Tuesday, October 23, 2012


Blogs. I wrote a few. But then again, too few to mention...

Well. That’s not factually true.

Since I began this on-line journey into the egotistical sublime back in the heady days of 2006 I’ve managed to rack up a mind-numbing 920 posts. I’ve been pretty darn consistent too. 3 posts a week for much of it, covering a wealth of subjects that have ranged from TV shows, politics, news events, social issues, home life and whatever doe-eyed beauty off the telly that I happened to fancy in any given moment.

But most of you won’t have failed to have noticed a gradual tailing off of productive output. A creative brewer’s droop. A distinct lessening of literal vitality.

My Bloggertropolis mojo is all but spent.

It’s time to draw a line beneath, put an end to and snuff out the guttering candle that is Bloggertropolis.

Oh hush your wailing. The end has been nigh for months now and the writing has been on the wall for longer than that.

The rot for me began when my blog was outed and touted by those who know me in real life (as opposed to just virtually). Without going over old wounds it caused upset and strife and made life difficult. Mostly for me (and I have to say my life is the one that I’m most concerned about). Certain subjects became taboo. Certain emotional chakras were suddenly blocked. Despite my best efforts I found myself gelded and my teeth pulled and a whacking great gag shoved into my mouth. Sure I kept going. Kept the writing production line rolling. Desperately tried to search out loopholes and ways round the restrictions... but euphemism and metaphor can only express so much.

Suddenly I woke up and found that Bloggertropolis had lost its bite, its bile and its balls (though thankfully not its alliteration).

I had become the blogging eunuch.

As much as it has tickled me to be a thorn in the side of so many for so long I have to admit to myself that the pale reflection this blog has become is now more of a thorn in my side than anybody else’s. Simply because it is not doing what I want it to do nor allowing me to express myself in the way that I would wish.

So, my old muckers, mateys and fellamelads, ‘tis time to say goodbye. Time to sign off and let the blogging underwriters evaluate my creative credit. I have other projects planned. Some of them not involving world domination or getting into Professor Alice Robert’s handsomely scientific knickers. Some lucky few of you will receive an email from me soon describing ways in which we might stay in touch.

The unlucky few can kiss my blogging ass.

This is how my blog ends.

Not with a bang (alas). But with you whimpering.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Blackheads Revisited

Secondary school is a world unto itself.

Inhabited by creatures whose brains are being rewired to such an extent that they no longer resemble other human beings on the planet. Fizzing human bombs (© Danielle Dax) whose hormone levels explode like weapons grade plutonium within the space of a few months and then pulse with a seedy half life that lasts for the next 30 years (if they’re lucky).

I remember it as a callous no-man’s land that delighted in alienating the weak or the different or (rarest of all) those who retained a modicum of human compassion. I felt alone and “outside” for most of my secondary school career. Hey. Why pull the punch? I felt dis-included for ALL of my secondary school career.

It could not be changed. It had to be borne. It had to be endured. And it was a horrifically lonely journey.

My eldest boy has suddenly found himself immersed in that same world. Curriculums might change. Teaching methods might be revolutionized. But the world of the geeky teenager remains essentially the same. The rites of passage that you largely walk alone.

He doesn’t make friends easily. He has trouble “getting” other people. He doesn’t connect well. He swings from ultra negative to overpowering positive without touching the middle ground in an instant; switches from totally controlling teen-god one minute to uber-victim the next who is unable to take responsibility for anyone or anything and thus finds himself always hopelessly disempowered.

Karen and I are at a loss as to how to help him beyond giving advice, helpful practical hints and trying to keep home life as secure as possible.

Because the simple truth is, unless you are one of the lucky ones, secondary school life starts off being diabolically damaging and only gets marginally better with each passing year. End of story.

How do you deal with the sniping comments of others? How do you deal with the bullying tactics of the playground – both overt and secretly snide? How do you deal with people who you once thought of as friends but now decide to ostracise you and leave you out in the cold at every opportunity?

What possible advice can I give to an 11 year old to combat all these issues when they are problems that, 28 years after leaving secondary school and now in full time employment, I still come up against and struggle with every week if not every day?

