Friday 1 December 2023

Plastic Identity

Welcome to a bright and sunny South Manchester. The problem is that when the sun shines in winter, the temperature plummets and now it is just above zero degrees Celsius, with frost and ice still being visible from last night’s low of -3 degrees. I don’t mind days like this; they are cold, sure, but the crispness of the air is invigorating. 

We are now in December and Christmas is approaching faster than Superman. Mrs PM is threatening to put up the tree today and also we are going to my company’s Christmas party tonight. I have even had my first mince pie of the winter.

Since it is December I have to decide what I am going to do in 2024 – and that starts right now. Do I carry on with Spanish? Do I crank it up a notch? What other activities shall I plan into my daily habits?

We shall see and all will be revealed in due course.

In the meantime, here are some silly answers to some silly questions from Sunday Stealing

1. If someone wanted to really understand you, what would they read, watch, and listen to?

I don’t think that even Mrs PM understands me if I’m honest. She constantly says to me “Don’t be weird!” and the truth is that of all the billions of people on this planet, she understands me most of all. 

This is therefore a difficult question because I am a complex person and I don’t think anything that you could read, watch or listen to would even come close. 

Nevertheless, I shall try.

I would probably get you to read James Clear’s “Atomic Habits” to try to understand how and why I am trying to plan my life in the future. I would also get you to read an IT book to try to get you understand how my logical mind works in terms of my day job. And then finally, a great science fiction novel like “The War of the Worlds” or “The Time Machine” to try to understand the geek within me.

What would they watch? Probably a documentary series by Professor Brian Cox about the universe, as I am fascinated by space travel and phenomena. Also, any science fiction TV programme or movie, like Dr Who or Star Trek or something like that.

As for listening, regular readers will know that my taste is quite diverse from progressive rock to ambient electronica. Perhaps these two:

2. Have you ever found a writer who thinks just like you? If so, who?

Not really. Perhaps the closest is Brian Lumley who is responsible for the Necroscope series, which involves the most terrifying vampires I have ever had the pleasure to read. I say “closest” because although I love his ideas, I would have ended the stories in a different way. 

Also Dean Koontz has some amazing ideas in his thrillers and supernatural novels. 

3. Do you care about your ethnicity?

Not particularly. I just try to regard all people as the same, whatever, their colour, nationality, background, heritage, ancestry or traditions. I guess I am a white British male but, thanks to travelling, I like to feel that I could fit in anywhere.

4. What musical artists have you most felt connected to over your lifetime?

I would say the artist that has connected to me most is Rush. I have considered writing a post called My Life According to Rush, simply because since the age of about 14 they have been a constant throughout my life. I’ve grown up with them and there are certain songs that send me back in time to a precise moment. Sadly, since drummer Neil Peart sadly passed away in 2020, Rush are no more. I still have most of their CDs and I listen to their music regularly on Spotify from their first album simply called “Rush” in 1974 to their last offering called “Clockwork Angels” in 2012. 

These days, I connect most with Riverside, a Polish progressive rock band who are still producing amazing music.

5. Are you an artist?

Not at all. I did produce this silly piece of “art” for a blog post about how rubbish contemporary art is. 

I called it “Naughty Cat”. And it is absolute rubbish.

Still, there may be somebody who likes it. You never know.

6. Dog person or cat person?

Both. I have two cats so you might say that I am a cat person but the truth is I love both.

7. Inside or outdoors?

Both. The extrovert within me loves the outdoors but the introvert within loves the indoors.

8. Five most influential books over your lifetime.

I am going to say “Atomic Habits” by James Clear as one of them again because, although I was already using habits when I read it, it does cover the way my mind works now and I learned a few things. 

“The War of the Worlds” by H.G.Wells was a starting point for science fiction for me, being the first one I ever read. 

“The Dark” by James Herbert for me is the quintessential horror novel, one that genuinely scared me and ignited my love of horror stories. 

“1984” by George Orwell shocked me because when I was at school we had to read it as part of our English Literature class. Most of the books we had forced upon us were dreadful – and I include Shakespeare in this list of turgid dross – though the worst one was The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy – which was so bad I almost refused to finish it. Back to 1984 – I was pleasantly surprised that this masterpiece was so good. It is also very scary.

“The Throwback” by Tom Sharpe is a brilliant example of how to write a comic novel and it still makes me laugh today. When I read it, I was flying back from Hong Kong and I was struggling not to laugh in an embarrassing fashion but I failed. I was crying and howling in gales of laughter while people were trying to snooze and I had to stop in case I was lynched. I was this guy who was annoying Mr Bean.

9. Would you rather be in Middle Earth, Narnia, Hogwarts, or somewhere else?

Most of those places are dangerous in their own way but if I had to choose a place to be it would be Dr Who’s TARDIS because using that I could travel anywhere in both time and space. 

10. List the top five things you spend the most time doing, in order.

I presume you mean when not working …

Listening to music – I listen to music most of the time when writing, working or just relaxing.

Doing my “daily duties”, i.e. habits that I have acquired. This involves writing, learning Spanish, trying to play the piano or reading a book that is outside my comfort zone.

Watching TV with Mrs PM and the cats.

Going for a walk. I try to walk for about an hour a day (give or take five minutes).

Playing FIFA – a football game on the PS4.

11. Have you ever felt like you had a “mind-meld” with someone?

Not really. The closest person that would apply to is Mrs PM.

12. Could you live as a hermit?

I think I could for a short while. During the pandemic, I realised that this would have to be for a short time because after a couple of days I would start to crave company again. Thank goodness I don’t live alone; it would have been a struggle to deal with being isolated during those terrible lockdowns. But a few days – definitely yes.

13. Do you feel like your outside appearance is a fair representation of the “real you”?

Yes – it probably is. I am a little geeky and I look a little geeky too with stereotypically unmanageable hair and glasses. I would fit right in as a character on The Big Bang Theory or the IT Crowd by appearance alone. 

14. Three songs that you connect with right now.

15. Pick one of your favourite quotes.

“Well, you’ll be glad to know that scientists have finally explained why we’ve been enduring this rather long spell of disappointing weather. Apparently…we live in Britain.” — Hugh Dennis



Elephant's Child said...

Smiling at that favourite quote.
I hope that 2024 goes well for you and Mrs PM.

Roger Owen Green said...

Well, you're a way better artist than I am. I didn't note listening to music to my list, which I'll post tomorrow because I'm almost ALWAYS doing that while blogging, cleaning, reading the newspaper, etc. COVID pointed out how unhermitlike I guess I am.

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi EC,

Yeah - it's funny isn't it?




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Roger,

I think the pandemic confirmed that for a lot of people.




Bev Sykes said...

You're right--the pandemic helped a lot of us understand that we could live as hermits. Kinda nice, actually!

Bev Sykes said...

Love the quote.

And I actually also like your "artwork."

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Bev,

Maybe I should start doing more of this so-called "art".




Donna. W said...

You relate to your wife like I do to my husband.

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Donna,

It works, doesn't it




Kwizgiver said...

Living by myself during the pandemic was eye-opening. While I enjoyed it, after a while I craved traveling.

CountryDew said...

I like your artwork. :-) I listed 1984 as an influential book, too.

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Kwizgiver,

Missing out on travelling was the reason that I am not a hermit. I could be, as I said for a day or two, but after that I have to get out there.




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi CD,

Others have said the same. I think I might actually try some new ones - for a laugh of course.

I enjoyed 1984 - I must reread it.




Rajani Rehana said...

Great blog