Saturday 8 May 2021

Musical Maniac


Welcome to a very rainy South Manchester on day 420 of pandemic restrictions. The weather outside is dreadful – cold, very wet and windy. I really hope that the weather improves as we approach summer. We seem to be in a cold spell at the moment with winds flying down from the north and lowering the temperature even further. 

The only thing to do is to escape into a bunch of silly questions from Sunday Stealing. The title of the post is Music Maniac and that is exactly what I am – but sadly none of the questions are about music. I will still answer them but I will offer a song at the beginning that you can listen to while reading. 

Don’t worry – it is not a progressive metal monster. On the contrary – it is a beautiful ambient song from the album Moon Safari by French duo Air (this one featuring Beth Hirsch)– one of my all time favourite albums. So press play, relax and (hopefully) enjoy my silly answers.

1. Five problems with social media

What an opening question. I could spend hours answering this. I will aim for brevity but I can’t promise anything.

  • People are over-using social media to the extent that they don’t do anything else – and it is not necessarily their fault. I am as guilty of this as anybody. In my case, I can sit there looking at my phone and not doing anything more useful – it contributes to my procrastination. I have decided to reduce my exposure to social media recently so that instead of wasting time on my phone I actually do something meaningful instead.
  • Relating to this, social media is a bit of an oxymoron because it can make people anti-social. I hate it when I am trying to talk to people and they decide to get their phones out. There are times when I want to say “Just put your phone down!” when this happens. To be fair, people around my age are less inclined to do that. I have an example from a year or two ago (apologies if I have told you this before). I was in a pub and on the table next to me were about five young people sitting in silence and all engrossed in the contents of their phones. One of them reached for his beer and noticed that he had run out. “Anyone want a drink?” he asked and his friends all placed their orders. The guy walked to the bar, returned to the table with them and then they all continued with their phones and not saying another word. I hope that’s not the future.
  • Some people are obsessed with the cult of celebrity or the latest political cause. Others are obsessed with themselves and spend all day posting about how amazing their mundane life is. I have a friend on Facebook who posts his “thoughts” on a weekly basis in a little video. I can understand it in a lockdown but he has been doing this for years. He also posts details of what he is having for his dinner and what he is watching on the TV. I’m not interested. I don’t want to live my life vicariously through him.
  • The concept of fake news has been born from social media. The world is going mad with it. People like Donald Trump rode this particular tsunami of misinformation and spread all manner of crazy propaganda. He’s not the only one guilty of this. Little tribes of nutters have appeared on social media including, to my everlasting amusement, the cult of Flat Earth. There are more Flat Earthers out there now than there ever were, thanks to bullshit spread as gospel. 
  • I hate trolls – or keyboard warriors as I prefer to call them.  These are vile people who prowl social media and post abhorrent insults to people just for the hell of it. The infest the world of bloggery too and I have had to deal with a couple in the past. As well as that all manner of terrible groups of people have found a medium to spread their hatred throughout the world. And this last point is arguably the most disturbing reason why social media has a problem

So much for brevity – sorry about the long answer.

2. A place you would like to live, but have never visited

I would like to live in a Scandinavian country like Sweden, Denmark or Norway because the people are friendly and they are meant to be amongst the happiest places on the planet, something I could embrace with joy. Also, as a fair-haired man myself, I think I would fit right in.

3. Someone who fascinates you and why

This is a strange one. I am quite fascinated by the actor Tom Cruise. I think he is a great actor and I do generally like his movies (although he has made some turkeys). This isn’t the reason I am fascinated with him though. He has everything – looks, the ability to act, he does his own stunts and is the same age as I am – yet looks so much better. Sadly, he is a nutter. He is so deep in the world of Scientology that David Miscavige will do anything to keep him there and, given how successful he is, I cannot understand why he hasn’t realised that his “religion” has ruined his life.

Listen to this bullshit from 2004. 

I would like nothing more than to sit down in a bar with Tom Cruise and ask him about this.

4. Do you have tattoos?  What are they and why?

No, I don’t have tattoos. I would never have a tattoo.

5. A book you love, and one you didn’t.

I’ve recently read a fascinating novel by Blake Crouch called Recursion, which fascinated me. It is a mind-bending science fiction novel that needs a lot of thought to follow it. If you like movies like Inception and Tenet then you will love it. If those movies blew your mind into submission then it might not be for you. I loved them and I loved the book. It would make a great film.

