Privilege and Fractures

Carol at Wanderings of an Elusive Mind has done a great job of explaining the problems facing The United States of America…and it starts with the haves, afraid they will lose something, vs. the have nots, who are struggling with the long-held belief that upward mobility is possible. This applies equally to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Interesting to note that UNITED appears in both country titles, but fails to appear in everyday living!
Thanks to Margo at https://margosviews.wordpress.com for her initial re blog of this post.

Wanderings of an Elusive Mind

Privilege is defined as “a special right, advantage, or immunity granted or available only to a particular person or group”.

As a white-skinned man, you have always been granted the privilege to “sit at the counter”, drink from a water fountain, live in the better neighborhoods, be given credit for some degree of intelligence, admitted to the school of your choice, enter in the business of your choice, ride in the front of the bus, vote for the candidate of your choice. Women have had to fight hard for these privileges. People of color have had to fight harder for these privileges.

Even today, when equality is purportedly granted to all, some experience much more privilege than others.

As a wealthy white man, you have always had more privileges than those of a lower “class” or income group. As a wealthy man, you have always had the privilege of being…

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Song Lyric Sunday Theme for 31/03/2019 – Record/Juke Box/DJ/Radio

Thank you to Jim Adams, who hosts Song Lyric Sunday, and gives us the chance to share lots of favourite, and some not so familiar, songs.

The theme for this week is Record/Juke Box/DJ/Radio. Not all of them, you understand, but pick any one, or combine any number!

If you fancy sharing one of your favourite songs you can find out how to participate, and also listen to all the great entries, here.

It’s amazing how many song lyrics don’t actually make much sense. I dare say some are drug, or alcohol induced, or influenced. Often the writer, and certainly the critics, will wax lyrical about how there is a deep, or hidden , meaning to the words. Lots of baloney will be spoken about transcendental higher planes, or searching for a new, yet unattainable awakening!

Do we really care whether Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds is about LSD?

I think not, so long as the music is enjoyable, and the words are lyrical, we are content to sit back and enjoy it.

The music I’m offering to you today certainly has lyrics that, for the most part, make no sense. What’s more, the writers admit that they make no sense. Read about the song, and what R.E.M said about “Radio Free Europe.” in the Songfacts information below.

Radio Free Europe is a radio network run by the United States government that broadcasts to Europe and the Middle East. The mission of the broadcasts is to promote democracy and freedom, but R.E.M. makes the point that this can easily cross the line into propaganda.

This song was R.E.M.’s first single, released in 1981 before they signed to a major label. A better-produced version was included on Murmur, the band’s first full-length album, in 1983.

There was a good reason for Michael Stipe’s infamously indecipherable lyrics on this song: he hadn’t finished them by the time they recorded it. In a 1988 NME interview, Stipe described the lyrical content as “complete babbling.”

R.E.M. lead singer Michael Stipe said in a 1983 interview with Alternative America: “We were all so scared of what the other one would say, that everyone nodded their head in agreement to anything to come up. The earlier songs were incredibly fundamental, real simple, songs that you could write in five minutes. Most of them didn’t have any words. I just got up and howled and hollered a lot.

That’s true. I’ve got to write words for ‘Radio Free Europe,’ because we’re going to re-record that for the album. It still doesn’t have a second or third verse. I think there are actually lyrics to every song on the EP.”

“This song was pivotal to the continuation of our career,” drummer Bill Berry explained in Part Lies, Part Heart, Part Truth, Part Garbage 1982-2011. “Most fans may not realize that for two years before Murmur was released, we barely made financial ends meet by playing tiny clubs around the southeast. Our gasoline budget prevented us from venturing further. Put simply, our existence was impoverished. College radio and major city club scenes embraced this song and expanded our audience to the extent that we moved from small clubs to medium-sized venues and the additional revenue made it possible to logically pursue this wild musical endeavor. I dare not contemplate what our fate would have been had this song not appeared when it did.”

Stipe noted being apparently unaware of his own genius: “The guys always said I do something harmonically here that made them all go ‘whoa,’ because it was so advanced … or something, in the ‘straight off the boat’ part. I wonder if I tricked them by accident? I still have no idea what it is they’re talking about.”

