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Richard Ashcroft

Lyn and I went to a Richard Ashcroft gig at the o2 last night. Truth be told, I didn't know much about him, but L said he was in a band called The Verve, a name I vaguely recognised from my school days. It was nevertheless a great night: although the dude was wearing such thick sunglasses that I wondered how he could see in the dark of the arena, he is a really good musician, banging out some great alternative rock tunes. His anthemic They Don't Own Me was especially rousing. Sat there at the back of the arena, munching on fudge, it was hard not to get carried away with it all. I also felt a twinge of nostalgia for the nineties: I remember hearing those songs being played on the radio in the taxi on my way to school.

A great night then. We got home about midnight, heads buzzing with tunes. It really is awesome to have such a great, great music venue just around the corner.

The card

You know, it's the small things in life, those almost minute touches of interpersonal contact, that amid all this growing rage and hate, despite all the current effort to get us caring only for ourselves, that remind one that humanity, for all it's faults, is basically good. Lyn and I were just in the park, at the cafe, having a spot of latte lunch. The usual guys were there with their dogs. We ate and chatted, generally relaxing. Things were on my mind; I had been writing and needed the break.

We spent an hour or so there, and it would soon be time to go. Something astonishing then happened: Sonia, one of the waitresses, came out and gave us all Christmas cards. I was touched: we go there quite often, so we now know everyone there quite well; but for them to go to the effort of doing that, showing that they value us not just as customers but as people, as friends, was deeply moving. These days we're all being encouraged to see one another as rivals - we are supposed to compete, to fight, and to not give a damn about anyone but ourselves. It was only a small gesture perhaps, but it shows that some people are still resisting that force: some of us still care; some of us still value people not as potential profit but as people. As long as we hang on to that glimmer of humanity, the encroaching forces of darkness cannot prevail.

The big life fix

Although it will only be online for thirty days or so, and although I have a quibble with it's use of the term 'fix' as it implies something is broken, I think I'll flag this bbc programme up. The Big Life Fix was on last night; we caught the end of it, having been out, so I just rewatched it. I think it's great. It's about how technology can improve people's lives, including articles on bringing internet access to remote welsh villages and remedying the judder people with alzheimer's experience with a special wrist strap. Thus it touched on disability, and struck me as strongly advocating the social model. We were also fairly chuffed to see Ross Aitkin, one of the guys who created the Lynstrument , on it as part of the team. interesting stuff, then, and I'm now quite looking forward to next week's programme.


[Edited 08/12/2016 at 16:28:33 - added a bit]

A beautiful process

I watched something magical happen yesterday - something small, yet truly amazing. In our living room, Lyn has an Ipad set up on the table, not far from the sofa where I laze. She usually does her composing in the conservatory - her studio - but yesterday it took her fancy to create a bit of music in the living room. That, after all, was where her coffee was. From my sofa I watched her, first tapping a simple rhythm into the music app, then slowly building on it; she made it repeat again and again, each time adding a note or two. The overall effect was a piece of music being built up over time. It sounded like a song in itself, and it stuck me that it - the process - was itself beautiful enough to be recorded. The way Lyn made the song emerge piece by piece, adding to the repeating pattern note by note, captivated me. I was quite awed by it's stunning beauty, and wanted that moment recorded forever.

The rise of rage

My rages are getting worse. These days, whenever the smug, grinning face of Nigel Farage appears on tv, I fly into the most almighty storm of anger. Last night it was particularly bad: he was on Channel four news debating the current state of the EU with Ken Clarke, and seemed to shrug off any point Clarke put to him with such arrogance that I wanted to kill the scumbag with every fibre of my being. I was shaking with rage; rarely, if ever, have I been so angry. This man has completely fucked the country through his xenophobic views; he wants to do away with equality legislation, our rights and freedoms in order to impose a laizzes-faire economy based on greed on us. He should be in jail as far as I'm concerned, but he seems to regard himself as a hero, a great man who has freed us all from a tyranny.

It seems, however, that I'm not the only one to get so pissed off: such anger is now gripping us all. Whereas cordial, respectful debate used to be the norm, insults are now being hurled left, right and centre. Everyone is getting angrier and angrier, no matter what side of politics you're on. With me it finds voice in my blog entries, but I fear people will soon start venting their rage by other, more physically violent means. While others have speculated that this is a result of the rise of social media, I also think the advent of strong, divisive personalities like farage and trump has played a part. Both men stand for something we should all find totally abhorrent, yet there they are, glorying in success and cheered on by hate-filled racists and ultra conservatives who almost venerate them.

The result is the polarisation of politics where everyone sorts themselves into two camps, each quite literally disposing the other. I find it sickening, and I think others do. I'm sure others feel the rage I do; we're all experiencing such fits of white hot, incontrollable anger on both sides of the debate, torn apart by opposing ideologies. I think this is a very, very dangerous state of affairs. The question is, where will all this anger lead? If history is anything to go by, society is currently heading somewhere truly dark.


[Edited 06/12/2016 at 10:48:20 - minor correction]
[Edited 06/12/2016 at 13:44:52 - Added a bit]
[Edited 06/12/2016 at 17:05:04 - added a bit]