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Nostalgic for Thatcher and Reagan

July 7th, 2020 · Posted by Skuds in Politics

If you went back to the mid-80s and told me that one day I would be nostalgic for Reagan and Thatcher  in another 35 years I would have refused to believe it, but here we are and we have a president of the US I would swap for Reagan in a heartbeat and a British PM who makes Thatcher look good. [Read more →]

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In praise of… Burning Shed

July 3rd, 2020 · Posted by Skuds in Life

Time for another quick unsolicited testimonial, this time for the wonderful Burning Shed online shop. Here are a few reasons to love the website:

  • Specialising in stuff a bit outside the mainstream – like prog, Canterbury scene and electronica
  • Carries a lot of special box sets, vinyl and collectibles
  • Is the official store for some acts and is the only place where some of the goodies are available
  • It boasts of being ‘run by artists for artists’, with more of the proceeds going to the artists than they would get from other outlets.
  • Deliveries from them always come well-packaged with little freebies like coaster or postcard slipped in

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New research in from the department of the bleeding obvious

June 26th, 2020 · Posted by Skuds in Life

I see the department of the bleeding obvious have been at it again, according to this story in today’s Times.

It is a study about people’s attitudes to the lockdown. Apparently people with smaller cramped homes are less happy about being confined to their home than people with more space. Also people without mental health conditions have enjoyed being isolated more than people with mental health conditions have.

I was surprised to see that middle-aged people with children have enjoyed the lockdown most, but perhaps the rest of the population like children more than I do, which wouldn’t be hard.

The results say that 26 per cent of people will miss being locked down more than they would not miss it, with a further 5 per cent who would miss it very much. Elsewhere it says that about 20 per cent of people said they were drinking more than normal. I do wonder how much of an over lap there is on those sections.

Mind you, these things are relative. During three months of lockdown I had a tin of fruit cider. If I had drunk one tin per month I would probably call that drinking more than is normal for me, but still far from excessive. Given that a lot of people who drink seem to drink what I would consider too much, if they are now drinking more than normal it has to be a bit of a concern

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In praise of Tim Burgess

June 26th, 2020 · Posted by Skuds in Life, Music

When I listed the various people, mostly entertainers, who helped make the lockdown pass a bit more easily I missed a few people out. For example I forgot the always brilliant Jonathan Pie and his lockdown video diary. I also forgot Darren Maclaine and his little impressions of famous singers doing the thems to TV shows. It started with Elton John doing the theme to Only Fools and Horses and just carried on from there.

The biggest omission was Tim Burgess, but there is a good reason for that. [Read more →]

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On the road again

June 26th, 2020 · Posted by Skuds in Life

Yes, its the long-overdue reprise of using song titles as blogpost titles!

I was reading an article in The Times today. I shan’t link to it because it is behind the paywall and it is not so much the article itself as the comments that I was interested in. I really should stop reading comments on newspaper articles, along with comments on YouTube videoa or Tweets. They never display humanity at its best, but you know how it is. You read a certain type of article, and when you reach the end you see that it already has 130 comments and make a little bet with yourself that you can guess the gist of them. [Read more →]

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Today’s bright idea #11 – laptop screens

June 24th, 2020 · Posted by Skuds in Life, Technology

It has been a little while since I blurted out one of my bright ideas, about six years actually. In that time I have still had ideas of course; some of them impractical, some of them impossible and the rest just stupid – in other words, the same as usual. I just couldn’t be arsed to share them, what with me not being anywhere near as active a blogger as I was.

To add to my list of dodgy inventions, today I thought of a good one – laptop screens. [Read more →]

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Not siblings!

June 20th, 2020 · Posted by Skuds in Life

I have been watching a DVD box set of the 80s TV show Shelley. I found myself wondering what Josephine Tewson, the actress who played the landlady, Mrs. Hawkins, went on to do, so I looked her up. It turns out she did quite a lot that I had not seen and also was in Keeping Up Appearances where she was Hyacinth Bucket’s neighbour, but I had not recognised her.

Anyway, there is one strange thing about her. It says on her Wikipedia page that she had been rumoured to be John Inman’s cousin, but denied that. Inman’s Wikipedia page says the same thing. But if you Google either of them it gets weird. Google Josephine Tewson and the info box lists things like spouse, films, birthplace, etc. but also says “Sibling: John Inman”

If you Google John Inman, his info box lists Josephine Tewson as a sibling.

At least Google is being consistent, even if it is wrong. Not sure how a (denied) rumour about them being cousins turns into a categorical statement of them being siblings, especially when the other biographical details show them being born in very different places, to very different parents in very different circumstances. They did play the parts of half-brother and sister in a TV show but surely even Google knows the difference between fiction and reality!

I know Wikipedia has its detractors, but at least when it states facts it includes references you can look up, even if we hardly ever do.

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Lockdown survival aids

June 20th, 2020 · Posted by Skuds in Life, Music

Let’s be honest here, the lockdown has really ended now hasn’t it? OK, there are no pubs, cafes, theatres, music and sports venues, but otherwise I think a lot of people are now treating it as all over except where it suits them to pretend it is all still going on – I am thinking of parents who won’t let their children go back to school because it isn’t safe but will drag them round the shops. Over the last couple of weeks the roads have been getting noticeably busier day by day, and altough everything is quieter than normal it feels like normal in many ways just because it was so dead for a couple of months.

With shops open, huge crowds gathering for VE day street parties, protests and counbter-protests it is really easy to forget just how eerily quiet it was for a couple of months and how scary it all was at first. It seems like years ago but was only a few months back when there were queues round the block to get into a supermarket that had hundreds of metres of completely empty shelves. After years of being able to get whatever we wanted, whenever we wanted, it was pretty anxiety-inducing to go to the shop for food and getting things that you would never normally eat because it was the only thing left.

Throughout it all, there were lots of people doing good work in trying to make it all a bit easier to remain sane during a very strange and uncertain time. Here are the things that made it all better for me personally. [Read more →]

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Is this where prog rock actually started?

June 16th, 2020 · Posted by Skuds in Music

The other night I was watching a re-run of an old Sky Arts show from 2016 – Trailblazers. This one was all about prog rock. I have watched a few of these. They are entertaining enough, with lots of nostalgia-inducing clips and Noddy Holder’s distinctive voiceover, but ultimately they tend to promise more than they deliver. [Read more →]

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Roll Credits

June 5th, 2020 · Posted by Skuds in Life

Another thing that struck me while working my way through the box set of the Goodies was the sparsity of the credits.

We are so used to movies where it takes 15 minutes to scroll through all the many credits, though most of us give up before they start listing the PA to the stunt double of the person who makes the tea for the accountant of the caterers, and television shows where the credits are unfeasibly large, that we forget it was not always like that.

Reach the end of an episode of the Goodies and there is a good chance that even actors with speaking parts who appear in it are not always credited.

While it is true that most credits are too long these days, you can go too far the other way. At the end of a show you might well be interested to know who played the person behind the counter in a shop scene, especially in an old show where you are convinced it was an early bit part by somebody who went on to bigger things.

I have just started watching the DVD box set of Shelley which started at about the time the Goodies was coming to an end. Maybe it is just that ITV did things differently, but the credits did include wardrobe, lighting designer, and a few other people. Most importantly, it confirmed that the bearded person with a small part as one of Shelley’s friends was indeed the late, great Alan Rickman in one of his earlier roles.

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