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Archive for the category “People”

Married At First Sight

Following on from Valentine’s Day, Channel 4 has a documentary series going about people who have allowed themselves to be paired up by scientists and specialists, signing up to meet on their wedding day. (It turns out that this is actually the third series of it in the UK – and the results on the previous two series haven’t been all that promising!)

They’ve done it with some run-up in order to do all the stuff like declarations of intent to marry, telling family and friends, and make all the preparations. So they get told that they’ve been paired up (and are now ‘engaged’) and then six weeks later they’ll meet for the first time and get married.

Thursday’s episode was the first one, and basically all the set-up and preparations. From there I assume it’ll be about the aftermath, and how they work out once the wedding is done.

Marriage is something that, to be honest, leaves me cold – it really hasn’t ever appealed to me at all, and it’s never been on the list of Things To Do. And so far, there’s never been anyone I’ve been with who’s changed that opinion, or made me think differently about it at all.

But I do still find it an interesting concept, and the whole arranged-marriage type thing, of seeing how people handle that and so on.  Whether I continue watching the programme or not is a different matter, but for now it’s at least vaguely interesting. We’ll see.

Fish, Cambridge Corn Exchange

About 18 months ago, I went to see Fish (the ex-lead-singer of Marillion) at a gig in Aylesbury, including performing the whole of Marillion‘s “Misplaced Childhood” album for its 30th anniversary.

This year, it was announced he’d be touring again, and this time performing both stuff from the new album, and the whole of the “Clutching At Straws” album – again, for its 30th anniversary.

As with “Childhood”, “Straws” isn’t among my all-time favourite albums, but they both got played a lot as I grew up, so it was still of interest to go and see it performed live.  And I’m glad I did.

The gig started with some old favourites, but nothing new. And there was a reason for that – he hasn’t actually written the new album yet, let alone released it.  When they advertised the gigs and organised the tour, they expected it to be done, but life got in the way. So… some classics instead of new stuff. Fine with me, and apparently fine with most of the audience too.

As for the performance of “Straws” itself, that was excellent, and brought back a bundle of memories of listening to the album, as well as re-realising just how bleak it is in places. There were also parts of it that they’d never performed live before this tour, including one track that was ad-libbed at the time, so Fish had to listen to the album in order to write down the lyrics to learn them for performance. Which is, when you think about it, pretty messed up.

Anyway, the gig was one I really enjoyed – in spite of the audience.  As always, I really don’t understand the mindset of people who go to a concert, and then spend the entire gig going to and from the bar, and the toilet.  The three people in front of me (it was a seated gig) were barely ever in their seats, and kept walking off. That’s not just a waste of their time and money, it’s also insanely annoying for the people around them, getting constantly disturbed and having to move.

But, audience aside, it was a good gig. It might be the last time he tours, it might not. It’s likely the last chance to see “Straws” performed like that, so it was definitely worth going.

Charitable Christmas

This year, I haven’t been as ratty as usual about the whole Festering Season thing. It still annoys me, but I’ve been able to ignore most of the retail bullshit around the season (due to not visiting shops as much, primarily) and so on, and avoided most of the raw sentimentality and commercialism that hangs around the entire process.

However, I’ve also been looking more at some of the charity stuff that’s being done – particularly for the homeless.

One of those things – and one I’ve contributed too, both this year and in previous ones – is the “Reserve A Place” scheme by Crisis. Paying £26.08 per place reserves a place for a homeless person at one of the Crisis centres over Christmas, along with support, health checks, and a bundle of other things. I’m all for that, to be honest.

The other one, only announced yesterday, is a slightly different thing, but still pretty brilliant. London’s Euston Station, which would usually be closed for Christmas Day, is instead going to become a homeless shelter for the day, filled with decorations and tables for 200 rough sleepers.  I think that’s pretty fucking brilliant, to make use of that sheer space in a different but decent way.

It’s being organised as a collaboration between St Mungos and Streets Kitchen, with about 30 Network Rail staff also involved.

To me, as always, I think these are the things that should be promoted, that are what the whole Festering Season should be about. I truly hope they’re both successful ventures, this year and into the future.

