How Coronavirus Can Lead To A Better World

Things can change – and yes, walls can come tumbling down!

The coronavirus as a wrecking ball
Original images: Sylvain Acher/Pixabay; Pete Linforth/Pixabay

THERE IS, literally, something in the air at the moment.

It may just be coincidence but, when I switched on the radio this morning, they were playing Walls Come Tumbling Down.

Remember that? Paul Weller’s rabble rouser from 1985, the zenith of Thatcherism, when he tried bravely to convince us that things didn’t have to be this way.

“You don’t have to take this crap,” Weller sang, adding: “Are you gonna try and make this work, or spend your days down in the dirt?

Well, we all know how that went…. two years later, Maggie got voted in again, and then John Major succeeded her. It wasn’t until 1997 that we got another progressive government.

Today, of course, there’s yet another Tory just been installed at Number 10, and still no end in sight to their dominance of UK politics.

And yet… the sense that things can change is perhaps more tangible these days than at any time since the 1940s.

What’s made the difference is, in a word: Coronavirus.

Continue reading “How Coronavirus Can Lead To A Better World”

Who’s Up For Homes Fit For Heroes II?

It’s all very well clapping them every Thursday night, but why not thank key workers properly when the Coronavirus storm blows over?

AT THE END of World War One, British Prime Minister David Lloyd George promised to build 500,000 new homes as a reward for the sacrifices ordinary people had made.

Only 200,000 of them were completed, but for many of those lucky enough to move into a new home, it was their first experience of electricity, running water, bathrooms, indoor toilets and gardens.

By 1939, more than a million council houses had been built across the UK, and in 1948 – three years after victory over Nazi Germany in World War Two – the Government again thanked people for their fortitude with the creation of the National Health Service (applause!).

The Coronavirus pandemic is perhaps the greatest challenge to face this country – and the world – since the 1940s, with ordinary people likes nurses, care home workers and bus drivers again at the forefront of the fight.

When all of this has blown over – and we look at ways of saying ‘Thank You’ to our key workers – we could do worse than building them somewhere decent to live again.

Continue reading “Who’s Up For Homes Fit For Heroes II?”

Springtime For Introverts

Coronavirus is a bad thing – but there are upsides, particularly for quiet types

I KNOW we’re all supposed to be in this together but – on the quiet – I have been indulging in a bit of gloating lately.

That’s because the Coronavirus pandemic – though it’s tragic, frantic, dreadful and economy-wrangling – has temporarily created almost perfect laboratory conditions for introverts like me to thrive.

Just like the shy deer, birds and sea turtles who are reclaiming habitats worldwide in the absence of humans, Lockdown Britain has suddenly gifted withdrawn folk the quiet and solitude we need to thrive.

Continue reading “Springtime For Introverts”

It’s Oh So Quiet (But The Last Trump Is Coming)

I dare you to try and steal my asparagus when the End Times come

Bjork sings "It's All So Quiet" while Coranaviruses and bags of poo fly around her
Original Covid-19 image: Vektor Kunst/Pixabay (and with apologies to the wonderful Bjork)

WE’RE ALL STUCK at home because of the Coronavirus, even though none of us is remotely ill.

My son’s school closed due to – Covid-19 related – staff shortages yesterday, while my wife’s firm has told all non-essential staff to work from home.

My daughter’s lecturers – who’ve just come off a three-week strike anyway – are teaching online and me….well, I’m always here.

So far, being in semi-lockdown has been lovely, particularly because none of us has to get up early any more.

I’m normally roused at six by the wife’s alarm and then stagger up to make cups of tea, feed cats, clear up last night’s mess and make Ready Brek by 7.15.

But today, since Her Indoors didn’t have to spend 90 minutes commuting in – and because The Lad could get his own breakfast – we slept soundly until 7.30.

And my first thought was: It’s all so quiet.

Continue reading “It’s Oh So Quiet (But The Last Trump Is Coming)”

Don’t Be A Stranger, Andrew Yang!

A brilliant, transformative politician has dropped out of the race to be US President… I hope to God he’s back in 2024!

US presidential candidate Andrew Yang
Image: Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons

D’OH! THOSE BOZOS in America!

I’ve got used to seeing the people I vote for not win in the UK, ever since my first ballot failed to unseat Maggie Thatcher, Milk Snatcher, back in 1987.

And today, I’m fucked off because my favourite candidate from Across The Pond didn’t make it either….

Andrew Yang – whose idealistic bid to be the Democrat taking on Donald Trump in November’s US Election got me excited about politics again – has thrown in the towel after a disappointing performance in the New Hampshire Primary on Tuesday.

But Yang can be proud of a run that saw him outlast 18 more established candidates for the Top Job – and for becoming a “thought leader” in the US, with his well-received policies for a “human centred capitalism” to soften the effects of future job automation.  

Continue reading “Don’t Be A Stranger, Andrew Yang!”

If I Can Run The First 200 Metres, I Can Handle Anything

Today’s run is all about rediscovering confidence and willpower

A road going uphill
Image: Ave Calvar/Unsplash

Before I go on any run, I worry.  

I worry that my knee will give out…  

I worry that I won’t make it round…

I worry that I’ll do a Paula Radcliffe (and I don’t mean breaking World Records…)

But most of all, I worry about running the first 200 metres.

Continue reading “If I Can Run The First 200 Metres, I Can Handle Anything”

Where Is My Mind?

Maybe forgetting things as I get older isn’t something to stress about…

A frightened bag of raspberries (cartoon)

I looked in the bread bin this morning and found I’d left a bag of frozen raspberries there.

I must have done it yesterday morning while I was making breakfast. The berries – and the bin – were pretty soggy.

And it’s not the first forgetful thing I’ve done lately – far from it.

I often find myself stopping in front of the fridge, or a cupboard in the kitchen, trying to remember what I’m doing there.

It’s probably at moments like this that I put milk in the drawers and porridge in the freezer – snatching them out hours or days later and wondering: ‘Is this it? Am I finally losing my mind?”

Continue reading “Where Is My Mind?”

(Don’t) Push It

Trying to change career in my 50s is giving me panic attacks on top of my midlife crisis. I need to remember that I still have time to change.

Pete Tong, Arthur Fowler, Jacques Chirac and Leon Haywood in a shed, thinking about social media

I COULDN’T HELP IT –  I had to get out of the house.

My pulse was quickening, and I felt light-headed and anxious. So I slung a leg over the bike and raced to the allotment.

Like Arthur Fowler, I know that when things go well and truly Pete Tong, it’s time to head down Me Shed.

But why did I need consoling?

I’d been on Facebook promoting this blog, you see. And social media always does strange things to me…

Continue reading “(Don’t) Push It”

An Aggy Blog Story

It’s a jungle out there – so we all need to treat each other better

A angry man uses a banana as a gun
Image: Ryan McGuire/pixabay

THE SPRING can’t come fast enough. Out there in the January gloom, people are careering against each other, and they’re not in the best of shape.

Just over a fortnight into the New Year, it’s already obvious that they’re struggling: with money, with the post-Christmas Blues, with anger.

London’s a place where people are never very kind to one another but these three scenes from the last week or so demonstrate how close we all are to the edge sometimes…

Continue reading “An Aggy Blog Story”