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The five-knuckle reshuffle

Ah, here we are, cabinet reshuffle day. Kind of like transfer deadline day for nerds.

Nope, not going to go into the ins and outs of the World King's swings and roundabouts, though I will note (as I did earlier elsewhere, recycling one's own remarks is, I feel, very much in keeping with the spirit of a thrifty age, and if Ant and Dec can make an entire career out of one joke, I see no reason why I shouldn't recycle a tweet) that Leadsom and McVey getting shown the boot is something that can only add greatly to the gaiety of nations. I thought about it, but I can't be arsed. Since the election, and the subsequent nodding thorough of the withdrawal bill, I've felt a political ennui settle slowly on me, indeed, almost a sort of grim satisfaction. Fine, you've got what you wanted, let's see how you like it.

I'll snap out of it at some point, I imagine, but not even the red meat of Sajid Javid resigning can really rouse me to take much interest in the curren…
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A fairly quiet sort of rebellion

I have learned a couple of reasonably important lessons from blogging this week.

The first, as it occurs to me, is that is comforting to realise that I can learn new lessons, and am not, as yet, entirely set in my ways; I'll explain. I have just, prior to typing this, deleted a post that ran to several thousand words, which I'd been working on for a couple of days, but I just couldn't get it to work. It bore the title above, which was a reference to the fact that I don't drive, and the ire it seems to excite in some people. I made a fairly apposite comparison to Piers Morgan's performative rage about the arrival of the vegan sausage roll, my point being, if you don't like it, don't eat it. Likewise, if you object to my lifestyle choice, that's fine, but keep it to yourself. I expanded on this with a brief discursion into how it appears that intolerance is a growth industry at the moment. I thought I made a few good points, but I just couldn't quite …

Steak, and only steak

I have been trying to steer clear of thinking too much about politics for a short while, for the sake of my mental health as anything else, at least until Friday's out of the way; but I did think that graceless, petty and embarrassing display from Farage and his ghastly cadre of Brexiteers yesterday was worth a comment or two. Though, in the spirit of trying to avoid getting too political, I'll mostly be talking about steak.

But first, politics. Inevitably, the Brexit debate has curdled into stereotypes as the two sides became ever more entrenched. On one side, we have the Remainers, easily characterised as shrill, condescending, sneering, failing to understand that their attitude won't convert anyone else from the other side (as an excellent and perspicacious article from Rafael Behr considers here), on the other the Brexiteers, myopic, blinkered, angry, self-satisfied, convinced that they're right in the face of all prevailing evidence.

Of course, as is always the ca…

The Sense of an Ending

I've often felt that one of the more curious tricks that the mind plays upon itself is to apportion significance and congruity to art that it doesn't necessarily deserve; or rather, to imagine that the art has found you, rather than you finding it.* The half-heard song which is in a key which perfectly captures your mood, the film that has a throwaway line which applies perfectly to some problem that you've had on your mind. That moment where you think yes, that's it, that's precisely what I mean.

This is, I imagine, more a manifestation of the human habit of trying to see patterns where there aren't any, to try and intuit some sort of significance from a largely dumb and indifferent universe, than it is the result of any cosmic intervention; but it's a fun sensation anyway, and often a comforting one, it's one of the reasons we find such solace in books, films, music. They can, we feel, teach us about ourselves, and if this lesson happens by accident t…

Slightly missing the point

As I write, the airline Flybe, which is one of the few carriers still to run a number of British internal flights, is on the verge of going into administration. Now, this is not normally the sort of story which crosses the Coastalblog radar. "Business finds trading environment harsh" is a familiar story, and whilst each one comes with a backstory of actual people losing actual jobs it's hard to pick one from the other.

The main reason that the Flybe story piqued my interest wasn't the story itself, but the reporting around it. In short: the airline may be about to close and is blaming the high rates of duty for making it unprofitable. Cue numerous discussions about whether or not this duty is fair, analysis of the wider implications, bemoaning of the state of the domestic aviation industry. Much of which seemed to me to be largely missing the point.

I'm going to tread carefully here. As a Cornishman, I'm acutely aware of how cut off the county is from the re…

Smashing it, or why the death of understatement is a pain in the arse.

Don't laugh, but in truth I am not much of a one for moaning about how things were better in my day.

Now, this assertion may make the odd reader spit out their kombucha or chai-latte all over their touch-screen. I appreciate that I can tend towards the grumpy on here, but, what I would say in my defence, is that when railing against the ills of the modern age, I generally do try to be a bit balanced. The piece on here which got some of the most attention was an one about my preference for elderly technology, after all, but I was at pains to point out the good in the new.

I don't think fruit tasted better in my youth, I bemoan not the demise of the pop man bringing shit-awful cherryade to your front door. I don't look back misty-eyed on a time when men were men and women better get the dinner on or they'll have another black eye to explain to the neighbours, and I think we can all agree that children's entertainment is vastly improved by not being presented by pred…

Coastalblog's belated pitch for the wellness market

So the end of the year is nigh, possibly also the world, but fairly certainly the year, provided we manage to make it through the next week or so, and I think most readers will agree that 2019 has made for fairly grim viewing. The 2018 season was bad enough, but 2019 has basically been a series of increasingly unpleasant plot twists; in fairness, the shark was jumped back in 2017, with that unbelievable call-an-election-from-an-unlosable-position-and-then-nearly-lose-it plotline (though I wouldn't have minded that one getting an airing again), everything since then has been increasingly unrealistic, as the showrunners have leapt for ever more implausible narrative arcs in order to keep the show on the road.

Now, last year I started one of my last blogs of the year in similar vein, only to then turn it into a number of reasons to be cheerful. I started this particular blog a few days ago in a fairly grim mood (trying to get round to doing anything other than work at this time of ye…