Brothers From Different Mothers? .. #RobertBurns

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A mans a man for aw that?

Ye see yon birkie ca’d a lord,
Wha struts, an’ stares, an’ a’ that;
Tho’ hundreds worship at his word,
He’s but a coof for a’ that.
For a’ that, an’ a’ that,
His ribband, star, an’ a’ that,
The man o’ independent mind
He looks an’ laughs at a’ that.

Or ..

You see that fancy dressed poser called a lord
Who struts and stares and all that
Although hundreds worship at his word
He is but a fool for all that
For all that and all that
His fancy style and all that
The man of independent mind
He looks and laughs at all that

A Mans A Man – Robert Burns

 

What do you think of the poetry of Rabbie Burns, Scotland’s national Bard?

At times in the past, I hated it. Sitting at school being forced to learn it by wrote and how to pronounce these old Scots words and to understand their meaning.

It was pretty dull and dry and certainly not a labour of love, when you’re 12.

Back then I resented being forced to learn this crap, it meant nothing to me.

The only entertainment was listening to Mr Linus in P7 at Saint Constantine’s Primary School Govan, getting excited as he enacted every line from Tam O’Shanter.

My old dad would often and still does quote the wisdom of Bums.

E.g. A rose by any other name still smells as sweet.

My brothers and I would look at each other as if to say .. What the F**k is he talking about?

In our house, you dare not curse in my father’s presence, even today, he’s old and frail but a stern look quickly lets you know what he thinks of any industrial language.

But the years change us, experience gives us wisdom and a perspective to look at life differently from our younger selves.

“What a gift the lord to gie us, tae see ourselves as others see us.”

Do you ever look back at yourself and think, look at the state of my clothes or my hair, which were the height of fashion at the time and think what a plonker.

Continue reading “Brothers From Different Mothers? .. #RobertBurns”

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To Thine Own Self … #Kiss

4am, awake again …

Just watched Gene Simmons, the frontman of the band Kiss on BBC HardTalk.

I was never a fan, but as an 8 year old Hungarian immigrant to the USA, he has had a life and a half and gives an interesting perspective on the music business, sex, drugs, immigration and Trump.

Well worth a watch.

Here’s a snippet of the wisdom learned from experience – To Thine Own Self Be True.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b09hmc1j

Facebook Stalkers!

David Bowie

4am and wide awake, browsing the web and checking social media.

A cousin of mine shared the following potentially scary post –

This is creepy. Go to your Facebook account settings, then blocking, then block users, and type in “following me” without the quotes into the text box then hit the “block” button.

You will find 15-20 or more people

FOLLOWING YOU that you do not know! I just blocked about 17 accounts from random Middle Eastern and Asian countries that were following me, who I do not know. You have to block them one at a time.

Check your followers and tell your friends and family to check theirs as well. Feel free to share this or copy/paste.

This is not a joke. How many foreign “followers” did you have?

Try it yourself. You’ll be surprised.

At first I was a bit concerned, I followed the instructions above and sure enough there were all sorts of weird foreigners following me.

But why? .. I thought.


So I checked a few of them out from different parts of the world.

All strangers with no reason to follow me.

Then it clicked that it was a hoax or someone was being really stupid.

Here’s why!

It’s a hoax. FB doesn’t work like that as there is no “following me” keyword built into the system.

Try doing the same search only using “following”. You’ll probably get one user with name “following the lights”.

Now do the “following me” again and look at the list of names.

They all have “me” in them.

These people are not following you.

Basically you just did a name search and they happen to be first on the list.

If you blocked them , then searched again, you’d have another list of “me”‘s.

Keep blocking and searching. You’ll be there a long long time.

And nobody is that popular! 🙂

It’s a hoax, a wind up or originally posted by someone who doesn’t know anything about search systems.

#McMafia? Anti-Semitic?

First off, happy new year and all the best to you for 2018.

Have you came across or watched the new BBC 8 part big budget thriller McMafia?

If not, please do, having watched the first two episodes I found it particularly gripping with its plots and subplots involving drugs, human trafficking, money laundering and interactions between Russian, Israeli, Czech and Indian gangsters.

It’s not particularly surprising that in this twisted tale where capitalism meets criminality that the UK element is a fund manager who’s family have been expelled from Russia.

Is it coincidence that this family are Jewish and that his family escaped the Russian mob with enough funds to set up the fund management company?

Or is that an example of a possible real world situation?

Having worked in investment banking, I have personal experience of fund managers who were Jewish and whose family were from Russia and whose business was set up with family money.

It doesn’t make it dirty, it doesn’t make them bad people. Far from it.

In the situation in the story, the family were driven from Russia because of the mob, not because they were in the mob.

Alex Goldman, the main character played by James Norton, is a good, clean living, privileged guy, privately educated and running his fund cleanly until it gets in trouble, ironically by rumours put out by his uncle with the intention of Alex accepting Israeli investment with motives of getting back at the Russian mob who stole the original family business.

It’s a good yarn, full of intrigue and plot twists.

So why do various Jewish bodies think that it’s Anti-Semitic?

Apparently it’s stereotypical, uses gratuitous slurs, uses material not in the original book and misquotes the motto of Mossad, the Israeli secret intelligence service.

What a surprise eh?

The problem with these people is that they perceive that anything that contains content showing Jews or Israel in any perceived bad light is a slur.

Actually the biggest stereotype is probably that of Russians being gangsters or corrupt.

As for the Mossad motto “For by wise guidance you can wage your war” apparently misquoted as “by deception we will do war”.

