Tag Archives: Leeds

The Shouters

chuggers1

I have developed a technique; it’s brusque* and there is only one situation in which I’m comfortable executing it, but it is effective. It goes like this:

“Hand up, palm out in front of my face as if I’m about to say: “Talk to the hand, bitch!” I yell “NO!”

Now, I suggest that, before you read further, you practice this in front of a mirror – just to get the full impact of what it means.

Do you understand what it means? Good. Then I shall begin.

NO! NO! is what it means. And it is reserved solely for people who interrupt my lunch break. Not just any people, mind you; if someone at work came over to me on my lunch break and asked me something, I would swallow my irritation and answer with gusto; if someone on the street came up to me on my lunch break and asked for directions, I would happily send them packing in the wrong direction**; but if anyone approached me on my lunch break proffering a clipboard, or a religious leaflet, or a flyer, or a bloody collection tin, they would (and often do) most definitely get NO!-ed.

I attempted to shop today. I don’t often; I hate shopping in every regard – the heat, the lights, the smells, the endless racks of identical clothes, the continual stream of ignorant fucks, the soul-sapping ugliness of chain stores – but I wanted a nice, fluffy winter jumper and, although every sinew of my anatomy was screaming in protest at the thought of even going into Debenhams, let alone trying things on and queuing to pay, I decided I would just have a quick sweep of the ladieswear and then peg it back to my desk to read my book for half an hour. There was no sweeping. Pegging? Not a chance. Because en route to Debenhams, I was accosted a sum total of five times. That might not sound like a lot, but then consider that on the way back, trying to avoid the twats who had waylaid me on the way there, I was confronted six more times, and two of those times were by people who had accosted me originally. Re-accosting gits.

The first of these people was a homeless man*** who was sitting by a cash machine. Forgive me, for I have never been homeless and v.much hope that I will never be homeless, but cash machines don’t, have never will never, dispense change. So to ask a person who has just drawn a ten pound note out of a cash machine for coinage, as if by dint of the fact that they’ve just shown the colour of their money in one form will automatically mean that they have other money of a less foldy variety, seems ludicrous. Perhaps it is merely that people have their wallets out at this point, but I still resent being made to feel like a selfish bitch for taking my own money out of a cash machine and not giving it to the homeless when I’m on a lunch break from the job that consumes most of my life (thus preventing me from completing commissions faster), but which I must do to pay the bills. I sympathise if that man is truly homeless. But I am perpetually skint and the £32 I spent on a jumper should really have been spent on whittling down some more of my crippling debt, not on clothing me or feeding the needy. So I said: “No – sorry” and he said: “Have a nice day, love.” in a contemptuous tone that made me momentarily lose any shred of compassion. This man, I didn’t NO! because I had initially thought that it would be cruel, but in my moment of aversion, I fervently wished that I had done.

Accosting the first. Done.

The second of these people was also standing near the cash machine and as I passed she tried to force a flyer into my hand for which I had no use. Said flyer was for the Park Row Brasserie bar and was an advert for BOGOF cocktails. Even if the thought of flinging back two cosmos before going back to the office had appealed to me (and, to be honest, it really did attract me more than the thought of whatever merry hell Debenhams had to offer), I wouldn’t need the flyer to do so – the flyer would have been pointless – the flyer had no bearing on whether I could march into the Park Row Brasserie and order two piña coladas for the price of one – the flyer was merely alerting me to the fact. And I already knew that because I’ve been in that bar and tried to use the flyer as a voucher in the past and been told that I didn’t need it. And even if that hadn’t been the case, I would have managed to glean this information from the discarded flyers that littered the ground around this girl’s feet. I NO!-ed her. She looked a bit shocked, as did I fleetingly, as I realised, arm outstretching to show my palm, that I’d misjudged my distance from her and knew that it was too late to stop it. Luckily, I managed to not make contact, all was well and I grumped off over the road.

Accosting the second. Fini.

The third of these people was someone who seemed to think that a man I’ve never met, called Jesus, still loved me despite my sins. I thought that this was highly presumptuous on the part of both the accoster and this Jesus dude, but I managed to deter him with a well placed NO! and was on my way before he had recovered enough composure to start bellowing at everyone else who was walking past that Jesus passionately loved his flock… polygamy and bestiality are surely sins. No wonder he forgave me mine.

Accosting the third. Bosh.

Next up was a woman with a clip board, a bright red T-shirt and an irritatingly cheery voice who bounded up to me and asked me for money. I declined with a NO! But this time, I was thwarted and, as I walked off, the woman dashed around me to explain that I was mistaken and did want to give her some money after all. Why would I not? It was for a good cause. I bellowed a NO! again and walked away, but she did still insist on prancing after me for a good few metres and her shouts continued to accompany me almost to Debenhams’ glass doors.

Now, I didn’t always roar at the bearers of clipboards. I was never interested in what they had to say, and I was never going to donate to their cause because I am everlastingly brassic and because I donate to charities on a regular basis, but I used to try to explain. I used to say things like: “Oh, but I already give to charity every month” and they would say nonsensical things back like: “Well, that means you’re a nice person – you definitely want to donate to Save the Cows because we’re a similar charity to… what was it you donated to? Oh, yes – I mean, we’re just like the NSPCC, really, if you think about it.” I also tried the: “I really have no money – sorry” to which I often received the response: “But just £3 a month could buy a dyslexia victim five reams of yellow paper… You must be able to spare a measly £3.” Well, no, actually! Not on top of the £3 I give to the NSPCC (which is an organisation that thoroughly fucks me off, incidentally. I’m pretty sure the money I’ve given to the NSPCC over the years has been spent on free pens, cold calling, adverts that make me want to vomit at their triteness and clipboards), the £2 I give to the Brittle Bone Foundation, the £5 I give to CLIC Sargent and the monthly donations I make to whatever charity we’re touting in the office at any given moment. I’d stop those payments too, because I can’t really afford them, but you can’t cancel donations to charity… you just can’t, can you?

Accosting the fourth. Booyah!

Just before I reached the shiny doors of Debenhams, beyond which shimmered potions and lotions that seemed to promise me eternal life, happiness and exquisite beauty for a reasonable sum of my hard earned cash, a man stepped in front of me and whistled like a bird. I frowned at him and attempted to walk around him, but he once more stepped in front of me and whistled like a bird. I stopped and looked up at him with a slightly bemused look on my face (he was v.tall and I was wearing trainers and was thus rather shorter than he.) He wiggled his eyebrows. I harrumphed and was about to try to pass him a third time when he pulled something from his mouth and offered it to me. I looked up at him again, blankly.

