Monday, 5 June 2017

May 2017 Review

Birthday Month.

(This post was written the Sunday after the London Bridge atrocity. The best thing to do when some evil losers kill people is to carry on like nothing happened. Unless you are directly involved. I'm in Brunswick Square, Sunday lunchtime, and it's doing regular business. People are walking around, no-one looks scared, the shops are open and the movies are showing. That is exactly the correct response. One's thoughts go to the relatives of the dead, and to the wounded, to whom may be granted a swift recovery. And then, on with normal life.)

I passed sixty-three this month. I don't look it to anyone under thirty-five. To me, I look like an old man who doesn't have wrinkles. For reasons I will explain in next month's review, I know my vital signs are phenomenal for someone in their mid-20's, let alone for my age. I look, however, like an old sports saloon does when surrounded by new sporty cars. You can see it was once a neat piece of kit, but it's out of its time. It's might even drive faster and better than a lot of the new cars, but it's still an old car.

Sis took me for a birthday supper at Gauthier, and we had lunch at Dishoom off Shoreditch High Street one Friday. I met a friend for an early supper at our regular venue: an Argentinian Steak House in Richmond. My Mother's birthday is this month, and Sis and I took her to Shambles in Teddington on a Saturday that was warm enough to sit outside. 

I read Sudhir Hazareesingh’s How the French Think, Ray Deletin’s The Axeman’s Jazz, Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One, Eduardo Rabassa’s Zero-Sum Game, Christie’s compilation of their greatest hits, Going Once: 250 Years of Culture, Taste and Collecting, Sarah Thornton’s 33 Artists in 3 Acts, and a chunk of Charles Hadlock’s Six Sources of Collapse

I saw Colossal and Raw at the Curzon Soho. Colossal has Anne Hathaway. That's pretty much all I needed to know about it. It's also a good film. Did I mention Anne Hathaway? Raw is not a movie about female power, but about what happens when mothers don't tell their daughters how to handle themselves. Forget you read that if you're going to see it. There were a lot of men at the Colossal screening, and a lot of younger women at the Raw screening. Raw did not have Anne Hathaway. I think that explains it.

I took a week off for my birthday, and the weather was rubbish. However, I re-discovered the pleasure of doing nothing but reading for a large chunk of the day - with quick breaks to load the washing machine, do a bit or ironing or cut my nails.

I took my right arm to my osteopath. It has been hurting ever sinceI started to do pull-ups. I can push with the best of them, but pulling has always been my weakness. Applies to weights in the gym as well. (Ba-boom-tish! I’m here all week.)

I arranged to get a Smart Meter installed. Except they never showed, called once in the morning to say they might be delayed but would still make an AM, and then I had to call them at one o’clock to find out what was going on, and they requested a delay until two, and then didn’t show up or call, so I re-booked, went shopping, called again and cancelled. Every time I deal with any of these guys - electricity, phone, gas, water - there’s always some damn reason they can’t make it. It’s always something that’s never happened before, but the point is, it’s always something. So I said, no thanks. Smart meters are for your convenience, not mine, so you can sack more meter-readers. And if the things need calibrating before leaving the depot, rather than work straight out of the box, I’m wondering what happens when my Smart Meter tells them I spent £1,000 on electricity in a month. How do I show it’s wrong? Too much computer. Give me the old electro-mechanical one. And hire a reader to check it.

Don’t get me started on what happened to Talk-Talk’s suburban London network when it rained on my week off. Three days the service was erratic, and I had to use all my powers of bluffing to get the telephone help line to admit it. And they want to sell me FTTC. Not while the last twenty yards is sixty-year old (at least!) copper from a distribution pole into the house. That’s going to go wonky every time the weather gets wet or cold. Distribution poles are a wonderful thing: that one survived the 1987 storm and didn’t blink an eyelid. But the insulation round the copper must be brittle and leaky by now. 

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