Big Questions, No Answers.

I find myself most Sundays rolling out of bed, making a cup of tea and falling in front of the TV and often find myself angrily shaking my head at the Big Questions on BBC One.

Hosted by the ever diplomatic, and non committal Nicky Campbell, this license payer funded, debate chairman earns himself another splinter or two in his backside by sitting, as ever and as expected by his BBC bosses, on the fence as he fails to control single minded guests who seem to only be there to bang their own drum and not budge on their opinion and therefore childishly argue with other guests of an opposite, immovable point of view.

Morality and religion is all they ever try to discuss with every debate becoming nothing more than a shouting match. The guests drone each other out with shrieks and whales of ill thought out ideas, when they aren’t talking over each other that is, showing that what they claim to know about morality outweighs what they know about good manners and social etiquette. I mean if your point cannot stand on its own two legs and you have to ram it down someone’s throat as they try and reply to your original point, maybe, just maybe, that point you are making is utter bollocks, just saying!

It is not a debate show at all, it’s just the BBC filling its remit as a public broadcaster and it ticks a box on a form somewhere to say ‘The BBC is offering a forum for discussion’ that it simply fails to deliver, every single week. It’s a vacuous, pointless show that trots out the same debates every week (reworded to make people think they are new) and the same dozen guests, to share their same opinions and ultimately the entire circus ensues again and again and always ends with a smart arse remark from Campbell before he cuts them all dead, the titles roll and we’re all an hour closer to the end of our lives with nothing to show for it.

The BBC, as a force for Sunday morning debate, a forum for enlightenment and education is slowly becoming what every thing else is slowly becoming – artless, clueless and just another publicly funded body that is struggling to cope with justifying its government funding, the instant nature of the internet and the freedoms that that platform allows. It’s strict, rigid remit, it seems to me, will be it’s undoing and its debate programming will become more and more pointless and unwatchable as it attempts to represent everyone whilst not offending anyone. The show in question here does nothing and achieves nothing. It’s a damned shame because we need a broadcaster that has the general public’s interest at its core and is designed to tick all of the boxes – sport, education, drama, news, healthy debate and documentary. It used to do it so well but somewhere in the not too distant past it has started to fail on some fronts (but not all of them yet, thankfully).

BIGQUESTIONS

Above: A classic debate from the old Sunday Morning Live

At least the Beeb can still do radio, I might start lying in on a Sunday with that instead.

Peace.

George Carlin Can Say It Better Than I Can. (Post 350)

 

My 350th post, I was going to have a moan about the state of everything as I occasionally have done here over the years but then after watching a few George Carlin videos I decided to dedicate the post to him and here is what I wanted to say, but better. It’s in his words, I hope you like it.

But there’s a reason. There’s a reason. There’s a reason for this, there’s a reason education SUCKS, and it’s the same reason it will never, ever,  EVER be fixed.

It’s never going to get any better, don’t look for it, be happy with what you’ve got.

Because the owners, the owners of this country don’t want that. I’m talking about the real owners now, the BIG owners! The Wealthy… the REAL owners! The big wealthy business interests that control things and make all the important decisions.

Forget the politicians. They are irrelevant. The politicians are put there to give you the idea that you have freedom of choice. You don’t. You have no choice! You have OWNERS! They OWN YOU. They own everything. They own all the important land. They own and control the corporations. They’ve long since bought, and paid for the Senate, the Congress, the state houses, the city halls, they got the judges in their back pockets and they own all the big media companies, so they control just about all of the news and information you get to hear. They got you by the balls.

They spend billions of dollars every year lobbying,  lobbying, to get what they want.  Well, we know what they want. They want more for themselves and less for everybody else, but I’ll tell you what they don’t want: 

They don’t want a population of citizens capable of critical thinking. They don’t want well informed, well educated people capable of critical thinking. They’re not interested in that. That doesn’t help them. That’s against their interests.

That’s right. They don’t want people who are smart enough to sit around a kitchen table and think about how badly they’re getting fucked by a system that threw them overboard 30 fucking years ago. They don’t want that!

