Back from the visit

It is the monday morning after a great weekend. Seeing Steve and Jenny was terrific. I honestly don’t think I had seen Jenny since graduating our Batchelor’s eleven years ago. They make a lovely couple, and their two little daughters our bright as buttons. As Steve rolled me onto the train yesterday (I’d gone in my manual chair as Steve needed to use his car) I decided to go back up there again soon. Those days at the MMU campus at Alsager now seem an age ago, but it’s great that I haven’t lost touch with my old friends from there. I suppose, due to the internet, keeping in contact with people is easier than ever; but even so the occasional trip to go visit my friends is very welcome.

Mind you, part of me feels guilty that I didn’t go to the Brexit protest on saturday. From the look of the photos it was enormous (700,000 at the ‘People’s Vote march, compared to a piffling 1500 at the pro-brexit gathering of morons). Part of me wishes I went to that, but friends come first. And besides, there are bound to be more and more Brexit protests as the mountain of shit gets higher and higher. Not only did I get to see my friends and their two bubbly young daughters, but I also got to explore York. In all, not a bad weekend at all.

A long overdue catch up

This entry finds me sitting in a coffee shop in York city centre. I’m up visiting my friends Steve and Jenny, with their two adorable daughters, for the weekend. They live in Hambleton, a small Yorkshire village, and Steve and I have come in to explore York. It’s great to see my old university friends, although truth be told the trip up yesterday wasn’t so good: it turned out that the train I was supposed to be on was cancelled, and it took me about seven hours to get here. Anyway I’m here  now for a long overdue catch up, and it really feels good.

The folly of lexit

Like most people I suspect, I see Brexit as a project of the right: it does nothing but feed into a worldview of nationalism  and xenophobia, where nations are pitted against one another in petty rivalries. Surely humanity should be coming together rather than reinforcing our borders. Apparently, though, some on the left of politics are Outists too. According to this LSE article, such people argue that the EU is too neoliberal, and that it’s  regulations ensure private enterprise takes precedence over the state.  I know what they mean, but  I thought the article was worth flagging up because it shows what  a mistake such assumptions are. Brexit serves only capitalism: it is all about  breaking free of EU regulations and letting the most perverse form of capitalism flourish. As the writer puts it “Like many on the left, I oppose European directives requiring competition in the provision of public services, court decisions that imperil international collective bargaining, as well as its suppression of Greek democracy. However, these are problems and policies that are best opposed from within the EU.” Yes, the EU might have it’s problems and neoliberal leanings, but outside of it  we will lose the ability to control such tendencies and greed will  be allowed to run rampant.

First man

Yesterday I took myself to go see First Man. I don’t go to the cinema enough, especially for a guy who professes to be a cinephile.  It was a really intriguing film. If perhaps it was a bit slow at times, it nonetheless gives us an insight into a crucial moment in American scientific and cultural history. The moon landings where when the American myth came of age:  as a country,, this is one of the primary stories that Americans tell about themselves. I think it is telling that we have a film like this released at this moment, with America struggling with it’s identity and uneasy about it’s place in he world. While much of it’s focus is on Aldrin, armstrong, and the interpersonal drama leading up to the Apollo mission, this is essentially a story of how the nation triumphed over all others, proving they could overcome all the drama to set a milestone for all others. Critics like Kermode have suggested that this film is not so much about space than about grief, with Armstrong struggling with the death of his young daughter, that plays into the notion of refinding one’s place in  the world. Yet to retell  this particular cultural tale at a point when americans feel laughed at or mocked, or when they no longer feel they have the prominence they once had, says quite a  bit about how things stand.

Is Trump actually fascist?

I know I’ve been posting these short, link-based entries quite a bit recently, but I just came across a video I think everyone should watch, disturbing though it is. This is a short consideration by a Yale philosophy professor of why Trump may qualify as a fascist. It’s very even-handed: he admits that the  word fascist is, more often than not, an overused political insult hurled at anyone whose politics we dislike, left or right. But in his analysis he looks at what trump is doing and the rhetoric he uses and compares it to the fascists of the past, showing they are frighteningly similar. It makes for very disturbing viewing. We may joke,  or wring our hands and write blog entries, but what is currently happening in the world is starting to become very frightening indeed.

The inspiration behind “Always Look On the Bright Side of Life”

Just in case anyone needs a  bit of cheering up (and who doesn’t these days?) check this video out of Eric Idle’s quite fascinating account of where a certain famous song originated. Yes, you could just dismiss it as him promoting his new autobiography, but I found  it an interesting insight into a fragment of seventies cinema and cultural history, which also brought a smile to my face. All together now…