Monday, 14 October 2013

It's never too early to ski

Oh I'm falling behind with everything Bloggy again...I suspect as I have seen with many other's I'm going through a lean writing patch.

I suspect that 2013 will yet turn into a particularly difficult year....but probably nothing more than other empty-nesters face every year.  The routine has been broken, and everything seems quite strange and uncertain.

We saw two films last week, both with a miserable story.  Both are highly rated by the critics. How interesting for us then that one left us feeling as though we'd had an excellent evening out, whilst the other just left us depressed.  First the good.  Woody Allen's Blue Jasmine..the story of an American socialite's fall from grace as her husband's fraudulent business collapses under judicial scrutiny.  Cate Blanchette is superb, and actually so is the rest of the cast.  A beautifully told tale brilliant directed by Mr Allen.  I don't usually enjoy his work, so it must be good.  The Cat's Mother and I couldn't quite agree what film to see on Saturday, so we settled on Le Weekend, somewhat different from my preferred choice of Filth.  Anyway, it's about two not very likeable nearly retirees who travel to Paris to celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary.  THey're bothe miserable, and that was a an infectious feeling.  Anyway, the critics love it, we thought it was just a miserable story of not likeable characters who think they deserve more than their lot.  I'd have left early but have the need to see these things through to the end.  And actually Jeff Goldblum was an interesting, honest character.

In the modern world of social media, we all live in virtual communities.  Communities that replace the 'village communities' of yore.  I use GiffGaff ...its a mobile provider which uses the network and is owned by O2. There are no shops, no customer service people, just an online community that helps you out when things go wrong.  It's a nice idea...especially as it means that the costs are significantly less than any of the other networks.  So when something goes wrong, you might expect there would be a community spirit...everyone sympathising, everyone pulling together...a bit of a latter day war spirit.  But true to the 'online way, nothing could be less true.  The bile and viciousness that typifies any online environment explodes at the slightest provocation.  Do you ever read any of the comments sections of the online national press. It's nasty.  The same is true here as well.  Just recently, GiffGaff has had a few problems...technical issues that have caused the network to go down.  And the comments have flowed like diarrhea.  Giff Gaff have responded by offering a poison chalice. They've set aside some compensation money, and community members can decide whether they want a good will credit, or whether the money should be used to improve the member experience.  If it's a true community, the members should vote for the latter...if it's just a way of getting mobile cheaply, they will vote for the former. On the other side of the fence, you have to ask whether GiffGaff is a true community provider, or just an O2 marketing ploy.  I find it fascinating.  I have a feeling I know which way it will's all down to human greed isn't it?

I see there's a storm about Jack Wilshere's comments that only English born and bred should play for the English national (football) team. On the surface, it doesn't seem unreasonable...particularly if the same rules are applied around the world - but of course they aren't.  So perhaps, he should be happy enough that the rule is extended to anyone who has British citizenship...and perhaps a number of year's residency?  But this would exclude players who decide to find their fortunes abroad.  It's not that I'm a big football fan so ultimately I don't much care.  But I do feel it may be symptomatic of a growing trend that is also seen in business, and elsewhere.  It feels that rather than develop our own talent, we have become obsessed with importing it.  That feeling was reinforced by some statistics that came out this week which show the UK plummeting down the league table of developed nations for literacy and numeracy.  Certainly in the UK, the football industry has failed miserably to develop home-grown-talent.  It would be a tragedy if the same became the ingrained approach to general business.  On the flip side, I'm feeling more and more that the UK national identity is being diluted (did it ever truly exist?)...if that path was followed around the world, it probably wouldn't be a bad thing and may help reduce the number of conflicts.  The UK could simply become a geographic area rather than a nation state....

The Boy and I headed off to the ski slopes on, not a quick jaunt to the continental Alps, just to the indoor snow slope in Hemel Hempstead.  It was an interesting experience as we'd not done it before....quite fun, and it was good for a little practice ahead of the winter season.