On Diet and Music

What would flicker through your mind if you encountered someone holding a grasshopper between their fingers and offering it to you? Your mind might be running through all the various possibilities, such as “Is he trying to show it to me?” Or maybe you might be thinking “That must be a special breed of grasshopper that is interesting to him”. And one thought that you might encounter, but quickly discount, is “Surely he’s not expecting me to eat that! Or is he?” And your fears might come to fruition if the person holding the grasshopper then uses his other hand to reach for a small bowl of soy sauce. It would take a remarkably naive mind to think at that stage “These grasshoppers drink strange things”. The grasshoppers are for eating!

We are accustomed to our burgers, chips and all other things that make our cuisine typically British. Think British food and what else do you think? Perhaps immigration may have altered the typical flavour of the country. For example, if you go to a city like Birmingham, where the population is largely Asian, you may think Chicken Tikka Masala is typically representative of the British cuisine. Over the last few decades cuisine has been a bit more diversified and even exotic, as snails egg porridge may attest. But grasshopper kebab? Surely you would think no way!
There are those that advocate an insect diet because insects are plentiful, reproduce faster than crops grow and livestock reproduce, and have less of a carbon footprint. The population growth we highlighted in the previous post means we have to be a bit more creative with food, because the existing levels of meat consumption is unsustainable.

We may not be always to produce enough food to feed an increasing world population but we will always be able to produce enough ways of entertaining it, especially now that storage for entertainment such as videos, music and all other media have increased exponentially. Those of us old enough to remember 1.44mb floppy disks will wonder how we got by on those storage. And if you are looking for more traditional forms of entertainment, think of how people used to amuse themselves, with skills such as learning an instrument. According to the Piano Teacher Crouch End website, it is a skill that will enriches you for life. Maybe form your own band like the Drifters! Just don’t call it The Grasshoppers!

The dilemma of social responsibility

Is it the responsibility of the citizen to fill in socially for government? No doubt it appears that local government hopes that they will; it will reduce the social burden of the area by transferring it on to other citizens. And so you may find homeless people sat outside places, and wonder why the council does not intervene; and think that perhaps they are hoping the bulk of citizens will chip in and help, because it reduces the costs to the council for re-housing those who need social housing. The council does not have funds for these things anyway, and even if they did, the vote-per-dollar return is severely low on this. Spend £30-40 a day housing an individual buys you a vote after four years, from that individual – if he or she bothers to vote. That’s £36000 or more for a vote. Spend £500 on elderly services, make some noise about it, and you are likely to see a better return.

So local governments expect you to step in to fill the gap because there is no funding for that. The problem that the average individual faces is that we know giving money to the homeless is not a long-term solution to getting them off the streets to better their lives. Secondly, we also know that some people – a small minority, it must be stressed – of those who beg for charity actually are not in need, but find they can make quite a bit of a living doing that. (You can read many newspaper reports of people doing that and getting caught out.) Thirdly, we feel we pay taxes, and filling in even more for local government is a form of stealth tax.
But what does that do to us though? It means that every time we walk pass someone in need, we feel we have to steel ourselves against the compassion we naturally feel, becoming more guarded, less compassionate, more tough – despite all our senses to the contrary. It is building another form of disconnect between the practical reality of our lives and the way we think we should act.

Disconnect breeds mental health problems. Composers such as Hector Berlioz were prone to erratic behaviour. You can trace that to periods of isolation spend huddling in front of a piano. (You can learn more about Berlioz from the N8 piano lessons blog.) Fast forward that to computers in the modern century. But it is not just work that fuels disconnect. The things we see around us and how we have to dull our senses and deaden our reactions – all this does not bear well from the human race; it is just so opposite to how we were made!

Morning Routine

How much time does it take you to get ready in the morning? The majority of us, slightly over 56%, take any time between eleven and thirty minutes getting ready. Based on a recent survey, only 2% take less than five minutes, while at the other extreme, 3% take over an hour. 15% of those educated after high school and 9% of college graduates take ten minutes or less, while this is only 2% for those educated up to high school or less.

While education may appear to be a factor, there is of course more than just a function of education involved. There is a huge disparity and the amount of time it takes to get ready for both men and women. Gender has a role too. The time differential of the current “average individual” was measured across all activities for a survey, even giving as detailed breakdowns such as comparing shampoo times. In this case, for example, men average of three minutes per shampoo for a woman and two minutes for a man. While some time differences don’t seem substantial like that, they actually do add a bit when taken in a yearly context. In that shampoo example based on an average of 183 showers per year, women spend almost three hours more per year just on washing their hair. Other more general neutral activities like brushing your teeth and using mouthwash were more equal in times.