The video for this song, directed by Arthur Pierson, was shot in the famed Paradise Gardens, a folk art sculpture garden crafted by artist Howard Finster in Pennville, Georgia. Finster, a Baptist minister, also painted the album art for R.E.M.’s second album, Reckoning.

Information c/o songfacts.com

Radio Free Europe

Beside yourself if radio’s gonna stay.
Reason: it could polish up the gray.
Put that put that put that up your wall
That this isn’t country at all

Raving station beside yourself

Keep me out of country in the word
Deal the porch is leading us absurd.
Push that push that push that to the hull
That this isn’t nothing at all.

Straight off the boat where to go?
Calling on in transit calling on in transit
Radio Free Europe, radio

Beside defying media too fast
Instead of pushing palaces to fall
Put that, put that, put that before all
That this isn’t fortunate at all

Raving station, beside yourself
Calling on in transit, calling on in transit
Radio Free Europe, radio

Decide yourself, calling all of the medias too fast

Keep me out of country in the word
Disappoint is into us absurd

Straight off the boat, where to go?
Calling on in transit, calling on in transit
Radio Free Europe
Radio Free Europe

Calling on in transit, calling on in transit
Radio Free Europe, Radio Free Europe

Writer/s: BILL BERRY, PETER BUCK, MICHAEL MILLS, MICHAEL STIPE 
Publisher: Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., Universal Music Publishing Group
Lyrics licensed and provided by LyricFind

Here are a couple of other recordings of the song:

From Showtime’s Rock of the 80’s – Recorded live at the Palace – Los Angeles, CA – 1984

https://youtu.be/Gt58m0h9d_M

and a compilation video

https://youtu.be/Ac0oaXhz1u8

On the will of the people; or, the right to change one’s mind — Living in the future present

For anyone wondering what all this fuss is about BREXIT, John, over at Living in the future present, has done an excellent job of describing the utter chaos we are now living in, in the UK.

A banner above a crowd of two million at the People’s Vote demonstration in Westminster on Saturday 23 March 2019 This post is written mainly for friends abroad who ask what is happening to the UK, but the idea of “the will of the people” affects us all. Theresa May, Prime Minister (for the moment) […]

via On the will of the people; or, the right to change one’s mind — Living in the future present

A bit of a boob

My long-term neighbours (LTN) decided, some time ago, to pack whatever they needed and go travelling in their caravan. They are currently somewhere in Scotland.

They were good neighbours and the sort of folk who like gadgets, like to make things, build things, improve things, maintain things. Always busy, on the go. Whatever they do, they do to their utmost, they do it effectively and, with planning, and the right tools, which they have in abundance, they always end up with a very professional job.

A couple of years ago they put up a quadruple nest box on the back of their house, designed for sparrows. No-one took up residence!

Meanwhile, they let out their house to a young couple who had decided to try out living together to see how it worked out. Apparently, it’s a thing! Who knew?

They seem very pleasant, both are musical types, she a teacher of wind instruments, he, I have no idea, but he is away a lot, putting on shows of some sort.

They are both 20 something but seem childlike in their behaviour. Perhaps I’m just an old fuddy duddy.

He is very slim, quite small, and wears the normal uniform of jeans, tee shirts , and trainers. She is small and a little dumpy, and tends to wear low cut neck lines that could raise my blood pressure were I to dwell on them, especially as she has very well developed muscles.

Last Spring we were having a bumper time for birds. I have feeders all around the back garden and we cater for everyone who wants to visit. We were particularly blessed with many pairs of Goldfinches. They like Niger seed!

Next door erupted out of their patio doors, playing some sort of “chase me” game, giggling. They greeted me over the fence and we exchanged a few pleasantries. I offered to fill up their empty Niger seed feeder (all the feeders left by LTN were long since emptied) and guaranteed that within an hour their garden would have several Goldfinches visiting. The birds did not let me down.

This Spring I noticed a pair of birds very busily building in one of the apartments in the aforementioned nest boxes. If you watch too closely, and too often, they would abandon this site and move elsewhere, so I had not drawn anyone’s attention to their building.

A couple of days ago I met young lady neighbour and mentioned that they had a nesting pair in their box.

“Sparrows?” She asked.

“Great tits” I replied, my gaze sinking Southwards!

 

Is it true? See below.

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It is true apart from the last 3 sentences, and it is actually a pair of Great Tits that have taken up residence!

