Sunday, 3 November 2013


Up early - significantly colder and very windy. I had to double back on the long dog walk due to a fallen tree blocking the path. I have come to the conclusion I need new dog walking boots - these leak like a sieve - and wellies give me trench foot.

Additionally - I have come to the conclusion I need to buy socks and plain vests - dreary, unexciting first world problems - I know, but inevitable - everything I have is well past it's sell by. I spend too much time trying to match up wearable socks, and I have T Shirts older than my friends children.

I just listened to Will Self on the radio, and last week I read an article he had composed for the New Statesman - I used to like Will self, I like his writing and his voice - everything he does is beautifully crafted, musical, clever and very funny - but I've also come to the conclusion he's a sneering, bitter, miserable middle class snob. Like most columnists, he writes well paid, very short articles rather than books - but has to scrape about trying to find something to write about - and it's generally an opinionated rant about something very dull - I suppose that's why they call them columnists and opinion pieces, but there are too many of them with too little to say, and opinions are worth far less than challenges. Earlier - rather than describing something as a 'soup' of ideas - which would have made perfect sense - he said 'jus' - I had to grit my teeth.

Last night I watched the 2nd part of the Arena history of the National Theatre - I was surprised by how many of the significant productions I'd seen myself. They had a bit of Anthony Hopkins in Pravda - the film quality suggested it had been shot in the 1960's - I felt very, very old. There was also a bit of 'Cat on a Hot Tin Roof' with Lindsay Duncan and Ian Charleston, I loved the production - but it was marred the night I went because Lindsay Duncan managed to get her dress tucked into her knickers at the back during the interval and it was like that all the way through the 2nd act - the old dames next to me tittering all the way through. Later today I'm going to watch the event from last night on iPlayer - it's had very good reviews.

I've had to turn the radio off, there is a story about the man who was beaten and burnt to death by his neighours because they accused him of being a paedophile and it was too distressing to listen to. I was walking home from work the other day and a group of teenagers in school uniform, probably only about 13 years old, were play fighting - one of the girls called one of the boys a paedophile and kept shouting it at him from across the road - they were all laughing, like it didn't mean anything.

When in lived in Liverpool I got on very well with my neighbours, solid working class area with aspirations, nice houses, well maintained, lots of family connections - children growing up and buying houses on the same streets as their parents etc, and I really liked it until I bought a dog - suddenly, when you spend more time outside you see people differently. Very early one morning I came across the only black woman in the area scrubbing marker pen swastikas off her front door, and on another street, an elderly woman seemed to constantly be having work done to her house by a small building firm who were made up of people who all lived locally - none of the work needed doing, including a man who spent a week on a scaffold, using an angle grinder to destroy the close bonded brick facing on her house because it 'needed repointing'. It didn't.

There were a couple of trouble families who packed several generations into large, well maintained and very showy houses , nobody actually seemed to work - they were all 'faces' and dealers in 'something'. One day - a woman who I would see regularly, blonde, expensive sunglasses, very large fake breasts and the attitude of a pantomime villain, let her dog off the lead in the road (she was on her mobile - it was a white Chihuahua ) and it nearly went under a car - she screamed abuse at the driver, it then ran towards me and attached my greyhound - which would have been a comic scene if Alfie wasn't in a half body splint after just having had a major operation and blood transfusion - I told her off and pointed out that her dog was going to get run over and it would be all her own fault. She didn't like this and screamed abuse at me, in my face, and all the way down the street. People came out of their houses to watch and a couple of cars actually stopped. Unfortunatly - that's not the end of the story. Her boyfriend was a local drug Barron, and right from that moment my life went rapidly downhill. The police were OK about things and quite supportive - but after one incident where this girl screamed at me in the street that I was a paedophile - I could no longer get served in the local Tesco, and the police advised me to move house. It took 12 weeks to sell my house, worst 12 weeks of my life. I was in a very serious relationship at the time, and I never told my partner about it or let them come to the house during the day again, there was absolutly nothing I, or anyone else could do. That feeling of powerlessness has been with me ever since, and people wonder why I'm so cynical. One of the reasons I had to turn the radio off was the presentation style - typical, patronising, middle class. Jane Garvey with her 'like it could never happen here' voice. Yes, it bloody could.

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