Words of Wisdom

26 March 2009

At last, my father has come to a realisation. I had an email from him today, one of many many emails I get from him, like the long phone calls where he talks (a lot), which said:

Hello Son

I’ve come to the opinion (thinking back over the past [ahem] years) that you are a doer, not a talker! From the Blue Peter appeal [organising a Bring and Buy sale for the 1990 appeal for Romanian orphans] to now !!!

Ahhhhhh, yes… but if only he could see my lack of ‘doing’ now it comes to packing up the flat…


26 March 2009

I hate packing. I hate packing for holidays – I can never decide what to take. I especially hate packing to move home – which is what I am doing right now (well, when I get some more boxes it will be). And moving house will mean lack of internet, for a short while, until I manage to get the new place hooked up. But, hey, I’m moving to a much better flat 🙂 The big haul starts tomorrow.

A Cultural Reference Point

24 March 2009

Mother’s Day in the UK, 22 March, was the day that we found out Jade Goody, British reality TV star, had died, aged just 27. It was, of course, expected: she’d been diagnosed as terminally ill with cervical cancer. She had chosen to live her final months in the full glare of the public eye, just as she had throughout her 20’s – her last minute wedding broadcast on TV, and a tribute issue of a glossy magazine published even before she had died.

Tributes came from all quarters – from Gordon Brown and David Cameron (did someone tell them it’s almost time for an election – start ‘connecting’ with ‘real people’ perhaps?) to Shilpa Shetty (whom she famously bullied in a racist manner on Celebrity Big Brother) and Stephen Fry: “courageous” perhaps, or “a kind of Princess Diana from the wrong side of the tracks”.

It’s an odd story. One of the best pieces of analysis I have read was from Channel 4’s Snowmail:

…whether one likes it or not the Jade Goody story is a cultural phenomenon.

She may not have had a ‘talent’ in the conventional sense… but in some ways she redefined celebrity and in Celebrity Big Brother was at the centre of debate when it came to the inherent, unknowing racism that exists in people who don’t consider themselves prejudiced.

And of course she has certainly raised awareness of cervical cancer, particularly among younger women…

It’s true, although the cult of Goody was more Shameless than Diana’s Panorama (or even Panorama in the days of that terrible Kirsty Wark), she was certainly no angel, but undoubtedly a cultural phenomenon.

Whether she should be a cultural phenomenon or not is irrelevant: she was, for many people. We’ve come a long way from Princess Di in class, but not in terms of media attention (arguably, in both cases, more self displaying of peacock feathers than vultures feasting on carcasses).

Perhaps she’s a cultural phenomenon of the spriallic descent of a society where the self-gravitating moment of fame voyeurism is exemplified by Goody’s Big Brother. A phenomenon in a world of Poverty Voyeurism – Shameless, Wife Swap and the like titillating the liberal middle classes. But Britain is one of the most divided countries in the world – where the richest 20% are six times wealthier than the poorest 20%, and surely the development of underclass-celebrity is more a creation of that than anything else.

Monday’s obituary in The Guardian agreed: “because despite the supposed democratisation of television, the truly uneducated, those marked by true poverty and deprivation, rareley appeared in the entertainment schedules. And suddenly, there was Jade, an unapologetic and unadorned symbol of all sorts of uncomfortable truths”.

I’m not sure we’ve seen a fundamental shift in the culture of celebrity. But the Goody years have certainly been a cultural reference point, where poverty p*rn continues to be increase as the financial excesses of the Banking Classes come collapsing down.


This is not a post about Jade herself. The Guardian’s obituary is worth a read if you’re looking for something on Jade. It concludes: We are bearing witness to someone battling against the odds as, she must have felt, she had been struggling all her life. Her seven years in the public eye played out in the manner of a modern morality tale and now her narrative arc is complete. It is to be hoped that after a life that was, save a few blessed stretches, mostly full of strife, Jade Goody is at peace and beyond the reach of scrutiny now.

Glass houses and stones

16 March 2009

There’s been a bit of furory in the blogosphere recently. A story involving a journalist, children, tragedy, and drunkenness.

Children, who survived the Dunblane shooting tradgedy, are now eighteen. Erm, that’s pretty much the story. The journalist writes:

A number of the youngsters, now 18, have posted shocking blogs and photographs of themselves on the Internet, 13 years after being sheltered from public view in the aftermath. In the days and months that followed the survivors, then aged just five and six, were the subject of overwhelming worldwide sympathy. But now the Sunday Express can reveal how, on their web-based social networking sites, some of them have boasted about alcoholic binges and fights.

I am not sure why this is a story – how are these kids, discovering drink and sex different to any other teenagers in the UK – how it this the shame of Dunblane survivors, thirteen years on? Are they supposed, because they survived tragedy, supposed to be exemplary? Regardless of what one thinks of this behavior, how are these things linked?

The editor of the newspaper has blamed bloggers for their inundation by complaints and refused to make any form of apology for their intrusion.

But maybe the journalist who wrote the exclusive story should remember that “people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones” – after scouring social networking sites for Dunblane survivors being teenagers she herself has been found: “Paula Murray Drinks” is the shock tactic headline used by one of those bloggers her paper despises. In her own words she’s been legless, fallen off the wagon, drinking large glasses of wine and posted pictures – over a social networking site (like those she scoured) drinking and drunk.

