I've spent a great deal of time this week trying to get computers to function properly. Anyone running Zone Alarm 8 and wondering why their PC is running like Steptoe and Son's carthorse would be well advised to uninstall it and go back to version 7 - your 'puter will probably start to function as you'd expect it to again.
Friday was Children in Need day in the UK - when the BBC is given over to celebs trying to get folk to part with their money in aid of a very good cause - helping poor kids around the world get a better life.
I don't have a problem with Children in Need, I don't have a problem with the cause, and I certainly don't have a problem with raising money for it.
What I do have a problem with is the guilt trip that goes with it. And all the other "dress up/dress down" fridays given over to being 'wacky' and 'zany' in the name of helping some or other good cause.
The guys in the Call Centre along the corridor from where I work would be ostracised if they failed to pay up £2.00 for the privilege of wearing something other than they'd usually wear to work, plus extra for cakes, plus more for guessing the name of the teddy bear, plus goodness knows what else.
Having had the trip laid on us by the kids, we had already coughed up about seven quid by breakfast time, so as I walked into the building wearing my shirt and work trousers just as on any other day I was more than ready to let anyone trying to lay guilt on me know that the time had come to announce to the world that enough is enough!
As they all know that I'm a stroppy so-and-so when roused, only one did. Perhaps they saw me coming, maybe they had all seen through it this year as well.
A friend at work told me that this year her children's school had banned raising money for charity by having dress-down/wearing your clothes back-to-front/painting your head with black and white stripes and dying your hair yellow so that you look like a belisha beacon days, and there appeared in my mind a glimmer of hope that the world is finally coming to its senses, although listening to the applause afforded John Redwood on Any Questions on Radio 4 tonight I think that it has not filtered through to all levels of society just yet.
Another problem I have is that these events focus attention so firmly on already very wealthy causes to the detriment of the equally deserving but less fashionable ones.
For seven years I devoted practically all of my spare time to a particular charity - a very well-known one, but for whom dressing up in silly clothes and being overtly jolly regardless of how one actually feels about it inside would be considered grossly inappropriate.
With the coming of Children in Need, this huge national charity whom everyone in the UK will have heard of saw its revenue drop dramatically with each Wogan-driven telethon. And if this particular charity was struggling as a direct result, then I have no idea how the small, really unfashionable charities were coping.
Having got that off my chest, I saw a couple of weeks back on another blog a list of singles from the US charts from November 1968, and practically gasped with the thought of what a great time that must have been to have been musically aware. This is not as far from the point I've been making above as you might be thinking here - in the days when I listened regularly to music radio, they were always celebrating 1967 (and rightly so, in my opinion), but - just as for my generation the couple of years after punk broke everything fragmented and turned back into the disco (Blondie) and prog (The Damned) and rockabilly (The Clash) it was supposed to do away with - 1968 might as well not have happened.
Being a Brit, I've used the UK charts, but I pulled out what I considered to be the over-familiar (Hey Jude, Joe Cocker's With A Little Help From My Friends, Magic Bus) and ones which I can't stand (Jose Feliciano's Light My Fire, Val Doonican, a couple of others) and present part one of All The Hits of November 1968 (apart from Eeny Meeny by the Showstoppers, which I haven't been able to track down anywhere - and indeed, don't think I've ever heard. If you have an mp3 of it which I could use to complete the set I'd appreciate a link!)
I'm splitting it into three approximately 45 minute parts, which will go up when I get round to it. I'm considering carrying it on with new entries, but haven't really thought that one through yet. If you like the sound of that then please leave a comment, it might spur me on.
The order is loosely based on popularity in terms of chart positions at the start, middle and end of the month. I've put it in a separate post so that if the music gets deleted my inane ramblings will remain.
Hope you enjoy it!