But of course and woman’s hair and make-up routine can be significantly increase a woman’s average morning routine time. Hair and make-up alone take up an estimated 39 minutes a day of a woman’s time. Over the year it takes 24 days 7 hours and 40 minutes just to be a woman, as opposed to 9 days 5 hours and 27 minutes for a man.
Of course some women choose to go without makeup, and some men have much more expensive skin care routine for example, but it’s an interesting study, not only in how you break down your time, but also in the expectations and norms that end up costing time, and not just money. Sort of like a pink clock tax perhaps!

But centuries ago, when men wore wigs (think back to portraits of composers such as Mozart, Haydn and Beethoven), it may have taken the men a lot longer to get ready!

Social Media Possibilities

Your choice of social media may have more influence than you think. Research shows that a high percentage of social media users believe that the predominant choice of social media may reveal more of a user than the user himself or herself would like. This has particular relevance and bearing in terms of age. It is believed that your choice of social media may reveal how old you are. How is this possible? We tend to jump on the social media bandwagon when they are at the zenith of their powers, so depending on when you signed up and when these platforms hit popularity, we can make a rough estimation of the age of the user. The assumption of course is that we only stick to one or two social media platforms when we could actually be using many of them and have multiple accounts. And even on the same platform, we may have two identities. Irregardless of this, there is the perception that Facebook is for older people, while Instagram is for the younger generation.

Some social platforms may be associated more with certain age groups, but there is no denying that they all present opportunities for users to make income while monetising their followers. Users can sell any original product they create to their followers. If you have many followers, this presents many potential buyers for products such as crafts, web services, or web products. And even if you feel that you may not have an original product to offer, don’t be tempted to pass off someone’s original work as your own. You will at some point open yourself up to litigation. If you are a singer and doing a cover of someone’s song, make sure you apply for a mechanical license, after which you can sell your own version. It may even be more successful than the original. Elvis Presley, for example, popularised the song Hound Dog despite it being a cover version of the original. (You can read more about this from the Piano Teachers Harringay N15 blog.)

If you have no original product to sell, you can instead try making an income from affiliate marketing, where you earn a commission from selling other people’s stuff. You can set up a virtual shop easily – just be familiar with e-commerce. A third method is by being a social influencer, where the product promotion is less overt, but where someone gives the impression of being successful by virtue of using certain products, influencing others to follow suit.
Social media does open up a world of income possibilities. If you were based in Brighton and had an arts and crafts business, it would be helpful to join local groups on social media, and also link up with like-minded individuals outside of Brighton. Managed carefully, social media could help your business expand well.

Seen, yet unknown

She is one of the most seen faces around, from newspaper advertisements, websites, and magazine advertisements. She promotes a variety of products, from childcare services, important topics such as immigration, skincare and beauty products.

Is she a supermodel? You might think that with all the publicity that this particular person gets, to be able to grace the pages of various print media and be seen in advertisements, that this must be someone well known. It must be a household name known to millions, have millions of followers on social media, and have tweets retweeted by the thousands. Her instagram pictures must be the holy word of her followers.

Reality could not be further from the truth. The face that features so much is the anonymous face from a stock photo. A writer in Canada found out the hard way how her image had been used across various media to promote a variety of causes without her permission.

Shubnum Khan had signed up for a photo shoot ostensibly offering a professional portrait shot in exchange for use of the photo for artistic purposes. There had been a contract signed, in which the author gave away the rights to the image, essentially signing them off to the photographer, who stood to make a tidy sum from the image.
Perhaps the author could take it as a compliment – she has a radiant face that gets deep into the heart of every person that views it. Or maybe her face is perceived to be trustworthy, honest, and beautiful, and inspires one to commit to whatever cause her face has been used for. But it is no laughing matter to find that after you have consented to your photo being used for a stock image, that it is used to market causes that you may not agree with.

At least Khan can lay claim to having various sides to her portfolio. Just like the composer Muzio Clementi, who was a composer, publisher, pianist, conductor, piano manufacturer and salesman, Khan can say her image is so beautiful that it has been considered for use by various individuals. (You can read more about Clementi from the Piano Teacher Harringay blog, but unlike Clementi, who would have been pleased to have many strings to his bow, it is unlikely that Khan would feel the same!

The hidden sense

As summer approaches, the party atmosphere in Brighton comes to life. Summer days mean warmer weather, and longer periods to enjoy life and all it brings. For some this means parties on the beach that extend well into the night hours and continues in the discos. We listen to music endlessly on our phones, then take in some more and more. After all, music is free, right?

While we enjoy the summer days, there must be things we need to be aware of. For example, listening to loud music for an intense period can affect our hearing. Even listening to averagely loud music but for a longer duration can have an impact on it.

