April 6, 2017

Question, What happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object?

They both turn around and say “bloody hell! Have you met that Chris Hoggins character? Now he’s what you call stubborn.”

Apparently, being stubborn is supposed to be a bad thing but I regard it as being one of my greatest strengths. If it wasn’t for my stubbornness I would probably be either dead or living on the streets by now, it is through sheer iron force of will that I have survived all the shit thrown at me and in many cases thrown it straight back. Back last century, I remember being shown an advert with a small child smashing a square peg into a round hole. My friends pointed it out at the time with comments of “ha, ha, that’s you that is!” To which I mumbled something about the commodification of everything and how i certainly wouldn’t be buying anything because of some manipulative advertising, “ooh, I’m a rebel because I wear these jeans.” malarkey.

There is a view of me by people who don’t know me that I am some sort or morose grouch, sniping at the world from the sidelines. What I am is someone who absolutely hates cynicism and unfairness, the thing is, if you think all I am is some ranting misfit then it’s because I have intentionally distanced myself from you, and the reason that I have done that is because you are most likely a horrible person. That’s ok though, because there are plenty of you around and you can all hang out together and tell yourselves just how wonderful you are. You never know, if you do it long enough, you might actually believe it. Most people are too affraid to say anything about anything much in case they lose friends, or a job or because people might not like you. Personally, knowing that various people can’t stand me gives me a warm fuzzy glow inside, if arseholes like you, you are on the wrong track. If something is unfair it needs to be pointed out by someone and usually that someone is me. There is a big difference between being stubborn and unkind though. I am very empathetic and I try and put myself in other people’s shoes before I say or do something. Sometimes , though, what you find looks like a pair of fluffy slippers on the outside are more like blood besplattered jackboots when you try them on and that is when I have to say something. I seem to always have had an ability to see right through people, it can be very frustrating though. Sometimes I have had to wait years for others to spot what I saw in the first five minutes of meeting someone and by then the damage that they have wreaked is immeasurable.

There is something absolutely fascinating about the way that some people are fawned over in the relatively small town where I live. If people get the impression that you may be of use to them in some way or another, it’s amazing how nice they can be in an incincere sort of way. The mask soon slips though but until it does you can have such fun watching everyone trip over each other to be super nice. It’s fascinating watching when someone new comes to town, it’s like the gold rush, or a swarm of locusts buzzing all over someone. I have discovered two wonderful things though about not falling for any of this bullshit. The first is that money cannot buy the feeling you get from being truly honest about something or someone, especially when you have had to keep your mouth shut in the past, and the second is that for every nasty fake person that you tell the truth about and lose from your life, you will get twenty more nice people come and shake your hand for doing what they have always wanted to do. You end up becoming a sort of honesty Robin Hood and that is such a nice feeling. 

Basic honesty aside, stubbornness prevents you from folding, I have had my (and other people’s) share of knockbacks but I always manage to turn things around and use those negatives for good. When I’m not being stubborn, I’m quite often storing up grudges, I would like to think that it is through a sense of justice (or lack thereof) but I have a very long memory and it’s good to make sure that shitty people get their comeuppance eventually or at least that heinous acts aren’t forgotten. Karma, sometimes needs a hand, or a mouth.

My stubbornness is currently manifesting as an exercise in slowly bashing my head against a brick wall or more precisely a wall of words. It’s a chapter of the gigantic book I’ve been reading since the start of the year, Jerusalem by Alan Moore and I’ve been rewarded for all my troubles with a three hour chapter of phonetics. I know it’s supposed to take three hours because it is on a kindle because the physical copy was too heavy to hold, to add insult to injury the gubbins of the ebook keeps adjusting down my reading speed because it is so hard going. It’s not just in phonetics you see, it’s in dual word phonetics so each sentence has two meaning at the same time and it is hard bloody work to get through, but will it beat me? No bloody way! No chance never!

You see, whatever happens, however poor you are, however much the ranks close around you, however much the government tries to shit on you, whatever health problem you have and whatever bad luck comes your way. However horrible things might get, what no one can ever do is take away your choice to face whatever life gives you in the way you choose to face it. No one can tell you what to think, no one can tell you what to feel and if they try…. Oooh! Don’t even go there, but in a world that is getting increasingly more authoritarian sometimes the only thing we that is left in out control is ourselves.

