Monday, 27 July 2009

We will remember them

The passing of Harry Patch reminds me of an interview I heard with him in The Today programme about four years ago.

What struck me then was the sense of a reluctant hero, a paradoxical achronism brought about by longevity. Mr Patch, despite his years, seemed all too aware of this and spoke of how he was merely a survivor, thrust into the spotlight by the passing of time.

A modest and brave man, he spoke of being wounded in WWI when he was 19 and his narrative was both stoic yet colourful, brought to life by the sagacity of his experience. Nevertheless, the one feature of the interview that I always remembered was that he was steadfast in his belief that war was a waste of human life. He also, worryingly, seemed convinced a third world war was looming, this time based on chemicals.

He expressed no wish to be alive when that time came.

I wish to echo the sentiments of Fortmer Timed editor, William Rees-Mogg, the importence of the first WW should never be understimated. In truth, way in which the world was carved up afterwards haunt us still today.

But, despite the mistakes, the valliance of those soldiers must never be forgotten and it's now our burden to carry the lessons of the first World War forward for future generations.

RIP Harry Patch.

Monday, 20 July 2009

Back to (modern) reality

I have just arrived back from a relaxing four days in Dumfries, in an old Blacksmith's Cottage which had no television or internet.

It was a back to basics trip, albeit with good company and food; and I can honestly say I didn't miss either...for the first three days! After that, I couldn't wait to check up on my emails, watch the golf highlights etc.

Despite breaking at three days, I do think we all need a break from the electrical prisons we unwittingly build around us. I am going to make such breaks a more regular thing, even in my own household.

Authors for the trip where Joseph O'Neil and Seb Faulkes. It was a good mix, accompanied by a rather more mixed-bag courtesy of my Mother in Law's i-pod...

Sleep wasn't at a premium during the trip, however, as my LO kept waking in the night because they are teething. I don't begrudge waking up though, it just means I need more coffee to function tomorrow.

The virtous circle of a parent...!

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Echo, all about it?

Growing up in Liverpool, I always enjoyed having two local daily papers. The Post was great for business and opinion whilst the Echo was its more famous brother; both influential and widely supported in and around the City.

Which is why it's even more depressing to hear TM are planning to turn the Echo into a morning paper:

I recently spoke to a contact at the Nottingham Evening Post, which has also moved to a morning paper. He agreed that such a move erodes confidence in a paper and destroys its sense of identity.

Times may be tough but cost cutting has and always be in the interests of corporations and not in local democracy or quality journalism.

I despair for the future of our regional print media.