Living Your Own History

I have given up pretending to be other people; I have commenced pretending to be myself. Whether I will be more successful at it remains to be seen, but I know one thing – the clothing bill will be considerably lighter.

Do I have enough life accrued to have a history? And is it notable enough to be worthy of re-enactment? I’m not Dwight Eisenhower or Jim Carrey…so I don’t know whether anyone else will want to see me playing me. But I will still pursue the idea for my own purposes.

What was I? A little kid, then a teenager, than a young man, than a middle-aged man, and now an oldish sort of man. I have never climbed a new mountain, nor discovered a new cure for anything. Equally, I have never murdered people nor stolen money from them. Just an average Joe.

But an average Joe who had a great good time doing several things; taking photographs, reading books, and building scale models. If I re-enact what I did then I will not please or harm anyone else, but I can still please and harm myself…hopefully in equal portions.

This column, and the others I write, are part of the re-enactment I do of success in school. That petered out early, but these WordPress posts are going along nicely.

The Little Studio continues to take dance pictures as well as commercial illustration to the satisfaction of the customers.

The Little Workshop is spooling up to produce more and more scale models that please and delight me. And keep me agile of mind and hand. The activity is totally beneficial.

I may decline to wear the clothing of my childhood – the Howdy Doody vest is a difficult garment to integrate into normal day wear – but I’ve noticed recently that I can rock the flannel shirt and work trousers…and as a retired man I can wear them in more places than you’d think. The white moustache and flat cap help as well.

Fine Dining

The art of fine dining can be explained simply:

A. Eat something that is good for you.

B. Eat something that tastes delicious.

B. Eat enough of it – and at the right time of day.

D. Eat it in clean surroundings.

E. Eat it with family or friends.

F. Eat something that you can afford to pay for.

If you need to make yourself feel superior to others, call it ” fine dining ” instead of just ” eating ” and if you really need an ego boost pretend to be a paid reviewer and bag it unmercifully on Trip Advisor. You may not be qualified yet to award Michelin stars but you can  put on a spare tyre trying for it…

Note: getting a free meal can equal three of the above criteria.

May Contain…

The following post may contain sex scenes, nudity, violence, drug use, coarse language and reference to people who are dead.

Or not.

I live a life that does not contain much of the above, because I am careful to avoid it. Just as I am careful to avoid soggy egg sandwiches in a service station cabinet, or people with tinfoil helmets on their heads, or families who have the Protocols of Zion embroidered on a sampler in the hallway. I am not stupid. I can recognise trouble before it recognises me, and I am not at all hesitant to light out for the hills.

So why would I watch a television drama that warns me beforehand that just such hazards await me? Why would I consider the lives portrayed on the television screen to be valid models for me? What goodness can they possibly offer that will offset the vile stuff? I am starting to think that it is time to pull the plug and put the telly out on the verge for the council to collect.

T’was not always thus. I loved telly in the 1950’s and 1960’s when our family landed up somewhere that had regular reception. I knew all the game shows, comedians, and serials. As none of them swore, flashed their minges at me, or showed me how to beat up my grandmother efficiently, I was perfectly happy. I even sat through the advertisements in a golden glow. I will admit to a little screen-driven consumerism but it generally peaked at breakfast cereal with plastic frogmen inside.

Australian television was always cruder, weirder, and more touching than the US or Canadian stuff. It had none of the sophistication of British telly. But it did have the local scenery sometimes and it also had access to unknown video fodder from Japan at a time when nothing foreign was seen elsewhere. I am glad I saw it before it changed to colour, and I am also glad that I have seen enough of it now that it has.

The simple act of passing swiftly by it without a second glance is guaranteed to give you at least 4 hours more of hobby, reading, drinking, or sex time in the day. If you are really efficient you can combine all the activities at the same time. Oh, you may have to clean up stray paint spills or untangle your partner from the ceiling fan, but this is small beans compared to the extra time you gain. And the wonderful thing is that you never have to worry who gets killed off in a series – they can all go take their unemployment cheques for all you need care. There are no spoilers.

How about the art telly, I hear you say? The European films? Well, I have seen Spaniards having existential angst and Frenchmen sitting around a dinner table smoking a number of times and that pretty much does it for me. Any further repeats would just spoil the initial low impression. Likewise Chinese dating shows, international football, and Canadian films that have a soundtrack done by Larry Adler.

