Saturday, 12 June 2010


As a lad of ten or so, I used to help out on a farm on the borders of Hertfordshire and Essex. My father had bought it at the outset of the '39-'45 war; he had served in the First World War and knew the value of one's own food supply. He did not work the farm - it was let out - but it was a veritable heaven for an only child. I was allowed to do things that would drive the modern day health & safety fascists right up the wall. I was carrying and using a shotgun to bowl over rabbits. Riding the farm shire horses working alone in the fields. Moving cattle and even working with the farm bull. All of these activities brought me close to the world of nature where my main interest outside the newt season and inflating frogs till they burst, was the birds.
The main avian population was crows. Or were they rooks? I was told that if there was one rook, it was in fact a crow. Many crows together were most likely rooks. Close-up identification was easy. We had magpies and I knew by heart the superstitions about their gatherings. Even today I still mutter Good Morning to any two-tone crow to commiserate with it's loss.
I lost much of my birdy contact when I went into the Army. It was never a hobby or even a real interest; just being aware of what was going on around me in those pre-teen years. However, crows came back when we moved to Scotland. The idea about many crows being rooks had to be revised - there are some trees where one will regularly see a hover of crows totalling 50 or more birds. I wonder if the sheer numbers are due to the fact that crows are not shot? Whilst I used to be a keen eater of blackbird pie where the breasts of crows were mixed with the breast of pigeons, I doubt I would say a loud thank you now!
My home is in the middle of the village and we have communities of blackbirds all around us - close in. I've not recognised any rooks but in addition to the ubiquitous crow we get thrushes,starlings and even an occasional jackdaw. In the worst depths of the winter just past I started feeding the local birds - payback time I suppose. I live in a flat above a retail premises and their flat roof is directly level with my kitchen windows so yesterday's bread is easily disposed off. If I have been near a garden centre or such, the bread is supplemented by fat balls and mealy worms. Occasionally, seeds and special feed nuts get added.I suspect that the word has gone round the avian world that I am a soft touch as I recognise regular visitors to my CrowFam relief work. The only unwelcome would-be guests seem to be gulls occasionally swept inland by bad weather at sea. We have seen some aerial dog-fights as they are driven off - with prejudice as the CIA might say. I enjoy being able to watch crow family behaviour up close.
There is a ritual. One bird - mainly a male but not always will perch up overlooking the food on the roof. He has a bit of a shout and mum comes in and does a close fly-by to suss out any danger. She lands and is soon joined by her mate. Other birds will join them and this free for all seems to be tolerated with all accepted - saving the gulls. We have just seen the first youngsters. They follow on close to either Dad at his observation perch or Mum when she lands. They used to hop about in front of a parent with open beaks and were duly fed. This waiter service period did not last and they soon learned to peck away on their own benefit. Other blackbird parents seemed to tolerate teenagers - unlike the local park swans who seem to go out of their way to attacks the goslings of others.
Another thing I like is the way the crows move about in flocks. Geese are straight line V shape disciplinarians and starlings are magic in their feng-shui co-ordination. Crows? Bloody nightmare. Like a class of primary school kids when the final bell goes. They climb and dive, spin around in their own length, all do their own thing. I marvel they do not collide more often. I read that each bird positions itself with reference to six others but how the hell do they decide - or monitor - which six birds these should be? They're silly, happy, loud and messy. I love that and I love the way they make flying look fun. Not beautiful or graceful, but just wild zip and zoom dodge and dive enjoyment.
The ones that come to my roof-top bird table are relaxing but the aerial ballet shows out in the wider open space are exciting - so much so that I sometimes park up the car and just sit and observe. Doubtless, one day I'll be asked what I am doing at the edge of woodland with powerful binoculars in hand. I'll just have to respond with a selection of the answers I heard when asking such questions was part of my life. Maybe better to just explain that watching birds is what retirement is really all about?
I'm told that we are starting to get a significant population of ravens here in Scotland. Now - one of them on my food hand out would be a real treat.

