Back in January I proposed to make four new year’s resolutions: – to read a book a month; listen to an album a week; be fitter and get more exercise; and listen to a new band a week. I’ve mostly failed on the artist options, but I did join my local gym in the summer and have made a concerted effort to increase my capabilities there.
So I’ll plan to continue those into 2018. The album option is one we need to action and with a vested interest in vinyl, it’s not hard to achieve. I also got a Spotify account as a Christmas present so the new band option can also be achieved – maybe I’ll try to make this blog as a place to record my achievements.
I reckon I got through four books in 2017. I’m currently working through two, so I’ll maybe set myself a more realistic option of six a year considering podcasts dominate my journey to and from work!
Work wise, there are some achievements I still want make, but they are generally in the hands of other people.
Looking back at the year gone by, I’ll pick out my best. The best gig I went to was Guns n’ Roses at London’s Olympic Stadium, closely followed by Gary Numan at Brixton Academy. The best film, in a rare tie between three superhero films but I reckon Guardians of the Galaxy 2 just beats Wonder Woman and Thor Ragnarok. Special mention for the Death of Stalin also.
In terms of this blog, my greatest achievement was completing NaBloPo month, and I’ll make another declaration to do better with this blog in 2018. Perhaps actually sticking to my aims is the way to do that!
Happy New Year everyone!
At the end of October I heard of National Blog Posting Month, and having not written regularly for this blog or others I produce guest posts for in some time, I decided to take on this challenge. Today on the 1st December, I’m delighted to report that I completed it, and below is a list of each entry.
The concept sounds simple, but the biggest challenges I found (apart from connectivity) was finding something I was interested in every day, and sharing some thoughts on those subjects. Hence some posts were a bit shorter than others, one was effectively a series of photos and some others were done on the spare of the moment. Some however, I was delighted to write and it felt appropriate that I was able to cover football, politics, music and news analysis in the last month.
I may give this another go in a year, but this has at least stimulated me to do more writing, and realise that guest blogging isn’t such a big challenge after all.
1 Bake Off spoiled (LinkedIn) https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/when-its-good-spoil-dan-raywood/?trackingId=WOT9Xx3OYtA%2Fbj0BkoKODw%3D%3D
2 Spurs v Real Madrid review (Everybody Loves Raywood) https://matchofthedoy.wordpress.com/2017/11/03/two-out-of-three-aint-bad-dan-raywood/
3 Papa Johns PR fail (Everybody Loves Raywood) https://everybodylovesraywood.wordpress.com/2017/11/03/papa-johns-lands-face-first-in-the-marinara/
4 Gunpowder TV series reality (Everybody Loves Raywood) https://everybodylovesraywood.wordpress.com/2017/11/04/everythings-gone-hollywood-now/
5 Spurs v Palace (Match of the Doy) https://matchofthedoy.wordpress.com/2017/11/06/they-all-count/
6 Email mistakes (LinkedIn) https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/did-you-really-mean-send-email-dan-raywood/?trackingId=inw6Mn%2FJp7%2Fc0qCoda4gfg%3D%3D
7 Rafal Nadal’s lookalike pass (LinkedIn) https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/you-look-like-someone-famous-dan-raywood/?published=t
8 Disney and the LA Times report (Everybody Loves Raywood) https://everybodylovesraywood.wordpress.com/2017/11/08/nothing-you-can-do-headlines-in-the-news/
9 New Who (Everybody Loves Raywood) https://everybodylovesraywood.wordpress.com/2017/11/09/who-are-you-wearing-this-christmas/
10 T-Shirt Day (Everybody Loves Raywood) https://everybodylovesraywood.wordpress.com/2017/11/10/ill-have-a-t-please-bob/
11 2 Minute Silence (Everybody Loves Raywood) https://everybodylovesraywood.wordpress.com/2017/11/11/the-2-minutes-silence/
12 Remembrance Sunday Littlehampton (Everybody Loves Raywood) https://everybodylovesraywood.wordpress.com/2017/11/12/remembrance-sunday-2017/
13 Spurs remembrance Sunday (Everybody Loves Raywood) https://everybodylovesraywood.wordpress.com/2017/11/13/once-upon-a-spurs-blog-post-a-wish-came-true/
14 Don’t appoint your heroes (Match of the Doy) https://matchofthedoy.wordpress.com/2017/11/14/never-appoint-your-heroes-dan-raywood/
15 Girl on the Net availability (LinkedIn) https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/how-available-you-dan-raywood/?published=t
