The Watcher Smiled

Posted: May 17, 2014 in Biographical
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It has been so long since my last post to this blog that I had to stop and ask myself whether or not anyone would even notice this new stirring of activity.

However, being noticed is contrary to my approach to life. So being able to randomly pour out this collection of thoughts unobserved would be as fitting as any other moment I have casually sat back and watched the whirring world pass by.

Why the unexpected post? Well – I find myself back in London, visiting family ahead of a day out tomorrow at Brands Hatch, and as usual – I find myself sitting and quite literally watching the world go by.

This time however, I can’t help but feel contented and serene as I perch on the dockside, just a stones throw away from London’s Excel exhibition centre – as I take in the breeze, the rare but welcome rays of sunshine bathing the marina and the sounds of a city alive with perpetual motion.

All around there is a sense of activity, energy and life. Whether it is the city jets on final approach to London City airport, the Emirates cable cars transporting passengers from the Docks to Greenwich and the O2 Arena or the now stationary and merely architecturally contributory remnants of the cranes that once were part of the everyday life of a city fed by the commercially vital London Docklands – life continues on it’s passage through the corridors of time.

Life goes on, time passes by and as I approach four decades of watching – I can’t help but sit back and smile.

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What is privacy in the 21st century? Have we redefined the parameters of what should and should not be for public consumption?

The staple diet of most these days are reality TV shows that provide fly on the wall access to the homes of celebrities, the inner workings of football clubs and play by play commentary on the medical conditions of many who would previously have baulked at the mere thought of discussing them within the privacy of their own doctor’s surgery.

So what is privacy? What do we now consider the boundaries of what is for me to know and you to find out?

I can’t be too hypocritical about the subject; hence me asking questions, rather than pontificating from a standpoint of moral or ethical superiority. This blog serves as my medium to engage with others (you) and share ideas and beliefs about whatever subject I would like to discuss.

Social media gives us all an opportunity to instantly share the most random of thoughts, our instinctive reactions to our experiences and to sate our voyeuristic urges by eavesdropping on the conversations between public officials, captains of industry and the celebrities who – like us – seem to have forgotten the art of having a private conversation over the phone.

Perhaps our ideas of privacy have softened following the revelations and education we have all received over the past decade; where we have seen that the realms of what we considered confidential, private – secure – no longer are.

Phone taps, voicemail hacks, identity theft, credit card clones, scanners, Trojan virus’ and the piggy backing of a broadband signal. What once we thought was for our eyes and ears only seemed to be no more than a click, send, submit or accept from being in the hands of someone else.

So perhaps, like any immune system, we have built up a resilience to seeing privacy invaded and now no longer feel quite as perturbed as we would have in the days when a quick phone call meant finding change and leaving the house to find the nearest, cleanest, telephone box that was in working order.

Maybe the Katie Price’s, Kim Kardashian’s and Big Brother attention seekers have reduced the threshold of what we now consider to be private.

Could it be that we no longer worry about who could be peering through our curtains when we can log on to the Internet and stroll down anyone’s street via Google Earth? Street view allows us to walk up to the front door of nigh on any house on the planet and, if you forgot to close the door, peek inside your garage or count the new Coy you put into your pride of place fish pond.

Twitter, Facebook, My Space, Tumblr, Instagram – you name it, you can update to it. Privacy – who cares? There is so much to delve through that we will all probably get to a point where we reach access overload.

How ironic. We could reach the point where we have so much access to the inner thoughts and microscopic movement of all we know – or don’t – that we might not care to look anymore.

Perhaps the privacy we once held so dear will return to us – when we can no longer stand to log on and take a look.

How long before “Private – Keep Out!” becomes synonymous with “Who Cares – I don’t want to know!”?

Today we were clearing out the loft: a chore required to enable the laying of new loft insulation.

The thing about clearing out lofts; that sanctuary for the memories we have long since forgotten and the trinkets we should have long since let go into the past – is that we invariably find ourselves confronted by thoughts; hopes; anguish and desires we no longer even knew had previously existed.

I wrote these words more than a decade ago – in a Black n’ Red Ruled notebook that I kept as a record of my creative outlets.

How curious to read them now; stepping back in time – wondering what thoughts were running through my head:

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I am curious to know what I will feel, in ten or so years; if I am lucky enough to live that long – when I look back over what I have written in the past two years: the blog posts you all have been so kind to read, comment on and occasionally inspire me to write.

Was I really that sad – I hear you ask; so very tired of life? Well, as much as I would dearly love to say those thoughts have completely left me, I think we both know that would be somewhat of a lie.

You see – irony of ironies; that I should come across this note, as I was only thinking yesterday of the latest scribing I wanted to record; an alternate view on the vagaries of death as opposed to life.

