Irritating But Ultimately Not Too Much Of A Problem

When I started writing album reviews the aim was to always have something to write about. I can’t always have a polemic ready to go and publish on this glorious site. I would like to be that person but I also feel that my writings or attempts to express my thoughts would be diluted if I wrote too much about society and politics etc. So I decided to write about music and rather than have me concentrate on every band in a particular order I chose to describe my relationship with each album I own in alphabetical order. This would mean that the artists are mixed up and it’s a pseudo random order for the reviews. I would normally be surprised by what I had to write about next – screw Led Zeppelin for naming their first four albums numerically but I don’t own number 3 so I guess I saved myself some work there.

When I started doing the reviews in 2013 I think I was using the order of albums on my phone and the iOS system doesn’t really include the “The” at the beginning of an album name. So the list is ordered by whatever the name of the album is subtract the “The” at the start. This makes sense and works well. At some point over the last nine years I started using the Sonos App to get the albums alphabetically. Now Sonos does not remove the “The” from the start of the album name and so somewhere my system of ordering the albums changed from one system to another.

So now I have to see what album is next on my list in the Sonos program and then check whether I have already reviewed that album and then write or not-write depending on what result I get when I search this site. See, it’s a little irritating but easy to solve and while I’m miffed at myself I’m not bothered particularly. Once this round of album reviews is over I’m going to start a new list covering the aggrotech and EBM stuff that I’ve bought since 2013 but I have searched this site and some of those have already been reviewed and some have not. So it’ll be a similar issue when that happens, if that happens. I’m not sure how many albums there are to go but I guess I’ll finish them at some point.

Ten – Pearl Jam

Hmmmm. How to write this without annoying the legion of fans that Pearl Jam have? Well, it’s not a problem as these communications aren’t seen by more than about ten people. There are people for whom Pearl Jam are a fantastic band and produce brilliant music. Then there are people like me who think it’s ok but I rarely play any songs from the album. This music just doesn’t affect me.

Temper Temper – Bullet For My Valentine

I’ve see this band. I’ve even enjoyed some of their songs and if they come on when I’m in the car I don’t normally tend to skip. This album is playing now and, while it isn’t terrible, I don’t think it’s something I would put on deliberately. It’s not that good.

It’s All Electronic Now

I’ve got a couple of things happening at the moment that are slightly frustrating for different reasons. Firstly I’m waiting for my gas boiler to be fixed and I’ve been waiting for about three months. This isn’t me waiting for bloke around the corner it’s me waiting for a technician from a service a pay a lot of money for. The organisation have been really bad at communication and, oh did I mention, I’ve been waiting three months to get my boiler fixed.

I’m also trying to prove my identity to a financial company and while it can be done online they are only accepting scans of specific documents from within the last three months. Now, I do understand why these rules are there and I’m happy to play along but the frustration is that none of the documents they want are ones that I have paper copies of. I don’t get paper statements and things sent to me. Why would I in this age? The one type of document that I can supply only comes to me once a year so I have to wait for that to come through the post box. Oh well. Not a huge amount I can do so probably best just to keep trundling on.

Surprising Compression

Recently I went somewhere for a thing! Given the last year of lockdown and nothing really happening this was a super treat. Motorsport Vision emailed earlier in the year offering the chance to drive the GP circuit at Brands Hatch and as I considered the price to be suitable I booked a place. There were rules to follow once on the circuit but it was nice to experience the route in the sun and in my Prius. There were quite a few “showy” cars in the queue for the sightseeing but I didn’t care. I enjoyed it even though our speed never really exceeded 50 mph.

Driving The GP Circuit
Driving The GP Circuit

I will say that even at the pedestrian pace we were going the compression going down Paddock Hill was surprising, it also started earlier than I had expected but now that I’ve had time to reflect it makes sense that you feel negative g as you go over the top and then the onset of positive g is fast as you approach the inflexion.

This was great fun and something I’d love to do again. I should probably see what lap time I could get by driving on Gran Turismo. Unfortunately the current GT version doesn’t have a Prius so I’ll try and find something else with similar power and torque.

Stone Sour – Stone Sour

I think I bought this album after seeing Stone Sour at Download. I liked them live and they put on a good show. I think I would say that I don’t really listen to this anymore as it’s just metal. There isn’t really anything that stands out about the band.

Not Just Myself

I’ve been removing social media apps from my phone as I’ve found that their form of distraction from the real world wasn’t enough of a distraction and a waste of my time. I still check-in now and then just to see what is happening but I try to do that on the PC and not waste my other time staring at my phone. This is really about me trying to not get too upset at all the shit that is going on in the world. I can only just about cope with my own life at the moment and so reading about all the crap that is going on wasn’t helping. I’ve had to change my approach and be a little more selfish about the things whirling around my head.

So, I removed Twitter and Reddit from my phone. I still subscribe to Private Eye but I find I don’t read much of it as it’s all about the corruption and bullshit in the world of politics and as much as PE does really important work I can’t have all that other stuff going around in my head. So, I am trying to read more books on my kindle which I love. I’m using the Kindle app on my phone to try and read some technically dense writing about the NASA F-16XL supersonic laminar flow boundary layer investigations. I’m trying to improve my own levels of knowledge and understanding while avoiding the shit-heap of politics.

