Tony allen: And finally... A potpourri

Sep 20 | 2021

Writers are constantly searching for the perfect opening sentence. I read somewhere that once you’ve found this initial panacea, the rest is plain sailing. Whether or not I’ve achieved this is something you must decide, but I spy choppy seas ahead!

Tony Allen: And finally...I’m sitting here wondering - from a journalistic point of view - which way to go. Happy, sad, serious, humorous, it’s often difficult to decide. We’re slowly coming out of the COVID-19 debacle although a degree of insecurity still exists, and as I write, the tragedy of Afghanistan is rapidly unfolding and goodness knows where this will have reached by the time you read this article.

The only constant in life is change and we seem to be going through one of these periods at the moment. Power blocks are readjusting and the world seems to be getting increasingly annoyed as to where we are going. Who can blame it?

Does it really matter? In the overall scheme of things, I guess not. Long after we are gone the rocks will still be there, and in terms of the antiquity of the world ‘we are but a beat in the symphony of time’.

Anyway, that’s enough philosophy for one day. Which, by the way, comes from the ancient Greek for lover of wisdom. Pretentious? Moi? Most probably. But you really can’t do this job without being a lover of ‘words’ and their sometimes esoteric meanings. Which reminds me – why is ‘thesaurus’ such a difficult word to spell?

Maybe my musings today are a bit jaded, but to be quite honest I’ve been scribbling a few notes whilst waiting in a hospital to have a quite minor procedure and my appointment is already a very long hour overdue. Amazingly, my fellow attendees and I are all patiently sitting around as if this is perfectly normal. The reason for this being, that it is perfectly normal!

The person next to me was waiting to have a dressing removed from his foot after having amputated two of his toes with a hover mower and, with an impressive dose of rationalisation, had informed me that it was lucky that he had not put the mower on a lower setting as he might have lost a substantial proportion of his foot. I asked him if it was painful and he asked me - in a sardonic tone of voice – what did I think? I was about to tender an apology for putting my foot in it, but luckily at the last minute I thought better of it having come to the conclusion that this might not have been entirely appropriate.

“What are you writing?” asked my eight-toed friend.

“Well I’m writing an article for an extremely eminent worldwide magazine,” I said, “which is read by all of the most influential people in our industry.” (How does that sound Mr Editor?)

“Blimey,” said Eight Toe, “if that’s the case why are you writing it on the back of a leaflet for blood transfusions?”

“Well to be quite honest ...”

Fortunately, at this moment my new friend’s number was called and he limped off, never to be seen again.

But I still had my notes and consequently here we are indulging in a miasma of possibly unrelated facts crafted during a visit to a hospital waiting room.

Going back to my original theme (remember?) I am again reminded of the old Chinese curse ‘May you live in interesting times’ because these are certainly interesting times with lots happening that might cause us concern; but as a species we are quite resilient and resourceful. It’s remarkable how we are learning to live with a quite destructive transmissible illness and still be able to show some semblance of getting back to a new sort of normal.

By way of an ‘icing on the cake’, here in the UK we have barely had a day without rain throughout the course of what we still laughingly call summer! It’s the first year where I can actually count the truly sunny days on one hand. Ironically this is taking place when, even close to home, forest fires are burning out of hand because the vegetation is so dry through lack of rain.

We’ve even invented a new portmanteau word to cover our holiday possibilities, the word being ‘staycation’, combining the fact that we are staying in the UK with the word ‘vacation’. Clever isn’t it? So there we are dear reader, it sometimes does one good to verge on the acerbic. I’m attempting to invent a new portmanteau word of my own to cover the fact that we’ve got a lot to think about in our lives at the moment coupled with the fact that we are not taking things seriously enough. I’m not quite there yet but it certainly involves the word ‘complacent’.