Eclectic Blue

Tip of the iceberg

No Comments 16 October 2017

I don’t know much about Harvey Weinstein. Although I do know that he is a famous film producer, I am not sure whether I have ever seen any of his films. In view of the torrent of sordid allegations begin to surface about his behaviour towards many women, I rather hope I haven’t. People like him make me ashamed to be a man.

I think I may have seen him on a TV chat show, perhaps Graham Norton, and perhaps heard him on the Chris Evans show on Radio Two, but I can’t be sure. I have seen pictures of him lately and they kind of ring a bell, but not a very loud one. Clearly in the movie industry, Weinstein is, or rather was, A Big Deal.

His alleged sexual activities have been sick-making to read. It will be a matter for others, including perhaps the courts, to decide whether Weinstein was involved in non-consensual sex of any kind, something which he denies. Nonetheless, it is hard to believe there is a little fire beneath the smoke.

Now I have learned more about the man, I understand rather better just how powerful he is. A major producer makes or breaks careers. If you were a young, aspiring female actor and you knew that the only way you could “get on” would be to perform a sexual act on a major industry figure, how would you react, knowing that if you failed to oblige you might never work again? I hope you will agree that this is a repulsive thing to even think about.

Emma Thompson described the allegations as being the tip of a very large iceberg. I can believe this. Historically, the movie industry in particular has been run at the behest of rich, powerful men. The casting couch was not part of folklore: it really happened. The allegations about Weinstein concern behaviour that is plainly institutionalised in Hollywood.

“What attracted you to the multimillionaire Harvey Weinstein?” might be a valid question. I am not personally attracted to him and, if I am being brutally honest, I would be surprised if the apparent legions of young female actors were any more sexually disposed to him as me. He’s a fat, balding 65 year old man; George Clooney he ain’t. I guess there is someone out there for everyone but for someone like Weinstein to attract female attention – well, there must be something more to it than looks alone?

This is nothing to do with a sex addiction, as some have suggested. It’s about power. It is the age-old story of male power over women. Change might be coming, but clearly in places like Hollywood, it’s coming very slowly, if it’s coming at all.

It is absolutely fine to be sexually attracted to someone of the opposite or same sex. That’s what makes the world go round. It’s when the boundaries are pushed too far, when power takes over. It’s another example of sleeping with the boss to get on. That boss is almost always a man and here we have the ultimate terrible example.

Hollywood needs to have a long, hard look at itself but so does all of society everywhere. I suspect that Weinstein will never work again regardless of what happens next. The world doesn’t need men like him. Law breakrer or not, he’s a pervert and he deserves nothing but our contempt.

Eclectic Blue

The Sun goes down

No Comments 15 October 2017

The sinister march of the hard left in British politics reached a new level when the civil service union, PCS, decided at its annual conference to ban the sale of the Sun in government buildings by supporting and paying £100 of members’ money to the Total Eclipse of the Sun campaign. You might be surprised to learn that news agency facilities even exist in government buildings but in some of larger offices, in Newcastle, for example, they do. The Sun is, in my opinion, a disgrace to journalism but is banning it really the answer? The comrades plainly think so.

The overwhelming majority of delegates at the conference support banning the paper which suggests the vast majority of PCS members support banning it, since these delegates are supposed to be voting on their behalf. In reality this is a nonsense. Delegates from up and down the country will have the mandates of a tiny fraction of their members and have always voted, and continue to vote, down hard left political lines.

In the eyes of the comrades, the arguments for banning the Sun are roughly as follows:

– The lies the Sun told over Hillsborough.
– The ‘outrageous attacks on refugees” when we should “celebrate diversity”.
– The Sun peddles “lies and bigotry”.
– It is the mouthpiece of a “political class”.

Wouldn’t it be better to just refuse to buy it, instead?

PCS denies it is advocating censorship, but what else do you call it? You don’t call it anything else because censorship is clearly what it is. The hard left in PCS is the same as the hard left everywhere. They are drawn from the likes of the Socialist Party (Militant), the Socialist Workers Party and any of the other 57 varieties of Trotskyism that are available. And through the union they control, they are trying to ban their members from reading whatever they choose.

