There’s nothing common about common sense

At the time of writing we are in the relatively early stages of a global pandemic.

I use the phrase ‘relatively early stages’ because globally, what we are experiencing is going to take *at least* an entire year (if not considerably longer) to run its course across the world.

Even our lacklustre Government, who are so far behind the intellectual curve that this country has become even more of an international laughing stock than it was during all that Brexit stuff, has been telling people *for weeks* that the country needs to change its way of life, and needs to stop congregating, and needs to adopt social distancing.

So, needless to say, over the past week, as this national crisis has begun to show an indication of just how severe things are going to get, and the UK death toll has begun to dramatically rise, and front-line NHS staff have, in many cases, run out of PPE, many people – bereft of common sense – have, unbelievably, been going on holiday.

Let’s look at that.

International boundaries around the globe are closing down. Neighbouring countries are, in some cases, restricting the flow of people across borders. And other countries are actually stopping the flow of people into and out of their states.

So while that’s going on, Mr and Mrs Average feel that it’s perfectly reasonable to go on holiday to Cornwall, or to Scotland, or to Wales.


How do these people function?

How do they (I don’t want to put too fine a point on it) manage to operate as human beings?

These people, who decide that it’s perfectly OK to pack up their family and trog off on holiday (to one of these places, for sure, but anywhere is as bad) for however long it is (but let’s say three days, though it is undoubtedly longer) are allowed to vote?

Allowed out alone?

These people are weaponised virus-carrying morons.

How do we educate the hard of learning?

Cornwall has one major general hospital. One.

Wales has the lowest general healthcare capability in the UK.

Scotland’s dispersed general healthcare struggles to meet its own geographical challenges.

But people think that it’s OK to leave their towns, their cities, their counties, and interact with strangers in these other places?


How incredibly stupid.

Here are two pieces of information from Wales:

The one thing we can guarantee about common sense is, it appears, that it isn’t very common at all.

Stick a fork in it, it’s done

So far today, walking around the centre of Oxford, I’ve seen:

  • Keep calm and press delete
  • Keep calm and listen to music
  • Keep calm and call Batman
  • Keep calm and be a Princess
  • Keep calm and stay blonde
  • Keep calm and buy more shoes



Can we please have no more of this stretched-far-too-thinly joke?


No more?

Thank you.

Visitor from a bygone age

For whatever reason (the detail is unimportant) HSBC has written to all of the diplomatic institutions it currently serves saying, within its right, they they have a whopping 60 days to find another organisation to do their banking for them.

Bernard Silver, head of the Consular Corps, which represents consuls in the UK, said: ‘HSBC’s decision has created havoc’.

Havoc, Bernard?

Well let’s be thankful that Mr Silver’s normal stress levels probably don’t extend beyond handling the somewhat tricky ‘milk or lemon’, eh?

Caution, contains gratuitous Daily Mail link:

Teenage kicks?

It’s easy being a teenager. What adult hasn’t thought that?

Let’s face it, for most teenagers life is very simple: no work, very few rules (keep your room clean, don’t stay out too late, don’t make too much noise, etc), able to come and go as they please, pretty much.

But it isn’t like that – it isn’t like that at all for them.

Teenagers are hybrid monsters.

Teenagers are neither adults nor children. Their bodies are subject to enormous, sudden variations. Their mental states are unpredictably affected by massive amounts of powerful, naturally-produced, mood enhancing/mood destroying narcotics.

Hormones – and puberty – combine to give teenagers the physical appearance of adults, with all the pleasing features that entails, yet those same hormones give teenagers the emotional stability of a five-year old child.

For the vast majority of teenagers, every day is filled with conflict. Every day is a day of imbalance.




Teenagers are capable of feeling all of these things – and some are capable of feeling all of these things at the same time.

It isn’t easy, being a teenager.

Capturing the angst, documenting the uncertainty of being a teenager was, I used to think, an impossible job.

And then I heard the track ‘Teen Idle’ by Marina and the Diamonds.

This song is an accurate, insightful portrayal of the conflicts that inhabit the physical/mental systems of a teenage girl.

