restless peasant: life, changing :

Bitcoin-the future of money?

crypto-currency

the future of everything

or digital fad?

The beauty of this book is that the author has a deep understanding of the subject, from experience and is not simply regurgitating to support a particular view. He is very much of the mind that we should do the same if we are at all interested in the subject.

I read this book two years ago whilst on a teaching trip to China. It’s a fascinating read with not only a look into the history of Crypto-currency and a bit of investigative journalism on Bitcoin’s founder, but also some practical advice for those interested in investing in it.

On the back of reading it, I set up a Bitcoin wallet using the instructions given by the author and  intended buying £100 worth of Bitcoin when I returned to the UK in April 2016. Of course I didn’t do that and over time completely forgot how to even access the wallet I set up. Incidentally this is one of the major pitfalls for anyone dabbling in Bitcoin who isn’t terribly tech minded or possibly a bit forgetful. If you lose access to the wallet, you lose everything.

Anyway, if I had bought my £100 worth of Bitcoin back then it would have been a pretty decent investment. The price at that time was around £300 per Bitcoin. Today it is £9889.97!

In the end, this book sparked my interest in what is possibly the bigger story surrounding Bitcoin. It’s just possible that the cryptocurrency aspect is but a trinket in the bigger landscape of The BlockChain. The technology could truly democratise just about any transaction you care to think of from buying your groceries to voting for a new Government. Or even, dare I say, help citizens to re-take power over politicians and make community centric decisions that work for the good of all and not just the few.

Of course as soon as that kind of power is unleashed then the few will sit up, take interest and buy their way to the front of the queue again and then we’ll be looking for the next big thing to help over-come that.

Dominic Frisby also has views and some great ideas on that. He has also written Life After the State

Learn About Bitcoin

As it is a potential playing field leveller, I got interested enough in Bitcoin and the Blockchain to write quite a long article on the subject a while back…here it is


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Homage to Catalonia

my adolescent

fascination with Spain’s War

debunked, clarified?

I waited a long time to get round to this. I read Homage to Catalonia as an audio book and was hooked on it for a few days in the car, driving around my homeland of Scotland.

I’ve always loved Spain and the Spaniards. I’ve visited many times and always found that they “don’t mention the war” with good reason. Neighbours betrayed neighbours and brothers betrayed brothers in the some of the worst exhibits of what it means to be human.

Orwell, like many young, British Socialist women and men jumped aboard trains and ships to lend a hand to the goodies, those opposing Franco. Unfortunately, like in almost all Civil Wars, the lines weren’t quite so clearly drawn for them when they arrived.

Orwell served in the  POUM, the Workers’ Party of Marxist Unification, but it soon became clear that it wasn’t a straight up White Hats versus Black Hats affair. And for comparison we can look at almost any Civil War down the centuries. It becomes every man for himself and any dream that they are, just wars, turns out to be exactly that, a dream. Dreams cynically manipulated and marketed by, yes you guessed it, the rich and privileged who don’t of course appear on the front lines.

For direct comparison you can look at Culloden & Bannockburn (neither of them just Scotland against England as they are commonly portrayed), the American Civil War et al…always serving the 1%. Sides and affiliations changing by the hour as they jostle to see where the most financial benefit and power lies.

There are many other good books about the Spanish Civil War and its aftermath…some suggested below, but Orwell’s classic is best at relaying from first hand experience, the utter futility of war and the cynicism and heartlessness of the power hungry.

The aftershocks are still being felt today. The Catalan people still fight for their Independence and most recently the politics of the Jack Boot has reared its very ugly head as democracy is denied to those who aren’t equal enough among equals!

Spain, the Spaniards, Catalonia and the Catalans remain beautiful and welcoming.


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24 Assets

24 Assets

Build them and your freedom is

ensured forever

 

I’ve rabbited on about Assets forever on here and this book, 24 Assets, brings a great deal of real, solid perspective to that argument.

Those who seek freedom from the 9-5, the Rat Race/ Hamster Wheel of Doom or whatever you call it would do well to copy the landed gentry, aristocrats and political fat cats in terms of amassing assets.

This book gets right down to defining what those assets might be in relation to your own business or freedom project.

Assets stay with you and generate cash and you can make them right out of thin air if you so wish. There’s never been a better time in history to do just that.


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Out of Town

As a boy I got hooked on Out of Town, that unique TV program conceived and presented by the late Jack Hargreaves. I was into fishing of course, but Jack gave me a fascination for the deeper beauty of the countryside I fished in and an appreciation for those who worked and lived in it.

