School and the aftermaths.

I have come to believe that many people just did not like school, and here I must point out that I don’t mean the school of today but schools of my childhood in the 1960’s. However, the aspect of this tome may apply even today and that aspect is friendships at school and thereafter. I left school in 1965 when the world of work beckoned and off I went to face life ahead, totally unprepared as I now know. Yes, I had money, not much but still my own, well after I had paid for my keep after it being free up to that point, and I’m ashamed to admit I was reluctant to hand over a share of my meagre wages for such trivial things as food and lodgings. Because in truth that what I was becoming, a lodger, no sooner had I got home from work then it was washed changed, all clothes laundered by magic it seems, and out I went. I had friends to meet a life to lead and being a teenager in the 1960’s was indeed a heady experience, and as I found out, it had to be paid for, not always in money terms either.

Most of my friends were from school in those days but slowly, and ever so obviously, we kind of started to go our separate ways, some partings were for legitimate reasons. One of my mates emigrated, with his family of course, to Canada, others were not a so obvious parting of the ways but it usually meant a girl had appeared on the scene, who may or may not have been at the same school as us. But split up we did and the reasons were not rocket science, we were growing up and our tastes, in most thing, including friends, changed. We had visions of being the next Beatles or Stones or whoever,  having bought guitars and taken lessons together, we practised where we could and as often as we could. But the day, and the realisation that we would not be the next supergroup, dawned, and the once happy band of school leavers, left each other. As for me, I travelled the country following my local football (soccer to any USA readers) team and I did it by what seems now to be a quaint, and forgotten past time, hitch hiking.

Bear in mind I was 15 travelling the length and breadth of the country, and miraculously enough reaching my destinations, getting home after the game was a different matter. But then the opposite sex came into the equation as I used to go dancing at the local dance hall and I suppose, inevitably although not guaranteed, I met someone ‘special’. Well, they were all ‘special’ for a while but this one particular girl knocked me off my perch for a long time, in short, I was besotted. Just one of my former school friends was still around but he had grand plans to work abroad, which he did, so then there was one, me. I passed into my 20’s, 30’s, 40’s, occasionally meeting one or two of my old school buddies, both of us older and wiser, well maybe not the wiser part. And over time an idea came to me to get us all together for ‘one last time’ so to speak. So, this idea became an obsession as I tried to track down as many old school friends as possible, bit difficult with the girls as most of them had married and so different names, and no Facebook or whatever. But I did well, with help from some of those old schoolmates I may hasten to add, around 50 of us in total including our old teachers, some in their 70’s and 80’s, got together in an upstairs room of a pub, it helped that my son was manager of that pub at the time.

From that initial meeting we did it again, and yet again and I was prepared to do a 4th reunion until I was struck down by illness and the impetuous was lost. But 50 years after leaving that school in Hull I have been on the phone with an old schoolmate I haven’t seen since then and I loved it. In fact, I now realise that I loved school much more than I ever knew I did, the lads and lasses I had argued with, fell out with, now seem as pleased to see me as I do them. Sadly one or two of those teachers who met up have passed away but what saddens me, even more, is the fact that some of those lads and lasses in my class have also passed away. I came across this information trying to track people down for the 1st reunion and since then 1 or 2 more have passed on, what? Yes it pulled me up big time, I sat reflecting on life for a long time, I recalled, like having an old video tape playing in your head, of us kids in the playground, of taking a fancy to a certain girl and then suddenly come across the information that she has died. Yes I know, Death and Taxes someone once said but these ‘kids’ were the same class, the same year, hell the same era as me, but no more. And so now when I meet up with who is left, and the number is dwindling, I find these people precious, despite any misgivings, we may have had many years ago. They are my link to my lingering memories of an era I hold dear to my heart. I may even try and get those of us who are left together again for ‘one more time’, as time itself is becoming very limited.

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Another thought whilst I have it in my mind.

I have been sporadic in my post of late and that’s because I don’t think I have much to say well I have but I just don’t know how to say it. Which is odd as I can usually write down my thoughts but I had to admit, and I don’t know if this is a good thing or bad, but a little helping of red vino makes me think better and gets the words out onto print so to speak. And what have I to say this time, well the obvious, time moves on but what concerns me is the way in which technology is being used all around us. There has been stories of governmental snooping on our internet pastimes, Google et al are all harvesting what we say, like what I’m writing now and it is going on with everything connected with the internet, and no one, well a few people, seemed concerned.