The seven (ish) commandments. 

April 2, 2017

It’s the Easter holiday in the United Kingdom and when I was a child the television would be full of religious films. Stories of God, Jesus and Moses and if we were really lucky we might get Spartacus chucked in for good measure. Now it’s just chocolate and bunnies.

I’ve been pondering the notion of common decency of late. Mainly because it seems to have become an oxymoron. There have been a few occasions in my life over the past few years when I have been struck dumbfounded by how some things that I would regard as basic manners or courtesy have been conspicuous by their absense. I quietly watch with a sense of grim fascination just to see how far people push the boundaries of just how shitty they can act, both on a local and a universal level and it never ceases to amaze me just how far people can push the envelope. 

In Britain at least, there seems to have been a massive sea change since the arrival of Tony Blair onto the political scene. There was a time in politics where even a whiff of scandal or disreputable behaviour would cause heads to roll but when a clearly deceitful Tony Blair dragged us into the Iraq war, it was with the most tangible of contempts. Since then, there seems to have been a swift race to the bottom, both politically and socially to see who can sink the lowest.

Call me old fashioned but I would like to think I have a very defined sense of right and wrong. I’m particularly appalled by hypocrisy which is a problem as it seems to be rife amongst the local middle class mafia that likes to add insult to injury by using the word ‘community’ as a justification for every atrocity that they inflict locally. There seems to be a very prevalent mindset that if you pay lip service to some notion of doing good, however woolly that interpretation may be, then it instantly excuses you from all the horrible stuff you might do at the same juncture.

In writing this I looked up various definitions for human / common / basic decency (I don’t just rattle stuff out of my head), the general consensus is, politeness, honesty, treating others with the same respect that you wish to get yourself. There is very little respect around… Granted, there is a fair argument for it needing to be earnt but then it seems that so few people seem to even respect themselves anymore, so how can someone with no self respect show any to anyone else?  What manifests as a simulacrum for respect is often a sort of fear, fear of being ejected from a social grouping for example. Fear of being rejected, fear of not fitting in….  The odd thing is, that in many of these situations, if you talk to any individual member on their own you will find that they each feel exactly the same fear and dislike and even contempt for the rest of the group. People really are quite strange…

I had a quick look at the 10 commandments and I’m in trouble with a few of them, the ones that are basically brand loyalty in the belief mainly. As for the rest, number two get broken all the time. Do not make yourself an idol, well, that’s every politician, ceo and pop, rock and film star for a start. Locally, I can think of at least a handful of people who have done this, exagerating their talents and over inflating their impact on the world at large. I had a conversation the other day with someone who was convinced that some of the most poisonous, the most egotistical, the most narcisistic, the most disruptive people in town, of which they were on the periphery, were actually a force for good. It’s a neat trick, being able to lie to yourself, being part of a vague mob of fifty people tops in a town of eighty thousand, convincing yourself that you are the bees knees when the other seventy-nine-thousand-nine-hundred and fifty at best find you tedious and at worst a bunch of complete c**ts. If your main talent involves setting up an event and then inviting your rent a mob of the same hardcore of people to it who will only turn up as they know they won’t ever hear the end of it if they don’t, then that really isn’t a talent worth having.

The next non God one, honour thy mother and your father… It’s a tricky one that. I think I’ve done alright by my parents and, in truth, better than they have done by me. I haven’t done anything to disgrace them in any way. I have seen so many people who have treated their parents like shit, members of my own family included. Treating them as surfs to earn money on their behalf while they arse about in some way. I could cite a litany about one sibling on this, rat infested bedrooms, house destroying , police calling parties, utter contempt really… Yet my mother still loves them. I guess that is why it gets the carved in stone treatment, exploiting loving parents is like shooting fish in a barrel. It’s cowardly in the extreme, knowing that someone loves you enough to do anything for you and using their love for you to degrade them or put them in harms way or somehow take advantage of them…. Words fail. 

