Shameless plug for some items of possible interest

Well, here we are, safely in 2014, or wherever.

Lots of people, I know, are having a worse time. 100 million Americans are snowed-in as I write, while possibly hundreds of Brits in the south and west of the country are flooded-out for the second time in a month. A mile down the road, the seafront has been battered by storms, people have been evacuated. Here, the sun is shining. And who knows, you could be in Darfur or Damascus or some other Godforsaken shithole, freezing, starving, homeless, being shot at by bloodlusty fanatics drunk on the little power a Kalashnikov confers on the worthless. I have no right to complain about my life.

But I’ve personally got to the stage now where I’m willing to try anything to break the tedious, depressing deadlock that 2013 turned out to be for me. It’s as if some invisible hand has been preventing me from moving on, both in work and in my life. I am grateful for health and strength but remain solus – apart from Hunzi and Cat, obviously. I have too little work to support myself, or to provide interest, little social life, and my savings are almost gone.

So you’ll forgive me, I hope, if this once I bend my bogl to the task? Thank you, I have nothing to lose by trying. Here are three items I’ve been hoping to sell all last year, that refuse to budge, as part of my declared strategy of retiring abroad. Feel free to buy if you like.

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Okay, you may want to live here. I did, for family reasons now no longer applicable, so why not you? More photos are available in the Set labelled ‘House’: http://www.flickr.com/photos/9343508@N04/sets.

I’m looking for around Stg £152.5k to move out of my end-terrace cottage in the outskirts of Aberystwyth, on the Cardigan Bay coast of Wales, 1.5 miles inland from the famous promenade, town centre and railway station. Minutes too from the university, schools, government offices, shops, pubs and the Arts centre, it’s ideal for a professional couple – for retirement, or as a holiday base for exploring the unspoiled hinterland, castles and varied coastline of Mid Wales. Or buy it for your student son, like I did. With prices set to rise another 8% in 2014, it’s an investment (can go down as well as up).

It has two bedrooms (one double, one single) and a modern bath/shower room; cozy living room; fitted-out kitchen/diner; secure, all-year garden room (my home cinema and guitar studio); front and rear hard-landscaped gardens with private sundeck – and lots of storage cupboards. Gas central heating, wifi, double-glazed and decorated, but with scope for remodeling; sold furnished if required (including piano!), ready to move in. Rental income of Stg £600 a month is achievable in an area popular with students and academics. There’s no onward chain, and if it helps I can defer some of the purchase price, interest-free for up to two years.

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And so to the two guitars… left is my pretty Ibanez AF-125. It’s a full hollow-body archtop in Amber Burst maple, two separately controllable pickups, and it’s hardly ever been played, let alone gigged, so it’s completely unmarked and as-new, in its original case. The lowest-priced one I can find new on the web is £190 more than the £545 I want for mine, but I have to declutter and it’s just surplus to requirements. For a full technical rundown, I recommend the Ibanez website, and more photos on the ‘Ibanez AF-125’ set at http://www.flickr.com/photos/9343508@N04/sets.

Right, is my American vintage Gibson-made slimline archtop Epiphone E452T Sorrento, from 1962. It’s been played, a lot I should think, but it’s in stunning condition for its age. The front is unmarked, there’s no sign of repairs or restoration anywhere – just a couple of tiny ‘dinks’ in the varnish on the back, and some expected light wear around the neck. There’s one little bit of damage, a barely visible hairline crack running about 1/2 inch either side of the jack socket, that suggests it may have been dropped at some time. It’s still perfectly playable, with a superb, silky action, and comes in a custom hard-case.

I’m asking Stg £895 to reflect the small amount of damage. There are very few available in the UK at this time: the nearest similar E452T I can find is £999 on a site called Justgreatguitars.com, a 1966 model with parts missing. Or you could pay around £2k for the near-identical, 1964 Gibson ES125TC! What’s in a name? You can inspect it all closely in 34 photos on my ‘1962 Epiphone’ set, http://www.flickr.com/photos/9343508@N04/sets.