Now, I am not advocating that anyone should read the Sun. It has a poisonous hard right agenda which works against the very working class readers who are its main customers. And you know everything else. The lies and slurs of Hillsborough above all, always. This is not a nice newspaper and the people who own and write for it can’t be very nice people. We are constantly told we have a “free press” primarily because the newspapers are free from government. They’re not free from proprietorial influence, though.

Several hundred hard left comrades cannot determine who says which newspaper and to whom. Our democracy might be creaking at the edges right now and the arbitrary banning of things we don’t like is a step on a slippery slope.

I might be greatly offended by what I see in the Sun, but then I am greatly offended by a lot of things I see. That doesn’t mean I want to ban the things I don’t want to see. PCS should hang its collective heads in shame. And members should demand that £100 of their money spent on the campaign should be returned to the union to be spent in their interests, not on censorship campaigns.

Eclectic Blue

Some things will never change

No Comments 15 October 2017

A few talking points from Bristol Rovers defeat yesterday at the hands of Oxford United:

* I thought Oxford were the better team and deserved to win.
* Rovers really missed Billy Bodin.
* The introduction of Sinclair and, especially, Moore made things worse, not better.
* The home bench was threadbare.
* The referee got most big calls right, including the non existent penalty for the Rovers, but ruined his performance by awarding loads of yellow cards, many of which on both sides were completely unnecessary.
* Rovers two full backs, especially Bola, were running on empty in the last 20 minutes.
* The queues for the concessions between the south west tent end were a joke. Those in the corporate seats wouldn’t expect the same kind of delays for their pre match carvery, so why should those on the terraces.
* It has cost Rovers fans over £1 million to put Ken Masters on the board of directors.

That little lot will do for now. I intend to dwell on matters loosely connected with Mr Masters, the so called fans’ representative on the board. A minor debate appeared on social networks last night, questioning both the effectiveness and the importance of Bristol Rovers Supporters Club (BRSC). I emphasise the minor aspect of the debate because, as we know at Bristol Rovers, and probably at every other club, fans only get angry and “want something done” when performances on the pitch are below par and heading towards catastrophic. Right now, with the team comfortably in mid table and gates consistently as high as they have been in the modern era, there is little by way of dissent. In fact, the support for manager Darrell Clarke remains at a very high level, quite rightly so.

I am not going to re-run the arguments of the last 15 years about supporter representation at BRFC. At times of various crises just about every alternative and independent form of representation has been offered and many attempted. This included democratisation of BRSC itself which ultimately led to the organisation having full directors. But that was where democracy ended. The last two directors, Brian Seymour Smith and Ken Masters, have failed totally to fulfil the roles the million pounds plus Rovers fans paid to put them there. Yes, they appeared on match days, as Masters does to this day, but their influence has been negligible, arguably zero. They were never part of big decisions made in the Higgs era, they have had no input into the new regime. Masters stood next to the disability teams at half time yesterday which was admirable, but he didn’t need to be a fans’ director to do that. He was put in the job to ensure Rovers had a voice on the board. In that, he has palpably failed. A director with principles would have resigned years ago, but not Ken in the Community.

What does BRSC do these days? It runs a loss-making shop in Kingswood, it organises buses for away travel, it sells programmes and 50/50 tickets and that’s it. A vehicle for change? Hardly. Look, the people who run BRSC deserve unending praise for their job in providing financial assistance to the football club because they care passionately about it. They are not in the game of holding people to account. It is no longer what BRSC does and it hasn’t done for many years. So, if you want an independent form of representation at the club, here is my advice: don’t bother.

Even when the club was on its knees in the early 2000s, a relatively small number of people came to its aid. As the club, under the dead hand of Nick Higgs, tumbled out of the Football League, a few half-hearted and half-arsed fan initiatives were tried. As soon as the team recovered, they faded and died. Put very simply the fact is this: Gasheads do not support fan ownership or accountability from those at the top. This is as near to a fact as you can get. That is not to say they don’t care because they are among the most passionate fans in the land. However, as with most fans, that passion is confined to what happens on the pitch and, after wasting too many years trying and failing to persuade people that what happens off the field is also important, I now feel the same way.

