Friday, 16 March 2012

An introduction of sorts

Why blog?  Everyone’s doing it, that’s why, and if the opinions of every second snot-nosed know-nothing urban man-child can find a home on the internets, then the musings of a trivia-laden middle-aged bloke in the sticks surely can, too.

The title of this blog stems from those stories you hear of people who refuse to use the good china, or wear their best clothes, for fear they will be ruined - and then they die without having ever enjoyed the wonderful things they'd acquired or been given.  Well, Mrs G and I determined long ago that we wouldn't do that.  The best Denby china we got for our wedding has been in use from the day we got it, and still is, nearly 15 years later.

So, this blog is a bit about making choices which capitalise on the best of what you have, not conserving it for some obscure future.  At least, that's what I hope it might turn out to be.

I have a diverse background, having travelled widely in the world in my childhood but much less so as I’ve gotten older and spawned a few minions with Mrs G.  I’ve visited New Zealand, Singapore, Thailand, India, Afghanistan, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia and the US, and I’ve lived for extended periods in Pakistan and South Africa.  I’ve worked in the media, retail, hospitality and entertainment industries, and in the public service (state and federal) at a range of levels and in a weird selection of fields.  I have a very broad general knowledge (over a three year period I won the local FM radio station’s $1,000 minute quiz three times, and I co-write a devious annual quiz for a community group).  My interests are in theatre, movies, national politics, and humour.  When it comes to humour I delight in puns and absurdism, but all sorts of things make me smile.  In music I like the early-mid career of Elton John, up to and including “A Single Man”, but not much after.  But to say this would be too restrictive, because there’s very little that I don’t enjoy, or at least appreciate.  Dubstep is probably where I draw the line; that and anything which claims to be “R&B” which post-dates Sam & Dave.  And gangsta-rap.  Okay, so I kind of stopped paying attention around 1998, but that doesn't mean I don't like anything after then.

I’m a self-taught pianist and guitarist of average ability – basically, when I was about 14, I applied the knowledge of four grades of AMEB music theory to the guitar chords on sheet music and taught myself to bang out chords on a piano.  In the ensuing 25 years I’ve learned to twiddle the keys a bit more in keeping with the piano lines in the recorded arrangements of songs, but the basic approach remains the same.  About 7 years ago I learned to play guitar chords on an actual guitar, for the purposes of being paid to perform.  I admit I was able to hide my sub-par performance behind a better player until I got up to speed.  Fun times, involving high levels of audience interaction, ribaldry and very rough guitar-wrangling.

So anyway, I’m here to crap on about whatever I want and, if you enjoy it, please say so and, if you don’t … well, as my dear departed mother would have said “if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all”.  But then she was a well brought up English girl, and she would say that, having never known the terror or joy of a good online flaming (she died before the word “blog” really entered common parlance).  In the end they’re only words, yours and mine, so let’s all try to keep that in mind and keep this place a little bit nice.


What's going on with the profile pic?  Well, that's what my minions call "happy and sad viking", a reference to the configuration of the horns.  When they're both up, it's "happy viking"; both down is "sad viking"; one up, one down ... well, I think you get it now.

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