Back in the heady days of 2004, before someone in the financial world got their sums badly wrong and when we had a war criminal as Prime Minister instead of a Euroloonie, I wrote these Wild Thoughts for Cambrensis Magazine. As I describe below, it was a kind of holiday from Stray Thoughts, the series that featured in the magazine from 2004 to 2006. Later, I added the Archived Stray Thoughts to this website, together with their interactive successor, Stray Blogs. Wild Thoughts is reproduced below. The first thought was a whinge about bankers, but I can't claim any prescience, because it was the High Street rather than Casino species I was on about.
Think of this as a kind of holiday from Stray Thoughts. Without fussing about it, I try to make that arts, language or media related. There are no such trammels in this one-off set of ramblings. So:
* Walking through Bridgend just before five-past-ten one morning, I saw queues on the pavement outside three banks. Their supposed opening time is ten o'clock, hardly crack of dawn stuff. This business of charging people to lend you their money is obviously the one to be in.
* Why all the fuss about 'abolishing' the WDA, the Wales Tourist Board, and ELWA? It's only a matter of transferring people to the Welsh Assembly. Any 'savings' resulting from the loss of a few wages clerks will be more than swallowed up by the disruption caused.
* Similar things could probably be said about the latest attempt to 'restructure' the railways. But it's a bit rich that the Tories should criticise. The parlous state the railways are in is directly caused by the privatisation resulting from the fact that John Major had a GWR train set when he was a boy.
* That hasn't stopped privatisation still being touted as a cure-all. I'm thinking of our postal services. The Post Office is in steep decline, probably largely because it has been outmanoeuvred by the junk-mailers, but this isn't the answer. Even in the 19th century we had a public service.
* Insurers now frown upon voluntary and other philanthropic organisations getting home-made cakes from the local WI and the like. This is because their 'cooking premises' don't easily permit a health and safety inspection. It's easier to sue supermarket chains if things go wrong.
* Have you noticed the fashion for unlikely Lotharios? First there was John Major doing more than boiling eggs with Edwina Currie, now we have Sven Goran Erikson and David Blunkett making the papers for flings with somebody or other. You can have a lot of fun speculating on who will be next. Try any combination of Robin Cook; Margaret Thatcher; Bruce Forsyth; Ann Widdecombe; Adam Hart-Davis; and Ann Robinson for a start. On second thoughts ...
* A taxi-driver was told to take down his 'Feel free to smoke' sign because it infringed human rights. Eh?
* The Prime Minister is blaming the sixties for today's ills. Doesn't he realise he's putting his own youth in the dock? The next (and with a bit of luck, more honest) generation of politicians will probably criticise the 'no such thing as society' eighties.
* The Olympics Games are just getting into their athletic stride as I write this. I can't really have a go at the laughable synchronised swimming which has now be joined by a diving event: some people must like them. But is soccer in or out? The world's most popular sport is represented by an odd medley of teams that don't represent the best. Maybe it's time to get back to core Olympic sports.
* Or is it? I was one of thousands to make a point of watching a rowing final early one Saturday morning, just because there was a medal involved. I'll bet that most of us wouldn't have bothered with the rowing normally.
* This 'celeb' nonsense has gone too far. An editor (I'm not going to name him, but hope his ears go suitably pink as I write this) offered autographed copies of his magazine. Now, I'm anything but the best guide to the fifteen nanoseconds of fame that so many people seem to crave, but I very much doubt if he is on many A, B or E lists. Why do people do this sort of thing?
* By their friends shall ye know them: the third of the Blairs' freebie holidays this summer was at the villa of simpatico Silvio Berlusconi.