Sunday, 21 September 2014

Thinking myself thin

Over the years I've collected a few additional pounds. I dislike being overweight intensely but struggle to deliver on my occasionally formed pillar of good intentions. So I stoically hold on to the extra 20 or so pounds that straddle my middle and strangle my self confidence.   

Travelling back from Greece on Friday I encountered all manner of shape and size. From the worryingly thin (is she ok do you think) to the grotesquely fat (shouldn't she be made to buy two seats) and I begin to wonder if I am alone in my self flagellation about the undesirability of my shape. Am I the only one being emotionally destroyed by my fat cells?

To be honest, I know I'm not alone, there are loads of people who constantly delude themselves about their ability to govern their weight and then suffer emotional humiliation when they finally realise they simply don't have any power over it at all.

But what I do marvel at are the hoards of overweight folk who seem utterly content to be porkers. 

On the plane I sat opposite two girls in their mid twenties, both massively overweight and already, at such a young age, having embraced the black leggings look - fat of face, chubby of hand and enormous of arse. There was also a simply huge woman, so large she could only navigate the centre aisle sideways and then with a squeeze; I have no idea which poor sod sat next to her but it must have been excruciating. And yet, all these ladies seemed happy and relaxed. They showed no embarrassment for how they interfered with 'normal' folk trying to go about their business and (probably) showed no embarrassment when exposing their flab on the beach.

Yet my obesity causes me angst everyday. I look at myself in the mirror and think about what used to be. I constantly beat myself up for not sticking to my food goals, I insult myself verbally (in my head) I refuse to buy new clothes even though the ones I have are falling apart and I can afford a new wardrobe. None of this does any good.

My wife tells me I look fine (I don't, she loves me so she lies) and just to be content like all these fat folk we encounter every day, but I can't and she knows it. I'll just have to read a few more rubbish science papers and quack diet books before realising that all I have do is eat less and move more. How simple is that! Well, regrettably, it's nigh on bloody impossible. But we live in hope.

So, over the next few weeks I'll rediscover that counting calories is the thing, that eating as much as you like as long as there's no carbs really sheds the pounds, that fasting every third day is our natural state and reflects our primeval diet, that staving yourself for even one day panics your body into storing fat and makes you more inclined to illness. Of course what I won't do is admit my angst to my mates.

You see, whilst women seem to talk about their weight worries openly and constructively, men don't. If I admitted my concerns to my drinking buddies down the pub they'd look strangely at me and then say "well lose some weight then you fat twat" or some other highly constructive words.

And I can't do with the power thinkers either. Middle aged men in Lycra (MAMILs as they are wonderfully called) are simply hummungeoius twats who seem to have anger issues and a point to prove. Then there's the guy who's 60, still runs 5k everyday and is built like a whip - am I alone in hoping he dies before me so I can look smug?

The fact is I, like most men, don't understand what we can do to change. Unlike women, men have no stomach for nonsense yoyo diets that plainly don't work. It needs to be simple. 

I have to get back in shape for my own sanity and I've resolved to do the following:

steer clear of carbs, they are clearly evil. I'll also dump the starchy stuff
exercise a bit. Not running that's just dumb, but I'll get back in the routine of doing sit ups and lift a few weights
swim, I like swimming and there's always the chance of seeing something pleasant in a bikini so we can live in hope
Sleep more, evidently getting a good nights sleep is good for your metabolism. Don't know where I read that but who's going to argue
And stop eating sweets, chocolates and biscuits. Tough one that

You'll notice I didn't mention beer. That of course would be a step too far towards being one of those sad thin people who can get into skinny jeans but have nowhere to go once they've done it.

Probably the three fat ladies I encountered on the plane are lovely, bubbly sorts. When they're not eating that is........

Friday, 19 September 2014

Smoking is good for you?

I'm a smoker. I like to smoke. Unfashionable I know but there we are. I've stopped three times since starting almost 40 years ago, once for 12 years - so I don't take shit from 'former smokers' - I simply tell them they're never out of the woods.

The first time I gave up (3yrs) it was in protest at the price of a packet having gone up to 50p, given they're now about nine quid that seems churlish but it mattered at the time. The second time (the long one) was when my kids were little and the last time was six years ago (2year abstinence this time).