I had a chat with a longstanding fan a few weeks ago and he told me, very simply, that he was “not interested in the politics” and just wanted to enjoy the game. Years ago, I might have argued that actually that “politics” was nothing of the kind, just a desire to see the club run sustainably and to make it better. This time I didn’t. Banging your head against a brick wall is not all it is made out to be, except that it hurts the more you do it.

You may call me a cynic for suggesting that nothing can be done and you would be right because I still believe nothing can be done, unless you have plenty of excess energy to waste. Some things, Bruce Hornsby and the Range once put it, will never change. Well over a million quid of fans money and all you get is Ken Masters suggests I am not wrong.

Eclectic Blue

The working man’s game

No Comments 14 October 2017

Allow me, not for the first time, to recycle some old material about my feelings towards my club, Bristol Rovers. Don’t worry: it’s not an attack, I’m not pouring negativity over those who run the show and make the decisions. Been there, done that. No, it’s a plea from someone who is part of the lower paid riff-raff inhabiting the terraces.

In terms of finances, I am of little use to Bristol Rovers. Thanks to my work for the matchday programme, the award-winning Pirate, I don’t even need to purchase a ticket. As someone who is semi-retired, earning buttons from a part time job in the third sector, this is great news for me. I can contribute to the club’s coffers through purchasing alcohol (I am a generous contributor in this aspect of club-funding) and pies. However, I can see why the club leans more to its wealthier supporters for additional income. All well and good.

To that end, I didn’t attend either of the recent golf days, one organised by the ex players group and the other by the club itself. I would have loved to, but £100 for starters in the former event was way beyond my pay grade. Understandably, only the relatively affluent golfers attended. Fair enough and this is not a whinge. The same applied to the official golf day which is held, as much as anything, to make money and to encourage local businessmen to part with their cash. My pasty expenditure would not be sufficient to fund, say, a new loan signing. But is there anything that can be done for – how shall I put this? – working class supporters?

It is entirely understandable, for the reasons given above, that the club’s emphasis is on the better off. This is not Cuba, after all, and Bristol Rovers is a business. I do think that, certainly since the new owners came in, there has been attempt to make the club more inclusive. Certainly, the club appears to be more than willing to listen to ordinary supporters than it did previously. Perhaps the powers-that-be, all of whom will be infinitely more capable of coming up with ideas than me, can come up with some activities for the riff-raff, like me?

I am not asking for free stuff, just stuff that is relatively affordable to everyone. Years ago, friends of mine held evenings called ‘Vintage Gas’, whereby videos of old games were shown in the bar on an evening when there was nothing going on. We didn’t make large sums of money, but money was put behind the bar, as it was at the legendary Gas Idol night (with Geoff Dunford among the judges – great fun), the Bullseye night and the various quizzes we held. These things cost nothing to put together, we scrounged all the prizes, everyone had a lot of fun (I hope) and ordinary fans were able to mingle with the players who turned up, as well as various media personalities. (At the Bullseye night, Vitalijs Astafjevs, the captain of Latvia, played, at a skittles night, Nathan Ellington played alongside club legends like the great Denis Dunford and Ron Craig. Nights I will never forget.)

Perhaps it won’t be possible to have cheap golf days because, I know, the club cannot afford to hold events that actually lose money! However, we have a new commercial gaffer now, who appears to have a great record of innovation and inclusiveness. With his experience, drive and vision, perhaps there are things that can be done for everyone, not just the corporates in the boxes?

Ultimately, it is all about the football, I know. We come and go every two weeks and spend the rest of the time getting on with our lives. Football remains, at least at our level, a working class game. I’d like to see us regarded as much more than mere terrace fodder and, with a little imagination, greater minds than I – which means just about everyone – can make that happen.

Eclectic Blue

I blame Dave

No Comments 13 October 2017

I only wish we could turn the clock back. Thanks to the actions of one man, this country is becoming ugly, it is already divided and racism is becoming the norm and not the exception. Put to one side the word ‘Iraq’ and remember how much better this country was in the late 1990s and early to mid 2000s when Tony Blair’s New Labour was the majority party in the House of Commons. You may have disagreed with the policies of increasing NHS and spending on schools, reducing poverty, the introduction of the minimum wage and so much more, but you surely cannot argue that the times in which we now live are far, far worse. The man to blame is David Cameron.