“You make the noise, yes?” he said in the ever cheerful accent that is typical of all Nigerians.

“Um… no, no, I’m ok for the moment,” I said, coming over all what-ho. “But thank you v.much for the offer.”

Again, the man thrust his little whistle at me.

“Is wuan pund ant fifty pence,” he said, flashing me a winning smile.

“Yes, yes,” said I. “I’m sure it’s v.reasonable. But I’m not sure that I need one right now, thanks all the same.”

The Nigerian man smiled and wiggled his eyebrows again.

“For pretty girl like you, we make it wuan pund.”

“Oh,” I said, burning inside with discomfit. “That is most awfully kind of you. It is v.jolly, isn’t it? But I’m afraid I just want a jumper at the moment.”

The man, who was beginning to look a little downcast, perked right up.

“You want jomper?”

“I’ve seen one already,” I rushed. “It’s…” I started to move towards the shiny doors of false hope. “It’s in here. Thank you. I’m sure your jumpers are lovely. Thank you. Maybe next time. Thank you. Thank… thank you.”

I pushed passed him and threw myself into the heat of the department store.

Accosting the fifth. Meh. Next time, I will NO! anyone who whistles at me like a bird, but that scenario had never presented itself to me before and my eternal politeness kicked in before I’d had time to think. As an eternally polite person, I once listened to a couple of Jehovah’s witnesses who’d knocked on the door while I was at home recuperating after an operation. I stood, in agony due to nature of said operation, with a polite look on my face, bare-footed and frozen until eventually, I said:

“I say,” slight nervous cough. “It is awfully kind of you to try to save me and it’s been ever so interesting, but you see… well, would you mind if I went back inside now? It just that my feet are rather chilly and I’m pretty sure some of my stitches have come loose.”

So there I was in Debenhams, attempting to unwind from my bizarre bird-whistling experience under harsh electric lighting, jostled around by consumers and unable to breathe. I have always wondered what would happen if someone inadvertently lit up a fag on the ground floor in Debenhams. There appear to be many flammable things on the ground floor in Debenhams, you see. The air, for a start: I swear that the chemical formula for the atmosphere for your average Debenhams is H2O-C2H5OH. Then there are the assistants, who appear to be made of some form of plasticine, or perhaps wax; whatever their physical compound, I’m willing to bet that anything that shade of orange has to be highly combustible. Presumably, these aliens are employed specifically for the ground floor because they are the only creatures who can breathe the atmosphere for hours at a time. And let’s not forget the millions upon millions of sharply pungent perfumes, some of which clearly have a base scent of Sex Panther. No, Debenhams is a ticking time bomb of doom, if you ask me.

“Carrot?” asked an orange assistant with spectacularly messy black hair.

“I’m sorry, what?” I asked, trying not to breathe too deeply or stare too intensely at her matted locks.

“Diamonds Black Carat. The new fragrance by Armani,” she held up a bottle, which did look surprisingly like the Sex Panther bottle.

“Oh for God’s sake!” I bellowed, perhaps a little too loudly. “Can’t I just buy a sodding jumper without having to go through all this shit?!”

The girl jumped and moved away, confused, but not upset as far as I could see. Accosting the sixth.

Suffice it to say that I did not get a jumper in Debenhams. I went to the correct floor, I walked around it once, I walked around it twice trying to find the downwards-bearing escalator, I walked around a third time with panic beginning to set in and then I left, livid and rather frightened that I would never breathe the clean air of an inner city again. On the way back, I was accosted by another charity, this time a young man wearing blue; the same charity (same bloody girl); a leaflet giver who wouldn’t take NO! for an answer; a man who wanted me to join Leeds’ cheapest gym and who didn’t believe that I didn’t want to sign up even though I had run eight miles that morning, walked three, would walk another three and would finish the day with some ab’ work and circuit training; a Big Issue man dressed like some sort of zany clown; and the same homeless man, who had moved to a different cash machine.

I ordered a jumper online from the safety of my desk and lamented the moment when I decided that in-the-flesh-shopping sounded like a blast.

This sort of invasion of privacy has now become the norm, it would seem. So, my NO! and accompanying hand movement may seem rude, but is it really as rude as, say, someone trying to foist upon me some outdated religion when they know not a single thing about me? Is it as rude as someone insinuating that I have all the money in the world and have v.selfishly decided to keep it for myself? Is it as rude as someone whistling at me like a bird and then handing me something that they’ve just taken out of their mouth?

Too right, it isn’t. It ain’t rude enough! Maybe one day I’ll evolve to a more eloquent “GET FUCKED MOTHERFUCKER!” but that seems like an awful lot of syllables to waste on someone of such ilk.

FOOTNOTES:

* Downright rude, actually

** Not because I’m mean, but because I have absolutely no sense of direction.

*** Stand by for my tale of how I ran into a homeless man I see regularly when he was on a night out in town one weekend

Advertisements
Tagged , , ,

Fuckwits

Oh, my blogs have suffered. Suffered, they have! This is because I have been v.v.busy with my novel [yawns nonchalantly], which I have now completed the first draft of and am currently taking a break from before I steam in and edit like a bastard.

So, the blogs, they are back. And now I’m going to repeat myself, as I so often do in the real world. What I want to talk to you about is numpties. Some of you long-standing readers… well, reader*… may remember that, several years ago, I wrote a blog post about numpties and why they get on my tits – I made some good points and offered advice on how one should act when out and about in public. Unfortunately, I didn’t actually seem to get through to a single numpty, and they’re all out there getting right up my nose as usual.

This re-blog has been born of a single incident, which happened earlier this week, and which left me reeling somewhat: I was kicked. I was kicked hard. I was kicked hard by a girl who was walking towards me whilst I was walking in a straight line – I knew that she was there because I could see her out of the corner of my eye. As said girl approached, I also realised, because I have these amazing things called peripherals and I know how to use them (unlike most people, it would seem), that I was walking fast enough for her to safely walk behind me several feet away. So, imagine my surprise when I felt something hard and cold hit the delicate bones across the top of my left foot – I was wearing five inch heels at the time, which meant that my left foot was swept from under me and the stiletto hit the top of my right foot removing a good chunk of skin and laddering my beautiful seamed stockings. I tottered, but managed to keep my balance. There was a pause as I considered what had just happened and quite how. Then I realised that this person had, surely, kicked me on purpose. There was no way around it. I straightened from my stopping-myself-from-falling-but-still-looking-like-a-prat stoop and turned, only to find that the girl in question was eyeballing me with a look of abject hatred plastered across her miserable face. Then she was gone, vanished into the warmth of Pret a Manger on Commercial Street. Feeling slightly stupid to be goggling at a sandwich shop with a “what the fuck” look on my face, I began to walk, slower this time, as thoughts whirled around my head. Why would someone deliberately go out of their way to kick me? The only rational reason I could come up with was that the lady in question was actually the ex-wife of my ex-partner. I had only seen this girl’s face for a second, but she had the same colouring, and I never actually met my ex-partner’s ex-wife, so I only have memories of photos I saw ages ago to go on; she’s not someone who ever crosses my mind any more either, so it really could have been her. The thought rallied me somewhat: at least there was a rationale behind the act, albeit a rather childish and flawed one.

