One of my photos

Only an idiot

June 13th, 2017 · Posted by Skuds in Politics

At the council today I gave the go-ahead to a change that only an idiot could object to. I have been down to Corals to place a bet on how many councillors will complain and who they will be. Just wondering what to spend my winnings on.

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Mexico to Jamaica

June 13th, 2017 · Posted by Skuds in Music

Somehow this managed to escape my attention when it came out last month, but Ozomatli have a new album out (Spotify) called Non-Stop: Mexico to Jamaica.

About ten years ago, Ozomatli started getting a bit of a reputation as one of the best live acts in the world, with a lively mixture of Mexican-flavoured Latin and hip-hop. As if that wasn’t catchy enough they have now taken the latin/hip hop mix,  added reggae to it, got Sly & Robbie to produce it, and roped in more guest artists than on a Santana album.

On top of all that, one of the tracks is a cover of Land of 1000 Dances, already one of the catchiest songs ever. Completely recommended for steaming through headphones at work.

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Letting the side down

June 13th, 2017 · Posted by Skuds in Life

I do feel like I have betrayed my basic priciples today. I worked from home, but still wore my work suit.

To make up for it, when I clocked off I changed into cargo shorts and a t-shirt to go to a council event.

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Glad all over

June 12th, 2017 · Posted by Skuds in Politics

Now the election is finally done and I am not feeling so much “Glad all over” like the Dave Clark Five sang but “glad its all over”, and I’m sure I am not alone in that. There does seem to be a bit of election fatigue round here. Because we elect our borough council by thirds and have a county council election in the odd year, there is an election every year in Crawley already. After a recent general election and then a very divisive referendum, we really didn’t need a totally unnecessary hubris-driven snap general election this year. [Read more →]

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The Irregular

May 22nd, 2017 · Posted by Skuds in Life

I have a book to recommend. The Irregular by H.B.Lyle.

Last month I had proof copies of two different new novels that trade on a connection with Sherlock Holmes. The first was Arrowood by Mick Finlay, which was interesting enough, but I have to admit that I found The Irregular to be much more exciting. Let’s put it this way; both seem destined to tbe the first in a series but it is the sequel to The Irregular that I will look forward to more. [Read more →]

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Twin Peaks

May 22nd, 2017 · Posted by Skuds in Life

There is a lot of hype about a new series of Twin Peaks, which is exciting a lot of people and I kind of wish I was one of them. The thing is, I never watched Twin Peaks when it first came out. It sounds like something I would have enjoyed, so I wonder why I didn’t watch it. [Read more →]

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April 13th, 2017 · Posted by Skuds in Life, Politics

A short review of Outskirts: Living Life on the Edge of the Green Belt by John Grindrod which I mentioned in a previous post. It is due to be out in hardback on June 1st. Although I got hold of an advanced proof copy, I did buy his previous book and would have bought this too if I had not been lucky enough to get an advance copy. [Read more →]

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Green Belt

April 13th, 2017 · Posted by Skuds in Politics

I have just finished reading a book about the green belt, which was more fun than it sounds. One passage in particular really stopped me in my tracks while I was reading:

‘One of the things that impressed me most about my dad’s take on it, because he was surprisingly left wing as well, was that he was the one who pointed out to me about planning permission, and the Town and Country Planning Acts being an attempt to nationalise the land. You couldn’t nationalise the banks and you couldn’t nationalise the land, because that’s what they really wanted to do, but you could nationalise the right to develop it, so no one had a right, even though they owned it, without the consent of the community. I’d grown up among architects – bloody planning permission, you know, making you do this, making you do that – but it is the consent of the community.’ He smiled. ‘It’s a beautiful idea.’

I have spent a few years on council planning committees, been on summer schools and training courses, but I have never heard anybody describe the planning system in those terms before.

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Hall of Fame

April 12th, 2017 · Posted by Skuds in Music

I have been watching some Youtube clips of Yes getting inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, which is a long overdue accolade for them, and a great shame it had to wait until after Chris Squire died.

It is worth doing a search because there is plenty in there for the fans, not least the fact that they appeared as a complete band rather than the two competing bands that are currently on the go. Alex Lifeson and Geddy Lee presented the award and then everybody had a bit of a speech, ending up with Rick Wakeman telling some of the filthiest jokes that have probably been heard at this event. They even had Bill Bruford up on stage with them, which was a nice touch.

The band played a couple of songs. Owner of  Lonely Heart had Steve Howe playing a Rickenbacker bass and involved Rick going down into the audience, cape and all, playing his keytar as he went. The other song was Roundabout, of course, with the band joined by Geddy Lee on bass.

Here is the link to Roundabout:

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Going direct

April 5th, 2017 · Posted by Skuds in Life

We went back to Essex today for a funeral, which is never a lot of fun. Funerals I mean, though come to think of it Essex isn’t much fun either. It was my Mother’s husband, so sort of my step-father, although they didn’t actually marry until after I had left home. He didn’t want a lot of fuss, not did he want anything religious. Fortunately Mum is also non-religious, so no problems with that. I can completely understand all that and feel the same way.

By coincidence, only this week I found out about something called direct cremation. It was mentioned in the Times because it is getting quite popular, especially since that is what David Bowie’s family did. It sounded like a good idea, so I looked into it and Jayne and I are going to make sure that is what we do.

The thing is that even though today’s funeral was supposed to be no-fuss it still involved travelling in a massive Mercedes behind a hearse, with a bloke in a top hat walking in front for the first few hundred metres, then going to  chapel in the crematorium where there was a service. Even though it was a non-religious celebrant, who did do a very good job, it was still a service. There was still a shiny coffin. And before all that there was a two or three week wait for a time slot at the crematorium.

Before I heard about the direct cremation business I just assumed that you had to have all that and I am so relieved to hear that you don’t. Of course, some people like all the fuss and want it, but for those of us who do not it is good to know it can be avoided. The real problem is that assumption that it is all necessary.

Anyway, if I kick the bucket any time soon and you don’t get an invitiation to the funeral it will be because there isn’t one, though there may well be a party.

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