“Who was the second man to run the four minute mile?” This was a rhetorical question I used to use at work sessions discussing “first mover advantage” in markets. This week, I picked up the autobiography of the second man to step on the moon, Buzz Aldrin, called Magnificent Desolation. Unfortunately, it wasn’t too lively an account, but at least Buzz was candid enough to admit that being the second man to set foot on the moon (and thus forever eclipsed by Neal Armstrong) did become a bit of an issue for him. He turned to drink for solace, amongst other things.
I didn’t see much of note on the TV this week. I did watch a movie, “Amy”, the documentary about the short and talented life of Amy Winehouse. It was quite sad. It seemed that all she wanted was being able to do what she loved (sing jazz) on a smaller scale than other people planned for her. She ended up being a part of other people’s dreams, driven and fuelled by her innate talent that earned bucket loads of money. Inevitably the hangers-on and the takers appeared and she was possibly too young and vulnerable to resist their demands. As Buzz Aldrin found, alcohol (and also in Amy’s case, drugs) offered an escape route. Unlike Buzz, she didn’t come back from them.
You’d think in retirement that you’d have loads of time for everything, but one area I struggle with, versus my working life, is listening to podcasts. I used to travel a lot, and these were ideal hours to wile away listening to the hours of unedited verbal diarrhea spouted in, say, American tech podcasts. “Wouldn’t it be great”, I thought, “if someone could point to the Top Podcast episodes, instead of shows?” And of course, someone has.
Twitter is great at delivering a lot of guff into your life, but occasionally you find something that you’re glad someone tweeted about. I doubt I’d have found this video by Stealing Sheep, which someone posted as “addictive”. I’ve gone back to watch it a few times now myself. There’s something strange and almost creepy about it, very Wickerman-ish, and you think you might have missed something each time you watch it, so back you go.
There are some great columnists in The Times, which I subscribe to. Unfortunately that means any link I insert can’t bypass the paywall. I did copy this one by Matthew Syed for fellow blog followers to read, as I thought it was excellent. If there was one thing I couldn’t be bothered with at work it was enforced team building exercises and it’s good to see that this whole concept is being undermined!
In the news, the article that caught my interest this week was Amazon opening a physical bookshop in Seattle. I love bookshops so I really hope that’s a trend, although the irony is not lost on me that it has been Amazon that has closed so many bookshops throughout the land.
Finally, part of the retirement life is ensuring that you keep your social network active. For me, this requires the occasional early doors pint with the locals on a weekend. Last week, I noticed one of the old regulars straining to get up out of his seat.
“You’re struggling a bit there, old boy”, I remarked.
“Aye, true”, he said, finally making it to his feet. “But my wife still calls me Spiderman”.
“Really?” I asked, “She still thinks you’re fit then?”
“No. It’s because I can’t get out of the bath.”
I’m still chuckling at that one.