So I e-mailed the ex when I got back to my desk:

From: Emily Dewsnap
Sent: 22 October 2012 13:53
To: The Ex
Subject: Quick Q.

Hello,

How are you?

This may sound like a bizarre question, but is your ex-wife in Leeds?

Emily Dewsnap

Telephone +44 (0)113 123 4567

That Place

On That Road

Leeds

Fax +44 (0)113 123 4567

emily.dewsnap@thatplace.com

http://www.thatplace.com

Please consider the environment before printing this email

__________________________________________________________________________

From: The Ex
Sent: 23 October 2012 14:00
To: Emily Dewsnap
Subject: RE: Quick Q.

All good with me apart from a bloody migraine!

How’s life with you?

I’m not aware of my ex-wife being in Leeds. Have you seen her?

Take care

The Ex

___________________________________________________________________

I may have changed some details, but not the essence. This disturbed me. Chances are that this wasn’t the ex-wife. So, someone in Leeds, who I don’t know, maliciously, and with intent to kill** tripped me in the street for absolutely no reason. We are obviously dealing with a whole new breed of fuckwit!

Now, had I been thinking clearly, I would have stomped into Pret, located the girl and asked: “What in the name of holy shit was that in aid of?” but I didn’t. I went back to my desk and sulked, like every normal twenty nine year old. Shoulda woulda coulda – hindsight’s a bitch.

but this isn’t blog fini – no no; I am just getting started. Because I am so sick and tiredof having to navigate around arseholes and yet still being on the receiving end of so much venom.

Not so long ago, I realised that when someone crashes rudely into me and I apologise, they don’t apologise back. Being English, the word “sorry” can have various meanings in my vocabulary. When someone crashes impolitely into me, my urge to smile and apologise has nothing to do with my lamenting the fact that I was in their way when they were too bone idle to look where they were going, and has everything to do with the fact that this was possibly an accident that everyone has engendered at some point in their lives; the breathy, friendly “sorry” I emit in these circumstances is merely a way of saying: “That was silly, but don’t worry about it – I’m ready to hear your apology and then we can both get on with whatever task it was that caused me to be in the place you wanted to be in and caused you to not check that that place wasn’t occupied before you blundered into it.”

I think it was after I roared: “I think you mean sorry, yes?!” to a random man who had pushed me off the pavement into the path of a speeding bus because he hadn’t been bothered to move over on the otherwise empty pavement to walk around me, that I realised the apology on my part was pointless. From this particular man, I was expecting the reaction I would have given (not that pushing people is the sort of thing I routinely do) had I managed to not notice that I was pushing someone into the road and then not noticed that the person had spoken to me the first time – if it had been me, I’d have blustered a bit, gone pink in the face with shame and said: “Oh, I’m so sorry. Honestly, I was miles away. Are you ok?” What he actually did was turn round, flash me a derisive look and flick me the Vs. Yep – he SWORE at me!

So, I no longer apologise when people crash into me. I just look them dead in the eye*** and wait for my apology. And it never comes. What the hell is wrong with people?

I commute to work on foot. It’s a three mile walk from my door to the office and I do it in thirty to thirty-five minutes, which should give you an idea of how fast I walk. Every single day, I encounter the same problem (sometimes with the same people): I walk down the edge of the pavement so that if anyone wants to get past, they can do, and so that if I need to get past anyone, I’m politely on the outside of them, shielding them from traffic, not slipping up the inside and making them feel like I’m on the verge of launching them into the road. If I spy someone up ahead who is also walking on the outer edge of the pavement, I move to the inside as soon as I see them. The problem with this is that other people don’t seem to look. Ever. I can change from one side of the pavement and back again numerous times as the person zigzags towards me and still not be noticed until the v.last second. In this v.last second, whether the person has weaved around on the pavement on their journey towards me or not, the other walker will, inevitably, decide that they want to be on the side of the pavement that I’m on and then glare at me for being in their way. WHAT is wrong with people?

The other regular occurrence is when a group of people walking towards me notice me and then eyeball me confrontationally until the point where they reach me. I will then be ejected from the pavement whilst members of said group of people glower at me  like I’ve just shat in their breakfasts. Again: what is WRONG with people? They seem to get this right with lampposts, though. In fact, anything that  isn’t me, the fuckwits walk around. In both of those scenarios I have just presented, there is no way those people wouldn’t have moved if I had been a lamppost. Although walking into me is probably less painful than walking into a lamppost on account of all the padding, I am still v.much a solid object. And a solid object that’s going to get rather cross if I’m pushed into the road into oncoming traffic.

Poverty Wagon Fuckwits

Then there are the bus zombies who spill out over the pavement near the bus stops and don’t appear to see you or give a flying fuck that they’ve completely blocked the way for any passersby, simply because they can’t be arsed, or are too bloody thick, to stand in a neat line. Bizarrely, people waiting at bus stops seem to also be stone deaf, which means that issuing a courteous “excuse me” will just get you stared at. Perhaps the mere courteousness itself is what baffles this particular fuckwit. Barging through everyone is the only option, although, woe-betide anyone who encounters a gaggle of fuckwits attempting to board a bus; no matter how obvious it is that
you have no desire to get on their bus, the fuckwits will still think that if they let you through, you will queue jump for the hell of it, and the only option is to wait until every last one has gone before you can even contemplate restarting your journey.

Poverty wagon fuckwits can get you in two ways. The other is when you’re approaching one who’s standing at the back edge of the pavement waiting for a bus. It is a guarantee that if you are running or walking towards them, they will wait until you are almost upon them before they stick their hand out and leap to the edge of the pavement. Even if the bus isn’t actually coming, you can see them shuffling their feet in anticipation. Presumably, they think that the brisk pace you’re keeping will dissipate as soon as you reach them and that you’re goal is to stand directly in from of them, thus preventing them from flagging down their bus.

