Wednesday, 22 October 2008

We apologise for the lack of news

It's been a tough week, at work and home - I came down with what is euphemistically called "Man Flu" on Friday and basically felt like crap most of the weekend. Fine in the morning, tired by the early evening and aching and shivering by bedtime. An ancient family sure (hot toddies and paracetamol an hour later) eventually did the trick, but I had so much to do this weekend there was no way I could do the sensible thing and retire to bed. Hey ho.

Doreen saw her consultant last Thursday, and is now on the waiting list for her last operation, to reduce her other breast, replace the temporary implant with a permanent one, and tattoo on a false nipple. Two days in hospital and rest after, but that should be it. That should be end of January, but before that she has the first of her now annual mammograms.

Work is a minefield of legal documents, course preparations and plain boredom at times. I know it will get better - it usually does - but it will take time.

Speaking of which, next week we're taking the holiday we should have had this summer but never got round to. Away for the weekend, then I'll take the boys places Tuesday and Wednesday. I have to go to a day-long meeting Thursday, so Firday is a family day out again. We all need this break, so I hope it's a relaxing one.

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Songs we like to forget (part 3)

Continuing songs that loomed large in my youth, and yet I look back and think "Why?"

Only, for this first example, I know why. This is the song that kept "Vienna" off the number one spot in the UK, and for that he will always be remembered as the one who proved UK music buyers are strange people. Ladies and gentlemen - Joe Dolci.

The Seventies were truly a strange time for music in the UK, and one prime example of that has to be the success of the Wombles in the charts. Here is one of the more acceptable examples - Minuetto Allagretto.

I don't want to give the impression, by the way, that all seventies silly songs were bad. The following is an example from the top selling song writer in the UK of 1975 - Funky Gibbon.

A big part of my youth was watching Top Of The Pops, and a big part of that was watching Pan's People, the in-house dance group. Here's two examples o fthem at their silliest - first, Leo Sayer's Get Down.

And now doin' The Hustle.

The Scaffold next, with Lily The Pink. The Scaffold went on to greater things. The man with the glasses is Roger McGough, former Children's Laureate and poet. In the middle is John Gorman, poet and comedian. The big man is Mike McGear, Paul McCartney's brother....

Finally for today, The Four Bucketeers with The Bucket of Water song.

Monday, 13 October 2008

I believe

My friend Howard Bagby in his blog (In Purple I'm Stunning) challenge us to write down ten things we believe in. Here's my response.

1. I Believe in a creator God, in whose hands all things were created with the capacity to change and survive. That's why I don't have much time for the "Creationism vs Evolution" debate - to me, the answer is somewhere in the middle.

2. I Believe that he sent his only son, Jesus Christ, to die for our sins and allow us to be reconciled with God through him. If that makes me sound like a loonie, so be it - but I know it's true.

3. I Believe that, just as there is a creator God, there is a spiritual being that we could call the Devil, who is at the heart and root of all that is wrong in this world. When people ask "Why does God allow bad things to happen", I tend to answer "I'm not sure, but he allows the Devil to walk amongst us."

4. I Believe that everyone has the right to live the life and have the belief system they chose, within the rules of society. Note that's society with a small "s" - I'm in no position to judge them, after all.

5. I Believe, having said that, that we should accept the consequences of our own actions, and seek to help those who need help. "Do unto others" is one way of looking at this - the other is "Let me get this plank out of my eye first."

6. I Believe that to make good chili, you should only use good quality steak and fresh chillies.

7. I Believe that one day, I will have to answer for my life and the decisions I made - and I'm ready to do that.

8. I Believe that it is my privilege and right to bring up my sons to be a better person than I am - and to try to help them if they want me to.

9. I Believe that everyone has some good in them, even the most nasty of us. If that is not true, then mankind is indeed doomed, but I need to look hard to see ti sometimes.

10. I Believe that the answer and the question are not mutually exclusive - although they may seem to be.

Friday, 10 October 2008

Songs we like to forget (part 2)

I don't want to think about football, but bad songs always have a place in my heart. Today, I offer five samples of songs from my childhood that I look back at now and think "Why?"

First up - from 1971 it's Falkirk's finest, Middleof the Road, with "Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep". The sort of osng that made you feel good, but now you think "What the?..."

Secondly, from 1972, Jimmy Osmond. Possibly the first example of that phenomenon of the Christmas Number One being a "novelty" record. Is this the one to blame?

1976, and the original UK boys band - Our Kid.

From 1978, IIRC, the St Winifrid's School Choir with Grandma - everyone go "Awhhh"....

And for the other side, Clive Dunn (Coporal Jones in Dads Army) with Granddad in 1971

Finally, the one group that could take these songs and make them work - the Barron Knights.

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Songs we like to forget (part 1)

This weekend sees the next round fo games in the 2010 World Cup qualifiyng, so for no apparent reason it brings to mind songs issued to support Scotland in their World Cup campaigns.

As it does - and now you can share in the pain...

From 1974 - Scotland, Scotland

On to 1978 - and the truly memorable Ally's Army....

1982, and the wonder that is I Have A Dream - soon to be re-recorded as a charity song...

Forward to 1998 - and the most prophetic (or is that pathetic) team song, Don't come home too soon.

Why I'm doing this I don't know - but if you're not careful I may find the English songs for tomorrow......

Monday, 6 October 2008

Keeping the faith

I'm still reading the book, but a couple of things over the last few days took me into a few sidetracks.

Coming into work, I usually have the pleasure of taking one train to an interchange, then waiting for the connecting one to my station for my office. That connecting one also goes the way the first one does, but at that time in the morning it's quicker just to get on the first one and wait at the interchange. Sometimes I get the through train, sometimes not, but the station announcer always says to get the first train "and change as necessary."

As I looked out of the window, I noticed people who I KNOW get the second train I get just standing and waiting, and I started to wonder why they did that. Were they so ingrained in their habits that they always did the same thing, even if it took more time?

Then I thought, how true is that of other things in our life? We get into a routine, into a habit, and never break out of it, however much we try.

One of my habits, however, is taking slights personally, and that is doubly true of Doreen. This weekend, she was at a woman's retreat for our church when she was asked "Did you enjoy the Baby Shower last week?"

Our pastor's son and his wife live across the road from us, and it transpired they had had a baby shower for her a week past Saturday, to which the women of the church had been identified.

Everyone except Doreen.

What's worse is this is the second time this has happened this year. In the first case, she wasn't invited but we did hear about it, and she sent a gift. This time we didn't even hear about it - and with all that's happened that hurt. A lot.

It hurt me too - so much that I did something yesterday I haven't done for over twenty years - got up and left a service, because I felt I couldn't worship without getting this off my chest. The pastor, bless him, came out and had a word with me, and was shocked at what had happened, but it still hurts that people can be so casually cruel at times.

The funny thing is, they probably thought someone else had given her an invite, so that nobody did. And if you get that line, join me in screaming in exasperation.