The next is don’t murder, this goes without saying really. The interesting loophole is the word used. Hollywood changed this to Thou shalt not Kill, in the Charlton Heston bible movie but it’s actually murder. It seems killing is ok, remember this is old testament land, an interesting and rather dubious difference. I won’t be doing either, thank-you. It’s strange though how some people become comfortable with the notion of death and directly or indirectly causing the death of others, politicians seem to take it in their stride, be it through wars, or the taking of arbitary decisions about financial strategies that cause death for little more than the adherance to one political ideology or another. Personally if I thought for one second that I was complicit either directly or indirectly in someone’s death I would hang my head in shame for the rest of my life and keep a very low profile. I’m constantly amazed at how many don’t though.

After that we have a good one, do not commit adultery. I can honestly say that I have never cheated on anyone, ever, not even mentally. I doubt if I can say the same for some of my exes though. What you have to watch out for here are some of the loopholes. For example, recategorising your relationship as ‘just friends’ is an all time classic, so that even though you are still having sex it doesn’t actually count as a relationship, the next old chestnut is the ‘we were on a break’ loophole  where you walk out on someone, see (and by ‘see’ I mean have sex with) someone else and then come back from said break without technically having cheated, because “you were single, right?” Wrong! You cheated on someone! Not only did you cheat on them but you tried to insult their intelligence too. If you do stuff like that then you are just a really shit person and you need to face that and either change your behavior or be honest about what you are. I have been in the bizarre position at various points in life of being looked down upon by some pretty loathsome people, a couple of home-wreckers included. I would not be able to sleep at nights if I had done some of the immoral things I have known others to do and a few have the gall to work in positions where they can actually write reports upon the behaviour of other people. If you merrily waltz into someone else’s marriage / long term relationship, particularly when there are children involved you deserve nothing but bad luck, plus if that person will do that to their spouse, it won’t be long before you get the same treatment yourself.

Then there is the don’t steal one. This is great in principle but becomes ever and ever more complex in practise. This only really works when everyone is onboard and we also get a spot on definition of what exactly stealing entails.yes, it’s wrong to steal from a supermarket, but it is also wrong for that supermarket to under pay its suppliers, to steal the intellectual property of designers by doing cheap knock offs of their designs, it’s also wrong to have those things made by sweatshop labour on the other side of the planet. How far back does the unacceptability of theft last for? Do we recompense other countries for stealing their people in the form of slaves and exploiting their resources in terms of empire building? Shouldn’t we redistribute the country’s land as it was all plundered and looted at some point in the past. Isn’t trading in stocks and shares theft? Quantative easing, isn’t that state sponsored fraud? I personally thinking that claiming money in the form of grants for bullshit events and counterproductive charity work is a form of fraud. So where do we draw the line and with whom. So long as it isn’t the poor who as usual get well and truly shafted. 
Don’t bear false witness is next on the list and it’s another one with a really interesting turn of phrase. There is a reason it doesn’t say “thou shalt not tell lies” or something like that and that is so as not to leave any wiggle room for any of those sneaky sods out there. I suppose your classic example would be Bill Clinton not having sex with Monica Lewinkski because putting your penis in the mouth of a white house intern doesn’t count as sex so long as you look at it from a certain angle. Not his penis but the phraseology. From my own point of view, if you talk dirty with someone via semaphore flags it counts as being unfaithful but I’m old fashioned like at I guess. There are so many ways of telling lies without actually lying, you can just omit certain people and/or activities from events to make an orgy sound like a tea party, mumble the key points whilst walking away, add a date and time loophole , no I didn’t have sex with blah blah (on that afternoon), truth to a given value of true. These sort of tricks are notorious amongst politicians and the legal profession and are also used to great effect by civil servants and local government workers. In fact (whatever one of those is) wherever you find a meeting, a committee or indeed any seasoned public speaker you will find the truth of anything nigh on impossible to find. It’s depressing talking to an inveterate liar as, in the end, even they don’t know what is true or not. The only consolation is that they are rarely very happy people as even they can’t cope with all their falsehoods in the end.

