Archive for December, 2008

Rainbow Harlot

December 16, 2008


rainbow harlot“Last Year’s Troubles”

Last year’s troubles are so old fashioned
the robber on the highway the pirate on the seas
maybe it’s the clothing that’s so entertaining
the earrings and swashbuckling blouses that please

here we have heroes of times that have passed now
but nobody these days has that kind of chin
over there the petticoats of ladies of virtue
you can hardly tell them from the petticoats of sin 

last year’s troubles

look at all the waifs of Dickensian England
why is it their suffering is more picturesque?
must be cause their rags are so very Victorian
the ones here at home just don’t give it their best

last years troubles they shine up so pretty
they gleam with a luster they don’t have today
here it’s just dirty and violent and troubling

last year’s troubles 

but trouble is still trouble and evil still evil
sometimes we wonder; is there more now, or less?
if we had a tool or could tally the handfuls
measure for measure it’s the same would be my guess

Suzanne Vega


Him:  Why do middle class girls weigh less than their working class counterparts?
Me: Because they learn to purge.

All Aboard the Gravy Train

December 14, 2008

Circle of Visciousness

Interesting comment by Peter Hitchens in his Mail on Sunday Column.  And, God forgive me, I agree with him.  I feel all dirty now.  I’m going to be scrubbing my skin with scouring pad and bleach for the next week.

My mother, a psychiatric nurse in inner city Birmingham, on an acute ward told me how the addiction gravy train works. Here’s what happens: police bring addict in to the acute ward.  The next day they meet with the consultant psychiatrist and key nurse and a care plan is drawn up.  One of the conditions of that care plan will be that if the addict leaves the hospital and returns obviously under the influence of drugs they will be discharged.  In numerous cases this is exactly what they will do – leave the hospital and return clearly under the influence of their drug of choice.  The nurses will recommend discharge.  The patient will meet with his/her consultant and the nurses will almost invariably be overruled, proving that the care plan is, quite literally, not worth the paper it’s written on.

Treating addicts as helpless victims is not always helpful and, in many cases, it can be downright destructive.  Because the hidden message is that they will always be addicts, that they are not capable of anything else; that this is all they are and this is all they ever will be.  By failing to treat addicts as autonomous beings who are responsible for their own actions, you are depriving them of their humanity. And that’s more insulting than a thousand ‘right wing tirades’ could ever be.

Sometimes kindness can kill.

Episode of Panorama:

December 12, 2008

girl in the rain
on euthanasia, in the wake of a number of British citizens travelling to Dignitas in Switzerland.  It can be found here. They are described as a ‘Swiss assisted suicide (euthanasia) group that helps those with incurable physical and mental illnesses’.

The possibility for voluntary euthanasia for the mentally ill is hardly ever addressed.  It’s too controversial.  We too are trapped not by physical pain but by emotional pain.  I am not asking for your empathy.  I am not even asking for your sympathy.  I am only asking to be heard.  I can’t do what you want me to do.  I cannot be like you.  All the medication in the world will never be enough.  Nobby is the only thing that is anchoring me to this life, and as much as I hate to acknowledge this, he is the only human being on the planet I can relate to in any meaningful way.  With other people it is as though there is an invisible, soundproof wall that descends and stands between us whenever I try to initiate contact.  I am screaming and pounding on the wall until my fists are bloodied but I remain unheard.  I can see and hear them but they are not even aware of my existence.

Dr S says that I look nothing like Karen Matthews.
Dr S says I am nothing like Karen Matthews.
He says I do not deserve to die
I say he is wrong.

Further Fragmentation

December 12, 2008


Me: They hate us, don’t they?
Him: Yes
Me: You’ve made me feel like jumping off the roof. I’ll wash my hair and put on my favourite dress so I’ll look good when I hit the ground.
Him: No one looks good when they hit the ground.

Confirmation that the ‘left’ despise the untermenschen more than the ‘right’ can be found here. More nauseating hypocrisy from The Independent. Can we say Lumpen Proletariat?  Now, there’s someone who won’t survive my revolution.  It’ll be the kind of revolution in which I get to practise my knitting.  My suggestion to the powers that be is that they should terminate everyone’s benefits right now and tonight I’m gonna party like it’s 1789!

New Cat

December 10, 2008


Cloth CatNot quite ready for the real thing just yet.

We’re in a room without a door
And I am sure without a doubt
They’re gonna wanna know
How we got in here
And they’re gonna wanna know
How we plan to get out
We better have a good explanation
For all the fun that we had
‘Cuz they are coming for us, baby
They are going to be mad
They are going to be mad at us

Shameless, Ani Difranco

Damned Cheek!

