I’m Not My Father’s Son

It will not come as a major shock to many of you, but I know quite a few other gay guys. Without exception, those that I have spoken to in depth on the topic, all of them have some sort of father issues. I do too.

Most of theirs, sadly, are negative. Mine isn’t, and this has for a long time slightly confused me. I do, most definitely, have father issues, but they’re not remotely negative, they’re just issues.

Having seen (and blubbed my way through most of) the stage show “Kinky Boots” it has, for the first time, hit home what it is. There is a song (cruelly close to the intermission!) called “I’m not my father’s son” which details how a character in the play is not who his father might have hoped for, or who his father might compare himself against.

But since in the stage show, as in my life, the father has died, the character will never have the opportunity to show his father that although different, he has been successful in his own way, and is now happy.

Having wasted (and although I choose that word deliberately, I do not choose it in any way lightly) the first four decades or so of my life trying to conform to others’ expectations, I really would have loved the opportunity to sit down with my dad now, staring out to sea over a windswept beach, and just chat about who I am, who he is, and what it actually feels like to be honest with yourself.

He was, in my view, one of the straightest-thinking people I knew, and I think he might have been a little disappointed that I lied to myself and everyone else for so long, but at the same time, I think he would have been satisfied that I got here in the end. “You took your bloody time” might have been his reaction.

I really would have loved to have taken him to Kinky Boots and held his hand while they sung “I’m not my father’s son”, looked at him and shared a smile and a tear.

I miss my dad.

The Guardian under-analyses 2014

In their article here, The Guardian suggests that 2014 was pretty much more of the same. I disagreed and commented:

What became crystal clear in 2014 is the complete submission and resignation of former independent professions to the mindless, unelected, unrestrained drones of social media. Not just politicians, as detailed in the article, but journalism too.

I suppose it is a natural extension of Blair’s over-reliance on focus groups that these days we no longer have conviction politicians with their own views on how society should best function. These days, no politician dares to have a policy or view on anything whatsoever without seeing what Twitter or Facebook are saying. An entire political party, UKIP, is based solely on the new chattering classes’ bigotry and hatred with policies and commitments that vary by the hour depending on the proles’ current mood and latest hate-figures.

The same applies to journalism. It is very rare now for any stance for objective truth to be taken lest it annoy some sector of the online hoards and result in a drop in page impressions. So, like politics, jounalism has come to cater for lowest common-denominator bottom feeding mouth-breathers rather than anyone with a genuine social conscience – the Guardian’s utterly misguided stances on feminism during 2014 are some prime examples of this. Rather than analyse and dissemble news items, they get tailored to the audience expectations. That’s not journalism, it’s masturbation.

In both areas, once Pandora’s box has been opened, and the Great Unwashed have been given a taste of the power they now possess, we can never go back. There are no controls, no ethics, no standards, no rules; just a pouring forth of unfiltered, uncontrolled, uninformed, instantly-reactive and ever-changing bias.

When both politics and its monitor, journalism, fall prey to the same debilitating sickness, it becomes a recipe for chaos. 2014 will mark a line in the sand when that chaos became tangible, just as 2015 will mark the time it reached critical mass. Next year will be interesting in the way meant by the old Chinese curse.

New “Occupy” organisation pointlessness

At the request of the Standard’s letter editor, today’s rant. On past performance, they probably shan’t use it, though, not least because I complained about the editing last time:

I see that caring face of middle class youth, the Occupy movement, is at it again, populating our Parliament Square and behaving as though they own it. “This is our space” they complained: No it isn’t, it belongs to us Londoners, and I for one resent your presumption in polluting it and making it unusable by us.

Like most previous efforts by these people, it is utterly pointless because nobody, least of all them, knows what they are protesting against. Everyone has a different banner, a different whine and a different shade of face paint. They seem to fit in their protests during half term from their social studies courses at their Berkshire polytechnic.

Firmly cementing this impression of being headless chickens, the Emperor of the Clueless and professional mangler of the English language, Russell Brand turned up and gave a speech yesterday. That must have been nice for them, if a little confusing.

This hopeless bunch of unfocussed noisemakers are utterly cringeworthy.

They have no detectable message, no direction and are behaving as arrogantly as those they object to.

The Jarrow Marchers must be spinning in their graves with embarrassment.

This is what they edited it down to:

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“Dancing Guardsman” issue misdiagnosed

Letter to the Standard in response to this

I don’t see the problem with the “dancing guardsman”. He’s there to entertain the tourists and he’s doing a good job.

Walking around in front of a building in a comedy uniform is no job for an adult anyway, certainly no job for a trained and respected member of our armed forces.

If there is a problem here it is the role of our military being demeaned by making them guard an empty office building in a silly costume. That’s a job for the police…

Labour’s limp-dicked policy on railways

Got an email from the Evening Standard letters editor on the Sunday of Brighton Pride asking for my views on Labour’s non-nationalisation railways policy. This is what he got back:

Not for the first time in recent years, I am very disappointed with Labour’s stance on something.