Relocation

Milton Keynes has quite a population of homeless people – a population that’s grown noticeably over the last couple of years – and now we have a number of homeless people who camp in the underpasses and subways around the town centre.

It’s interesting though – as Winter comes in, and the temperature has dropped over the last couple of weeks, the number of people sleeping on the streets has also dropped significantly.

I really noticed it today, seeing empty spaces on the pavements and so on where there’s usually been people sleeping.

I don’t know the reasons – although I kind of feel like I should, same as I feel like I should know where they’re getting all their gear, the tents and so on that now appear to be standard fare.  It seems like even the homeless are far better prepared/equipped for being homeless.  But I may be being cynical. I just don’t know.

But all the same, it’s odd, seeing how the streets have emptied out in the last couple of weeks.

Illumination

On Friday morning, while it was still dark, I started the car to go to the client office – and one of the headlight bulbs blew.

Bollocks.

I’m not a fan of driving with one bulb out, but in this case it was going to have to happen, so off I went, a bit more carefully than usual, as a bigger swathe of the road than usual was in darkness.

On the way home though, I dropped in to one of the local(ish) Halfords, and got a new bulb sorted and fitted. Yeah, in theory I could fit it myself – but seeing the struggle the lad had with getting to it (the space was extremely tight/narrow) I’d have had issues, so it makes sense to get them to do it. (Also, when he opened the packaging for the first bulb and dropped the bulb through the engine block, he just went to get a replacement – that wouldn’t have happened if it’d been me doing it!)

From start to finish, it took less than half an hour – even with the difficulties the lad had. And all for less than £20.

I really don’t get why so many people seem to have problems with getting bulbs replaced. Some people I see in the village have had the same bulb out for weeks, if not months. I understand that sometimes you just get used to the problem existing, rather than fixing it – but at the same time, working headlights are a pretty basic requirement, I’d have said.

And besides, if it’s only £20 all-in to fix it, really, I don’t get the point of not bothering. but maybe I’m missing something. Wouldn’t be the first time, after all.

Murdered And Left To Die

Every so often, it’s my misfortune to go onto a local news site – in this case the MK Citizen – to find out about something that’s going on.

However, sometimes the ‘other news’ section produces gems of the lost art of sub-editing, like this…

Now OK, it’s a terrible story and so on. But really, “murdered and left to die”?!? Fuck sake. That one’s not even difficult to parse and go “Hang on, if he was murdered, he was already dead, and couldn’t have been left to die.“. Or is that just me?

Lightly Battered

On Thursday, I walked with friends to the National Burger Day event, and slightly broke myself along the way.

The walk (from Euston to Canada Square) should be about 5 miles. However, it’s not a location I’ve walked to before, and I hadn’t prepared properly for doing so, so I made a couple of mistakes.  We were going in generally the correct direction, just by a less-direct route than it could/should have been.

Additionally, it was a bloody warm day, I hadn’t got any water with me, and (as it turned out) my walking boots were pretty much dead, so I ended up knackered, hot, sore, and (by the end) pretty dehydrated. Which also added to the mistakes in the route-finding and map-reading.  All told, that walk ended up being just under 8 miles. So yes, definitely not my finest day, by a long chalk.

When we eventually got to the pub we’d planned to stop at, I was – not to put too fine a point on it – fucked.  I drank two and a half litres of water just while we sat there. That’s never a good sign.  (Also, it turns out that my hands swell when I’m dehydrated, which is kind of odd, but good to know for future reference)

We still did the event, and it was OK – but there wasn’t anything that massively stood out for me, to be honest.  As a result, I think there’s going to be some changes for me going forwards, but that’s going to be a post for another day, when I’ve thought about it some more. Change is afoot, to be sure.

When we were done, we decided to get the Tube back to Euston, and home. Much more sensible. And once I got home, taking off the boots and finding just how twatted my feet were was… interesting, and not entirely pleasant.

I’d say I’ll use it as a learning experience, and never do the same thing again, but we all know that’s not true, and that at some point in the future I’ll do something equally stupid. Or more so.

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