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A Million Different People from One Day to the Next

Cos it’s a bitter sweet symphony that’s life. Trying make ends meet you’re a slave to money until you die”

I may be asked to write a feature for The Observer this week, so while others use their public holiday to cut the grass, I’m blowing smoke rings and fighting the usual battle with the inspiration fairy, while my wife cuts the grass.

This is of course Monday but it’s not a real Monday. It’s the kind of Monday that most of us would quite happily accept for the rest of our lives but which we only get three times a year, which does seem a little unfair.

When I left school, just as the Vietnam War was finishing my teachers told me that I should find a job in the recreation and leisure industry, because everyone was anticipating a future where we only worked three days a week, if that.

Computers you see, they were going to lead us towards a life of leisure in a world not too far distant from Fritz Lang’s movie Metropolis.

It didn’t quite work out that way did it? Computers gave us the ‘just in time’ society, which is a polite way of saying that they finished the work of the industrial revolution and robbed us of any time we had left to be human. The factory whistle, which once reminded the newly-arrived workforce in the ‘satanic mills’ of the 19th century that time was their master and not a space to be filled by the seasons has, in the 21st century, given way to the polite but insistent tone of email arriving in one’s inbox.

Best finish my cigar and listen to ‘Bitter Sweet Symphony’ by the Verve all over again.


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It’s pitch blackness in places along the sea wall this evening and I'm momentarily startled by a small dog with orange flashing yuletide antlers along the way. I’m the only person crazy enough to be running and I know the route well enough to negotiate it in the dark, part of my Christmas exercise regime and a good way of relieving stress.

Why stress you might ask. After all, it is Christmas Day.

True but I’ve just spent over two hours assembling the giant Playmobil ‘Pony Farm’ set when most other fathers should be asleep in front of the television.

I was warned that the Playmobil ‘Pirate Ship’ had driven some fathers to drink or suicide and now I understand why. If your eyesight isn’t perfect or if you’ve had a few drinks with your Christmas lunch then it’s a challenge best left until Boxing day but not an option if you happen to have a nine year old daughter who wants it ready to take horses by tea time.

Perhaps I should stick to technology but then, the instruc…