It’s one of those amusing blogosphere stories, but shows the hypocrisy of someone who quite clearly will stoop to the lowest of lows for a “story”…

My Saturday Night

15 March 2009


(thanks to Rob, who took this picture, and who took plenty of me looking awful)

Tweet n Whine

5 March 2009

Did i touch a nerve with my moaning minnie post about those grumbling, whiney whingers who do nothing but moan moan moan and complain? I think I may have done. I have nothing against getting what you’re due, I have nothing against complaining about bad service, but – let’s be clear – this, and  “life’s crap” whinging, are not the same thing.

Like I said if I get a bad service I will complain – whether it’s to the waiter who made me wait too long, the hotel with the broken toilet or my MP who voted for the Iraq war. But whinging is a reprehensible disease (let’s call it daily-mail-fever or have-your-say-itis) which not only drags yourself down but all those whom you carelessly sneeze over…

I think I’ve insulted my new-found friends over at LondonComplains (oops), here’s our twitter corresponace:

  • me: @LondonComplains please get lost you whinging twits (OK I admit, I started it… hehe… but did they really think I’d be at all interested in following their depressing tweets? I thought I put it fairly eloquently anyway…)
  • LC: Thanks for the insult. If you think being sick of the way our taxes are wasted & we’re maligned is ‘whinging’ then you need help!
  • me: nobody thinks taxes should be wasted but I actually have a life and would rather enjoy it than whining about tubes&parking
  • LC: So instead you’re whining about the people you think are whining about tubes& parking. And you claim to have a life? Methinks not
  • me: i’m not whinging about you, I’m pointing out the fallacies of your tweets (here I linked to my blog just so they could actually see what I thought about their grumpy whineyness)
  • me: i’d love to continue this conversation but i’m off out for dinner with a friend (I told you I have a life)
  • LC: Haha I’ve seen your page. You’re the saddest geek round these parts, and that’s saying something.. now run along. *pats head* (ah yes, run along little boy… but *score* they’ve seen my blog before, good to know…)
  • me: what an intelligent comeback *yawns* (and at this point I ran out of the door on the way to dinner)
  • LC: Er, isn’t there some trendy eaterie [sic] you should be polluting right now so you can post tweets tomorrow about what you ate? Idiot.. (why the ‘saddest geek round these parts’ would possibly be going to a trendy eatery is beyond any logical comprehension, but why should that surprise me… but actually I enjoyed a very nice two-for-one pizza with my friend Andrew at Pizza Express thank you very much…)

And just for anyone who missed that, half an hour later

  • LC: Been twittering 24 hours and already some wet wally’s seen fit to write an ESSAY on his own site about how we offend his delicate graces. Ha

…and it was very kind of them to give a ‘floppy noodle’ (as they called me) some publicity…

Now, like I’ve said before, I have no problem with people who can put together an eloquent argument, possibly a paragraph or two, explaining what they think, even if they don’t explain why they think so in detail. But splurging out this tripe over the net just because it’s easy is simply sneezing your phlegmmy germs of depression over everyone around you…

Fine, complain to someone, write to your MP or vote him out, tell someone what you think, but don’t moan and whine, it’s not attractive, it’s a depressive disease and you could be doing something far more life-affirming – something that’ll make you happy or that may, heaven forbid, actually change something…

Do I look like the kind of moaning minnie…

4 March 2009

…who likes those scaremongering, negative, ‘have your say’ style splurgerubbish stories? You know the kind of stuff – things like Facebook Causes Cancer and those whinging whiners who want to tell the world everything about it is rubbish?

You see, I don’t think I am. I think that they should stop moaning and get on with their lives. So why, today, do i have LondonComplains starting to follow me (ME) on Twitter?

This is the kind of moaning, whinging, “isn’t the world crap”, Jeremy Clarkson rubbish that is the mindset Daily Mail-believing moaners have gotten themselves into. And, you know what actually scares me – they actually believe they are right…

They actually spend their time, expend their energy, complaining about things like this, apparently:

  • For how long will London’s tube system continue its weekend paralysis? Last weekend no District, Central or Piccadilly lines. This is insane ...how about the fact the tube’s over 100 years old and needs a bit of TLC?
  • DLR Eastbound stopped for 17 minutes this morning at approx.10.30… broken signal at Westferry. Very late for my job interview. Pathetic… things break, get over it – and ‘very’ late after 17 minutes? Maybe you should have left earlier…
  • Last Saturday (28th Feb) Whitechapel – 200 strong Islamic fundamentalist group protesting for Sharia Law / Jihad in London. Police watch … what do you want them to do? Idiot…
  • Car taken by council last week – permit ran out. Was told £200 fine, turned out to be £350! Was I told of daily £25 fees when I called? NO why not pay your permit?

Oh and in case you didn’t get it – the ‘bio’ tells us this account is run by lots of people, all sick of London’s broken, cheating, stealing, greedy rulemakers…

It’s not that I don’t believe in complaining (heck, complaining about actual things wrong is getting me some special treatment at a Manchester hotel this weekend)… BUT…

why not stop moaning and just enjoy your life? Call me narrow minded if you want but I just don’t see how spending you time, moaning, complaining and worrying will be life-affirming and, in any way, add to the quality of and enjoyment of your own life…

LondonComplains contributors – i feel sorry for you…

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