Friday, 11 June 2010

The record is stuck

I am not a soft-eyed romantic who thinks that there is very much difference between one political party and another. The only differences lie in the areas of the population who give them support and denigrate all others. Running a country requires quite a bit of duck and dive, compromise and occasional dirty tricks.
If you take my attitude on board, you may appreciate how pissed off I am with the current iteration of Prime Minister.
So much of what he was alleged to have said and what he was seen and heard to say sounded so politically naïve that I thought he genuinely did not know which way was up. His Jolly Good Show Chaps performance during the wheeling and dealing that led to the coalition was Billy Bunter after WeightWatchers.
Sadly, he is now revealing himself as little better than the last PM and is well on the way to the examples of the snake-oil seller supremo Blair.
He appeared in Afghanistan yesterday and this effort could well go down as the first time his cloak of invisibility slipped and we saw he had no new clothes. Everything he said was with a motive - to keep the poor bloody infantry on side so they will further declare what an essential and valued job they are doing in the country. Oh - and make sure you write home to Mum and your Doris with the same message; that 77% opposition is a worry when we preach democracy and fair government. He said that the Government will "rewrite and republish" the Military Covenant setting out the country's obligations to its fighting men and women. Just what needs to be re-written? This is just an opening for the team back at the Officers' Mess to introduce their skills of deception and deceit. His next fly was an increase in the overseas allowance - back dated no less. Contrast this with the forecast cuts for those bloody civilians that will have single mums fighting with pensioners for scraps out of the waste bins at the Ritz Hotel. The amount this will cost will be regarded as well spent if it contributes to keeping the soldiers on message about that wonderful world that is Afghanistan. I wait for the first reports of a widow denied any back-pay because her husband was blown into small meaty bits on 6 May. Then came total Bread & Circus tactics with a reference to the football. A message from Capello who allegedly said
"It's important you know how much all your effort means to the England players. We want you to know that you are the real heroes." In the midst of all his problems, he sat right down and wrote a unsolicited message to Dave who, he knew, would be seeing the lads.
The PMs appreciation of the risks facing the new millionaires was demonstrated when his helicopter was - or maybe was not - targeted by a couple of terrorists getting the most out of their unlimited O2 tariff with a bit of chat. Diversions to a safe area, nice little bit of down and dirty with the chaps at a BBQ and then off to a nice kip. Contrast that to a squaddie's life of go where you are bloody well told, on foot, along a route regularly followed where the terrorists plant IED.
Sky News political correspondent Niall Paterson said the Prime Minister was keen to strengthen communication lines. "I think (Mr Cameron) recognises the fact that for quite some time, the British public have been confused as to exactly what has been happening here on the ground," he said. Mr Cameron confirmed an extra £67m will be spent on helping troops tackle roadside bombs, while doubling the size of their teams on the ground. It will also fund new vehicles, including seven Mastiff armoured patrol vehicles. Additional aid will assist the build-up of the Afghan army, police and civil service, he announced." The doubling of EOD personnel may be in doubt according to other media reports "But the PM said there were NO plans to send any more British forces to join our 9,500-strong contingent." And what is this about the build-up of Afghan resources? More to recruit and train? A report from the UK Government shows just what a dog's dinner training really is.
Then, next morning, more bonding with the troops and a jolly morning run. Cannot have been easy for him running alongside blokes who do it for real at risk of life and limb with 50 or 60 kilo of kit on their backs.
Then off to see arch-villain Karzai and more inspirational words "Speaking at a news conference with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, the PM said: "Our publics want to see real, noticeable and marked progress this year and next" (Oh, so he does know about that 77% then) "We should all the time be asking, 'Can we go further? Can we go faster? Nobody wants British troops to be in Afghanistan a moment longer than is necessary." Why can we not determine what is necessary. The adage about stop digging if in a hole is very apposite. We are not really winning anything - even if we knew what constituted a win. In many places our presence is making things worse. Would the Taliban have executed a 7 year old kid by public hanging if we were not nearby his village? ("Taliban militants have executed a seven-year-old boy they accused of being a spy. The child was abducted from his home and taken to a neighbouring village where he was put on trial. His captors found him guilty of working for the government. The child was then hanged in public in the village of Heratiyan, in the southern Sangin district of Helmand province.")
