite the fact that he was behaving like an absolute shit and ignoring all his own rules at a time when we weren’t allowed to hug family members, do we really want people who are that thick trying to run the country? And then his boss claimed that he’d accepted his apology and the ‘matter was closed’ only to then claim that he had acted quickly and installed a replacement. A replacement that until recently was working for JP Morgan (and probably still is) who are actively campaigning for a private health insurance system to replace the NHS. So that’s alright then.

I wasn’t going to moan this month but the amount of nonsense going down can hardly be ignored.

Okay, we’re doing alright on the vaccination front and the kids will be breaking up from school quite soon. That should reduce figures significantly. But then I worry that the 19th July will be adhered to regardless of any common sense and that, by autumn, we’ll be back where we were before. I can hear Johnson now claiming that ‘everything will be okay for Christmas’. He couldn’t make a decision to save his life. And, does anyone know who his mistress is now? The post has been vacant for some weeks.

In other news:

I’ve bought myself a new MacBook Pro. Well, my mum bought it for me really. We lost her just this time last year. My last one was bought in 2009 when I went back to university to do the degree that I’d never got round to doing and which my dad always begged me to get on with. So I did it, mainly in his memory but also for myself, and I thought it would be nice to have a quality piece of kit to help me. It was expensive but brilliant to work with. And it’s lasted well, that old machine; still looks good and still works amazingly well. Unfortunately, the operating system can no longer be updated so there’s very little I can actually do on it. It’s fine for typing but many applications simply won’t operate anymore. No videos play from news outlets, no longer able to display social media platforms. There is an almost constant kernel task running that’s taking up eighty to ninety percent of the processor. It’s all very frustrating. Plus, it can’t cope with the speeds that are demanded of it now. So, a new one was bought. It will be interesting to see if it can live up to the reputation of its older sibling. My original MacBook was bought two years before Steve Jobs died and I’m not sure the company is maintaining the quality that he demanded.

Of course, there are downsides to a new machine. Although it’s an all singing, all dancing, thoroughly efficient piece of kit, I can no longer use my preferred version of Apple’s Pages software. It was updated some years ago and resembles more of an app than a word processing package so I reinstalled the original 2008 Pages. Sadly, that simply won’t run on my new machine so I am having to come to terms with what is, in my opinion, a much less sophisticated piece of software. iWeb has gone, too, so I will have to use the old machine to update my website or learn to use something else. I’m also prevented from using iPhoto and now have to use the equally less sophisticated Photos. I can’t create events anymore and navigating by date is just hard work. Photos will also not cooperate with Flickr’s auto-uploader. Which is a bit shit as my iPhone SE 2020 certainly does. Who knows whose fault it is? I had standalone versions of Microsoft Office and Photoshop that no longer operate properly. I think Office is a lost cause but I’m still grappling with Photoshop. So, super fast with its M1 processor, super stylish and super light with a display that is astonishing in its clarity but I’ve had to undergo life changes. I don’t expect sympathy, I have a brand new MacBook Pro.

I’ve been reading George Orwell’s ‘The Road to Wigan Pier’ and it has occurred to me that some of his observations might explain many of the things that challenge our society today. It was written in the early twentieth century when the social class system was far more in evidence than it is today. At the bottom, the miner or steelworker or dole drawer who lived in abject poverty and then the middle classes above them who, for all their airs and graces (and probably double the income), were just as much if not more of a wage slave than the common labourer. Today, we don’t have that extreme difference in the way most people exist. Okay, there are plenty of poor people but, generally, if someone is in work, then they can manage relatively well (I am aware that I am completely  ignoring in-work poverty here). The thing is, it’s quite normal for a manual worker to take a holiday abroad or run a car or build an extension to their house. Areas of extreme poverty and degradation don’t really exist anymore as they did in the 1930’s. Not in huge, sprawling areas of the city. Orwell talks about how the middle classes would often become socialists or even communists but would hold on to their middle class ways like maintaining cleanliness and avoiding harsh accent or dialect. And the working classes would taunt the middle classes in the street. Even so far as physically attacking them. What struck me was his frequent use of the word ‘hate’. Orwell discusses the absolute hate that existed between these classes and how it became almost tribal. We have, I think, lost that. There are fabulously rich people and incredibly poor people but they are extremes. The average Joe in the street is indistinguishable with regards wealth. So that tribalism has largely disappeared. It is recreated in football with bewildering (to none football fans) levels of hatred between different teams. And I think it is this need for tribal conflict that was taken advantage of (and still is being) by the people in government. I think someone listened at school (and maybe read the same book as I am) and recognised that there was an opportunity to use this desire to ‘hate’, to despise the ‘other’ in order to create division in the British people and to push an extreme agenda that benefits the rich but still satisfies the relatively poor. I thought racism and now left versus right was a new thing that had suddenly re-emerged but maybe it was just snoozing. Waiting for the right set of circumstances to get it all roiling again.

It’s just a theory. And it might be blindingly obvious to some. A sort or ‘of course it is, have you only just noticed?’ kind of thing. Or I may be way out. This is a blog, not a thesis. It’s just that I am always surprised by the readiness of some to take sides in such an extreme manner. Like the man bawling at Jo Cox’s sister the other day in the street or the anti-vaxxers screaming outside Chris Whitty’s house calling him a traitor and a murderer. How on earth do you get to that point?

I have no answers, as usual. But it depresses me. We should be living in an improving world and yet, at times, it feels quite the opposite is true.

Anyway, I’ve tried to lighten all this a little by punctuating with spring pictures.

So, everybody stay safe and maybe pay a visit to my Website

See you in July when there will hopefully be better news.