One thought from me is that it's obvious that globalisation, overall, has led to a significant increase in the standard of living of many, many people in the developing world. Which I think is a good thing. But I don't live in an area of the UK or the US where there are fewer and fewer well paid jobs, less and less job security and where wages, for those in work, are stagnant. (Actually, my wages are stagnant (or worse, due to as a result of the pay freeze, inflation, tax and National Insurance changes, reductions in bonuses and increases in pension contributions) since I'm a Civil Servant. But there are at least stagnant at a level which is generous compared to the 'average' person)
I don't understand my wife. Really, I don't. She's bought a new washing-up brush ("Ultra grip jumbo brush" by Addis (since 1780)) but the old brush still has plenty of bristles on it. I reckon there's at least a decade of wear left in it.
(As a result of this post I've discovered that Addis is a local firm.
Our time begins in 1780 when William Addis founded the company.
William Addis was the inventor of the toothbrush and he developed the
first prototype from bone and horsehair for his personal use.
Realising the commercial potential of this everyday item production soon began in premises at Whitechapel, east London.
In 1796 production moved to larger premises and staff increased to meet demand with rent costing £34 per year. As a result in 1840 ADDIS moves to larger premises in Radnor Street, Hoxton.
Damien Hirst said of Lucian Freud (I paraphrase), with reference to Francis Bacon, that while Freud was by far the superior painter (in a technical sense) Bacon was in every way a better artist.
I'm not going to compare Neil Young to any other technically superior guitarist (of which there are many) but listening to 'Cowgirl in the sand' made me think of Hirst's view on Freud and Bacon. Young can clearly, at this point is his career, barely play the thing. The technical is horribly clumsy. I sounds like a man with stubby fingers desperately willing his fingers to move quicker. And Young doesn't care. The solos in Cowgirl are driven with such energy and vigour that that sound, and the music, is overwhelmingly powerful.
So, "Everybody knows this is nowhere" is highly recommended. Perhaps not up there with "After the goldrush" and "Harvest" but even so...
Also, presumably everyone has seen Prince go bonkers during a rendition of "While my guitar gently weeps" at his induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but for anyone who hasn't, it is essential viewing (and obviously listening) for anyone, who (like me) saw Prince primarily as a singer/songwriter/producer/madman and not particularly as a guitarist. And anyone else. It's totally insane.
I have spent the last 2 days training. Oddly enough, I have spent the last two days doing useful training. This is quite a novel sensation. I've picked up quite a lot of technical facts in my current role (a deeper understanding of the performance and potential adverse consequences of various types of insulation, for example) and Kate has been doing her best to drum in some basic understanding of humans and the way they relate to one another in society (this is part of an ongoing project she's been working on for the last couple of decades - I haven't seen the Gantt chart but apparently we are some way behind schedule) but I can't remember the last time I was in a formal learning situation where I learned this much. Probably when I was an undergraduate. Before I started skipping lectures. I have a better attention span now.
Anyway, I'm not going to talk about what I learned since this isn't a blog for middle managers. But I had been getting very run down at work. Stuck in a rut. Flat. Hopefully getting out of the office, learning some new tools (mainly old tools I've forgotten about) and just getting a different perspective will help enliven me.
It's a mournful day. I feel all 365.25*40 of my days today. They weigh heavily on my shoulders. I'm sitting here, while Jonathan laughs and bounces about the living room, and thinking why this should be the case.
Life is, in many ways, a series of symbols. Like %. % is a symbol. So perhaps I feel this way because of the symbolic nature of birthdays. Something, something ineffable, has passed. It's not %. % isn't ineffable. Nor is >. Or £. Or ¥. No. It's something more than that. Youth has fled. And taken my sandwiches with it.
Then again, perhaps I shouldn't get hung up on symbols. Perhaps there are more effable reasons to feel this way. We live in times. More than that, we live in times. Even TIMES. Maybe. Maybe we live in times. Maybe that's what is bringing me down.
Isis. El Niño. A new financial crash. A failure of the Western liberal democratic model to bring prosperity and stability to North Africa and, by extension, the rest of the world. Unrest in Venezuela. Unrest in Islington. Islington itself. TIMES.
It all adds up to stuff. Can I really expect my sons to grow up? Particularly with Islington literally on the border of our Parish?
