Saturday, 14 February 2015


(Warning, this is a really rambling and pointless post - I have no idea where it's going, and I wrote it... so bear with me)

It's cold - but not 'that' cold - in fact, it's almost comfortable in here.

Busy few days, work, running around - meetings etc. Lots to think about and do. A client paid me for a job in cash - that's a first, and a colleague is trying to get me to set myself up as a limited company - I have an appointment with their accountant next week - I'm very much in two minds - still need to be convinced it will be better for me. I want to do some gardening today - it's been wet so the soil is like black, sticky tar - I'm trying to work up the enthusiasm.

Last night I assumed the dogs were in bed, but I'd accidently locked small dog out in the garden for 4 hours. She was really pissed off with me.

Big parts of this week have once again been spent 'thinking things through' and trying to wrestle some future for myself out of the black hole that is our economy - and by default - my closer colleagues and clients - but for some reason, I'm really, really chipper at the moment. I think it has something to do with increased daylight.

last night I finally got round to watching 'Pride' - last years' 'feel good' film about the interaction between the striking miners and an LGBT support group during the miners strike of 1984/5. It was a very good film, well made and surprisingly clever - in lots of ways - designed to appeal to the widest possible audience (In America - there are no references in the marketing to sexuality to maximise sales - and I can see the logic in that - as well as the cowardice, in fact, there is no sex at all - which in itself - is quite refreshing, sexuality and sex are two totally different things and not necessarily dependent on each other (trust me on that one).

But... at the same time - I found it rather disappointing. I honestly don't remember that much colour in the 1980's. Even the more muted tones in Wales made it look kaleidoscopic. Perhaps my memory just desaturates the past and makes it monotone - but there was too much colour everywhere for me. There was also nothing too 'hard'. I remember it being far grimmer, colder, harsher and crueller all round. The vicious, homophobic skinheads are far too cliched and good looking, and not even slightly scary - we don't actually get to see one of the main characters beaten half to death, even the queer-bashing is very family friendly - and everything seems so 'history lite' - which is probably intentional. Anything more accurate would be quite a turn-off and minimised the audience. I remember the miners strike as an appalling, oppressive black cloud over everything for months - I can still remember the news reports when they decided to close 20 pits and dispose of 20,000 jobs - this is in the wake of 2,000 000 manufacturing jobs vanishing since Thatcher came to power. There was a total silence in my house and the smell of real fear everwhere. You can argue that this was inevitable - the world was changing and we were no longer a manufacturing country - but I'd already seen my father strike for the best part of a year through British Steel and I knew exactly what it was like for my parents to exist on literally no money with absolutely no hope - just keeping everything going. The 'bad' characters were reduced down to cardboard cutouts - and at least one of them achieves some corny redemption, and the only really dark point is a tiny but chilling clip of Thatcher on a TV just talking about her 'style'.

They struggle to juggle the story of AIDS, that other dark cloud, and barely manage to make the point that there were two giant monsters looming over the story. Frankly - there was just too much fun, and it's not what I remember at all. Perhaps that's just me - only one tiny part caught my eye - right at the end, in the pub scene there is a young guy sitting on his own in a gay pub with a pint of lager - he looks about 18 (there is at least a reference to the age of consent being still 21) - he looks terrified and his hands are visibly shaking. Presumably designed to show it was the first time he's been in a place like that - and  it had more to say that almost anything else in the film. I'm 48, I was in my late teens and early 20's through this period - the spectre of AIDS has never really gone away and the malevolence of that time has left a stain me and on all my peers. Not so much the disease - I'd watched my father die of cancer and I had no fear of misconceptions about death - but the way people and society reacted and what they became still haunts me. I suppose it's made me who and what I am - regardless of wether I'm satisfied with that.

By coincidence I recently had to write a very long and detailed account of something that happened in the mid 90's for a solicitor pursuing a copyright infringement claim (that's a very vague description, too complex for anything deeper) - and I talked about how myself and my peers were products of the mid 80's when we had to take everything we could from around us, and make it new - literally salvaging from the past - and I still do that. I posted a picture from that period on here recently - two young men in Liverpool pushing a shopping trolley through an estate loaded with stolen pink flagstones to sell - it was just about survival, and I'm still fighting for it now.

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