Saturday, 9 January 2021



Welcome to a cold but sunny day in south Manchester. 

What a week it has been. First of all, the new variant of the coronavirus is starting to run riot in the south of England and creeping up north, causing our Clown-in-Chief, Boris Johnson to perform so many U-turns that he must be truly dizzy now (I’ve always thought he looked dizzy to be honest). Finally, he decided (yes folks – he actually MADE a decision) to put the whole of England under full lockdown. 

So we are back to where we were in April and May last year and this time it is cold and dark. To be honest, it doesn’t really matter to me because January and February are bleak months anyway and I am still deeply entrenched in my lockdown routine (for the 301st day) to keep me sane. 

We are now in a race between the virus and vaccinations. In the UK we now have over a million people vaccinated. Despite the lockdown, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel (and I hope it isn’t a speeding train).

The other night I was about to go to bed when Mrs PM said “Shall we just turn over to the news channels? Something’s happening in America.” I turned over to the BBC News Channel and saw that a mob of lunatic Trumpists had invaded the Capitol Building, having been goaded to do so by the Orange Goblin himself. I flicked channels to CNN and a couple of European news channels and it was all over the headlines. 

And now that it has all calmed down over there, the Orange One has had his Twitter account permanently closed, leaving him to stew in his own juices in the White House for what remains of his Presidency. 

It’s all very difficult to believe what has happened. I would be interested to hear what any American readers think of it all. 

I asked for an exciting 2021 and the world has obliged but sooner than I thought.

Time for some questions, courtesy of Sunday Stealing

1. What are your plans for January?

I don’t usually plan anything for January other than trying to consolidate my New Year changes. This year I am planning:

To continue writing rubbish, every day in my Freewriting journal (as I have been doing for just over two years now).

To step up my Spanish by effectively starting again with a free online course that uses memory techniques to help you to recall what you have learned.

To study creative writing more.

These plans will last for 2021 – if I can win the war against procrastination. If I treat them as daily habits they are much easier to achieve (you only have to pursue such things for 66 days straight for them to become habits apparently – it does seem to work I have to say).

2. What do you want to see happen in 2021?

I think the entire world agrees with me when I say that I want Covid-19 to be largely eliminated worldwide. 

Anything else good that happens will be a bonus. 

3.  What would you give a 5-star rating?

I am currently watching a show on Amazon Prime called “The Expanse” and it is amazing. I would give that 5 stars. I am on Season 2 and am totally hooked:

It is the closest thing to my favourite science fiction show, Babylon 5, that I have seen.

4. Do you have writing goals for 2021?

See question 1. I am also going to try to increase my output on this blog. Sunday Stealing is great fun but I want to try to return to some of the older-style ridiculous nonsense that I have contributed to The Plastic Mancunian over the past 12 years.

5. How do you feel about memoirs?

It depends who it is. I have read a couple of autobiographies and quite enjoyed them (especially “I Am Ozzy” by Ozzy Osbourne – it is hilarious). 

I have (sort of) started a memoir, basically something that my sons could read in the future. It began as a few notes way back in 2011 and I really need to revisit it. When I have tidied up the Japan travelogue, I may take a look. It is tentatively called “Insignificant Memoirs”. 

6. If you could join any musical group who would you choose?

I would choose a progressive rock or progressive metal group. Or try to team up with a genius like Devin Townsend, Steven Wilson or Mariusz Duda.  I am toying with the idea of writing a couple of posts introducing the world to these guys in the near future. 

I just wish I had the talent to do something like that. I can only offer my vocals at the moment and they are awful (I would have to use one of those machines that retune your voice).

It is times like this that I wish I had chosen to learn to play a guitar when I was a kid. 

7. What are your favourite genres across all media?

Science fiction (including super-heroes) and spy thrillers (Like James Bond, Jason Bourne, Mission Impossible etc.). All of my favourite films, books and TV series fall into those two categories mainly.

8. What candle scents are your favourite?

I don’t have any favourites. If it wasn’t for Mrs PM I wouldn’t bother buying them. They are pleasant though I have to say.

 9. How well can you mimic other accents or voices?

I’m not brilliant to be honest. I have lost my Black Country accent but I can revert back to that to amuse people who don’t know what it sounds like. As a reminder, it is something like this:

I can (kind of) do a Mancunian accent – but I have to say that I don’t have one. Mine is more neutral these days (and bizarrely regarded as a bit posh in both Walsall and Manchester). Here is a Mancunian accent:

I can do bits of a Scouse accent too (that’s the Liverpool accent like the Beatles in their early days) and I can go a neutral generic American accent (or at least I think I can).

