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Saturday, September 30, 2017

James Went To Some Exhibitions

It always tickles me when you speak to an immigrant and they reel off all the places they have visited; Buckingham Palace, London Eye, Tower Of London, Natural History Museum, Science Museum, Imperial War Museum, Transport Museum...

You name it, they've done it.  You name it, I haven't.

It isn't because I don't want to go.  My to-do list is chocka with cultural activities, parks, museums, restaurants (and pubs) that I want to go to.  Unsurprisingly, I make it to the pubs - probably because it is easier to find someone to come with me, "do you want to go to the pub with me?" has more appeal than "do you want to come to an exhibition on photography of the Syrian civil war with me?".

I don't believe in regretting what I do, but I do believe in regretting not doing things, and there were 4 exhibitions that I really want to see, closing between 3rd September and 17th September.  My hand was forced.

On Bank Holiday Monday, I headed out to the Imperial War Museum.  The war in Syria has touched me more than any war in my lifetime, through the sheer wanted destruction of human lives, and the willingness of the international community to stand by and let it happen.  Special mention goes to Russia for actively encouraging the death machine of the murderous Assad.

The exhibition itself was of photography from 2013/14, showing the lives of ordinary people in the conflict.  It tried to focus on the human element and to be objective - some of the photography was stunning, yet emotionally devastating.  This was the most striking part of the whole exhibition for me.


Then there was a slide show of images from the refugee crisis - again highlighting the human catastrophe this was, and the desperation of those trying to flee to safety, and to a better life.

In a separate exhibition area, there was a small selection of artefacts, including this bullet-ridden road sign, and some disturbing memorabilia showing the relationship between Assad and Putin.  And a replica recreation of a barrel bomb - which I decided against photographing.



Then there was an 8 minute video, showing the history of the conflict, and also highlighting something that I was not aware of, that being of the great inequality prior to the uprising between those in Assad's circle, and those not.

It really is shocking to see how a stable and relatively prosperous country can be destroyed through civil war, all started from a few teenagers writing anti-Assad graffiti.

Once I had pondered what I had seen, it was time to go see something more cheerful.

Butterflies!

Every year I told myself that I would go see the butterfly exhibition at the Natural History Museum, finally I did it.  A relatively small price of £5.85 gained me entry on a hot day, to a hotter and very humid tent, full of tropical butterflies.

It was quite a bit smaller than I expected, and only took around 15 minutes from start to finish.

Not an awful lot I can say about it, plants and some butterflies.  Some exceptionally colourful ones - like this magnificent bright blue butterfly, or another almost luminous green butterfly.  One really large species too which looked more like a bird.


Actually quite a good photograph for my standards.

Not entirely sure it was value for money, but it wasn't far off.

Then on a Friday evening, I went to the robot exhibition at the Science Museum.  It cost £12.35 a ticket to go around a very over-heated section of the Science Museum.

It started with a baby, and went through clockwork machinations - none of which I was particularly interested in.

Then it went into a area showing more modern advances in robots (did you know the word 'robot' originates in Czech?), with a history of robots and the ideas around them in the 20th Century.


I was rather impressed to see the famous T2.


The exhibition discussed the ideas of robots looking like humans and how we interact with them.

Later on (not that much later as it wasn't the most time-consuming exhibition ever), we went through a more futuristic zone, with various robots that are used nowadays or very recently - many of which seemed to come from factory production lines.

I also found my girlfriend.


It was quite cool to wander through, but I wouldn't say it was worth paying for.  It was hot, it was very busy (despite ticketed timeslots) - some of the robots are going on permanent display anyway.  It wasn't as interactive as I thought it might be either.

Glad I went in terms of #FOMO but if you didn't go - you didn't miss out.

Finally, I wanted to go see Walala's colourful maze at the NOW Gallery in Greenwich.

I was going to go last Friday after work, bit of a mission to get there and then get home, but it was the last weekend that it was on.

I quickly checked their website at the end of the day, and realised that it was ticketed and sold out.  Oops.  Lesson learnt - if you want to do something, don't leave it until the last minute.

I did however console myself with a walk around the temporary installation of Villa Walala in Broadgate Square, at the back of Liverpool Street Station.


Next up?  Who knows.  I did want to go see the Basquiat exhibition at the Barbican, but it's £16 and I'm not that interested.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

BBC Election Complaint 2

Arguably a tad tenuous but hey.

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Dear Sir/Madam

I note again that you have spent huge amounts of money covering what is now clearly a left-wing, socialist-promoting event, in Glastonbury.

This is completely against the BBC's charter to specifically be spending so much money and time on one long political event, designed to brainwash the young and middle classes into supporting what would be destructive socialism.

It is not only the coverage of his speech, but also the reporting of it, and the tweeting of his "ace" speech - looking at you Radio One.  Deleted, of course but not before the damage was done.

And now Glastonbury is a full-on left-wing, socialist political event, there should not be any coverage of it whatsoever.



