What I’ve been reading lately, part 13

BASKET CASE — CARL HIAASEN

Can’t remember too much about this one: I seem to remember it involves the decline of journalism and the transformation of newspapers into advert mills, but that’s just the backdrop. The actual plot has slipped away since I read it. I do remember that I enjoyed it, though, so make of that what you will. Continue reading

What is real?

Way back in 2011, a commenter on this blog asked “Where is this soul? If it can’t be measured, it is not real.”

Our lives are made up of a hundred things that are real but not measurable even in principle. The quality of sunlight that transforms your mood after a week of overcast days; the poignancy of Still Crazy After All These Years; the heart-swelling sense of honour and decency when Santos offers Vinick the post of Secretary of State; the piercing half-real clarity of Un dimanche après-midi à l’Île de la Grande Jatte; love.

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What I’ve been reading lately, part 12

[See also previous and subsequent posts in this series.]

ALL THINGS CONSIDERED — G. K. CHESTERTON

Ridiculously, I can’t remember a single thing about this one.

THE STAMP COLLECTIVE — PAUL SCHIERNECKER

A pleasant but unremarkable take of three mismatched young-adult brothers who put aside their differences to gain revenge on a father who they feel has let them down. I have the sequel on my Kindle (having downloaded both when they were temporary freebies) but don’t have much inclination to read it. I probably will do eventually. Continue reading

On using nuclear deterrents

A week on from my declaration that I’m giving up politics, my mind has settled a little more, and I realise more fully what I meant by that. I remain interested — fascinated, even — by fundamentals: what you might call political philosophy. What I have no time for or patience with is current affairs: the specific set of events and personalities that are in the news right now. That stuff is both ephemeral and monumentally frustrating, so best ignored. But the core issues continue to exercise me.

Royal Navy submarine HMS Victorious departs HMNB Clyde under the Scottish summer sunshine to conduct continuation training. The Royal Navy has operated the UK’s Continuous at Sea Deterrent since 1967 when the first SSBN – or Ship Submersible Ballistic Nuclear – HMS Resolution began patrolling armed with the Polaris missile system.  

So when should we use a nuclear deterrent?

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#harkive 2016 liveblog

Andrew Hickey has made me aware of the harkive project, which is interested in what music people listen to. Today, July 19, is the day they do it for — I have no idea why — so I will be live-blogging what music I listen to today. As much for my own interest as theirs.

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(Random) Richard ThompsonFor the Sake of Mary. Picked by my random MP3 chooser, from an album that I downloaded when I was searching for British singer-songwriter folkies. I find this disappointing. Seems sort of sub-Springsteenish. Continue reading

I’m giving up politics

I checked Twitter this morning, to find that the man who plunged the UK into its greatest international crisis since WW2 is now Foreign Secretary, and that a man who had to resign from Defence and was somehow not jailed for appalling leaking, is in charge of International Trade.

What both these appointment tell me is that for people in the game — and it is a game — nothing they do has consequences. Destroy our relationship with the continent? Never mind. Bring a mate along to top-secret meetings? Not to worry. Welcome back into the fold.

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Next Saturday: our prog-rock band at the Mitcheldean Festival

The wretched summer of 2016 has not offered us much good news. But for me at least, that’s about to change. Next Saturday (16th July) is the 2016 Mitcheldean Folk Festival, and our prog-rock back Crooked End will be closing the show from 8:30 till 9pm.

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Crooked End playing at the 2014 festival. Left to right: Fiona (flute, keyboards), Mike (guitar), Dan (drums), Mario (bass).

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