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Showing posts from January, 2018

IT’S A GAME OF GIVE AND TAKE

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Walking around an antiques store in a nearby village, I came across a selection of vinyl records and magazines. At the top of the display were old 1980s copies of “NME” magazine, still billed as “New Musical Express” on the cover. Working my way down, expecting another magazine, I struck gold: from 1983, I found the original “Now That’s What I call Music” album. The “Various Artists” compilation album was the preserve of cheaper labels like K-Tel or Ronco, or for when a record label wanted to round up the best of its own releases, like the “Motown Chartbusters” series. Instead, “Now” was the first collaboration between two labels, the biggest in the UK: Virgin Records, which originated the idea, and EMI, which also pressed and printed the records. If you bought “Now” when it came out on 28th November 1983 – it eventually spent five weeks at number 1 in the charts – chances are you went to either EMI’s record chain, HMV, or to Virgin Megastore. The name “Now That’s What I Call

I AM SO SMART, I AM SO SMART

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I expect my phone to access the internet, read PDF documents, show me a map of the local area, and count how many steps I walk, but I have no need to use it as a compass, calculator or spirit level, even though I could. In fact, I take some pleasure in having a small pocket calculator in my bag – I can only ask one job of it, but it does that job perfectly. Likewise, I write my articles using a word processor, not a computer. The AlphaSmart Neo word processor was made from 2004 to 2013, the latest in a line of machines begun in 1993, from a company set up by two former Apple Computer employees. AlphaSmart’s intention was to create an affordable device for learning in classrooms, as multiple processors could be connected for tasks and lessons – the final processor in the line, the Neo 2, could also run class quizzes. However, its main function is as a digital typewriter, small and light enough to carry anywhere, but with a full-sized keyboard, for the simple entry of text onto a

IF YOU PROMISE TO BE GOOD, TRY TO BE NICE

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Sometimes, you have to look for the meaning of a word or term, especially when seeing it used in a sentence makes it no clearer. Sometimes, that term is a pejorative, perhaps aimed at you, and you still have to look it up. Putting your own effort into another person’s attempt to offend you must be infuriating, if that was what they intended. “Virtue signalling” is often heard in social media and in newspaper and magazine articles. For example, when free schools advocate Toby Young stepped down from a university watchdog last week, last Wednesday’s comment in the “Daily Mail” said it was due to “the storm of virtue-signalling outrage whipped up by shadow education secretary Angela Rayner and the Labour hate mob,” after Twitter messages and old articles by Young, a self-described “provocateur” in his previous role, were repeated. A “Telegraph” article in the last couple of days was also headed, “The virtue-signalling British politicians snubbing Trump are embarrassing themselves.”

AND WE KNOW WHAT WE'RE KNOWING

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With 2018 now under way, I knew it wouldn’t take too long for someone to say something that makes you want to spit, and it came from, right now, the most likely place: 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington DC. The news sensation of the moment was Michael Wolff’s “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House” a tell-all book whose publication was brought forward once people interviewed for the book it began denying what they were reported as saying, especially about the mental health self-proclaimed “stable genius” Donald Trump. At a press conference, the White House press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, came out with something that made my eyes glass over: “We’re certainly happy for people who have different opinions, but there’s a difference between different opinions and different facts… And people are entitled to an opinion, but they’re not entitled to their own facts. And we have a problem with people putting out misleading information. Those are very different things

AND I’M TRYING HARD TO FIT AMONG YOUR SCHEME OF THINGS

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I showed 2017 the back of my hand months ago. Events, days, news cycles and realities changed multiple times daily, and questioning it drained us. Rather than try and make sense of it one more time, I offer below the choicest sentences from my last year. Happy with appearing to know what I was talking about, I hope 2018 is the peaceful and brilliant year we need – if it is not, we’ll build that lunar colony together. * It is not enough knowing where you can go, it’s making sense of what you find… Anyone who thinks they have it all worked out should be checked to see if they are already dead… Everything bubbles to the surface, and what a surface to pick from. If you can put aside the usual attempts to find a rational, objective, absolute truth, and think about how truth and knowledge are constructed out of all the discussions and interpretations that led to it, then you will understand it more than just having it handed to you on a plate. We must now also contend with th