February Challenge -11: Five senses

Five senses? these are mine . .

A sense of rhythm

I love music; playing it and listening to it. I have been playing the guitar for about 43 years, not continuously, as I needed some respite in order to make a living, eat and occasionally sleep. One of the things I pride myself on, rightly or wrongly, is my sense of rhythm: honed to a (reasonably) fine art via a weekly big-band gig for several years, laying down the ‘Freddie Green thang’! Many young guitarists, especially here in Italy, are technically fantastic especially when it comes to soloing, but they have much less idea how to accompany, and how to lay down a groove. One of my favourite moments was playing a gig in Verona. I played an intro of three notes, and Lorenz Zadro, who was on stage with me, – a lovely guy and a great guitar player,- just shouted: ‘Yeah!’ He heard the groove and was there with me! A knock out!

A sense of fairness

One of the things that sets us apart from the rest of the animal kingdom is the ability to ‘put ourselves in someone else’s shoes’ Archie (my cat) doesn’t feel any sense of pity or guilt when he tortures a mouse to death and then eats it. It’s what they do. Humans have been given(?) or have evolved to a point where they can put themselves in the other person’s position. Obviously we don’t put this ability into practice in terms of the animal kingdom… otherwise how could we go glassy eyed when seeing young lambs and then confront the idea that we’d eaten their second cousin with mint sauce at lunch?!?? Anyway, let’s put it into practice with fellow human beings at least: is that too much to ask?

A sense of responsibility

Responsibility is a bizarre one: people will proudly say they have brought up a child and he/she has been a ‘success’, but if they are NOT a success, their response is: ‘I don’t know what went wrong’ rather than examining what went wrong.

In reality, people are more prepared to take credit than responsibility . . . . .

A sense of humour

I think we all need a sense of humour, and I think, in general, it is a sign of intelligence, in that the more sophisticated sense of humour reflects a higher intellectual ability.

A sense of the absurd

I still see things in a ….well, let’s be fair, a childlike way: and I’m proud of that: (back to the February  grown up prompt) I still ask Why? and How? and often the questions are a little absurd:

Why do dentists have perfect teeth? whilst opticians nearly always wear glasses?

Why are invisible and visible opposites but invaluable means extremely valuable?

So those are my five senses: rhythm, fairness, responsibiity, humour, and a sense of the absurd.


February Challenge 13-Greetings from

Greetings from Manchester; more specifically Stockport, and even more specifically Heaton Moor. After a few days with my Mum and my sister, I returned to visit the friends in the city which was my home for nearly forty years!!!

And yes it’s raining. I can’t remember being this wet for along time: I arrived at the pub on Friday night, and stood with my dripping head under the hand drier for some time! It’s been lovely to catch up with old friends. Conversations with Mark are always interesting!!!

I remarked that for my generation, the CDs we bought/received and the books we had gave information about our tastes: much the same as the old Through the keyhole programme did. Thpught this is open, Mark argued, it is only open to physical visitors, and that the ability to share our ‘taste in stuff’ via Spotify etc, etc. took the emphasis from ownership to interest and made the internet more open, not less. However I countered with the question, that if it is so open, why do so many people use nicknames (ones which don’t exist outside the internet)? We compromised on limited anonymous open-ness!!

Later Kay, Mark’s eldest daughter, was talking about postcard crossing whereby people send/receive cards from other subscribers to the site. The subscribers reveal their name address and interests, whilst communicating in a traditional and a digital way. Good stuff, eh? Greetings from …. wherever!!!!



2010 in review

The stats helper monkeys at mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 5,100 times in 2010. That’s about 12 full 747s.

In 2010, there were 201 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 202 posts. There were 308 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 191mb. That’s about 6 pictures per week.

The busiest day of the year was November 8th with 184 views. The most popular post that day was Remake of classic science-fiction.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were,,,, and

Some visitors came searching, mostly for, rowland jones italy, rowland jones, sherlock holmes syndrome, and sherlock syndrome.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.


Remake of classic science-fiction November 2010


Rowland Jones December 2008


‘My Imaginary Lives’ August 2010


What is RAM? April 2010


RAM Exhibition April 2010


The Internot….. thoughts on the web, and communication in general

I read a post somewhere on the web a few days ago, and people were discussing whether you should worry if nobody responded to to your blog/twitter or whatever. It got me thinking. . . .and the debate I came up with was this : Is the web an amazing way for communicating with millions of people from all over the world? Or is it simply a way of broadcasting? i.e is it simply communication in one direction?

Let’s start on a basic level. e-mails are great in the sense that you can dash off a note quickly irrespective of international times differences or differences in personal habits regarding hours. However this is also its disadvantage, in that demands an instant response which almost by definition will be rushed.

For example, frequently people will send a lengthy e-mail of the round-robin type: you know; ‘Phoebe and Toby and both doing very well. though the decision between tap-dancing classes and colloquial Chinese has been a struggle for him, whereas Phoebe’s welding is coming on marvellously….’

Yet if you respond to this with appropriate ‘well done’s’ and ‘oh dear’ and some similar interludes of your own (clearly less-interesting) life, there is frequently no acknowledgment of your activities, affairs or tribulations… Correct? (or is that just me?)

What I am saying is that the information is often hi-tech braggadocio! And I don’t mean that people shouldn’t be proud of their own achievements, it’s just that e-mail encourages self-obsession without appropriate response to others equally important needs.

Another way that this expresses itself is the self congratulatory way people pass on ‘touchy feeling schmaltz’ e-mails as a substitute for real emotional involvement with friends. (One ‘friend’ sent these to me regularly, and as they became mixed in with with fairly reactionary political jokes, I stopped acknowledging them. Don’t hear from him any more.) In fact, some of these are simply carefully written excuses, which essentially: ‘I can’t be bothered to contact you properly but have this prepackaged ‘saccharine-mail‘, which shows clearly that I’m thinking of you . . . ‘  Yeah, sure….

On the next level up: in terms of (potential) audience size, there is the blog.  As I observed recently, one day on WordPress alone 358 million words were published. But how many were read? Now many people argue that the internet gives everybody a chance to present their work or views and be heard, and as such is democratic and just. I’m all for democratization of the media, but if there’s 650,000 posts daily on WordPress alone who’s listening? If there’s so many people on the stage who’s in the audience? With so much information, how can we discern what’s worth reading and what isn’t? We resort to Search Engines who can look for keywords but can’t discern between Gore Vidal and Enid Blyton…..

My take on it is this: I have met people over the internet, and subsequently got to meet them in person, and have made some very good friends. They are people whose company I like, whose opinion I value and who I care for. Other friendships have been made face to face (if briefly) but the internet has enabled these friendships to survive and flourish, over long distances and long periods of time between face to face contact. These are things I value.  I’m on Facebook, which I do find useful . . . . ironically though I live in a village of 900 people , it was only through Facebook I that I learned the surnames of many friends and worked out who was related to who!! So I’m no Luddite.

BUT I also send handwritten letters or cards frequently, and the fact that people appreciate them makes me feel good, too! It’s win-win!!

Any comments would be appreciated! And responded to!


How many?!

I am becoming obsessed with the number of (unread?) words appearing every day JUST on WordPress: today? 358,209,812  Mamma Mia. ! ! !

PS it has gone up by 10 million since I posted this……. 368 million