My youngest son is very good at accents I have to say. His funniest is a Russian accent. He arrived one day at my house and when I opened the door, he said “Hello, bring me some vodka and women” in this accent and I almost fell over laughing. I wish I had his talent.

10. What books are on your TBR list in 2021?

I don’t have any in mind. I am considering “Ghost Rider” by Neil Peart and a book about retirement. I would love to read a decent space opera. At the moment I am reading Homo Deus by Yuval Noah Harari, so some non-fiction books like that are also a consideration. 

11. When do you decide it’s time to upgrade/buy something new?

In terms of technology, when there is a better model out there that has been tried and tested. For example, I wouldn’t buy the latest smartphone until it had been proven. I’ve seen people wasting money on the latest tech and then regretting it because it is buggy and full of problems.

With other things like clothes, usually when things start to wear out.

12. Why is your favourite colour your favourite colour?

I think my favourite colour is teal, a blue-green colour. There is nothing better than seeing a warm southern European sea that colour when the sun is setting. It makes me feel at peace and calm.

13. Who understands you the best?

Nobody understands me but me. Apart from me, the person who understands me most is Mrs PM but even so, I sometimes frustrate her.

14. Do you write letters?

Not any more. I send emails all the time as part of my job but if I want to get in touch with mates it is usually via my phone (Whatsapp, email, texts).

15. How do you keep going when times are hard?

Times are tough at the moment so I am right in that mindset.

Get yourself a routine and try to look for the positives in the situation. I have managed to cope with the last 300 days with these two important things in mind.


Elephant's Child said...

I shudder to think what the Inciter in Chief can/will achieve in his final days as President - even without twitter.
I like memoirs and biographies. And diaries. And books of letters. It is in incurable sticky beak in me coming out.
I do hope your lockdown achieves its desired effect. And note that spellcheck is behind the times and doesn't yet recognise it as a word. It will.

Me, Myself, and I said...

I couldn't even do my Saturday9 or Sunday Stealing this week because I have no spoons left (search The Spoon Theory) after the craziness of this week. I need a vacay.

River said...

#11; when the old is irreparably dead, like my favourite tshirt that literally fell apart in the washing machine. It was only 15 years old! or maybe 12 years and I'm too sad to replace it just yet.

Kwizgiver said...

We have similar answers to what we want to see happen in 2021. Let's hope that happens!

And great advice for the final question.

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi EC,

It will be the word of 2020/2021 I think.




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Me, Myself and I ,

Oh God - I need one too.




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi River,

T-shirts don't last that long with me - not sure why.




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Kwizgiver,

It's kept me sane - that's for sure.




Lori said...

YES! I am so tired of covid! I pray it goes away this year. Loved your answers. Have a nice day.

Bev Sykes said...

Glad you're going to do more writing. I just discovered your China writings and am looking forward to reading through them to see what common experiences we had.

Bev Sykes said...

(If you like books of letters, I highly recommend Steinbeck's)

CountryDew said...

This American has plenty to say about what happened, but mostly I am afraid he will set off a nuclear bomb before he leaves office, or start a war. He is not above such things. Anyone who didn't see Wednesday's mob coming hadn't been paying attention. I'd been telling people for weeks he was attempting a coup.

We are in lockdown, too. I am starting to like it as my home is the only place I feel safe at the moment. I live in the midst of Trump country, a little spot of blue in an ocean of red. I have already been threatened several times because I write for a local paper sometimes.

Stay safe and maybe better times are a'comin'.

zippiknits...sometimes said...

You ARE a nutter. bwahaha! =)

Thanks for all the fun. It won't be too long now but it still might be too long. Keep drinking your bleach.. ;o)

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Lori,

Don't worry - I am confident that it will be gone. Fingers crossed.




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Bev,

That was my first real attempt back in 2000. It is very rough and ready.




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi CD,

I honestly didn't think he would go that far but looking back you can see the signs. The one thing that rump has done - for me personally - is to get me more interested in American politics. I kind of understand how it works now - and it's not ideal - but then again neither is the UK method. As much as I hate Boris the Clown, I don't think he would do what Trump has done.

I am watching with interest.




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Zippi,

Yes - I am sick of the taste of bleach so I am going to try to get some ultraviolet into my body - still working on a good method.




Ordinarily Just Me said...

Ahhh, As a US Citizen, I can agree that our situation is a mess and for a lot of level minded people who are anti-orange goblin, we are waiting in fear to see what happens over the next week or so because we fear he will do something crazy. It is definitely a tense situation over here and I personally cannot wait for it to be over. The world will turn at it's pace and we will just have to wait to see. (All the while preparing for WCS).

Plastic Mancunian said...


I hope everything is sorted out peacefully for you guys. I doubt all of this will silence Trump though, sadly.