I made the mistake of reading a free Kindle book last year that the first in a series set in a post-apocalyptic world with Zombies – there are loads of these out there. I thought it would be good – it was terrible. I finished it but I’m not sure why. I discarded it pretty quickly and I won’t tempt you to read it by giving you its title or author.

6. A fruit you dislike, and why

Damsons because they taste revolting.

7. Two words/phrases that make you laugh

“Bollocks” is a British word that I use quite often because I find it funny. It is a swear word but it sums up things perfectly in many ways. If you think something is terrible you simply say “That’s bollocks!”. If you think somebody is lying you can say “He’s talking bollocks!” – see what I mean? Perfect.

I also love the word “abomination” and use it regularly because it sums up my feeling that something is so bad that it simply should not exist. I chuckle inwardly whenever I say it or hear it. For example:

“White chocolate is an abomination.”

8. A quote you try to live by

“Laughter connects you with people. It’s almost impossible to maintain any kind of distance or any sense of social hierarchy when you’re just howling with laughter. Laughter is a force for democracy.”

Thank you John Cleese.

9. Something you miss

I miss my parents.

10. Three weird traits you have

I wrote a post about this last week. I will refer you to that. Here it is

11. What you wore today

I am wearing a shirt than makes me look like a lumberjack and a pair of blue jeans. 

12. Word/phrase you use constantly

“What are you doing?” – I say this to the cats when they are being mischievous.

13. One thing you’re excited for

The end of the pandemic – and I think I am in good company with 95% of the rest of the world on this.

14. Your feelings on ageism

I am an old git myself so I am against it. In the past I have seen a lot of ageism, particularly in the workplace, where people have been “let go” or simply not been employed because the powers that be have branded them as “too old”. 

These days, certainly in the UK, we are well on our way to severely reducing ageism in the workplace. Personally I want to retire but I would like to think that if I change my mind then I could easily walk back into another job based on my experience and ability and people wouldn’t see my age as a barrier. 

After all, the older you get the wiser you get and I have nothing but respect for people who have been on this planet longer than I have.

15. Three interesting facts about yourself

I have been to 36 countries – around 18% of the planet. I haven’t finished yet.

I am a (flawed) Roman Catholic.

I can play a trombone (though not for over 40 years).



Elephant's Child said...

I adore the word serendipity.
And on the word front Tolkien once said that his favourite phrase was cellar door. Not for the meaning but for the sound...
Antisocial media does my head in. I don't play.

Bev Sykes said...

"flawed," huh? I just use "recovering" ta describe my relationship with the Cathollic church, which I left many years ago.

Tom Cruise ... shudder!!!

I like your answer to #2. We are similar, I believe. And I've never had Damsons. I don't believe I've ever seen them - are they plums?

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi EC,

Serendipity is a good word I have to agree.




CountryDew said...

Tom Cruise's mindset is nuts and it has kept me from enjoying his movies, I'm afraid. I haven't seen many of his movies as he's aged. But I'm also not a big movie watcher. I'd rather read a book. (I too thought this was oddly named, as there were no music questions.)

Me, Myself, and I said...

Ah, John Cleese. A treasure, that one. What are damsons? Have a great week!

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Bev,

Same here - really I'm not a Catholic; I had no say in it after all.

Damsons are like plums - the ones that come from Hell.




LA Paylor said...

I've never had a damson. I loved reading your answers, so I'd like to sit across from you at a bar for a fascinating discussion, and lots of laughs as I believe humor is a miracle.
I like that you mentioned a nutter as your fascination too, a flawed person that is interesting because he's in your age but so different. I like different odd people to talk to.
So many countries! I forgot about Scandinavia... I'm watching Paul Hollywood visiting countries and bakeries on youtube and I also think I'd fit right in. Increasingly unfortunately my husband and I want to live in another country when he retires, unfortunately because we have a standard poodle and moving him will be hard

songbird's crazy world said...

John Cleese is a very wise man

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi CD,

Yeah - I don't understand it to be honest. I do enjoy his movies but I try to forget about his Scientology when watching them.




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Me,myself and I,

Damsons are horrible plum-like things and I'm surprised that people in the US don't have them (unless you call them something else). You are lucky, believe me.




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi LeeAnna,

I would happily chat to most people in a bar - apart from those on the spaceship I am building when I become World President.

I am sure that I could find something in common with Tom Cruise - but it wouldn't be Scientology.




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Songbird,

A wise and also very funny man.