This is not to re-run last year’s referendum on EU membership, although I would like it if we did. It is to heap a large bucket of shit over the man who called it in the first place, not to give people the vote on our future in or out of Europe, but to end once and forever the internal Tory party wars over the EU. That went well, didn’t it?

A referendum is a shocking way of doing democracy. That is why this country embraced parliamentary democracy, where we elect people to make decisions on our behalf. If we don’t like what they do, we don’t vote for them again. This is especially important with incredibly complex subjects like the EU. Last year, David Cameron offered a binary vote on the most complex of decisions imaginable, one which was condensed simply into remain in the EU or leave. The answer that came back was that we should leave. That was the moment when our problems began.

We have done the arguments to death. I firmly believe the country was lied to by shysters and liars like Nigel Farage, Boris Johnson and the like. But don’t take my word for it. Read the words of prominent Vote Leave director Dominic Cummings: “Pundits and MPs kept saying ‘why isn’t Leave arguing about the economy and living standards’. They did not realise that for millions of people, £350m/NHS was about the economy and living standards – that’s why it was so effective. It was clearly the most effective argument not only with the crucial swing fifth but with almost every demographic. Even with UKIP voters it was level-pegging with immigration. Would we have won without immigration? No. Would we have won without £350m/NHS? All our research and the close result strongly suggests No. Would we have won by spending our time talking about trade and the Single Market? No way.” So the reason I believe that the country was lied to is based on fact. The people who campaigned to leave the EU admit they lied to us. And that is a prime example of how referendums are simply wrong.

We know that many people wanted to leave the EU because of migration. How many of them realised that the end of free movement would have dramatic effects on their own ability to travel freely in Europe? I am sure some people voted to restrict the ability of these wretched foreigners coming over here, doing valuable work, paying taxes, attending our universities (at great financial benefit to this country) and perhaps even falling in love and moving in with a partner, but did they do the same to prevent their own children doing the same? Perhaps some of them did – I suppose if you hate foreigners that much, you might want to dramatically reduce the opportunities of your own children – but I am not convinced. Did people vote to leave to potentially wreck the ability of our businesses to trade with Europe, or devastate British farming? Well, enough farmers voted leave, so maybe they did. The turkeys will have their Christmas very soon.

A simple verdict on a complex decision will take up decades to come, during which many of those who voted to leave will depart their mortal coil. The whole thing will override everything. Theresa May’s pathetic, squabbling government will have time to do absolutely nothing else in this parliament and neither will which ever government succeeds them. That’s one of the biggest tragedies of all.

Cameron’s referendum was, like most referendums, was predicated on weakness. He wanted to see off, once and for all, his Europhobic headbangers on the backbenches and the advancing Ukip. He felt he could not see off his enemies through our parliamentary structures. The referendum would sort out everything. But it made it much worse. Now we have so many different groups of people wanting different things. An ultra hard Brexit on one side to no Brexit at all on the other and many people somewhere in the middle. Some want to stay in the single market and the customs union, others want to leave both, others like Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn want to leave both but have full access to both. Confused? You should be.

Is the EU like the Hotel California where “you can check out any time you like but you can never leave”? Well, not quite, despite my wishing it was. It was unlikely that, barring a majority right wing Tory majority, that there would have been a parliamentary majority to break away from Europe, which was probably why the headbangers wanted a referendum. Now we have to deal with the consequences and, ultimately, pick up the pieces. The final destination, wherever it is, will satisfy no one and it will take forever.

The electorate didn’t get it right or wrong over Brexit: they were offered a false prospectus and no indication of the final destination, with the government, never mind the people, completely in the dark as to what happens next. Many of us will have to put up with this fiasco for the rest of our lives and no one promised us that. But these are the consequences of being asked to make a simple decision on a million different issues. It’s democracy, but not as we know it and the truth is we have not taken back control. Rather the opposite.

This country is on the road to ruin thanks to David Cameron’s misjudged party politicking and we will all pay a huge price for it. This is all his fault.

Eclectic Blue

That Friday Morning Music Shuffle (13/10)

No Comments 13 October 2017

Yes, it’s safe to look away now. Friday 13 October and I’m in my little Man Cave watching the world go by. That’s a slight exaggeration because all I can see out of the window are dark, scudding clouds and leaves being blown from the trees. But you get the idea.