I still care of course and so balancing it all is hard. I think it’s why I like Minecraft so much. It’s a world where I have control over most things except for bloody creepers and what my kids do in the world. I’m building a beach house at the moment and I’m looking forward to the results. So, instead of me having to think about all the issues going on in the world I do this by proxy. I give money [not that much but enough] to organisations I think are doing the right thing. I put my energies into work and getting money to live and then I give some of my time and money [mostly money] to people whose values agree with mine. So, here’s who I give money to:

British Humanist Society – because if I had to describe myself it would be as a humanist or as a pastor of the Church Of The Flying Spaghetti Monster.

National Secular Society – because I don’t believe any religion has the right to be a part or have influence over laws and government.

Green Party – I used to be a part of the Liberal Democratic Party who I joined just after the Brexit vote. But since then they elected a bigot as their leader and I no longer found my values aligning with theirs. The Green Party do seem to have all the right policies. I am concerned that many people my age still think of the Green Party as a bunch of unrealistic hippies but the party values align with mine more than any other party.

Puzzle In A Thunderstorm Productions – These guys take the piss out of religion and it is well deserved. I like their shows and so I donate money to them. Over the years they have been a source of comfort through some tough times and I align well with their values.

Extinction Rebellion – I honestly think these people are doing the right thing. The climate is going to be a disaster soon and so these people get my money because I’m not in a position to do much myself.

British Problems on Reddit has been one of my favourites over the last couple of years. Like minded people pointing out the problems about living in Britain and while it’s very much a list of first world problems it does make me smile. Recently I noticed a post [?] complaining about usage of the terms “myself” and “yourself”. The post seemed to think it was just estate agents who use the term incorrectly and I have pointed out that the educated professionals I work with [in a grammar school] mostly seem to use this incorrect construction. Things like:

“if you aren’t sure come and see Dave or myself
“please email myself if you want more information”

It’s one of those little things that really annoys me. It sounds pretentious and is just plain wrong.

“if you aren’t sure come and see Dave or ME
“please email ME if you want more information”

These are the grammatically correct ways of saying these sentences. Please help me change the world so that everyone speaks properly. Yes, I know the title of this communication is wrong, it’s called humour.

Surrender – Chemical Brothers

I think this band made the song “Supersonic DJs”. I’m not sure. I do know that I bought this and Exit Planet Dust in the 1990s (?) when I had a very small electronic phase. That phase extends as far as The Prodigy and the Chemical Brothers. I really didn’t understand much else about electronic music, I think I always considered myself a “purist” in that I wanted all my music to be playable live and if you couldn’t do that then I wasn’t interested. What a knob I used to be. To be clear I never downplayed or slagged off other music I just didn’t like it.

I remember being on a car journey and the driver put on an Oasis album I don’t know which one, I’ve never really been bothered by them. Well, my emotional response to the whole album was one of utter coldness. I’m happy to admit that they wrote some excellent songs but when I hear them I get nothing. In fact, I almost have a removal of all emotion from me. I don’t know why, I just do.

Being older and wiser I think I am now accepting of “what I like I like” and there’s not a lot I can do about it. If something gives you tingles down your spine then accept it and enjoy it. Too many people in this world are not accepting of the things they like or other people liking it. I’ve recently read about metal fans moaning about Lil Nas X because he’s not a “real” musician and isn’t attacking religion in the right way. I’m impressed with the guy. He’s doing all the right things and I’d like to point out to the metal fans the “no true Scotsman” fallacy.

My most recent communication about the rage that infests my life was not as long as it should have been. I was going to explain the root causes of why I feel so much anger at everything but I don’t think I can write those things down in a coherent manner. I’m looking forward to seeing some friends this week so I can talk about things that have been getting to me. Currently I’ve decided that the State tries it’s best to keep people “just about” happy enough to stop overthrowing the State. That means that they aren’t working for us. That is just what we like to think and the image that they project. My evidence for the State not giving a shit is: Grenfell, poverty, minimum wage, Jacob Rees-Mogg. If governments were serious about fixing things they could. They just maintain the status quo to ensure the people are just about happy enough. They don’t care.

I guess what doesn’t help is having a bunch of incompetent “leaders” and utterly useless selfish tories in charge of the machinery of state at the moment. All organisations have their problems. It’s how you deal with them that should separate those organisations into the good and the bad. For instance, all organisations have problems with abuse of children or women but it’s how they safeguard those people and are open about the abuse that has occurred. If you are open about the things that have happened and you aim to minimise issues in the future then that is a good thing. If you respond like the catholic church and systematically cover up all the accusations and have done for years along with paying hush money then you are an evil child-rape cabal.

We have to have these safeguards in place because you need to remember that some people are arseholes. Those people will always exist. It’s how we deal with them that’s important. We should not give those people platforms. We should normalise the more accepting part of society. I see so much privilege in my working life and a failure to empathise with others that I am really concerned that society isn’t moving towards an egalitarian future but one of increased division. I used to think that in the long term the idea of society was to be helpful and inclusive, to look after each other, to be accepting of differences, to be selfless. But I think the human condition is mostly the opposite and I feel almost constantly sad. The world isn’t heading for some utopia. It’s heading to be roughly as it’s always been.

In my brighter moments I remember that change takes time and that there are people out there trying to do the right things. Then I remember all the shit that happens in the world. A wonderful future isn’t the default position of human planning. The default position is one of greed and selfishness. It’s up to the rest of us to do our best to persuade arseholes that being nice is the better thing [which should be obvious but people don’t seem to get it].

While I’ve been writing this the album has been playing and it’s perfectly good. A nice background hour or so of songs.