 

 

Song Lyric Sunday Theme for 17/02/2019

img_1345-3Jim Adams continues to look after Song Lyric Sunday, giving us the chance to share lots of favourites, and some not so familiar songs.

The theme for this week is Hill/Mountain and you can find all the great entries here.

Because I was pipped at the post by THIS THAT AND THE OTHER with my choice this week, I am offering another “Hill” tune for your delight (or not). You will find this at the bottom and it morphs my SLS entry into a personal history lesson too!

Anyone who has followed my SLS entries for a while will know that my mind often goes to Beatles songs to try to find a suitable offering to present. I’m not always successful!

What I found this week is a song off the Magical Mystery Tour album. After the success of Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, The Beatles wanted to create a psychedelically themed film, and Magical Mystery Tour was the result. It was designed as an unscripted television special and featured 6 new songs.

It was never meant to be an LP, but the producers added existing singles to make up the numbers! It worked out pretty well.

Here, for your enjoyment, is “The Fool on the Hill”.

The Fool on the Hill

The Beatles

Day after day, alone on a hill
The man with the foolish grin is sitting perfectly still
Nobody wants to know him
They can see that he’s just a fool
But he never gives an answer

But the fool on the hill
Sees the sun going down
And the eyes in his head
See the world spinning round

His head in a cloud
The man with a foolish grin is talking perfectly loud
But nobody wants to hear him
They can see that he’s just a fool
But he never gives an answer

But the fool on the hill
Sees the sun going down
And the eyes in his head
See the world spinning round

But nobody wants to know him
They can see that he’s just a fool
But he never gives an answer

But the fool on the hill
Sees the sun going down
And the eyes in his head
See the world spinning round

But the fool on the hill
Sees the sun going down
And the eyes in his head
See the world spinning round

Songwriters: John Lennon / Paul McCartney

The Fool on the Hill lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

Here is the extra!

This is not a song, has no lyrics, and is unlikely to have been heard by anyone reading this blog. It is, however, special to me, and is amongst the music that MAY be played at my funeral/celebration of life/throwing on the local scrap heap!

It is “High on a Hill” by the Band and Bugles of The Royal Green Jackets

I had the honour to serve with The 2ndBattalion The Royal Green Jackets, in Dover, and Omagh, Northern Ireland. I can honestly say that they were the most professional and dedicated soldiers I have ever served with. This was the one and only time I served with a Light Infantry unit and It was a real eye opener. They are different! An example is that they march at 140 paces per minute, rather than usual 116, or 120. Examples can be seen below.

Imagine doing that for any length of time, AND carrying and playing an instrument!

St Kilda – Island on the edge of the world.

Anyone who saunters through my blog will very soon find that I was, for over 28 years, an Army man, a soldier, a squaddie!

This involved living in all sorts of weird places, in peculiar circumstances, and doing all sorts of things that the average joe doesn’t get to experience.

One of the places I lived was on the remote island of Hirta, in the archipelago of St Kilda. In all I spent over 8 months there, normally on a rotational basis of 6 weeks on, 12 weeks off. You can read a little about it here, and here.

During my time there I don’t think that I ever experienced the superb 4 day block of good weather that Angus Mackie and his group of kayakers did for their trip that is shown here.

This post is not about me but it does show a place that is dear to my heart, and to anyone who has ever been lucky enough to experience it.

Just as anyone who has experienced a true desert will know  what “desert fever” feels like, those who’ve been to Kilda will be forever drawn back there, even if it is only in memories!

This expedition report is rather lengthy, and will be hastily skipped through by some, but for a few it will be of great interest. The link at the bottom will take you to a marvellous set of photos and videos. It takes a while to load as they are high resolution, and lots of interactive 360˚ shots. I hope you have time to enjoy them.

A link to a newly updated blog post of “A Superlative St Kilda Sea Kayaking Expedition with Skyak Adventures.”

St Kilda is a place of superlatives!

The remote island archipelago of St Kilda lies some 40 miles west of the Outer Hebrides and not only is it a UNESCO World Heritage Site but it has the highest sea cliffs in the UK, the largest seabird colony in northern Europe and a quarter of the world’s gannet population.

It’s also an amazing place for sea kayaking…!!