When we come to the last commandment, which is don’t covet, I am in deep trouble. I have been coveting a Nintendo Switch all the while I have been writing this blog. I keep on nipping over to the website to see if they are in stock again as I have finally saved up for one but they have all sold out. If coveting that isn’t bad enough I am also coveting a bathing ape x bounty hunter (both in harajuku Tokyo) hoodie, glow in the dark forest spirit toys from the anime princess mononoke, a folio society book illustrated by Dave mckean an iMac and an a3 Wacom drawing tablet. I also wouldn’t mind getting myself some double knitting cotton yarn to knit myself a new bed hat either. That is my failing, I like stuff. I’m sure other people covet much more than I do, well, that is my story and I stick to it. If coveting so much myself wasn’t bad enough, I make a lot of stuff that other people covet, which actively makes me wholly complicit in the act of coveting from both angles. It’s true! I am a terrible person! Slap the cuffs on me now. Joking aside though, we live in a society that thrives on greed and desire and without it so few people would have the motivation to get up most mornings. We polute the world with all the crap we have and yet we still want more and, like so many addictions, we know the damage it is causing and we still keep on doing it. 

I guess we are all guilty of something and my dirty little secret is wanting more stuff and whoever you are reading this I bet you are on there somewhere too, I only hope that if the commandment you like breaking is the murder one that you live a long way away from me.

This time last year…

March 17, 2017

I have been alive for roughly 17000 days so far. How many more have I got? Maybe eight thousand, maybe one, who knows? Not enough, and never will be. Out of all those days, how many do we truly remember? Probably not that many… For me, there are only a few whole days that are chiselled in granite in my mind. Most days are like hastily scribbled notes on the back of fag packets, soon forgotten as the random events pile up and become almost interchangeable. I account for the bulk of my time now by the art I do, I know that I will be able to look at this last month or so and say that February and March were the time of strange creatures, where my world was strewn with the chaos of their making. For my first working life though, there is next to nothing, a decade in the civil service, faded memories and things that have drifted from my world through wear, obsolescence or as changes in me or the world have made their need unnecessary. I have kept all the time sheets though, all those hours and days I can never get back wasted on earning money to buy crap or get blitzed to divert myself from the utter pointlessness of the work I did back then. I have this strange feeling at the moment, at first I found it hard to place, like a new form of music or the taste of a food I have never tried before. It turned out to be satisfaction, I feel it rarely and, after days of doing stuff with people that actually matters and makes a difference, I find the lack of need to push myself any further once I got to the end of the workering day rather disconcerting. 

Most memories I collect are more like scratches on records or chips in a paint surface or scuffs on shoes, fleeting but permanent. Flashes of events, the warm glow of bliss, the gut punch of betrayal, the iciness of fear,  the full narrative of the event lost but the extremity remains, stark moments fixed in time. My memory of this day last year is in technicolor with surround sound as its not everyday that starts with you thinking that there is a good chance you might die. The spectrum of emotions that day and their extremity was huge. Fear, obviously, oceans of it, sloshing about everywhere, not so much of death as you are gone and that’s that, but more of the other potential outcomes, strokes, open heart surgery, being airlifted to Brighton in the event of certain outcomes, brain damage, loss of fine motor skills, the loss of everything I relied upon to make me, me. I had already had a taster to upcoming events earlier that week and that was bad enough and more of the same was not at all welcome. Coming in a close second to the fear was the feeling of utter helplessness, knowing that my destiny and the events I had to undergo were utterly out of my control a feeling that soared to unimaginable heights during the procedure itself. When your arteries are being slit open and catheters inserted and wires and tubing thread inside your body in the manner of a David Chronenberg body horror movie, you soon realise that you aren’t going anywhere. Next on the list was wonder, a horrendous experience is still an experience and the artist and documentor in me wanted to store it all up, squirrelling it all away for use at a later date. It’s not often you get to see your own heart being operated on and see it beating inside your own rib cage. After that came the pain I guess, mostly the throbbing headache from all the nitrates pumped into my bloodstream but also the internal bruising that got worse over the course of weeks. Below that was a combination of hurt, disappointment and a little anger at the inevitable shittyness of a few people in my life and the inevitability of their poor behaviour. You always expect people to be better versions of themselves when you really, really, need them to be…. but they rarely are. I’d like to think I felt more pleasure with how lovely most people had acted but the fear and pain made that hard to contemplate on until much later. Disappointment though cuts to the heart of things like a diamond, it’s hard and sharp and takes so long to dissipate and of everything on that day it remains with the most clarity. The targeted apathy of it, the cowardliness of it and the utter lack of remorse of it stings like vinegar on an open wound. Then there was amusement, the detached observance  of the intravenous Valium, the surrealness brought on by the weird visual effects of all the iodine in my bloodstream, the novelty of being able to still crack a joke about hoping not to die on the same day as Paul Daniels and having to deal with the annoying bugger in the queue for heaven. 

