Week 42 – TBT 2017 – Transmission

There’s been a lot written recently to raise awareness of mental health issues.  Earlier this year I posted a couple of these TBT articles because rock stars had taken their own lives due to poor mental health, and I thought I’d include this track featuring Ian Curtis, the late singer of Joy Divison, who committed suicide at the age of 23. After he died, the band carried on with new members and a new name – New Order.

This song came to my attention a few years back when SLF covered it at a gig as one of their encores. I enjoyed it so much I rushed home to listen to this original, and loved it. Any time I hear this song, and Joy Division in general, I think about Ian Curtis, gone too soon. 

Joy Division – Transmission


Week 41 – TBT 2017 – Son of Virginia 

I’ve mentioned before that I often listen to podcasts when travelling, and this track has been used on one of my favourite series for a few months now.  The series is called The Social Engineer Podcast and never ceases to be fascinating. They have some really interesting guests talking about a range of aspects around social engineering and psychology, and a while back even had the lead singer of this band on. Oddly enough, there were connections to be made between singing to a crowd and social engineering, and it was an engaging talk. Check out the podcasts, recommended reading and more here

The band are called Clutch, and from what I can tell have been going for quite a few years. I like the fact that this sounds like it’s quite laid back till you actually listen to the lyrics. Maybe it’s because the riff is repeated so often, but I’ve found it very catchy and draws you in. I hope you like it!
Son of Virginia – Clutch

Week 40 – TBT 2017 – Justified and Ancient

Try finding this on Spotify or iTunes and I doubt you’ll be able to get the original. But for some reason it’s all over YouTube, which is just as well for us! 

As a regular ice cream eater, I thought it would be fun to include a song that has “ice cream van” in the lyrics in my TBT series. The song itself is relatively simple, but has a great riff, and Tammy Wynette’s voice goes perfectly with it.  Chill out and enjoy the Kings of the Low Frequency – KLF – who also appeared as The Timelords singing Doctorin the Tardis…

Justified and Ancient – KLF

Week 39 – TBT 2017 – Let’s stay together

This one is just for Dee. It’s “our song”, and I love her very much. 

I guess Ive been a bit of a blues and soul mood recently, and this song just oozes quality. Such wonderful lyrics and so well sung. And the lyrics are just how I feel about Dee. It’s awesome, just like my lady, 

Al Green – Let’s stay together

Week 38 – TBT 2017 – Boom Boom

How are you doing this week? Still on a high from listening to Aretha last week? Let’s keep the flying going with this track, also seen in The Blues Brothers. John Lee Hooker gives a great performance here, and the crowd help illustrate the passion and joy in the music. 

This song appears to be all about a youngster who is having problems at home because all he wants to do is play music. His parents finally relent and the youngster is elated. The structure of the song is very simple, as most blues is, but from that simplicity it draws great power. 

Oh, and it helps that I think that John Lee Hooker has a great voice, perfectly suited to his songs. 

John Lee Hooker – Boom Boom


Sober for October

I’m fundraising again, this time for Macmillan Cancer Support. My challenge is to get through the 31 days of October without having any alcohol, and I’m very confident I can do it. Last year I managed 31 days without caffeine which I think was much harder. 

I know that a lot of people are doing a lot of fundraising, but I hope you can find a couple of pounds to spare to sponsor me too. Just go to https://www.gosober.org.uk/users/steve-mair and give a little, please. 

Thank you in advance, you’re helping change the world. 

Shame on who?

Earlier this week I finished reading Jon Ronson’s book, So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed. It was a really fascinating read, which traced public shaming back a couple of centuries to the use of floggings and pillories, then quickly brought it right up to date with a number of cases, some of which I’d heard of and some I hadn’t.

I’ve not exeperienced anything like the “sport” which some people seem to enjoy, but I have been on the receiving end of some unpleasant comments / posts online recently. Nothing that’s upset me and certainly nothing that would be called shaming, but there was an amount of personal invective involved.

Dee and I have both had reason to ask people recently why they are being so nasty, so unkind, or to ask for evidence to back up statements they’ve made – some of which have been quite appalling.  We’ve had a lot of unpleasantness directed at us as a result. We’ve also started reporting racist, bigoted, homophobic and other abusive comments / behaviour to the organisations that run the sites where we’ve seen comments, because we’ve decided that standing by and doing nothing is no longer an option.

The press here in the UK seem to have developed a version of this over the last 20 years or so, where they build someone up and up, saying how great they are, then seem to take delight in tearing them to bits in a matter of hours and days.  In my opinion it’s part of the same problem.

The point I was going to make, and which Ronson makes very well, is that the internet affords a certain amount of anonymity and freedom for most people, and it seems that more and more are using it to collude with each other – not necessarily overtly, but tacitly, by joining in – to “have a go” at some unfortunate individual. Even those who try to question the facts or in some way protect the victim often find themselves the target of these trolls.

It seems to me that this is all a disturbing trend. It’s bullying, plain and simple, yet I’m willing to bet that the majority of people who join in would never think of themselves as bullies. It’s also apparent that a lot of people are unwilling / unable to admit when their words or actions are not appropriate, and abrogate their responsibilities as a person. It seems that they would much rather turn their wrath on you than to say “Actually, you have a point, my behaviour was out of order. I’m sorry.” Don’t get mad, get even seems to be the order of the day, but it’s really unhelpful.

My question for you is, what action do you take if you see an online “attack” on an individual?  Do you ignore it (which means you tacitly approve of it), do you join in (which means you actually approve of it) or do you tackle it? In my opinion, only by doing the third option can we make the world a better place, once person at a time.

And a second question: how do you react if someone calls you out on your behaviour? Are you kind? Are you honest? Are you helpful?  Do you hold your hands up and apologise, or do you go on the attack?

The guy that speaks his mind

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