Birvidik

26 August 2022 | or 'French Leave'
03 August 2022 | or 'Fings ain't the way they seem'
18 June 2022 | or Desolation Row
22 March 2022 | or "Every Form of Refuge Has its Price
28 October 2021 | and repeat after me - "Help Yourself"
23 September 2021 | Warning - Contains strong language and explicit drug references
23 September 2021 | or Everything's Going to Pot
04 September 2021 | or Out of my league
27 August 2021 | or 'The Whine of the Ancient Mariner
16 August 2021 | Found in marina toilet, torn into squares and nailed to door.
06 August 2021 | or 'The Myth of Fingerprints'
30 July 2021 | A morality play in three acts.
30 July 2021 | Ouverture – Allegro Crescendo
30 July 2021 | Second movement – Accelerando, Doloroso
30 July 2021 | Third Movement – Presto, ma no Troppo
18 July 2021 | or 'Big Bastard is watching you
08 July 2021 | or 'love and infection'
29 June 2021 | or It Never Rains But It Pours
29 April 2021 | or Ends & Means

It's just an illusion...

03 August 2022 | or 'Fings ain't the way they seem'
Bob&Liz Newbury
Psychologists call it The Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon. Well, the more Puckish of them do. Those of a more prosaic bent tend to call it The Frequency Illusion. This latter term, despite its relative mundanity, gives a better idea of what it's all about, and is far less likely to dredge up suppressed traumatic memories of 1970s urban guerrilla warfare and so-called fashion sense - you know; Loons, Che Guevara T-shirt, Afghan goatskin waistcoat you could smell coming four blocks away, platform soles, Zapata moustache, tight perm, beret, Heckler & Koch MP5 submachine gun, rucksack stuffed with Semtex, pocketful of assorted detonators - the usual suspects. (10 point bonus to the first person to tell me in what film that phrase first appeared.)

Yup. We all do it.

Suffer from the frequency illusion, that is, not wage a bloody campaign of murders, abductions, assassinations, pipe bombings and cold-blooded executions. We leave all that to the Government.

Usually the Russian one.

I, however, call it The Audi Syndrome. Let me explain.

Other than as a means of getting from A to B without getting too wet, my interest in motor cars is diddley-squat divided by N where N is a really really really big number. You know, infinity or Jeff Bezo's bank balance. (Same thing, really, on reflection). Consequent upon this, cars pass by on the periphery of my awareness and impact not a jot on my mental model of the world. (Or 'Bobbieworld' as Liz only slightly disparagingly puts it.) As a result, and much to the dismay of my few male mates, I am unable to engage in any form of conversation that starts with the words 'What are you driving these days?"

Until, that is, we suddenly, and inexplicably, found ourselves with a not inconsiderable disposable income .(For reasons that are too tedious to detail here. Don't worry - it didn't last.) Not major league, of course - we weren't in the Forbes "How to Spend It" magazine bracket, but nevertheless we had more available readies than we could reasonably spend on cocaine, bespoke suits, flash holidays and poncy restaurants.

"What we gonna do with all this wodge?" we wailed ungratefully, "It's cluttering up the furniture and blocking the fire exits."

Luckily, I had a flash of inspiration. "I know!", I ejaculated , (As in the sense of 'Shouted/blurted out', not the way your grubby little minds are going.)"Let's buy a car!"
"Don't be silly, dear", counselled Liz, tolerantly, "We've already got a car."
"No, Dear Heart, I mean a proper car - not one of the rusting mobile death-traps we usually drive."
"You mean with brakes and a reverse gear and everything?"
Yes, Sweet Muse, everything - indicators, second gear, - even a driver's door that stays attached to the car when you open it."

Liz was open to persuasion, but still had her doubts. Could this really be happening? Could she really be facing a future free of the ignominy of having to ask a bunch of passing schoolboys to give her a push so she could execute a three point turn on a steep slope? Her trusting eyes stared deep into my soul.

"What about suspension?
", she asked pointedly, her voice tinged with an uneasy conflation of suspicion and hope.
"Of course, Light of My Life, Wife of a Thousand Peacocks. You shall have independent multilink Macpherson strut individually pocket sprung suspension systems at your beck and call."

So it came to pass that we tootled down to the nearest car sale room, pointed at the first car we liked the look of, took it for a 20-minute test drive and said "Yup. We'll have that. What is it?"

And so we became the proud, if ignorant, owners of a gleaming white Audi 80 Quattro.
And that's where the Frequency Illusion kicked in.
If, in our days of beat-up moggie 1000s, you had asked me how many Audis there were in Jersey, I'd have hazarded in the region of a hundred or so. I only knew their badge was four interlocking rings because it amused me that Gerhard Schröder had earned the sobriquet 'Audi Man' on his fourth marriage.

