Sunday, 6 April 2014

Jumping The Rope

Many years ago when I was in Cub Scouts there was an impromptu ceremony held for some of our Pack who were moving up into the big boys’ club of Scouts** As there was only 3 of them, the powers-that-were decided that, instead of the normal “swearing in” procedure, they would use our meeting hut, a length of rope, and a lot of imagination.

We all stood on one side of the room and the rope was strung across the length of the hut, about a foot off the floor. Two senior Scout leaders then got the lads to jump over the rope one at a time, signifying their passage from one world to another, i.e our “world” of Cubs to the new world of Scouts.

This has always stuck in my mind as a very clever, yet simple way of making a point and making it clear to children what the meaning signified.

Recently I’ve been having hypnotherapy and one of the things I’ve realised from this is that I purposely held back from jumping the rope for most of my life as I got older.

My family were uber dysfunctional, presided over by a self obsessed, spiteful matriarch and a father who was loyal to his wife no matter how badly she treated both him, his children and his own parents. This was a choice to prevent her leaving home, but like Veruca Salt, the more you give people, the more they think they are entitled to and the less they think they’re actually getting.

Seeing just how miserable life was for “grown ups” when I was a child and a teenager I made a sub conscious decision to avoid joining their world as long as possible, if not for ever.

Problems arise when you see just how much worry parents pour over issues such as money, mortgages, holidays or even who’s cooking dinner. The stress and anxiety that this life brought to my parents, and in particular my mother, put me off ever wanting to be a part of it. My old dear’s philosophy was that you should buy a house as soon as possible and then save every penny you had so that, by the age of 50 you would then be secure. This seemed farcical even at the time and despite the fact that both she and my father had good, well paying jobs, money was an issue she constantly whined about. One of her other beliefs was that you should save and save and save…so that every 5 years you could buy a new car.

Whoopee fucking do!

While money had indeed been tight when my parents married in 1967, her mindset of “never having enough” and “buying the next but cheapest item” continued well after it needed to and she continued to perpetuate the myth of being impoverished, when we blatantly weren’t.

Another thing that put me off was that the social life of a married couple seemed to be hardly ever going out and occasionally inviting friends over for dinner, or being invited to dinner.

Why, I thought, would I want to put myself in such boring misery? To be trapped in a house I would spend 25 years paying for where even a trip to a restaurant would seem like a lavish excess.

A fly in the ointment was the type of friends my parents had. One particular revolting creature named Gloria used to come round our house wearing tight black leather trousers (she had about a 42 inch waist)***. She talked down to me, my brother and even my mother and was an ignorant, opinionated dog.

Two other friends were, years later, described by my father as “those two boring buggers”. Turned out that my parents didn’t actually like them, but didn’t have the courage or were too embarrassed to simply cut the rope. They would lament how boring these two were**** and how the woman was a lousy cook. This seemed to me to be a living nightmare. Having to spend most nights at home due to not having enough money, and some of the precious free time you actually had, would be spent in the presence of people you didn’t even like but couldn’t tell them so for fear of causing offence.

A skint, boring, stressful, anxious, restricted and limited life was what I believed awaited me as an adult doing adult things in an adult world.

The abuse my mother put my way as I grew up also made me realise that getting a job that I wanted (her job meant more to her than anything else, including her family. She actually said this on more than one occasion) would result in stress, viciousness, bullying, tantrum throwing and taking my bad moods out on my children. I didn’t want to bring kids into a world where they would be treated like that. I also didn’t want to be trapped in a job that was my only sense of self worth or to be so stressed out doing it that I became a tyrant as a direct result of doing it.

All in all, the world of adults seemed scary, unpleasant and unfulfilling. Remaining childlike (albeit not necessarily childish) was a way of avoiding the horrendous misery and despair that I had linked to the world that awaited me once my full time education was over.

Jumping over the rope was not something I was willing to do.

Now...just need to get my left knee repaired (recent Krav Maga grading) and I might take a running jump at it.


** Now more of a unisex world where girls can join in too. Part of me still thinks this sucks.

*** I've actually had counselling about seeing her in these. No I'm not joking

**** Also not nice people. The husband once proudly told me that he was on jury service and they found the accused guilty as they were bored and wanted to go home after the trial went on for 2 weeks.

Monday, 31 March 2014

Off Limits

WARNING: Contains spoilers for the season 4 finale of The Walking Dead.
No I’m not joking.
If you don’t want to know, then fuck off until you’ve watched it.

