Before i Forget : Simon Jones's blog

September 2009

GeneralWednesday, September 30th, 2009, (7:20 am)

Tell me, is this a male thing or am I just a heartless bastard when I confess that I find babies a little boring?

A friend of mine once told me that he wasn’t all that excited about his newborn daughter because she wasn’t yet fully able to interact with him on any truly meaningful level. It was an admission which he later denied, but one which I totally related to.

Make no mistake, it’s not that I dislike babies. Far from it! In fact I am a big fan of the process by which babies are made, and if practice makes perfect then after all these years of practicing I could potentially have a pretty damn near perfect baby one day.

Should that happen then maybe I will develop the curious skill of being able to make out my baby in one of those grainy black and white sonogram ultrasound scans. I have yet to see a baby in one of those pictures so in the event of being shown one I tend to look at it intently while I silently count to 20 or something.

Truth is I was never any good at those ‘magic eye’ pictures that you’re supposed to stare at and wait for the hidden scene to reveal itself to you, and I think sonogram pictures might very well use the same technology.

However, for theatrical purposes I tilt my head to the side a little, squint, and slightly change the angle of the picture. Then, after an appropriate time for thorough inspection of said picture, and usually some assistance ‘seeing’ the baby from the proud mother, I exclaim excitedly ‘Oh yeah! Wow, how cute!’ Of course, this is all for show because once again the magic eye sonogram will reveal no such baby to me.

I sometimes wonder, yet dare not ask, if the men involved in the pregnancy are really as excited as their partner when they look at that fuzzy black and white picture. Do they fake their excitement through fear of admitting that they can’t see the baby? Or perhaps there is a ‘how to’ guide within the pages of those pregnancy books that new parents always seem to have in abundance.

One part of the whole pregnancy process which I imagine is a lot of fun is choosing a name for your baby. Armed with books and old family names to consider, I know some people who are currently doing just that. To them, and indeed anyone else searching for the perfect name for their child, I would like to suggest, a website I came across a while back on a design showcase. The site allows you to pick a name by tradition, or personality trait. You can also search for the meaning of any given name.

Of course, my friends might already have names in mind, names which they gave to imaginary children years ago. That’s not uncomman. In fact my own imaginary son is called ‘Boston’ purely because the name ‘Boston Jones’ just sounds so cool to me. As you might expect though, my imaginary wife isn’t at all enthralled by my suggestion.

In the end though, regardless of the name, the grainy sonograms, the design of the creche, and the cute little clothes, I still find babies a little boring. They poop and cry and as charming as that might be it’s a charm that is mostly lost on me.

I doubt I’m the only person who feels this way, though I may be among only a few who dare admit such a social sin. I suspect that might all change should I ever become a parent, and in fact I would very much hope it does.
Babies are boring
Where did my sex kitten go?
It’s not sexy being a bay bore
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GeneralSaturday, September 19th, 2009, (5:20 pm)

A number of people have been asking me about my little nephew, Jacob, who has been fighting cancer. So by way of an update to everyone who has been praying for Jake and sending good wishes out into the universe for him, you’ll be pleased to know he’s doing great and is currently enjoying making new friends at school.

Sumalee and Jacob

Having completed his chemo and radiotherapy earlier this summer Jake has been doing very well and enjoying lots of fun times at the families new holiday home in Norfolk. He gets especially excited about a nearby dinosaur park.

The excellent doctors and various medical staff from our National Health Service who have treated Jake are now closely monitoring his health. Obviously we are all hoping that the cancer does not re-occur, however if you’ve been praying for Jake, or sending good wishes his way then DON’T STOP NOW because whatever you’ve been doing has been working but he still needs all the prayers, good luck, good wishes, heavenly help, and miracles that he can get.

Finally, thank you to everyone who sent postcards to Jacob and Sumalee. Those postcards really lifted the spirits of not just the children, but my sister, Louise, and her husband Bryan, as well.

About Jacob’s cancer by his Mom, Louise
Worth every minute
One day at a time
Looking for a miracle
On a personal note

MusicSunday, September 13th, 2009, (8:03 pm)

Following the post I made last week about the free Coldplay music giveaway, I ended up going to see them in concert in Manchester with my Canadian couchsurfing guest Sarah. It was a spontaneous decision, but that’s where the good stuff in life is found.

Coldplay, live in Manchester

At the end of a welcome week of sunny weather it felt good to get out in the open for an evening of live music in the company of a few thousand people. Unfortunately though, the crowd at Old Trafford Cricket ground were a little more laid back than I had expected. There was no real buzz of electricity pulsing through the audience, but this didn’t take away from what was a great show by the band.

Highlights for me were the thousands of paper butterflies that were fired into the air before descending slowly to the masses below who reached out to catch them, and the colorful firework finale that brought the evening to an end. You can see these moments in a video I shot at the event (below).

