Monday, 23 February 2009

The Monday blog

As you may have noticed there was no Monday blog entry last week due partly to the fact that I am the procrastinator from hell but also that I was on a plane to Korea and for the few days following my return was in an almost vegetative state of narcolepsy.

I recently purchased a new iPod from Amazon for the long trip across Europe and Asia and was reflecting on why and how I had bought a new one whilst I was loading it up with all kinds of good stuff. Amazon was the cheapest place I found and even then that was only by 10 quid, but who am I to disregard a tenner? I had thought I might buy it from a high street store, if the price was right but in the end was glad to get it from the internet because of the shocking levels of customer service I have experienced in the past. I buy everything from the internet nowadays, it is easy and convenient and usually cheaper. I am fully aware that jobs may well be lost on the high street if everyone did what I have done but frankly if the customer service in the UK approached anything like it is in Korea then I wouldnt hesitate in contributing to keeping jobs. Anyway, thats the how and one of the whys. The other why regards the need to buy a new one due to its complete and utter destruction of my previous iPod.

My sister is a delightful person and I love her more than words can say but if only she had listened to me. After playing football with her kids my trousers were a little muddy and she offered to wash them, No, dont worry, Ill just wash them when I get home I said. Putting on a pair of shorts, I continued entertaining my nephews. Suffice it to say she washed them anyway with the poor little iPod nano in the pocket. It was in a spongy, protective case but stood little chance against what must be like being in the perfect storm. The spongy case was so severely smashed against the inside of the machine that it still has an indentation that wont ever leave. Submerging an iPod in water and detergent for an hour or more is great way to kill one, but an hour of smashing will almost certainly make any Jesus style resurrection impossible. Anyway I have my new iPod classic, 120 GBs of podcast, music and video delight and this one comes with a restraining order limiting my sisters proximity to 100 yards. 

Speaking of iPods, I regularly download podcasts from Stephen Fry, who I think is a genius and was recently watching his series Stephen fry in America. In this episode he was in the Deep South. He spoke to Morgan Freeman about the blues and about 'transcending the past' and how we dont have to talk in terms of black and white or of oppressed and oppressor anymore. After leaving he headed into Arkansas on a canoe powered by the paddle power of three black youths whilst he sat on a wicker chair looking out over the river. Only Stephen Fry in this day and age could get away with that.  3 black boys paddling him down the river as he sits in a chair. I imagine that Oscar Wilde might have approved. It turned out that the boys werent hired but were on a craft course for urban kids run by a bearded man sitting behind Mr Fry.

I also watched Tomorrow Never Dies, the Bond film that deals with a mad media magnate, not very loosely based on Rupert Murdoch. This film stars the 3rd best actor to play James Bond. My politics have changed over the last 10 years and no longer do I willfully suspend disbelief at what is happening on screen. I can suspend it and do enjoy films for what they are but I can no longer applaud the wanton destruction of Vietnamese markets and the like. I often find myself feeling very sad for the widows and children of the dead grunts, the deceased henchmen and the market stall owners who have just had their weeks supply of mangoes strewn all over the road.

The morning after my first night out in Korea, I noticed something I hadnt experienced in a while; my clothes stank of stale smoke. Korea doesnt have a smoking ban and the morning following my night out they bloody stank. I dont smoke, never have and I welcomed the smoking ban and I dont care what all the walking caners think. How would they feel if, whilst in a pub or bar, I started throwing drinks around, covering everyone in little droplets of booze? They would be pissed off wouldnt they? Well what is the difference between that and me getting a lung full of smoke and my clothes getting engrained with smoke particles? I might have to find out.

In the UK now there is another problem and that is that at any given moment there is a group of people stood outside any pub or bar smoking. They dont stand away from the door, they have to keep their friends in their line of sight in case they miss something, no they stand right outside the door, creating a smokey corridor that has to be traversed to get into the bar. It is like being on stars in their eyes, emerging from the smoke and telling everyone Tonight Matthew I am going to stink of smoke, and tomorrow morning too!  

My first night out back was a leaving party for someone I had never met. I was reluctant at first but Christina and I decided to be a bit more sociable this time around and so met up with a few friends who were invited and tagged along with them. We walked into the bar and it was as if  Facebook had come to life. Standing around and interacting with each other were all these photographs, people who I had met in another life, a cyber life. It was strange thing to be sat amongst these people, I had seen them at their best and worst times thanks to Facebook and that fact that their so called friends had posted all kinds of pictures of them in all manner of positions and varying degrees of drunkenness. We met some nice people and had a very nice night. We all need our egos massaging from time to time and nothing says popular, in this day and age at least, than getting added as a friend on Facebook no less than an hour after departing from that person and no less than 3 or 4 hours after meeting them for the first time, in the flesh at least.

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