Is wise guidance to deception that much of a difference? Particularly when it refers to one of the most efficient and connected intelligence agencies on the planet?

Deception is exactly how any intelligence agency wages war. It’s not a slur.

If anything, the lead character Alex Goldman and the Israeli businessman Semiyon Kleiman played by David Strathairn are the “good guys” in this story with the Russians being the nasty baddies.

Now how stereotypical is that?

Personally, coming from glasgow I was a bit disappointed with the title McMafia and it didn’t refer to any Scottish gangsters.

I’m so offended! 🙂

If you get the chance, give it a watch, you won’t be disappointed unless you’re a person who goes out of their way to be offended by any perceived slur.

BBC anti-Semitic claimshttp://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5232503/BBC-hit-complaints-anti-Semiticism-drama-McMafia.htmlMcMafia critics review http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-42540514—-

On a related note, this has vastly increased the chances of James Norton becoming the next James Bond.
He’s got the right build, tall, athletic, good looking, charming, brooding with cutting delivery of a sarcastic barb here and there. Additionally he looks as if he has been working out in the fight scenes and would be good in the JB role.

I’m glad it isn’t #Christmas every day!

So that’s that for another year.

Spent a fortune on presents and food.

Enough left over to feed the 500.

Blessed to have family and young kids around to make it special.

Home made soup and a big dinner, a few bottles of prosecco.

Played charades and watched the new Billy Connolly DVD.

Cosmopolitans with the girls.

Had a nap.

A wee whisky for dad and large port for me.

Cheese board all to myself!

It wasn’t perfect.

But it was perfect enough and some times you just need to count your blessings.

1:45am and time to empty and refill the dishwasher.

Whoever sang “I wish it could be Christmas every day”. Was a complete fucking idiot! 🙂

Chances are that it was a guy with a wife who did all the hard work of planning, organising, preparation, cooking, serving and tidying up afterwards and went largely unappreciated while he sat back, ate like a king. drank wine and beer, fell asleep in front of the tv and enjoyed his day.

Whats the chances? 🙂

Merry Christmas one and all, I hope that you had as good a day I had.

Life Moves On, Like it or Not!

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Sometimes, as you get to a certain age, you realise that life is moving on.

My world seems pretty static, I’m single, kids now 28, 27 and 20 and only the youngest is still with me.

Most of the time, nothing really changes, I go to work, go home, eat dinner, play piano, watch tv, fall asleep on sofa, repeat.

It’s Friday and I’ve just did my latest invoice for the company who currently employs my service.

That’s a straight 34 weeks I’ve worked without a break, that pretty bad .. huh.

In August, I was hoping for a family holiday, I was picking up the tab, but the kids all have busy life’s and partners/boyfriends/girlfriend ( delete as necessary)

Trying to get them all to agree to a week or two in the sun at the same time just wasn’t happening.

So unfortunately I didn’t get away and I’m missing the sunshine no my bones.

But I digress, life is moving on whether I like it or not.

The kids considering their partners more than their dad was inevitable, it’s part of life but it still hurts when they don’t want a family holiday. Continue reading “Life Moves On, Like it or Not!”

Who’ll love Aladdin Sane? .. #DavidBowie #MikeGarson

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Who’ll love Aladdin Sane?

Mike Garson does as did a few thousand souls including myself at last night’s homage to David Bowie’s finest album ( in my humble opinion ).

The reason that I think it is Bowie’s finest work and superior to the rest including Ziggy Stardust is largely down to the piano dexterity of one Mike Garson.

Garson is ( was ) Bowie’s longest serving band member, playing in over 1000 concerts together including Bowie’s first and last concerts in the states. See wiki for more details.

Personally, I just love the way he plays his avant-garde crazy piano music, both in and out of key over a rock rhythm. The cacophony of sounds happening in different layers stimulates something in my mind which I don’t really understand, but love all the more.

As a wannabe-piano-player, self-taught over 15 years and playing every day, this is a whole different level, something that I both aspire to but know that I’ll never achieve. My own poor-man’s version of Lady Grinning Soul hits all the right notes at all the right time, its recognisable but Garsons’ piano skills have so much depth, flawlessly rolling up to the higher octaves and back seamlessly.

His band were particularly tight compared with most bands I’ve seen ( and I see a lot), recently played on the Iggy Pop tour. Special mention to saxophonist and the lead guitarist who had the difficult job of covering the Mick Ronson’s part.

Last but not least, lead vocalist Gaby Moreno, dressed in an emerald green jump suit with her cork-screw hair, both prowled and commanded the stage.

I had been concerned before the gig that no-one would be able to carry Bowie’s vocal, particularly against such classic songs, but she did and is probably a better singer than Bowie. Most noticeably on the quieter bonus song Wild Is The Wind.

It was mesmerising.

It was a fantastic gig,  well worth seeing and with the additional benefit of an appearance by the legendary Steve Harley for a rendition of Space Oddity and his own song Sebastian.

This was a real Bowie fan gig, most of the audience around me were singing every word of music which obviously is a part of their life.

At one point during Wild Is The Wing,  I wished the guy beside me would just shut up, but an accidentally on purpose dig in the ribs seemed to do the trick!

If you get the chance to see Mike and the band .. don’t think,  go.

More info including a similar set-list from the recent Birmingham gig.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aladdin_Sane

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mike_Garson

https://www.setlist.fm/setlist/mike-garson/2017/o2-institute-birmingham-england-73e02e25.html