In fact people seem to embrace the fact that whatever they write they want the world to know about it and yes I am talking about the biggest talking shop in the world Facebook. But it is not alone and there must be a great part of the worlds population whose lives are there for all to see, good and bad, and they want it that way. I see it with my grandchildren, and even my children, I am left out, I’m not on Facebook so anything that happens in my family I am the last to know. And phones, they are not phones they are mini computers and no one looks up any more they are glued to the ground, well they are looking downwards. My granddaughter can talk to me whilst still sending texts, good job she has unlimited texts on her particular payment model.

At work, in the quest to cut down on paper everything has to be done on computer and only printed out if necessary, which is fine and very noble, save trees and all that but it doesn’t work as most people need a hard copy of what they are doing on the computer, e-mail just doesn’t do hack it. Oh sorry that’s the wrong choice of word as hacking has been big news for a while, none more so than a certain British tabloid being closed down because of alleged hacking of people’s phones, even one young lady who had actually died. But is anyone being held responsible for this act? That’s for the courts to decide and of course plenty of clever lawyers will be employed to, shall we say, their clients are not to blame, no one ever is, look at bankers.

(This post has been lurking in my draft folder and I didn’t realise as I actually wrote it a couple of years ago hence the subject matter may seem a little dated.)

 

 

 

Do you reminisce?

There are those that say never look back what is past is the past but there are an equally vociferous segment think that history plays a big part in our lives. At the moment whilst writing this I have You Tube in the background playing stuff from the 50’s/60’s when I was growing up as a child with the influence of the American music scene and the emergence of the British response. So I have such a rich vein of memories to fall back on and that I admit I will not let go but why should I? I have arranged a number of school reunions and to date I think I can say they have been successful as many have asked since when am I doing another one. School friends of half a century ago get together and exchange chat and want to come back for more, makes me think that the those who think the past is the past are missing something.

Of course not everyone has a great story to tell, there is tragedy there is hardship as much as there is success but overall the feeling in these reunions is that of old friends getting together to have a chat and a laugh and I’m proud to have organised such events. But as with time there is death and we have lost some former classmates and some of the teachers, who incidentally enjoyed this get together as much as us former pupils did so these days such events tend to be depleted somewhat but none the less the overall feeling is of comradeship. I am going to include a couple of pictures and I’m sorry for all those in the pictures if they would rather I not but hey 50 years later many of us met up again and had a great time, and no I’m not going to supply the details to the pictures lol,

assmebly 2 (2) copy again mr-hall's-class-1st-year-ag mrs a's class (2)upgraded copy again

 

 

 

 

Books, a resurgance for me.

I have always liked reading much of it these days being tech stuff but now I have got back into books, both real and the Kindle type. In fact I’m comfortable being snuggled up in bed with either a paperback or my tablet computer then read until my eyelids start dropping then its time to sleep. So what do I read? Well at the moment fiction of all kinds and quite a wide choice and if you let me share with you my recent reads then I will but some of you may gasp in disbelief. I will get the naughty books out of the way first and the one everyone was always talking about so I just had to read if for myself  it was 50 Shades Of Grey.

Yes you read that right, the one that women seemingly like by the thousands but why as I’m puzzled as it contained violence against women but other than that what did I think? In a word tedious, I’m not going to spoil the story for anyone who hasn’t read it yet suffice to say that reading just one book on its own, it is a trilogy by the way, doesn’t do the overall story justice. Its a love story, albeit a kinky love story but none the less a good old fashioned love story. But to appreciate the story as a whole all three books should be read.

Then another naughty book, well it comes under the heading of a classic a classic what I am not sure but I was not impressed. Lady Chatterley’s Lover was banned in the UK when I was a young lad but I remember the court case that enabled a copy to be bought from over the counter instead of under it and it has taken me another 50 years to get round to reading it. Well I wished I had waited another 50 years and that’s about all I can say other than the story is well known but the contents were heavy going to read, I think I will give the classics a miss.