You know what they want? They want obedient workers. Obedient workers, people who are just smart enough to run the machines and do the paperwork. And just dumb enough to passively accept all these increasingly shitty jobs with the lower pay, the longer hours, the reduced benefits, the end of overtime and vanishing pension that disappears the minute you go to collect it, and now they’re coming for your Social Security money. They want your retirement money. They want it back so they can give it to their criminal friends on Wall Street, and you know something? They’ll get it. They’ll get it all from you sooner or later cause they own this fucking place! It’s a big club, and you ain’t in it!  You, and I, are not in the big club.

By the way, it’s the same big club they use to beat you over the head with all day long when they tell you what to believe. All day long beating you over the head with their media telling you what to believe, what to think and what to buy. The table’s tilted folks. The game is rigged and nobody seems to notice. Nobody seems to care! Good honest hard-working people; white collar, blue collar it doesn’t matter what colour shirt you have on. Good honest hard-working people continue, these are people of modest means, continue to elect these rich cock suckers who don’t give a fuck about them…. they don’t give a fuck about you… they don’t give a FUCK about you.

They don’t care about you at all… at all… AT ALL.  And nobody seems to notice. Nobody seems to care. That’s what the owners count on. The fact that Americans will probably remain wilfully ignorant of the big red, white and blue dick that’s being jammed up their assholes everyday, because the owners of this country know the truth.

It’s called the American Dream, because you have to be asleep to believe it.

These are words that are as relevant now almost eight years since he passed away as they were when he delivered them on stage and they probably always will be relevant. His words speak about the system in America but it’s no different here in the UK and the rest of Europe these days. Here is a great little clip of an interview that puts a nice cherry on the top of my 350th post cake. I watch him often and he continues to inspire me and make me laugh, I miss this dude very much.

Peace!

New Look, Same Old Stuff… obviously.

Having ended 2015 by completing all of the projects that I was working on, I found myself enjoying Christmas without a care or a thought of the future. Now, less than three weeks into 2016 I find that I’m pretty damned bored. The evenings are long and dark and the cold snap appears to be here to stay now that it’s arrived. I seem to have forgotten how to use the things that I’ve loved playing around with for years, like Facebook and Twitter and, well, I feel like I’ve forgotten how to do social media entirely, or I’ve just done it death and can’t see the point in trotting out the same old silliness, or I’m getting old, I’m certainly getting grey.

So I’ve decided to give this place a lick of paint and a spring clean and hopefully I can find something useful to say here instead, going forward. There is less immediacy with a blog, no one expects, or frankly wants to read them. My audience is almost entirely other bloggers and has finally, after many years of peaks and troughs, reached a steady flow of passers by. A small number of readers, but loyal ones too. Thanks guys.

Hopefully my next post can have something more to say, especially as it’ll be the 350th one here. Maybe a fresh look and a new year might mean a brand new start of something again, a proper blog with a man who cannot write at the helm but giving it a bloody good go. Anyway, speak to you all again soon, take care each!

Peace.

Aston Villa’s Demise.

As a Wolves fan I should be enjoying the season that Aston Villa are having but I’m not. The state of West Midlands football at the moment is worrying at best. West Brom aside (barely) of course, we’re all awful. Sorry Walsall, but you might just be suffering from a serious dose of Leicester-City-Itis. You will be up there in May but you probably won’t be top 3. Just saying.

But as the son and grandson of Aston Villa fans, I take no real joy in their situation this season. It’s pretty fucking dire. When I was a wee man back in the early eighties they brought the European Cup back to that, their, Birmingham and are currently, but not for long, one of the only clubs to have played every season in the Premier League. It’s a fucking mess of course with Aston Villa being just one of four local clubs that include Wolves, Birmingham City and The Albion to be up for sale, with little interest in the clubs that aren’t Wolves. Naturally.

