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A fine day with a deep blue sky and some fleecy high level cloud. Great when you have time on your hands but having to trudge four miles to work is a rather wearing prospect. Needless to say, I was sweating. As I strode along the old canal footpath I could see a bunch of workmen ahead. Like all British workmen you spot in the wild, they were not working. They sat idly in the shade, observing my approach and long experience told me I was going to receive a comment or two. It's the British way. "He should be just like us" Said one of them, clearly not impressed with my individualism or perceived character. One of his colleagues agreed. Really? Just like you lot? The thought occurred to me as to what the world would be like if everyone conformed to their working class normality. No music, no radio, no television, no pubs or clubs, no films to dazzle us with special effects, no computer games to waste our spare time, and no-one to make the booze they might well be waiting to consume on the weekend. Nothing to look forward to but the opportunity to pass comment on passers-by. What kind of world is that to be proud of? Nature always finds strength in diversity. With good reason. I like my individuality and why on earth would I want to be merely one of a crowd of layabouts, anonymous, ordinary, just another non-entity the world is full of. Ah, some might say, and some do, but I failed. Yes. Correct. My plans for super-duper-stardom in my youngers days quickly got dashed on the rocks of reality. But hey, I tried. That makes me an also-ran, not a spectator. Which would you rather be? Music I saw a review in my local paper for a Judas Priest album. I've never really been a fan of their music but I respect their ability and longevity. Thus when I read the gushing praise I thought it might be worth catching up with where they are now. So I purchased their latest offering and lo and behold, it was as you might expect. Well performed, excellent production, a work by a band who know what they're doing. Then having finished listening, it occurred to me that I hadn't remembered any of the songs. It was nothing but an album of heavy metal wallpaper, making all the right sounds, doing all the right moves, but a production line of riffs and beats that pretty much failed to engage with my love of tracks that stand out for indefinable reasons. Sadly I doubt I'll feel the need to play it again. Compare that to another performer, Florence and the Machine. I was unaware of their existence until they featured in a televised event on the Beeb. I was impressed by the female vocalist's energy, her willingness to reach out to her fans (quite literally, it caused a near panic among the security crew), and the songs were interesting, varied, and I imagine for some, about relevant subjects. Buy her latest album? Oh yes, and I wasn't disappointed. Three tracks stood out, Ship To Wreck, What Kind of Man, and Queen of Peace. I still hum those tracks to myself regularly. That's success in music as I see it. Sorry Mr Halford, I know you're delivering what your fans want, but it's just a day job for you, isn't it? Connected I stopped at a Subway earlier for a quick snack and sat as I often do facing the outside world so I can watch people going about their irrelevant business outside. It struck me that everyone, literally everyone, in my field of view of the busy Saturday morning high street was staring down at a device in the palm of their hand. I suppose it's a sort of security blanket, making them feel that they're part of a group, that they're in on what is going on around the world, even if it amounts to videos of people falling over or endless sequences of pets caught mimicking humanity against their will. A whole crowd of spectators, going around spectating, because it seems they have nothing else in their lives. "Your phone is rubbish" one work colleague once mentioned when I checked my device for the unrealistic prospect of having received contact from the outside world. Yeah? Really? So what?
caldrail posted a blog entry in caldrail's BlogI'm getting fed up of being labelled. Categorised. And mostly in some derogatory fashion. So I've decided to issue a public statement. Am I gay? No. Absolutely not. Never was, never will be. If two blokes want to go off together and do whatever two blokes do to each other, fine, get on with it - Just don't bother me with it. I know quite a few people will have heard otherwise and find that hard to believe - some will refuse to believe it because it makes them look like fools or bigots - but that's the way it is. All my sexual partners were female. I'm single due to circumstance, not preferences. Am I a Conshy? No. Absolutely not. Never was, never will be. For the uninitiated a 'Conshy' is slang for "Concientious Objector", or someone who refuses military service out of some moral, political, or religious objection. I would point out that I tried to join the RAF twice in my younger days. The first time I was turned away because "There are no vacancies". The second time I was told I couldn't hear properly. It is true that my rejection eventually came as a relief. My teenage urge to serve my country had wilted with experience of the Air Training Corps and an increasing desire to forge my own path rather than follw my fathers footsteps. As it happened, by my twenties I wanted to be a musician, a path I followed for many years. But despite these meanderings through life, I have had no issues with military service from any concientious grounds. Am I Trying To Live On Benefits? No. Absolutely not. Never was and never will be. Truth is, I've been told in a letter from more than a year ago that I'm no longer eligible. So I couldn't even if I wanted to. As it happens, I like my creature comforts and that requires I pay for them, thus I want a profitable living even if no-one particularly wants to provide me with one. A shame really, because I come well qualified, capable, reliable, adaptable, and put up with no end of personal discomfort to turn up on time every day I'm required to earn my keep. Finally.... There you go. My statement is complete. I'll swear to these facts in a court of law or on anything sacred because they're true. I know they are. No-one can take that away from me, however hard they try.