This is the second classic I have tried and failed on both the other was War And Peace and by page 38 I was well and truly bogged down, so I gave up. So what else have I been reading, well a while back I came across a TV programme whilst flicking through the channels, as you do, and came across one Tom Selleck playing a cop, a drunken cop at that, Jesse Stone. I was smitten so I delved a bit deeper and found the author of these stories, one Robert B Parker and I am even more smitten now. I have read about Jesse Stone, Sunny Randall and Spenser, all cops or private detectives.

I have found that my eyelids don’t start dropping sometimes until the early hours of the morning as I am enthralled by the stories and the style of writing. Slow and laconic which I find most relaxing and at the moment I have quite a few books to choose from in fact even today, Saturday, I have taken 3 back to the library and taken out 4 more, some more late nights I feel. Then there is the electronic medium, now there is an argument that you can’t beat ‘real’ books, but I’m just happy to read from anything but I take the point. The thing about the electronic way is that I have come across freebies from authors wanting their books to reach a wider audience and down loaded them, along with paid for books, yes Robert B Parker ones at that.

So at the moment I have a pile of books waiting to be read in all formats and I can’t wait to start another story. I have a theory, my return to books is my response to the life in the real world which never seems to vary from stress and strife whenever you put the TV on. I can immerse myself both in a storyline and in my bed reading it and at the same time try and forget the world outside for a while, well until my eyelids start dropping.

Technology

I have always liked technology and up to a point considered myself something of a geek, compared to my like minded friends. Remember VHS & Betamax, well I understood the basics, Betamax was better quality but VHS was more popular so the rest, as they say is history. Then it moved on apace and as always America was at the forefront, except for things like mobile/cell phones and satellite TV. In every other aspect America lead the way but then a funny thing happened.

The likes of Commodore, Atari, Radio Shack and T.I.  were trailblazers in the early computer craze the UK was quietly having its own revolutions, lead by one Sir Clive Sinclair with his ZX and ZX Spectrum, computers were now in the mainstream, especially when the BBC got involved. And I kept up with it all, although my programming ability only stretched as far as Atari Basic. Things were gathering pace, whereas America had its cable TV with many channels we on this side of the Atlantic had basically 4 channels then satellite appeared.

It had been there for a while but at last it became mainstream and for me especially it was a revolution. I was getting channels from the Continent, Holland, Germany, France, Belgium, and others, not just the normal diet of BBC/ITV, News, music, drama and yes some stuff that was not mainstream, it was an eye opener. I use to go on about this new world out there TV wise but all I got was blank stares, I could watch football/soccer in Germany I could watch pop concerts in Holland it was amazing stuff, but lost on my friends.

And of course the march of technology was gaining pace, mobile/cell phones were available, not the brick like phones of the Wall Street film fame but small enough to fit in a pocket which again was like a breath of fresh air. You didn’t have to look for a phone box just use your own personal phone box, but charges were steep at first. And as we moved on video tape gave way to disc and all the time the computer was evolving. Desktops took off, millions of them were sold we all could surf this WWW look up things, send electronic mail in an instance, get updates, all heady stuff.

But just lately I have regressed, I can’t keep up, the pace is going too fast for me, we now have social networks, where everything is instant, and updated for everyone to see and the young people have took it too their hearts and that is where I have now realized one thing I never thought would happen, I can’t keep up. I still read tech stuff and it begins to frighten me in a way as its took a path I could never imagine. People seem to relish publishing everything about their lives for all to read, although privacy rules are suppose to be in place.

Apps have taken over, the mobile/cell phone is everywhere and a lot more powerful beast to the first one I owned and computers have changed. We are in the era of portable and portable means a phone or pad computer, Wi Fi …….. 3G/4G …. all sorts of stuff that is getting ever more complex and the thing that has really hit home is watching my grandchildren with all this. To me its amazing, to them, who have grown up with all this, it is part of life, they don’t know any difference so all the gadgets that make me stand and stare with awe is just a normal progression to them.

They are 15 and 11 respectively and have a computer, desktop, a laptop, mobile/cellphone, a Kindle/Sony reader, Xbox, Sony Playstation, Nintendo Wii,  NDS ( is that right?) flat screen TV’s in their bedrooms a  50inch plasma TV in the main living room with all the satellite channels, their father has a car with TV in the back and a sound system that takes his mobile/cell phone calls without him taking his hand off the steering wheel. And here is the rub, all their friends are the same, its the norm.