Think of the ear as a muscle like your arm – if you force it to lift heavy loads, it is an intense burst within a short period of time. But if you make it lift light loads, but repetitively, you get that dull ache that comes from endurance work.

The music itself need not necessarily noisy, or associated with a loud genre; even Classical music dating from the Baroque or Classical, but played loudly, can affect your hearing. (Although it is admittedly not that trendy to be bopping along to classical composers like Handel – maybe crossover music would be better?)
So as the summer approaches, maybe a lifestyle choice would be to be mindful of the noise your ears are exposed to.

If you want to go out partying and enjoying all the things that young people do, then by all means do so, but do look after your hearing. Otherwise when you are older, you will be bopping to silent disco music! And that is not necessarily the version with wireless headphones on, it is the one where there is no sound around you.

Brighton nearly there, Bong still fuming

Can Brighton and Hove Albion make it to the safety zone? Their recent football results have included a draw and a loss, so they are stuttering their way a bit to the safety of Premier League shore. While the fans really should have nothing to worry about, because while the team can still be mathematically caught, the bottom placed teams have done nothing to suggest they can turn around their own problems with form.

So the summary if you are a Seagulls fan – don’t fret. The teams below us are running out of games to catch us. It is like the end of a marathon, if you are running at the same pace as the person behind you, you are both runnning short of distance to the finishing line – which is good for you.

The only worry for Brighton is that their remaining four games are against Burnley, followed by the top three teams, in the order of Manchester United, Manchester City and Liverpool. Burnley at Turf Moor are a hard team to play against as their crowd gets well behind them. The Seagulls have to sneak for draws against United, who may be resting the first team for the FA Cup final, Manchester City, who may be coasting towards the Premier League title, and Liverpool, concerned with UEFA Cup glory.

A win against Burnley would really go a long way to calming Seagulls fans, instead of leaving things to chance against the big three.

Gaetan Bong’s allegation of racism against West Brom’s Jay Rodriguez was found not proven. Which is a little disappointing, to say the least.

I have nothing against Jay Rodriguez. I thought against Manchester United, he was outstanding in securing a 1-1 draw for his team. But maybe, as others say, the relegation period is the third transfer window; time for relegation bound players to display their wares, throw caution to the wind, to show what they can do. And Rodriguez was great in that game.

But when you pinch your nose, and waft it in front of a fellow professional, you are not exactly professional yourself, much less being a role model.

And everyone knows really why Rodriguez covered his mouth or pinched his nose. Managers do it all the time. In this age of lip-reading, leaving your lips for all to read is suicide.

So we could speculate that Rodriguez covered his mouth to say something racially abusive and then wafted his hands to add more insult to injury.
We see on video quite clearly Jay Rodriguez makes some gestures of some sort. So there is intent.

Let us remind ourselves that the charge made by Bong was not proven. In other words, if Gaetan Bong claimed the Baggies player said something racially abusive, the charge was not upheld only because the panel could not prove Rodriguez said racist words – only because his mouth was covered. But it does not mean that Rodriguez did not say something. What it means is what he said could not be proven.

Rodriguez could have said to Bong, “You farted and it smells.” Or “You should try using bodyspray.” The panel that found the charge “not proven” gave him the benefit of the doubt that was what he said. But he clearly said something that provoked.

So, not guilty, but not tasteful either.

Brighton captain re-signs; Seagulls draw

Brighton captain Bruno has signed a new one-year contract with the Premier League club until June 2019.
The 37-year-old right-back, who joined the Seagulls from Valencia in 2012, has made 21 league appearances this season.

“Bruno has been exemplary in my time as manager,” said Brighton boss Chris Hughton.

“Firstly, he has been an excellent right-back for the team, and secondly an excellent captain for the club over the past three seasons.”

The manager added: “The way he looks after himself on and off the pitch is an example to any player, and it is due to that lifestyle of professionalism that he is still playing at such a high level at this stage of his career.”
Brighton played Huddersfield last Saturday and were held to a 1-1 draw.

Huddersfield claimed a potentially crucial point in their battle against relegation as they drew with 10-man Brighton at the Amex Stadium in a game that saw both sides end their recent goal droughts.

The Seagulls and the Terriers are hoping to secure another season of top-flight football after they were promoted from the Championship last year and three points in this game would have gone a long way to making that a reality.

Brighton took the lead when the ball rebounded off Huddersfield goalkeeper Jonas Lossl’s head after he had pushed Solly March’s shot onto the post.

Huddersfield responded almost immediately as Steve Mounie pounced on Shane Duffy’s terrible back pass to slot in.