Anyway, welcome back my friends to the show that never ends. It’s the friday random iPod shuffle!

1. Patience by Take That. And we begin with a bit of Take That and what was effectively their comeback record, taken from the Beautiful World, easily their best album..

2. Double Bass by Gorillaz. Classic Damon stuff.

3. One Love Stand by Little Feat. From The Last Record Album from 1975. Wikipedia describes their style as “Southern rock, blues rock, roots rock, funk rock, jazz rock, boogie rock, country rock, jam rock, swamp rock.” Come on, it’s much more than that!

4. How Many Times by Toto. Love ’em or hate ’em, these are some of the greatest musicians on the planet and this belter is from their 35th anniversary tour album recorded Live in Poland.

5. Sunday Morning by Maroon 5. I still like them, especially Adam Levine’s castrato vocals, but they remain hamstrung by the fact that their best work was on their very first album Songs About Jane, from whence this beauty comes.

6. Soulful Old Man Sunshine (Songwriting excerpt) by the Beach Boys. From the staggeringly wonderful Endless harmony collection.

7. For the Love of You by the Isley Brothers. Ronald Isley has the most gorgeous voice, doesn’t he? And what a tune.

8. Run Daddy Run by the Fun Lovin’ Criminals. Huey and the boys from their excellent album Loco.

9. Excited by the Doobie Brothers. And I’m always excited by the Doobie Brothers, especially when they make records as good as this one. From their excellent Brotherhood LP.

10. Radio King Dom by the Beach Boys. The band’s triumphant return to form came with the brilliant Holland album, recorded in, well, the Netherlands, or Holland as some call it. With it came a special EP called Mount Vernon and Fairway (A Fairy Tale), all about a Magic Transistor Radio, written by Brian Wilson and narrated by Jack Rieley. Beautiful, actually,

That’s all, folks.

Eclectic Blue

Heart of stone

No Comments 12 October 2017

I feel sorry for someone who has committed a crime. I know I shouldn’t because what this someone did was so utterly unforgivable it can be no surprise he was sent to prison. Robert Loveridge, an undertaker from from Teignmouth, Devon, stole around £6000 in funeral charity donations.

“What have you been smoking?” you are entitled to ask me. “Feel sorry for a low life who attended funerals where grieving family and friends would still have the time to think about the suffering of others by arranging charity collections and then steals that money?” Yes, I do, actually.

I feel sorry for him because Mr Loveridge was born without a heart and without a soul. I don’t know about you, but I could never, no matter how bad my circumstances were, contemplate such a thing. I would go as far as to say that I know of no one would do such a thing just once, never mind to do it over a 10 year period.

Picture the scene: a funeral, with sad songs, some readings by the vicar plus tears, lots of tears. People in different shades of black experiencing some of the worst feelings it is possible to experience. Wiping away those tears, you dip into your wallet and put a few quid, maybe more, into the collection box. Perhaps a substantial sum would be collected and actually you’d feel very proud. And along comes Robert Loveridge.

I am not bothered as to whether this man had any excuses for doing what he did because whatever they are, they don’t wash. If one is in debt, there are ways and means to deal with it, other than to steal money from the bereaved. If one wants to buy that special object or have that special holiday, then either save up for it or just accept that for you in this lifetime it’s not going to happen.

I have tried to think through the actions involved. After the mourners had shuffled away from the service, chatting gently alongside the flowers spread out before them, some hugs and kisses, more tears. Meanwhile, one man is pocketing the proceeds. Speculate what happens next. Does he go to the bookies and have a bet? Does he go in the pub and have a drink? Does he put this money in his Post Office savings book? Whatever he does, he steals money from the bereaved.

In my youth, I removed a few items from shops, like sweets or in one exceptional circumstance a copy of Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Heart Club Band from a large store in Bristol. And I felt utterly consumed with guilt which, to this day, has never left me. I still cringe, as I did some 43 years ago. I almost feel like visiting the stores involved and offer to pay them back. Now if I felt so terrible about that, how on earth would I feel if I started nicking charity money? The answer is simple: I could not do it. Which brings me back to Robert Loveridge.

