Thursday, 26 December 2013

Looking back on 2013: January blog postings

It's a whole year since my friend Alane Wallace died:
"I've just recently heard that my friend Alane Wallace has died. My sincere condolences to her family. Apparently it was very sudden indeed, and I've heard it was possibly a heart attack. I so enjoyed chatting to her, all the silly comments, the wisdom, and the enthusiasm we had in our conversations, all the comments on my postings and encouragement, and all the deep intense messages when we talked on Facebook privately. I shall miss her so much, even though we never met except for here, even though she had come to Jersey before we became friends, and loved the Island."
January also saw the death of former States member, Dick Shenton:
"As a politician who both effectively beat the populist drum, who captured the mood of the people so well, and yet who could lead as president of major committees, there is probably no equal. It is hard to say that any members of the present or previous."
"In 1990, long, long before Ministerial government, he said: "I am disturbed by the amount of wasted time that this House indulges in". That's something worth remembering by those who hark back to a "golden age". It's only golden because there is less of it recorded in the minutes!"
And other death was the well known film maker, food critic, and larger than life character, Michael Winner:
"British film maker Michael Winner has just died, aged 77. He himself said that "A little vulgarity is a thoroughly good thing.", and he was just that, a larger than life persona, vulgar, rich, pompous (but not really arrogant), and very much at home with the persona that he had created. He often seemed preposterous, a kind of living caricature, just like one of the larger than life characters we meet in Dicken's Pickwick Papers."
I wrote about my one of my political influences - George Orwell:
"What I like about Orwell is the way he captures the people so well, and also this is where he shines above the more doctrinaire politicians of the left. His interests are wide ranging, and you feel that an evening in his company would be enjoyable, not a monologue on a fixed idea. Politics is important to him, but it is not all consuming. And he'd also clashed with what might be called the "hard left", rigid, often humourless, people who he felt were out of touch with the common man."  
The JEP reported on the Island in the grip of gambling, and I had some comments on the misleading way they presented their statistics:
"Another difference is the presence of capital cities - "capital cities have major economic functions which the vast majority of islands cannot aspire to (i.e. they are extremely unusual 'outliers' in any data set. The presence of large cities which serve as hubs for a working population makes the UK very different from Jersey. It is curious as to why the JEP looks to the UK for comparison, where Guernsey would seem a much more logical choice, but perhaps the statistics would not be quite as alarming and headline grabbing."
And on more general British stories, the horse meat scandal broke; I wrote on the strange way we have food taboos:

"There has in fact been a trend with globalisation for the taboos on food to effect other countries, as cultures become more aware of their own singularity. It is interesting, because you might expect a widening of cuisine to lessen the effect of the taboos on food, but instead, the opposite has taken place."
And I also looked at the decline of the Parish system in Guernsey, which happened for various reasons, as they took a different path historically:
"While elections of Constables in Jersey are uncommon, in Guernsey they are not only uncommon, they also attract paltry voter turnout. The notion that "There will be life in the Jersey Parishes if the Constables cease to sit in the States." which I read recently could only have been written by someone who has turned a blind eye to developments in Guernsey."
January was cold, and I was also critical of the way in which the penchant for listing buildings forgets the way they were developed in history, and seeks to preserve them in stasis, with no real consideration of the fact the real purpose of homes is people, and the hypocrisy over windows because that is seen while structural changes inside are not:
"Most houses have been changed over the centuries, added to, build upon, as a reading of Old Jersey Houses makes clear. When the earliest old Jersey farmhouses were being built, as with the Great Houses in England, there was no electricity, no hot and cold running water, no telephones etc. All of these were intrusions into the original fabric of the buildings, and sometimes difficult ones, but ones that were felt to be necessary."

No comments: