I’m really sorry, but the account of Bessie’s murder given here is so factually wrong in so many places, even by the standards of the inadequate accounts given in local histories. Two brief instances. 1 – Mary Sheppard, Bess’ mother, came no further than the toll bar on the A60. That’s the Larch Farm garage where the toll bar used to be. She did not pass the murder site. She did not pass Rotherham, the supposed killer. He went to the Hutt pub and afterwards on to Nottingham. He did not go back toward Mansfield. I’ve written a book on the subject. I’ve researched it in depth. Your account just adds to the simplistic rubbish published about the crime.
“The quake in Java has claimed more lives…..warships are moving along the Bosphorus into…..the child who disappeared whilst cycling home after an after school play rehearsal….death rates from preventable diseases in the UK have risen again…..
…..and, in sport.”
I hear that tag many times daily on radio and TV and every time the words grate. It’s one of those chasms that are there to be negotiated in life, like Philip Schofield interviewing without a hint of derision a believer in guardian angels on This Morning or a politician trying feebly to delineate between his lies and those of the other lot.
The sports presenter, with a voice from within which you can detect the intense echo of career emptiness, with great and unpersuasive gravity tells us Rooney has successfully renogiated his weekly wage to £300,000. You breath a welcome sigh of relief followed by a dry heave.
How did this happen? How did this, so called, beautiful game acquire this apparent importance? What’s so beautiful about a herd of assorted thugs, homophobics, racists, overpaid and thick psychopaths kicking a ball?
No one talks about football for fear the conversation drag them into areas of language outside of the couple of dozen words they’ve memorised and had strung together for them in dreary monotones.
The glitterati of football, whom, I must add, it seems is de rigeur to despise yet not remotely necessary to remove, award a footie fiesta to one of the hottest countries in the world at the hottest time of year having received millions in bribes, not just from the victor but probably in vain from the losers too. Yet still football is held to be sacrosanct. No matter what the bosses or the players do, they are venerated. Even if they’re condemned, they’re still venerated. It’s the same treatment we gave the Catholic Church for centuries. No matter what the abhorrence…..Truly, it shares with the church it’s utter irrelevance.
But perhaps it’s just me. Maybe I just don’t ‘get’ it. Maybe football is the thing we can’t get through a news bulletin every fifteen minutes without being brought up to date with its latest trivialities. Maybe it’s fine, too, to have a huge swathe of the populace who can blather with authority about the minuscule variations in performance of the back four at Chelsea and still believe the president to be Barraco Barmer. Maybe that’s how it will all unravel.
Remember, when they blow the final whistle at death, you don’t just get to change ends.
I’ve got a problem, and the writing of this piece only serves to make it worse. You see, I have come to the conclusion, far too late in my sad and sorry life, that Mankind is shit.
Homo Sapiens – Man of Wisdom. The irony in those words alone juxtaposed with the experiences of us all are almost proof enough for my conclusion.
We are the superior (and I use the word simply for comic effect) species because we have developed the largest brains relative to our size. Or rather, they occurred through natural selection – were we to have ‘developed’ them ourselves then maybe be would have warranted the ‘superior’ epithet. But no, we were an accident, a controlled car crash. Much like Downton Abbey or Susanna Reid.
So, by accident, we run the show. At least we think we do. What we have, in fact, developed to an exquisitely high degree is our capacity for arrogance coupled with an innate ability to talk bullshit, accept bullshit (as a reasoned explanation for everything that isn’t otherwise perfectly adequately explained by science) and, wherever and whenever it is possible, act in a bullshit way to everyone else provided we gain from it. If there’s no apparent gain we’ll call it altruism and wait for Richard Dawkins to explain that even altruism’s about gain really.
And the Law of Faeces Bovinus decrees that the more bullshit in circulation, the greater the arrogance of the species.
How else could one explain the extraordinary desire of otherwise unremarkable people to rise to positions where bullshit defines every facet of their existence, and yet, at the very zenith of their careers they remain implacably defined by their irrelevance? How else can politicians be understood?
And yet, with this Olympian ability to personify failure and insignificance, the rest of Homo Sapiens (an anagram of ‘poison shame’) falls for this bullshit. Even votes on the differences in bullshit consistency. In return for this compliance we are granted the illusion of being involved, at least in the West. And therein lies the problem with this scribbling. We all believe we have a voice. But we don’t. We believe that only if we become involved will there be any change. But there won’t. And we know it.
We’re such a damaged species that we have constructed around ourselves so many infrastructures based upon nothing, and each infrastructure is dependent upon the rest of their infernal kind, that were we to dismiss one we simply transfer allegiance to another, equally unfounded.
Man has an inherent fear of being alone and a deep sense of his own inadequacy. If you doubt this, consider the rising apprehension when asked by your partner to turn the washer on. So we invented the laundry, mankind came up with a personal god, to each of whom it could mean anything.
