This has been a month of goodbyes and reminiscences. This past week I have been in Brighton for a funeral. I did a Master’s degree there at Sussex University in the academic year 2005/06.
During this Master’s I did all kinds of menial jobs, mostly factory work and cleaning. Although I thoroughly enjoyed my studies, it quickly became obvious that they were neither qualification nor preparation for the real world.
During this period, the person I spent the most time with was classmate Virginia Monson. She was by far the most helpful and positive influence. And was also an irrepressible eccentric with a schoolboy sense of humour.
Her funeral, the most crowded I’ve ever seen in England, was very her.
Another farewell that I am in the middle of is one to Chinese-language song-writing. This month I finished a Chinese version of ‘Hope It Might Be So’, which will be the last song on my last Chinese album
Speaking of all things China and Chinese, this month I launched a Facebook ad campaign for my tutoring business. I didn’t make much money but I learned a lot. I allowed a colleague to load the ads with emojis, exclamation marks, and promises of things being ‘quick’ and ‘easy’. This does not appeal to the kinds of dedicated slogger that I am looking for. As executive coach Harsha Perera pointed out:
Since I will probably never be able to write a memoir, I have decided to do the next best thing – start a Substack. This month’s topic was fame, future editions will include the subjects of happiness, humour, current affairs, and – least interesting of all – romance.
This month’s miscellaneous cover was ‘This Is the Sea’ by The Waterboys:
The 2020s, which have already included a pandemic, war in Europe, and apparent ethnic cleansing in China, are the decade in which the myth of constant progress is exploding. This month, much of Europe has experienced record temperatures, so climate change is now affecting the rich world.
Shifting temperatures will revolutionise life on the planet. In 1988, Margaret Thatcher was the first major world leader to call for international action, but since then, flying, driving, and factory farming have remained everyday activities.
American cognitive scientist Joshua Greene pointed out that our ancestors did not evolve in an environment in which total strangers on opposite sides of the world could save each other’s lives by making relatively modest sacrifices. Nowhere near enough has been done, and the consequences are coming. That was the river, this is the sea.