I looked you up on Faceweb. You used to be the first pick on Kiss Chase. When we were 8. All the girlies swooned when you caught them. You were the dark-eyed lothario of Mrs O’Brien’s Class. And she always seemed to like you more than the rest of us. I remember you as a beautiful boy. Now you are bald, podgy, wrinkled and live in Australia with your second wife who appears to smoke more than you do.
I looked you up on Faceweb. You were my best mate for a few years. A change of school did for our friendship. We used to look at your dodgy mag collection in the park. Our dads got on too ( I wonder if they had a similar arrangement? ) Now you look like Captain Birdseye and appear to have several grandchildren but no grandma to share the joy. I missed you for ages but I don’t think we’d get on now. I like to remember your straightforward, openly lustful and incredibly practical younger self.
I looked you up on Faceweb. I didn’t really know you at school very well but we were in the same circles. You always struck me as slightly psychopathic – an air of menace surrounded you. Now you are an eighteen stone bodybuilder with a boyfriend who works as a fashion buyer for a department store. You look good in speedos. Sadly you appear to know this because all of your Faceweb photos are of you in speedos. Apart from the one of your poodle.
I looked you up on Faceweb. You are Faceweb Friends with my former housemate. And my former best mate – the one with all the money and the semi-fame. He is Faceweb friends with all of you – our gang, apart from me. You fancied me like mad and I think we might have ended up together. Now you live in Australia with your husband and children and appear to have created the perfect Aussie suburban lifestyle. You look the same as when I last saw you twenty years ago. I do not.
I looked you up on Faceweb. You were my former housemate. You appear to have pursued the politically correct pathway you craved. You were damaged when I knew you. It ended badly. You resented me somehow, even though I did my best to help you. You took liberties with our friendship. I did not like that. You probably knew. You shut down and moved out. Now you look happy. Well done.
I looked you up on Faceweb. You were posing with your wife, both of you dressed to the nines ready for a night out at the casino. You appear to live in a thirties semi with artexed walls and a fishpond in the garden about 3 miles from where you used to live. When we were 10. Your wife looks much younger than you but it is clear that she looks after herself. You seem very happy. You are a grandad. You look like you could be my grandad. What happened? I hope you are OK – you were always a nice chap and you appear still to be so. Well done.
I looked you up on Faceweb. When I knew you, you were what I would now describe as a sleazy sex-obsessed nutter. You were pretty thick and used to threaten me and my mates quite a lot. We kept our distance but you always seemed to turn up. At the next desk. In the queue for dinner. Sitting behind us at assembly. So you could kick our arses through the canvas chair seats. We loathed you. Now you are a dead spit for Les Battersby. You even have orange hair, even though you used to be blond. What happened?
I looked you up on Faceweb. You are not on Faceweb. You are, though, on Google. You are dead. You were a disturbed boy. Many of us were pretty scared of you. I hope you are at peace.
I looked you up on Faceweb. You are not on Faceweb. You are, though, on Google. You have a flashy website. You are fat and much uglier, even than you used to be. You have a lot of money and live in Canada. Your website is full of bragging self-aggrandisements. It is clear what happened. You carried on doing what you always did and now you are rich, fat and ugly in Canada.
I looked you up on Faceweb. You are not on Faceweb – well not in a full blown Faceweb; you are sort of there but there is very little of you there. People might search for you but they would be hard-pressed to know whether it was you given that three other people with the same name and details matching some of yours live in the same town. That’s probably the best we can hope for – if ‘Les Battersby’ should come a’looking when he finds out about the real reason he got arrested.
I’m heartily sick of listening to the endless bleating of Daily Mail-reading crypto-racist middle-aged / old gits. They’ve suddenly been reanimated from their ITV-induced comas, taken a break from twitching their nets and sucking their Werthers Orginals. They’re everywhere. Dripping their ever so rational, ever so ‘patriotic’, ever so normal, common-sense, hardworking, home-grown recipe for national happiness into our collective lugholes. “We’re full up” [ © Mr Blobby's sperm donor ]. “We’ve got to get control of of our borders.” [ © BoJo - a man who can't even get control of his waistline ]. “It’s gone too far” et bloody cetera, blah bloody blah. Non bloody stop.
Here’s my handy checklist.
1. You grew up in the 1950s when the only black people you saw were on the back of marmalade jars or in questionable films.