But then the bullshitters got their sweaty little hands on the concept and, before you could say Hail Mary, you had golden robes, Lourdes, Mother Theresa and the Holocaust. And so many buy it, knowing it is BULLSHIT. But bullshit is safe, bullshit is warm, bullshit is infinitely malleable.
The only positive attribute it possesses is its capacity to sustain bacteria, and it’s there I pin my hopes for both mankind’s nemesis and his successor.
I was out walking the dogs in the sunshine this afternoon, for the first time in ages jacketless. I stopped at one point and looked around. It was beautiful. And none of it was down to us. How much better would it be were we to never have had a hand in its steering. If nature, red in tooth and claw, had run the show sans Homo Sapiens. There’d be more premature deaths, sure, but at least there’d be fewer mounds of bullshit bouquets at the site of each demise.
I’m not a fan of drama on any commercial channel. In fact, I’ll go as far as to say that, if I see drama billed on a commercial channel, I’ll like as not just ignore it no matter what the subject, no matter who it stars. The bugbear is the adverts. It’s not a new criticism, I admit, but has enough thought been given to an alternative? Bear with me. At this juncture, let me say that, fortunately, they usually make shit like Downton Abbey, so the problem solves itself. But now and again a Broadchurch comes along and you have to ask yourself, dare I chance my soul and tune in?
Now techno geeks will say, if you don’t want to watch it with the ads, watch it having edited/fast forwarded/online etc.. The thing is though, it’s the TV companies that are messing with me. It’s THEY that want me to watch their programmes. So why should I make the adjustment? They should be trying their utmost to accommodate me. But the very thing they need to make their programmes is the very thing I, and no doubt every other TV viewer in the world, DOESN’T WANT TO SEE!
So let’s see if we can get round this. Product placement is clearly the answer.
It’s become blindingly apparent of late in many Scandi dramas and even Netflix’ House of Cards, that Apple have a finger in most pies (‘scuse the implicit pun). Not an episode goes by where a laptop isn’t opened to display the familiar logo. So why not pursue this?
Can’t Lord Grantham chat about his upcoming Grand Tour, mentioning that Mr Cook, Thomas that is, will be accompanying him this year? Or Midsomer Murders could concern a poisoning fiendishly orchestrated over Sunday lunch simply because Cook had not observed that the gravy (cut to box of Bisto) had not been that normally used. Why, even in Mr Selfridge…..hang on. Just why are there ads in that?
The floods are bad for many people. Many have suffered fear and loss arbitrarily and, to anyone in that position, I hope you’re okay again as soon as possible. That’s a given. What bothers me more is our reaction to the floods as a country, and, when I say country, I really mean a random rag-bag collection of media outlets.
I won’t mention the difference in the degree of coverage afforded to the current flooding down south and that of a few years ago in the north. I won’t mention it because that attitude is what lies precisely at the heart of the problem. Check out the media reports and, objectively, try to work out what appears to have happened here based upon the volume 11 hype and hysterical rants and compare that to what has actually happened.
I watched the BBC this morning after yesterday’s storm. There’s currently a reporter in just about every town that lay within the footprint of the wind’s progress. I heard reports, live to camera, saying such things as,
“I don’t know if you can see behind me but there are tiles missing from the station’s roof,” and, at a different location,
“You can’t see from here but a section of roof was ripped off and hit power lines.”
Behind him life continued quite normally.
What I’m saying is, are you surprised we’ve become Little Britain? Does anyone really think we are a nation still to be reckoned with in this world? Why do we persist with this inflated view of ourselves internationally? We are an insignificant backwater served by media that is inordinately lazy and, wherever possible opts for the parochial low ground (no pun intended). Whenever, WHENEVER, anything happens in Little Britain, all else disappears from the airwaves and the right wing, reactionary phone-ins like those on 5 Live are cranked into gear.
200 odd folk may die daily in Syria but we’ll not know ‘cos the roof’s blown off some MP’s chicken coop in Bishop Stortford. I’ve checked the New York Times this morning. Guess what? The weather in Britain gets no mention. Check the Mail. If they could print on blotting paper they would.
We are a tiny country because we have that tiny mentality now. It’s the mentality that turns tits like Nigel Farage into national figures. It’s the mentality that decrees that killing deer and boars (provided you crack on to be a conservationist and have blue blood) is fine. It’s the mentality that let the BNP thrive in the wake of the National Front following the demise of the Mosleyites.
We’re a tiny nation of self-important navel-gazers who won’t, not don’t, realise that life here, all in all, is cushy and it’s shit everywhere else. So, if you’re not knee deep in poisonous water at the moment, stop moaning. And if you work for the media, look up. There’s important stuff happening. It’s still possible to stand tall even when Britain’s little.
Thank you and good day.