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Hippy New Year? January 6, 2014

Posted by markswill in About me, Navel Gazing, Politics, Schmolitics.

I stopped making New Year resolutions a long time ago. They always got broken, usually within days. But the early January habit of wondering what the ensuing 12 months might bring persists and, I suspect, for many of you too.

As we continue to suffer the ill- and sometimes disasterous effects of global warming – the river at the bottom of my street has burst its banks – 2014 may be the year that the government gets serious about climate change, although as the waters rose and seas defences were breached around our fragile isle the news that some 1500 jobs are going in the DoE including, “hundreds” in the flood defences department, wasn’t exactly confidence-inspiring.

I’d also like to think that our coalition government may force Brussels to capitulate to our need to free ourselves from some of the more ridiculous and debilitating legislation its unelected bureaucrats oblige us to enact: I’m thinking immigration controls (we live on a small, already crowded, socio-economically divided island), mad health and safety rules and bankrupt carbon trading. But again, the political bombast may well be strident and repetitive, but the reality might be something else. Hello Ukip?

The slow groundswell of anger at the excesses of unfettered capitalism that obliged us to bail-out a busted banking system post-2008 and continues to award fat cats obscene, tax-free rewards for exploiting the vulnerable – I’m thinking the privatised utilities, railways and health services – may also bear fruit especially if, as I suspect, the housing price bubble bursts and throws the financial sector into hock to the poor taxpayer yet again. (There are even mutterings about re-nationalising the railways which, having spent the best part of Saturday traveling less than 250 miles at ruinous cost on three trains all of which ran woefully late, is a notion I’m warming to). And as long as the government rails (sic) emptily against the parlous fiscal legacies of the last Labour government whilst viciously cutting public services, simultaneously ramping up the national debt and championing white elephants like HS-2 there is some chance of this happening.

However offset against these perhaps encouraging symptoms of imminent change, one reluctantly realises that fewer and fewer people can be arsed to vote, especially the young who register whatever dissatisfactions they might have with the status quo via Twatter, FarceBerk and Instagrumble, none of whom have much effect of our so-called policymakers who are too frit of these and other digital giants to pay much heed to their users, much less tax their profits. This very weekend Head Boy Cameron offered an obvious, if desperate vote-winning sop to the one group who do still vote in large numbers, namely the oldsters, guaranteeing them that pensions would rise with inflation for the foreseeable future. But no political party has yet come up with a way to restore, nay instill faith in our political system amongst 18-40 year-olds and get them voting in droves. Ending Punch’n’Judy grandstanding, policymaking on the hoof, empty rhetoric and rampant corruption might be a start, but our public servant/masters, most of whom have never lived or worked outside of politics, still just don’t seem to get it.

But I end this bout of crystal ball-gazing with the hope that for anyone reading this semantic swill the year will at least bring some degree of personal satisfaction and comfort, and that the death-rate amongst friends and peers diminishes a little – too many went AWOL in 2013. After decades of commitment-phobia and recent-ish romantic misadventures – not necessarily one and the same thing – somewhat to my own surprise I recently got married, so I know things can get better if risks are taken.

So at risk of sounding like an old hippy, why not take some yourself in 2014?

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1. Panomphaean - January 6, 2014

Congratulations Mark. As regards politicians being out of touch, don’t forget the likes of Tamara Ecclestone also. Over 30 Grand on Champers. I hope you didn’t spend that much on your celebrations! http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/dec/25/brainwashed-cult-super-rich

2. rik - January 6, 2014

thank god you got married so at least there is something good to reflect on!

markswill - January 7, 2014

Ask me in a year’s time, Rik ! But you’re probably right… and I always have my electric stunt motorcycle and giant jigsaw to keep me occupied if not…

3. Steve Kane - January 6, 2014

Congratulations Mark – its been a quarter century for me now – and surprisingly there are still distinct signs of improvement on a sound base. For a year I have waited for you to say something that I could not hear down any rural pub, you have served as a substitute for being in that British pub, but the beer’s no good, and I hear the kind of original and startling ideas and tales that I used to come to you for – on that very facebook that you are careful to despise, so I am signing out, now that I can see you have a chance of passing the rest of your days in good hands. That was certainly not always true for either of us.
I’m not “unfriending” you, you’ll always be that, many of my friends are really seriously tedious, whether their opinions are the same as you or opposite, few startle, I have to hunt down the startling. At least you do not go on about Chemtrails, so I’ll get out before you do. I’ll be in London on April 11th, they want me at the South Bank'(on the way to see my third grandchild) – to their surprise I and the really old skateboarders say – “take the money you fools – it’s a tip.” God how I hate the heritage business, especially when it comes to shrines, saints and heroes. Now engineering and “beauty” – that’s another thing. I’m on stevemkane@gmail.com – I’m sure you’re more diverting in the round.
Take care of your heart.

