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2019 – Must I Evolve?

January 3rd, 2020 · Posted by Skuds in Music

Now we are firmly into 2020 (Happy New Year BTW) it is time to increment my 1962 onwards playlist by another tune.

Deciding what to put on there was a tough decision because there was so much good music last year, and I got to listen to a lot more music than I normally would. As I mentioned in an earlier post, what I listened to the most in 2019 was Hall & Oates’ Rich Girl, according to Spotify, but that is a bit of a red herring. There was so much more to the year, and to my experience of it, than that… [Read more →]

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Best Christmas ever?

December 26th, 2019 · Posted by Skuds in Life

It is possible that yesterday was the best Christmas ever. It went a bit pear-shaped after midnight when the dog threw up over the bedroom floor, but that was after midnight so doesn’t count.

It started with a bit of a lie-in of course. Nothing too excessive, but the sort of thing we could only dream of when we had youngsters in the house. Traditionally this is the day when its OK to have a chocolate selection box for breakfast, but I opted for corn flakes instead, though I did have a couple of Celebrations as a chaser.

The weather was absolutely brilliant. Lovely clear skies and bright sun. We went out for a long walk with the dogs and it was quite eerie to see the empty roads around Manor Royal but so peaceful without all those cars everywhere. Despite the quietness, the buses were absolutely packed out, no doubt full of airport workers coming off their shift.

After the walk we had roast leg of lamb, which was  also perfect – sprouts, parsnip, mint sauce, everything you could want. It was so good we couldn’t face having the Christmas pud that I went out to get specially the day before to replace the one we have had knocking around for about three years and never got round to eating before it expired.

During the evening I broke with another tradition, the one where I usually end up having no alcohol over the entire holiday season, and had a couple of pina coladas while watching the John Wick 3 blu ray with Jayne.

There is a lot to be said for living in an empty nest and being able to do what you want, when you want!

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Thinking television thoughts

December 25th, 2019 · Posted by Skuds in Life

I have been watching old episodes of Scorpion on Netflix over the last couple of weeks. It is a very annoying programme for several reasons, but quite entertaining. Apparently it was supposed to be a sort of drama version of Big Bang Theory, but I would have described it as like a group of MacGyvers – except I have never seen MacGyver so I’m only really assuming that works as an analogy. [Read more →]

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Thinking Christmassy thoughts

December 25th, 2019 · Posted by Skuds in Life, Music

I don’t think its a secret that I am not a fan of Christmas. I’m not ashamed of that, not proud, it just is what it is. I just don’t get it or buy into all the fuss about it, but ironically I may well enjoy it more than many of the Xmas fanatics because it is a very low-stress time for me. [Read more →]

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2019 Wrapped. A few surprises

December 7th, 2019 · Posted by Skuds in Music

Spotify have this ‘wrapped’ feature where they tell you what your most listened to songs and artists are for the year. A bit premature when there is nearly a twelfth of the year left, but it is what it is. My bedtime habits do rather influence the results though. I have 30 or so playlists of about 90 minutes each for going to sleep to. They contain nothing too energetic or loud. Given that I will be listening to each playlist about 10 times on average throughout the year anything that is on one of the lists is going to skew the results a bit. It probably shouldn’t count that a lot of the songs I play I do not hear because I am asleep! [Read more →]

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The great car mystery

October 23rd, 2019 · Posted by Skuds in Life

In an effort to get more steps under my belt I have been walking a lot around the Manor Royal estate. It is supposed to be an industrial estate but the definition of industry is quite loose because you soon notice that a lot of it is given over to retail, specifically the retail of motor cars.

Just within the BID area we have main dealers for Ford, Suzuki, Mazda, VW, Mitsubishi, Peugeot, Hyundai, Lexus, Kia, Nissan, Caterham, Vauxhall, Mercedes, Jaguar, Land Rover, Toyota, Citroen and Tesla – sort of. Tesla burnt down but might be back. Elsewhere in town we have a big BMW dealer in Three Bridges, Audi in Maidenbower, and Honda in Northgate. If four wheels is too many then there is also P&H who are main dealers for Suzuki, Honda, Yamaha, Kawasaki, Ducati and KTM motorbikes. I may have missed one or two.

And what is the big mystery? There are at least 21 makes of car with a main dealer in Crawley. Fiat is not one of them, so why the bloody hell is it that you can’t cross a road without seeing one of those horrible Fiat 500s every time?

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Born A Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood

October 10th, 2019 · Posted by Skuds in Life

Last month I snapped up Trevor Noah’s autobiographical book, Born a Crime while it was the 99p Kindle deal of the day. I kind of regret that because it is very much worth the full price – currently £4.99

The book has two big things going for it: a remarkable story to tell and a very readable writing style. Part of the story is the background situation and Noah does a good job of explaining some of the details of apartheid, which are truly shocking. Obviously I remember all the fuss about apartheid in the 80’s, and probably took part in demos about it (there were so many marches and demos then it is hard to remember exactly which I was at) but now realise that I didn’t know a lot about the nitty-gritty details of it, and certainly not the human dimension that this book brings to the topic. [Read more →]

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And another thing. Or four.

October 2nd, 2019 · Posted by Skuds in Life

Following on from last night’s moan about the Guardian’s 100 best TV shows, I remembered a few other shows that really should have been in there:

Elementary – An alternative to Sherlock with a few twists: being set in New York, Doctor Watson being a woman, Moriarty also being a woman, and Sherlock’s dad heading up an evil empire being the most obvious. Decent plots, likeable characters, and the central performance from Jonny Miller being absolutely fascinating, plus some humorous touches. Best of all, there is a lot of it, rather than the measly three-episode series that Sherlock had.

Fargo – Can’t believe I forgot about this. Excellent characters and an escalating plot worthy of the film, plus some world-class psychos.

Death in Paradise – A gentle whodunnit series which survived the replacement of all the cast over time, largely because the true star is the location.

Hannah – Can’t compete with the film in terms of visuals, but extended and expanded the story very well. Did a much better job than Dusk Til Dawn which started well but then went over-complicated, getting ridiculous in season two, in the same way that Hannibal and Westworld started well but soon got bogged down.

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Best TV of the 21st Century?

October 2nd, 2019 · Posted by Skuds in Life

The Guardian has been running a series about the so-called best culture of the 21st Century. One of the articles is about the 100 best TV shows of the 21st Century. Now I am no expert in TV and I know this sort of list is designed to stir up controversy, but even so I am completely baffled by it. [Read more →]

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Holiday post mortem

September 29th, 2019 · Posted by Skuds in Life, Technology

This week we returned from a 10-day visit to Crete. It was the most boring holiday Jayne and I have ever had, but that is not a bad thing. In the past we have rented a car or quad and gone out around the island, visiting the many and varied archaeological sites, but this time we deliberately opted to just stay at the hotel and do nothing, as part of my slow recovery from that big get-rid-of-the-cancer operation. It was so tempting to just get a pair of scooters and hit the road and it took a lot of willpower to not do that. [Read more →]

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