I have come across some magazines, newspaper articles dating from the 1970’s/80’s when all this was a brave new, exciting world, but now I’m not sure if its either brave or exciting but more like foolish. We are tracked, we are instant, we are at the mercy of those big corporations who have all this data on us yet allow us to function in today’s world, and it is gather in pace. I have long given up thinking as to where it will all end the kids of today seem happy enough with it all, and they will have to live with it, in the meantime I will put on an old VHS tape on and see what I recorded 20 years ago ….. did we really wear clothes like that LOL.

So I look on YouTube and find music from artist I loved many years ago, I keep up to date with the news, instant if I want, but not to my mobile/cell phone, I just log on when I get home. No pad computer no Android or IPhone, no flat screen TV or computer monitor it can all not pass me by as I know there is not end, by reading the geeky stuff of what is coming along in the future. So get rid of the screens you are use too, you will ‘wear’ your computers, you will be online, always, whether you want to be or not, cars will drive themselves, park themselves and all the time this will be recorded, for whom? I know not and these days I care not.

Announcement!

I am in the process of reorganising my blogs, hullcityengland, and Off on a tangent into obscurity. It is all taking time so this new blog of mine, in which I am going to put all my pictures from my travels, and in time update those posts, hence the name which is TRAVELOGRAPHY, a word combining travel with photography. I have limited time as it is due to other commitments but for noW I will try and get at least one or two posts up online. Hoping you will drop by some time.

Achademic Excellence and fine old buildings go together it seems.

My wife and I have been on a few weekend trips just lately, no not those trips, coach trips and some of the places we have been are the academic excellence centres of the world, Oxford and Cambridge. Notwithstanding their academic power they also have some beautiful buildings to teach this stuff in, and its that side of the equation that grabs me the most, just as well as for my brainpower they would not just show me the door but would not let me near it 🙂  ……. so here are some pictures First Cambridge, we were there on Saturday 2nd June.

It has to be said also that many of these pictures were taken through gaps in iron gates and fencing as they were not open to the public until later in the day when I would be gone. Some didn’t allow anyone in other than students and their families as exams were taking place, which is fair comment I would say. I could have put a slide show but it doesn’t show the full pictures as I intended and I know I haven’t put comments about which college is which, but I may amend that at a later date, oh and the ducks were friendly as well, as long as you fed them that is 🙂

Is the Internet just another tool of life now?

They say the internet has been around since the 1950’s then it was just between universities and their geek guys, then a back up for the military communications, but whatever, its all over the place now. Which brings me to think the because of this it’s not the amazing thing it once was to us all when dial up was the norm and streaming films, video and music was way in the future.

Bulletin board were about, a kind of early chat room, but there wasn’t the rich content that is just so normal today. Youngsters, by that I mean from 5 years old upwards have the internet from the start and so its always been there for them, like mobile/cell phones and computers in general. So I think its lost is ‘wow’ factor if you like as it is now, or seems to be, a tool of everyday life, just like the TV.

And now we are being told both of these are being brought together in a kind of IPTV, the internet on your TV, not sure how this one will work out. We have seen just lately that governments, if they so wish, can shut the internet down which demonstrates how fragile the system still is, but so much is done on the internet these days its inconceivable that democratic governments would do the same, but you never know.

I like reading geeky stuff, and see where things are heading, and I can see a time where phone like devices will be the hub of communications in the future for everything. From maps to payments, from video calls all round I can’t do without tool, and being incredibly small even like those wrist watch type gadgets that use to be portrayed on futuristic comics of years gone by, yes maybe Star Trek is not all that fanciful these days.

I can see the good points about all this but I’m not sure of some of the bad points about always being connected. It use to be you wanted to meet your friend you made arrangements at school, work, or wherever then met up later on, whatever the weather, face to face contact was the norm, not today it isn’t.

But I console myself with the thought that the younger people will sort this out by themselves their way, not the ways of the grandparent generation, that belongs in the past, like so much other stuff, which is more the shame really.