At the Baftas last week, the women wore black - part of the #metoo brigade. How mindsets have changed. In the ‘70s I worked in the education sector, a time when sexual exploitation of women was not only rife but girls colluded with it, not wanting to appear square. Jimmy Savile was on TV in everything from pop shows, Jim’ll fix it to government clunk-click ads and dance group Pan’s People heralded the new, no holds barred, era of lude dancing. One lecturer thought it hilarious to walk from one typist to another, running his thumb down our backs to unhook bras within. Also he invited 2 naive secretaries (yes, I was one) to the film show he showed to 3rd year undergrads of explicit porn, pausing and even reversing the reel at the most salacious moment. One girl student ran out of the lecture theatre in shock to ribald applause from her fellow students. It was common for professors to have affairs with their PhD students, and I never understood why this didn’t affect the credibility of their theses. TG mobile phones hadn’t then been invented. In today’s totally different mindset, all would be sued.
Want to read more about life in 70s/80s UK universities? 3rd Degree Murder. authl.it/4ia. You’ve been warned!authl.it/4ia
Strange week. A small earthquake here yesterday. Bruno went berserk. Elsewhere in the world, France and Germany are using Europe as their means for personal glory and grandification. Their ultimate dream? A United States of Europe, with them on the throne, lording it over ‘lesser’ nations. Self-appointed captains. And the US? Social media is at war over the Florida school shootings. It reveals what is so obvious to the rest of the world. Americans are so obsessed with their 2nd amendment they can’t see the wood from the trees. The world has changed since that was first introduced but they have refused to change it. Decades ago, after the school shooting in Dunblane, Scotland, the UK banned all guns. Result? Not one school shooting since. It’s not rocket science America. Modernise your outdated 2nd amendment and ban all guns and shops selling them. Probably need an earthquake to realise it though.
Have just returned from visiting our son who’s moved to a beautiful English village. To help him we donated some household appliances but it was the goodie bag containing Marmite that really perked him up. As a vegetarian, its B12 components are essential to boost his health and well-being. Looking around the world I see that the North Korean leader’s sister has been used as a diplomatic tool to build relations with S. Korea but was this merely a subtle, cynical weapon against America? In Gaza children are indoctrinated from birth to hate the so-called ‘enemy’ Israel. It even uses toys and ‘educational’ books to teach innocent children to kill and maim others. This isn’t how to treat family members. In an increasingly uncertain world, family is often all we have and the ones we trust the most. Don’t use them as a weapon; give them love; give them Marmite to heal themselves. Only then will the next generation be fit to spread the love without inner hate.
Social media is a wonderful thing. I joined a FB closed group re-living via photos and anecdotes scenes from my home town. At 16 I got a job with W & T Avery’s, a weighing machine foundry in Smethwick. I reminisced about my time there as a junior, where every morning I had to fetch from the works canteen everyone’s order of hot ‘breakfases’ as they called them. Horrible hot, greasy, brown paper bags and woe betide me if I got anyone’s order wrong. We all had to clock in at a punch machine and at 4.55 pm all would line up to clock out, then wait for the siren. Complete bedlam as hordes would then surge out homewards onto the cobbled inner foundry road, risking life and limb from all those men on bikes, khaki haversacks on their backs, wheels squeaking on the greasy cobbles. Who’d have thought that today, 50+ years later, someone would publish a photo of a colleague from those days? Yes, FB can dig out a past murky memory and remind you it all really happened. Great for people of a certain age, even aiding against rising dementia!
Vigicrues, the French flooding agency, has never seen anything like it. Already the waters of the Seine swirl around the waist of the famous river statue, once famously reaching its beard. In Israel archaeological experts have discovered the remains of a large army plus chariot pieces near the Red Sea. Evidence that the Israelite bible story, where rising waters consumed the Egyptian army, really happened. So, flooding was endemic centuries ago, long before so-called man-made causes. Globally, house builders on coastal sites and on large river plains should construct buildings on stilts. Wherever possible man should choose to live in the centre of a land mass, well away from tidal surges and river overflows. I believe there’ll come a time when in, say, the US most of Florida will someday be submerged and whole islands disappear. Time for global warming conferences to focus not on potential causes but on dealing with it!
Why do we put so much emphasis on likeability in public life? In the beginning I had such hope in Obama. He looked good, was charming to all, a fantastic orator and as the first African-American President he would heal the world. But in the end he was disappointing, appeasing everyone but risking nothing. Result: nothing happened. Macron is similar: looks good, articulate, nice to all. Trump? None of the above! Let’s look at examples of past genius stars, those who broke the mould and had original talent. Al Jolson, early 20C singer, instrumental in converting African jazz to Western tastes; Sinatra, master of musicality; McEnroe, precocious tennis talent. Common denominator? All had personality problems, the first two extending to dubious lifestyles offstage, the latter breeching common behaviour norms on court. Analysis? When voting, don’t choose a potential friend; choose someone who’ll get things done. In the arts/sport, just go with exceptional talent. Nothing else matters.
In The Times yesterday: French Hospital Offers Help For Cancelled NHS Operations. That headline epitomises the differences. Both countries have a similar population, each has excellent health staff, yet the system in one works perfectly; in the other it doesn’t. Why? For we who have experienced both, the answer’s obvious. It’s human nature that if, for 70 years, something is offered free of charge to all, it will be abused. In a nutshell, every sore finger ends up in A & E. Ask any Frenchman and he’ll say he’s entirely satisfied and proud of health care there. The French government pays 70%, the citizen 30%, the latter free to the low-paid and longterm sick/disabled. The rest have access to subsidised top up insurance (not commercialised as in the US) to cover the 30%. Everyone legally entitled to live there has a coveted carte vitale. Every ambulance/medic/pharmacy etc thereby gets instant digital access to your medical history, essential in emergencies. Wake up Britain. Time to learn from Macron when he visits on Thursday.