Supermarket Zombie Fuckwits

I hate food shopping. I thoroughly detest it. I don’t mean nice food shopping; I don’t mean the sort of shopping that involves stalls of handmade cheeses and home cured meats, handcrafted wines and piles of olives, honey made by real beekeepers and fudge so sweet it takes the roof of your mouth off. I’m talking about the mundane supermarket sweep. I never do a weekly shop; I take little trips during the week to the market, which is enjoyable, and Morrisons, which isn’t. There is a special kind of stupid that encompasses Morrisons shoppers. Because I grab bits and pieces here and there, I never need a trolley and just want to dash in and out as quickly as I can. But I can’t dash anywhere in Morrisons, because there are people who have trolleys and clearly haven’t a clue how to drive them, so they temporarily abandon them to lie right across isles whilst they stare blankly at two versions of the same product, bewilderment clouding their already dense-looking faces. If you attempt to move the trolleys to get past, however, they leap at you like you’ve just tried to actively mug them in broad daylight.

The other thing that happens with trolleys is that, if the trolley driver wants to go first, they will just do it without looking to see if there is room, or to check that they aren’t getting in anyone’s way. I have stood, on many an occasion, trapped in an aisle whilst people drift slowly by in a daze, goggling in amazement at the wondrous display of commercialism that adorns the shelves, completely oblivious to my fractious presence. I stand quietly and wait until I can escape, for which I receive no thanks, although I do occasionally get a funny look, which is nice. How do these people cope with each other? The only person they seem to have a problem with is me and all I want to do is get as far away from them and their mind-boggling stupidity as is humanly possible.

Fuckwits with Sproggers

Children are flighty little fuckers. They run and pretend to be aeroplanes and hide in super-small places and slip through the grasp of adults like quicksilver. I tell you what, though – if I had ever behaved the way some of the children I encounter behave, the mater would have had my guts for garters. Well, maybe not quite, but if people were walking towards us on the pavement, she would always bark: “Single file, Em’!” and I’d be thrust in front of her to make way. If I had ever run into an adult’s legs as a child, she would have called me back and made me apologise. She taught me to pay attention to what was going on around me so that I would always be gracious. Why the fuck can’t other parents manage this? The amount of sprogs who have rammed into me, smacked me with light sabres, shut doors on me, sprayed me with fizzy pop, screamed down my ears is unbelievable. I don’t look to the child for an apology – I’m not that sanguine – instead I look at the offending sprogger’s owner. But like all other fuckwits, they look at me with enormous distaste, as if I am clearly just attempting to touch their child, in true Jimmy Saville stylee, by deigning to be in its warpath.

I worked briefly at New Look (which was a thoroughly soul-destroying experience in itself) in Wakefield and was once treated to a loud barrage of swearing by a woman who was attempting to make her three v.bored, screaming children shut the fuck up while she did her shopping. All of them were face down on the floor banging their feet and shrieking like foxes in heat and, eventually, she turned to me and said: “You know, people look at you like you’re shit. They look at you like your kids’ behaviour is your own fault.” After this appalling statement, she whipped the two smaller children off the floor, scooped one under her arm, took the other by the hand and with the free hand grasped the ankle of the remaining child’s leg before flouncing out in a cloud of noise.

Station Fuckwits

The train station at Leeds is the bane of my life. Never has a city centre railway station been so poorly designed. The boards that announce the train times are straight after the barrier onto the platforms, meaning that if I need to run for a train I can’t, because once through the barriers, everyone halts in their tracks to read the board and thus obstruct the path of anyone in a rush.

And that’s another thing! What’s with the barriers at Leeds train station? They are the slowest, most unreliable, most ineffectual barriers I’ve ever come across. People from London who visit must think that those barriers are some sort of practical joke. Can you imagine the outrage if the ticket barriers in London took twenty seconds to creep open? And I don’t even want to think about the resulting bile that would ensue if fifty percent of the time, the barriers regurgitated the ticket that someone had just slotted in and remained steadfastly closed. Of course, it doesn’t help that a frightening amount of people get to the ticket machine, then search for their ticket and, once ticket has been located, stare at it, then at the machine as if wondering what the deuce it’s all about, until with painful sluggishness they attempt to put their ticket into the ticket sized slot, just in case that’s what it’s for. When the doors open, theses types appear to be so surprised that they are frozen to the spot for an inordinate amount of time before exiting the platform.

It’s the pre 9am-ers that really get me, though. I think we can all agree that the majority of people travelling at that time in the morning are heading for work. So why are they all so slow? I wouldn’t mind so much if the train reached the station with plenty of time to spare – I could understand if the train I chose to board in the morning was even just the one before the one I actually catch if, for whatever reason, I choose not to walk in. But I’m not known for my timekeeping and I go for a train that gets me into Leeds for around 8:53am, which means that I need to hotfoot it to get in for 9am on the dot. Except that I can’t. Unless I manage to leap off the train before anyone else and get away, I get stuck behind a huge gaggle of meandering fucks who walk at snail’s pace. Despite the fact that they all adopt the same snail’s pace, they still manage to spread across the entire width of the platform, meaning that I can’t pass them. If I do manage to pass them, I am generally thrown a dirty look. If I try to pass them on the platform edge, I end up being nearly catapulted onto the track (with the customary dirty look, of course). I mean, what are these people doing? They’re going to work and, presumably, they want to be on time. You would have to work at the station to be on time at that pace. But even if these people are unable to walk any faster, must they really occupy the entire platform? They’re wide platforms – you wouldn’t even have to go single file!

And don’t even get me started on the wankers who put their bags on seats on trains so that nobody can sit next to them. Nobody wants to sit next to anyone they don’t know, but, unfortunately, trains aren’t long enough to accommodate a single seat per commuter and I will be damned if I’m standing because you’re a selfish twat!

Numpties at the Lights

Anyone who’s ever been to Leeds and tried to cross the road at the front of the station will know that the green man at the crossing is always a long time coming (he’s a meandering fuck of a green man), and the rush hour traffic is usually coming so thick and fast, and with such aggression, that to dive across before the appearance of the green man is tantamount to suicide. And yet, every morning, there is a group of people who stand at the lights and don’t press the button. Because they’re fucking stupid! There is no other explanation.

Human Traffic

With city centres being as busy as they are, especially at lunchtime during the week, everyone should have their wits about them. I particularly hate it when I’m walking past a shop and someone emerges from it right into me. I really don’t see how this is my fault. This is possibly the reason that there are so many ridiculously bad drivers on the road – if you can’t be bothered looking before you pull out, you are going to crash at some point. The same goes for people changing direction suddenly and people walking towards you. If you can see someone who’s walking in profile to you and the direction that you want to walk in takes you into the side of them… maybe don’t walk into them. And most definitely do not kick them!