16 Dennis Wise hard nut (Everybody Loves Raywood) https://everybodylovesraywood.wordpress.com/2017/11/16/the-byline-of-wise/
17 Cyber Geneva Conventions (LinkedIn) https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/cyber-conventions-dan-raywood/?published=t
18 North London Derby (Match of the Doy) https://matchofthedoy.wordpress.com/2017/11/20/nld-now-the-league-table-looks-different-dan-raywood-blog/
19 Kings Cross fire 30th anniversary (Everybody Loves Raywood) https://everybodylovesraywood.wordpress.com/2017/11/19/30-years-since-the-kings-cross-fire/
20 Tony Pulis fired (Match of the Doy) https://matchofthedoy.wordpress.com/2017/11/20/in-the-firing-line-dan-raywood-blog/
21 RIP Jana Novotna (Everybody Loves Raywood) https://everybodylovesraywood.wordpress.com/2017/11/21/rip-and-remember-jana-novotna/
22 Suing Oxford Uni (Everybody Loves Raywood) https://everybodylovesraywood.wordpress.com/2017/11/22/21-graduate-to-sue-oxford-university/
23 Uber’s breach (LinkedIn) https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/most-uber-breach-all-time-dan-raywood/?published=t
24 The end of Black Friday (Everybody Loves Raywood) https://everybodylovesraywood.wordpress.com/2017/11/24/the-end-of-black-friday/
25 German Christmas Markets (Everybody Loves Raywood) https://everybodylovesraywood.wordpress.com/2017/11/25/the-christmas-markets-holiday-2017/
26 Customer service and train stations (Everybody Loves Raywood) https://everybodylovesraywood.wordpress.com/2017/11/26/where-does-the-customer-come-first/
27 Meghan and Harry (Everybody Loves Raywood) https://everybodylovesraywood.wordpress.com/2017/11/27/princess-meghan-and-the-ex-soldier/
28 Visit to the Wannsee Conference House (Everybody Loves Raywood) https://everybodylovesraywood.wordpress.com/2017/11/28/visit-to-the-wannsee-conference-house/
29 My first non UK gig (Everybody Loves Raywood) https://everybodylovesraywood.wordpress.com/2017/11/29/my-first-non-uk-gig/
30 Trump and Britain First (Everybody Loves Raywood) https://everybodylovesraywood.wordpress.com/2017/11/30/trump-retweeted-the-fascists
The last post of National Blog Posting month from me comes at a time when the world’s most powerful man backs the views of a fascist and racist organisation, and when challenged over his online support for them by the UK Prime Minister, he defended his actions.
There was no ‘mea culpa’ by Donald Trump, no undoing of the retweets, just a defence of his actions. As a result, Britain First got its largest slice of publicity to date, with all of the major TV networks queing up to talk to them and undoubtedly pushing their twitter following a boost and web traffic a massive spike. That’s not to say that there is a secret band of supporters waiting to join them, instead those who follow the lead of a President will look at Britain First as a reputable organisation that he supports, and not a gang of horrible people determined to divide communities and stir up hatred.
If there is any fortunate guidance to take from this action, it’s that few people really do take what Trump says seriously. He’s become a subject of satire in less than a year in the White House, has seen multiple changes in his administration and is stirring up a war of words with another world leader in Kim Jong-Un. Is the man fit to be in politics? Of course not, he’s a business man used to making decisions and having them happen, and in politics things move slower and much more democratically.
However, in this case, Trump did tweet from his personal account, rather than from the official Presidential account which does suggest that this even if this is not the view of the government, with ultimate power it is the view of its most senior person. Of course you could have asked if Obama or even Hillary Clinton would have supported a far right party, and the answer would certainly be no. However in his actions Trump has legitimised their raison d’etre and policies, and until he realises the gravity of such a simple action of the retweet button, this world seems to be a worse place day by day.
After 27 years of going to live gigs, during which time I reckon I’ve been to at least one every year, last night I achieved quite a remarkable aim – my first gig outside of the UK. My first gig outside of England was a Christmas present when the wife got us tickets to see Manic Street Preachers in Swansea back on 2016, but this was the first outside of the UK and was the main point of visiting Berlin this week.