Because the sad fact is, although Secondary school is a world unto itself that isn’t meant to last forever, for some people (both good and ill), it bloody does.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Saville Row

The worst thing for me about the whole Jimmy Saville debacle isn’t the frenzied media circus that has suddenly vomited into being.

It isn’t the appallingly lazy round of jokes that, in one way or another, make pedestrian reference to any one of his ridiculous catch-phrases.

It isn’t the disapprovingly pious TV shows that show clips of Jimmy Saville from years ago when he made slyly inappropriate gags and comments to camera which the presenters of today then shake their heads and sigh censoriously about.

It’s the simple fact that, during my childhood, a time when I had no idea that such horrible things could happen, all this was allowed to happen. It was known. Known by adults from all professions and walks of life. Known by many. Suspected by many more. And no one did anything. No one did anything at the time when it would have made a difference. When it could have saved someone. It was covered up. It was brushed under the carpet because Jimmy did so much good work for charity and was a massive personality.

It was tolerated. It was, if not morally then certainly by the inaction of society, approved of. It was somehow the norm. It was the era of the lecherous uncle. The dodgy pervert at the end of the street. Mr Flasher who lived alone in the bungalow at the end of the road who’d get you if you were naughty.

And people wilfully turned a blind eye.

Well all those blind eyes as good as signed a huge permission slip for Mr Saville to do whatever the hell he liked, with who he liked and for as long as he liked.

The worst thing is all the time and money and energy currently being spent on someone who is dead and completely beyond our condemnation. All those head shakes and tuts and sneers. All those “I always felt there was something unsavoury about him” epiphanies that only serve to glorify the TV presenter spouting the sentiment. All those newspaper headlines from newspapers that chose not to run with the story back when he was alive and here on this planet and could have been brought to justice. All that violence directed at smashing a lump of inanimate, unfeeling, uncaring gravestone to make a point that Mr Saville will never get.

All this energy would be better spent being channelled into helping not just Jimmy’s victims but also the victims of all those Jimmys that are at large and still active right now. All those kids being abused outside our own little spheres of existence that we pass by in the street and keep ourselves wilfully in ignorance of when we walk to work or to the shops. It would be better spent identifying and stopping all those Jimmy Saville’s that are alive and well in every town and every city in this country of ours; better spent smashing the paedophile rings that flourish beneath the dark shadows of our middle class “not nice to talk about” ignorance rather than a dead bastard's gravestone.

A grave and a gravestone can’t hurt anybody.

You need to stop these people before they get put into the ground. Or just don’t bother.

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Devey For Vendetta

For those of you who don’t have access to UK terrestrial TV (terrestrial? Is that even a proper term that can be applied to the HD digital extravaganza that composes most TV channels these days?) Hilary Devey is the multimillionaire business woman with shoulders pads like two US aircraft carriers playing tug-of-war and a voice like Darth Vader smoking stinging nettles through an Alaskan oil pipe who co-fronts the British version of Dragon’s Den.

I’m sure most of you are familiar with the format of Dragon’s Den. Five fat cat business moguls laugh and sneer at the pathetic attempts of various bedsit scientists to come up with “the next big thing” and prise 100K out of their greedily mercantile little paws.

Well, Hilary is one of them. She’s a dragon. She’s the weird mumsy-esque dragon who dresses like an extra from classic mid-eighties Dynasty and talks like Phyllis Pearce from Coronation Street.

She also has a face whose resemblance to someone else has for years been on the edge of my consciousness but has never quite broken through. Until now...

The likeness is uncanny. And I quite like the idea of Hilary practising knife-throwing skills around old London town whilst alliterating huge monologues around the letter V as she blows up the Houses of Parliament to the aural backdrop of the 1812 Overture. This was surely a casting exercise that the film makers of V For Vendetta are now kicking themselves for missing. They needn’t have bothered producing all those masks. Just give her a moustache and a smartly clipped imperial and she’s practically there. I bet she’s even got the hat somewhere in her own wardrobe already.

But for all I’m taking the urine out of this strangely Punchinello cheeked lady I can’t help but quite like her.

There’s something frail and human about her for all she expectorates Piedmont gravel every time she opens her mouth. I quite admire the fact she has made it in the male dominated world of business and made it without emulating (or even emasculating) not only the men but also the other women. Hilary is very much “out there” on her own. She is what people commonly call “a character”. A “personality”. She’s practically her own archetype. The anima of some weird medieval carnival god hand-carved by drunken monks on Lindisfarne as Viking raiders attempted to gain forced entry to their vellum lined inner sanctums. Oo-er.

Hilary appears to emanate her own completely localised biosphere. A Hilary Zone through which we – the denizens of the outside world – are filtered and interpreted before her formidable commerce-based intellect can fully ingest and process us. And if we are lucky, offer us 100K and her worldly-wise business acumen to ensure our new fangled, patent pending self-cleaning pooperscoop gets pride of place at Pets R Us.

Hilary is one of us. Slightly weird, slightly unhinged, more leftfield than Grayson Perry and with the bad dress sense and wardrobe to match. But she don’t care. Hilary is her own woman and does her own thing. She has cut herself adrift from fashion, taste and public opinion. The only thing that keep her moored to the plane of existence that we all share is her uncanny ability to make money. And, I sincerely hope, her unerring ability to throw razor-sharp knives at bent politicos.

Hilary, I salute you.

Long may you reign vainglorious and victorious at the vulpine vanguard of vicarious visual verisimilitude.

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

The Biology Of Evil

Some cultures believe that illnesses and disease are caused by evil spirits. Djinns.

Which is not to say that a sprite from the underworld suddenly appears in the steam from your freshly made mochaccino and curses you with gonorrhoea and a dowager’s hump.

(Trivia lovers among you might be delighted to learn that Microsoft Spellchecker’s suggestion for gonorrhoea was Gomorra – is God talking to me via Windows 7?)

It’s more that the disease itself has a personality. The disease has a presence on the same spiritual plane as us. 

Ooh get back in yer coffin Derek Acorah!

It sounds farfetched (hey, welcome to my blog!) but I can concur with this belief through my own experiences.

When I was about 9 I came down with a full-blown case of measles. I was delirious for about 4 days. I had constant nightmares and fever dreams. Measles is not a nice disease. Frankly I’m amazed that some parents avoid the MMR jab thinking that the risk of measles is somehow less of a concern. It’s not. Measles can blind. Measles can kill. Measles is truly horrible.

But that’s a separate topic.

On the last night of the fever, just before it broke I sleepwalked for the first and only time in my life. All I can recall of this incident is the feeling of slowly becoming conscious again as I walked in front of the mirror in my bedroom. It was recognizing myself that actually woke me up. Not that I was technically unconscious. My eyes were open. I was talking to myself. In a language that definitely wasn’t English. And the personality that was doing the talking definitely wasn’t mine. It wasn’t me who had been running the show up to this point.

Most of all though, the thing I remember most, is how evil I felt. Pure, pure, almost orgiastic evil.
When I made eye contact with myself in the mirror the other personality vanished. It just went. The fever broke and I collapsed onto the floor to be carried back into my bed by my parents who must have been disturbed by the noise I had been making. After that the recovery began and I slowly got better.

Now, years later as an adult, I think about this experience often. And it makes me wonder. Occasionally I’ve considered going to a hypnotherapist to see if I can be regressed back to that night to see what can be discovered.

But then I always think to myself: maybe it’s better to let sleeping dogs lie. Some boxes just shouldn’t be opened.


Was it demonic possession? Does measles have a spiritual presence and a personality that can be interacted with? It could be argued that the capacity to be evil is in all of us even without a disease but I ask you: how much evil can a 9 year old boy contain? And when I say evil I’m not talking about naughtiness or wrong doing; I am talking proper, full-on, Biblical style, pure evil.

Interesting questions, eh?

Next time you have a cold or a case of the flu... and you’re “not feeling yourself” for a few days... well, maybe there’s a damned good reason for that.

Sleep tight.