Friday 29 May 2015

Anger Is An Energy

It's not that I can't be bothered to blog, or that nothing interesting has happened this week. After all, Sep Blatter is facing an interesting future and (shock horror) FIFA may be a corrupt organisation, especially in Africa as well as South and Central America. Who'd have guessed it!

No. I've been building a shed that arrived flat-packed last Saturday, which included instructions that could have been from the Japanese offshoot of IKEA on a bad day. I had to phone the technical department so many times that we became quite good friends and are now on first name terms. Unfortunately the roof doesn't fit, so they're shipping new roof beams. which will arrive while I'm away on holiday along with replacement roof felt (which was ripped) and window batons (which split when screwed to the frame). Looks like a bust time when I get back, especially as we're having all the downstairs carpets replaced, so I have to move all the furniture and take all the old carpetd down to the refuse tip.

In addition, I've been reading a book.

I usually write them, or if I'm reading it'll be one of Terry Pratchett's, or Bernard Cornwell. However this is a book my daughter bought me for my birthday. It's John Lydon's biography called "Anger Is An Energy" and most people will know him as Johnny Rotten of the foul-mouthed and anarchistic Sex Pistols.

I was dubious, but he comes over as being an highly intelligent, well-read and extremely interesting man. He could read and write at the age of 4 and then caught meningitis, which wiped his memory for several months and he had to relearn his academic talents from scratch. His upbringing wasn't easy, or normal and yet he read Dostoyefsky and loved Rakmaninov. While other members of the Sex Pistols died, or faded into obscurity, John has carved a career in America, has a supportive family, is married to his long-term girlfriend, fronts his own group PIL, and has done for many years, has been on "I'm A Celebrity. Get Me Out Of Here", and has been offered a rejected MBE. A really fascinating guy and a book I'd recommend.

I'll be taking it on holiday to finish it and I'm also taking Terry Pratchett's Raising Steam. There are also a couple of eBooks I'm hoping to read on my iPad, though I must admit I don't like Kindle versions. I'd much rather read the words on aprinted page!

Blog on, Dudes!

Friday 22 May 2015

Kids Today!!!!

When I was young, we never behaved like kids do today!

Actually I think we did, or we'd have liked to, except the knowledge that parents, policemen and shop keepers would give us a clip around the ear stopped us going too far. The thought of being able to shout "I know my rights!" and threatening a court case for child abuse was unheard of. Kids didn't take away those barrier ropes; a well-meaning nanny state did, backed up by an autocratic EEC based in Brussels.

Another common complaint is that kids have it far too easy today. Exams have been dumbed down just so grades can look good. As a result there's no pressure on kids to achieve.


For the past 2 weeks, and until the end of June, I've been an exam invigilator at a very successful 6th form college in Winchester. I've been setting up, invigilating and then collating results for 2 exams a day in a variety of subjects. Around 1,500 kids are taking their final A'levels while about the same number are taking their Lower 6 1st year exams. The work put in by around 200 invigilators is tremendous, but the work the kids have put in over the past 2 years is phenomenal.

It's no wonder we've already had 3 panic attacks, all of which were dealt with calmly so that the students were able to continue their exams in a side room after a rest period.

Impressively, the college recognises very early in a student's 6th form career if they have colour blindness, dyslexia, or some other non-obvious problem. These students are given extra time if they want it, specially coloured exam and answer papers, readers and / scribes if necessary, and every opportunity for their intellect to shine. 

I looked throught the exam papers at each session I took and even those subjects I thought I was well versed in were certainly not easier than when I took A'levels. Kids may be given every technological aid but the competition is very high and the standard no lower than it used to be.

Successive governments have inadvertantly piled pressure onto the kids by making degrees so widely available and therefore almost obligatory. Now every kid is expected to get great grades and go to some university, or degree establishment as a matter of course. However many leave after the first year of a degree course, realising that they're incurring a debt, are doing a degree that will have little relevance to them in reality, or that they're just not cut out for university life. Wasted pressure, poor kids!

Having said that, I've yet to see any student treat an exam I've invigilated as a joke, and I hope the 3 who had panic attacks get the grades they obviously worked so hard for, It's a privelege working with them.

Blog on, Dudes!

Tuesday 5 May 2015


Image result for general election

Leaflets having been drooping through my letter box for a month or so now and that can only mean that after 5 years we're having another General Election to vote another load of politicians into power.

At least we don't have to put up with the American system of party political broadcasts for a whole year. Strangely though, in the States they only have the two parties anyway, whereas we now have a whole rainbow of choices.... some of whom make the Monster Raving Loony Party look sensible. In our case, it just seems like a year.

Politics was always a fairly gentlemanly process and general elections with your choice of Dimblebys was of interest only on the night when Billeracy declared the first result. What ever happened to them? It's now somewhere up North.... or at least above the M4. People didn't swear at each other. Certainly there were unsavoury secrets, but the media kept those quiet, because MP's were like bankers, lawyers and estate agents.... pillars of society! Then came expenses and the reputation ofg MP's joined that of .... er bankers, lawyers and estate agents!

I'm not a Labour, Lib Dem, Tory, Wesh Nationalist, SNP, UKIP or SNP supporter. I'm a blogger who watches, and the modern habit of pouring out vitriol against a party the vitioler doesn't support is amazing. I have to say that Labour supporters seem to do it most against the Tories and some even voice the opinion that if you don't agree with them you must be against them. I was even accused on Facebook of being a Nazi by one person because I mildly disagreed with one of his comments that used several well known Anglo-Saxon expletives. Ironically that's the sort of action the Nazis would have approved of. Stalinist Russia would have put me in a gulag. Over here I get defriended on Facebook. Oh well!

Great Britain has an income, just like a household, and has to keep to that budget or go into debt. Once in debt the household has to cut its cloth to get back into balance, not spend even more to make itself feel better. I, for one, know that only too well, and saying it doesn't mean I'm a Tory.... and certainly not a Nazi! I'm just a householder who will probably vote another load of unaccountable politicians into power on Thursday, who will promptly forget me and the rest of the population by Friday.

At least I won't get any more leaflets through the door for 5 years.... unless of course the result is so inconclusive that they need another election!

Heaven forbid!

Blog on, Dudes!