4. Paul Blezard - January 6, 2014

Congratulations Mark. That is without doubt the most surprising blog so far, simply because of that amazing ‘sting in the tail’ revelation about your nuptials. I’m intrigued to know whether it was a low-key registry office job or a sumptuous Posh’n’Becks or Pete’n’Jordan-esque affair in a Welsh rather than an Irish castle…..No doubt all will be revealed in the next edition of Hello! or OK! Meanwhile, a bit of good ol’ Gilbert seems appropriate: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WFYW5Px8LwM

markswill - January 7, 2014

Thanks Paul. It was neither a Posh’nBecs job nor a low-key registry office thang, but something in between. Mind you, my WIFE (!!!) tore a tendon dancing solidly for almost three hours at the after-party and we had to cancel our bloody honeymoon at the 11th hour on doctor’s orders. So much for geriatric romance!

Paul Blezard - January 7, 2014

Oh dear. Another sting in the tale/tail, or rather, the tendon.
Mind you don’t put your back out going through those hitherto untried Kama Sutra moves! 😉 Seriously, I think yoga is a really good idea for keeping aging limbs supple and I will definitely take it up when I’m no longer able to zumba with sufficient zest!

5. susie - January 7, 2014

Happy New Year Mark. Always remember things may not be as bad as we hope. Love from your fans at Steele’s Rd.

markswill - January 7, 2014

Thanks Susie, a point well taken unless, of course, you’re a serial pessimist such as I !

6. Andy Tribble - January 7, 2014

“Somewhat to my own surprise I recently got married”. Wonderfully put. Mark, at heart you are truly British.

markswill - January 7, 2014

Being a Brit had nowt to do with it Andy, but I thought I’d better give it a whirl before I popped my clogs: there’s a first time for everything. after all.

7. allan sayers - January 7, 2014

she must be wishing she had gone to spec savers. congrats old chap

markswill - January 7, 2014

Well Allan, I hid her reading glasses the day we met and haven’t returned them yet!

8. Noel - January 7, 2014

Bloody ell Mark, Im shocked and delighted to hear you are no longer single. Grats as they say in txt

Your musings seem more wishful thinking than prediction though ….

Perhaps I need to risk a peep out of my bunker to see if ‘the great recession’ is all over yet ?

markswill - January 7, 2014

Doubt it Noel, but oddly enough, one lives in hope!

9. Martin Wild - January 7, 2014

Congratulations matey. The Real World Starts Here!

10. Martin Harrison - January 12, 2014

I’ve never quite understood where awarding ‘congratulations’ fits in with such doings, but have good times with your wife Mark. I’d rather wish them to you and Mary, but that’s probably not her name. Hello Mrs.Williams. As a hark back to the old blogs, you may be amused here, if you haven’t been already.

markswill - January 13, 2014

Hi Martin, and Happy Bloody New Year to you. Loved the vid, and thanks for the congrats – she’s called Deborah BTW and I’ll explain who you are and pass on your salutations… you’ll be reassured to know that she plays the geetar AND rides a bike.

11. martincraig - January 28, 2014

I read this blog aloud to Lynn, we chuckled, debated and empathised at the appropriate points and when I read out ‘…recently got married’ we roared with appreciative laughter, saying, “He’s excelled himself this time!”

Fast forward to your current blog, where I was surprised to find you apparently re-running the same joke. “Not like Mark,” I said. Then I thought I’d better check back, to gather evidence with which to accuse you of literary laziness. “YA BUGGZ!” as they still say on Tyneside. You appear to have actually Got Married, in the Marital sense of Betrothal and all its legal, emotional and, er, you know, those implications.


Well – that’s GREAT! Congratulations to you and your biking guitarist WIFE! Fantastic news which I’m utterly delighted to read – the very best to you both, and may all your troubles be easily fixable in a garage. Love from the auld folk in the Borders.

markswill - January 29, 2014

Hi Martin… thanks for your healthy scepticism (always essential re. my scrawls), but for once I was indeed TELLING THE TRUTH. And if I change my name to Moggach, which I now legitimately can, maybe I’ll finally find a publisher for my book! There’;s something to be said for dynasties after all… Hope you’re okay up there in this shyte winter weather.

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