By any measure it’s a tragedy: Hundreds of whales beaching on Farewell Spit on the northern tip of New Zealand’s South Island. A fairly regular occurrence by all accounts but the numbers on this occasion have few historical precedents. Despite the tireless and valiant efforts of countless volunteers most of these fatally confused cetaceans could not be saved. But as I watch the news of their putrid carcasses exploding in the sun I find it paradoxical that it’s Pilot Whales that have lost their way in such numbers. It’d be funny if it weren’t so sad. At the very least it must be embarrassing up in Whale Heaven — ‘You got what? Lost!? Jesus…’

Speaking of losing the plot, the very next news item concerns another contentious ‘alternative fact’ causing angst in the US. Again it would be funny if it weren’t so sad. I’m no Trump fan (quite the contrary actually) but I find the pompous outrage of those now railing against him aggravating. You had your chance to stop him and you didn’t. Fact is you didn’t have a convincing alternative. Too late now. He is simply doing what he said he would do. He’s delivering on his promises, which, admittedly we don’t expect politicians to do. That he is doing it at such a ferocious rate seems to have taken many by surprise. It’s like watching a gate crasher drinking and eating as much as he or she can before being found out and asked to leave.

The rest of the news is the usual parade of calamity, inhumanity and political circumlocution, and I’m struck by the immutable thought that, in a sense, we are all pilot whales — we seem to have lost our way.

Then I pick up my guitar and begin to play, and my melancholia melts away. I’m writing some excellent songs right now and still believe the best is yet to come. And, despite all the signs to the contrary, I hope the same can be said about this ship of fools we call Planet Earth.

One thing’s for sure, we’ll need better pilots.