Meanwhile, there are new treats to be had. Nice, sparkly, previously unheard of treats. Spotify, no less, thought I might like to listen to Siobhan Wilson, and who am I to argue with Spotify? I’m glad I took the time. She’s wonderful.
I’m looking forward to the release of David Gilmour’s “Live at Pompeii” 45 years on. Even if your toes tend to curl at the mention of Pink Floyd (mine don’t, by the way) you have to give ten out of ten for perseverance. These days, Gilmour reminds me of an old fella who loves to tinker in his shed, emerging from time to time with an all-too-familiar item, lovingly restored and good for a few more circuits of the block. Pompeii might well be a Gdansk in Greek clothing, but I don't care. Besides, who knows what he may have found lurking in his shed?
I don’t have a faith, as such. “What, no spiritual security?” you ask. Well, in the absence of an invisible friend, I take my comfort from statements like “half our bodies' atoms were formed beyond the Milky Way.”
When I was about four, my mother told me that if I wasn’t a good boy, god would know about it. He was everywhere, could see everything, knew what everyone was up to. Initially I remember feeling sorry for god. He must have found it very hard work to keep tabs on everything in this way. But a few short years later, when my father walked out on us, I decided that god had fallen down on the job. Maybe he just dozed off while the love of my mother’s life was playing away from home. Whatever his excuse, it wasn’t good enough. So there you are. Another atheist was made.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not anti-religion. I just don’t have it in me to undertake a leap of faith. I’ve listened carefully to various cases for believing, but to take that route would, for me, be merely hedging my bets.
I’m content as I am. Happy with the idea that our lives are sparks of intense light, between two great “unknowns”. That’ll do.
I’ve watched more tennis than is healthy for me. Now we’re at the point where the best matches have been played out, and the outcomes of the finales are probably academic.
TV, eh? It can be a killer. I know it’s long been a target for the accusatory fingers of those who lay society’s ills at its doorstep. Who knows? Maybe our windows on a world that is at once, both scheduled and repeatable, will ultimately be our undoing. It struck me, today, how our viewing habits have possibly altered one aspect of our social life. Remember how it was before the VHS? If you didn’t stay in to watch it, you simply missed it, and moved on. Someone at work would enquire, “Hey, see so-and-so last night?” You’d respond with , “Nah, I was out. Good?”
Now if you’re asked, “Hey, see so-and-so last night?” your response will most likely include putting fingers in ears, pulling a face, and whining, “Argh, no spoilers! I’m gonna watch on catch-up tonight.”
Hell. Makes you want to do a spot of forest bathing, doesn’t it? What? Forest bathing? Never heard of it? Ah, you probably know it better as a walk in the woods. Or, as the Japanese say, “shinrin-yoku”. Take a look here.
Oh, and before I sign off, a Facebook friend recently put out the question, “World’s greatest drummer? Opinions?”
I can think of loads, but apart from John Bonham and Ginger Baker, this one sprang to mind. Gary Powell isn't the world's greatest drummer, but he ain't half bad. Feel free to name your own candidates.
Rossi admits the death came as a shock.
"But once you get over that shock... do you shed tears?" I asked.
"People will be surprised at that, Francis," I said.
"I didn't cry when my mother died. I didn't cry when my father died. – Interview with Ian Woods, Sky News.
Of course, people will point the finger at Francis Rossi and accuse him of being hard-hearted or overly macho. But I don’t believe that’s fair. I come straight out of the same mould. I get moved, I feel emotion, but I process grief in a tearless way. The last time I cried, uncontrollably, was 18 years ago, after we had our dog put down. I woke at 04:30 the day after and just dissolved. When I went to pay the vet’s bill, I broke down again. But I haven’t shed a single teardrop at the loss of close family and friends. I’m sure there’s a psychological explanation, but who cares? We are what we are, aren’t we?
Anyway, from one basic emotion to another. It’s International Kissing Day! Who knew? My favourite line in this item, carried by the Guardian, is Mona Chalabi’s response to this:
Q: What if they don’t like the way I kiss?
A: When in doubt, don’t lick someone.
I didn’t know that Jacob Rees-Mogg was a father to six children, did you? Apparently the most recent arrival, a little lad, has been named Sixtus Dominic Boniface Christopher. There’s a name to send you into a spin!
Sixtus is a named shared by five popes. The most recent, in 1590. Bet you’re glad I told you that. The closest I could get was Sixto Rodriguez, aka ‘Sugarman’. A class act.
Another class act, and I’ve only just become familiar with him, is Johnny Flynn. Fellow ‘Detectorists’ devotees will probably know that he sings the theme song, and appears as Johnny Piper in episode three of the first series.
So my ears are full of Sillion at the moment. No, not the shiny soil that’s been turned by the plough. But Johnny’s current album. Well worth a listen.
The Rees-Moggs probably had to go deep for Sixtus. Finding ‘Sugarman’ was quite a task. But “Sillion” has risen to the surface with ease.
I’m not really a fan of Springwatch, or any of the other Watches broadcast by the BBC. I am a fan of the turning seasons, and all the magic they bring with them. So it’s probably more to do with the television presentation, or presenters, or a bit of both.
But I was drawn to this article, entitled ‘The true magic behind the beasts of Harry Potter’. Probably because it mentioned the name of the boy wizard, and I thought it might be of interest to our grandchildren, all fans of Hogwarts, its staff and students.
The photographs are great, and the subjects majestic. Did I mention magical?
Each shot is prefaced with a short blurb with reference to fact and fiction. Which got me thinking. You don’t see many Hippos hereabouts. The river Dun, which runs close by, supports a range of wildlife, no doubt. But nothing as exotic as a river horse. But what if…?