Everyone probably hates him now and I can see why. He did something that was morally so repugnant there is no way back from it, even if he manages to repay every penny he stole. It could be that he genuinely has no remorse for his callous acts in which case I really do feel sorry for him. He may have been financially more rich with that extra money but his soul must be poverty-stricken. He deserves nothing but pity, the saddest man in the world.

Eclectic Blue

A 10-year recession

No Comments 11 October 2017

“We are looking at a 10-year recession. Nothing ever experienced by those under 50. This is not the Brexit I was gunning for. I wanted a negotiated settlement to maintain the single market so that we did not have to become substantially poorer.” Who said that, then? Some bleeding heart lily-livered liberal remoaner, refusing to accept THE WILL OF THE PEOPLE? Or the biased left wing media, like the Express, Mail, Telegraph and Sun? No. These were the words of one of the chief Brexiteers, Pete North of the Leave Alliance. And even he is horrified by Theresa May and her bungling government who appear to be leading Britain off a cliff.

Mr North appears to express the views of someone who believes in a soft Brexit, with as little disruption to the country as possible. Yet even in the words he uses in his blog, he has acknowledged that leaving the EU will make us worse off. The key words here are “substantially poorer”, meaning a tacit acceptance that even if we stay in the single market, by leaving the EU we would be poorer. He does not define just how much poorer it would make us but his statement is clear. “The will of the people”, on the basis of Mr North’s comments were to make ourselves poorer and so, if we leave the single market as well, we will be ‘substantially poorer”.

I give the man credit for at least being honest and upfront, something which you could certainly not expect from your usual prominent Brexiteer. Shysters and liars like Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson (other shysters and liars are available) at no stage told us we would be worse off, even though they must have known we would be. In fact, the Brexit liar in chiefs promised us untold riches, not an economy that is already stalling and could eventually crash and burn.

Pete North, who is not to be confused with the Canadian adult entertainer of the same name, is nonetheless content to have the 10-year recession he anticipates, as well as to see the people of Britain becoming “substantially poorer”. He adds: “I prefer an uncertain future to the certainty I was looking at.” Yes, that stable, prosperous and certain future, trading freely the biggest single market in the world, the freedom to register EU migrants (even though we chose never to bother with that), in a country where our sovereignty was never threatened or undermined, able to enjoy the freedom to live, love, travel, study and work in any EU we wanted to.

The consequences of leaving the EU are coming down the track at increasing speed. Slowly but surely it is beginning to dawn on us that Brexit was not the walk in the park we were all promised, rather the precise opposite. Any kind of Brexit is bad news for Britain, as one of its prime movers now admits, it’s now just a question of how bad.

Eclectic Blue

World Mental Health Day

No Comments 10 October 2017

Firstly, an apology. After my miserabilist pound shop polemic yesterday, anticipating a zero media and public reaction to World Mental Health Day, I hold my hands up. Whilst it’s not exactly front page material – it is, after all, far more important to concentrate column inches to Jamie Redknapp’s marital situation, apparently – today’s big event is actually out there. Even the Sun runs a story on how someone called Chris Hughes, who appears on a telly show called Love Island, pretended to break down in tears to draw attention to the fact that some people break down in tears when they are mentally ill. Or something. I look on the bright side here because their previous mental health coverage has usually revolved around taking this piss out of celebrities with mental health conditions (“Bonkers (Frank) Bruno locked up”, also referring to the ex boxer as a “nut”). Actually, well done, Chris Hughes, whoever you are.

The newspapers have done quite well actually with their stories. Here are a few examples:

“How can I get involved today and what is the Workplace Pledge?” – The Sun.

“How to feel better in five simple steps!” – Daily Mirror.

“The charts that show that the UK is in the midst of a mental health awakening.” – Daily Telegraph.

“Asylum seekers give you cancer!” – Daily Mail.

“Kill all foreigners now and cut back on Cholesterol!” – Daily Express.

