Thursday, April 06, 2006

A Small Post

At Biased BBC.

Apologies ..

for light blogging, when there's so much to blog about.

24 Minutes From Risca

What a pity.

In Marc Almond's words "a great, unique singer of great, unique songs. But enough about me".

Still, he went after a sell-out show. But a shame to die in a lonely hotel room, with the missus a couple of thousand miles away.

I stop and smile
I take my bow
I leave the stage
And then somehow

Backstage - I'm lonely ...

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

I Don't See Any Elephant

Two stories on BBC Radio Four. Apparently, the population of the cities is much younger than that of the countryside.

I wonder why ?

Next, a preview of today's French riots - in which Caroline Wyatt seems to have no clue as to the identity of the people expected to attack demonstrators, shopkeepers, police this evening.

It's Thatcher's Fault

This is obviously the NuLab rebuttal strategy - I heard David Miliband coming out with it a week or so back, now Jim Murphy (who he ?) on the Today programme. (Health Warning - contains obligatory poke at the 'middle class')

"Yes, OK, social mobility is declining. But the study that shows it compares children born in the 1950s with children born in the 1970s. Those 70s children were at school in the 80s - under Thatcher."

Apparently something in the zeitgeist - the sight of unemployed parents, the 'grotesque level of child poverty' - so traumatised Thatcher's Children that they ceased to strive for a better future. More importantly, they did worse at school, hence the "increasing relationship between family income and educational attainment" of which the report complains.

If Messrs Miliband and Murphy were right, we should have seen social mobility plummeting in the 1950s and 1960s, as the hideous effects of the 20s and 30s depression kicked in. I believe child poverty was a tad more severe, too. My mother had two pairs of school shoes - one full of holes, with cardboard in the soles to protect her feet, in which she'd walk to school. When she got to Dynevor, she'd put on the 'best' pair. (Cries of 'Luxury !')

Yet the 50s and 60s were seen as times of increasing social mobility. Anything else happen in the 1980s ? Like the first generation to have a fully comprehensive school system ?

Monday, April 03, 2006

Lighter than Light Blogging

Sorry - too much work. So I really shouldn't have created this.

We're Not Having Kids - Again

Alison Wolf with a long and fascinating essay on what she sees as the triumph of women in the labour market (there's another essay to be written on how female role-models have moved from the 'angel in the house' to the porn star, but that's a different story).

"Three consequences get far less attention than they deserve. The first is the death of sisterhood: an end to the millennia during which women of all classes shared the same major life experiences to a far greater degree than did their men. The second is the erosion of "female altruism," the service ethos which has been profoundly important to modern industrial societies—particularly in the education of their young, and the care of their old and sick. The third is the impact of employment change on childbearing. We are familiar with the prospect of demographic decline, yet we ignore, sometimes wilfully, the extent to which educated women face disincentives to bear children."

For the death of female altruism, you don't have to look much further than the nursing profession, where on-the-job training has been replaced by academic training (contining a hefty chunk of political indoctrination) run by the likes of Tom "Too Professional to Care" Murray.

And childbearing ... it was interesting to look at Nordish's snaps of the demos in Liverpool and Blackburn against the lovely Condi.

Scallyland seemed to have a lot of people of my age out on the streets.

From 1976 to 2006 ...

Blackburn was a little different.

"Tomorrow belongs to me ..."

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Merle and Johnny

Howard Husock in City Journal.

In a television appearance with Haggard, Cash recalled one of his trademark prison concerts in San Quentin. Haggard remarked that he’d been there for the concert. When Cash noted that he didn’t recall Haggard being on the bill that day, Haggard replied, “I was in the audience, Johnny.”

I discovered country music through youthful drinking in Irish pubs, particularly the legendary Lamb and Flag in Worcester, whose jukebox contained two absolute classics - Merle Haggard's "I'm A Lonesome Fugitive" and Hank Thompson's "A Six Pack To Go" coupled with "The Wild Side Of Life". Beautiful. Short, sweet and to the point.

Hey Mr Bartender ... (long pause then a guitar chord)

Please don't be so slow ... (drums kick in)

I've got time for me more round
And a six pack to go
Tomorrow morning's Sunday
I'm gonna be feeling low
So please please bartender
I want a six pack to go
I've been drinking all day long
Taking in the town
I've done spent my whole paycheck
Just a honky tonking round
Well I don't have enough to pay my rent
I ain't gonna worry though
I've got time for one more round
And a six pack to go

(cheerful guitar ...)

One six pack to go !