“You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone” (Joni Mitchell) by Trevor Plumbly

“There ain’t half been some clever bastards” (Ian Dury) I listened to a British talk show recently and, like NZ and Oz, they’ve got loads of folk waffling about the mundane things of life. The target for these media crusaders (let’s call them ‘progressives’) was language; this particular bunch decided, after some deliberation, that certain descriptive terms are no longer acceptable. They focussed on name-calling: describing someone as ‘skinny’, ‘tubby’ and the like is ‘body shaming’ and must now be considered emotionally damaging. I was shocked by the attack on British schoolboy… Read More

Song of songs by Trevor Plumbly

Musical lessons I’m sick to death of American politics. I want to write about something more uplifting than the daily doings of Biden, Trump and Co. What about music? Like most folk, I don’t have a tuneful voice; British education tried to correct that by holding ‘music’ periods in infant schools. Ours involved a rail thin Miss Folster thumping away at a piano in an effort to nurture a gang of misfits into choral harmony. It was a brave effort on her part, but doomed to failure, largely due to the song… Read More

Balancing acts by Trevor Plumbly

They don’t use balance scales anymore. It’s a shame really; we could learn a lot from the basic principle of equal weight. Unlike pre-packaging, the old scales and weights used to be part and parcel of everyday shopping, representing trust and fairness. Personal costing was an important part of the process, almost ceremonial: for the retailer the accuracy of his scales was the pivot between profit and loss, for the customer they were the dividing line between need and costs. The act of weighing provided a mutual bridge; old fashioned though it… Read More

Beatniks, bombs and bollocks by Trevor Plumbly

Peace and love In the 60s, the British public weren’t ready for hippies. We had long hair, moustaches that struggled to impress and a creative scruffiness guaranteed to make mothers cringe. We were the new aliens; others tore themselves to pieces chasing the dictated norm, but we dwelt on a higher plane. We knew full well where the ills of the world lay, but didn’t achieve much in the way of curing them. We marched, of course, clutching signs saying, “Ban The Bomb!”, or the more creative, “Fighting For Peace Is Like… Read More

Passing Thoughts by Trevor Plumbly

And the trumpets sounded on the other side The art of shuffling off has lost a bit of glitz in recent times and I reckon we’re all poorer for it. Years ago, there was a bit of glory involved; there wasn’t much of a future in it even then, but it seemed more interesting. Domestically, it was mainly plunging daggers; overseas, knights rode into battle, yelling inspirational stuff like, ‘Once more unto the breach dear friends, once more!’ as an open invitation to get done in, which apparently lots accepted. Leaders had… Read More