One of my photos

Food, glorious food

January 3rd, 2019 · Posted by Skuds in Life

Things are very much looking up as far as food is concerned. In the summer I was finding it increasingly harder to eat. More and more things became impossible, until I got to the point where all I could manage was Weetabix and soup, and then I couldn’t manage Weetabix any more and could only handle parsnip, carrot & coriander or tomato soup. I had dropped about 20kg before getting confirmation that a tumour was blocking my oesophagus. [Read more →]

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2018: not a total write-off

January 3rd, 2019 · Posted by Skuds in Life, Music, Politics

In many respects 2018 was a year to forget. The news was almost entirely bad, and sometime so bad it was funny, with a number of headlines that would have been dismissed by Chris Morris for being too ridiculous. Brexit was tearing apart the country, the government and the opposition, and fillingup the news every single bloody day with a string of people all saying the same few things for a whole year. The only respite was Trump, and that is no respite at all. [Read more →]

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1968 – Time of the Season

December 29th, 2018 · Posted by Skuds in Music

Now this is a cheat. There is no way I really got into the Zombies until a lot later than the 60’s or even 70’s, but this really is a masterpiece. Looking at the hits of that year, there is nothing really that I would have been into at the tme, with the exception of Lulu singing I’m A Tiger, or possibly Congratulations by Cliff or Delilah by Tom Jones. [Read more →]

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Hospital parking

December 29th, 2018 · Posted by Skuds in Life

The question about hospital car parking charges has been in the news again in the last couple of days, following some FOI requests from the media. What grabbed my attention was the unsurprising statistic tht the hospital where I seem to be spending half my time (Royal Surrey in Guildford) has the most expensive parking. It certainly feels like it, and it does feel like too much. [Read more →]

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1967 – I’m A Believer

December 28th, 2018 · Posted by Skuds in Music

The biggest hit single of 1967 was A Whiter Shade of Pale by Procol Harum. I love that song. I remember a particularly good night doing my rendiditon of it at a karaoke party in the 80’s. Apart from that, I like Procol Harum generally. I think it is criminal that so many people only know that one song when they not only had other big hits in the 60’s but still kept going. I have a particular fondness for their Something Magic album from 1977.

In spite of all that, the track from 1967 that I have put on my playlist is I’m A Believer by the Monkees. One reason is that I probably didn’t appreciate Whiter Shade until the 1970’s but I know I enjoyed watching the Monkees TV show and probably knew this song at the time it came out or soon after. The other reason is that it just makes me smile whever I hear it. [Read more →]

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Enjoying Christmas

December 28th, 2018 · Posted by Skuds in Life

My natural tendancy is towards Grinchiness at Christmas. I am not a fan. Can’t see the point of it, and get concerned about the conspicuous consumption of it all. Despite all that, I really enjoyed it all this year. [Read more →]

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1966 – Good Vibrations

December 19th, 2018 · Posted by Skuds in Music

There were some good songs out in 1966, that I am very fond of, but none of them made an impression on the 4-year-old Skuds until much later.  How to pick a song to represent the year when you are choosing between Substitute by the Who, many brilliant Beatles songs, I Feel Free by Cream, Hey Joe, Eight Miles High, Sunny Afternoon, Pretty Flamingo and Wild Thing?

The answer is to just go for Good Vibrations, which many people would list as the best single of all time. In fact there was a poll in Mojo magazine where it came top of a poll of best records ever, and that issue of the magazine had a cover-mounted single of Good Vibrations with the CD made to look like a vinyl single. I still have that CD somewhere. [Read more →]

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1965 – Concrete and Clay

December 19th, 2018 · Posted by Skuds in Music

As I have already said, I am not not a massive fan of 60’s music. I can appreciate some of it, but even then it is music I heard a lot later. All of which makes the 1965 entry quite special because I think I did hear this in the 60’s, although not in ’65 obviously, and loved it as soon as I heard it. [Read more →]

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Fantastic Voyage

December 19th, 2018 · Posted by Skuds in Life

I don’t want to bang on about this cancer of mine, and will try to avoid doing so, but a thought struck me the other day.

In the last few months I have had an endoscopy, an ultrasound endoscopy, a laparoscopy, a CT scan, a PET CT scan, and MRI scan of the brain and another one of the spine. In Isaac Asimov’s book Fantastic Voyage, and the film of the book, a team of doctors is put into a submarine, miniaturised and injected into somebody for medical reasons – and it seems to me that the doctors are basically doing all that now, but remotely. With the endoscopy and laparoscopy they are effectively sending a little submarine into the body but beaming the pictures back instead of having little people in it.

The science fiction is really now fact, except for the implausible shrinking business.

Let’s be honest, if the technology existed to shrink things to microscopic size, there is no way it would not be used for military purposes way before it got used for medicine.

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1964 – The Ballad of Hollis Brown

December 9th, 2018 · Posted by Skuds in Music

OK, so this might not be an obvious one. It isn’t one of Bob Dylan’s best-known songs and wasn’t even a single, but although I obviously wasn’t listening to this as a two-year-old I did listen to it a lot at quite a young age.

When I was growing up there were very few records in the house. There was some Johnny Cash, Joan Baez and Bob Dylan that I remember and later on there was some classical. At my Grandad’s there were some jazz and ragtime records I enjoyed although the only one I can remember the name of now is Pee Wee Hunt’s Twelfth Street Rag album. There were also kids’ records like Wally Whyton and Pinky & Perky.

For some reason, and despite a not very exciting cover, I kept coming back to The Times They Are a-Changin’ by Bob Dylan, especially the first three tracks on side one, so this song loomed larger in my early years than would be expected. Listening to it now I can’t think or remember why I liked it so much when I was so young. Its a powerful song, but hardly child-friendly. There are other 1964 songs I like better now, but none of them captured my imagination as early as this did.

Two other songs from the year stand out as songs I like a lot more (She’s Not There by the Zombies and You Really Got Me by the Kinks) but I came to them much later, almost certainly later than the 1960’s so I am sticking with Bob Dylan’s song because it actually meant something to me in the 60’s.

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