I look upon this day with a shrug of the shoulders “it’s better than nothing” point of view. It won’t change the world, it won’t see an extra penny spent on mental health services but it might do two things: it might encourage someone who thinks there is something wrong to visit their GP and for those who know someone with a mental issue or two some support. With regard to the latter, I was truly blessed to have a series of excellent managers in my final 20 years or so in the civil service who had the unusual idea of helping me manage my issues and so keep me in work. By design and not accident, for most of the time, I stayed in work and, I hope, contributed to the team. If I had been left to rot, to have my problems ignored and made worse, if I had been subject to bullying and abuse things might have turned out very differently. But good managers do good things. It is only when you don’t have good managers that you realise just how good they were.

The fact that even the gutter press is beginning to get the idea is encouraging. I am guessing that Rupert Murdoch’s lapdogs have calculated that a substantial number of its readers have mental health problems and that there is money in it for the Dirty Digger. My mental health, poor though it is, has not declined sufficiently for me to buy the Sun just yet. But seriously, to have moved from the vile headline about Frank Bruno to explaining how people can get involved is a big step. The next step from Murdoch’s oily organ will surely be to call for more public spending on mental health, especially since the Sun has campaigned so vociferously for major public spending cuts. And no, I couldn’t pass up the chance of slagging off the Sun even in a perfectly reasonable blog about mental health. Not sorry if you are offended.

Tomorrow it will all be forgotten. Something else will fill our TV screens – my guess is Brexit – and the newspapers can resume speculating about Jamie Redknapp’s private life. I say that because who knows how bad the Sky TV pundit might be feeling today. I am not saying he is suffering from any form of mental illness, but hey it is World Mental Health Day. Keep an eye on the lad to make sure he is not struggling. Be a good employer and stick with that Workplace Pledge, Murdoch.

I am not going to let World Mental Health Day pass by without celebrating, in my case with another bout of depression and anxiety. It would rather miss the point if my mood was good, wouldn’t it?

Eclectic Blue

One Day A Year

Comments Off on One Day A Year 09 October 2017

The excitement is beginning to build for the big day tomorrow, 10th October 2017. Trailed for, ooh, no time at all, it’s only World Mental Health Day!

I shall be celebrating in the time-honoured manner by being sick from work with depression and anxiety, which is a bit of a shame since I will undoubtedly be missing out on a wide range of activities that are surely going to happen. Or not, as the case will almost certainly be.

I do see the point of these occasions. World Mental Health Day, National Hemorrhoids Week, European Earwax Month – they all draw attention to certain conditions, even though I may have made up some of the events. Rarely do they penetrate the national debate, though, which will doubtless still be dominated by the news that Jamie Redknapp has separated from his wife. There might be an item later in News At Ten, just before the “and finally” bog snorkelling championship/three legged cat saved in house fire story. Most people will either be replenishing their wine glasses by this stage of the show. I know I will be.

My intention tomorrow, as I am not well enough to carry out my job, is to visit a branch of the MIND charity shops and purchase something, anything; hopefully a badge for The Big Day which no one will recognise or be interested enough to ask me what it’s for. If not, I’ll buy a second hand book or CD I don’t really want and hope that the proceeds end up with someone in a far worse state than I am.

I met with a number of medical folk last week, unaware that this major event was approaching. I don’t recall any of them mentioning it, but then I was preoccupied with trying to keep track of what they were saying and what I was saying in reply, none of which made sense. All of them asked the important question – which is “how are you?” and unlike with those little chats at work or meetings in the wine aisle at Asda, my reply wasn’t “Fine!” or any such similar outright lie. I said something along the lines that I am seeing the world through a thick fog, my words are getting slightly muddled concrete mixer, I am so tired I can’t sleep but when I do sleep my dreams are all anxiety nightmares so I wake up even more tired. I can’t see an NHS psychiatrist so I am muddling along, spending far too much time with people who don’t have the first idea how to treat a basket case like me. Things were, as Mark Lawrenson might say “most definitely” not fine. The GP was wonderfully sympathetic. “You are not fit for work.” I mumbled something in reply about not being fit for anything. I don’t whether she agreed with that, but I did.

So I am going to enjoy every second of the misery tomorrow is going to bring. I shall be up with the lark to revel in my hopelessness and inadequacies, to dwell on all the things I can’t do and have never achieved, I shall raise a glass to my inability to be good at anything and to thank my lucky stars I am still here, even though I am not too clear as to why.

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