Would you cover Jacob Rees-Mogg doing a speech at Creamfields?  No.  Would you cover George Osborne doing a speech at T In The Park?  No.  Would you cover Jeremy Hunt doing a speech at Secret Garden Party?  No.

It may be in the BBC's interest that the United Kingdom becomes Venezuela, as Corbyn's potential socialist dictatorship would likely require the full support of the BBC and the closing of all other forms of media - your competition, to be able to sustain such regressive policies.

And I expect that I will only receive another generic response - possibly generated by AI (that's not very socialist of you - Corbyn won't be happy).

However I live in hope that there may actually be someone in the BBC that understands the dangers of socialism and decides to take action to stop your constant promotion of socialism, such as the covering of Glastonbury.

Regards
An ex-viewer

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Dear Mr Winfield

Thank you for getting in touch about our recent news reporting from the Glastonbury Festival.

We were naturally concerned to learn that you felt our coverage was biased or inappropriate, so we've reviewed our output and discussed audience concerns personally and at length with senior editorial personnel within BBC News.

To allow us to reply promptly, and to ensure we use our TV Licence fee resources as efficiently as possible, we’re sending this response to everyone. We’re sorry we can’t reply individually, but we hope this will address most of the points raised.

The key point to make is that the organisers of the Glastonbury Festival chose to invite the Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn as their guest speaker on the Pyramid Stage.

His appearance was not screened in the BBC Music at Glastonbury television programmes, but like other news outlets BBC News reported on his speech as it was a newsworthy event.

Some later BBC News bulletins included comments from Mr Corbyn's speech in relation to the Grenfell Tower fire. Here we also heard directly from the Prime Minister Theresa May, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Sajid Javid, as well as Council leaders and others thus ensuring a wide range of views were heard.

BBC News also comprehensively covered a wide range of other stories, including that day's Armed Forces Day by providing extensive coverage from the Liverpool event which the Prime Minister attended.

We appreciate that not everyone will agree with our choices on which stories to cover, and the prominence that we give to them. These decisions are made by our news editors, taking into consideration the editorial merit of the stories at hand, and we accept that not everyone will think that we are correct on each occasion. These decisions are always judgement calls rather than an exact science, but we appreciate the feedback that our viewers and listeners give us.

Many thanks once again for taking the time to get in touch. We do hope our reply here helps to clarify matters and thus allays any concerns you may have had.

Kind Regards

BBC Complaints Team
www.bbc.co.uk/complaints

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On balance, I do think a fair response by the BBC.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

BBC Election Complaint 1

The BBC often annoy me with the left-leaning political coverage, but they took it to new levels during the election campaign.

Looking back, I think I had an excellent point with this complaint.  Not so sure on the next one I'll post...

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Dear Sir/Madam

I have just come back from my imaginary girlfriend's house, Margaret, where I was watching the debate.  I didn't really want to watch the debate, but she was watching it so I had no choice.


Immediately it was clear that a pro-Corbyn audience had been picked.  The BBC had clearly picked a majority who would whoop and cheer for Corbyn like no other candidate.

Not only that, but the interviewer seemed not to allow time for the audience to clap Amber Rudd, and also seemed to offer a disproportionate amount of responses to Corbyn to follow Nuttall's generally dreadful points.  Subtle - but I didn't miss it.

It is difficult enough for the Conservative Party to counter Labour's lies and disinformation without the BBC being on their side too - the supposedly neutral broadcaster.

I have often thought the BBC to be biased towards Labour, though this had seemed to lessen in the last few years.  But this was shocking.  An absolutely disgraceful abuse of broadcasting power.

I appreciate that the BBC might be upset about the idea of another Conservative government, but I expect you to at least make a little bit of effort into reducing bias.

Not only were the audience biased - but the parties themselves, with 5 being of socialist bent - 2 of which are not even national parties.

The whole debate was manufactured to disadvantage the Conservative Party.

Regards
James Winfield

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Dear Mr Winfield

Many thanks for getting in touch about The BBC Election Debate 2017 broadcast live on BBC One from Cambridge on Wednesday 31st May.

We were naturally concerned to learn of your unhappiness in relation to the audience at the event, so we've discussed viewer concerns personally and at length with the programme's Editor and other senior editorial personnel within BBC News.

To allow us to reply promptly, and to ensure we use our TV Licence fee resources as efficiently as possible, we’re sending this response to everyone. We’re sorry we can’t reply individually, but we hope this will address most of the points raised.

To explain, the BBC commissioned polling company ComRes to recruit an audience reflecting the country demographically and politically.

The BBC Election Debate 2017 involved a discussion between seven different parties, and while some members of the audience were more vocal than others this does not mean its composition was not balanced.

The Conservative and Labour parties had the largest share of supporters in the room.

ComRes has published a fuller summary of its methodology here: www.comresglobal.com/comres-recruitment-for-the-bbc-tv-debate-31-may-2017/.

Many thanks once again for taking the time to get in touch. We do hope our reply here helps to clarify our approach and thus allays any concerns you may have had.