December 9, 2008

The unexamined life is not worth living

– Socrates

The unlived life is not worth examining

– Anonymous.

Life has not ravaged me because I have never lived’

– Me

‘I do think the right wing press is evil’

Michael Portillo

Amanda Platell’s ‘contribution’ to the ‘Karen Matthews’ debate can be found here.  It is referenced on this blog.  Ms. Platell proceeds to label ‘Formula 1 champion and Swiss resident Lewis Hamilton’  ‘hypocrite of the week’.

This is the same Amanda Platell who was press officer to William Hague from 1997-2001. No, it is Ms. Platell who is the hypocrite of the week. Hypocrite of the century. Those of us with a half decent memory recall how she betrayed the Tories after the general election of 2001. She kept a ‘secret video diary’ of the election campaign and then unleashed it on the world when the Tories, to whom she had pledged her loyalty, lost.  She exploited their downfall.  What motivated her then? Greed and the desire for fame would be my guess which makes her, ultimately, no better than the ‘terrifying underclass’ she condemns.  Karen Matthews, she asserts, is the ‘personification of that terrifying growing phenomenon: a feckless, amoral, workshy, benefit-dependent underclass’.  Ms. Platell is, in my humble opinion*, the personification of the lack of personal loyalty endemic in the ‘political class’.  And, if those people can’t be loyal to one another, then how can we expect them to honour their commitments to the public?

*A phrase that will probably never emanate from the keyboard of Ms. Platell.

Addendum: And, according to this blogger, every member of the ‘underclass’ is a clone of Karen Matthews.  This is what she has to say about Ms. Matthews’s neighbours: ‘I know all the neighbours ‘rallied round’ but these are exactly the same people who would also get up a lynch mob in a nanosecond, were there even a whisper of paedophilia in their area.’ (Let’s rephrase that sentence: ‘these are exactly the same people who would get up a lynch mob in a nanosecond, were there even a whisper of  ‘a member of the underclass’ in the area’.  That’s more like it.  The words ‘pot’ and ‘kettle’ spring to mind for some reason. Cool header/graphics though!)

My Response: ‘I can’t see how you could possibly know that.  And the ‘lynch mob’ mentality you refer to can be found in our mainstream media, in newspapers staffed by (mostly) middle class journalists.’

Addendum 2: :  the nihilist in me, however, finds it hard to disagree with this: ‘It’s hard for me to imagine being so brutish and de-sensitised, living each day totally in the moment, like a hyena. If that is the direction we are heading in as a species then we may as well just nuke the lot just now and leave it to the cockroaches.’  I don’t believe, however, that people who live their lives in this manner are confined to a particular social class.  If you want proof of that then look at the antics of the so-called British ‘aristocracy’.  And I derive hope from stories such as this. The sentence handed down by the judge was pretty derisory and this case received relatively little publicity in the British media.  One fact the journalists picked up on was that reading was for this girl a ‘passion’. I hope she can carry that with her into the future. I hope she succeeds in spite of the abuse that was inflicted upon her by her so-called parents. No one should be written off and many people from abusive backgrounds can and do make a success of their lives. No one is ‘doomed’ to failure and, if society believes that they are and condemns them to a state of eternal victimhood, then it is compounding the injustice inflicted upon them by those who were supposed to care for them.  And this, heartbreakingly, is the future that certain people seem to be wishing upon Shannon Matthews.  That is the last thing this little girl needs right now.  What she needs, more than anything else in the world, is for people to believe in her.

And for some reason every time I think about the Matthews children a phrase enters my head: ‘Done because we are too menny.’

In case you’re curious, my opinions on ‘mindless procreation’ and promiscuity can be found here and here.  In the meantime instead of  ‘paying people to have brats’ (not my words) we should pay people to have cats because they’re cooler and cheaper to keep and you don’t have to spend half your life looking like a beached whale!

A little late but while I was on my travels I came across this on Deborah Lipstadt’s blog.  Channel Four never had much of a mind to lose. Controversy at any price.

Yet Another Freaking Addendum: I wonder if people regard the behaviour of the bloke in this article as being ‘typical’ of the ‘educated middle classes’ aka the Übermenschen.  A rhetorical question really because we all know they wouldn’t and I’d be prepared to stake my life on that.  And they’d be right not to.  Unlike Karen Matthews he is not expected to be ‘an ambassador for his class’. Funny that.

‘Sink Estate’ Or ‘Life in the Ghetto of the Damned’

December 8, 2008




 Midnight. A knock at the door.
Open it? Better had.
Three heavy cats, mean and bad.