I dare you all to clear out your loft space. Who knows what you will all find.

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We’re just socially interacting, innit
Not hating nor pontificating

Insinuating perhaps even implicating
Occasionally berating

But always articulating
Without aggravating or humiliating

Just relating

Relating

Participating

Oft times facilitating

Hopefully cultivating an educating and exhilarating
Illuminating and invigorating

Opportunity to debate

To generate thoughts and create a state of mind
Never blind to the fact that we

Each one of a kind
endure this

Grind

Time after time

Walking that
Line

So cruelly defined by fate

So why wait?

Come
Before it’s too late

Let’s
Start a debate.

When you passionately argue against a system that provides access to healthcare for those who are probably most in need, you are, for me, arguing from a platform that is completely and utterly morally, ethically and inhumanely spent.

As the world scratched its collective head attempting to comprehend the fantastic spectacle that was the London 2012 opening ceremony, I took to the social network-sphere to take in the wave of pride of a nation who saw an homage to our National Health Service.

A nod, for those who are still confused, to the idea behind the NHS. To the concept that a nation would ensure free access to a healthcare system for all – based on their medical needs and not on their ability to pay.

Was this a political statement? Who can say?

Should an Olympic opening ceremony be the vehicle for such a statement if it were? No – some would say. Emphatically. Passionately.

However.

Stop for a moment.

Consider.

These games – the London bid, were based on the ideal of inspiring a generation. About igniting the imagination and desires of an entire generation. What better message could you possibly hope for the youth of today; the leaders of tomorrow; the minds that will define a nation, than one that embodies the very best of qualities humanity has to offer?

Thinking not of yourself, but of others. Taking care, not just of yourself, but also of your neighbours.

As #NHS began trending on Twitter I was surprised to see the fear, perhaps even hate, for and of the idea of social healthcare.

I was numbed by the comments of those who truly believe(d) that a healthcare system built around the idea that everyone would pay to ensure everyone had access was abhorent.

I wanted to ask those who most vehemently raged against our NHS, those who live on shores from across an ocean, why they were so against putting in place a system that extends the life expectancy of everyone, not just of the affluent.

I wanted to debate the thought that this social ideal was inherently evil, when the counter argument was one that saw no demons in a system that directly links your health to your bank balance.

If money is the route of all evil…

I don’t believe that the opening ceremony was lauding the current state of our NHS; as it is in dire need of improvement. I am not even sure it was making a political plea that we should save it.

However.

Stop for a moment.

In a time when so many countries are weighted down under the burden of an economical recession, when more and more people are struggling to keep a roof over their heads or put food on their tables – ask yourself. What exactly is it that someone could find so repugnant about a system that would ensure that you, yes you – no matter what your financial situation might be tomorrow, do not have to worry about your access to healthcare?

I ask simply because… because… money has no place determining who should continue living!

“Motorsport the way it should be…”

That is what I thought as I watched the GT39’s and GT40’s.  That is what I thought as the Lotus chased down the Tyrell – as the Cooper followed BRM.

That is what I thought as I watched the McLaren pass the Porsche and the Chevron inch past me as I walked my way through the paddock.

That is what I thought as the driver of the #08 GT39 spoke to me about the fluid leaking from his callipers and intracacies of getting oneself in and out of a car that stood no more than 39 inches off the ground.

The location was Brands Hatch in Kent.  The weather was amazing!  Whilst I was aware it was May 27th, 2012 – the exhibition on show easily transported me back through the ages; pre 1966, post 1971 – an age when motorsport was unbelievably evocative.

I stood inside the hairpin at Druids, I walked along the fencing from Paddock.  I gazed off towards Graham Hill bend and listened as the cars howled into Clearways.

In an era when sports have become further and further removed from those that make up the fanbase,  I urge any and everyone who has the opportunity – get down to your local circuit any time you have the chance to get up close and personal with the legendary machinery of a bygone era.

Motorsport the way it should be indeed…

Video  —  Posted: May 29, 2012 in Sport, Uncategorized
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(Blows the cobwebs away).

I am truly sorry to say that I have been remiss in my blogging responsibilities.

I am therefore, under strict instruction from Teelaine, taking the time to let you all know that I am still here and am still reading (not that I should have needed that nudge).

I started a new role in February and I have to be honest, it has taken up a little bit more mental capacity than I had anticipated.

I will try harder from this point onward to make a conscious effort to make time in my week to put some thoughts down.

However, just because I haven’t said anything doesn’t mean I am not still listening, observing, musing, considering.

Who would have thought a tiny change in life could have such an enormous impact on my social interaction?

Posted: May 4, 2012 in Biographical
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