Bits and bobs (scroll down for older articles)
The last time...
Life is a strange beast. As we do our best to navigate our way through it, there are an incredible number of momentous events that simply pass us by. Throughout our existence we are continually doing things for the last time. Some of them are quite significant milestones. But at the time we have no idea that that particular path is being travelled for the final time and the moment slips by without comment or fuss.
As an example, when we were young we used to go out with our friends and play. We would call on them (or vice-versa) and then amuse ourselves for hours on end; exploring woods, building dens, playing sports or children’s games. We would go out after tea and return home when it was dark (or later!) But, inevitably, there was a time in our lives when we did this for the last time. We probably can’t remember it and we certainly didn’t know it at the time.
This is a simple example, but there will be dozens if not hundreds of similar instances where, utterly unaware, you did something that was never to be repeated. As we grow older our circle of friends and colleagues changes and we lose touch with some, people who at one point in your life may have been very important to you. Can you remember your last conversation or night out with them? The last time you laughed with them, cried with them, got drunk with them?
If you are a parent this thought becomes even more significant, with the importance of the moment being magnified many times. I have had two children, both now adults and at the point where they are starting to make their own way in life. I can’t remember the last time I bathed them, or read them a bedtime story, gave them a piggy back to bed or held their hands while walking. I have done all of those things for the last time and yet as enormous as those moments were for me, they passed me by completely silently and utterly uneventfully.
Is there a point to this? Well in the spirit of ‘carpe-diem I would say to savour each day, drink the maximum out of each and every moment and always remember that as good as it may be, you may be living that particular experience for the last and final time.
I laugh at the PS4 vs XBox One arguments
I am a 51 year old gamer. I have seen every generation since the beginning. And in 40 years nothing has changed.
At school we had Spectrum vs Vic 20 and then Spectrum vs C64 arguments. I used to side with the Vic 20. Because I had one.
At work I used to moderate an IT discussion forum and there were violent debates over which was best - PS2 vs XBox. I used to side with the PS2. Because I had one.
And now? Now I have all the systems I can fit in my room. And you know the one thing I have learnt? Whether one system is better or worse than another is, in reality, a bit of a sad argument used by people more often than not worried that they are missing out and desperately trying to justify their purchase to themsleves. Because every system offers something.
If someone is torn between buying one from a choice of options then opinion is valid, but only valuable when offered from those that have owned both.
Otherwise it is somewhat biased and pointless ‘my dick is bigger than yours’ schoolboy boasting, that in reality means jack-shit.
You want my advice? If you are a gamer, buy as many consoles as you can afford. Appreciate them all. They all have good points.
And if you can only afford an XBox one or a PS4? Buy neither and spend the money on half a dozen older machines and a decent games library. Because with retro gaming there are no mandatory 2000 gig downloads before you are allowed to play your game and in general the games, while less impressive, are actually way more fun.
And isn’t that ultimately why we play in the first place?
What price common sense?
I sent my driving licence off today as I’d been caught doing 36 mph in a 30 limit, which was irritating (especially as I was taking my mum to hospital in an emergency as her pacemaker had malfunctioned) but rules are rules, so no complaints.
What was annoying however was the large disclaimer on the form saying: “we will return your licence by second class unregistered post and accept no liability for any loss”.
Will you really. Well that’s pretty bloody stupid isn’t it? You are the Police. A lost or stolen driving licence is extremely valuable in the hands of a criminal and will cause a great deal of hassle in the long run.
I thought reducing crime was a Police priority? Why not fine me £103 rather than £100 and send it registered post you utter morons...
Improving the World Cup
There has always been the opportunity for a little skulduggery in the World Cup. In 1982 West Germany beat Austria 1-0, a result that conveniently saw both teams progress. In the final quarter of the game, both sides made no attempt at all to attack the other, instead choosing to just keeping possession in their own halves for long periods. This episode occurred as the other final group game had been played twenty-four hours earlier, leaving a situation where both sides knew what was required for progression before kick-off.
This ultimately led to a change in tournament format whereby the final two group games are played at the same time, thus ensuring that no team has the advantage of playing last with the knowledge of what result is required.
Unfortunately this can still produce situations such as the one that occurred today, whereby France and Denmark played out an extremely dull 0-0 draw, knowing that this result would see France progress as group winners, whilst also guaranteeing Denmark the second spot in the group table. With the draw being played out, the Peru vs Australia match being played at the same time could have no bearing on the final group table, whatever the result.
So it is clear that the system is still open to abuse. But fear not – I have the solution.
All that needs to be done is for all group games to be played simultaneously. So, taking today’s situation as an example, we would have Australia, Denmark, France and Peru, all playing each other on a single octagonal pitch. You use four goals, four balls, forty-four players and four referees, and at least another few dozen officials to ensure that VAR remains the unmitigated disaster it has so far proven to be. Each match ‘final-score’ is decided simply by counting how many balls your team scores through a particular opponent’s goal, against how many that particular opponent scores through yours. Any ties are settled by a one off round of British Bulldog. And any player that dives or feigns injury has his head shaved and is given a large tattoo of a Disney character of the opponent’s choosing (all on the pitch while play continues) and then has to play the remainder of the game in just his pants.
90 minutes of mayhem sorting out what used to be decided over two weeks and six matches. Go on – tell me you wouldn’t watch…?
Why is Ed Sheeran so hated?
I know it’s cool to hate Ed Sheeran but I really don’t get it. I recently watched a concert on BBC1 where he was opening BBC Music's 'Biggest Weekend' three day festival in Swansea and he was terrific, as he always is every time I see him. I remain in constant awe of his talent and more so, his nerve. He’s not manufactured, he’s not a male model, he just walks out on stage in front of thousands of people with no band, no backing singers and no backing tapes. It's just him, an acoustic guitar, a microphone and a looper pedal. And without the safety-net enjoyed by just about every other artist out there, he pulls together some fantastically layered, beautifully written songs. Working with a looper pedal you have absolutely no margin for error, if you drop a note, or miss a vocal harmony fractionally as you are layering it down, it will be repeating throughout the whole song.
I don’t care if it’s uncool (hell, since when have I been cool anyway?) I think he’s utterly brilliant. He’s all about the music, not image, and isn’t that what it’s all about?