Archive for March, 2008

The roof, part 8

March 12th, 2008 No comments

Well it couldn’t last I suppose. We’ve been so grateful that our new roof has been doing it’s job. Although water has been coming in around our new windows where we haven’t got around to replastering, it’s been much dryer in the house this winter and the growth of black mold on the bedroom ceilings has slowed down. We need to replace the ceilings but can’t afford to do that at the moment.
Last night there was a huge storm. HUGE. The gusts were hurricane force apparently. The dog was absolutely terrified (actually, so was I). Over the last few weeks there have been a few stormy days and nights. A chimney cowl flew off a couple of weeks ago and the metal boiler room chimney came down. Poor Al is not the best with heights but managed to scale the building and put the boiler chimney back. It came down again last night. So did some guttering. The worst thing is that the roof is now damaged. Slates have come down and more are damaged. Everything that was outside has moved (except the car). Even some railway sleepers that we use as a bench are not where we left them!
Time to call the Roof Doctor again.


Guilty Pleasures?

March 10th, 2008 No comments

Charlie Brooker, writing for The Guardian has some interesting things to say about the new ITV show ‘Guilty Pleasures’
I didn’t watch the programme myself but the whole idea of Guilty Pleasures really gets on my nerves.

This is what I wrote in 2006:
The BBC report on Q Magazine’s list of “guilty pleasures” started me wondering about my musical tastes.
You see, Q Magazine compiled a list of music that was previously uncool but that is now acceptable to like. Top of the list is ‘Livin’ Thing’ by ELO . I quite like that song and some other ELO tracks. I had no idea that I was so uncool. Should I be ashamed? Does that mean that if I want to say I like an uncool track, I have to qualify my choice by saying that I like it despite the fact I know it’s ‘wrong’?
I like lots of music that is probably considered to be uncool. As I’m writing this, I can’t help feeling that just the act of trying to analyse whether my music is cool or uncool is one of the most uncool things I could do. As Richard Reeves says in his comment on the BBC story “If you base your listening choices on what’s cool, you’re not a fan of music, just fashion”.
A great friend of mine used to laugh at my love of Hall & Oates and the fact that I’ve always liked ‘Sarah’ by Thin Lizzy. For a while I felt that I had to keep these things to myself but as I’ve got a little older I don’t feel the need to pretend to be something I’m not.
In the context of Lifelists, I wondered momentarily if we should be creating a list category for embarrassing songs? Should we be separating the music we’re proud to say we like and music we know we shouldn’t like, but do anyway? I’ve decided against it. If Lifelisters want to separate their “embarrassing” tracks, then they can create a new list under the category of music and call it “guilty pleasures”.
I’ve started to create 70’s, 80’s lists for myself under the music category and I’m going to proudly add the tracks I love, embarrassing or not. I’ve done this because there’s some music that doesn’t make it onto my all-time list, maybe I don’t listen to it anymore, but there was a time in my life when it was important to me. There can be many reasons why we like a piece of music; sometimes we like a track because when we hear it, we’re taken back to an experience, people or a time or place in our lives that we like to remember. The same applies to books, films, everything really.
I’m inclined to agree with some of the people who commented on the BBC story; cool/uncool seems to be quite an old fashioned concept in 2006 (or maybe I’m too old to care). Look at John Peel, he is admired because he knew what he liked and didn’t care what anyone thought.
Isn’t the coolest thing to just trust our own ears (in fact, all of our senses), not be afraid, and list the things that make us who we are. We should be proud to celebrate the things that have brought us joy for whatever reason. This is the essence of the Lifelists concept.

What do you think? should we be listing our Guilty Pleasures separately or are they just a part of us along with all the other stuff?