Either of the guitars can be packaged and posted by insured courier, next-day delivery, for an extra £25, within the UK. Otherwise, we can discuss a way of getting it to you. And you can pay by secure PayPal transfer, who will refund you if I try to rip you off, which I wouldn’t, because you know where I live, right? And besides, you Follow my Posts, so you’ve seen inside my bumpy old head.

That’s scary.

Anyway, Happy New Year (Blwyddyn newydd dda, in Welsh) to you and yours. Stay with the program!

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Why I’m partial to a spot of impartiality

The BBC must be bracing itself for an electronic tsunami of spittle-powered tweets from Outraged of Tunbridge Wells – not to mention highminded Conservative politicians – following this morning’s edition of the Today programme.

The entire three-hour show, even the sports news (Olympics = state repression) and the God slot (? er…), was given over to an alternative, beyond-leftwing editorial policy, driven by singer-songwriter and general ‘right-on’ feminist, PJ Harvey: guest editor for a day.

Special reports were commissioned from notoriously biased left-wing commentators and human-rights lawyers on foreign policy, the arms trade, the use of torture, economics, the security state, the politics of sport, and otherwise generally on the profound imbalances in society. Songs and poems were included from lefties like former Archbishop Rowan Williams, Tom Waites, Joan Baez and Pete Seeger – the ‘usual suspects’.

Where the show differed from normal was that the special reports went almost entirely unchallenged in the conventionally vapid, ‘balanced’ reporting and interviewing style we normally expect from the BBC. At times it sounded almost embarrassingly propagandistic – also curiously amateurish, but not in a lovable way. Why does the Left so admire Julian Assange? To me, he seems an obvious, self-serving little creep. And I’m a fellow-traveller myself!

It frequently drives me into a rage, when the Today programme refuses to advance any argume nt more than a millimetre either way, or to try to get at the truth of a story, until someone has been forced to ‘apologise’ for, or to ‘condemn’, some heinous act for which they were not personally responsible, that they have been brought on ostensibly to defend. Only through the cleansing ritual of grovelling words can they be considered morally fit to trade their views with the largely middle-class listeners, as embodied in the eminently ‘reasonable’ figure of that tendentious old humbug, John Humphrys. Thus, Today imposes its own biased agenda on the news, rooted not in leftwing politics, but in Welsh chapel Methodism.

At least we were spared that for one day.

Now, readers of this, muh bogl, may have noticed that I maintain a certain radical perspective on world affairs. Even so, I was mildly shocked by the programme.

The BBC is frequently castigated for having a left-of-centre bias. This morning’s flagship news and current affairs show, in the hands of a dyed-in-the-wool slayer of Establishment hypocrisy, proved that the BBC hasn’t ever yet come within a million miles of promoting a genuine leftwing agenda.

Harvey held the Corporation’s skirts to the fire, lifting the crinoline on a potentially vast body of hitherto under-reported facts, statistics, opinions and human stories concerning corporate and government greed, deceit, bullying and evasion on a global scale, undermining Auntie’s bland daily ‘news agenda’ that feeds public opinion; hinting at the extent to which we are manipulated and controlled by the information machine, and the degree to which the supposedly impartial BBC actually conforms to the consensus of the political right.

At the same time, however, it demonstrated perfectly just how ghastly it would be to have a State-controlled media promoting an exclusively biased agenda, either to left or right, unchallenged by any attempt at balance or impartiality; such as is seen in Orwellian states like North Korea; or in the corporatist USA, with its endless, mindless hectoring by controlling business interests. Not only is propaganda of any kind offensively patronising, it is also deeply boring. The independence of the Beeb is something worth fighting for.

Despite my broad leftist leanings, then, I really couldn’t listen for more than a few minutes to a public-service broadcaster controlled by a PJ Harvey without resorting to the petrol bomb and the Kalashnikov, to shut it up. Or reach for the off-switch.

I hope she realised that.