Thursday, 30 December 2010

A couple of more days, then back to normality

Whatever normality means for you, it resumes mid January 2011. Some shops and businesses are open now and others are not. Some letters received, and others delayed. Problems with cars, medical problems; letters bearing bad news can all have to be put on hold for a couple more days. Please pity those who are in receipt of tons of phone calls next week, or those who are trying to make the calls, to finalise things. "Sorry, there is nobody available to take your call" gives somebody a break today, but not those who are trying to sort stuff out. Will all these answer-phone messages be heard, or are people swamped? Your everyday tasks somehow take a week to do, and still hang over you until the new-year.

Some people breathe a sigh of relief, once Christmas is over. Perhaps others will breathe a sigh of relief, a week or so into January, once things are back to normal.

A new start can be a new start in more ways than one. Not just the start of a new year, but the start of new tasks that have been delayed for the past week. The start of urgent tasks becoming even more urgent, urgent enquiries becoming ever so last minute and critical.

Sunday, 26 December 2010

Taxi Drivers

There is always a convenience of not having to defrost car, no ice on the inside of the windows. Plus an annual chance to have a sherry or wine on Christmas Day at your parents house. At least this driver turned up at the correct address (which usually happens from houses, rather than pubs as they turn up at the wrong pub down the road).

Why do so many taxi drivers have a Tom-Tom, yet still expect you to give directions? "Shall I go left at the end of the road here?" "No go right please". Perhaps it's a way of beating their loneliness without saying obvious small talk. Do they really like the music they play on the radio, or do they just assume their passengers would? Why does the taxi always arrive at the destination, one song before the song you want to listen to?

I always find the faked over-jolliness of a driver ironic; as he cannot be celebrating Christmas day if he's driving all day. He cannot be so jolly about Christmas if he is out driving everybody else about and isn't at home. Perhaps they expect a bigger tip than 50p if they repeatedly wish you a "Merry Christmas" and "Enjoy the holiday". £9.50 for a couple of minutes down the road is plenty.

Friday, 24 December 2010

I-Tunes a guilty pleasure

I-Tunes has put a stop to randomly buying CDs just for one song. However it's a shame if you love one song by a band and cannot get into any of their other stuff. I-Tunes appeals to the spontaneous and compulsive in your nature.  There is the instant gratification and thrill of having new music in a moment, rather than going out in all weathers. A single click and you only spend 0.99p. It's only 0.99p so why not click "yes" when asked if you are sure about downloading it. It's a good job that's there as you wouldn't want to download something by mistake. A while later an e-mail receipt arrives. "How did it get to that much? I only did a couple of downloads!"

Sigh… All is justified when you re-listen to the new music and realise you have expanded your music knowledge. New music enhances your creativity by creating new playlists. “Chill-out music”, “dinner table music”, “music to give you a boost”… You could be spending more if you were out for the day, or out for the evening. At least every song is a song you know you like and only got for the right reasons, rather than being on a compilation CD. Yet these playlist CDs somehow never look professional even though you have paid for the content. Will this I-pod ever fill up? I bet that could happen one day, but it’s safe for now (as long as you don’t add podcasts).

Why not buy the CD album, as it's criminal to download actual albums (unless you need it urgently)

Thursday, 23 December 2010

Are you ready for Christmas?

"Are you ready for Christmas?" they say. Almost as a greeting, after the welcomes and how are you's. How often have you heard this, the past week or so? Perhaps everybody you meet: family, friends, those you don't see often, people in shops. Everybody asks the same question, almost within the same time-frame of arrival! Be it small-talk to break the ice, or a genuine question, the same question is always asked, with the same apparent sincerity. Such an apparently innocent question carries a multitude of hidden meanings and mixed emotions.

Yet such a simple question seems to warrant some sort of vague and timid reply. You can be as ready for Christmas as the next person, but as soon as you hear that question, a shadow of doubt can creep in. Am I ready? I thought I was ready? I am ready but shouldn't I be? Regardless of how ready for Christmas you are, you can feel obliged to give a vague answer like:

 "I have all my presents, I just need to wrap them" or "I have just got to get a gift for such and such a person because she/he got me an unexpected gift". Both responses are “ready” but you don’t want to admit it, in case the other person is in a last-minute situation. We therefore exaggerate any last-minuteness, secretly knowing we are contented and as organised as possible.

It is almost as if the other person wants to revel in hearing about your stress, hearing about you running around like a headless chicken, unable to find the gifts. Are they anticipating smugness and hoping they are more organised than you? Perhaps they are anxious, hoping for tips, assuming you are organised and know where to buy the all important item.

So if you are ready, you can drive past the shops, all smug and watch all those panicking. If you are not ready, hurry up because the date of Christmas day doesn't change, it has always been the same date.

A good time of year to start!

On the run up to Christmas and new-year, there is a lot of talk about the year ahead. "2011 will be the year for me!" "2011 will be a much better year!" It is only natural to reflect and ponder about what lies ahead; with a sense of anticipation and a sense of uncertainty; a sense of celebration and a sense of dread. The reality is that one second separates us from one year to the next: an end of one year, the start of the next.

Edited 30/01/2011
I have never really been a person for new years resolutions, because I can make a new start, or give myself a new goal at any point. Having said that, I am new to blogging and this is a new venture for 2011. Although strictly speaking, if you look at the date of this, the blog actually started at the end of 2010.

Looking at my blog statistics, this little post and my music one, are the most popular. It seems that people like to read about music, hear new music and find out about what other people like. Plus people seem to like to read about milestones, new years resolutions and new beginnings etc.