Once we had one, however, they all came crawling out of the woodwork; the bloody things were everywhere. Every other car was an Audi. They hadn't, of course, and they weren't. This was the Frequency Illusion in full spate. The number of Audis hadn't changed - my perception of them had. I now took notice of them because they were of some relevance to me. Before we owned one, my brain filtered out Audis and consigned them to the category of 'unimportant background noise'.

This filtration process is not idleness, it is self-preservation. The human brain operates under constant threat of information overload. It receives terabytes of information every second, most of which it promptly throws away. Even the 10 14 synapses in the human neocortex would have trouble processing that amount of data. (Sorry about using powers of ten, but the numbers are just too big otherwise. Anyway, compare this with 10 11 stars in the milky way.) All of us are under constant threat of information overload and have to constantly empty our spam folder. This enables us to concentrate on important things such as 'What's for dinner?' and 'What do you mean, I am?'

Thus it was when I was diagnosed with Parkinson's. From being an intellectually interesting, but rare, condition hovering around the fringes of my consciousness, it leapt centre-stage and took pole position. It was bloody everywhere - Muhammad Ali, George Bush Senior, Billy Connolly, Jeremy Paxman, Ozzy Osborne, that bloke who sang 'Sweet Caroline'. Even the bloody Pope got it. It's common as muck now - the world and his sodding dog seem to be shuffling and shaking their way down to the bookie's, frightening the horses. (Developing a gambling habit is a not unusual side effect of some Park's medication. It is a manifestation of a condition called Impulse Control Disorder, which is slated for the blog after next.) At least it gives the frazzled parents of stroppy recalcitrant brats an effective threat they can use on the little bastards: "See there? You'll end up like that if you don't stop playing with yourself!"

I smiled to myself, knowingly. "That'll be the Audi Syndrome playing its little mind games with me. I've got your number, Boyo. You don't fool me - I know the number of Park's cases hasn't suddenly exploded. It just seems like that to me."

This stance, however, became increasingly difficult to maintain as Park's started to mow its relentless way through friends, acquaintances, fellow yotties and those blokes down the saloon bar of The Frog & Parrot. Few cognitive biases survive first-hand experience unscathed, and the Frequency Illusion is no exception. I decided to do some investigating.

"Why you?", I hear you ask. "What makes you such an authority on it? Well, I'll tell you. It's because of Newbury's First Law of Medical Research, which states:

"If you want to know about a disease or medical condition, don't ask a doctor, ask someone who's got the bloody thing."


A doctor's involved; a patient is committed .

(Best explained by reference to a breakfast of bacon and eggs. The chicken is involved, the pig is committed.)

What I found as a result of my painstaking and rigorous trawling through Wikipedia was that the incidence of Park's had, indeed, gone through the roof. We Parkys have lost the compensatory cachet of rarity and exclusivity. From 1990 to 2015, the number of people with Parkinson's disease doubled to over 6 million. Since then, it's really started to take off. How in the name of All That's Holy did that happen? Well, I'll tell you that as well, since you ask.

Apparently, the meteoric rise in incidence of Park's correlates with three factors: increasing longevity, increasing industrialisation and, ironically, the decline in smoking rates. Smoking may the biggest public health catastrophe since the Black Death, but it does appear to convey considerable protection against Park's. Forty percent, since you persist in interrupting with your endless sodding questions. Anyway, now I'm not feeling quite so smug and self-righteous about giving up 31 years ago.

Anyone got a fag?