I won't be giving up again (unless they make it illegal) and here's why

During my life I've seen smoking move from being what everybody did to being something that pompous twats now feel able to moan about. I can't smoke indoors because Roy Castle's wife invented passive smoking and big business loved this trashy pseudo science so much they created an agenda that GP's then happily 'confirmed' by bending health figures. I am clear, and so should you be, that passive smoking is a myth - it's like the tooth fairy, it makes some people happy and others slightly wealthier.

Airlines loved banning smoking. Like businesses it reduced their cleaning costs but, in the case of airplanes it allowed them to turn down the air circulation systems - the air in the average airline cabin is now ten times as dirty as it was when smoking was allowed on planes- but the airliners save a fortune while you catch colds.

I also used to get terrorised by my GP. He's a fat lad and I finally snapped and said that whilst I was 20 years older than him I'd be prepared to race him down the seafront and I guessed I'd win. We don't discuss it anymore, I still smoke and he's still the size of a house - we are both comfortable with our existence.

Then there's the stuff about how we smokers cost the NHS loads of money. This also is a terrible lie. We die early, the savings in geriatric care and pension provisions when added to the tax revenue on cigarettes actually amounts the five times what the NHS has to spend on us. We are not a burden we're a revenue stream!

My dad smoked, he was a professional - 80 Capstan Full Strength a day (for the uninitiated trust me that's serious smoking). He loved life, liked his beer,worked hard and died of cancer when he was 69. My mum neither smoked nor drank, at 86 a consultant told me she had the heart and lungs of a lion and would live to be 100. Twelve months later she didn't know who anybody was except me but her internal organs were still going to take her through another 10 years or so.

I decided I'd rather go like my dad - that's when I started smoking again.

So I smoke, I like smoking. I won't be preached at or have some prick screw their nose up when I spark one - good chance I'll break that nose for you if you push it too far. 

Every year 'science' decides they got something wrong. Generally after we've paid them lots of money for their shit research and bad advice. Suddenly chocolates ok, global warming is bollocks and low fat diets are the wrong way to lose weight.

I'm living in hope they'll realise one day that smoking is good for you. But I'll probably be long dead by then......

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Scotland the brave or Scotland the dumb?

So there are rumblings in the Westminster jungle as the Scots head for the polls. Interestingly I think the man who has dedicated so much of his life working for a "better Scotland" as he perceived it, Mr Alex Salmond, may well have put the kibosh on the place in more ways than he can imagine.

Perhaps he's right in his conviction that an independence vote leads to a brave new world of prosperity and internationalism, but all the signs suggest he isn't. Whether it's the Bank of England, the EU Commissioners or the UN, nobody seems to think it's a good idea on any level and, surely, all these smart folk can't be wrong?

Many Scots prefer the "Devo Max" idea but all this chatter about Scotland has educated great swathes of the English middle classes who now realise that they actually pay for Scotland's current socialist empire and are now being told to pay even more.

The thing is, Scotland delivers Labour governments for the UK; without those northern MP's we would be blue to our core, BUT general elections are won and lost in the leafy English suburbs whee the middle classes drink tea. Neither Labour nor Tory will ever intentionally alienate them as to do so is to kiss goodbye to power. And the middle classes of England are now chattering.

If Scotland votes YES today, which seems unlikely now, then none of this will matter. The UK can relax with added prosperity from no longer subsidising the Scots and the Tories can be certain of being in power for a long time.

But the likely result is that Scotland will vote NO. This then draws a battle ground which Cameron and Miliband should have seen coming but for some reason didn't. There will be calls for an English Assembly with the same powers as Scotland and Wales. The formula that gives Scots over a £1,000 more per head in state spending that in England, will be scrapped. In short, Scotland could see it's socialist universe collapse.

Ironically our esteemed leaders, camped out in Edinburgh, have promised the earth to get a NO vote - Cameron in particular seems to have forgotten that we don't have a Presidential government system here - they have made promises they can't keep and that's dishonest.