It’s manners, awareness and common sense! That’s what really fucks me off. Why can’t people have some sodding manners? And why do people expect someone else to sort everything out? Things like pushing a button, or removing a bag from a seat, or making one’s offspring shut the fuck up, or not walking into people – it’s not difficult. People, really – pay attention to what’s going on around you; you don’t have to engage in conversation with strangers (you don’t have to even smile at strangers, although it would make the world a nicer place) but just think about what you’re doing. Use your peripherals for a start. Being a musician who’s played with orchestras,
I admit that I have an advantage in this regard – but it makes life so much easier that I can see things coming from all angles and move out of the way. So you’ve never used them – that does not mean you can’t start. But most of all: just be polite about things. And never ever kick me in the foot when I’m minding my own business, because the next time it happens, I’m going to approach the perpetrator and tip the potato and baked beans I’m carrying all over them.

FOOTNOTES:

* Hello Mum!

** You should have seen the look on this girl’s face

*** People don’t like being looked at dead in the eye – it unnerves them because they think you’re clearly some sort of pervert who wants to shit on their chests, otherwise why would you be looking at them?

Tagged , , ,

Pies, Prejudice & Manchester Eggs

Whoever heard of a prologue to a book review…?

I ordered myself a copy of Stuart Maconie’s Pies and Prejudice because my friend Michelle recommended it. A Guildford lass by birth and a Leeds lady by association, she started her life in Yorkshire pronouncing words like dance and bath as “darnce” and “barth” and was as surprised as anyone when, after a relatively short period oop north, words like “bus” came tumbling out of her mouth when it would once have been “bas…” Oh yes, we done the girl proud. A New Yorker at heart, Michelle currently resides in The Big Apple where her accent has never been so frightfully English – not surprising, really, when you consider just how many American men will buy an English girl a drink just for overhearing her accent – but somehow I still think of her as a Northern Britisher as much as she is a Southern Britisher. Not only is she as obsessed with accents as I am, albeit in a slightly different way, she is the reason I ventured south for the v.first time, and she once bought me a book on Yorkshire pronunciation.

Although I confess to being a Northerner, and one who lives in Leeds, no less, I am not from Yorkshire. I am, in fact, from Glossop – a small town at the top tip of the Peak District in Derbyshire. When meeting someone for the first time, I generally tell them I’m from Manchester, what with it being so close, but my accent is not particularly Manc., nor is it Derbyshire. I don’t know what it is, to be honest. Glossop is at the bottom end of the Snake Pass; a twisty, windy, hummocky road… snake-like, if you will… that leads from Sheffield towards Manchester. People tend to pass through Glossop on their way to Manchester, but rarely stop there. It’s unlikely that you’ll have heard of it, but Vivienne Westwood was from Glossop and, if you’re a buff of British telly, you might be familiar with a place called Hadfield, which is where The League of Gentlemen was filmed and which is just over the hill (arguably a suburb of Glossop). Hadfield used to be lumped in with Hyde (Hyde’s claim to fame being Harold Shipman) until they moved the boundaries so that it was in Derbyshire and changed the postcode to match Glossop’s. Incidentally, Glossop and Hadfield have Stockport postcodes.

So you can sort of see why there is confusion in terms of my accent. It’s a bit Cheshire, a bit Lancashire, a bit Yorkshire, a bit Oldham and ever so slightly Manc. Ma Mum’s from Altrincham and sounds ever so slightly Peter Kay*, ma Dad’s from Old Glossop and pronounces the words book and hook with an “oo”** rather than as “buck” and “huck”, and ma stepfather is pure Mancunian. Bizarrely, I in no way sound like I’m from the midlands; and yet in Buxton, which is a stone’s throw away, they are nothing but midlanders, duck. What’s always fascinated me in terms of accents, though, more than the North West areas surrounding Glossop, is Yorkshire. I’ve never been anywhere where the accents are so varied and yet within such close proximity of each other. The Leeds accent is all bizarre, flat vowels and can only be described as a rather washed out version of the Hull accent, which sports vowels so flat, they’re practically bent backwards on themselves. Despite Hull not being in Yorkshire, there is a markedly Yorkshireness to the Hull accent (for example: “Helleurgh,” “neurgh” and “ceurghst,” would be “hello,” “no” and “coast”). But all over Yorkshire, towns and small cities have their own accents. Bingley, to my ears, is sort of a laid-back, croakier Leeds – a stoner’s Leeds accent, if you can accept that without insult. Barnsley (Baarnsleh) is broad and round and can be as toastily warming as it can threatening. Sheffield is Alan Bennett all over, although I’m not even sure that’s where he’s from. Yorkshire being the size of a small country, I can hardly sit here reeling off how I think everyone sounds from Rotherham to Whitby and beyond, but I can highly recommend ringing a branch of ASDA in every Yorkshire town just to listen to how they talk. I’d say something, though – maybe ask for opening times – heavy breathing down the telephone at supermarket staff will only get you a reputation. Of course, Yorkshire being a hotbed of Asian communities, you may get a Yorkshire accent with an Indian or Pakistani twang, especially in Bradford where getting lost in the one way system can have your mouth watering as you pass one gorgeous curry house after another.

The other thing that’s struck me since moving to Leeds is that the sayings and colloquialisms vary slightly from those I was brought up with and sometimes don’t translate once you’re over the Pennines.

Ginnel, for a start. A ginnel in Glossop is the gap between two buildings – sometimes roofed. I believe it is the same here, although I have heard it pronounced “jennel”.

A snicket, however, is not the space between two houses to a Glossopian. A snicket is similar, but it’s a short cut, sort of like a rabbit path. Generally narrow and winding and possibly flanked on one side by a building, but not two… that would be a ginnel, innit.

Skrieking. No bugger I’ve ever come across outside my hometown knows that skrieking is. And I’ve never written it down, so I don’t even know if that’s how it’s spelt. Skrieking, in Glossop, is crying.

Fleeing. I once used this word when I was on the ‘phone to a guy in the IT department who asked me what the weather was like in Belfast (I was on a secondment). I looked outside with a shiver: it was snowing. So I said it was fleeing. He was so taken aback by this, him being from (and based in) Reading, that he asked me to jot down any other words that were Northern. Fleeing means that it’s v.cold, in case you aren’t from Glossop couldn’t guess.

Mek us a brew… everyone knows that one, surely. Make me a cup of tea.

