Getting the Vaccine

To my surprise, I had a text from the NHS calling me in for my vaccine last Friday.

The fact that they have started vaccinating under 30s as soon as they have around here is a really impressive feat. and I share my admiration and respect to everyone who has been involved in the process.

The process was very easy, I went in, stated my name and date of birth about three times, sat down, waited for five minutes, then was called up to have it. They also provided a leaflet with all of the information regarding what the vaccine is made up of and it’s possible side affects.

The vaccine happened so fast, I barely noticed it. The key thing to do is to make sure your arm is relaxed, and if needles aren’t your thing at all, keep breathing and look away.

They make sure you sit for 15 minutes, just to make sure you are not feeling any adverse affects.

And out I went with my card, awaiting the call for my second dose, which I imagine will be done via text.

My arm is aching, I am feeling a little bit drained but nothing too bad.

I feel very privileged to have been able to receive the vaccine but unfortunately, many people in the world will not be able to receive a dose for some time.

India in particular is suffering and there is a significant need for oxygen to save lives. I have been given a reliable donation link and if you are able to support, I’d encourage you to do so.

Here is the link: https://www.ketto.org/fundraiser/mission-oxygen-helping-hospitals-to-save-lives?utm_medium=whatsappShare&utm_content=d3c30bf00c4bf87fede016d8d577988d&shby=1&utm_source=internal&utm_campaign=mission-oxygen-helping-hospitals-to-save-lives

Wishing everyone well.

By-election – What I vote for

Today is the U.K. by-elections and for the Welsh, it feels pretty significant.

Many don’t want to admit that the U.K. is divided and dividing up and unless central powers in Westminister get their act together, things could look radically different.

So I cast my vote.

I won’t share the party, but I will share the values I was looking for. I’m not partisan to a party and I’ll happily swing depending on their manifesto and the time we are in and the challenges we face.

I voted for someone who came across as genuine, honest and worked at grassroots levels. I voted for someone who is optimistic and has plans that are ambitious and engage in possibility. I voted for someone who appears fresh in what is otherwise a system that has left many disenfranchised.

I voted for a party that puts education and healthcare at the heart of it’s policies as well as looking to take progressive action to tackle climate change.

For the first time, I felt like I was voting for something optimistic. How I wish the process of voting could be more optimistic and if we can look at new representative systems such as ranked voting which in turn, replaces first past the post, we may achieve that.

It was also great that 16-17 year olds were able to have a say. They’ve been massively affected by decisions which they have had no voice to say otherwise.

I’m fed up of parties and people slandering each other and everything being a rat race. What I want is for the narrative to be based on ‘we’ and for everyone to work as cooperatively as possible.

It’s been a tumultuous few years and as we go forward beyond this pandemic, let’s hope things can change for the better.

Decisions

We make decisions all the time. Many of which are small or at least seem it, whilst longer term impacts set in.

Take diet for instance, or committing to an exercise routine or pursuing a specialism. Deciding to enrol in these all offer long term outcomes.

But every now and then, we are poised with opportunities or possibilities that are monumentally big for us and bring about a fear of change or being uprooted.

So how do you decide?

Gut instinct certainly helps, but allowing time to meditate over choosing one thing above another and weighing up what you gain, what you sacrifice and what you compromise also helps.

Most importantly though, I think it comes down to your values, who you are and who you want to become. There may be external forces or pressure but it’s never good to deny who you are.

Either way, it also comes down to a willingness to dance with the unknown, we can only determine so much moving forward.

But for now, there’s the possibilities.

First times in a long time

This weekend, I did things that were before the COVID era considered ordinary things to do.

I sat outside a pub, with friends one evening, and played a game of five aside on the other. The absence of these things over an elongated period of time has meant that doing it again, I appreciate it more than ever.

Being able to interact with friends and family in a way where we do not have to be concerned about potentially harming each other with a virus is my idea of returning to normal.

We are not quite out of the woods just yet, so but things do look like they could be better and that’s what I hold on to.

Moving forward, I think we may be able to appreciate the things we can do again that we weren’t able to for a while that bit more, and seize the moment accordingly.

Unforgotten

April has been a creative whirlwind for me and I have barely stopped. But when I have, I have been watching crime dramas!

‘No comment’

‘Jesus, Mary, Joseph and the Wee Donkey!’

Of course, Line of Duty season 6 is out, being released weekly and whilst we leave in an on demand culture, I like the weekly anticipation that is culminated from the thrill ride that is this TV series. It’s convoluted, engaging, and outright daft at times, and Adrian Dunbar’s catchphrases crack me up every time. The interrogation scenes are also part of the magic as well.

But whilst I have been waiting for the release of each episode, I’ve been watching ITV’s Unforgotten, which I happened upon via a former lecturer of mine singing it’s praises on Facebook.

As far as marketing goes, nothing quite beats recommendations and word of mouth.