I guess my belief is that today will be a turning point for England more than for Scotland. Either way they vote the Scots are heading for hard times (ironically had they shut up and just got on with things they would have been fine) with less public spending. England may well be the big beneficiary and a slight political change on the part of Nigel Farage could see leverage being created for an English referendum to leave the UK and EU; one that I think will provide a YES vote.

So, Mr Salmond, one way or another you've stirred up a hornets nest and I'm pretty sure your country will be the big loser.

Life's weird isn't it?

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Why all this fuss about Scotland?

I know that tomorrow is a momentous day for Scotland. They'll be deciding whether to stick with us lot or bugger off into the sunset. But why all the hype on the sunny side of the border?

From what I can see, whether Scotland leave or not, things won't change much on our side. Of course we lose the oil revenue but we subsidise the Scots massively and I'm pretty sure financially we'll be better off.

We'll also never have a Labour government again and we could debate whether that's a good thing or not, but, whatever your view of it, the English always vote Tory so that's just democracy in action.

If they stay then I can't see that ending well. The YES campaign is quickly turning into a guerrilla movement with violence and mob rule being claimed (some hype and hysteria I'm sure) and that won't go away surely? Do we get the Scots version of the IRA being formed? Also by staying they will start the demands for an English Parliament with the same powers as Edinburgh, and it will happen - maybe not soon but it will.

If they go we just get on with stuff while they have an exciting time negotiating with everybody (UK, EU, UN, Tesco) and I would presume getting the rough end of the stick in most of those talks. But that won't bother us. Our economy will recover (probably quicker), we'll be more likely to leave the EU and the Welsh will still be unhappy.

To be frank I don't really care whether they stay or go. I view it like a relationship that's gone bad. If they go we'll both get over it, if they stay we'll rumble on wondering if we still like each other. Resentment will abound and the English will go for broke on asserting their authority.

It's one of those things that was probably better left unsaid. A bit like when your kids are teenagers and they annoy you (a lot). It's best just shutting up because you know they'll mature in a few years.

But perhaps our little Scottish teenager wants to move out. Find their feet in the real world. That hardly ever ends well does it?

Monday, 15 September 2014

Have I got the X-Factor?

I'm currently in a lovely little spot. It's hot, and the view looks out over a bay where little houses are dotted about like salt flakes on the craggy coast. Boats are bobbing in the harbour and the sun is kissing everything it can.  And I'm being paid for being here.

I sometimes wonder at my work. Is arranging melodies and teaching folk with Karaoke voices how to maintain their vocal chords through what might be a long and arduous competition really work? Should it really pay this much? In what way does this relate to reality?

But it's big business as I keep being told. The mighty boss man turned up yesterday to make that point. Millions of pounds of advertising revenue is reliant on this little singing competition. And of course, his private jet needs paying for.

It's pretty relaxed here. No cameras at this stage, just hard work for the three acts as they learn that being a professional artist is about a lot more than picking your favourite song in the pub - and that vocal discipline is everything.

I once worked with Celine Dion. She banged out huge numbers every night for 20 gigs in a row, always in control of her voice, never straining, never pushing to that point where things crack and break. Professionals learn how to do this. I've also worked with West End singers who are expected to give eight performances a week for months on end without once cracking the voice. It's a trick (like most things) and a discipline honed over years of lessons - believe it or not most famous singers have lessons every week - but here it's got to be a fast track to survival.

Most contestants on talent shows don't even understand the basics of singing. They have good voices but they don't breath correctly or in the right places. They can knock out one great song but not every day. Learning something that takes professionals years to master in a matter of a few weeks isn't easy and sometimes it's impossible.

So my job is a bit demanding. But it's still not a job really. Nothing horrendous happens if it isn't done. Nobody dies (although they might die inside a little) and I do worry that most of the contestants don't get the fact that this is a talent show; it's very rarely a path to music glory. If you want to succeed in the music biz then, just like any other vocation, you have to work at it over years. The instant stardom given by talent shows is short lived and often has tragic endings.

But I do enjoy arranging music and I'm good at it. The show now allows for 'alternative arrangements' so I'm having fun. Teaching people who generally can't read music and, as yet, don't have the discipline to practice enough, how to deliver something special can be funny but it's also exasperating.