The allure of Out of Town is hard to explain in words, you’d need to see it to appreciate it fully. As an explanation it’s probably sufficient to say that in the days of only 3 TV stations, no means of saving broadcasts for later viewing and sketchy programming information in the newspapers, I snatched my fix of Out of Town whenever I could. When I had newly started Secondary School in the late 1970’s, I remember skipping school to go home or to my sisters house to watch Jack for half an hour. Strange to think that Out of Town was already on air 6 years before I was born and continued beyond my school years.

Unfortunately, due to the way it was made, very little of over 1000 episodes remain intact and able to be broadcast. You can pick up around 30 episodes on DVD and you might find the odd upload on youtube.

I’ve read all of Jack’s books and most recently his Biography (Jack Hargreaves, a portrait) written by Paul Peacock, which gives a bit more of an insight into a complex character.

On his blog Democracy Street, Jack Hargreaves’ step son Simon Baddeley describes the difficulty in reviving Out of Town for a new audience despite having ownership of most of the old film and sound reels. Jack’s way of making compelling TV seems to have been invigorating and very much in the spirit of Kitchen Table manufacturing.

Paul Peacock’s Biography helpfully lists the subject material of all of the films shown throughout the long run Out of Town enjoyed, so just for mischief I will put up an occasional blog based on one of these titles. That’s of course if I can find any footage worth sharing of these mostly lost country pursuits, pastimes and professions around the real and virtual countryside.


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Fingers in the Sparkle Jar

illuminating

50 years of confusion

made good and explained

 

Chris Packham’s, Fingers in the Sparkle Jar has helped me enormously to get my head around, well, me really.

I didn’t recognise the signs of Aspergers in myself until last year at the age of 52! Since learning that I have asd, I have been able to look back at my countless failures, embarrassments and howling fuck ups from my childhood, right up to the present day, all of which are vivid and word perfectly remembered of course,  and regurgitated regularly for my embarrassment and dismay.

Now with this new knowledge and the encouragement this book has given me, my piss poor decisions, U turns, disastrous relationships and friend seeking, my days of constant sorrow when trying to be around and amongst other, normal (average) humans are understood.

Whenever I feel the gut wrenching pangs associated with any one of thousands of painful experiences and rejections, I can re-examine them if I want, through the Asperger Window and that is a great comfort and (swallows hard before using annoying Americanism) brings closure to previously open ended pain pits.

My whole life to date now makes sense and I can suavely swan about like a rich flaneur of old, being as aloof, arrogant and unapproachable as fuck; looking forward to my time as a lonely old man…Yes I’ve been appraised of all of the aforementioned at one time or another by well meaning normal (average) people.

I recommend Mr Packham’s book to anyone who feels they don’t fit in. You might learn something you arrogant so and so!


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the Fall of the Dynasties

German aristos

full of their own importance

cause century of murders

The Germans in question are still on England’s throne and we’ve stood by and tugged our forelocks to them. They’ve caused untold millions of deaths. Their petty family squabbles have resonated down through the entire 20th Century and the fallout is still being felt today. Medieval scabs in central Europe and the Balkans were picked until they bled millions of innocent lives in the former Yugoslavia. Barbarous Dictators were left to their own devices while Britain stood at the back and watched while their hideous genocides unfolded on TV before our eyes. What the fuck is monarchy all about? Why do the little Englanders still want to save our gracious German Queen, while at the same time holding Germany up as the antithesis of Englishness?… The German Aristocracy of the late 19th and early 20th Centuries with their self righteous and entitled demeanour has permeated every aspect of good old England’s establishment to the point where we have little over privileged gobshites like David Cameron and Boris Johnson dismantling the one true piece of progress made in Europe in the 20th Century, just for japes. Make no mistake, the idiotic (if you’re not a war mongering, money worshipping arse) Brexit has been engineered by the Tory Party and fully supported by the Establishment as a way to undermine and eradicate any chance of compassion and social virtue left in this country. Next on the Agenda will be the complete dismantling of and profiteering from the picked over bones of the NHS. Then the Devolved Administrations of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will be slowly undermined and gotten rid of. It’s not by chance that Theresa May is still so highly regarded despite such an obviously incompetent performance as Prime Minister. She’s a little cog in a very big machine. The coalition of bigotry and flat earthish-ness with the DUP is no mistake. They are the perfect partners in all of this. They don’t want a devolved assembly at Stormont, they want Ireland back in British control. This book, explains how one idiotic and hated German Aristocrat’s stupid and ill advised visit to Sarajevo fucked up the whole of the 20th Century in a way that still reverberates loudly today.


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