Our kid… my brother/sister.

Owt… something.

Nowt… nothing

Awat?… how are you?

Areet… alright.

Until reading Pies and Prejudice, I had no idea that mithering wasn’t a word. In fact, neither did a load of people. At one point in a conversation I had about this recently, I was ordered to fetch the largest, most comprehensive dictionary I’ve ever seen with writing so small it took four of us with three different pairs of spectacles and a magnifying glass to determine that, no, it really isn’t a word. It wasn’t a word whether it was spelt “mithering” or “mythering.” I didn’t even want to bring up the fact that a lot of people in Glossop actually say “midering.”

One of the above mentioned party being from Surry, we naturally grilled her about other things she’d never heard before entering the north. Tenses came up in conversation. “Yet” to a northerner, can mean “now”. And “while” can mean “until”. My father, who used to work continental shifts in a plastic factory in Middleton (greater Manchester, not South Leeds) would say things like: “I were on while for’t ten” which means that he was working until ten o’clock. Also acceptable would be: “I were on while for’t yet” which means he would have been working until now.

Recently I was chatting with friends and, on observing a rather dark and foreboding horizon, I came out with: “Ooh, it’s a bit black over Bill’s mother’s”. Everyone fell about laughing. Evidently, that one doesn’t translate in Yorkshire.

I’ve actually run out of words and phrases, because it would seem that I’m still under the impression that my vocabulary is compiled of real words. So I cheated and googled, and came up with this little saying: “I’ll go to the foot of our stairs.” It means that something unexpected has just happened or that someone has been told something surprising. I am marginally disturbed to discover that this isn’t universal and so am going to stop before I get thoroughly upset with the country as a whole.

So, all in all, I don’t sound like a Derbyshirean… Derbyan… Derbian(?) I don’t feel like one, either. Although, I do occasionally wipe a single, solitary, glistening tear from my cheek when I drop down into Longdendale on Woodhead Road and see the “Welcome to Derbyshire” sign. Glossop feels like home, but then equally so does Manchester. Whenever I step off the train into Piccadilly and breathe that bizarre, damp air, with its own, unique clammy smell, I can’t help but smile. So, it’s hardly surprising that I perked right up once Mr Maconie reached Manchester.

I was rather surprised to find that the rest of the country considers Manchester to be emotional and arrogant. Of course, there were tears in my eyes as I read about the marvel that is the greatest city in the world…

… OK, maybe I don’t believe that, but I definitely sobbed with longing as Maconie trotted out the tale of the Massacre of Peterloo and tripped down Quay street (where I began my working life), to visit the Opera House (where I discovered Rocky Horror and Grease). Last year, during that horrible night when the riots that had begun in London spread slowly north like a nasty rash and went wild in Manchester, I realised just how much I was attached to the city that I consider home – I swelled with pride as people took to the streets with cricket bats to defend their businesses and then again after tweeters vowed to clean it up the next day. I rage against the southern perception of the north of England, so I positively brimmed to hear such buoyant affirmation of what is often, v.wrongly, considered to be a grim place that nobody wants to go to or live in.

My only disappointment with Pies and Prejudice was the lack of attention to the Manchester Egg. Possibly the latest foodstuff to come out of Manchester. It is truly delicious and sports the nationwide favourite that is Bury black pudding. Recipe to follow!

FOOTNOTES:

* People who don’t know ma Mum often talk down to her because of her accent… she may play up to it a little bit, but it doesn’t take long for people to realise that she is an incredibly intelligent woman with a sharp wit and a great sense of humour.

** I think that if people started talking down to ma Dad, he’d probably just nut the fuckers.

FEATURED IMAGE:

The featured image is a picture of Old Glossop. Those two little boys on the left next to the dog with the black coats and toggles are my uncle Tony and my father, respectively. The taller lad next to them in the lighter coat is my uncle Brian. Uncle Brian got all the height… the other two didn’t grow much more. I’m not sure if the strapping man with the braces behind them is my grandfather and the lady on his shoulder my grandmother, but it v.well could be.

Tagged , , , , , ,

Enter the Hood

NEWSFLASH!

We interrupt this incredibly important and vastly interesting three part injuries blog (ahem) to bring you this topical piece on the recent country-wide rioting.

(I began to write this blog on the day following the riots. Any allusion to “yesterday” or similar, is in reference to the events of the 9th August 2011)

THE EVENT & THE KNEE-JERK

It seems that there’s always stuff going down in London town: shootings, lootings, terrorist attacks, robberies, grand theft auto &c. &c. London is big news and all the time. Still, it was a shocking moment when it came to my attention that, not only were the riots that were breaking out in small pockets all over the capital not quashed on the afternoon in which they started, but that they were spreading. Even more shocking was the moment when it was made perfectly clear that they were spreading like a viral zombie outbreak up north. In other words: in our direction.

Now, Leeds in particular has a history of rioting, it not being the most affluent of places overall, and having a rather aggressive football presence. So, when word got out that there had been some “minor acts of violence” breaking out around the less prosperous parts of the city, our concern proved to be unwarranted. I can only presume that the West Yorkshire police are so deft at diffusing this sort of situation that it was nipped in the bud before it had even begun, but I could be wrong. At around 4:30pm on 9th August 2011, I rang my mother, who had recently e-mailed me the news of the suspected spread to the North East, and said that all appeared to be under control. What my mother didn’t tell me, is that she could hear police sirens starting up in the distance where she was. Manchester. At approximately 9pm my mother rang me and told me to put on the TV*.

I just want to take a moment to say that I wouldn’t call myself particularly patriotic. I love this quirky little country for its oddities; my family and friends are here, of course, and, although generally cold, wet and windy, we don’t have to concern ourselves with surviving hurricanes or monsoons and the like. I would have said that I had a minor attachment to Manchester and Glossop, but that I could take or leave it. But the minute I saw the destruction in Manchester city centre, my hackles rose and I v.nearly heaved. The next thought that ran through my head was, get in car, drive to Manchester, grab nearest little scrote and squeeze his throat until he turns purple, all the while shouting: “Get your hands off my city, you fucking wankers!”

                … Yes… well…. quite…

I surprised myself with the violence of my feelings. I even jumped to my feet and did a little pace up and down the room while I calmed down.

Usually an early-to-bed-early-to-rise kind of gal**, I stayed up until midnight contacting people via the various social networking sites that I frequent to check that everyone was present and correct.