While watching the finale of the Walking Dead, series 4 tonight there was an awesome scene where Rick, Michonne, Carl and Daryl are attacked by a group of marauders out for revenge, as Rick had killed one of their number in a previous episode. While holding Rick at gunpoint the leader says that they are all going to rape Michonne AND Carl (who’s about 14 years old), beat Daryl to death and then shoot Rick. After a righteous bit of ass kicking (and jugular biting) Rick confronts the fat, sweaty guy who was attempting to butt fuck his son.

He then proceeds to gut him from pelvis to neck (in one long, agonising rip of his dagger) and then repeatedly hack at the dying body until the camera fades out. Cut to the morning and Rick is sitting shell shocked, face literally covered in the would-be rapist’s dried blood.

Now…this scene was simply one of many in this series that is badass. But what it made me realise is that in UK society we reserve reactions and actions like Rick demonstrated, for incredibly serious stuff that we imagine to be off limits 99% of the time and therefore unlikely to ever happen.

The guy he gutted, mutilated and painfully murdered was about to anally rape his young son, so anyone could understand (but not necessarily sympathise) with what Rick did once he got his hands on the bloke. It was OK to do this as the man’s actions were so Beyond the Moral Event Horizon, so vile, so Off Limits that he deserved to be disembowelled and his corpse desecrated.

In the UK there is still a sub conscious belief, held by the majority of society, that most people act within limits. Wankers like the Kray twins and Cas Penant (former football hooligan with West Ham who even has a fucking acting role in the first Green Street movie!) are seen as OK as their criminality operated within certain guidelines. The Krays had staunch supporters (including Barbara Windsor) and noted for their gentlemanly behaviour, anger if someone swore in front of a lady and love of their mother Violet. Penant ran the ICF (Inter City Firm) for West Ham and fought for years as a soccer hooligan. But that was OK because HEY! He was only hurting OTHER soccer hooligans (and maybe the odd copper or two).

Real, unpredictable, nasty, unfathomable violence and crime, such as raping a teenage boy in front of his father, is something that society assumes that most people, the majority of people simply WOULD NOT do or even threaten to do. We assume that drunken louts out on a Friday might sexually molest a woman but we assume it would be a drunken fumble and even if they raped her then they would be caught very quickly as it was almost certainly an act of drunken passion and they were BOUND to have left loads of DNA samples everywhere as their behaviour is something we believe we can foretell.

We think that shoplifters caught by security guards will either run or vehemently protest their innocence. No one assumes they would pull out a syringe filled with HIV-infected blood or a rusty kitchen knife. I know of one store manager this happened to and he had ZERO training on how to deal with the situation.

The UK police are 99% routinely unarmed. Reason? We think that violence that is Off Limits won’t occur. We have special units reserved for just such vile scum, held in reserve until they are needed. The two cunts who murdered soldier Lee Rigby in Woolwich were shot by police and no one questioned that it was justified…because running someone over and then trying to cut their head off and then talking to passers by about it and THEN attacking the armed police that attended the scene…is Off Limits behaviour.

In 1980 the Iranian embassy in London was taken over by terrorists who shot one hostage and threatened to shoot more. Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher (in one of her few decent decisions) sent in Britain’s badasses the S.A.S. The Special Air Service who, in a display of utter badassery, went in and shot every terrorist except one. Thatcher apparently said “it is time to use the final option” when she made the decision to utilise special forces to end the siege.

The terrorists deserved to meet their fates at the hands of people one level of badass above the regular army and two above a police firearms unit…because the terrorists had committed acts which were Off Limits.

About two years ago two female cops were called to a false burglary alert and had grenades thrown at them before being cut down with a machine gun and killed. Both were unarmed with anything except pepper spray, batons and possibly a stun gun (the latter being useless except at close range, the first two no good except right up against someone). The current Prime Minister David “Cunt” Cameron was quoted on the TV News the same day as saying, “A domestic burglary wouldn’t normally warrant an armed attendance.” He meant what he said because in England we don’t expect people to behave like that. We don’t even expect cop killers to behave like that. Shots being fired would be something they could maybe have run from. Explosives and machine guns…Off Limits.

I once showed a friend of mine (a Texan Sheriff’s deputy) footage of a guy going berserk with a machete in a busy London suburb while 8 cops armed with metal batons and pepper spray tried to subdue him with no success. The conversation went like this:

 “Why don’t they shoot him?”