Why flog the dead horse of training? Tribal leaders will have little faith in a nationally recruited force not made up of their own tribe - even if the endemic corruption were overcome. If we dig much deeper we will form a hole that no one will ever get out of.
This dynamic, all action, all promising PM then seemed to get off message. The question posed was "What can Cameron do about Obama's war against BP?" "answer came quite clear "Very little is my immediate answer. The President's approval ratings are biting the dust. Powerless to stem the tide of oil and unpopularity, Obama can only victimise a 'foreign' oil company. Obama may be embattled at home, but if any doubt the US President's ability to influence global events, they need only look at BP's share value and the pension funds derived thereof. BP is mired in an expensive oil disaster, but the President's rhetoric about the 'habitual environmental criminal' and threatening BP with criminal proceedings demolishes market confidence. If the British government had condemned AIG, Goldman Sachs and Merrill Lynch in similar tones, the US administration would have retorted. Cameron can do nothing. He cannot alter the President's strategy – Obama has no alternative. There is a further, unanswerable truth: Obama wouldn't listen to the British government in any case. Ben Brogan has written a stirring defence of Cameron, Obama and the special relationship. He admits that Cameron and Obama have only spoken once as leaders of their respective countries - on the evening of Cameron's accession. Brogan concedes that 'some might voice surprise that Mr Cameron, who has made national security his first priority, has not felt a need to call our closest military ally.' But equally, why hasn't Obama rung his closest military ally? I am sceptical that Britain's relationship with America has ever been special; but relations with the Obama administration have been decidedly frosty. Obama has other (more realistic) global priorities; but, as I've argued before, the President's anti-British tenor is starting to grate. Cameron can't influence the US, but he can urge BP to defend itself. Obama's bluster overlooks the involvement of US oil company TransOcean in this disaster. Liability remains undetermined. BP is still worth £64bn this morning: that can buy a lot of legal muscle." And answer came there clear - Very little is my immediate answer. The President's approval ratings are biting the dust. Powerless to stem the tide of oil and unpopularity, Obama can only victimise a 'foreign' oil company.
Obama may be embattled at home, but if any doubt the US President's ability to influence global events, they need only look at BP's share value and the pension funds derived thereof. BP is mired in an expensive oil disaster, but the President's rhetoric about the 'habitual environmental criminal' and threatening BP with criminal proceedings demolishes market confidence. If the British government had condemned AIG, Goldman Sachs and Merrill Lynch in similar tones, the US administration would have retorted.
Cameron can do nothing. He cannot alter the President's strategy – Obama has no alternative. There is a further, unanswerable truth: Obama wouldn't listen to the British government in any case. Ben Brogan has written a stirring defence of Cameron, Obama and the special relationship. He admits that Cameron and Obama have only spoken once as leaders of their respective countries - on the evening of Cameron's accession. Brogan concedes that 'some might voice surprise that Mr Cameron, who has made national security his first priority, has not felt a need to call our closest military ally.' But equally, why hasn't Obama rung his closest military ally?
I am sceptical that Britain's relationship with America has ever been special; but relations with the Obama administration have been decidedly frosty. Obama has other (more realistic) global priorities; but, as I've argued before, the President's anti-British tenor is starting to grate. Cameron can't influence the US, but he can urge BP to defend itself. Obama's bluster overlooks the involvement of US oil company TransOcean in this disaster. Liability remains undetermined. BP is still worth £64bn this morning: that can buy a lot of legal muscle."
I have repeated the link here in full - there are those wh do not 'do' links. Note though the repeated reference to military alliance. Maybe Cameron's options are limited but it might help were he to put a telephone call in and say that is the US keeps hammering we might have to withdraw from his loopy war. At least he could demonstrate some of that Henry V before Agincourt spirit he was trying to depict in Afghanistan.