 

I’m Angus Mackie, a professional forester and photographer, based just north of Inverness on the beautiful Black Isle.  I’m on the North Coast 500 and am well placed to discover most of the Highlands.  The iconic scenery of Glen Affric and the Cairngorms are close by whilst many of the wild and dramatic locations on the west coast are within easy reach.

Mountains, landscapes, coastlines….  As a landscape and panoramic photographer who specialises in 360° photography, I enjoy exploring Scotland and its wild and remote places and have discovered some of the best photography locations in the Highlands over the last 35 years of living up here.  With a broad and wide ranging knowledge of the Highlands, I still enjoy finding new locations and fresh perspectives for my photography.  The use of natural light to capture stunning scenery at spectacular locations is very much a key factor for my photography.

I’m a qualified Summer Mountain Leader, a Sea Kayak Leader and a UKCC Level 2 Sea Kayaking coach, with many years experience of leading and guiding.  I am also a longstanding member of Dundonnell Mountain Rescue Team.

Copyright © 2018 Scotland360° and Angus Mackie.

https://www.scotland360.co.uk/Blog_St_Kilda_July_2014.html?fbclid=IwAR0jolFavOHKug8o9RkHNk_oxkkAcyjGYtSI-heTlQk7dehf9o-Xyo-xans

#WeRemember

There are still lessons to be learned, as hatred and bigotry are still widespread in all countries. It was reported today that 1 in 10 in the UK do not believe the Holocaust happened. Thank you to Kelly for the reminder.

Kelly With A Why

Today is International Holocaust Remembrance Day, and marks the 74th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. I thought it was a fitting time to recount my visit to the Sydney Jewish Museum back in November.

The museum was established in 1992 by the generation of Holocaust Survivors who settled in Australia. This very special place continues to give a voice to the victims of the Holocaust, so their individual and collective stories can spark dialogues and inspire change. As well as preserving and documenting this important historical period, the museum also beautifully illustrates the richness of Jewish life in Australian society. The ground floor displays teach many aspects of Jewish faith and traditions. This Gentile found it fascinating.

The Holocaust exhibition stretches across three levels of the building, and details the persecution and murder of European Jewry from 1933-1945. The events of Hitler’s WWII are described in chronological order…

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Pinpricks of light amid the darkness — bluebird of bitterness

Quokkas twice in a day has to be some sort of record.

Apart from that, this is really lovely, and well worth a look at the original too. There are some nice people around, and you don’t have to look far to find them!

 

Recently Sunny Skyz posted a collection of the most wholesome tweets of 2018. I’m recycling a few of my favorites here. See them all here.

via Pinpricks of light amid the darkness — bluebird of bitterness

Song Lyric Sunday Theme for 13/01/2019

img_1345-3This week Jim has set us the prompt of laugh/laughter/laughing for our music choice. You can see all the entries here.

My offering takes me right back to childhood, but the origin of the song goes even further back, to the 1890’s.

I somehow doubt that any of our younger SLS participants will have heard of this song.

The reason it reminds me of childhood is that in the surrounding villages there was normally an annual fête or carnival. This was much anticipated and there would be carnival floats, a carnival queen, complete with entourage, dancing troupes, bands, bowling for the pig, a crockery smashing stall, and so much more. The whole, marvellous day would be started off with a procession, through the village, of all the floats (see examples here). There would be dancers, bands, jugglers, often a fire engine, and The Laughing Policeman. I’m sure that by the end of the day he must have been exhausted, and his sides must have really ached.

The Laughing Policeman

Charles Penrose

I know a fat old policeman
he’s always on our street
a fat and jolly red faced man
he really is a treat
he’s too kind for a policeman
he’s never known to frown
and everybody says he is the happiest man in town
(laughing)
He laughs upon point duty
he laughs upon his beat
he laughs at everybody when he’s walking in the street
he never can stop laughing
he says he’s never tried
but once he did arrest a man
and laughed until he cried
(laughing)
his jolly face is wrinkled
and then he shut his eyes
he opened his great mouth
is was a wondrous size
he said I must arrest you
he didn’t know what for
and then he started laughing
until he cracked his jaw
(laughing)
so if you chance to meet him
when walking round the town
just shake him by his fat old hand
and give him half a crown
his eyes will beam and sparkle
he’ll gurgle with delight
and then you’ll start him laughing
with all his blessed might
(laughing)

Songwriters: Billie Grey

The Laughing Policeman lyrics © Nsa Inc. California