So I'm sitting and thinking. Feeling it all. Wondering what the cause of all my unhappiness, and weariness and generally [not-feeling-great]iness is. Sitting here. 40 years old.
On balance, however, I'm not convinced that it is about symbols, or the state of the world, or the futility of the future. Instead I'm going to pin it on the significant volumes of beer I drank last night.
So, there are two ways you can approach this thing. Confront the misery and pointlessness of existence head-on, or slather the year in so much walnut-whip the one can barely taste the horror beneath. Shall we go with the sunny-side-up approach? Why not?
(Fergus is helping me write this. Thus far all I've got from him is, literally, "Blah blah blah blah blah")
2015 started with New Year. No one was killed in a terrorist attack. Or at least no one we know. This was the recurring theme of the year, for family Davey.
(Fergus would like to point out to you that he resents the time I am taking to write this and would much prefer to spend the time playing the Doctor Who game on the CBBC website)
It's difficult to pinpoint an artistic highlight of the year. In 2014 both Fergus and Jonathan were shocked and appalled by Jonathan Jones' outspoken attack on, well pretty much everything. They both plainly felt he should cut the crap and say what he really thought. But with no particular artistic windmills to tilt at last year, Mr Werewolf (well worth a look) come in second place to the Hoxton Garden natvity production, 'The whoopsy-daisy angels', which was both uplifting and uplifting. Barely a dry eye etc.
(Fergus proud to point out he had lead part as one of the whoopsy-daisy angels)
Following in the footsteps of Bertie Wooster we took the boys to Cannes. They were largely unimpressed. "Trite, provincial and above all, French", was Jonathan's analysis. I find this a little shocking given what we paid for the plane tickets, and the fact that he was addressing his comments directly to the Mayor, but what can you do? He's such a precocious little chap.
Other travels were pretty successful. We got very wet once we'd actually located the accommodation at Acton Scott farm. Fergus and Jonathan didn't care in the slightest as they got to hang out with Little Robin, Adam, Russell, Zoe, Frances etc. I then, somehow, managed to run DougStock III in Ironbridge in a reasonably successful way. It appears that 29 adults and 17 children were successfully billeted and none of them died. Many thanks to those who assisted in the noble endeavour. They don't know who they are.
I walked 30 miles in a day. If you think that is stupid, Colin, Abi and Robin walked about 150 miles in 5 days.
(Fergus has just noticed that a new box of 'Rice Krispies' has arrived and is eagerly crunching into it, but given that this is occurring in 2016 I'll keep it back for next year)
I didn't tweet a single thing in 2015. Which makes the world a slightly better place I feel. In general I kept my output of abusive, anonymous, misanthropic internet comments to a minimum this year, and thus met (more or less) my New Years resolution.
It rained a lot. You may have noticed.
One significant occurrence was the decision to swap household insurance provider. We'd been happy with the service paid by Bradford and Bingley over the two years we'd been in the house (which, to be fair, entailed us giving them money and asking nothing from them in return, as we'd neither been burgled nor the victims of arson) but sometimes it comes to the point where it's best, for all parties, to make a change. Will update you all in a year's time to let you know how it's going.
(Fergus left in disgust at this point)
There was some significant progress in my ability to pass myself off as generally competent, as well. We got a shed. WE GOT A SHED. I've even added some shelves to it and the haven't fallen off yet. And a bit of board where all the tools hang from hooks and you draw an outline round them to remind yourself which tool hangs from which hook (Nb. Don't do this using spray gun tools make excellent stencils but you have then painted tools bright pink. On one side). I also replaced the broken door of a washing machine, which I think basically means I've qualified as a plumber.
Coincidentally all four of us had birthdays in 2015. This year we gave the boys presents, which they enjoyed. Or at least had the good grace to pretend to enjoy.
Absolutely nothing of significance happened at work, but Kate went to Paris in December and returned with a global deal to tackle climate change, properly. So one of us has something to brag about. When I stand before the Pearly Gates I wonder if I can use the fact that I helped her with her packing for the trip as leverage?
Brunch was cancelled.
So there you go. A fairly swift, quick, whistle-stop, detailed, roller-coaster, insightful, lively and above all tawdry run through our year. And all in 140 characters.
Enjoy 2016 and above all don't get killed by some pathetic medieval religious nutter with a crap job and no girlfriend.