The visitors’ hopes of snatching victory were then boosted when Brighton midfielder Davy Propper was sent off for a late challenge on Jonathan Hogg.
However, it was the hosts who could have taken the three points at the end when Jose Izquierdo was put through on goal – but the forward was superbly denied by Lossl.

The draw means Brighton are 13th, seven points above the relegation zone, while Huddersfield are 16th and four points above 18th-placed Southampton.

Neither of these sides have been the Premier League entertainers in recent weeks.

Brighton had gone a month without scoring while Huddersfield were approaching seven hours since their last goal.

It was, therefore, perhaps not surprising that their respective droughts were ended in somewhat fortuitous fashion.

Lossl can perhaps count himself unfortunate for Brighton’s opener as he pushed March’s shot onto the post and the ball rebounded back off his head and into the net.

Huddersfield had come back only once before this season to get a result after falling behind but they were on level terms just two minutes later.

Duffy inexplicably played the ball straight to Mounie and the Terriers’ top scorer kept his composure to round the keeper and slot in his ninth goal of the season.

Brighton are probably one win away from making sure of their Premier League status for another season and with tough games against Tottenham, Manchester United, Manchester City and Liverpool to come, this was arguably their most winnable fixture.

However, it would still take a big turnaround in form from the bottom three to see the Seagulls slip into trouble.

Any away point is an important one in the Premier League but this was the second time in their last four games Huddersfield had failed to take advantage of their opponents going down to 10 men by snatching victory.

But the Terriers have given themselves that extra bit of breathing space and this was a considerably improved performance after disappointing displays in defeats by Crystal Palace and Newcastle.

David Wagner’s side attacked with pace, created chances and finished with more shots on target – five – than they had in their previous two games combined, when they managed just two. That should give them hope ahead of upcoming home games against Watford and Everton.

Nearly there now …

This Saturday the Brighton and Hove Albion football team take on Leicester City at 3:00pm in a match, that for Albion, could go on towards solidifying their Premier League status.

The Seagulls are currently six points above Southampton, Leicester manager’s Claude Puel former team, who sacked him despite finishing respectably last season. The six point cushion equates to two games over a eight game period, which means that all the Seagulls have to do is match Southampton’s, or Stoke City’s record over the next six games to be able to safely celebrate.

Unfortunately at this stage it appears West Brom’s place in the lower divisions next year is already booked. With seven games left for them to play, the bottom-placed club need to win four of their next games and hope West Ham or Crystal Palace lose their next four, to even have a chance of sniffing survival. But bearing in mind what has happened to the club, with wages not being paid, club leaders behaving like idiots on a recent trip to Barcelona, the morale has already been drained from the club. Alan Pardew’s reputation as a saver may go down the drain.

Brighton are currently twelfth at the international break but there is good incentive to go for a good top ten result which would represent the south coast’s club’s best ever finish in the Premier League. It would be a long way away from the Southern League for the club started in 1901, and a further cry away from the team that nearly got relegated from the Championship in 2014-15 when they finished 20th.

Has it been a good January transfer window for Leonardo Ulloa? The Argentinian was the club’s best player in 2013-14, scoring sixteen goals en route to being the top scorer for the club, but then after winning the Premier League with Leicester City he was frozen out and unhappy. His return to the club continues to bode well.

Albion are slated for another season in the Premier League, but let’s not count our chickens for a few more weeks. And let’s hope they triumph this weekend, so we can all have a Happy Easter!

Seagulls focus on Premier League

Unfortunately it had all to end somewhere. Brighton’s magnificent run came to an end at Old Trafford, where they lost to Manchester United and went out of the FA Cup.

The Seagulls started brightly but unfortunately went behind to a goal by Romelo Lukaku, who had been unceremoniously dumped by Jose Mourinho at Chelsea before being picked up by the recently installed Manchester United manager. Another one of his ex-Chelsea stars, Nemanja Matic then added a second for the Reds later before Lukaku bracketed the goals with a third.

Much has been written about Jose Mourinho and his ex-Chelsea stars, especially Matic. The manager had been accused of trying to embarrass Matic while he was at Chelsea, taking him off once during a game after the latter had only come on as a second half substitute. But at United Matic has been in good form, fairly solid as a defensive midfielder, and appears to have no problems with working with his ex-boss. The ire of his ex-boss seems to have been directed at left-back Luke Shaw, who appears to be in bad books again.

Despite being knocked out of the FA Cup, the Seagulls can reflect on a good run this season, and now focus their efforts on preserving Premier League status. They have done well and are almost guaranteed safety, but perhaps a good performance in the next few games will mean relegation will be mathematically impossible, freeing them to play football without fear. Go Seagulls!