Cultural Dissonance



What’s the similarity between electric guitars and bank managers?

An interesting question and one which I discovered doesn’t necessarily have the same answer to a younger generation.

Indeed somebody once accused me of not being au fait with our modern culture. Not merely did I admit that they were right, I clasped their comment to me and wear it now as a badge of pride.

After all, as I said to myself hopefully, if I’m not part of this culture, suddenly I become a member of a minority culture and people will have to stop expecting me to apologise for things that happened long before I was born.

And when hell freezes over we can get there faster by travelling over the ice.

What sparked all this off was that somebody took a photo of me. I suspect that this is a common enough experience for most people; this person pulled out a phone and took a picture of me feeding sheep. Bar for the quad bike it’s a picture that hasn’t changed much in my lifetime. Anyway I thought nothing about it until a couple of days later when I discovered I needed a photo of me.

Now because we’ve no mobile signal down here, my mobile is an elderly nokia with no camera or whatever, and it lives switched off in a drawer until I travel to an area with signal. At which point it lives switched off in a pocket.

So in all candour pictures of me aren’t common, a selfie would involve me sitting in front of a mirror with oil paint and canvas.

So I bethought myself of this photo of me feeding sheep and phoned the individual in question and asked him to email me the picture.

“I can’t, I put it straight on snap chat.”


“Well it disappeared after twenty-four hours?”

“So what’s the point of putting a picture on it?”

“It’s so that people who follow you can see what you’re doing during the day?”

Tact stopped me asking, “But who cares?”

But honestly who cares? Who has so little to do that they have to follow somebody else on an hourly basis to see what they’re doing?

I was about to say that anybody who has so little to do at work that they spend their time following others needs a real job. (I suppose it’s OK if you’re in the security services.)
Then I realised that anybody whose life offers them so little that they end up living vicariously through the pictures of others needs a real life of their own.

There again, it’s not my culture is it?
It’s like last night I landed home about 10:30pm and checked the lambing sheep. One had a lamb born dead so I nipped into the house, got changed, came back out and moved her and her dead lamb into a separate pen. Then I checked inside her and there was another lamb who hadn’t been born yet. I gently pulled it out, rubbed it a bit and put it in front of her for her to sniff. Immediately she started licking it down and five minutes later it was obvious to both mum and I that her lamb was going to make a go of it. Whether it’d have been alive if we’d waited much longer nobody knows.

And between us we managed it without photographing anything or anybody.

Still, as I said, what’s the similarity between electric guitars and bank managers?

Unless they’re screaming, you’re not playing them properly.


But the kids of today, you tell them that and some at least don’t believe you. Apparently guitars don’t scream like they used to.


Then what do I know, just ask the dog!

As a reviewer commented “This is a selection of anecdotes about life as a farmer in Cumbria. The writer grew up on his farm, and generations of his family before him farmed the land. You develop a real feeling for the land you are hefted to and this comes across in these stories. We hear of the cattle, the sheep, his succession of working dogs, the weather and the neighbours, in an amusing and chatty style as the snippets of Jim Webster’s countryman’s wisdom fall gently. I love this collection.”

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19 thoughts on “Cultural Dissonance

  1. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt March 9, 2017 at 2:34 pm Reply

    Don’t spend much time with bank managers. What the heck do you do to make them scream? In my experience, they always have the odds in their favor.

    • jwebster2 March 9, 2017 at 7:52 pm Reply

      there’s a saying ‘owe £10,000 you worry, owe £10,000,000 the bank worries’ 🙂

      • Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt March 9, 2017 at 8:39 pm

        There’s an old joke to that effect, about a man pacing the night before he’s supposed to repay the bank money he doesn’t have.

        His wife calls the bank manager, informs him of this, tells her husband it’s now the bank manager’s problem – and to get some sleep.

        I’m not telling it well, but it’s the same principle.

      • jwebster2 March 9, 2017 at 8:47 pm

        Yes, just the same. America had an awful lot more smaller banks than we had so it was probably easier to get them screaming 😉

      • Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt March 9, 2017 at 9:11 pm

        And farming can be so erratic – more like gambling than anything else. The House (the Bank) always wins. Except they can’t farm, so they really lose if the farmer loses the farm.

      • jwebster2 March 9, 2017 at 9:27 pm

        In the UK being a small and overcrowded island, land prices are determined more by housing potential than agricultural potential so land is perhaps a more reliable surety.

      • Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt March 9, 2017 at 10:03 pm

        We have lots of land. Not all of it’s arable.

        Hard to believe, but even with 350million+ there’s mostly empty space.

      • jwebster2 March 9, 2017 at 10:08 pm

        Oh it’s not difficult to understand, I once looked at population densities, most of England is more densely populated than any single US state
        When I look at mid west towns on Google maps they just blow the mind, so much space, so many gaps

  2. Cynthia Reyes March 9, 2017 at 2:40 pm Reply

    You made me smile. Thanks for this interesting post.

  3. jbwye March 13, 2017 at 8:49 am Reply

    Love your little bits and pieces, Jim

    • jwebster2 March 13, 2017 at 8:51 am Reply

      I have a very bits and pieces sort of live I suppose 🙂

  4. Kate McClelland March 14, 2017 at 11:02 pm Reply

    Reblogged this on Kate McClelland.

    • jwebster2 March 15, 2017 at 6:14 am Reply

      what other blog does music criticism and financial management? 😉

      • Kate McClelland March 15, 2017 at 1:44 pm

        Indeed! A rare find :0)

      • jwebster2 March 15, 2017 at 1:51 pm

        stick about and you’ll discover I do cooking and marriage guidance as well 🙂

      • Kate McClelland March 15, 2017 at 8:04 pm

        Hahahaha a man for all seasons :0)

      • jwebster2 March 15, 2017 at 10:26 pm

        Now I’m worried, I’ve seen the play 🙂

      • Kate McClelland March 17, 2017 at 12:15 am

        Lol :0)

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