Thursday, 10 June 2010


Gin was my preferred route to mellowness. With the right sort of full strength of tonic and lots of ice. No lemon because a distiller expert had told me that it was the oils in the skin that led to troubles in the morning after. Gin did everything for me. Well - almost. Back in pre-Viagra days I got the same results from drinking champagne to excess.
Over the past couple of years I have discovered that gin - even in medium quantities - does nothing but make me very sad and melancholy. So - that has to be the end of that. Any requirement for champagne lapsed some while back. Suppose that becoming a no alcohol sort of person is all to the good but I do miss that bit between not quite enough and just a bit too much when all was peace and light and the world was a worthwhile sort of place.

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

What an Officers' Mess!

The Times newspaper has done the Nation a great service in reporting just what a total cock-up the entry into conflict in Afghanistan really was. In just a short time and with a relatively small team they found conclusive proof that there was deep disquiet over the handling of the mission from the start.

Top ranks within the Ministry of Defence and other Whitehall departments are accused of:
* grossly underestimating the threat from the Taleban;
* ignoring warnings that planned troop numbers were inadequate;
* offering only the military advice they thought ministers wanted to hear;
* signing off on a confused command- and-control structure.
Major-General Andrew Mackay, a former commander of British troops in the province who has left the Army, accused the military of being too acquiescent in rolling over to political bidding. “The genesis of this approach is born of complacency, the thought that ‘we can deal with it as and when it happens’. It resulted, I believe, in the upper echelons of government going into Helmand with their eyes shut and their fingers crossed. For those who fought and died or suffered injuries in that period, this proved a very costly means of conducting counterinsurgency.”

The allegations come as a critical defence review gets under way and David Cameron decides how to plot the way ahead in Afghanistan’s most dangerous province.
We cannot know whether the same attitudes exist amongst the suited and uniformed commanders; the Governmental pronouncements as to their future plans for Afghanistan do not seem to fit within the perception that we are a long way from a satisfactory outcome after eight years of universal death, maiming and destruction.

Ministers may be afraid of being accused that our sacrifices were a waste were we to withdraw without some trophy to wave. The senior military men are of the warrior breed - "It is sweet and fitting to die for one's country" - for those without the Latin. Why risk one's career by going against the wishes of devious and vindictive politicians misled or deliberately mis-briefed by their 'advisers' whose nearest experience of warfare is to hear an immigrant fart.

So, where is Cameron going to get the advice and input to his review? In short - he isn't. But then, he does not need fresh material - we are still in the situation where 77% say we are there under false pretences. How does that match up with the 37% of the vote he gained so recently? If he can finesse a coalition out of the worst Tory result in years, why cannot he see that democracy has spoken?

Just one little tit-bit of a question. We currently have the Chilcot Inquiry pussy-footing about for nigh on a year looking at what went wrong in Iraq. Lord knows what we will have to pay for it - damned sight more than 12 weeks from the Times.

Chilcot has established that we were lied to and misled but retribution will not come. I really do not care about blame or punishment of the Afghanistan up-cockers; what we must have is the acceptance that we went there in error, we never should have become involved and we are doing no good there now.

Acceptance of that would allow us to withdraw. The shame of it all is that the poor bastards who are suffering the most are the ones with absolutely no say. If 'twere left to them - how many would deem it dulce et docorum?

Monday, 7 June 2010

Where to Guv?

Spiegel has a good piece of analysis of the Israeli action regarding the flotilla.Israel has always walked a narrow line on what is right and proper but seems to have exposed themselves unnecessarily on this occasion. It may just be that this time their "victims" have a well practised history of representing themselves as pure as driven snow or that a closely timed sequence of actions is just that bit too much for the International world to swallow.
They may have misjudged POTUS reaction at a time when America is looking to re-build fences in the Muslim world.
The only bit of good news for them was the successful halting of the much smaller sanction-busting ship. This was done with no violence on either side and is an example of how things might have played out on the bigger and earlier fleet. IDF showed us how to deal with hostages at Entebbe and their reactions to suicide bombers was adopted - maybe a little too emphatically - by our own Metropolitan police. The less than outright condemnation of what happened there might be regarded as a test of the legality of Israeli procedures. It was the manner in which these had been carried out that drew adverse criticism.
It must now be manifest that there be some sort of inquiry. Having found a way of drawing fire upon Israel, Hamas will not back off and Israel would condemn themselves if repeat flotillas were not intercepted.
Even before we got to the nitty gritty of evidence, there would be a massive hill to climb. Who would host it? The security at G20 ran near to a billion dollars and any flotilla tribunal will last much longer than that G20.Then would come discovery when the Gaza counsel will be looking to get the evidence seized by Israel on board the ship where violence took place. World wide search for witnesses and the recording of depositions could swallow up a further year with all the opportunity for Hamas to create fresh incidents to keep the pot boiling.
And who can give any assurance that Israel would attend? Any suggestion of a trial in their absence would undermine the whole process and devalue any finding. How on earth would the Inquiry team be nominated - with the almost universal condemnation of the operation in the face of little hard and proven evidence, how can bias be eliminated?
The technical areas alone would be horrendous. Even if the IDF were prepared to go into their procedures in open session, who is there to evaluate and make proficient comment on these matters. If one were to go for senior officers in the world of anti-terrorism, they would be conscious of aligning themselves with an already-convicted organisation. My money would go on someone of the likes of McNab or Ryan - senior NCOs who know what is what and have the status to be listened to. America has some extremely capable personnel in both the planning and operational arena but no chance of overcoming allegations of bias.
And the outcome of all this would be? The adherents of the Palestinian side are most unlikely to see anything in a fresh light. For Israel to accept fault would be for them to be barred from almost any counter-terrorism action "You were wrong with the flotilla in 2010 and you are wrong again" would be a ready made IED.
In practical terms, any Inquiry would merely be an opportunity for the venting of bile. The MSM is a better stage for that as we are now seeing.
Surely, a better use for all that money and energy would be to aim at a settlement of the Palestine/Israel dispute, There have been a number of agreements that came close to starting that process but all disintegrated with allegations of breaches and evasions of the agreed text. It might - just - be possible to have any resolutions negotiated in full view and exhaustive clauses, terms and conditions amplified such that sabotage was impossible. Neighbouring countries would have to commit - equally clearly and without escape - as to what they would, and, more importantly would not, do. On the face of it, a job for the UN. Equally clear, one beyond their ability. The Cyprus situation is far less serious than Palestine but all we see is a lot of blue berets apparently keeping the Greeks and Turks apart and no move towards resolving whatever it was that led them to armed confrontation in the first place.

