(*Above: Bad Wolf Bay from Doctor Who)
Well it’s official – I’ve been utterly crap at updating this blog recently.
I do have the excuse that I’ve been on Twitter a bit, but nonetheless this place wasn’t supposed to get covered in cobwebs and tumbleweed.
There is another excuse, to be fair – Moving out of London…
I’m now pretty much settled down here in south Wales, not too far from where my mum came from (she’s from the Rhondda Valley – I’m just over the other side of the stunning Bwlch down in Bridgend) – and really enjoying a different lifestyle. Read the rest of this entry »
First post of the new year – and perhaps appropriately – also the first day of a completely new look for the blog.
I know it’s only a blog and not exactly one of my “proper” websites but nonetheless it’s something I’ve been thinking about for a while; I’ve really enjoyed working with WordPress for the main and commercial sites and even though I don’t really aim to do anything really clever with these pages I was beginning to feel that the old blog looked way TOO much like a bog standard Blogger page and that I wanted it to be something a bit more unique, and something that genuinely looked a bit more like the “Stuff & Things” title suggested – something a bit individual, a bit eclectic and a bit magaziney even.
And it’s a big new year – in a lot of ways…
The redundancy from Teletext is now complete and I’m working at getting Vroom Media up and running. A deep recession probably isn’t the best time to start a new business (unless it’s in repossessions or knee-capping I guess) but I didn’t have much choice.
Along with the new design business startup, there’s also the move. Living in London’s no longer an option – it’s always been overpriced and it’s now something that can’t really be afforded.
And to be honest, maybe it’s time to move away. Go somewhere more peaceful, somewhere with more room, more space outside, somewhere new for a new phase of life.
Teletext – and London – have both been good rides for the past 11 years; but despite the uncertainty and risks I’ve got to say that I’m really looking forward to shaping a new life as my own boss and doing work that interests me, being able (up to a point) to pick and choose good jobs and keep variety and interest alive – and I’m looking forward to doing it somewhere other than London.
At the moment it’s looking very much like Cardiff or Bridgend – almost certainly the Vale of Glamorgan. The idea of more time to enjoy the place I live, got out, get fitter, put time aside for music and writing – it’s all good.
There’s been some sad news too at the turn of the year; hearing out of the blue from an old schoolfriend that one of our friends from back then has just died. He was something of a soulmate at school – we were in a band together – an awesome one – and he was a magical guitarist with an ear not just for the obvious, catchy and rocking – but also the offbeat, the sonically adventurous and the ‘out there’; someone I owe a lot of my love of genuinely interesting and engaging music to.
We hadn’t seen each other for years – that’s what we all seem to do nowadays; and it’s only awful jolts like this that remind you what a fucking wasteful stupid thing that is – and I think that the urge to do positive things, to make the most of what lies ahead may well be in part down to that news.
The coming weeks are going to be fairly messy, juggling new pieces of work alongside trips down to Wales for house hunting; it’s all fairly hectic and I hope I can make the excitement of seeing the houses and surroundings outweigh the stressy bits of it all.
Happy new year anyway. There’s lots of possibilities ahead – and I hope great things for all of us.
Pic: the Roman god Janus (January, geddit?) – looking back and looking ahead
Sometimes there doesn’t seem to be enough good news around at Christmastimes… Don’t know why – (maybe it’s because we tend to try and happy ourselves up for the occasion and the world doesn’t stand a chance of living up to that), but there just doesn’t. And that’s broadly been so this year too – ongoing whitewashy shambles of an Iraq inquiry, total cop-out and big finger to the planet from Copenhagen – but at least today has flagged up two stories that have really genuinely made me incredibly happy.
The first is pretty obvious – Rage Against The Machine taking the Xmas number 1 slot from some vanilla X-Factor prettyboy singing some crappy banality at the order of his master.
Thank Fuck, quite frankly. Brilliant news.
The X-Factor may be enjoyed by millions but that doesn’t make it good of course (and it isn’t good – it’s fucking evil) – and contrary to the bafflingly poor thinking of some absurdly biased BBC newsreader/interviewers over the past days, it does NOT set up winners in long and glittering and important careers; so far they’ve been largely shortlived. For which one can only be thankful given the tripe, pap and worthless formulaic shite they put out. The BBC people actually were pretty annoying – completely glossing over the Rage profits going to homeless charity Shelter, having been corrected on a point about making money from the single, and also accusing the song of not being about Christmas…. er, like the X-Factor song then… Muppets.
Anyway – they did it. WE did it. Brilliant. It’s not a cynical act (as described by the cynical Simon Cowell in an act of breathtaking cynicism even by his own magnificent standards) – it’s a genuine authentic act of championing authenticity over cynicism. And I hope it’s only the beginning.
I also hope it’s only the beginning for more coming out and acceptance of gay sports stars following the announcement by the Welsh rugby star – Cardiff Blues player and the most capped player for Wales and former British and Irish Lions captain, Gareth Thomas. Sport can be a macho and misogynistic animal, and of course homophobic too. Yet statistically, it’s blindingly obvious that there should be quite a few gay sportsmen out there – who knows, maybe great ones – great role models. And that one of them has had the guts to come out is great news…
“It has been really tough for me,” he told the papers, “hiding who I really am, and I don’t want it to be like that for the next young person who wants to play rugby, or some frightened young kid. I don’t know if my life is going to be easier because I’m out, but if it helps someone else, if it makes one young lad pick up the phone to Childline, then it will have been worth it.”
Let’s hope this might just be a moment of genuine shift like the Rage Xmas number 1. Today has definitely been a good day. Hopefully the reasons why it’s been a great day can lead to more great days to come.
Good on you Gareth Thomas, good on you Rage Against the machine – and good on you all who bought the single :-)
Rage Against The Machine article
Gareth Thomas article