Facebook’s not all bad…

(Image: Creative Commons)

Image: Creative Commons

Not a big fan of Facebook, if I’m honest, I avoid it when possible. I’ve never collected friends the way kids collect trading cards nor have any inclination while I’m enjoying myself somewhere to stop and share this electronically.

Those few times I do log on I tend to find the stream of updates banal and unimaginative, and people’s repetitive rambling irritating. The surest way to spoil a nice Friday evening in alone is to read endless postings of everyone else apparently celebrating without you. It does however, have uses.

However, it is a good way to maintain contact with friends many miles away, and an excellent method of tracking down people you’ve lost touch with completely. I was contacted last week by someone I hadn’t heard from in 28 years who I went to high school with. Having lived in London since I was 19, I go home only to see family every five years or so. The flight’s too long, expensive and tiring at 44.

Struggling with my sexuality in macho Australia at high school was a difficult bittersweet time for me. Like most people I had some of the worst and best experiences of my life there during the five years it covered.

A group of us were extremely close but when it was over for me, it ended abruptly. My Mum died after a short bout of cancer just after I received my final exam grades and, after coming out, I dropped out of university to move in with my first partner and severed nearly all former social ties.

In the past few days I’ve chatted with people I haven’t spoken to in years, picking up the phone without hesitation and little embarrassment. Old memories came flooding back.

Sometimes you can go home again.

London fire station closures – a false economy?

(Photo: wikimedia.org courtesy Creative Commons)

(Photo: wikimedia.org courtesy Creative Commons)

Fire Station Closures

London Mayor Boris Johnson says his current term will be his last and now has two and a half years until it’s over. So how will the Mayor’s final term be judged once he’s gone? One defining issue will be his plans to close 10 London fire stations across the capital to try to save money for small council tax cuts. The councils affected are so angry though they’ve taken the Mayor to court. Rob Whitson looks at some of the issues behind the arguments.