Dateline – 5th May 2020
To explain this diary entry – the first part is views and stuff, and is a bit of the same sort of comment as the past view. The Parklife and music sections are in the second half.
So I know none of you missed my updates on Sunday being there – I didn’t. As I said before, writing a blog is a time consuming and ultimately a selfish effort. I am writing to record my feelings and thoughts, and if shared with others, then good. I hope people enjoy them, but it isn’t the primary purpose. I have always said in my blogging “career” that if you write for someone else, you lose your own character. It has been the different way I write and approach things that got the success with Being Outside Cricket and How Did We Lose in Adelaide. I don’t intend changing now. So when you feel like writing, write. When you don’t, don’t force it. You are your toughest audience, and you know when you are faking it. So yes, on Sunday, I didn’t feel like it.
On Sunday I had a bad evening. Nothing Covid-related or work induced, although the prospect of Monday wasn’t alluring. I’ll leave it as a bad evening, that was then compounded by an absolute [expletive deleted] taking to the cricket blog to call me a racist. He was an idiot, but wrong accusation at the wrong time (it was in relation to my blog colleagues calling out ESPN for re-running a poll to garner more clicks from the Indian cricket-mad community). My friends on there told me to ignore it, but you, well, I can’t. If someone calls you something so heinous, then how can you mentally compartmentalise it. Others are stronger than me, I freely admit. Idiots are a part of blogging, and if you put yourself out there, expect flak, but I hope I carry myself a bit better than that, and certainly recently I have in terms of those who have induced my ire in the cricket world. Some might say if you can’t stand the heat, get out of the blogging kitchen. They may have a point.
But this is self-indulgent, and a day later, I’ve passed that bump in the road and faced with others. Like a mysterious pain in my calf muscle that comes and goes, the increased discomfort of the office chair I have to sit on, the tedium of the work processes we need to go through, and, of course, the manic uncertainty, the enormous contradictory advice, and the political point scoring that pollutes my twitter feed like raw sewage poured onto a glacier. My hair continues to grow, although I did shave off the beard after six weeks of it, and I feel I am getting slightly less fit each day. Yesterday when I walked Teddy, the legs felt like lead. I had that sense that every step took more effort. I wasn’t massively happy, so took to the walking up and down, and jogging on the spot to loosen the limbs in the afternoon. It looks mad but it works. Yesterday I did the walking etc. to John Digweed’s Live in Tokyo set, discs 1 and 2. It was an excellent set, and the walking makes you feel more alive. But it doesn’t last.
Once the switch off point for the day is over, I find myself in lethargy, doing all the things I wasn’t doing pre-Lent, which is scouring the horror of Twitter to find something to comment upon, or whether anyone responds to mine. The amount of Bot traffic on there is something else, but I also see friends of mine, people I really like, retweeting or liking the most awful batshit stuff, that I wonder. I wonder how they can be fooled by what I see is blatant misinformation. I wonder why they want to be fooled. Then you ask yourselves the exact same thing. This is the world we live in.
A particular Tweeter is latching on to my every utterance that isn’t unfettered free market capitalism with a dose of misplaced nationalism, and poking back. I’ve ignored him so far, but then, just by mentioning them on here, I haven’t, have I? As people know, I am not exactly a far-left person, so again, I don’t know what his (I’m assuming he is a he) game is.
In a time when what we really need is clarity of message, factual and detailed analysis based on what is going on, not what we hope is, and that given to the British people in a clear a way as possible, what do we get? We get people who think they know the answer. We get people as self-appointed representatives of “the people”. We get others circulating memes demanding we have optimism. As I’ve said before, we’ve probably lost more than 30,000 to this disease, so excuse me if I can’t look on the bright side. Another thing that is creeping in is that it is the obese who are likely to suffer the most. Of course we are. It keeps you fitness freak, virtue signalling, look at me wankers in comfort, then so be it. I’m glad we can be of service to you. I mean, because I am overweight, I’m more than asking for it, aren’t I. Say it loud. You know you want to. “YOU DESERVE TO GET IT, AND YOU DON’T DESERVE TREATMENT”.
I was never skinny, and yes I like rubbish food. I will probably pay for that. But I got hooked on smoking and stopped. I stopped driving to work, and walk to the station, and very day in the office racked up 10000 steps per day. Over four years I’ve lost around 5 stone. I’ve put some of it back on, but not so much that I can’t get into certain clothes now. For example, one of my friends bought me a souvenir Venezuela shirt a few years ago, in XL. I can get that on now (a world of difference between actually wearing outside of the house). A belt of mine has had to have a new notch inserted into it. I am still very overweight, and I still can’t bear many kinds of healthy food, despite my dear wife trying and actually, in some cases, succeeding! I’m cutting out much of my sugar intake, trying not to go overboard on snacking, but it is an addiction. As an ex-smoker, I know what addiction is.