But as they say in show biz - it'll be alright on the night

And before you ask, no clues will be forthcoming about who I'm working with or where. It's in the contract darling!

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Time for a Liberal comeback?

I've always been interested in politics but, apart from a brief spell whenTony Blair was running the shop, I've always been pretty disaffected with all of the main parties. I can remember in the 70's chatting to some chums and saying the Liberal Democrats were ripe for a takeover - they had just about disappeared from sight and were holding their party conferences in a phone box - as I always felt grabbing hold of an established party was much better than trying to start from scratch; well, it worked for Hitler......

Then they started their great comeback. Post Paddy they had the drunk Kennedy in charge, then a couple of confused geriatrics and now the EU loving Clegg. But despite being largely rudderless they've grown into something of a force.

Of course the last four years have changed all that. After twenty years of upwards mobility they are about to implode on a grand scale at the next General Election. UKIP have claimed the mantle of 'establishment position' that they enjoyed for so long, Farage is the man of the moment, and the LidDems may well be lucky to have 5 MP's post 2015.

Of course the Liberal Democrats aren't Liberals at all. John Locke must spin in his grave every time Nick Clegg declares himself a Liberal - he isn't, he is a far left social democrat who loves Europe and the nanny state.

True Liberals would choke at the thought of the EU. Nick loves it so much because he worked on making it the behemoth it is today. He loves non democratic big state manipulation,  he is 'continental in thinking' (whatever that means) and he wants to pass almost all of our democratically hard won rights over to the boys in Brussels because they know best.

The Liberal Democrat audience and support is also fascinating. Middle class, slightly wealthier than most, politically aware, economically insulated; they seem guilt ridden by their own success and want to give something back. You'll find them manning food banks and volunteering for homeless shelter duty. Not that any of them have ever been anywhere near needing those sort of services. They are members of the Caravan Club, the RSPB, National Trust Members and many do actually wear sandals and socks at the same time.

They are the politically disenfranchised, those people Ayn Rand hated, the property owning classes who want to be chastised for their own success and feel the best way to assuage their guilt is to cuddle every unfortunate or oppressed minority.

They are teachers, vets, farmers, PR Consultants and Diversity Coordinators. And vast swathes of them are retired (usually from the jobs just mentioned). For reasons of history the LibDems stronghold is in the far north and east of Scotland. I think those folk haven't yet realised the LibDems aren't the Liberal Party, in fact they couldn't be further from Liberal values if they tried.

In short, the LibDems are a wishy washy bunch of PC riddled middle class suburban folk who sign petitions and believe that matters. They have no right to use the Liberal name.....

So here's an idea. Post 2015 they'll be back to having a handful of MP's, no power and a leader who's hitting the bottle. Time for a take over.

Drop the 'Dems' bit, go back to being the Liberal Party and pick up where Winston Churchill left off. Fight for minimal state, leave the EU, protect our country against immigration blight, be strong in the world.

Funnily enough, these are all things the Liberal Churchill fought for, they are also all things that Clegg and his clowns would oppose.

It's time to take back the Liberal Party and make all it's current MP's read the definition of what it is to be a Liberal every day until they quit and join the communists. Of course, Farage is a Liberal, he just hasn't worked it out yet........

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Perhaps Enoch Powell was right

I have no religion or faith. Frankly it's brought about by a mixture of laziness and a love of history. Laziness in that I've usually got better things to do that worry about what happens after I die, and history because when you read about religion you see what nasty fuckers tend to make it to the top in that game.

Humans are unique amongst animals in that we understand mortality and we communicate verbally in complex ways. Easy then to see how human society will invent gods in order that they can invent the after life. It's just plain awful to think that 'this is it' isn't it? That when you're dead you're dead, so we to against everything that seems rational and obvious in the world that we see and talk about omnipotent beings and 'another place'. Utter bollocks the lot of it.

There have been, throughout history, religious sects that could unite the various dingbat sects. The Cathars who grew in the 12th Century believed that this earth was hell - a test for man, and that Jesus had been some kind of hologram who came to warn everybody about how shit this place was. It caught on and Christians, Muslims and Jews converted. Then the Pope at the time decided it needed to end and wiped them out; top class Roman Catholicing.