His name not associated with Respect

There is a considerable amount of news in The News. Not much that is good and quite a bit that saddens, concerns and worries. Fitting well into this category is
"George Galloway, speaking to a crowd of around 20,000 protesting outside the Israeli embassy in London, revealed the latest plan to bring about the end of the siege on Gaza. Two simultaneous convoys – one by land the other by sea – will set forth on SUNDAY 12 SEPTEMBER bound for Gaza. Viva Palestina, the International Committee to break the Siege on Gaza and any allies who will join us will organize the two convoys.
The land convoy will leave from London and travel across Europe to Turkey, Syria and ultimately through the Rafah Gate into Gaza. Cooperation will be offered and sought with all relevant governments and agencies. It is expected the convoy will pick up vehicles and volunteers in each country through which it passes. The target is to enter Gaza with 500 vehicles.
The sea convoy will travel around the Mediterranean gathering ships, cargo, volunteers from each country. The target is to enter Gaza with 60 ships.
The aim will be to arrive on Gaza's frontiers at the same time. And to enter with the world's largest ever aid convoys. And to thereby render the siege null and void."
I hope the inclusion of 'target' and 'aim' are merely slips and not a signal of the agenda and intentions of the convoys. Convoy itself can be an emotive word when viewed in the context of '39-'45?
Galloway has a bit of a chequered history when it comes to good works. He reacts quite fiercely to the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune. He does seem to have the facility for his works to appear a little bit at the edge. Then there was the oil benefits he may have gained when he was able to pronounce the word indefatigability in praise of a mass-murdering tyrant. He had a chance to fly his flag in politics but did not do enough to convince the electorate to nominate him as other than third rate. He has taken on the role as Relief Admiral and it will be interesting to see just what controversy will follow in the wake of his fleet of little ships; will he meet his Water loo or do a Done kirk?

Robbing Peter and Paul - maybe even Mary.

