Thursday, February 16, 2006


I've signed up to FAWM, or February Album Writing Month to give it its full name. The idea is I have to write 14 songs in 28 days. I love music and have always enjoyed playing in a band, but writing songs is a bit of a departure for me: Back 10-15 years ago when I played in a band I had lots of ideas for songs, some of which I'd written odd bits of, but I don't think that in total there were 14 which I finished. Still, I like a challenge and after completing NaNoWriMo twice I thought I'd try something musical; it is after all more "me" than writing prose.

You can see my progress here, including lyrics for the songs I've finished and in some cases demos. Please send me comments if you listen to them. And before anyone says it, I'm definitely not planning on giving up the day job!

Monday, February 06, 2006

Education, education, education

This is really a comment on this thread, which Bishop Hill noticed, and which is closed for further comments.

In my opinion the 11-plus, along with the elitist (i.e. selective) university system with grants, was the probably the best and most socially levelling thing the UK ever had. It meant that for the first time, children from poor backgrounds who were bright, could go to a good school, get a degree and work as teachers etc. in roles that were almost totally denied their ancestors. The changes that have happened since –comprehensive schooling where the quality of education depended on where you lived, lower standards from GCSE upwards, and wider access to higher education meaning that it is no longer free and therefore less available to the poor - have reduced opportunity and social mobility.

As for the issue of funding - given that funding for education will always be limited, would it not make sense to spend the money where it has the most effect rather than decreeing that it has to be spread evenly, or worse, thrown mostly at those who get the least out of it?

"In those days people will no longer say,
'The fathers have eaten sour grapes,
and the children's teeth are set on edge.'
Instead, everyone will die for his own sin; whoever eats sour grapes—his own teeth will be set on edge.” (Jeremiah 31:29-30).

Shouldn't that be the aspiration of a state-funded education system?