“No guns.”

“Why don’t they go back to their cars and get their guns?”

“There is no gun in the car either. The firearms unit were on their way but it was resolved before they got there.”

He looked at me in disbelief and went, “You Brits are fucking crazy!!! How the hell are the police expected to do their job without appropriate tools to do it?!!”

In England we dangerously believe we can predict behaviour and our laws only allow Reasonable Force in self defence (e.g. a mugging or a burglary). While this in itself may sound reasonable it assumes that those who commit crimes will themselves not stray beyond the realms of predictability, remain within established limits and anyone who hacks to death a burglar with a meat cleaver from the kitchen knife block, is probably being over zealous as the law will assume that the intruder only wanted to rob the house. It will not assume that he or she maybe wanted to ritually sacrifice the entire family or kidnap one of the children and sell them into slavery.

One example of how Off Limits behaviour is skewed in this country is the case of fat, waddling, piss taking arsehole Ian Tomlinson at the G20 riots. Despite walking through police lines all day DURING A FUCKING RIOT and deliberately obstructing police vehicles it was assumed that the officer who pushed him over was totally Off Limits with his behaviour. Poor little Ian was only walking home after all. Nasty, horrid, bullying policeman.

Fact is that Tomlinson was doing everything he could to get in the way and be a twat. This wasn’t even considered at the trial of the cop who shoved him (Tomlinson later died from internal bleeding, chances are NOT caused by the shove, but HEY… the shove was illegal). Legally the only thing to be considered was that at the moment of the shove he wasn’t an immediate threat and was complying with instructions to move on (albeit like a petulant 6 year old being sent to bed).

In the USA cops assume a high threat level AUTOMATICALLY and then downgrade to normality when they believe they’re safe.

When I lived in northern Mexico city Tampico for 7 months the place was controlled by the army, the police and warring drug cartels. Everyone assumed a high threat level and adapted accordingly to deal with it. This would be something as simple as not going to certain areas or not driving expensive cars on certain roads. Bottom line was that they knew no behaviour was Off Limits and they lived their lives accepting this and dealing with it.

We should always assume that any bad guy will behave in ways that are off limits until it is proved otherwise and we then believe we are safe. Just because something is so monstrous to imagine, does not mean it could never happen or is not a sick fantasy (or worse, a matter of no significance) to another person.

Immorality is something that society can legislate against

It is not something it can predict or control.

Monday, 24 March 2014

But It Might Do...!!!

When I was at both college and university there was an “understanding.”

The understanding was that even if you didn’t like someone’s opinion, they had the right to express it (in a civilised fashion such as a debate or a moot) and you, as a civilised person, had a duty to either listen or fuck off.

This led to the lovely thing of “mutual conversation” where you would listen to someone else’s opinion (or at least stand or sit there until they finished talking and it was your turn) and after all, isn’t that what democracy is based upon?!!

Problem was that by the late 1980s a lot of little shits considered that their opinions were not opinions at all but FACTS.

After all, how could anyone NOT want to see Nelson Mandella be released from prison? How could anyone with anything remotely approaching a conscience NOT want to become vegetarian? And how could ANYONE not think that the Domestic Violence laws of the UK were antiquated and out of touch and in dire need of overhauling?**

These people were people who didn’t want to have a debate, or a moot or even a chat. They were the angry young face of educated Britain. They knew best and they were determined to get their own way as, like it or don’t, what they wanted and knew to be right would be THE WAY from now on.

From 1987 to 1993 when I was in Higher and Further Education, these creatures were simply annoying or amusing. They were seen in Asda slapping “Contaminated With Apartheid” stickers on every bit of corn beef they could find. They were out Hunt Sabbing. They stood outside McDonalds and gleefully told people going in or out what was in the Big Macs.***

Then…the creatures decided that “answering back” was just plain wrong. They were right, and others could PLAINLY see that and were only arguing with the righteousness of their stance in order to piss them off….or they were stupid…and both were as bad as each other.

When I was a child there was a phenomenon of a certain type of spiteful cunt. This cunt would rant and rave at you but hate the fact that you would try to respond to whatever they’d said.

For example…

A teacher accuses you of something but doesn’t have any evidence to back it up. They are in a bad mood and give you a verbal lashing, making you upset or possibly even making you cry. When they have finally finished you try to explain the situation as you see it but they either order you out, speak over you or pretend they can’t hear you.

