Tick Tock Tuesday #12 (31 December 2019)

I thought I’d create a new challenge. It is a challenge primarily for me, because I’m new to this platform, and because you don’t really know me yet, nor I you. As my name suggests, I am recovering from a stroke, and I like to push myself in all kinds of little ways… including getting to know the Wonderful World of WordPress. Although this is something I will be doing, I invite you, if this idea takes your fancy, to play along with me and share with me some of your own selections.

My plan is: each Tuesday, until I run dry, I shall post some piece of art with which I have some connection – which has helped to mould me, which makes me tick. Okay, a piece of art is a bit vague – it might be a piece of music, a movie, a book, a painting, or ???? – so my phrasiology is deliberate. It might be anything – I will play this post by ear, so I’m not sure what I’ll think of each week. And, I’ll keep posting on the theme weekly until I run out of ideas.

My rules? Well, I’m not big on rules! My choice will be something with which I feel a connection. That’ll be the important thing, just having some kind of fleeting affection for something probably won’t be enough, unless I’m using my choice as an example of something bigger.

It will be one choice per week – I’m aware that long posts can be quite onerous to read, and I’m in no hurry to complete this so if I have two ideas, I’ll probably hold the second until the next week.

In that same vein, I’ve created this block as a Reusable Block, which I intend repeating for every post on this theme. The block ends with a full-width separator, so if you want to skip ahead each week it doesn’t really matter.

I probably won’t post any lyrics, or any kind of analysis – if you like my choice, the information will be out there for you. But I will try to briefly explain why I feel a connection to my choice, just to try and enhance readers’ understanding of what makes me tick.

I will tag my posts TTT and I will go looking for other posts with that tag. If you’d like to join in, please do the same, or comment, or pingback to this post, and feel free to reproduce my graphic. Lastly, I look forward to reading about what makes you tick.


Today seemed an opportune time to introduce ABBA. Would you believe that once upon a time, I joined the ABBA Fan Club? I must have been just twelve or thirteen, and I was probably only in it for a year before they split. I even had the hots for Frida (I later found out that she is only a year younger than my mum 😀). The only time, too, that I ever called myself a fan of anybody!

Lucky Sod! Bloody Musicians….

Looking back, ABBA’s music did not seek to change the world, but it is just pleasant to listen to, totally inoffensive. And, that has been recognised in recent years. It now seems to be cool to have liked ABBA. So I thought I’d find an appropriate song of theirs to bring in the New Year. And by the way, who’d believe this particular song is forty years old this year? This one comes from one of their last albums – Super Trouper. People (and bands) become a lot more interesting once a bit of water has passed under the bridge.

Happy New Year, everybody. I’m not planning to post again today, so I’ll see you in 2020! (hopefully)

Belt Up

I only started driving myself in the 1990s, so have always worn a seat belt. Wearing of (front) seat belts became compulsory in the UK in 1983. It was something that had been in the pipeline since the Labour government had been in power in the late Seventies, but, you know, it takes that kind of time to bring changes through the system.

In the early Eighties I was just entering my teens, just becoming aware of the news going on around me. Just becoming aware that Michael Foot, the leader of the UK’s Labour Party, was the devil incarnate!

Yes, that is what we were told at the time. As I grew older, I realised that the media barons had a lot to lose if Foot were ever elected, and that this might perhaps have influenced their stance. Especially as, in adult life, I read biographies, including about specific issues in more detail, and realised that things in real life were somewhat more complicated than made out by the tabloids.

I learned that Foot had actually opposed making seat-belts compulsory. Why? Was it not just common sense? After all, the statistics told us they were safer. So why would somebody oppose this common sense step?

Foot had no problem accepting all the evidence. He knew full well that drivers would be safer if they wore seat belts. So what was his problem? His problem was simple. It was that people could take all the evidence on board for themselves, then decide for themselves whether wearing seat belts was a good idea or not. That he – Foot – had no right to interfere in the process. So he opposed getting involved.

