I’m burying myself in my work, keeping busy and looking for positives, which in my own world is easier. I’m grateful to be in good health, especially as the health service appears to be overstretched to a point where people are in trolleys in hospital corridors. The government will not take responsibility even though they fund the service. Last year they decided the junior doctors were part of the problem. Yesterday it was the General Practitioners. During the week the Health Minister raised the issue of people arriving at A&E without urgent medical conditions. Our mental health services are grossly underfunded. If you are a teenager or a child experiencing mental health distress so severe you need a bed you will be lucky to find one near where you live. If we funded our health service at the level of Germany the NHS would have an extra £40 billion. I’m convinced the Tories are trying to starve the NHS so that people will think continuing the privatization of healthcare disgracefully started by Blair’s Labour government would make it better. Bloody awful.
And then on Friday President Trump takes over. I hope he can establish a better relationship with Russia and this leads to the end of the conflict in Syria. I see what’s happened in the past 12 months as Russia reasserting it’s role in world affairs. After the fall of communist rule there was an opportunity for a more peaceful world. Remember talk of the ‘peace dividend’? What happened to it? Instead the west continued with NATO and allowed Poland and other former allies of Russia to become members. Whilst humiliating Russia the public turned to Putin after the embarrassment of Yeltsin, who was never far away from a bottle of vodka. I said I hope Trump can establish better relations with Russia but he is thin skinned and prone to insulting people in the middle of the night whilst the rest of America sleeps.
And we will see how Teresa May and him get on. Something tells me they won’t. She knows she’s got to try but it’s going to take a lot of tongue holding. Will she be able to?
And she’s got Brexit to deal with. The Supreme Court are rumoured to rule against the government and say they have to involve Parliament in the process. And by doing that they involve us. Because what they say in parliament is not a secret. Since the referendum there have been EU citizens married to British citizens, in some cases educated here and they are being told they have to leave when they apply for British citizenship. Shameful. Is this what you voted for? No? Then raise your voice.
Tristram Hunt is giving up politics to take up a job with the Victoria and Albert Musuem. After the 2015 election he said the Labour Party had to show they are “also on the side of families who want to shop at John Lewis, go on holiday and get a new extension”. Very patronising. He will not be missed.
What does being a successful artist mean these days? Take Adele as an example. She has had three LPs out in a timespan of 7 years and 10 months. 19 came out in January 2008 and 25 in November 2015. And this is not in itself unusual. But in the 1960s the level was different. Let’s take The Beatles as one example. 7 years and 10 months from the release of their first LP, Please Please Me in March 1963 takes us to January 1971. They’d split up by then. But look how many LPs they produced…
Their second LP was eight months after the first. I’ll say it again, eight months. It was called With The Beatles. Number three was A Hard Day’s Night, again released eight months later. Then they decided to stop slacking. Number four was Beatles For Sale and that was released five months later. I could go on listing but you get the picture. In total 12 LPs in the space of 6 years and 6 months. And they were at the top of their game. Changing musical styles, influencing popular culture and leaving behind a back catalogue that still gets listened to today. Were they unusual in their work rate? Well, lets compare them to The Rolling Stones. They were latecomers, their first wasn’t was released until April 1964. In five years and eight months up to December 1969 they released 8 LPs. Simply remarkable and if any artists ever create material at that level ever again I’ll be surprised.