A small venue on Karl Marx Strasse hosted Billy Bragg, an artist I’ve seen numerous times but not in a capacity where the audience are not in a singing-along mood. Billy did point out that it was a Tuesday night, I think it was more of an “we want to stand and watch and enjoy” attitude to the performance. The venue was the Heimathafen which is kind of a cross between the Bush Hall and Islington Assembly Hall.
I’m not going to make an effort to review the gig, but Billy did turn out a large number of his early hits interspersed with some of the country-influenced material from recent years. His album of American railroad classics barely got an airing despite him bringing second guitarist and steel guitar player CJ along with him.
No, what I want to focus on is the environment. Like Islington Assembly Hall, the social area and “dancefloor” are in same room, meaning that through the support act all you could hear was the mumble of conversation. Regardless of the language, this is distracting for the rest of the audience and I don’t like to think about the affect it has upon the artist.
To be honest, there was not a whole lot different between a UK and German gig experience. In both cases the security checks were the same, the merchandise prices are set by the artist, the beer does contain some pretty terrible lager (although the Schneider Weisse was one of the best gig beers I’ve ever had, and came in at 💶 3.50) and the performance was as great as expected. The trick would be to see a non English speaking performer outside of the UK, and see what the experience is like in that instance.
For me, I’m glad I finally got round to achieving this aim and my next step will be to see someone on a totally different continent.
Today I visited the house where the Wannsee conference took place back in 1942. For those who don’t know, this conference determined to find an answer to the Jewish question, and decisions were made on the extermination processes that continued over the remaining three of the Nazi regime.
It was as absorbing as it was shocking: whenever you feel you’ve learned all you can about the atrocities of the Holocaust, something new appears. I’ve visited Auschwitz and jewish memorials and museums in London, Italy, Germany and the USA, but to be at the point where so many decisions were made brought a lot of reality to me.
While the museum – which only opened in the 1990s – focused mainly on the history of anti-Semitism in Europe, the conference only took up two of the 14 exhibition rooms. What became clear was how hard the founder worked hard to achieve the opening and recognition of what had occurred back in 1942, and to remember the millions of victims of the 90 minute meeting.
The other striking point was that those who attended were mostly deputies – and Heydrich and Eichmann aside – much lesser known members of the party. It doesn’t take the biggest names and egos to achieve something, in fact it turned out that the only disagreements were regarding how to define those of mixed Jewish blood.
As with all of the Jewish memorials I’ve visited, this was humbling and I’m glad I was able to see this place which whilst it only served as a notable place for such a short time, its impact affected generations. It’s important that this is recognised, remembered and never forgotten.
The Queen’s grandson’s future mother in law is an African American social worker with braided hair. The (possible) future Queen (admittedly with 5 in line ahead of him) is a mixed race divorcée from America. All of this is fantastic, and I couldn’t be happier for them and for the rest of the world who don’t care what your history is, your race or whoever you love, it’s a case of love the one you’re with.
There’s been a long delay in announcement of the engagement and it’s positive to see a wedding taking place in the next six months. There was a long wait (I can guess at 25+ years) between the state weddings of Andrew and Fergie, and William and Kate, and I doubt there will be the furore for Harry and Meghan. In fact I doubt there will even be a state wedding and us Brits can probably not count on a free day off as we did a few years ago.
There is still Andrew and Fergie’s kids to be hitched and apart from the princesses, Harry is the most senior royal to be a batchelor. Yes he’s had a few negative headlines, but I don’t blame him for distrusting the press after all his family had gone through, and he experienced all of that first hand.
As for actress Meghan, she faces the future as a member of an exclusive set, and I’m sure they will not phase her at all.
Today in our trip around Germany, we started the day in Dusseldorf before embarking upon a great trip across the country towards Berlin.
More on the capital later this week! The thing that irked me today was the mix of how decent Dusseldorf station was compared to what we have in the UK. Yes there are some excellent stations, and St Pancras is a prime example, but in Dusseldorf station there is everything you need, it’s easy to find and of course you have the simplicity of the European train timetable where the emphasis is upon the time rather than the destination.
You may think that sounds confusing, but once you have familiarised yourself with the format, and you have the added benefit of the timetable telling you the platform, you can see the benefit.
Maybe I’m seeing things through slightly glazed beery glasses, but things seem more efficient here. Ok that is a national stereotype and that was contradicted by the service in two coffee stands, but ask yourself when you’ve felt like a valued customer in a British retailer?
The overall transport experience in Germany is one to be envied and having the options available for food, drink, information in a clean and open station.