Ramblings about travel, scooters, music, living in London and anything else that comes to mind.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

A timely reminder

Yesterday marked 20 years since the Chinese army gunned down hundreds, if not thousands of its own people in Tiananmen Square, Beijing.

I watched the BBC's coverage with great interest as the event back in 1989 had a really big effect on my teenage self. As a 14 year-old I was just getting into music, girls and going out but the Chinese fight for democracy in their capital was perhaps the first time I felt I was consciously witnessing history in the making and when it ended in mass bloodshed the first time that got a real sense of the terrible injustice and cruelty man can inflict on itself.

As the various survivors talked about the horrible events of June 4 and Kate Adie described their 20 years of exile, harassment and persecution it made me think about how lucky I am.

The political system in the UK has come under strong criticism in recent weeks with the expenses scandal, the electorate's seeming inexorable increasing apathy and powerlessness.

But as I watched the programme about Kate Adie's return to China, thought about my recent trip to China and how despite the massive increase in material wealth that some of the people in the country how politically powerless the were I noticed my polling card on my coffee table.

I always try and vote, even in local elections as these are. But that polling card reminded me that no matter how bleak it can seem in Britain at times I can always cast my vote to get someone elected and if necessary stand myself.

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Sunday, May 24, 2009

Summer's here

I had the very ill fortune of working this weekend. Unlike the last time we had a Bank Holiday weekend in England the weather this time round has been stunning.

While everyone has been out and about, meeting up with friends and generally having fun in the sun I've been cooped up in an office.

Last night I decided to BBQ my dinner despite the fact that I was on my own.

After grilling and then eating some very tasty food I sat in my small garden and enjoyed a Cuban cigar and a long vodka. As the sun went down and I made serious dent in my Monte Cristo Edmundo my thoughts went back to the time I was house sitting for a friend in Battersea and spent a lot of time out in the garden of an evening.

I had just had my big relationship break up and was lying low. Regularly I used to sit outside with a nice glass of red and a cigar (Monte Cristo number 3 I've obviously gone up in the world) and watch the sun go down.

Despite the fact that my heart had been broken and my life was in flux the one thing I remember distinctly about those evening was the sense of calm I had. As the ash slowly grew on my cigar I remember feeling as though I could take anything that was ahead of me.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Tired, tired, tired...

Working shifts is really getting me down at the moment.I'm on my second day of earlies and although the fact it is a really pleasant day outside I'm sat on my sofa in a near catatonic state.

Do stay in this twilight state of consciousness for the next four hours and hope that I can get a good night sleep then? Or do I get forty winks now, enabling me to get a little bit of energy to go for a run and sort things around the flat, but with the possibility that I might not sleep until very late?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Cometh the hour, cometh the man...

Well, it's almost upon, the inauguration of America's 44th president when Barack Obama becomes the man.

I'm working this afternoon but thankfully as we have TVs everywhere at the office I'll be able to watch it, as long as nothing major happens in the world of local news.

I remember watching Bill Clinton's inauguration in 2001 when Maya Angelou read the poem On the Pulse of Morning. That was very affecting but somehow I think this ceremony is going to be a little bit more historic. A very important day for the US and the rest of the world.

I wish everyone well who is going to be in Washington. I would have been there if, I had my leave booked, I hadn't had to spend a fortune on moving house at short notice just before Christmas.

I'm sure Barack Obama's writers have been working overtime to make sure his speech hits just the right note. But is anyone out there secretly hoping that after President Obama is sworn in Public Enemy take the stage and sing Fight The Power?

Just me. Oh well. Here's to Change...


Sunday, November 23, 2008

My new Mac!

I'm fully aware that I'm being very geeky but I'm so pleased with my new Apple Mac! I've been without my own fully functioning laptop now for about eight months so the purchase has been long overdue. It's super quick and an object of absolute beauty.

Even the fact that I bought it just before Gordon Brown announced a cut in VAT hasn't taken the shine of my delight.

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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

You, Me and Everyone Else

It's been an interesting few weeks, what with the Credit Crunch really starting to bite.

My grasp of economic theory was never the best while I was doing my business degree (I got a BA Hons in Business Communication) so I don't know whether the government's announcement that it is to go ahead with a large number of public works will see an end to monetarists economics and a return to Keynesian economics or not. So I'm only going to make observational comments.

As I don't work in the banking industry, have large savings or own a house it hasn't as yet directly affected me.

And as the housing boom that preceded the crunch meant that I, a single potential housing buyer, was pushed out of the market I should be sitting her smugly enjoying the fruits of every one's greed.

But despite the fact that I think on a very basic level greed did precipitate some of the problems I don't think thew investment bankers or the property developers who helped super inflate the housing market are anymore to blame than the rest of us.

I think we are all guilty of thinking that we could have everything now and we are entitled to everything getting better.

Over the past 15 years I've gone from being someone who saved and waited to buy things to someone who ran up moderate credit card debts and I think I'm fairly sensible with my money.

The fact is we are all responsible for the greed that has driven the recent economic bubble. Greed that blinded us all to historical facts about capitalism - all booms turn to bust and markets left completely unbridled favour the few rather than the many.

Now we have to face up to our responsibilities, however hard that is, and rather than play the blame game accept the forthcoming hardship and try and help to put it right - the bankers, governments and us.

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Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Can't Sleep!

I'm sat in bed typing this on my iPhone in the knowledge that I have to be at work in less than five hours time and my stupid brain won't quieten itself sufficiently to allow me to sleep. Which is all very ironic as I had planned to update my blog with a post about dreams.

I was riding back from a Manchester to Kent on Sunday and I went past a housing estate somewhere off the A5 in the midlands which I instantly recognized from a dream.

It was a late 60s to late 70s development - brick built homes with strategically placed part wooden facades, wide roads for cars and lots of grass and conifer and pine trees. If you've ever seen the film of Farenheit 451 you'd probably see the similarities with those houses and the one Montag lives in.

Anyhow, as I sped past on my Vespa the image from a dream I must have had in the past year jumped straight to the forefront of my mind. In the dream the houses were very much the same but the road going past was a three-lane highway rather than the single one it was in real life and the sky was burnished bronze rather than a flat grey.

As I've only been down this road once before it struck me as quite strange that one night my mind decided to dredge up that fleeting image and see fit to incorporate it into a dream, the rest of which I don't remember.

It got me thinking... If that image was taken from real life than the various strangers that appear in my dreams could be based on people I shared tube train with when I first came to London as a young boy. Have I met you the reader of my ramble in the past and will you feature in my dreams tonight and will my mind slightly alter reality so you have a bigger head or different coloured hair?

To be honest I'm sure you'd rather not know! Ha ha.

Good night....

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