Her Majesty’s Pleasure, Vinyl & International Relations – Week 16 : 2019

April 14, 2019

Some long term tenants have moved out of a flat we rent out. Their departure led to some extensive refurbishment of the property. The tenants were good housekeepers but accumulated  lots of items for a house they proposed to buy. We couldn’t move all the stuff around to enable decoration or laying new carpets. They went and we got down to it. The flat now looks brilliant. The new tenants are Chinese nationals. Both academics in their 30s and studying for PhD’s. Routine checks for financial capability were completed but as they don’t earn a salary our questions, via the letting agent, were searching. This was brushed aside with a bit of a shrug as they showed us accounts showing tens of thousands of pounds. Clearly the East isn’t short of dosh.

The Chinese lady who did the transaction was fine to deal with although worryingly certain of her decision to take the property. She just got off a train from Bath, had a cursory look around and wanted to take it immediately. After you’ve spent £2,500 on its transformation you’d like her to look around and take in the work! Another thing that came to mind was how their tenancy was fine and simply a ‘deal’ between two sets of ordinary and civil folk. However I am terribly suspicious of most things to do with China and it’s government: a one party state that bans Facebook, Google, Instagram, Twitter etc, build islands in the South China Sea (and then claims exclusion zones around them), attempts to brain wash the Uighur muslim minority of (one million) in concentration camps and occupies Tibet with the dilution, control and marginalisation of the indigenous population.

As I’ve written elsewhere then if your grand parents or even parents grew up in poverty, survived literal genocide and had no opportunity to ever improve themselves then this generation has arrived into a much better China. Who cares about democracy, being continually under intensive surveillance and debilitating corruption of the elite when you can now buy Chanel, a Mercedes Benz and watch Premiership football?

On that subject then Leeds United’s progress toward the Premiership is beyond stressful. As I write then the opportunity is in our own hands and we need to win three of our last four games and draw the other. Still a big ‘ask’ and a challenge that will keep me on edge until May.

Record Store Day (RSD) is a clever ruse by the industry to extract money from record collectors, promote record shops and generate some excitement for vinyl. Every April it comes around all over the world. The promotion is all about new releases of vinyl albums, EP’s and singles. These releases coincide with RSD and when the limited quantities have gone they’re gone! The new records are not regular releases of new work. They are often older artists but usually rarities that have not been released before. For example the Ten Years After album in the image below contains some tracks surplus to the recording session for their 1972 “Rock n’ Roll Music To The World’ LP. To add to the excitement then this album is on green see through vinyl! Of course the releases are limited editions and hence the value can probably appreciate. Anyway I bought the Ten Years After and Jethro Tull unreleased music out of over 100 new vinyl releases. I could have been 17 years old as this was the last time I bought two albums together by these artists.

Vinyl Eddie’s in York is the small specialist shop I got them from. First thing on RSD morning there was a queue outside the place waiting for it to open. It was a ‘first come first served’ opportunity to get the records. If you were late then you might not get what you wanted.

A little time is being spent on research on a major cycle trip – the east coast of Australia in 2020. In July I’ll be riding to Vienna from York. I can’t wait but it is a familiar expedition through countries I know well. The Australian jaunt is a major leap into the unknown. I’m thinking of riding from Adelaide to Cairns: over 3,000 miles. It seems very doable but not without considerations of sun, traffic and crocodiles to plan for. Anyway watch this space.

In other news Julian Assange has been sprung from the Ecuadorian Embassy. Putting to one side all his alleged criminal activities and the future peril this places him in with the UK, USA and Sweden I had other thoughts. After spending seven years imprisoned in the London embassy he must surely have been pleased to get out, even though the novelty may soon wear off as he becomes a guest at Her Majesty’s pleasure.

Lastly, I reflected on a few old colleagues who are either changing jobs in their mid fifties or people I know still flourishing at ages nearer to sixty than fifty. Back in 2008 at the age of 53 after a sudden redundancy I felt very old in a job market that was shrinking dramatically due to the recession. I drove up and down the country for meetings, submitted endless cv’s, got into interview situations on about eleven occasions and yet after a really successful previous career I couldn’t get a job offer. After about 5 months something came along in consultancy. The job never thrilled me as regards a career move, it was a salary only. In truth, I was never very good at it or enjoyed it. Hence I retired at 58.

It seems to me that nowadays there are more older senior people in jobs. Attitudes have changed to the older worker. It also helps to have a more buoyant economy and a shortage of experienced talent.

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