Wednesday 29 June 2016
I haven’t yet mentioned my musical day on Sunday, which saw me playing three different ‘gigs’. The first was at church, so relatively easy music, a very forgiving setting and, when things are going right, nobody is really listening too closely as my role is to support their musical expression of worship rather than to draw attention to myself.
In the afternoon, I headed down to a private party near Clifton Hampden for a jazz gig. Then back again to pick up the vital amp lead I forgot and back to the gig – fortunately a fairly informal affair. The quartet was keys, trombone, alto sax and bass and I had the pleasure – and challenge – of playing with some very accomplished musicians. No such thing as a set list or rehearsals as we just took turns in picking tunes. We did some standards, I had a chance to get ready on some of the tunes I knew were coming up for my evening gig and there was also a flow of tunes I’ve not played much or at all before. Slightly seat of the pants but we even had some of the crowd dancing in the rain before the end!
Finally, I carried on down to Reading to guest with another group at The Jolly Anglers. There was a set list for this but I’d had minimal time to prepare apart from the playing I’d done earlier in the afternoon. It was a great event though with a friendly and appreciative crowd and I enjoyed laying down a strong foundation and sometimes ripping out a good solo, certainly after we’d got past the second track (Night in Tunisia – lovely but hinging on the bass riff so a bit of pressure there).
All done and a good chance to keep my jazz muscles stretched and growing.
Tuesday 28 June 2016
Long running Radio 4 show, I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue, revels in the ridiculous but now and then still manages to hit a poignant note. That’s what struck me last night during the ‘One Song to the Tune of Another’ round when Anarchy in the UK was the source for the lyrics.
The comic juxtaposition of words and music often brings across meanings that get lost in the familiarity of the original. Hearing the angry rantings of The Sex Pistols made me reflect on how the song is more relevant than I’m comfortable with in the setting of the contemporary UK; in particular, I’m shocked and disturbed by the spike in hate crimes against immigrants since the Brexit vote.
I don’t think you should listen to the show expecting careful satire as part of the regular diet but I think you should always keep your ear out for different strands that form unexpected chords, on the radio and beyond.
Monday 27 June 2016
My blogging has a workflow for wider dissemination: blog to Twitter to Facebook. Once I publish a post, it is sent to Twitter by a plugin (WP to Twitter) and anything I tweet (either via the blog or directly) gets echoed to Facebook. On yesterday’s post, I tried a new trick for the first time, putting an @ handle (@NicolaSturgeon in this case) in the title and, sure enough, it gets picked up by Twitter. So, now I have a route for inviting conversation directly to blog posts, although Holyrood hasn’t got back to me yet.
Sunday 26 June 2016
I’ve got a cunning plan although I think I might be too late publishing it to stop wheels turning in other directions. What about if Scotland negotiated to remain part of the EU?
On the back of Scotland having unanimously voted that way in the EU Referendum, and thus being on the losing side, there are strong machinations to have a second ‘once in a lifetime’ vote about Scottish independence, a few years after the previous one. I can see the logic of that but I think there could be a better way to play the game.
If Scotland, clearly a country in its own right, approached the EU not about whether it might be able to join if it left the UK but if it might be able to stay, that could change the game. Now if the rest of the UK wanted full independence from Europe it would have to raise the hand to sever the ties of the Union (and could take the blame for any difficulties). Meanwhile, it might provide the rest of the UK a way to climb back in if our £350 million a week and all those other promises from the leavers don’t materialise. It even strengthens the EU by tying it into the fabric of the continent at a lower level.
Just an idea ….
Saturday 25 June 2016
I was up late on Thursday night not because of politics but because of hedgehogs. Driving back home past 11pm we spotted something in the road near where we live. As we got closer, it became apparent that it was a hedgehog and that it wasn’t moving out of the way. Pulling to the side, it turned out it must have been knocked by an earlier car and was injured, although we couldn’t really see how much. I used a cloth from the car to help pick it up and move it to the pavement and we decided to take it home and see what we could do to help further.
First we put it in a shallow box in the back garden in a sheltered area near our pallet-based bench. Then we checked the Internet and discovered that we should have put it in a steeper sided box and contacted a 24-hour vet. There was a small challenge in that it had crawled under the bench but, with thick gloves, I was able to encourage it out. In better light – and an escape proof box – we could see that it was expelling flecks of blood as it snuffled and had some kind of head trauma but we aren’t experts so we arranged to take it straight to a vet (Medivet … up in Woodstock). The took it in and we won’t know whether they were able to treat and release it or decided to put it down but I think it was the best we could do.
It was rather a sad evening but, returning home, there was another hedgehog on our drive! I went and stood near it while Jane drove in – it stayed cautiously still while I was near and then retreated safely into the bushes when the car came up. Sensible thing! It is a shame the first one had been injured but at least there are more in the area – the second sighting was a lovely gift to end the evening on a better note than otherwise might have been.
Friday 24 June 2016
Sorry European Union. We managed to get the least desirable of results in our referendum, close but on the side that commits us to irrevocable divorce and with wide disparity in the results, particularly Scotland coming down remain in every area. Unfortunately there is no cooling off period for this decision; it will take a long time to implement but we have to stick with it.
Even if it turns out we don’t stop immigration and get £350 million a week to play with and the suggested new NHS hospital each week. I like a lot of things about living in the future but I am concerned that we’ve picked the wrong branch to travel along. Time to see how those who gulled the populace with promises live up to them.
Thursday 23 June 2016
I confidently predict … that this will be my last pre EU Referendum blog post. I expect I’ll probably be back on the topic in the next couple of days either celebrating or bemoaning the result. I know what I want the result to be but wouldn’t want to guess which way it will turn out.
I’ve already popped down to the local polling station and was pleased to see a good flow of people passing through even in the short time I was there. If you are eligible to vote and haven’t already done so by post, you now have about fourteen hours (at time of writing) to get out and do that. Even if you’re determined to give the wrong answer!