Monday, 1 July 2019


Returned, revived and restless.

That’s how everyone should feel after a holiday.  However all is not well. Indeed,  the end is nigh, according to the Guardian. This was their headline last Monday: 'Hell is coming - week-long heatwave begins across Europe'. Temperatures could hit 40C. Exams have been cancelled, sales of water have rocketed, people will fry. Funny, I thought this was summer. What we used to gleefully call “a scorcher”.

Whilst we were in Venice I was thinking about intolerance and recalled a conversation about the teenage craze-game, Fortnite, with some old friends of mine. They grumpily said they thought it was disgusting, encouraging killing and dulling intelligence (like the Cowboys and Indians of our distant youth I thought). Last week I asked our 12 year old grandson to give me a tutorial. Apart from him learning to use three fingers and his thumb in both hands, all digits independently, to track his weapon status, his store of building materials, wood, brick and metal and critically his power of defence-shields and his health status for which he seeks out bottles of health liquid, he has headphones to identify the proximity of opponents. That’s only the tip of this extraordinary iceberg. There are killer storms to avoid as they’ll empty health reserves. And there are over 90 people he’s playing against from all over the world (there are 250 million registered).

But the point is this. It’s not a game of killing – it’s a game of self-protection and survival. And it as strategic as chess with incredible graphics and animation. What should excite us is the super race of nimble-thinking and lightning-fingered, Fortnite is helping create. He came 2nd by the way (out of 96 players).

And of course it’s an example of the brilliance of technology. But don’t be beguiled by technology – it’s a tool not an ideology or strategic. As Dave Trott, the remarkable ad man said: “Technology is the Achilles heel of the lazy." Technology is there to use not to lead. Too many people talk about the vehicle not the destination and yes that’s lazy.

I was watching Supervet the other night as Kate was out and I was having my supper in front of the TV. It has everything that anyone could want. It’s an animal soap opera about indescribable medical issues, bloody close up operations, unconditional love and usually happy endings. It’s a brilliant show. All they need to do now is make a musical of it.

So, finally, age. Why the hell are Jo Biden and Bernie Saunders contending for the Democratic candidature in America? They’re both 77. In fact of the 20 candidates 6 are over retirement age. I believe in wisdom but death must be on their minds as it’s been on mine. I’ve suddenly and inexplicably been bombarded with un-asked-for life insurance quotations. The providers are betting on me living 10 more years at least. If I snuff it any sooner they lose.

Good luck with the scorcher Jo. Just keep out of the sun.

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