Religion causes most of the trouble in the world. If we all woke up tomorrow knowing there is no God and that when you're gone that's it, then most of the current wars across the globe would be pointless. Sadly so would the lives of many people so the religious bandwagon continues. In most cases it's pretty harmless. Sometimes it distils a form of decency into people who might otherwise be just plain nasty.

But, one religion stands apart. Every religion on the planet is based on suffering and love for fellow man conquering adversity - every religion expect Islam that is. The Muslim faith is built around vengeance and violence. Borne from it in fact. Their 'holy book' is a catalogue of violence, a misogynistic treatise of the superiority of man, the worthlessness of women and the need to kill all 'infidels' (that's you and me by the way).

The Christian book, the Jewish book, Hindu scripture and Buddhist thinking all preach peace - the Muslim book is all about hatred of none believers, how they are unclean and need to be destroyed.

Now this didn't matter too much until recently. The west rarely encountered Islam. But as we globalised and people started to mingle it became an issue - there are now 6 million Muslims in the UK alone and many millions more across Europe. Politicians try to tell us ISIS isn't Islam but sadly it is. Their fighters take their book literally and are no different to Cromwell's puritans or the Pope's Crusaders in simply wanting to see the Islamic faith followed properly. We call that radicalism, they call it fighting for their religious beliefs.

Muslims don't mix on the whole. They intermarry - Bradford Council recently published a report about child mortality blaming it's unenviable record on inter breeding amongst Muslims of Pakistani origin - they ghettoise city spaces, they keep to themselves. Only the intelligent ones move out into society and there are very few of them. When children start school unable to speak English and are them prevented from doing homework because they are too busy attending the mosque to learn the holy book, you have to be something special to get any GCSE's at all. Sadly the ones who do rise above the crowd and enter mainstream society then decide to use their skills to articulate the persecution of their fellow Muslims rather than to stand against the inward looking nature of Islam.

Muslims feel the rules of their religion surmount national laws. So they practice paedophilia, they abuse teenage girls turning those they see as unclean into slaves, simply because their religion allows it. Their 'prophet' married a 9 year old - what can you expect.

It's now become clear that their invasion of the Labour Party, populating local government alongside radically PC white activists of the worst kind, has allowed then to subvert UK justice, covering up their flouting of the law and leaving police and child services unsure as to what they should do. Let's be clear, they manipulated simpletons on the left and used their power to avoid UK laws they don't think apply to them.

The question is what to do about it. Any move to ban Muslims of Pakistani origin from public office would lead to screams of protest even if they have displayed reasons why it would be a very good idea. It's also hardly possible to repatriate people who are third generation British (and a bit fascist too). The only way this can end therefore is through the processes the Islamic faith dictates.

ISIS is finding it very easy to recruit in Britain. Those who are not going are supporting (a recent poll of Pakistani Muslims in Holland found 83% supported ISIS - nobody dare do such a poll in the UK) and that will lead to ISIS style thinking here.

When it comes it will shock the nation. Attempts to 'take' key cities and create Islamic States here will probably to swift and very bloody. It will happen out of the blue, organised but undetected until it's too late. Then they will be crushed - massively and swiftly - but only after politicians have dithered too long and the population at large have decided to take matters into their own hands.

The end of Islam in Europe won't be pretty, it will be horrific in its casualty rates and will inevitably turn Europe more right wing, but it will come. The reason is simple. Western society is hamstrung by it's desire to be engaged with all faiths, it's PC philosophies born out of the rise of socialism and the apparent ability of politicians on all sides to deny reality. As they have done in Rotherham,  Bradford, Rochdale and inner London, Muslims will exploit that and be forgiven for thinking the Islamic State inside the UK is possible.

It isn't of course, but our political correctness will take us there and it will be ordinary people, not the police, who stop it. But those days will be dark.

Perhaps Enoch Powell was a prophetic politician not a racist as the left loves to brand him.......

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Scotland and her divorce

They'd been having relationship issues for some time. Whilst he merrily ran through life confident in his decisions and friendships, she was unhappy and felt she was living her life vicariously through him.

