Saturday, January 19, 2013


Im thinking of using a little money to follow my vocation.

First step, is to purchase a new bass guitar.

For many years, I've had a Vintage V900 (Vintage - a brand name of John Hornby Skewes).

It is a reliable bass, but I've had problems with it over the years.

Take the back plate off to change the battery and you're left with a mish mash of wires and what looks like a possibly second hand Active Bass electronics. The wiring is substandard and brittle and I've had to resolder things several times. There's no electro magnetic shielding in the battery and electronic compartment and this could explain the hideous humming you get when waving the bass near anything electrical such as a monitor.

The action was too low causing hideous fret buzz, and the tuners kept detuning, poor poor parts, and needed to be replaced.

Very poor in my opinion.

But it has been my reliable steed. However the pots are now disintegrating and unusable.

So Im considering a Fender Standard Jazz bass, a Yamaha RBX374 and an Ibanez SR300.

Im tempted for the Yamaha for budgetry reasons, however I might be able to splash out on a Fender.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Gripe about Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham

Before I get going, let me just point out that the staff are fabulous, PALS are fabulous. It is obvious they are working under difficult situations and making the best of it. This gripe is about the "system".

I've been due to have my gallbladder out. They called for me last Tuesday to advise the operation had been cancelled as they had run out of space due to Norovirus doing the rounds and the other hospitals closed.

Although I failed to get the message, they did however leave one, and they have been busy with other issues since Norovirus. No problem there. The biggest gripe I have is that neither reception, or the nurses said my operation had been cancelled. They just said there was a problem and left me waiting in the waiting room for two and a half hours.

They eventually got back in yesterday. Nil by mouth again since midnight, hanging around waiting, waiting, no feedback. Just patient waiting. I was there from 8am and the doctor finally saw me at 2.30pm to say the operation had been cancelled yet again. His words, were along the lines of them trying to squeeze me in between two liver transplants and over running.

Well, I must shout heavily here. Although I appreciate the fact they tried to get me in at the next available opportunity, they seem to be struggling with emergencies here, and emergencies are pushing back routine scheduled operations.

Well that makes me concerned first of all for capacity of the Queen Elizabeth. You also can't tell me I was the only other scheduled liver related issue that day. This just suggests to me there is one surgeon running around in one theatre.

While transplants are undoubtedly an emergency, I can't believe that this means any other liver related issue is cancelled. Either there is no capacity, or I was squeezed in - as the doctor said.

Well, I'd rather not be squeezed in. I'd rather be at the top of a list of routine planned surgeries so I have at least got some hope of being seen that day.

So that's a day of holiday wasted.

The icing on the cake yesterday was when I was given a £3.40 voucher for food in the restaurant. After picking the fish mornay meal and being offered chips, I got to the till, presented my voucher and asked to provide a extra £1.50 for the chips. A small piece of fish that is half the size of your fist is £3.40! Well I couldn't afford it as I came in with very little money, a bit of change for the phone, because I was told to bring nothing in with me as it was an unsecured ward.

Well I hit the roof. I said I couldn't afford the food, and after lots of dithering, told them to stick their food and their voucher and their prices are disgusting.

But the biggest problem, is that I either want nothing, or a voucher that can cover the cost of a meal!

Very upset and annoyed.

I understand that they are busy, that there are bugs roaming the country, but I just want to be at the top of the particular list Im supposed to be on. I can probably guarantee that several other people will be getting their gallbladder surgery next Wednesday. Well, that's not right in my book. How about you cancel those and put me at the top of the list?

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Privatisation of the NHS

I hear many debates about the privatisation of the NHS, some make arguments that it would be good, others bad.

It is hard to know where to tread in this minefield. However, I am conscious, that any private company exists, mainly and solely to make a profit - unless of course it is a truly philanthropic company, but given that most companies have shareholders, and shareholders by and large care about making a few quid through the stock market, then to me the idea of private companies running parts of the NHS is an absolutely abhorrent idea to me.

Competition is the thing that is lauded. Competition is good.

Is is.

But in this captitalist and greedy culture we live in, that competition will seek to cut corners. It will either save costs through mergers, or cutting back of non-essential services. Employees, namely doctors (and most likely nurses) will have to work longer hours, more oncall hours, perhaps less pay reviews, less benefits, less investment in equipment.

The only way to make a profit is to spend less than what you earn. And the only way to achieve this is either to cut costs by increasing the commitment by staff, or by increasing prices. As this is quite impossible to do to the end user and NHS is run according to budgets, then guess what it's going to be?

There may be a certain argument that GP's should earn less, that it is their own greed that has created this mess.

However I support our doctors and nurses and acknowledge that they perform a difficult job and need to be rewarded appropriately (and worked less).

What I don't necessarily support is the wastage within the NHS in terms of unnecessary procedures and poor diagnosis - like my case when I had ruptured a quadriceps tendon, during my recovery, instead of being sent to a sports physio and getting well within six month, I was 3 years under the NHS with regular visits to the hospital including expensive MRI's.

I still think society needs to work out it's greed ambition - not everyone has that greed, but a lot of people in real power today while the rest of us plebs struggle to cope. And those with power who are greedy, encourage us to be greedy, because that's the only way out of our personal hell.

Forget privatisation which only exists to make a profit, and sort out the greed epidemic.

Friday, January 04, 2013

Church Should Reflect Society

It almost amazes me when some downtrodden fetishist group declares the Church has lost touch with Society and that the Church needs to reflect society. How can we ask Gay Bishops to be celibate? The Church has clearly lost its way.

Gay bishops, Celibacy, right or wrong, Im not here to debate that point.

Im here to debate the principle that the Church is expected to almost follow mainstream society. What is good for society, is good for the Church.

Er, if that was the case, we should be tolerating alcoholism, recreational drug use, casual and promiscuous sex, divorce, consumerism, materialism etc.

The Church may be an outdated concept, but I believe the Church and its leaders have a position to be the last vestige of moral ethics, a beacon, a guiding light in the decaying fabric of society. Instead of wanton permissiveness and selfish greed, we strive we something more, something better, purpose, meaning, self-respect. Our greed and permissiveness can be seen in marriage and divorce for example, where all too often, it is seen as a celebration, a good piss up, entered into on a whim instead of being treated with the reverence and sanctity it deserves). That's not to say no one does that, but everything seems very "promiscuous" now.