And, rather tangentially, I have to say: bravo for open social networking! Here’s to microblogging and Facebook. Blackberries may have allowed these riots to happen, but Twitter encouraged the clean up of the city and I would have given anything this morning to go to Manchester and help to eliminate any trace of scummer madness. And not only that, Twitter was a constant source of information, advice, footage, photographs, consolation, support and much needed humour.

Similarly, but of course in no way shape or form comparable in terms of tragedy, to the footage of the attacks of 911, I could not stop watching the same bulletins over and over of streets that I’ve worked on, bars that I’ve been tiddly in, shops I’ve shopped at, restaurants I’ve had dates in, curbs I’ve tripped over and, more importantly, the v.heart of a city I’ve called home for twenty seven years, being vandalised and raped in such a slap-dash, carefree fashion. How. Very. Dare they?! New recordings were being submitted throughout the night – images of young teens in hoodies, generally dark in hue***, were leaping from vans and running in swathes to pillage their own city. They looked like a small, evil army of hoods. They looked like terrorists. They were akin to the Klu Klux Klan. Like some sort of beastial, soulless creatures from a horror film. And the average age appeared to be around the fifteen years mark. So who was driving them?

Of course, the media didn’t help. As usual the emotive language was a laughably obvious ploy to whip everybody into a frenzy that could only serve to create more drama and more news. So nothing new there then.

THE CALMER ANALYSIS

I could go on until I wear myself out about the effect it had on me and the events that went on until the wee hours of the morning. But I won’t. Clearly, I haven’t previously seen enough action in such close proximity or I wouldn’t be flapping as I am, and people all over the world have been through much worse things and kicked up less of a fuss, so I’ll put my knee-jerk reactions to bed.

I do, however, want to delve into the cause and effect, rather than the event itself. Because, even though it’s taken me this amount of words to reach my point, I truly believe that what has happened to Britain over the last few days should be enough to make the people who can make a difference in the world take a step back and realise that something is v.amiss if we have children fighting the class battle for us.

For it is a class battle. True, these kids are running around with state of the art Blackberries and credit has a lot to answer for in this modern world which we inhabit. And, true, when asked why they were rioting and looting, these kids gave mediocre to downright preposterous answers like: “I fuckin’ ‘ate the police – they treat us like we’re all thugs, innit?****” and “Well these rich bastards ‘ave all got plasma screens, so why ‘aven’ I, innit?” Even if these children understood the class war they were waging, they certainly got the wrong end of the stick when they started trashing little kebab shops and independent news agents; when they moved away from the rich chains to ruin the livelihoods of people just doing their best in the world.

But, regardless of the fact that, yes they were all vitriolic little fuckers with not a second thought for anyone but themselves, and, yes they rioted rather than protested, and did so in a hugely threatening manner. In fact, yes, it was terrorism through and through. Regardless, I say, of all this… they sort of had a point. And we all know it – somewhere deep within us. It’s there, we just don’t like to address it. The way we don’t like to address the human rights of criminals; see both sides of the story when it comes to biased media coverage; acknowledge the homeless and accept that something is v.wrong if a dog can live its life in perfect luxury because a human being will take it in and feed it, but that a man can starve on the street because he made a few improper choices.

Once the rage brought on by the riots had gone, I started to analyse the situation and went through many trains of thought. The first (and most important) being that “we,” the majority of my friends and I, were not well off growing up: our parents struggled, scrimped and saved, and probably still do, to provide us with the v.best that they could. So how the hell could these scrotes, these vermin, these nastylittlethanklessfuckers possibly say that it’s because they didn’t have enough money to buy the things that we have? Looking back over the long-winded question, I think it speaks for itself… it’s because our parents did do that for us. They sacrificed things so that we could have the things we needed and they let us know that they had done it – not to be mean-spirited, oh no; they let us know to instill in us respect and an understanding of the world, and to teach us the value of work and money. We working class kids were given the opportunities these rioters never had, not in the form of clothes and gadgets, but in the form of instruction and self-worth. With their unequivocal sacrifices, our parents taught us that if we wanted to be anything in the world, we had to damn well work for it, and they taught us that they loved us, would do anything for us because that’s how important we were. How important we are!

A SINGLE SCENARIO

A friend of mine coined the rioting kids “The Broken Condom Generation.” How v.apt. A teenager from this underbelly of society, which we try to pretend doesn’t exist, gets pregnant. She has no money, her parents give her no guidance or support; maybe they throw her out. The father of the child wants nothing to do with the pregnancy, and now her; after all, she is a slag, our teenage mother, and that kid could be anybody’s, innit? She doesn’t see the point in asking for help; she could go to a doctor, but s/he’d probably treat her like a slag too and what would be the point in talking to a posh bastard like that? So, she doesn’t look after herself and feed herself well – probably couldn’t afford to, even if she wanted to. The baby comes and our teenage mother is frightened, but knows that to ask for help will probably do her no good. She resents what this thing has done to her life and her body. She had nothing before, she has even less now. She’s angry, was angry before all this happened, but now she is frustrated beyond belief. She sort of loves this sprogger, but has no idea how to tell it. She treats it the way her parents treated her, because she has no reference point for treating it any other way. She has no help with the child and can’t afford to have it looked after, so she can’t get a job, not that she was thinking of getting one when she can just sign on, and anyway, she can’t do anything, she’s not good at anything, nobody would give her a job and she’s not going to suffer that kind of rejection. This child grows up in a similar vein: has never been encouraged or taught anything by its once teenage, now greying and haggered, bejogging-bottomed mother, so probably ignores the education that was shoved down its throat, because what’s the point in knowing all that stuff when the posh bastard teachers don’t give a fuck about you – they’re just paid to be there. When your parents don’t give a fuck about you, why would anyone else? The sense of worthlessness will fester and mutate with every generation, just like it did with every generation before it. And with this sense of worthlessness comes a resentment for the people who value themselves.

This, of course, is just one scenopsis in which we end up with the hooded hoodlum who stalks the streets with open beer cans braying abuse at anyone who isn’t like him/her. But, as far as the scummers are concerned, the people with self worth are the people who could help and they don’t and they’re so fucking smug with their plasma screens. And maybe we are. The media has a lot to answer for: it sells us the perfect lifestyle, the ideal home, it tells us the way we should look, the things we should own. It intimates that the people who don’t live this way are insignificant. So, we strive to live as we’re dictated to live; which means that we get into debt trying, work in full time jobs we hate, scrimp, save &c. We’re proud of our achievements. We’re proud that we aren’t like the scumming class. We look down on the scumming class. We look down at scummers… right down into their dirty, pocked faces. We call them scrotes, we call them scum, we call them pikies and chavs and scallies and skets. We can’t stand these people who use our tax to abuse the benefits system – tax that we’ve paid to enrich our own society, which we feel those types shouldn’t have a place in. I know, I feel it too – I can’t help it. “I work hard so that they don’t have to” is the condensed viewpoint. But the cause of this resentment from both sides is dividing the classes still further, to the point where the scumming class is actually being ostracised from society all together. We’re pushing these people out instead of looking at the class division and analysing why things are in the state they’re in. The sense of worthlessness swells through a sick sort of osmosis, and with it swells our distaste. We don’t look at the cause of poverty that has manifested itself thus… we just want it to go away and stop threatening our lives. We make them ever more inferior and the situation ever worse. But then again, why would you want to give some scumbag the time of day? One average person against one average chav is likely to get  abused in some way, no matter how much respect said average shows said chav.