Every moment of that day had solidity, none more so than the relief when I was was wheeled back to the ward again. I’ve tried really hard to appreciate every single moment of the last year and see it all as a gift.. I haven’t always succeeded and at some points I have probably let myself down quite badly, but I’m trying… I’m very trying apparently .

What’s in a name?

February 23, 2017

Day two of howling winds and kazoo playing elves (see previous post) and I’m still enjoying it. I am pattern cutting for the rest of the week so the grimmer it is outside, the cosier I will feel whilst working all this stuff out. It is really awful for plenty of people though and I must remember that. As I catch the odd bit of news about the devastation caused, one thing springs to mind. Why do hurricanes have such rubbish names? I mean, seriously, Doris? This is hurricane Doris??? When I think of Doris I think of cleaning ladies, a lady in an apron and one of those wartime scarves wrapped around the hair kind of deals, probably a fag hanging out of the corner of her mouth as she idly pushes a broom about. 

It’s not the first time I thought of this, a Jamaican friend of mine got stranded whilst visiting her homeland during hurricane Gilbert. Gilbert? That’s a big round bald bloke in my mind, collapsed in an armchair in a down at heal gentlemen’s club, sipping sherry and reading the times between naps. Not something that flattened half the West Indies. She brought me back a t-shirt… “I survived hurricane Gilbert!” You have to admire the human race, everything, however awful, is a business opportunity to someone.  And then there was Katrina, wiping out huge areas of Louisiana, a young Scottish girl with red hair wheeling ’round at a kayleigh in a barn in the outer Hebrides. Granted, my perceptions of names displays my cultural stereotypes but then so do most people’s. The question is, why the quaint names for such an awful weather phenomenon?

I have a theory… Perhaps the storm warning centre is naming hurricanes after their exes? That horrible Gilbert who cheated on you, that Doris that ran off with your husband, Katrina who ran off with your girlfriend. I room full of angry, bitter, people, getting sozzled on gin whilst dragging up all their past romantic disasters. It makes as much sense as anything. 

If it were up to me, I would give them more accurate names, perhaps based on the Norse mythology or Lord of the rings. How about hurricane Thor’s Hammer? Treefeller? Bíll Skemmdarvargur? That last one was in Icelandic, means car destroyer, gives it gravitas I think. You’d know what you were getting then, maybe it would help people to prepare a bit better.

You never know, perhaps the trend would go full circle and we could start renaming people after the new storm names, it would give the more naive of us a gentle hint at who to avoid… “Oh, hello! So your name is Remotehogger Footballnutter? Really? Oh excuse me, I just remembered, I have to be somewhere, byeeee!” 

The Great Kazoo mystery

February 22, 2017

It was blowing a gale last night. I can deal with that, in fact, I rather like it. There is something rather lovely about being tucked up under the covers of a nice warm bed while the wind howls outside and you feel all safe and cosy inside. Thunderstorms are even better but we can’t have everything. It’s that noise that I can’t handle. What noise you might ask? Why THAT noise of course! That mystery noise that you can’t pin down. I’ve been trying to track its origins for about a year now, a weird, howling , zzzzzzzzing sound that bounces around my flat when the wind is blowing from a certain direction. Just what on earth is it? At first I thought it was a bee hive or a wasps nest somewhere in the eaves, but no. Then I had an idea it was something got inside the toucan feathered bird box prop from an installation I worked on at Leeds castle a few years back… Still no. Wind getting under the ceiling paper on the bay window? No! The windows? Hmm….. My latest theory is something vibrating at its natural frequency around the windows, they are in a bit of a state and are getting worse. The curse of living high up in an old building, maintenance tends to involve scaffolding and the like. I’ve done all I can, thick, thermal lined curtains and all that but this noise…. Grrr! 

