Monthly Archives: March 2015

Why does Jeremy Clarkson get me so angry?

This is worth a look. More articulate than my own post.

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A friend has, quite reasonably, observed “people seem to hate Clarkson out of all proportion to him being a presenter of a show about cars”. It’s a fair point. While I don’t “hate” Clarkson, he does make me very angry. Why is it that this man, whom I can quite simply ignore by switching channels, squats on my emotional world in such a colourful way?

For me, Clarkson is the intersection of several political ley-lines. This makes him more prominent as a symbol than it should.

He enables and emboldens xenophobia to a significant degree and, each time the BBC stood behind him, it felt like they were cool with that. He seemed to be the entertainment equivalent of Nigel Farage. I know many of you don’t see the fuss about calling Mexicans “lazy, feckless and flatulent”, or going to Argentina and making fun of a conflict in which over 900…

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Clarkson

Today I’m going to do something new and possibly ill-advised. I’m going to talk about an issue currently in the news. I’m going to talk about Jeremy Clarkson. Last week he was fired from the BBC and people seem to have a problem with this. I don’t understand.

To be clear I’ve never been interested in Top Gear. I can’t drive, I’m not planning on learning, and to me a car is nothing but a method of getting from A to B (And at weekends to C). I honestly don’t understand the appeal of fast cars. To me it makes little difference as we have speed limits. Also a love of cars is responsible for the stupid Argo scene in Star Trek: Nemesis.

I know that that is an overwhelmingly simplistic discretion of Top Gear. That however is not the issue. The issue is that Jeremy Clarkson punched someone. There is a word for that… assault. Yet more than a million people signed a petition to keep him on Top Gear.

I signed the petition to say that he must go.

I have questioned what I would say if it was the presenter of one of my favorite shows had done this. Well I can’t imagine Victoria Coren Mitchell, Dara Ó Briain, or Stephen Fry doing this. Let’s put it this way I’m not surprised that Clarkson would punch someone over such a trivial thing.

I have only two question for those people who seem to support Clarkson.

What do you think would happen if you punched a co-worker?

If a co-worker punched you would you want them to be fired?

That’s all I have to say.

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100 Years

Yesterday I attended my Great Aunt’s 100th Birthday. (Actually I think she is more properly called Grand Aunt. She is my grandmother’s sister.) It was a lovely event.

My Great Aunt is in remarkable health. She uses a walker, has poor sight, but is still fully present.

When you reach 100, as you probably know, you receive a letter from the Queen. I really like this tradition and enjoy the idea of the Royal Family. To my Great Aunt I feel it must be especially special – the Royal Family, in the war, were undoubtedly a source of strength to the people – it is nice to see the tradition continuing.

The Queen’s coronation was the reason for many people to get a TV in 1953. Now the idea of TV, in the traditional sense, is becoming a thing of the past. It is amazing to think of all the changes she’s seen. I can only imagine what things will be like if I live to see 2087.

It was also great to see my extended family and to gather for a happy event. We will gather again for my Great Aunt’s 105th birthday.

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It’s Not What You Think

Since the beginning of the year I’ve been learning Welsh. It is slow progress but my aim is to be fluent in five years. I’ve started listing to Meinir Gwilym, a Welsh singer, to start to expose myself to the language.

My father introduced me to the work of Meinir Gwilym over a decade ago. It’s interesting listing to music in a language you don’t know well. I recognise a word or two here and there but mostly I’m left to guess what it all means.

One song, Cachu Ar y Walia, sounds like a typical Eurovision song. You know the type arms in the air waving from side-to-side.

Well, as you can see from the video, the actual translation is ‘There’s shit on the walls.’ Since ‘cachu’ hasn’t resisted in my mind as a swear word its easy to find myself muttering the song while at work. Fortunately I’m also rather self conscious so would never actually be singing above a whisper.

I think I once sang a Klingon drinking song while wiping tables.

Okay maybe more than once.

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Mother’s Day

In the UK today is Mother’s Day.