I see numerous voices online, in their thinly veiled sneers, imply we, the overweight, bring everything on ourselves and we deserve it. That’s why me, and people like me, don’t go to doctors. Because often they are the worst for it. They demean you. They make you feel like the shit on their shoes. I left one practice because I came out of there destroyed by a doctor (the same practice had two superb trainees, who both left, who I would have followed to the end of the earth, and improved my attitude and will-power). You do need the truth told to you, but it’s hard to take them seriously sometimes. I had an infected bite on my back once, and the doctor said it was down to me being overweight. Really? I got gout – overweight – but my two colleagues in the office who had it as well were as fit as fiddles, so have a next go (almost certainly with me it’s undercooked red meat, but hey, who cares – the doctor didn’t).
Look, I can go on, but every victim of coronavirus, is a victim. Not a weight, not an age, not an underlying condition. It’s an individual. No-one deserves it. We should, you know, try to look after each other by social distancing, going out only when we have to, and, you know, battering conspiracy theorists and virtue signallers into submission. They are two sides of the same damn coin. The dangerous siren voices that think the worst of other people, and not the best of many of their friends and colleagues. It’s easier to be suspicious of the unknown, those you don’t talk to, but harder to put faith in them. You want to believe it won’t affect you if it hits, but you never know. As someone with asthma, I’m at risk. As someone overweight, I’m at risk. As someone over 50, I’m at risk. As a human being, I AM AT RISK. There’s no sugar-coating it, no absolving of my conscience, no virtue signalling about abiding by the guidelines. I’m shit scared but can’t show it. So, those on social media who say all of us who don’t want to go back to the office are lazy good-for-nothings. Foxtrot Oscar.
OK. To the regulars:
It’s been five days since I reported, and with some glorious exceptions, by jove, I think the people might have got it. The parallel bars, the chin-up bars, the swing bars, have all been graced by no-one while I’ve been there. Certainly not since Saturday. We had some people having a kick-a-bout in the court, and a guy practicing his basketball skills solo yesterday, but I’m not as down on those. We had some sunbathers today, even with a brisk cool breeze, but my anger is just giving way to “let me just avoid these muppets”. The only person to really get the head shaking was on Sunday. She was a cyclist and was, presumably, using the time out for exercise, and that would be the very healthy pursuit of riding your bicycle. But wait. This person chained her bike to the stand, got out the wet wipes (which I believe may still be in short supply) and cleaned off the handlebars of a part of the outdoor gym equipment! WTF. You have a bike. The real thing. Why use the outdoor equipment that might have had any muppet on it, was taped off with big, red and white tape, and jeopardise your health? I guess I’ll never understand thickos.
I think my positivity goes with how great Teddy has been. It’s tooting my own horn a bit, but I am so proud of the little lad. He responds almost perfectly to every command of sit, wait, stay, without question and without pushing the line. Even under the railway tunnel which leads directly to the stream, which he is dying to get into, he stops. Even his lack of concentration at the end is improving. Today, from 100 yards away, I shouted “in the stream” to Teddy and he bolted for it, but checked before he went in to see if it was OK. It is genuinely gratifying to see him, in this situation, behave so really well. Now if we could only cure the evening madness, we’d be more than happy. The walk is a joy, a break from the sitting at my desk, waiting for the latest thing to drop. Teddy loves it, I now like it, and that’s what matters.
The Ipod 24 tune today is an odd one. It is actually quite a banging tune, in terms of its bassline and the need to play it at high volume. But I’m not sure I’ve really loved it at any time, wasn’t mad keen on the album it was from (bought it anyway), and probably stayed in the top 24 because I played it whenever that playlist was played. It is Satisfy by Nero.
I’m not sure there’s a video for it either, although the above has had over 5 million hits.
The Top 20 albums continue though, and I’m struggling to remember what I’ve put down now. Forgive me. I’ll come back to this. Instead, let’s do a song of the day. I signed up to Amazon Music Unlimited for three months at £4 per, and I hope to catch up on some albums I may not buy, but might lead as a gateway “drug” into investigating more of their work. One of the suggestions was Rufus, or Rufus du Soul, to avoid confusion with Chaka Khan’s partners, and on their album Bloom, which I really liked, there was this little song that caught my ears…
It’s quite Australian, which means I can’t really describe why I say that, but before knowing where they came from that would have been the country I guessed they came from, even with the umlauts! It’s quite chilled out. Genuinely nice. I can certainly recommend the album if you like your music quite downtempo, light and chilling.