During most of my life and love of football, Aston Villa has pretty much been the local team that had a chance of winning something, and sometimes they did. I remember them nearly winning the league in 1993 after a three horse race with Manchester United and Norwich, which gave them a silver medal as runners-up. And they really could’ve won the league that year too had Manchester United not suddenly found a leg after how many years of title-less mediocrity? Certainly Villa had won it before they had in the last winner from the past stakes. But league title hopes ended in 1993 for Villa and who’d have thought then that it would’ve ended for decades? Not me for sure.

In my memory, since then, they have mopped up a few cup finals too, losing a couple of FA Cup finals at the turn of the millennium and just recently as well as being league cup daddies in the Mid nineties with a couple of final wins and a more recent final loss in 2010. Three successive 6th place league finishes between 2007-08 and 2009-10 hinted at what they could achieve if only the money had kept being spent on players and O’Neill could’ve been kept happy (with more transfer money!)

That all aside, I can remember them qualifying for European football on several occasions through the league too over the years with decent Premier league finishes.

Now this local, usually half decent club, are looking at wooden spoon humiliation, which Wolves themselves have felt on 2 relegations from the promised-land of English top flight football. And you have to wonder why? As a Wolves fan I know why we fell well short twice, but do Villa fans understand from their pedestal of mediocre, perennial successes? I doubt it. It probably hurts more.

I drive every week down the A38 and see the excellent stadium that is Villa Park and these days I wonder, what the fuck went wrong? Is that the home of Championship football? And then I remember league one and what Wolves and Molineux suffered and also enjoyed only a few years ago. But bouncing back isn’t easy, and Villa appear to be walking a path that Wolves did oh so shortly ago, a path to obscurity, double relegation, and remember not all teams bounce back the first or second time from 3rd tier relegation. Ask Leeds United (2007-08, 2008-09). They’ll tell you.

But in Villa, I can almost see a Portsmouth. And if the rot aint removed, or the club aint sold to the right people, that’s what you’ve got. And for the first super-successful team that professional football in England ever saw it’s a god damned shame. The mess they are in now is unnecessary, and the future they will have after May is unsure. Very unsure, trust me.

And Villa fans please know you’re history means fuck all tomorrow, in the championship. It’ll be brutal and unforgiving if your owners, players and fans don’t adapt quickly. I hope you survive 2016-17 in the Championship, but if you want it you’ve got to earn it and your owners and players have to know that.

See you next season. Unless we get lucky, never stop believing ay?

Peace.

Merry Reasonmas.

If I had a pound for every time someone has said to me that I shouldn’t celebrate Christmas because I’m an atheist, well, I’d have a quid. If only I had that quid I could buy a lottery… oh no I can’t. Fucking lottery. Double the price and add ten extra balls, just to increase the revenues and the profits ay? It used to be called a tax on the desperate and the stupid but now it’s still something that someone has to win, so I’ve got my ticket… Doh!

We are all children of our culture and Christmas is hard to miss. The number of times I’ve tripped over boxes of Christmas decorations whilst shopping for Trick or Treat Repellent, well it numbers in the never, but I think you get my point. Christmas is a big thing, if not for normal ordinary folk, for supermarkets and corporations and all of the associated marketeers and of course for us common folk the idea of time to spend on yourself and with your family, doing what you want when you want, for a week. Just eating and drinking and seeing people you should really see more of, is very appealing.

And so I celebrate Christmas. Not because or in spite of being an atheist, but because I’m part of a society of people that is born into, and raised on, all of this holiday/festive circus.

I call it Reasonmas, because reason is my faith.

The tree goes up. It represents the phylogenetic tree of life.

The decorations, well they are just decorations. The tree of life looks pretty with a diverse mix of colours, shapes and sizes.

The star upon the tree is for Sol. Without it we are nothing. Its heat and light keep life going, not water, humanity or evolution.

Christmas cards are redundant. Why chop down a forest so millions of people can say “Merry Christmas” to each other when we live in a time of social media and mobile phones?