You think you’re messed up?

Read these lyrics and become, for just a few minutes, a teenager once again; experience the conflicts that become, to a teenager, routine…

‘Teen Idle’, by Marina and the Diamonds

I wanna be a bottle blonde
I don’t know why but I feel conned
I wanna be an idle teen
I wish I hadn’t been so clean

I wanna stay inside all day
I want the world to go away
I want blood, guts and chocolate cake
I wanna be a real fake

Yeah I wish I’d been a, wish I’d been a teen, teen idle
Wish I’d been a prom queen fighting for the title
Instead of being sixteen and burning up a bible
Feeling super, super (super!) suicidal
The wasted years, the wasted youth
The pretty lies, the ugly truth
And the day has come where I have died
Only to find I’ve come alive

I wanna be a virgin pure
A 21st century whore
I want back my virginity
So I can feel infinity
I wanna drink until I ache
I wanna make a big mistake
I want blood, guts and angel cake
I’m gonna puke it anyway

Yeah I wish I’d been a, wish I’d been a teen, teen idle
Wish I’d been a prom queen fighting for the title
Instead of being sixteen and burning up a bible
Feeling super, super (super!) suicidal
The wasted years, the wasted youth
The pretty lies, the ugly truth
And the day has come where I have died
Only to find I’ve come alive
Come alive, I’ve come alive

I wish I wasn’t such a narcissist
I wish I didn’t really kiss the mirror when I’m on my own
Oh God! I’m gonna die alone
Adolescence didn’t make sense
A little loss of innocence
The ugly years of being a fool
Ain’t youth meant to be beautiful?

Yeah I wish I’d been a, wish I’d been a teen, teen idle
Wish I’d been a prom queen fighting for the title
Instead of being sixteen and burning up a bible
Feeling super, super (super!) suicidal
The wasted years, the wasted youth
The pretty lies, the ugly truth
And the day has come where I have died
Only to find I’ve come alive
Only to find I’ve come alive
Only to find I’ve come alive
Come alive

Feeling super, super, super! Suicidal
Feeling super, super, super! Suicidal
Feeling super, super, super! Suicidal
Come alive

More Balls


Last night (28th January 2012) was the 2011/12 Event Riders Association Ball.

The venue was Headley Stud, Newbury(ish).

The physical location was the heavily converted indoor arena.

The great and good of the Eventing world were present.

And me.


The host (Jules Stiller) and the team of organisers seized every single stop that was capable of being pulled out, and pulled them all out to maximum effect.

The setting was absolutely stunning.

The organisation (from the security through to the table service) was amazing.

And the entertainments were 99.95% awesome.

The live band could have been better, but that’s the only slightly negative comment I could make. The trouble is, when there’s a music journalist (me) at the Ball, I’m just going to notice a little detail like that.

The entire evening/night/morning was a stunning tribute to a team of people who put massive amounts of effort in to making the evening work.

And it really did work.

There are a few (discrete) pictures below but as far as a description of what went on, or what was involved, this is all you’re going to get.

I am the soul of discretion.

The usual rules apply re the photos. Click on an image once, let it load, click on it again and you’ll get the full-size picture.

A thorn between two roses


The ice-sculpture in reception


Ahem, my drinks, before the food began to arrive


Two more roses


Nial and Owen





I am already looking forward to the 2012/13 Event Riders Association Ball!

Shiny shoes and a chance meeting on a Parisian street

I wore my Dress shoes to work today.

I’m preparing my feet for the Ball on Saturday. There may be some tripping the light fantastic. Or stumbling the heavy mediocre – that might be more accurate.

Or there may not be. But either way, I want my feet to be uncomplaining about my Dress shoes.

And how is it that my Dress shoes are a 10-1/2 whilst my work shoes are an 11?

But one thing is clear.

For today at least, I had the brightest, shiniest shoes at work.


You know I recently wrote about meeting the redoubtable Twitter friend in UCH last Thursday?

This isn’t Twitter related, but last weekend, whilst in Paris, I met an American girl, Amy-Lee.

I’m not going to write about what happened during the couple of hours we spent together. If you want the details you’ll have to listen to this week’s show (This Reality Podcast, No 199).