I once had a landlord who refused to check the gas fire in my bedsit**** as he had checked it himself. I patiently went to the relevant council office (days before Internet) and photocopied the relevant bits of the Act of Parliament governing gas appliances in rented property and C.O.R.G.I (Council of Registered Gas Installers). When he came round the next week he looked at me in disgust and refused to even look at the pieces of paper I was proffering, let alone take them and read them. He wanted to be right and knew that by reading this document it might make him less than right or even, God forbid…WRONG!!!

But I digress…

Basically some people just don’t like to be argued with. They know they’re right and they’re too childish to allow other people to voice an opinion.

The British National Party were hated when I was at Uni, like they are now. BUT they would be allowed to talk on an open platform and then people would bung eggs and flour (or even half a house brick) at them outside the venue. Now we have the sad and quite disgusting spectacle of an elected BNP Member of Parliament being told to leave by venue owners when he turned up for the hustings. Reason? They didn’t like him and didn’t want to hear what he had to say. As the venue was private, all it took was for them to ask him to leave and he then had to. When he refused the police physically took him out of the building. He had an unpopular opinion and the view was that he shouldn't’ be allowed to voice it.

After all…they were RIGHT and he was WRONG.

The worrying thing now is that the laws in the UK are so blatantly designed to silence anything that goes against the will of narrow minded, judgmental, left-wing cretins.

The internal rules in the UK police as they stand (and other public organisations) is that a comment is wrong if ANYONE PRESENT is offended by it and not just the person it was intended for. This means that a racist, sexist, homophobic etc. joke that is intended only for one person’s ears will be offensive even if someone is hiding in a cupboard (or in one reported case, had left a tape recorder in the room deliberately to catch people having “unsavoury” conversations).

While this has some shred of validity at least on paper, the problem is that it means that people can take offence on behalf of others EVEN IF THE OTHER PERSON ISN’T PRESENT OR SPECIFICALLY STATES THEY DON’T CARE.

Russ Abbott the UK comedian once stated on a TV interview with Terry Wogan, “When I make jokes about disabled people they laugh. It’s people who can walk who don’t like it.”

Ah, but what if they were only laughing because they were embarrassed? What if they were secretly to scared to voice a negative opinion? Clearly a Politically Correct warrior of Righteousness was needed to sort things out once and for all.

The state of things now in Great Britain****** is that those who ran amok on Rag Week in the University of Warwick are now in Government. Hypocritical cunts like Diane Abbott (black female Labour MP) get away with racist remarks because they’re part of the Non-Specific Genderhood of Righteousness and are “right” because they are “right on.”

I went to Uni with Tjinder Npuri who was Vice President Social in 1991 at Preston Polytechnic (now UCLan). He was a pain in the arse and unpopular with the majority of the students. He cried “RACISM!!!” at every piece of criticism and finally resigned a few days before a Vote of No Confidence in him could go ahead. He was determined to be right and by leaving before he could face this vote, he left not having been proved wrong.

He later changed his last name to Singh and formed the band Cornershop who had a hit with “Brimful of Asha” in the 90s.

I only met him once very briefly but I hated his guts because he was the epitome of sticking your fingers in your ears and going “LA LA LAAAA!!!!” He was right, everybody else was wrong….and racist…and intolerant…and smelly.

The laws around what you can and can’t say are slowly bending back to a more sensible middle gound. Section 5 of the Public Order Act was finally amended on 1stFebruary 2014 to remove the word “insulting” (no more gay police horses) and it is no longer an offence to merely call someone names.

By advocating total intolerance of anything that deviates from your own world view you become the oppressor you so desperately tried to suppress.

Where once children laughed at racism and gay jokes, they now are told it’s ok to ridicule those who are themselves intolerant.

"But it might do” is not a valid reason for silencing debate. It just makes anyone who feels like that a petty little twat.

Although I would defend to the death their right to feel that way.


** Which they were but have now resulted in rules that state action must be taken by cops attending a DV unless there are absolutely no signs of disturbance or altercation. End result= The man usually gets arrested or told to leave for the night, regardless of who started it. Doubly likely if there's a child present.

*** Always funny when one of them got punched for making some bloke's son or daughter cry. Moreso as they would always react like the punch was unprovoked.

**** One room apartment containing a bed, fridge and cooker. What crafty estate agents call a Flatlet.

***** Or Britain. As the prefix "Great" smacks of colonial arrogance. Or something.