When she told him she was unhappy he patted her on the head and said he knew best. When she said she was thinking of leaving him he ignored it, bought her the occasional bunch of flowers, agreed to go and visit her mum more often but still wanted his dinner on the table when he got home.

When she started divorce proceedings he told her she wouldn't survive without him. He said she'd be 'nothing', her finances would be a mess, the cozy life she had now was all down to him and she'd sink into oblivion. He almost got to the point of threatening her. She wouldn't be getting the house or the car he'd bought her. All their friends would side with him.

She waivered, maybe he was right, what sort of a life would it be. But in the end she knew it would be better even if it was hard. So he made more concessions. He would give her more control over the finances, if she wanted the new toaster he'd let her choose it, she could even redecorate the bedroom.

But never once did he admit that he needed her. That he loved her and couldn't imagine life without her. That as a couple they were ten times better than the sum of their parts. He was a mans man, he didn't do that, admitting he needed her just wasn't in his lexicon.

Nobody knows what she will do. Maybe she'll decide to take the concessions and limp along for another few years. But he'll never change and deep inside she knows that. He's just not the romantic, sharing type and that won't alter. He's not a social caring chap; she cares about friends while he sees them as a means to an end - his end.

In a few days time she will decide if she's going to leave him for good. If she's brave enough she will have a tough time. He'll throw his toys out of the pram, make it tough for her, tell everybody else not to talk to her. But in a few years time she'll be a better person. She will do the things she values, she'll make new friends and find ways to be her own person.

He'll be ok too, but will have to realise how much he needed her and that she leaves a hole in his life.

The Scottish Independence referendum is in a few days time. Will she be brave enough to make her own way in the world or will she stay with the bossy misogynist for a while longer.

There's nowt so strange as folk........

Friday, 5 September 2014

Why I shouldn't have a dog

Nine years ago (approximate timings ok) a friend called me out of the blue and asked a favour. She lived in a shared house and had bought a puppy, the other residents were cool about it but the landlord was coming back to stay for six weeks and dogs were banned. I didn't query her logic in buying the dog - I'm not like that. So, she asked me if I could look after her 12 week old puppy for six weeks.

I didn't know the first thing about dogs but, given I always try to help, I finally said OK and Willey arrived. A bubbly Staffy who just wanted to be happy.

Over the next six weeks I grew to love his company. I made a fist of being the good dog parent and we got on just fine. Then I had to give him back. It broke my heart.

As you do, I decided I'd get a dog of my own. As I do, I ran up a specification (female, small, intelligent) and set off looking. I settled on a Jack Russell but then read they were a bit yappy. But after a bit more research discovered that if they were crossed the barking often stopped and the brains came to the front. Enter Izzy, a Jack Russell Lakeland Terrier cross.

I took her to puppy school, I learned how to make her do tricks and be obedient, we both excelled at it and our happy co-existence began.

Izzy brings joy to me everyday and I try to do my bit for her, but she's an old girl now and she's got fat and lazy. She never really liked walking unless it was somewhere new - her brains get the better of her - and now she really objects, so I drag her three or four miles everyday.

Then she started limping. One of her back legs was hurting her so she hopped on three legs - to the vets we go. I then get chewed out cos she's fat (about 3.5 kilos overweight he says) and the guilt trip starts. I put her on a diet, now she cries a lot and looks unhappy all the time, but she is losing weight. Cruel to be kind they say.......

Now I'm a musician. I gigged till I was 50 and spent 30 years underweight after my first appearance on Top of the Pops and seeing myself back on the tele. I guess I should be 12 stone but I went down to 11 (or under). Food became the enemy, and ironically bourbon became my friend. I smoked to stop hunger pangs, I drank to stop hunger pangs, I messed up my body so much I'm sometimes amazed I'm still here.

Then I retired from the stage......... and I put on weight. Now I'm a stone overweight and hate it. I'm vain and I don't like what I see in the mirror. I have money but I never buy nice clothes - I mentally bribe myself "you can have that when you've lost the weight" - but I don't.

So me and Izzy have a lot in common. We're both overweight, we both hate exercise, we both like food.