Presents, they are what they are. They should be symbolic. A physical way of saying to someone, ‘I remembered you at this time of family and giving’ what they are isn’t or at least shouldn’t be important. If exchanging gifts is important to you and what you receive is disappointing you need to look at yourself, no one else.

It’s all symbolic and the idea of Christmas shouldn’t be a fixed one. Let’s not forget that the faith that gave us Christmas is itself a cobbled together collection of other ideas, religions and festivals and its date is pagan not given by God. It’s a construct but a nice one.

Whether you have faith in Christianity, or anything else, I wish you a Merry Christmas. Any excuse to live, eat, drink, and share like a millionaire is a good thing. Us worker ants only have this coming week to have a time like this in a world that is built to divide us and keep us scared, paying taxes and conforming to the narrative of fear and consumption to fuel the capitalist machine.

Let’s enjoy tomorrow and the coming week like we have no worries and to Valhalla with everything else. If you have a God, may he bless you.

Happy Reasonmas Everyone.

Peace.

Introducing…. Author Martin Tracey.

Thank you to Martin Tracey for your interview with me about my first solo publishing project that has just this last weekend come to fruition. As a thank you to him I wanted to introduce him and his writing to my blog followers. Enjoy.

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“Dear Sir or Madam I have wrote a book, it took me years to write will you take a look…”

These were the words sang by Paul McCartney in the Beatles hit ‘Paperback Writer’.

Well it’s been 4 and a bit years to finally write my second paperback, but I’m delighted to announce exclusively to you, that ‘Mind Guerrilla’ is now available for purchase.

As it is only my second novel in double the amount of years, I hope that you will look upon ‘Mind Guerrilla’ as an example of quality and not necessarily quantity in terms of book productivity, although there is a substantial quantity of pages – 508 to be precise with in excess of 147,000 words, which perhaps goes some way to explain the length of time of creation. This also explains the cost of the paperback version of the book as it is a read that takes you to many places. In a Pulp Fiction stylie, ‘Mind Guerrilla’ uses a variety of sub-plots that weave together to finally connect and make a dramatic climax. Most novels I would say average between 70,000 and 100,000 words, so my paperback requires more paper than average – but for a book of this size it is still a very competitive price.

The kindle version is a snip at£1.99, but of course that can’t be stroked or held in the traditional way by you, or signed by yours truly :-)

Locations in the book include Birmingham UK (of course) – but also the Alabama Brum. Sutton Coldfield, Pelsall – yes Pelsall, Camden, Covent Garden, St John’s Wood and Liverpool.

So what is Mind Guerrilla about?

Well here’s the blurb to explain:

When a high-end escort is discovered murdered in her plush waterside apartment, so begins the hunt for a serial killer known as The Crucifier due to the unusual slaying and positioning of his victims.

In parallel there remains the need to locate a dangerous and elusive doomsday cult.

DCI William Chamberlain and DI Judd Stone have an acute thirst for justice on both accounts.

Stone is an ex-football hooligan turned cop. Riddled with guilt and anger, he is used to getting results – albeit somewhat unconventionally.

Chamberlain suffers from Multiple Sclerosis, but curiously, as his health deteriorates, his ability to perform acts of telekinesis increases.  When faced with life or death, Chamberlain progresses from manipulating physical matter to controlling minds and sets in motion a dramatic chain of events. But why do things spiral out of control, placing an unknown high-profile target in danger?

Assistance comes from the most unlikely of sources but who is also working against the wheels of justice?

And just what is the connection between The Crucifier, the cult and the high-profile target?

With Spaghetti Western overtones, the chase from Liverpool to London and through both Birmingham UK and Alabama, finds both detectives having to confront their darkest demons in pursuit of the sweet taste of revenge.

Where can I purchase Mind Guerrilla?

Well although it will be appearing in various bookshops, the 21st century leads mainly to one place for book purchases and that is of course Amazon:

Here is the link to my Amazon author page where you can purchase Mind Guerrilla and also my debut novel ‘Beneath The Floodlight’s. Both books are aimed at an 18+ audience

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