Personal Goals…And Most of them Are Offside…


I have decided to bear my sole. A couple of hours stitching claws onto the shoes and it should be complete. The footprints in the sand at the local park should make for some memorable police reports…

On another note, I am commenced upon a process of reform. Once I have arranged my life in perfect order I shall be doing the same for others. As with all revolutions, it will be necessary to have secret meetings, cells of conspirators, and passwords. No, actually, scrub that last idea – I cannot even order apps because I cannot remember my Apple password. Adding more will just lead to further chaos. When I want the door to the plotter’s secret lair opened I will just shout out ” Open the @@#*!! door. “.

Okay, to start with, I need to list my life goals:

a. Become a hazard to shipping in the Channel.

b. Go deer hunting with the Dalai Lama.

c. Eat my weight in chili.

d. Invent a word that eventually gets banned from the New Oxford Dictionary after a personal protest from Gordon Ramsay.

e. Bring back steam trains. Between continents.

f. Introduce a new invisible component to food – one that is so exclusive that only rich people can afford to become intolerant to it.

g. Live in the 18th century for a year.

As you can tell, I am ambitious, but not impossibly so. I realise that revitalising steam trains will be a big-money quest and I am not nearly scientific enough to actually invent a new food chemical. But I am resourceful enough to invent the fear of it, and that may be all that is needed to create a culinary reign of terror. What I have to do is pick a mild disease and attach the food to it and let the publicity machine do the rest.

Now with the Dalai Lama, as soon as I get him to admit that there is a better cartridge than a 45-70-500 we will start to make some progress. He’s a cheerful sort, but set in his ways. Not everyone wants to shoot buffalo rifles.

As  far as the 18th century goes, this would be perfectly fine in many northern countries that had architecture, science, literature, arts, and conversation in the 1700’s. Australia had only the convict settlements and the brutality of  a frightened colonial rule. Not a great deal of fun re-living it. I should remove myself to rural England, France, or North America and take a small cottage in an area that had no electricity  – the Amish country would probably be suitable. A housekeeper and day servants would be all the  help needed and the diet, habits, and daily routine could be adjusted to the period. I should have no books or prints newer than 1799, and no music but what might be made by live musicians. Ah, but what might be written in pen on paper…and painted on canvas…

Note – I should choose a country cottage with scheme water and an WC. I am not a fan of 18th century disease.

Sex, Politics, And Religion



I have a small account with the Facebook organisation which enables me to read the thoughts of 147 people, should they wish to express them. This is not a large number of acquaintances in the cyber-world – I have encountered someone who seems to have 5000 connections on the computer. I would be unable to name 5000 people in the world, draw as I might upon family or friends or general history. I wonder that they can.

I also wonder at the behaviour of some of the people who have made it onto the list. Leaving aside the ones who post rumour – and I have been guilty of that before I realised how corrupt internet sources can be – there are a number of them who seem to transcend the rules of etiquette on an industrial scale.

I was always taught to avoid the topics of sex, politics, and religion at a social gathering. Be it cocktail party or family dinner, there was no sense in introducing this sort of divisiveness to a group of people who were meant to get along nicely. It spoilt the party and poisoned future invitations.

In the heat of youth I said things in company that I groan at now – and I am glad that I groan. I do not say them again. But I note that there are a number of Facebook correspondents who have no such scruples. I struggle to endure it.

The awkward apart is they are generally pleasant people – in some cases quite nice over a dinner table or at a dance show. Cutting them dead would be an over-reaction and I have hesitated to do so, even though mechanisms exist for this. I have put a couple in “time-out” where I cannot see their latest rant…only to be presented with a new version once the time had expired. To be fair, I realise that these are people who may be deeply sad and have little other outlet for communication – but it eventually gets to be irksome.

I do not intend to vote for the candidate of their choice, nor change my religion to suit their opinion. I feel uncomfortable knowing what their sex life entails and I dread them showing pictures and videos of it. I should welcome talk of the weather or of the latest motion picture. If they have a hobby that can be admitted to, I would be prepared to be lectured on that. Hobbies generally show people at their best, but you have to just glimpse them – don’t stare.

Cocktails anyone?