Because I'm a sentient being I can think it out, I don't do a great job of it but I know that as you get older the girth widens and use that excuse a lot. But she's a dumb animal and I'm supposed to make the decisions. I'm also under pressure from the vet who clearly knows better than me.

But I've come to an epiphany. I'm overweight, I smoke, I drink, I eat chocolate and it works for me. I know I'm probably cutting ten years off my life but so what. Being old isn't much fun and the spin put on it by fit 80 year olds is just so much bullshit. I'm happy to croke at 70 to be honest. And I think Izzy is ok with the same logic.

So, stuff the vet, me and her are going to get old and fat together and if he doesn't like it he can stuff it up his righteous arse. No more broccoli florets and carrots as treats- it's just not happening.

We all have a right to 'be' and quite frankly she's more intelligent than some of the folk I see on Facebook, so she has that right too.

But maybe I'm just not cut out to be a dog owner. Maybe I'm no good at it. Perhaps I should give her to somebody who will starve her into shape and let her live till she's 20. I'm suffering lots of self doubt now. And all over a cute furry white lady who loves me.

Izzy and I are a team, but does that mean we are fit for each other? Fucked if I know......

Monday, 1 September 2014

Gobshites on Twitter

Thomas Farriner is one of those blokes who did a little thing that affected a lot of people. On this day in 1666 he was baking bread in his bakery in Pudding Lane and took his eye off the ball for no more than a minute. A fire started, the rest is history.

Thomas's minute of distraction led to almost 85% of all the houses in London burning down - he wasn't that popular. One little spark caused disaster.

It happens all the time (admittedly not on such a grand scale) that a little thing leads to something big and very unpleasant. None of us realise that a few words, spoken after a beer perhaps, can have massive consequences for us and for other people. Discretion is the better part of valour they say, but we seem to live in a world now - and a Twitterverse certainly - where people shoot their mouths off at will and always say it's all about free speech.

But it's not really guys is it. It's just about shooting your mouth off cos you can. Twitter makes it easy - it's impersonal, writing insults has always been easier than saying them to somebody face to face. And I guess most of the people being thoroughly unpleasant on Twitter wouldn't have the guts to say it if stood in front of somebody.

Then there's the opinionated fools on Twitter who know little but say a lot. And insult with impunity. They read one tweet (let's not even bother scanning the persons timeline eh, takes far too long) and in they pile.

I suffered tons do bile recently. Louise Mensch is somebody I quite like, although her self publicist mentality is a bit hard to swallow. She wrote an excellent piece for the Jewish Chronicle supporting Israel, as I do, and saying that the recent Gaza conflict had been used by anti-semitics to voice their hatred of Jews. I happen to agree, and had tweeted many times that people like Dianne Abbot were simply a Jew haters who had used the conflict to reignite an age old left wing hatred. I replied to Louise that her piece was excellent and then made the point that it might be interesting (in the spirit of trying to say something positive) to explore the meaning of 'Semite'. I'll admit it was a complex point to make on Twitter in such few words but Louise got it and acknowledged it.

I then found myself deluged by Jews and Israelis hammering me as a Jew hater. They hadn't got it and hadn't bothered to see if I was on either side of the fence. I have condemned disproportionate response but supported Israel's right to defend itself against terrorists.

I tried to remake the point but they weren't listening. They couldn't listen as they weren't bright enough. Then in came the other camp, either twatting me for being a 'Jew lover' or thinking I was a supporter of their cause.

I despaired and eventually just ignored all of them.

One spark, taking my eye off the ball for one minute, led to a conflagration of immense proportions. And I felt helpless to do anything about it and also felt unjustly abused.

Thomas Farriner felt the same evidently. He took his eye off the ball, he didn't intend to burn London down. He expected to bake bread that people would enjoy. His life was hell afterwards as he knew he had started the fire, albeit that a French bloke got hanged for it, and he never really recovered.

I'll move on and will make sure I don't make complex points in an environment limited by 140 characters and populated by idiots and ingrates who speak before they think.

London actually benefitted from the fire and the city we enjoy today is largely the beneficiary of the disaster. So maybe I'll benefit too. I will try........