Britain’s railways used to be a classic example of how not to run a nationalised industry. Over-manned, militant and with an arrogance that only a monopolistic industry can possess. However, the current free-market model has proved to be even worse. Rampant ticket price inflation, zero competition, growing public subsidies and huge profits for the rail companies have all shown that there is something worse than nationalisation.

Labour needs to bite the bullet and say – loud and proud – that a nationalised, but efficient, railway is the only cost-effective model that makes sense. They need to grow a pair and seriously push this as a manifesto pledge. They will get huge support from it, I am sure, because it is the only model that makes sense.

And this is what they printed:

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Lenny Henry asking for more minority representation at the BBC

Letter to the Independent in response to this article:

Unless Lenny Henry has evidence of bias in the BBC’s recruitment or promotion practices, I am not interested.

Equality has absolutely nothing to do with equality of representation and everything to do with equality of opportunity.

If only a small number of minority people are applying for jobs there, then only a small number will be represented.

To be calling for an artificially-inflated minority representation, probably at the cost of quality, is blatant discrimination and should be opposed at every level.

They printed it, almost verbatim:

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Flooding: When did we lose personal responsibility in this country?

The people who live by the side of a river, on the coast, on flood plains or on reclaimed marshland (like the Somerset Flats) are playing a percentage game. They are gambling that the once-in-a-couple-of-centuries series of storms won’t happen while they live their idyllic waterside existence.

Most of the time, because the percentage chance of it happening is so small, they get away with it. It is hypocritical of them *in the extreme* to complain if the Environment Agency and the government plays the same percentage game.

How much would the uneducated masses be complaining if billions was spend on flood defences when nothing is likely to happen for decades or centuries? They’d be up in arms complaining about it.

The railway to the SouthWest has been there since Brunel built it. The Thames hasn’t flooded this high since long before 1947. How many billions would you like us to spend now to make sure that these things are still safe in the year 2235?

Also, nobody has explained to me why the people who live in these places can’t organise and pay for their own flood defences. They seem to be such experts on it.

Has the question “How much should Council Tax go up to pay for local flood defences” even been asked? Or has it been asked and met with stoney silence? It always seems to be “someone else’s fault” these days.

Nobody has a backbone of their own. It’s pathetic.

The Standard published it, but edited it almost out of existence:

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Caring, Sharing Keith Vaz, Hero of the people.

Missive to The Independent after they wrote a rather understated piece on Keith Vaz:

Sirs,

You stated that Keith Vaz “enjoys the limelight” which is a little like describing Jim Davidson as “a little unfunny”.

This media whore MP is an embarrassment to Parliament. An ambulance-chasing self-loving publicity opportunist who would trample over an old lady to get closer to a camera. There will never be a bandwagon too small for Vaz to jump onto if there is the slightest chance of a few seconds TV time or a centimetre or two of newsprint.

He tries to sound sincere and worldly, but the truth is, “Caring Sharing Keith” is a parody of Spitting Image proportions being played out to people with dysfunctional brainstems who can’t separate truth from fiction.

Why anyone thinks this avatar of a man should be taken seriously is quite beyond understanding – his sincerity is tissuepaper-thin, his actual power is mostly an illusion and his motivation is totally self-serving.

I would look forward to his retirement, but I know he will simply re-model himself as an elder statesman and seek out even more media coverage for his irrelevant opinions.

He is one of very few people that make me wonder if we wouldn’t be better adopting a North Korean style of political management…

Standard completely blinkered about cyclists

The Evening Standard has gone all soft in the head again about cyclists on London’s roads. This time, they’re pushing a front-page story whinging that only four drivers have been prosecuted over forty cyclist deaths: Original article

Once again your critical analysis has failed when it comes to cyclists.

Why should there be more than four jailings of drivers in incidents that result in cyclist deaths? It has been long documented, including in safety campaigns run by The Standard, that cyclists’ behaviour is the major contributing factor in road incidents involving them. Frankly, I am surprised that there are as many prosecutions of drivers as there are. Hopefully improved CCTV and the growing use of dashboard cameras will reduce wasted police and court time.

Your assumption that the cyclist is always the victim and is always blameless is becoming intensely irritating because it is a completely inaccurate view of reality as any road user, pedestrian or police officer will tell you.

Please provide a more accurate balance in future.

They won’t publish it, of course, they never do. It spoils their world-view of cyclists as martyrs…

The 2013 Awards Season: The Lord Harper Award goes to Russell Brand

My one and only “… of the year” award: For constantly sounding like a fart in a thesaurus factory; for having opinions on everything without having thought of anything; for allowing his childish desire to sound educated and funny overwhelm any desire to actually be correct; and finally for rebelling against something he doesn’t understand, using methods that nobody would notice and with no defined alternative considered, my “Total Dickhead of 2013 Award” goes to: Russell Brand.

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