THE SO-CALLED “RACE” RIOT

(and perhaps another tangent)

Another problem caused by unemployment and unemployability within the heart of the great unwashed is that a burning grudge is held for anyone who has a job. We live in a blame culture and this blame v.much includes racial minorities, especially within little white pockets of the poverty traps. As far as the ignorant are concerned, our ethnic minorities are “taking our jobs,” even if these ignoramouses are not personally concerned with employment. When I looked at the hooded army going to war, what I saw was, yes the odd black face, but a mainly white mob of skinheads. And what they looked like to me were the type of people who vote for the British National Party. Who vote BNP through ignorance, and lack of education and understanding. Who vote BNP because they have hatred inside of them and need somewhere to direct it. Who vote BNP because it makes them feel part of something (like the family they lack); who vote BNP because it gives them a sense of purpose. This was a race riot as much as it was a stand against the unfair distribution of wealth in this country – as in, it wasn’t. Whilst these kids are making a point, they make it unknowingly. They are angry because of the class divide, because they are povery-stricken; yes, ultimately, that is true. But bizarrely, they are just using it as a fish story to let out the pent up aggression they feel as a result of this treatment . They don’t understand that there is a v.real reason to protest. They inadvertently fight the battle they’re just using as an excuse to make a noise. Like a child throwing a tantrum, they want attention; they want to be seen and heard, but now that they have the floor, they don’t know what to say. They are frustrated, but nobody has ever taught them to try to understand the inner fury, or how to harness their anger and use it to get themselves heard rationally, like adults. And if anyone tried to teach them, would they listen? This unleashing of bitterness has been brewing for some time, and now it has happened in the least effective way, leaving hard working people to pick up the pieces of their broken lives. This wave of hatred has washed over us, leaving nothing but more resentment in its wake.

And, just as an aside: I think some of our minority groups did us proud throughout this rioting. A great big hand should go to the Turks. Good effort!

WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?

The problem that now presents itself is rather severe. These scrawny, scruffy little gits are going to become fully grown adults. They’re going to become physically more powerful. They’re going to have more children. They’re going to be able to vote! We can’t take that away from them even if we wanted to, and, really, what’s taking their rights away going to achieve if not more ascerbity?

If we could bodily take each individual scummer and dedicate our time to teaching each and every one of them the lessons they should have been taught about life from their parents; if we had the time to impress upon them the importance of their existence and make every attempt to hone them into people who wouldn’t pose a threat to our flimsy society, but instead enhance it, we could maybe make a difference. We could at least make a difference with some, if not all. But we don’t have the time or resources and inclination is wavering. Maybe an exceptional few will pull their socks up and decide to take a different path in life. But, essentially, here we are, with these soon to be fully fledged adult animals. The obvious thing to do would be to teach their offspring; start from the beginning, if you will. But you can’t take a child away from its mother just because you don’t like her, or because you have different values and, as the saying goes, you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. There seems to be v.little way to get through to this class.

And what of punishment? Our commonwealth hinges on recognition and retribution and the rioters must face disciplinary action. They deserve it. Much as I am erring on the sympathetic side, the rioters are still responsible for their own actions and they were not ignorant of the fact that they were breaking the law. We cannot appear to be approaching this issue all softly softly. People are outraged and justice must be done, as much for example’s sake, as much for peace of mind as anything. But we can punish these kids as far as the law will allow and then we’ll send them home again; back to their barren lives where they will feel even more rejected by the world they so wish to inhabit.

These people need representation. They need a voice. They need help and direction.  We want to be an educated nation, but how can we be when a large part of the nation won’t listen to anything they’re taught, even if they do stay in school? We cannot shun these people and expect them to quietly live their lives on the edge of the western world, out of our way. We cannot ban them from having children and we cannot round them all up and monitor them – Hitler may have found that to his liking, but we do not live in a dictatorship. We might abhor the underbelly, but cannot want to live in a police state, even if we would be amongst the chosen ones. Surely it is in our interests, in so many ways, to face the music and deal with this situation. Do we not appear weak as a nation when we are not a united force, but fighting pettily amongst ourselves over the acquisition of “stuff”? If we begin to treat these people with genuine prejudice we will be starting a constitutional war. As a famous bard once wrote: If you prick us, do we not bleed? if you tickle us, do we not laugh? if you poison us, do we not die? and if you wrong us, shall we not revenge?

RECOGNISE THAT THE OTHER PERSON IS YOU

We need to recognise that, given different circumstances, we could have been those people. And then we need to take a good, hard look at the shallow consumerism that engulfs us and the celebrity that we strive for, and choose a social order that doesn’t pay footballers £16 million a year just to let half of our society rot in their own dearth like an inconsequential annoyance to be endured from time to time. In short, we need a national brainstorming session, and we need to listen to one another to figure out where to go from here. But my money (my own money, which doesn’t amount to much, but which I earned through my inherent self-respect) is on us going down the lazy root; the root that doesn’t involve the fat cats relinquishing their grip on more money than they have to. We, as a nation, will continue to excommunicate fellow human beings and call ourselves decent people. We will blame “them” for crimes, and they will blame “us” for their poverty, when each party should just stop with the ineffectual and destructive blame, and start working with the other.


FOOTNOTES:

* Rather difficult when one doesn’t have a telly!

** Yes yes, ok – I don’t mean when I’m out and about of an evening

*** The hoodies, not the people wearing them

**** I never know if that should have a question mark at the end of it by proxy. “Innit”, as a derivative of “is it not,” surely should have. And the thought of a chav ending his sentences with “is it not” is highly amusing.

 

RECOMMENDATIONS:-

Books:

Ragtime ~ E. L. Doctorow

The Bonny Lad ~ Jonathan Tulloch


Films:

Fish Tank

This is England

Trading Places

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,
Advertisements