There is the other option though, it’s an unemployed elf with a kazoo! Seriously, what happened to the shoe maker’s elves? All the shoe maker’s elves everywhere in Britain, there must have been millions around Northampton alone. Since the uk’s footwear industry collapsed and all the jobs were farmed out to factories of dubious repute in South East Asia what happened to all those unemployed little people? What are the doing with themselves? Probably the same as anyone else with time on their hands, getting up to no good…. and getting jiggy with it I guess. There must be loads of them, doing poetry classes, going off on yoga retreats, forming groups and societies, making bad art or maybe learning an instrument. Why wouldn’t one want to play the kazoo? 

The question is, why do they want to play it in my flat? Are the acoustics exceptionally good? Perhaps it’s just that they do it in the garden mostly but only come in when the weather is bad? I would too I guess…. There! It’s a working theory! That’ll do for now!

The reason I hardly slept last night was because an unemployed shoe maker’s elf was playing the kazoo badly in my flat. Good! Now I can get on with my day!

Be the change

January 11, 2017

I wrote a long while ago about the rather strange obsession in Hastings and St Leonards with inappropriate excuses for knees ups. From the age old pagan festival which dates back to the dawn of time in…. Erm… 1983 to the wildly geographically and meteorologically inaccurate Mardi Gras, there seems to be no end to what can be shoehorned on to the local events calendar to keep the pub tills ringing and to rake in money for and inflate the ego of whoever dreamed up that particular wheeze. I did toy with the idea of importing the annual Penis festival from the town of Kawasaki in Japan but then figured that there were already enough complete pricks about town already without me throwing them a parade. 

 The latest nonsensical todo is an extravaganza to celebrate the birthday of the American black civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr. Frankly, this totally mystifies me and it seems to be culturally and geographically out of place on a number of levels. The American Civil rights movement, whilst being of great importance to the United States, is a total irrelevance in the United Kingdom. We abolished slavery long before Americans did and we, as a culture, never subscribed to segregation of any kind, let alone the legally framed racism of North America. Granted, there were appalling signs in the windows of many British boarding houses stating “no dogs, no blacks, no Irish” up until the seventies and some of our television programmes up to the early eighties left a lot to be desired. It must be acknowledged though that the Brits were as equally sexist and homophobic as they were racist, which was equality of sorts I guess… Erm… yay us? The cultural framework in the uk makes importing Martin Luther King day a complete nonsense, as relavant as Thanksgiving or labour day would be. Incidentally, I never get why Rosa Parks doesn’t get a day in the states as I find the bravery of a quiet lady, too tired to stand, breaking the segregation rules on a bus a much braver and inspiring action than a grown man mouthing off about something. They never do that, do they?  Granted he did get whacked, but then so do lots of political speakers, hazard of the job…

So along with Mardi Gras, Martin Luther King day becomes a “thing” in Hastings with its prerequisite dressing up and money will be shelled out, including the predictable amount for charity so as to legitimise a bunch of grown ups titting about yet again, and that will now be the year partitioned off into another time wasting but ultimately pointless excercise in attention seeking. Yawn! 

So in leu of something completely arse backwards, here is a suggestion for something new and completely appropriate……… Drum roll please…… Gandhi Day!

Just think about it for a moment, Britain’s dark history lies mostly in the days of empire. That’s not all of it of course, from the crusades, through to Iraq via slavery, the opium wars and slave trading we have always been pretty awful as a nation and frankly still are but the empire on which the sun never set was also the evil on which the sun never set, India being a case in point. Mahatma Gandhi led India to gain independence from the British empire through non violent means and was instrumental in using and developing many of the non violent techniques that would be later used by Martin Luther King as well as many others throughout the world. On top of that he could spin his own yarn, which always impressed me, both from a technical point of view as from the photos I’ve seen it always looked like he got it impressively even, plus as a form of economic self reliance, that and the salt making were dead impressive as a practical forms of direct action.

Plus, from a personal point of view, I can’t be mouthing off about what other people are up to if I can’t propose a more positive and appropriate solution myself. Gandhi himself said, Be the change that you wish to see in the world. So if I want to see a date on the Hastings calendar that is not about egos and drinking and puffing up one’s own community standing, then I’d better sort it out myself, as humility and event organisation seem to be strange bedfellows hereabout.

