10.02.08,Raandom Thoughts. A heinous racket!

A heinous racket! Whether this is common or merely in one hospital in Northern Ireland, I am unable to say as I have not researched it, but heinous it certainly is. A young woman, heavily pregnant and with a serious lung complaint had been sent to the hospital for attention. She entered the car parking area drove round for half an hour not finding anywhere to park and in desperation parked in the empty area for handicapped drivers. She then rushed to the hospital. When she came out she found her car clamped, any explanation fell on deaf ears and she was fined 50 or £60. But it is evident this is a racket, because it also is not the first instance. Let us examine the sequence. The car was allowed to enter the parking spaces, while there were a number of empty spaces for the handicapped, there was none for those who hadn’t a blue badge. To get out of the parking lot one required to take one’s parking ticket into the hospital and pay for parking at that point. So she would have had to leave her car somewhere to go and pay for a ticket to get out. If the disabled parking spaces had not been included in the overall parking facility, then the barrier would not have allowed her in, so the fault lay with the parking organisation. The fact that it had happened more than once was a clear indication that one must assume those in real authority, were never informed by the man collecting the £60. It is unlikely that he ever passed that £60 on to his employer, otherwise this farce could not have been repeated.

Censorship. Away back in the dark ages I used to think that the censorship of films and radio programmes was carried to ludicrous extremes. Today I believe there is a strong case for some form of uniformity in the standards of entertainment. Before I go further let me remind you that I spent nearly 5 years on the lower deck of the Royal Navy, and worked in one of the toughest industries, heavy engineering, and so I’m not highly sensitive to crude comment and bad language to the extent that swear words are inserted between syllables in a word. Some years ago there was a film called Shaft, presenting the exploits of an Afro American detective. The one thing it did not contain was racism. Yesterday on TV was a programme entitled Shaft, in which a very unpleasant excessively rich young man, to the amusement of his excessively rich friends, did his best to annoy an Afro American who had come into the bar. This ultimately resulted in the Afro-American being beaten up and killed, and the young man having his nose broken, gratuitously, by an Afro American policeman. From that point on the steady flow of bad language, and arrant racism would probably have shocked some of my naval colleagues, and the actual violence was not only excessive from every angle, the outcome of the actions was impossible. For example at the request of an Afro American young woman, whose child was being bullied by the head of an Afro-American gang, the same policeman pistol whipped the boy who was the head of the gang, across the mouth with such force that it would have broken his jaw at the first attempt, but he did this four times and the boy was still able to speak. I believe this level of filthy language, racism and excessive violence is becoming a standard feature in films coming out of America, and they appear to be vying, one with another, to be more disgusting and more violent. I’m no prude, but it is time, in view of the violence in our schools on our streets, that it is not portrayed as the norm.

Music and especially Jazz. I was brought up in the 30s with a gramophone having a huge bell speaker playing classical music, and the latest hits. Always I have collected music, from opera to bop, classics to syncopation. My daughter encouraged me to listen to music on Sky TV, but I found it impossible to find any station playing music that had a melody. Jazz, people like Art Tatum and Charlie Parker have always been beyond me, because I like a melody, at least in the opening bars, what they do with it after that I find interesting, but don’t always understand. I have really never understood opera, I love the arias and those choral sections, but what is sung in between in a foreign language I’m afraid, leaves me cold. So I do not understand some of the frenetic, and totally un-melodic, alleged music, which is so prevalent, and apparently so repetitive today. Some is wonderful, and well worth listening to, but it is the majority that I’m complaining about. Rap is an alien, Afro-American culture, which I cannot appreciate as an art form. The first two or three when I heard it I thought were clever, but no longer. Big band sounds, constructive jazz, and country and western, all have their place, will live forever, along with the classics, even becoming classics, but I believe the sell by date of some of what is produced today is the day after it was produced. It is an assembly line of the get rich quick, at the expense of the lives of those young people who believe they have a future in music, but are quickly dumped, when another young ingenue comes along.

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