2. You think Britain’s finest hour was winning The War.
3. You’ve managed to retire on a full occupational pension.
4. You think Nigel Farage talks sense.
5. You admire Boris Johnson.
6. You think we need to stop immigration into the UK.
7. You will be dead in 43 years.
If you scored ‘yes’ on most of the above:
You have lived through a period of unprecedented prosperity – much of it during Britain’s 43 years of EU membership and during constant immigration. This prosperity was not an accident.
Those who fought in Word War 2 did so ostensibly in the interests of freedom and against fascism. They did not fight it so that you could repeat the demonisation of racial groups 70 years later or feather your own nest at the expense of the rest of humanity.
Enjoy your pension – sure you’ve ‘earned it’; as have the rest of us who are younger than you – we won’t get what you’ve got though. Thanks for that. Count your blessings.
Farage and Johnson are political opportunists – they care only about Farage and Johnson. They are deluded, they will come unglued like all politicians do. They will likely be dead in 43 years.
Think, for once, of those who will come after you. Those who will be here in 43 years time. They deserve to live in a stable, united world where nations co-exist in peace. Where people, no matter what their background, can prosper. This will not come about through further division, building walls, shutting people out and demonising racial groups; this is what happened in the country that lost ‘The War’ – remember?
In 43 years you may not be here; will your legacy be division and fear?
|All manner of stuff happened. It really has been quite entertaining reading back through around 12 years of bignjuicystuff. Some painfully naive, some far cleverer than I remember being and some woefully dated and now rendered strange by shriveled topicality. Talking of which – I have yet to succumb to facial fillers, botox or any unnatural plumping agents. As my e-organ is, for the moment, enjoying revivification, so my visage and all regions south of there remain naturally toned and impressive. Hold that mental image.
Just lately I have been reflecting on my demise. As you do. The imminent clicking on of the birthday clock does that to a chap. The horse chestnuts are in bloom, the cherry blossom adorns the gutters. I am reminded, as I am at this time most years of Denis Potter. I make a point of looking intently at the blossom; it may be the last time. I want to revel in the frothy magnificence, the frilly exuberance, the floral gorgeousness of it all. A memory to hold on to for when days darken and branches become bare. I imagine a time when the blossom will be there and I won’t.
A few weeks ago I uncovered some online records of ancestors. The few brief traces of their lives recorded in census and property records reveal whole lifetimes spent in a network of city streets one can walk through in less than an hour. Looking at the names, picturing them as real people. Growing, ageing, dying, becoming just an entry in a ledger. Lives forgotten for the large part. Connected to me; their blossom.
- Retrieve red flag from loft and dust off cobwebs.
- Hide Tony Blair memorabilia in loft.
- Grow scrubby beard.
- Discard ties.
- Cultivate tetchy, baby boomer, annoyed-at-everything attitude.
- Throw D’Ream CDs into eco-friendly landfill enviro-park facility.
- Block Peter Mandelson emails.
- Buy Keir Hardie deerstalker.
- Join militant union.
- Enjoy it while it lasts comrades.
The latest tragedy to affect an airshow is at the head of a long line of such disasters dating back over a century. The screaming headlines, disturbing footage – replayed endlessly for the delectation of armchair experts and disaster junkies – do nothing to lessen the devastating consequences of such a happening. Reports of disbelief, shock and consequent grief, sadly are all too familiar.
The realities of ‘air shows’ are these:
1. Flying metal bombs – many 0f which have seen better days or were never designed for the antics they are expected to perform at these events – are propelled at great speed by human pilots in far too close proximity to hundreds or thousands of spectators.
2. Events may be held in urban areas close to roads and housing.
3. No foolproof guarantee of aircraft or pilot fitness appears, so far, to have been devised.
Given 1, 2 and 3 why is anyone surprised when it all goes terribly wrong and people die? Why would anyone in their right mind take themselves or their families to stand underneath one of these things? Why aren’t the road users and residents of areas surrounding the events warned of the greatly increased risk of death or injury when an air show is in operation?
At one time, it was considered ‘normal’ for participants and attendees at Grands Prix motor races to risk death for their ’sport’. Whilst some risks now remain; improvements to safety have massively reduced them and fatalities are now thankfully rare. Does it take much logic to apply the same thinking to air shows? As far as I can tell, the risks are still far too great. I for one will not be going anywhere near one ever.