Comments
Vessel Name: Birvidik
Vessel Make/Model: Victory 40
Hailing Port: Jersey C.I.
Crew: Bob Newbury
About: Liz Newbury
Extra: 11 years into a 10 year plan, but we get there in the end.
Birvidik's Photos - Birvidik (Main)
15 Photos
Created 31 January 2017
3 Photos
Created 16 October 2015
The move from seagoing to rivers and canals
29 Photos
Created 11 October 2015
10 Photos
Created 6 January 2015
18 Photos
Created 25 September 2014
14 Photos
Created 17 February 2014
21 Photos
Created 2 September 2013
4 Photos
Created 2 September 2013
10 Photos
Created 8 August 2013
16 Photos
Created 26 July 2013
4 Photos
Created 26 July 2013
11 Photos
Created 26 July 2013
12 Photos
Created 26 July 2013
and wintering in Lefkas
19 Photos
Created 6 February 2013
14 Photos
Created 18 August 2012
19 Photos
Created 26 June 2012
5 Photos
Created 18 January 2012
14 Photos
Created 18 December 2011
5 Photos
Created 18 December 2011
9 Photos
Created 18 December 2011
8 Photos
Created 16 October 2011
9 Photos
Created 10 October 2011
10 Photos
Created 11 July 2011
23 Photos
Created 21 June 2011
10 Photos
Created 15 May 2011
44 Photos
Created 21 April 2011
9 Photos
Created 29 March 2011
24 Photos
Created 26 March 2011
12 Photos
Created 25 December 2010
13 Photos
Created 23 December 2010
7 Photos
Created 28 September 2010
10 Photos
Created 21 September 2010
15 Photos
Created 8 August 2010
9 Photos
Created 6 July 2010
12 Photos
Created 28 June 2010
9 Photos
Created 30 May 2010
21 Photos
Created 4 May 2010
20 Photos
Created 7 February 2010
7 Photos
Created 7 February 2010
13 Photos
Created 20 December 2009
11 Photos
Created 20 December 2009
15 Photos
Created 8 September 2009
11 Photos
Created 20 August 2009
13 Photos
Created 30 July 2009
10 Photos
Created 30 July 2009
6 Photos
Created 30 July 2009
12 Photos
Created 19 July 2009
15 Photos
Created 19 June 2009
8 Photos
Created 8 June 2009
8 Photos
Created 2 June 2009
7 Photos
Created 2 June 2009
10 Photos
Created 1 June 2009
8 Photos
Created 23 May 2009
27 Photos
Created 20 May 2009
24 Photos
Created 20 May 2009
9 Photos
Created 10 February 2009
15 Photos
Created 25 December 2008
9 Photos
Created 25 December 2008
22 Photos
Created 25 December 2008
8 Photos
Created 25 December 2008
8 Photos
Created 25 December 2008
15 Photos
Created 13 August 2008
10 Photos
Created 13 August 2008
13 Photos
Created 4 August 2008
5 Photos
Created 4 August 2008
10 Photos
Created 4 August 2008
9 Photos
Created 4 July 2008
12 Photos
Created 6 June 2008
10 Photos
Created 17 May 2008
14 Photos
Created 14 May 2008
17 Photos
Created 20 April 2008
7 Photos
Created 20 April 2008
22 Photos
Created 5 March 2008
6 Photos
Created 4 March 2008
10 Photos
Created 4 March 2008
8 Photos
Created 4 March 2008
7 Photos
Created 30 December 2007
16 Photos
Created 11 December 2007
8 Photos
Created 11 December 2007
8 Photos
Created 11 December 2007
11 Photos | 2 Sub-Albums
Created 11 December 2007
24 Photos
Created 11 November 2007
7 Photos
Created 12 September 2007
12 Photos
Created 11 September 2007
3 Photos
Created 11 September 2007
9 Photos
Created 11 September 2007
4 Photos
Created 11 September 2007
4 Photos
Created 3 August 2007
12 Photos
Created 3 August 2007
13 Photos
Created 25 July 2007
7 Photos
Created 25 July 2007
8 Photos | 2 Sub-Albums
Created 17 July 2007
3 Photos
Created 17 July 2007
21 Photos
Created 7 July 2007
22 Photos
Created 16 June 2007
16 Photos
Created 16 June 2007
4 Photos
Created 28 May 2007
16 Photos
Created 22 May 2007
24 Photos
Created 22 May 2007
The trip up the river Guardiana between Spain & Portugal
16 Photos
Created 22 May 2007
2 Photos
Created 22 May 2007
A selection of the myriad photographs taken over the 6 months in Lagos
37 Photos
Created 22 May 2007
Dia de Cidade festivities & torrential rains
21 Photos
Created 22 May 2007
4 Photos
Created 22 May 2007
3 Photos
Created 22 May 2007
9 Photos
Created 22 May 2007
12 Photos
Created 22 May 2007
11 Photos
Created 22 May 2007
9 Photos
Created 22 May 2007
8 Photos
Created 22 May 2007
16 Photos
Created 22 May 2007
18 Photos
Created 22 May 2007
9 Photos
Created 22 May 2007
9 Photos
Created 22 May 2007
10 Photos
Created 22 May 2007
9 Photos
Created 22 May 2007
18 Photos
Created 22 May 2007
2 Photos
Created 22 May 2007
9 Photos
Created 22 May 2007
6 Photos
Created 22 May 2007
11 Photos
Created 22 May 2007
7 Photos
Created 22 May 2007
22 Photos | 1 Sub-Album
Created 22 May 2007
9 Photos
Created 22 May 2007
10 Photos
Created 22 May 2007
13 Photos
Created 22 May 2007