A happy new year
My regular readers will have observed that I did not write a Christmas letter this year, this was due to lack of time and lack of energy. I am now unable to leave the house without someone taking over my duties, and as there are so few someones, I am now having to exercise by walking up and down the hall to keep my legs in shape. I have discovered that it has not affected me psychologically, but I believe that in time it could. The local Trust are kind enough to supply me, as I have mentioned before, with a sitter, to allow me to do the essential shopping. So when I wish you a happy New Year, I’m looking for one for myself, and my Sophie.

For those who have never heard the phrase, Out-takes is TV-speak for those bits of film shots as part of sitcom or a play, where somebody has had the fit of the giggles, because someone else has boobed. The entertainment world is so insular, and so introspective, that while it thinks these errors are amusing and worth cobbling together to make a cheap programme, some of us, and I suspect a high proportion of us, find them just boring, yet over Christmas offer them as entertainment to fill up the schedule. They must be aware that we are voting with our remote controls, but it suits them to ignore the fact.

Mass murder, mass manslaughter
In my current domestic condition I am forced to look at television as an alternative to reading in the evenings, with the result I have mentioned before, that I have been looking at what are mostly American films where cars in vast numbers crash up, hundreds of bullets are fired, ordinary pedestrians mangled by cars mounting a footpath, and dead people are everywhere, in the search for an acceptable medium of entertainment. It is impossible to take these films seriously, because we are adults, and if we don’t like it we switch off, and if we do like it, I think there is something wrong with having a selection of what purports to be a serious subject, that has little or no commendable reason for its being, as it is neither a fairytale, or one of these outer space stories where anything goes. My serious worry is that this crap is being watched by young, impressionable children, without any guidance really, if the behaviour of children today is anything to go by. We learn by touch, sight and sound, and I believe that it is not a coincidence that so many children, indeed any children, could be walking into a school with a Kalashnikov and shooting down teachers and fellow students, without having witnessed it in some form before.

The Magic Roundabout
When my daughters were growing up, we, Sophie and I, would sit with them and their friends in the early evenings watching the Magic Roundabout. It was innovative, highly amusing and even the adults couldn’t wait for the next episode. I was appalled over the Christmas period to see the new version of the Magic roundabout which had all the elements of bad taste, ugly drawings, and an inner thrust of mayhem and aggression, which were the things that the original Roundabout had avoided.

It seems to me that today aggression, hurt and injury, death and destruction is being used as a substitute for a good story which can be even more entertaining, equally exciting, but making more sense in a logical manner to our everyday condition, and occasionally and subtly, pointing up the pointlessness of aggression. The change that has taken place since my childhood more than 80 years ago, in the rise and fall pattern in quality and taste, has been partly due to the arrival of the radio, television, until you reach the heights of incredible quality, but with the advent of the computer which permits people to rapidly illustrate anything they choose, at much less cost, the quality and a lot of what is put out, especially in advertisements, is on the downgrade. You only had to look at the adverts over Christmas, which was almost impossible to avoid, where people screamed at you, and noise was the dominating factor rather than quality. I rest my case.

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