At the end of the night, as promised and by way of a thank you, everyone got a free live CD. As I posted last week, you can download the live tracks at the Coldplay website.

They’re playing in Glasgow on Wednesday, and London on Friday and Saturday… I’m almost tempted to go again.

[Video] More clips from another persons viewpoint (Great clip of the butterflies)
[Video] Fix You – Performed live in Edmonton Canada
Something for nothing
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Nothing cold about it
I’m glad I was there
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GeneralWednesday, September 9th, 2009, (8:00 am)

Brits obsess about the weather, and if you were here for this years so-called “barbecue summer” then you would understand why… because it was crap!

Britain's barbecue summer.

Back in April the Met Office, the UK’s national weather service, predicted that summer 2009 was “odds on” to be a “barbecue summer.” This raised the hopes and expectations of Brits who haven’t seen a decent stretch of summer weather since 2006.

As bleak recession news filled the headlines at the start of the year a “barbecue summer” was just what the country needed to raise spirits and give the economy a shot in the arm as cash strapped Brits elected to forego vacations in the sun for ‘staycations’ closer to home.

But aside from two measly weeks in June the promise of a sunny summer to remember failed to materialize. Instead July and August were a string of rainy days with depressing concrete colored skies that hung like a curse over the British Isles.

When I first heard the phrase “barbecue summer” I couldn’t help but be suspicious. First off this is Britain – not the south of France. We’re famous for being a dreary little over-populated island dogged by bad weather and raging drunks. Okay, maybe I’m a little down on the UK at the moment, but bear with me, I’m suffering from the early onset of S.A.D.

Secondly, while everyone was getting excited at the prospect of cooking al fresco and (binge) drinking cold beers in the sun, didn’t it occur to anyone that it was still only April? Weather forecasters in the UK struggle to get tomorrows weather right, so how on earth could they be in any position to make lofty claims about a forthcoming glorious summer? The timing seemed suspicious to me, and I couldn’t help but wonder if this was some government ploy to make us stay at home and spend our hard earned money here, rather than overseas.

Then came the two weeks in June. I sat outside and ate melon for breakfast every morning. I planted salad crops and watered my thirsty sunflowers that were growing up fast like grandchildren. My banana plant exploded into life and even produced the first signs of a flower which promised to actually bear fruit. Banana’s in England!

I sat under the parasol amid my flourishing tropical plants and allowed the warmth of the sun to melt away my cynicism. I too became intoxicated by the prospect of the balmy British summer ahead.

Then came the rain.

This weather makes me SAD

While there may have been a few moments where water wasn’t falling in varying degrees from a constant blanket of gloom hanging ominously overhead, I can’t really remember them. Instead my memories of this summer will be a succession of rainy days as drab and uninspiring as a James Blunt CD.

Yes, we saw a few moments of blue sky in our 4 Lads 1 Crap Car adventure, but we also saw plenty or rain, and I’m fed up of grasping at momentary glimpses of a sunbeam like a starving man scrambling for crumbs on a table. It’s utterly depressing when you have to wear winter clothes and switch on your heating in August.

I could tease myself with the prospect of an Indian summer in September, but such whimsy would be foolishness. I live on a soggy little island that offers up sunny days like pearls from the ocean. For the past few years my summers have been bought and paid for. If anything, this years “barbecue summer” has convinced me never again to invest hope, time, or money in the promise of that near mythical event they call an English summer.

Britons fume over faulty weather prediction
[Audio] British summer is a complete washout
Met Office unrepentant for ‘barbecue summer’ spin
Is Gordon Brown to blame for cooking up the phrase ‘barbecue summer’?
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MusicSunday, September 6th, 2009, (1:45 am)

Here’s an overdue hat tip to Coldplay for giving away a live album for free to everyone going to their concerts over the summer and the rest of us out here in internetland. The album is a nine track live EP called ‘LeftRightLeftRightLeft’ and you can download it for FREE!

This is essentially old news, apparently the band starting giving everyone who went to their gigs over the summer a copy of ‘LeftRightLeftRightLeft.’ I only just found out about it the other day when I stumbled across it on the coldplay website.

The giveaway live album features favorites like ‘Clocks,’ ‘Viva La Vida,’ and ‘Fix You.’

“Playing live is what we love. This album is a thank you to our fans – the people who give us a reason to do it and make it happen.” Said the band in a statement.

Some people don’t like live albums, but I enjoy hearing the atmosphere. Call me whatever you like, but there’s something powerful in hearing thousands of people, who might not ordinarily choose to sing out loud in public, singing their hearts out to some near ethereal track like ‘Fix you.’

Download ‘LeftRightLeftRightLeft’ FREE
Nothing cold about it
I’m glad I was there
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