The British way of life will have to change, David Cameron will warn today as he readies the country for the biggest cuts in government spending since the Second World War.
Using some of his strongest language yet, the Prime Minister will give warning that the cuts will affect every person in the country and the effects will last for decades to come.
Clegg, the Able to Dave's Cain has said that the cuts will only be implemented by public support - "The Liberal Democrat leader will use a speech to the Institute for Public Policy Research to argue that a new government could be ''torn to pieces'' if it tries to ''ram through'' spending cuts without wider public consent.
According to advance extracts of the speech, he will argue that the scale of the cuts needed to tackle the deficit is so great, it will be essential to engage the public in the process. His agenda for electoral reform is obviously set to include turkeys voting for Christmas. This public involvement is a bit of a red herring. The PM will be advised by his Department for Two Faced Conduct that by voting Tory on something tucked away on page 32 of an incredibly boring Manifest that we have given carte blanch to pain and suffering.
I foresee that this makee-learnee Government will come to be seen as being to fiscal policy what BP is to the environment. We are looking to increase the take from taxes and to reduce the spend by Government. Business will b looking for concessions and pump-priming but the likelihood is that the State employees who process such matters will have gone in the name of efficiency. Increasing the unemployed total will kill tax income from them and load benefits - even if the system is improved. And who will organise the review and check the outcomes? "Sorry Minister - we made him redundant last month"
This "cuts will affect every person in the country" is another falsehood. We have about a million ghosts in the machine - people here totally without authority or reliable record. The scale of this problem was illustrated in a TV report last night on the work of the Border Agency and Immigration staff. The likelihood of detection is so high that quite impressive results come from hanging about outside rail stations. Anyone who gets the hots on seeing them is asked the brutally frank question "Are you entitled to be in this country?" It works. A raid on a farm found 17 illegals in a work force of twenty; a fair number cheerfully admitted they came into the UK seated on the rear axle of a HGV. We were informed that most of the 17 had been released from custody whilst their deportations were checked and organised. Guess what - they had disappeared back into the dark brown economy. An example where slavish acceptance of procedures designed for far more serious offences defeated good work by others. Money spent without good and positive results. Money wasted. This situation ascertained from a brief torch light shone into a dark corner and is not a Nation-wide procedure. I will only willingly accept my forthcoming burden when I see positive signs that everyone physically here pays for that privilege. Pigs are being fitted with flying helmets as I write.
Doubtless, that level of engagement will require additional staff over and above current levels. More people will be needed to check that I pay my share and am not drawing down from the bank account set up with a dodgy identity in Bahrain when I was rich(er). So - not so much a saving in Government salaries as a cost for re-location and training.
Regeneration of, and increasing the contribution of the private sector, will entail planning consents and controls. Whilst Prescott's vision of building multi-storey car parks in the middle of Emmerdale has been dropped, work spaces will ned to be built. But, what is that cloud on the horizon? "The Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE) notes that one of the biggest challenges for the planning system is how to cope with the big increase in the number of residential applications that are coming forward to meet the commitment to build 3 million new homes by 2020. Managing proposals to ensure that what gets built makes a positive contribution to the local area, in accordance with national policies, requires a big increase in the skills capacity of planning departments."
And all the while, remember, errors exist to blame others. We have heard Boy Dave (ed note - now he is PM, perhaps we should call him Boss Dave?)say he had no idea how bad was the economical situation that he inherited. This is of course par the course when it comes to new Governments. It does not say much for the abilities of his research staff that they could not do their sums or pay of the whistle-blowers but it means that much of the Manifesto is based upon false premise. These far reaching changes, every person, lasting decades stuff - are these plans based upon the wrong information or a situation that a less than efficient section has cobbled together from tea leaves and crystal balls in a very short period of time? Do the new cabinet meetings really look like this?

Sunday, 6 June 2010

So, why the change?

Between 1952 and 68,I spent many years in Muslim countries; the Middle East and Malaya. They were years of peace and fond memories. I picked up the language quite easily through early days in Egypt where I spent hours gossiping with locals. A little hashish on the coals of the hubble-bubble went a long way. My work brought me into contact with police officers and the Masonic-style of police relations helped there. In '66, I was in Bahrain and circumstances brought me into contact with Sheikh Isa, the then Ruler and I counted him as a friend. So, "If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue, Or walk with Kings - nor lose the common touch," obviously applied to me. In Port Said, we had a problem with young officers getting into trouble with giving rubber cheques to the main nightclub and risking their commissions and I was given authority to act as intermediary in dealing with such problems. The sums charged were often, in night club style, inflated and I could haggle with the club management to get reductions so I had good knowledge of the venality of some Egyptians. I also stood over the bodies of soldiers killed by the extremists there so it was not all blind friendship. I even got along with the Libyan Secret Police - though without the hashish!
There must have been some maggot in the apple given to me by any number of Fatima Eves. As things are now - especially in all the buzzing following upon the flotilla - I find it hard to have either sympathy or respect for the majority Muslim view. I do not know why I have changed my point of view.
Shame really as I truly enjoyed the life I used to lead.

Depression revisited

I seem to have something that has driven me to YouTube stuff. This lady also came to me via Spotify (no - I am not on commission!) at the same time as Karen Elson. I listened and remembered the song but what I got from her rendition was sadness. And recognition. I heard the sirens call of depression.