There are a few practical problems to having a Gandhi day in Hastings though, firstly the musical aspect. As anyone who has ever been to a knees up in Hastings knows, you have to have music, ideally some local, erm, talent mangling some vaguely appropriate tune or other. Martin Luther King lends itself rather well to this format, what with Stevie Wonder’s Happy Birthday and numerous Billie Holiday songs that can be wrestled into enthusiastic submission. But Gandhi? I found the rather catchy Gandhi Jayanthi but not being the usual verse chorus verse structure in 4/4 time accross twelve bars it might be a bit much to belt out down the pub. Then there is the costume problem…. Seeing as Gandhi rarely wore much more than a big nappy affair of a bit of cloth wrapped around himself, it’s probably not the most practical get up for a cold night in October where his birthday fell, the sandals wouldn’t be that practical either. Plus there was the Gandhi not being a boozer problem…no event in Hastings or st Leonards is worth bothering with , it seems, unless everyone gets plastered  by the end of it, and one that doesn’t make money for the local landlords and shopkeepers will sadly get no support. But that isn’t necessarily a problem as there was nothing Gandhi liked better than to quietly potter about at home.

So there we go, we have a plan. A culturally and historically relavant celebration for a historical figure who had a positive effect on Britain, by scuppering its exploitative empire, that can be celebrated quietly at home with the minimum of fuss and distraction to people who find the whole endless cycle of showing off events rather tedious and childish. Plus unlike the usual ego stroking affairs of my somewhat parochial and backwards thinking home town, I stake no claim to said idea and give it freely to the world. All I ask is that if you choose to have a Gandhi day of your own, just don’t invite me. I have enough stuff to avoid going to and put people’s noses out of joint in the process as it is.


October 28, 2016

Woohoo! I just had my first internet troll. How cool is that? That is even better than being asked for my autograph on the rare a occasion that it happens (And no, I don’t mean signing for parcels).

You know that you are starting to get somewhere when some bitter and twisted bugger decides to have a pop at you. The only disappointment was that he was daft enough to do it with his own profile picture and he certainly wasn’t Oscar Wilde in the words department or George Cloony in looks, more like a potato in a wife beater vest with an illusion of chin beard drawn on. 

Apparently, my reason for the attention was that I produce, amongst other things, cards and that it is environmently unsound. Whilst I suspect that the real reason for his annoyance is that he probably neither has anyone to get Christmas cards from nor to send to, he had issue with the environmental aspect of the sending and receiving of Christmas cards. To be fare, I do actually agree with him on that to an extent but it is way more complex than that and I suspect the real reason was resentment and a general need to try and bring someone down and try and take lumps out of them, truth is I will never know nor really care. 

Anything to do with the environment is such a contentious issue as pretty much everything anyone does in this world has an impact to some extent or another, what we eat, when we eat it, if it’s in season or glasshouse grown or shipped from abroad. Where we work, how we travel there, how we spend our leisure time (assuming you have any). When we recycle food containers we spend energy heating up water to clean it all, putting out cardboard knowing that it will most likely go all the way back to China to be wrapped around some new piece of crap made from plasticised irreplaceable resources and shipped all the way back again using fossil fuel. I piss myself laughing at a few of the local and highly self righteous environmental activists, driving about, burning petrol in knackered old cars to plant beetroots in a community garden they have created by the railway station, burning diesel to ship in six tons of topsoil because the ground was so poisoned and using so much water that the nearby cafe had their business disrupted. I costed it out to about fifty pound a beetroot in time and resources and the most self  righteous  of the lot of them then buggered off to America on a long haul flight on holiday. 

The truth is, the only way you can be truly environmentally friendly is to go out and kill yourself and even then you would need to jump straight into an industrial tree shredder to have your remains sprayed out as fertiliser. With any other means of disposal we cause all sorts of pollution, wasted energy and space. I feel guilty just being alive and there is no way some sad lump is going to make that worse with some pathetic little dig.

As I said, I was a little disappointed though, he resorted to swearing and insults really quickly, you might as well wave a little white flag and say that you have lost. Not only that, he called me an ignoramus and mispelt it!!! Definition of irony!!! And finished it off by saying that I was self rightious….. after lecturing me on the environment….. Doh!

Well, that was my first troll. I must be on the right path, you always experience turbulence when you take off and all that… I will be ignoring, blocking and deleting them all in future. So on to the next landmark event. Yippee! 

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