Kind Regards

BBC Complaints Team
www.bbc.co.uk/complaints

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

No Booze Until No Belly

That's it.  I've had enough.

Until the last week or so, it seemed like every day I have either got drunk or been hungover.

Since March, I have put on nearly 12kg of weight.  I am the fattest that I have ever been.  I feel unhealthy, I am unfit, my productivity is lower than it should be - though I have had fuckloads of fun in recent months.

There is only one reason I put on weight, and that is alcohol.  If I have more than two beers, I crave shit food.  And then the next day, I crave shit food too.  Both days I will consume around 4,000 to 6,000 calories.

Alternatively, if I don't drink and don't have a hangover, then I consume between 1,500 and 2,000 calories.

Every detox month I have, I lose 3kg or so.  When I started writing this, I was 96.6kg.  I want to be 80kg.

There is only one solution if I want to be rid of my belly.  Give up booze. No booze until no belly.

There will be people out there who will just suggest moderation, or more exercise.  But I am not very good at moderating my alcohol intake - and there is zero chance of me doing two sit-ups on a hangover, no matter how good for me it might be.  Generally I am not a semi-committed person.  Either I am fully committed, or I am not committed - or something close to full/none.  There is no halfway.

And I'm not going to pretend that I'll do much in the way of exercise.  But I'll try and do some - it even got to the point recently where I barely did any walking, let alone anything strenuous.  I'd kind of like to do some kind of sport but I'm shit at most sports, don't like physical contact (of the sporting variety) and as per my usual issue, I struggle to find the time and motivation.

Alcohol or related expenditure (ie bacon sandwiches the day after) consumes a vast quantity of my spare money.  I am not rich.  I earn enough to have no problems, but almost all of my spare money goes on having fun, drinking, and eating out.

But I am finding an increasing need for spending elsewhere; I need new jeans as two pairs have recently developed a hole in their respective bum areas, I need a new winter coat as my old ones are tired and starting to fall apart.  I need a summer jacket and shorts, in the upcoming sales, ready for next summer.  I need some new pillows, as I stupidly left mine in Bracknell, and have been using my landlady's substandard pillows.

I want some new bits for the kitchen, I want a speaker system for outside, I want a fucking Dyson as this round blob thing of my landlady's is rubbish.  I want some lids for my technics...I want more vinyl!  And I need this sequin rucksack - it is me, isn't it?


I want/need a holiday.  I am actually going to book one as long as I can save up £200 this month - I am on a pretty strict budget.  As long as I don't go out and get drunk, I can afford it.  In fact, I want at least two more trips away this year.

I also want to spend more time coding, I want to enhance my skills so that I might either get a pay rise next year, or be able to get one or two paid projects.  I also want to get back into cooking properly - I rarely have the time or energy to cook properly in an evening now, yet I appreciate it so much when I do.  Likewise, I want to spend more time practising DJing - again thwarted by the depletion of my time and energy resources.

I'm sure I'll crack at some point.  I will probably allow myself a beer or two when I achieve some weight reduction goals.

And holidays are obviously exempt, from the moment I get through security at the airport.

See you later, beer.  Hello carrot juice.

Wednesday, September 06, 2017

Complaint: Badvocado

Written when I was unemployed...

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"Oh not him again".

Yes I know, you thought that you wouldn't hear from me again now I'm unemployed (technically on gardening leave which means I do things like sorting out kitchen cupboards looking for out of date tins of pineapple), as I am now just a yellow sticker boy with an occasional foray into Iceland.  I shall still probably buy carrots from you.

But on my last weekly shop with you until I am redeemed from this life of loneliness (I have lots of friends, honest), I have disappointment to proffer.

Recently I have been wondering what it would be like to be a lesbian.  So for this week's food shopping, I decided against buying chicken for my salad and went full vegetarian (lunchtime vegetarian anyway).  Avocado was going to be my meat substitute.

Imagine my disappointment when I cut open one of my two avocados to find it was a badvocado.  Brown with a hint of green.  Yuckity yuck.

You can send me a voucher for the avocado if you wish but unfortunately it may be a while before I can use it online.  Hopefully someone will see the web developer talent in me before they see the complaint writing talent.

All the best.
James 'Lesbian' Winfield

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Dear James

Thanks for blessing us with your presence.

I am sorry that your avocados have arrived in this condition and I hope that this has not made you give up on this newfound passion of yours.

I know how a badvocado can ruin a salad all too well, and I am thus passing this issue to our Kenton branch so they can work on improving the fresh produce sent out to you, so that your carrot purchases can continue.

I am issuing an evoucher, for £4 to cover the avocado plus a little extra as a gesture of goodwill. The voucher code is A4MG-6KQX-Q74V, and will be valid for 2 years, but I hope we see you well before then.

We appreciate the time you’ve taken to contact Sainsbury’s and hope the gardening leave does not go on too long.

Kind regards,

Duncan Graham | Sainsbury's Online

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Random image of Spanish lesbians.