Or at least I don’t think I have.
It all began back in January. It was one of those weeks when I was scratching around for something to write about and, one morning on my way to work, my eyes happened to alight on a piece of graffito that adorned the walls of a boarded-up pub. “George Davis Is Innocent”.
Who the hell is George Davis, I thought? I’d never heard of him. Was he a local lad fallen foul of the law? I confess I Googled him and thus discovered that he was an East End dude who was banged up for an armed robbery which he did not commit. A big campaign ensued to get him released with the likes of Roger Daltry getting on board sporting a “George Davis Is Innocent” T-shirt.
Now whether it was a fit-up or not is not for me to discern. All I do know is the accepted facts of the matter are that he was later proven guilty of another armed robbery and got banged up a second time. You can read my original post here: George Davis Is Innocent.
Now my main impetus for writing the post was just a curious why did some 2010 graffiti artist drag this piece of retro graffiti out of the annals of 60’s gangland lore and splash it over a derelict pub in Leamington Spa? I thought no more of it than that. It seemed quite a safe topic to pursue. 40 odd years old. Ancient history. Pastimes’ graffiti.
Not so. Earlier this week I received quite a nasty comment in response to this post (only 5 month’s late but there we are) basically accusing me of not knowing what I was writing about and disparaging the fact I’d had to get my information from Wikipedia. It seems not being born in 1960’s gangland London and getting my information first-hand is something of an academic crime to the mysterious commenter (naturally he chose to remain anonymous). You can read his comments and my response at the bottom of the post.
Now I must admit here that, rather foolishly – and I do this every time – I stupidly had a go back. It’s so silly. And I slap my own wrist afterwards: don’t rise to the bait, Stephen, let it go! But no. It’s my blog and nobody is having a go at me on my own blog so I hit back with a crudely acidic comment. I was quite rude actually and used a word I don’t very often use. Now that I’ve calmed down I’ve thought better of it and deleted it.
Of course this was a red rag to a bull and Mr A. Nonymous came back. He accused me of all kinds of things. Of being a “green horne”. Of still wearing nappies – or rather napkins. Of being a paedo. And basically suggesting that if I’d’ve been around at the time of George Davis I’d’ve got my head blown off.
I naturally refuted those claims. I’ve been out of nappies for 41 years. I’ve paid for my own education and been around a bit (enough to know how to spell greenhorn correctly). I also doubted I would have got my head blown off. I think – and I stand by this – I’d’ve merely got a slap for being a bit gobby and then Ron and Reggie would have got on with the real business of turning Jack The Hat into a net curtain. I’d’ve been small fry.
Which all leads me to believe that Mr Anon E Mouse is either a small time face from 1960’s gangland London wistfully keeping his memories of the good old days alive or is, as I really suspect, some modern day barrow-boy sucking up the stories of his elders from pub talk and true crime books and has idealized the g[l]ory days of the East End into some kind of “ow’s yer father” make-believe heaven. The paedo jibe gives it away, I think. That’s very much a modern immature person’s insult. Though, of course, I could be wrong.
And that’s the worrying thing. Maybe this person really is a mobster? Maybe Harry Starks has stepped right out of one of Jake Arnott’s fine novels and into reality and is even now preparing a hot poker ready for our “little chat”?
I hope not. I find it bizarre that someone could have been so incensed by that one particular post as to have wasted time and energy insulting me and threatening me over it. What a strange world we live in. I do after all have a disclaimer at the bottom of my blog (if anyone ever bothers to read that far down) stating that the views here are purely mine and are not meant to be authoritative.
It makes you realize that Blogging – for all it is largely fun, light-hearted, personal, cathartic, etc – also has a much darker side. The bits of ourselves that we publish online are accessible to everyone. By the mentally imbalanced as well as the sane and well-adjusted. We are wide open to praise, criticism and threats. All because of what we write.
Does this mean I am going to be more careful in future? Avoid potentially dangerous subjects? Be more circumspect in my views?
What? Are you ‘avin’ a larf? Don’t get tasty wiv me, old son, this is my manna, right? My manna! Now sling yer ‘ook!