And in contrast to the thrills, interrogation and big crime syndicate series long plot of ‘Line of Duty’, ‘Unforgotten’ is a character focused series, often slow, patient, considered and above anything else, extraordinarily empathetic.

The lead characters Nicola Walker and Sanjeev Bhaskar are wonderful together and their own personal stories intertwined with the cases they work to solve are a treat.

The premise is based on crimes that took place decades ago, the impact they had on the victims and their loved ones and the persons involved with the murder in some way or another. From there, is an unravelling of lies, secrets that have been kept and revelations that have been tragic or shocking. It’s heavy stuff, but the way it is crafted by the writer Chris Lang is engaging and compelling.

I highly recommend this series.

Moral Principles

What standards do we set in our institutions and systems?

What is commonplace for us in terms of expectations as to how we behave?

For instance, unless there’s a legitimate reason to do so, you cannot shout ‘fire’ for the hell of it when you are on a plane.

This is a problem that social media has to grapple with. There’s free speech sure, but there’s also the responsibility of knowing what is and can be acceptable.

In some institutions, standards have slipped drastically, so much to the point that lying is normalised.

This not only undermines the trustworthiness that bounds our cultures together, it causes long term damage.

Honesty and integrity, two values that should be encouraged by everyone for everyone as we move forwards.

And the dominoes collapse

Well that didn’t take long did it?

The whole chaos and debacle with the European Super League was a bit of an outlier in recent times, insofar that it United everyone in the global football community, pundits, clubs, supporters against a small minority of powerful wealthy business people who gave too much say in a sport that they couldn’t care less about.

The people won. The sense of outrage and anger was palpable.

This can happen with football and I’m happy that it did, but it makes me wonder when it can happen with other significantly more serious and bigger issues.

As I said yesterday, this situation is a by-product of so much of what is fundamentally wrong with our world when it comes to inequality, oligarchies, unrepresentative democracies and media moguls.

The global climate is being wrecked, and the 1% are responsible for it.

Income inequality is rife, so much to the point that millions of families live in relative poverty in a developed country like the U.K.

Hundreds of millions of people across the globe still live in poverty.

The internet and more specifically social media is designed to propel hatred and division above contribution and possibility.

Racism and prejudice are still rife, both overtly and systemically.

Derek Chauvin was convicted and it has felt like for the first time in a long time, accountability took place.

Justice is a long way off.

We proved that everyday people can rally against tyrants for something we love but is essentially a wonderful irrelevance.

It’s time to do it for things that really matter.

Giri/Haji

This series is excellent.

I am loving crime series at the moment, but Giri/Haji (or translated in English as Duty/Shame) was very unique in a good way.

Firstly, the BBC and Japanese collaboration made for a fantastic international experience with strong casts and contrasting locations. The style was a real fusion of British Crime and Japanese style.

If you don’t watch series or films because of foreign languages and subtitles, your loss.

Secondly, the intrigue wasn’t in the mystery itself, more the tension of the whirlwind so many characters found themselves in after a string of bad choices and the consequences they had on people around them.

There was a chaos to the series, it is absolutely brutal but also outright hilarious with some really captivating and charming performances, most notably from Will Sharpe and Aoi Okuyama.

It’s wonderful to live in a world where series that are really niche and out there can be enjoyed by it’s audience. It’s a shame it got cancelled after the first series, but the 8 episodes are a thrilling roller coaster and can be there to be enjoyed on demand.

I thoroughly recommend this series.

P.S. Speaking of ‘On Demand’. The amount of people still watching appointment viewed terrestrial TV is big, and the complaints for the blanket coverage on the royal death over the weekend were unprecedented!

Forgot the inane adverts and the energy needed to formally complain when your show of choice gets booted for the commentary about the commentary about the royal coverage…there are so many options available to you, which you can have all at your fingertips…now!

Disability Sports Wales

Back in December, I was approached by Disability Sports Wales to provide some music for their awards ceremony.

Their awards ceremony took place online due to Covid restrictions this year but they have done a spectacular job in recognising and celebrating the work that organisations and individuals are doing to provide sporting opportunities that are inclusive and explores possibilities for everyone to reach their potential.

To find out more, the video can be viewed below.

Energy in = energy out

There are external forces at play, all the time.

We all have different sets of privilege and power.

Nevertheless, I strongly believe the choices we make are still profoundly impactful on the outcomes of where we end up and where we are headed.

Being able to make good choices is a skill, one that requires introspection and a sense of philosophy.

Positive energy that we spread can result in positive outcomes.

But the same goes for negative, and maybe negative energy spreads easier. It certainly feels that way at times.

At this point I share my concern for the conflict in Northern Ireland. The Good Friday Agreement was a much needed solution to a deeply rooted and complex problem. The solutions that were made all were put into threat when Brexit happened, something that kept the negotiations going for years.

And when lies are spread and promises broken, serious consequences can happen, and those responsible can’t deny that they were warned about this.

I sincerely hope that there is a peaceful resolve.