The wonders of t'Net led me to a page telling more of her life. It is not pretty. "Ricky Martin, Cher), then hitting rock bottom & being diagnosed with depression, Myers is finally making an admirable comeback as an indie artist who with the help of the internet's Social Media Networks (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) is using her music & public image as a platform for spreading information and raising awareness about a cause and pressingly urgent issue that is close to home for the singer: Depression." I suppose her LGBT connection is ironic (is that the word I want?) in light of my penultimate post earlier today. Mind you, she is not short of events that must have formed the adult in her.
- Beyond the success Myers is now enjoying on the road back up on the charts, it is really the behind the scene story that merits a closer look at – her numerous personal as well as professional victories have undeniably positioned her as a powerful creative voice to be reckoned with:
- She was abandoned by her mother at age four who dropped her off at an orphanage.
- Her father wanting her to have a better life requested that she lived in a Caucasian foster home. Unfortunately for Billie she suffered through seven years of emotional abuse until her stepmother took her back to live with her and Billie’s real father.
- Battled all her life against racism as well as reverse discrimination constantly being rejected for being the product of mixed race (coming from an English mother and Jamaican father).
- Shot to international fame then brutally fell into anonymity. Hit rock-bottom financially, professionally and personally – had it all and lost it all!
- Nearly on the brink of suicide, bravely survived the harrowing web of depression;
- And now comes back to the music scene successfully battling against the Goliath of corporate record label moguls.
A true success story, Myers is undeniably emerging as one of the most inspirational music heroines and humanitarian of our times!

The most dangerous constituent of depression is the concept that ones life is over. There is no escape or help in this world - maybe another one would be better? Well, that does not have to be the bogey man in the dark corner of our mind any more. This is aimed at all the depressives who may read me. If you are not depressive - pass it on to someone who is. There are a hell of us around and maybe, just maybe, this could help.


Spotify delivered this singer to me last night. Since then, this vid has been running through my monitor many many times. Even the sound on minimise whilst I do other things is great.
I was a fan of the weird and wonderful Dory Previn and Karen is a flashback to those collections of sounds that seemed not to lead anywhere but were so very pleasing in themselves.
Offered for your delectation as a break from all the nonsense in the world right now. There is more on Spotify - damned fine resource by the way. I have two playlists that I got for free; don't know how much my 16 days of iTunes cost me!

Would you want yor daughter to ....

Much twittering in the dove kots and fashionable quarters of Radio 4 about the saga of the Greencoat Boy pub which barred the Labour LGBT group from a planned evening of admiring tattoos, butch tashes and general oohing and aahing after a meeting. This, of course, was quite illegal and will be a re-run of the Two Boys I A Bed thing about the bed and breakfast.
Just reading so far, my thoughts about the general practice of same-sex sodomy may be plain. Not as prejudicial as they may appear prima-facie. I realise that there are people who are wired that way and there is no 3rd Reich solution to that. My past profession brought me into contact with many, who at that time and place risked criminal records and detention where their lives would have been very hard to bear. I do not have a prejudice. All I have is a wish - is desire a stronger word than wish? - that they stay away from me and mine. I practice a form of reverse apartheid and it works.
Reverse apartheid is where I accept that I cannot keep a certain class or type of personality away from me. The law forbids it. So, I aim to keep myself away from them.
There are gay bars all over the world. They were established to meet a need and I am sure they get their share of the Pink Pound. As Rick said, "Of all the gin joints, in all the towns, in all the world ..." the Gay community is now demanding that they can - in my mind - intrude into a retreat I would like to think of as mine. There is, obviously, no way to escape them. If I choose not to sleep with a woman who smells of chip fat, that is quite OK. At least, last time I had occasion to check; my local chippy is run by very matronly women.
And, anyway, how did we get into this state of affairs? I have absolutely no recollection of any such recognition getting into any manifesto. What debate was there in the House of Horrors at Westminster? It seems it was some crap that crept in from that powerhouse of action that is the UN. To me, the fact that "As of December 2008, homosexuality is illegal in 77 countries and punishable by death in seven" is not an over-powering mandate for change. Are we all to become civicus-UNamicous? All jolly types together in a mish mosh of race and beliefs? Dream on. I think I have a human right to be able to cut myself off from some part of the world and live a semblance of peace and quiet whilst sipping on a gin and tonic, lots of ice, no lemon. We do not know how many closet-inhabitants voted for the introduction of the claimed human rights-based legislation but it seems that there was no one who cared enough about my human rights ideas and beliefs.
The LGBT community now face far more prejudice that they used to have. I remember the good old days.