Mother’s day is something of an ‘invented’ holiday. Like Valentine’s Day it no doubt has people who see it as overly commercialised and perhaps a little sappy. However just because something is recent isn’t any reason to devalue it

Naturally I’m writing this ahead of time. Today I will be at my parent’s house. My brother, his wife, and I will prepare a meal. It’s always a treat for mum when she doesn’t have to cook.

Mother’s Day and Father’s Day are important. It is a cliche but parents do so much for their children that it is important to acknowledge that. And its just nice to spend time with family sometimes.

This did get a little sappy didn’t it?

I hope that you have/have had a wonderful Mother’s day. Either as the mother or as the son or daughter. Do you have any family traditions on Mother’s Day?

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Jo Graves 1916-2015

My grandmother died a fortnight ago and I wanted to remember her here. Her funeral was on Monday. It was a lovely service with family members talking of their memories of her. This is what I wrote:

Jo Graves 1916-2015It is hard to imagine the world of Grandma‘s birth. Ninety-eight years is an incredible expanse of time. Just thirteen years before she was born was the first powered flight – and just last year a probe landed on a comet millions of miles away.

​Grandma lived through two world wars.​ She told me once about rationing which included things like saucepans. Her mother was
able to get her a full set of pans when she married, ​by rejoining the queue several times in different disguises.

Once, when heading to grandma‘s house, we had terrible trouble locking mum and dad’s front door. It took us ages. Eventually the problem was revealed – grandma had been using the wrong key.

Many years ago, while on holiday in Bodmin, Mum and Grandma shared in a little conspiracy. Aware that ​Richard and I were not finding ​the walk much ​fun they told us that just around the corner there was a little tea room. ​Whereas, in fact, ​neither of them knew if there was one on that path​. Then, just round the corner, we found a lovely little place on a hill. We had ice creams.

Then, w​hen we got back to where we were staying, there was a red van waiting for us selling fish and chips.

 I think that ‘tea rooms’ sums up my memories of Grandma. Wherever we were going, from Tesco to one tourist attraction or another, finding the tea room was always top priority.
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The Image used in this post was taken by my father, O-Dzin Tridral, you can find him at: https://www.polaroidblipfoto.com/tridral/entries

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Make It Stop!

If you’ve ever seen an author interviewed I can almost guarantee one question they will be asked. They will be asked: ‘Where do you get your ideas?’

I can’t seem to find a source for this but one answer I’ve come across is: ‘The problem is not coming up with ideas – the problem is making them stop!’

While this is not a problem I’ve had in abundance it certainly something to which I can relate. With so much going on from articles, anecdotes, Facebook status,  and even mash-ups the possibilities are endless. That last one is of particular interest as a pitch for a new idea is ofter couched as a connection between two already awesome things: It’s Star Trek meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer – for instance.

When I see something interesting I bookmark it. I’ve got lots of bookmarked tabs with little snippets of things. Some might become short stories, some blog posts, and some as little more than just showing you that they exist.

Of course there are still times when the ideas don’t flow. This seems just ridiculous when you consider that the internet gives us access to the sum of all human knowledge.

Generally though ideas are easy. This brings me to another point. Ideas do not make a film (or novel ect)…

Some people seem to reckon that having an idea is doing most of the work. They tell you the idea and expect equal credit in making into an idea. They are wrong. They are very wrong.

While ideas for stories are always welcome they are a small part of the creative process. Take ER for instance. The premise of that show is simple. We can explore the doings of: doctors, nurses, administration staff, and the rest. We also have the opportunity to have episodic stories as patient’s lives intersect with the hospital.

To write the story…

I would need to know about: hearts, livers, kidneys, lungs, arms, legs, heads, brains, hospital procedures, legal procedures, administrative procedures, stethoscopes, recovery times, cancer, emphysema, measles, meningitis, hospital acronyms, and exactly what it would look like having your arm severed by a helicopter – must be why they call them choppers.

Yes, ideas are nice but they are only the beginning.

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