So, not as unreasonable as it first sounds. We’d wear seat belts anyway, in any case, just because we understood the safety aspects, surely? Foot’s issue was simply that the state should not be instructing people how to behave (or rather, that it should not instruct them when it wasm’t absolutely necessary), that they should be allowed to decide for themselves. Especially on this specific issue, where there aren’t really any knock-on effects – if you decide not to wear a belt, you’re only really putting yourself at risk.

And this tiny issue became a big fight inside the Labour Party at that time. A storm in a teacup? What do you think?

I’m obviously aware that seat belts add to our safety, but I don’t really think that seat belts are at all relevant here. The issue, to me, seems to be who decides what we do. Are we happy that politicians, the state, know best? Or do we think that we, as individuals, are big enough and sensible enough to decide things for ourselves? Whether to pay heed to/ignore the risks?

Who Won The Week? (29 December 2019)

Okay, last week I posted what I consider to be a serious post under a flippant title, in response to Fandango’s Who Won The Week post. Today, Fandango is preparing himslf for surgery – I hope it goes well, buddy – but I wanted to write a post about something I observed this last week. I am, at least, publishing under the correct title this week. I wish I had a greater imagination, but this one is about the environment, again.

Those of you who read my posts will not be surprised to hear that I am a republican. Small R. I don’t have much time for anything hereditary, and certainly anybody who wants to represent us should be elected.

But our monarchy really lucked out when Elizabeth II arrived. Despite numerous scandals surrounding her family, she has remained stoic over the years. There was a wobble when Princess Di died, but she recovered nicely. Even recently, when her son has been dogged by allegations that he raped an under-age girl, she has an uncanny knack of doing the right thing. Or, at least, of not being seen, when she does the wrong thing.

The queen bases herself in any of four homes. I think. It may be more, it is not something I really follow. Most of the time, she could be in any of them, and her movements between them are not made public, for obvious reasons. She could be using any means of transport that she likes to travel between them, without the rest of us being any the wiser.

However, being British, being the monarchy, one or two of her trips are tradition, and widely publicised, for consumption by an insatiable media. One such example is her annual summer vacation to Balmoral in Scotland. Another is her Christmas getaway to Sandringham in Norfolk, where she went this week. Sandringham is on the east coast and up, maybe 100 miles (give or take) from her London pad.

Forever savvy, even at the age of 93, this week she rather publicly took the train. I don’t think it was a special royal train either – I don’t think there is a royal train any more. Although unlike many commuters, I doubt she had to stand for the journey. Short of climbing onto her pushbike, trains are one of the friendliest ways to travel, as they just might be powered by renewable electricity.

So while I’m not the biggest fan of our monarchy, I will quite happily give the monarch herself credit where it is due.

Contrast this with her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh. The Duke is slightly older, at 98, and actually lives in a retired state on the Sandringham Estate already.

By some unfortunate coincidence, the poor old Duke of Edinburgh was admitted to a hospital in London earlier this week. As far as the media were told, this was almost routine, which may or may not have been true. For that 100-mile trip, the Duke flew, in an RAF Westland Wessex helicopter. Some of us might have heard a whisper that flying is not a particularly friendly way of travelling around, especially one of those old gas-guzzling machines. The Wessex is itself approaching retirement.

I am glad that the Duke was obviously well enough to be discharged from hospital on Christmas Eve, and was able to join his wife in Norfolk for Christmas. I hope they had a wonderful time. For the journey from London back out to Sandringham, he again flew in a Wessex helicopter, courtesy of our armed forces.

Many of us might be charitable to the guy – he has unlimited resources, he has taken anything he has wanted his whole life, without any real regard for the consequences, and is perhaps too old to change now? I prefer to think that a guy of his age should know better, without some idiot like me highlighting his behaviour in a blog post. Even if he is satisfied that he will see out his own days withot being affected personally by climate changes, another of the Duke’s great-grandchildren was boorn to great fanfare in 2019. Will they be so lucky?

Sorry, did I say winner?

If you take this post as an anti-royal post, thank you for reading but that was not my intention. If you take this as an anti-flying-unless-absolutely-necessary post, I hit the spot.