What I will say is that today I received a stunningly beautiful email from Amy-Lee. So stunningly beautiful it moved me close to tears.

As a result of a couple of hours in Paris with Amy-Lee, I have an open invitation to visit her in Philadelphia whenever I care, and to stay at her house, as an honoured guest, for an all-expenses paid holiday.

Aren’t people excellent?

The morning after

I’m having flashbacks from last night’s wedding party.

There was *cough* a moderate amount of alcohol.

And dancing (to use a one-word description of what went on, on the dancefloor).

And air guitar.

And much random tweetage.

And the DJ played such wonderfully crap music, he was hilarious.

We walked home, one of us barefoot.

But this morning I feel great and my head’s ticking along on all cylinders.

We need to go and find the car.

We’re going to the cinema in a couple of hours.

And I think we need a chilled weekend somewhere, to unwind.

Maybe Amsterdam.

Or Berlin.

But first, another mug of tea.

Same song, different tune


When you are in a public place with your offspring, you need to remember a simple set of rules:

  • You own that fucking child
  • You have a total responsibility to be a parent to your child at all fucking times
  • Being a parent is not a part-time thing
  • If you ignore that child of yours, it will run fucking riot
  • It will whine and cry and scream and it will make a fucking noisome din
  • But because you are the parent, you can tune the rioting brat out
  • We, the rest of humanity, we fucking can’t
  • If you ignore your fucking brat and it runs riot and whines and shouts
  • I will fucking stamp on it
  • And it will be YOUR FAULT
  • Just because you ignored it
  • In a public place
  • And let it go fucking mental
  • Within the sight and hearing of someone who doesn’t fucking care about it
That is all.

A life less contradictory

Sometimes being an ultra left-wing supporter with occasional right-wing inclinations isn’t as easy as that might sound.

I know I’m shallow.

I’m deep, but I’m really shallow.

I love people.

But I hate them.

This means I’m some kind of people-friendly sociopath.

Not an oxymoron in sight, obv.

In other news…

Soph and I are hugely jet-lagged.

Our sleep patterns are shagged two ways to Tuesday.

As if my chronic insomnia isn’t bad enough.

Imagine, if you can, that you have a body clock that says one thing, a brain that says something else and every clock in the house says something completely different.

Not good, obv.


I see that this week’s Euromillions jackpot is £107 million.

I’m just composing my ‘Sorry, I can’t come in to work any more’ email.

Just in cases.

Sometimes I just sits and thinks, and sometimes I just sits

ITV 2 show, The Only Way is Essex.


But I’m going to rise above the content of the show and look at the people who are in it:


But they aren’t just vile; they’re also…

Extremely poorly educated.

These people ever went to school?

I find this impossible to believe.

Anyway, speaking of thick people.

I took a late lunch today – working at home prepping for a big day tomorrow – and as a result I *cough* accidentally caught an episode of Jeremy Kyle.

The show’s host nicely summed up the aspirations of the incredibly chavvy, multi-offspringed 17-year-old girl who was the focus of today’s lie detector test.

‘It’s not all about trainers tats and trackies’.

Solid gold alliteration, and a devastatingly accurate summing up of the girl’s life-goals.

So here’s a big question.

If the welfare system is broken and if the welfare system needs reform, why are we still funding it?

Really, think about this for a moment.

If you had a thing that was broken and needed replacing, would you really keep spending money on it?

And indeed, why are we still using it?

Just wondering.

For eight years I worked at the sharp end of social services in a deprived area of Bristol, and we understood that sometimes there came a time when we needed to say ‘no’.

Sometimes the best form of intervention is not to intervene.

Give support through practical means, help to achieve goals and assist the service users to deliver their own plans?


But fund habits and wasting lifestyles through the continued application of unlimited public cash?

Not under any circumstances.

I’m just thinking out loud.

Don’t get me wrong, when the circumstances warranted, we undertook, and I participated in delivering, serious intervention into the lives and homes of some people.

But sometimes the best thing to do to get people to start helping themselves, is to turn the tap off.