Brexit Generations Life Choices As Poor As Their Political Judgement

If a recent report is to be believed, it turns out a lot of people in their fifties and sixties are turning up in accident and emergency wards after getting drunk. The BBC headline is a bit misleading while being literally true. It is worded to imply these oldies but boldies are the victims of assault and that alcohol is the cause. This is belied by the actual text. “[Researchers] suggested some older binge drinkers were still behaving as they did when younger, in the 1980s and 1990s.”

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Why Conservatives Are Wrong About Everything

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I wouldn’t be without conservatives. They are on the whole decent people, or at least they are as decent as non-conservatives. I have never noticed the slightest difference between conservatives and liberals when it comes to honesty, intelligence or general likability. You certainly can’t tell whether somebody is a conservative or not just by what they say or do at any rate.

Dan Carlin Hardcore History Addendum – Caesar At Hastings

Dan Carlin’s podcasts are not to everyone’s taste. He has a very particular way of presenting and you may or may not like it. It is very much history from his personal perspective and if you don’t share it you might not feel comfortable with it. He also has a rather dramatic speaking style which is not always what you might choose to listen to.

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The Silver Chair by C.S.Lewis

I loved the Narnia books as a child and borrowed them all from my local public library. I read most of them multiple times, and knew them pretty well. But I stopped reading them once I got to about 12 or 13 and have never gone back and reread them. I wondered what rereading them as an adult would be like. So I picked one at random. Well not quite at random. The Silver Chair was the one I remembered least, and couldn’t actually remember the plot. So that was as good a reason as any.

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Lyrical Ballads by William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Wordsworth – the main author of the Lyrical Ballads

Ever been a bit short of cash? If so, consider getting together with a close friend and revolutionising poetry.  It worked for Wordsworth and Coleridge.

The Lyrical Ballads were knocked up to fund a holiday in Germany.  Poets have never been known for their financial prowess, but this pair seem to have hit on a winning formula.  They were unknown at the time but pretty savy in the growing romantic movement.  The financial partnership was just a means to an end and when they got to Germany they split up.  Creative differences led to Coleridge staying on to soak up German philosophy, while Wordsworth came to a deeper appreciation of the English countryside and returned home to write poems about it. Continue reading Lyrical Ballads by William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Half In Half Out – Edited by Lord Adonis

This book is basically a polemic. Its thesis is simple. Britain has failed to make the most of its relationship with the rest of the European Union because from the very start it has underestimated the resolve of the other members to make the project work. Consequently the various initiatives and developments over the years have been met with lukewarm approval at best. Britain has been content to snipe from sidelines in the belief that whatever was being proposed was going to fail anyway. Why get worked up about things that are never going to happen? So we end up outside some of the most beneficial aspects of the project. We don’t enjoy the stability of the single currency. We opt out of some of the social protections. We don’t even save ourselves some bother by joining the passport free zone.

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Copenhagen by Michael Frayn – Minerva Theatre, Chichester 31st August 2018





Why did I choose to go to Chichester to see this play?  I don’t know, and neither does anybody else.  The facts are clear enough.  I had seen it was coming, and thought it would be interesting.  But I didn’t book tickets until the last minute.  I didn’t realise how popular it would be. How could I?  So by the time I came to book nearly every seat was taken and I had very little choice of which seat to take – and there were no nights where two seats were left next to each other.   Is that why I went alone?   Or did my wife’s reluctance to go and see a play  about a couple of physicists with a total cast of 3 and no prospect of any singing or dancing have something to do with it.  Did that hold me back from getting my credit card out.  Did I only commit when I had a valid excuse for why I was going alone?   I literally don’t know the answers to these questions, even though it all happened in my head in the last month.  Our brains and how they work are a mystery to ourselves. Michael Frayn could probably get a play out of this. Continue reading Copenhagen by Michael Frayn – Minerva Theatre, Chichester 31st August 2018

Comets and plagues – Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Empire Chapter 43 Part 2

Comets and plagues - Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Empire Chapter 43 Part 2
A comet lighting up the sky was a portent
 

We are at the end of chapter 43 and we find Gibbon in full on enlightenment mode. The reign of Justinian happened to coincide with a couple of comets, some significant earthquakes and a major plague. Previous ages would have agreed with the Byzantines themselves and taken these as communications from God but Gibbon is a modern man and instead gives us the science. The plague was probably the biggest event in history since the fall of the western empire and had profound effects many of which are still being unpicked today. Continue reading Comets and plagues – Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Empire Chapter 43 Part 2