On to the song challenge, which I am falling behind with. Let’s do two today.
Day 16 – A song that’s a classic favourite. Who determines what is a classic, other than the person selecting it. Let me commit heresy. People have determined that songs like Stairway to Heaven and Maggie May are “classics”. They aren’t in my eyes – pretentious self-indulgent bollocks in the first instance, utter shite the second. So I have to choose a song that people have determined is a classic because they said so. Say I chose a Beatles song – people say Sgt Pepper is a classic, but so what. I think it’s hippy nonsense. Take possibly my favourite Beatles song, Hello, Goodbye:
“Hello, Goodbye” has traditionally received a varied response from music critics. While some reviewers praise the song for its classic pop qualities, others deem it unadventurous by the Beatles’ standards, and inconsequential.”
Probably the same people who tell me Pulp Fiction is a classic film (it’s not, it’s egotistical shite). Man, I’m burning some bridges here. So let me go with ELO’s Mr Blue Sky. Yeah, snark all you want, but it’s uplifting, it’s fun, it’s great to sing along to in the car, it’s a great karaoke song, and I’d love the band to play it except the bass player threatens to go down the chicken shop while we do. I do have some sympathy with the bass part!
It makes me smile! It’s a classic in my eyes!
On to the next day, and what do I have to do next? A Song you would do a duet with someone on Karaoke. Needless to say we need to have some ground rules here. This is not someone singing backing vocals, and it doesn’t need to be an actual duet like they did back in the day. This isn’t Dmitri Old featuring someone either. This makes it difficult, as duets don’t generally work on Karaoke, I find. Egos take over. One of the karaoke meisters, Sir Peter’s brother, refuses to do duets. Just as well, as he’s a microphone hog. So we need to get that clear.
A song I have sung as a duet will do here. I have actually sung it more than once with Sir Peter, and we haven’t taken it all that seriously. It’s also not meant to be taken seriously. How can you? Club Tropicana by Wham!
Oh, it is five days since the last one. We’ll do another. Day 18 is a song from the year I was born. I will then be supplying my mother’s maiden name, the name of my favourite teacher, and the first three and last three digits of my six number pin. Let me look at the chart on the day I was born and pick something. Or a number 1 from that year…
I have had a look, and man alive, there’s nothing there that jumps out. I don’t mind Suspicious Minds, the number 1 the day I was born was rubbish, the top selling single of the year was The Archies and Sugar, Sugar, which I remember vividly as a kid, but presumably a few years later on, but in the Top 10 singles for the year (that is songs that reached the top 10 in the UK in any one chart) there is a gem, even though it was released in the US in 1968. It is one of my all time favourite songs.
I am no country and western fan, but this song is just lovely. Magnificent. So I’m having this one.
The next one is about the meaning of life or something, so that can certainly wait.
What have I been up to since Thursday? Catching up with the burning off of all sorts of series to watch at some future date that never comes up. Been catching up with the America’s Game Super Bowl winner programmes that are good, and even more relevant given Miami Dolphins’ legendary coach passed away yesterday. Also loved watching the World Series Film from 2013, my favourite Boston Red Sox team that went last-to-first-to-last. That team had a short shelf life. Also watched the third and fourth instalments of The Last Dance, which I might review for my US sport blog. Also the Dallas Cowboys All or Nothing series, a couple of episodes of NCIS New Orleans (my favourite of the three) and various other stuff. But as I indicated earlier, I’m not massively enthused to do anything even though, in a positive sign, I am sleeping better.
I do want to play some of the XBox games I have, but there is always a block. I can’t invest the time in being totally useless at them – like I was on one of the NBA 2K things – and instead want something I can play to some proficiency soon, but not so I’ve mastered it in five minutes. I have one of the Call of Duty games, Madden, NHL, Ashes Cricket, Dishonored.. all sorts. Had them for years. Never played them. Which one should I have a go at? Anyone with gaming instincts, please let me know.
OK. Enough. Signing off for today. Fajitas today as it is Cinco de Maio, or whatever. They were magnificent, as always. Added to the awesome home-made tortilla chips, this has been a great culinary day. Added to fresh salad from the plot, life is a lot better on the food front. Well done Beloved!
Be good, be safe, take care.