They offer protection. I ask, ‘What for?’
The Boss-cat snarls, ‘You know the score.
Listen man and listen good

If you wanna stay in the neighbourhood,
Pay your dues or the toms will call
And wail each night on the backyard wall.

Mangle the flowers, and as for the lawn
a smelly minefield awaits you at dawn.’
These guys meant business without a doubt

Three cans of tuna, I handed them out.
They then disappeared like bats into hell
Those bad, bad cats from the CPL.

Roger McGough


I’d like to tell you about the horrors we witness on a daily basis on our particular ’sink’ estate. 

There is a ninety two year old world war two veteran who still has his service revolver.  (although it has no bullets so that means I can’t borrow it to shoot myself). He also claims that he is still capable of killing someone with his bare hands (although I don’t actually believe this) as a result of his commando training.  There was an old lady who died last year, aged 102.  When she reached 100 and received a telegram from the queen she said that our reigning monarch could shove it up her posterior.  (although she didn’t actually use that word).  There is another old lady who used to sleep with American GIs during the war in exchange for silk stockings.

We are also terrorised by a gang of mad cats. I think they’re called the Cats’ Protection League.  They are never seen together but the intimidation they inflict upon us must be co-ordinated.  They are feral felines, not unlike the Kray twins. They are specie-ist and intimidate the local Canine population. They say that ‘Everything has gone to the dogs’.  Well, not in our area.  Here, everything’s gone to the cats! They miaow loudly outside your door and when you are forced to let them in they eat your food and scratch your furniture.  I also hear they are addicted to cat-nip although it’s hard to distinguish the users from the dealers.   There aren’t enough rehab facilities for them. They fight amongst each other.  The courts give them special animal ASBOs but they simply ignore them. There aren’t enough interpreters who speak ‘Miaow’.  One came into my flat and stayed with me for ten years before finally succumbing to mortality.    

And, in addition to all this degradation and desperation, my house has been inhabited by a bunch of insane teddy bears who party incessantly and keep us awake.  They plan to go to war with the Feral Felines.  We really do inhabit the Ghetto of the Damned.

Now, I’m so depressed after having written all that – all the sordid details, the sheer wretchedness of our lives – I’m going to throw myself off the roof.


December 6, 2008

In response to this although it probably won’t be printed:

Most of the people I know on ‘welfare’ have very serious mental health problems. In the past such people would have been inhabiting long-stay mental health wards in traditional psychiatric hospitals. They do not exist anymore because they were closed down and the land on which they were built was sold off at rock-bottom prices to private industry. Who was responsible for this? The last Tory government. You say you have been a doctor for twenty years. Did you approve of this and, if not, did you protest? Just curious.

I am also curious about what the good doctor thinks of middle class people who abuse their children.  When I was on an eating disorders unit I heard some pretty nasty stories* of  middle class parents maltreating their children.  What causes this?  These people most certainly were not on welfare.  And, if the actions of Karen Matthews reflect the morality and ‘values’ (or lack thereof) of an entire class then is the same true of their social superiors who subject their own children to abuse? And, if not, then why not?

*And I am prepared to admit that my fellow patients’ stories may have been exaggerations or even outright fabrications.  But these people are middle class.  They wouldn’t do a thing like that, would they? They are, after all, innately superior.  But in the unlikely event that my fellow patients were lying, whining attention seekers then that must mean that all middle class brats are lying, whining attention seekers because for the concept of collective guilt to have any validity then it must be applicable to all groups of people, right?

Addendum: You may be aware that more and more working class girls are now suffering from eating disorders. Anorexia, in particular, used to be an illness confined almost exclusively to the middle classes. Still, the lower classes have always been urged to emulate their ‘betters’ and I guess that is exactly what they are doing. Good on ’em, huh?

‘Little Shannon’

December 5, 2008

The mood and temper of the public in regard to the treatment of crime and criminals is one of the most unfailing tests of the civilization of any country…an unfailing faith that there is a treasure if only you can find it, in the heart of every man – these are the symbols which in the treatment of crime and criminals mark and measure the stored-up strength of a nation, and are the sign and proof of the living virtue in it.

Winston Churchill to the House of Commons, July 1910

 ‘…the individuals who sat at the table at the Wannsee conference were salaried functionaries from one of Europe’s great nations, not back-street terrorists, though their crimes were to be greater than any conventional ‘criminal’ act in the history of the world. Equally instructive, when some still refer to an ill-educated ‘criminal underclass’, is that of the fifteen people around the table eight had academic doctorates.’ (My italics).

Auschwitz, the Nazis and the Final Solution, Laurence Rees

The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.

Ecclesiastes  1:9

Shannon’s mother, the now infamous Karen Matthews is, according to Detective Superintendent Andy Brennan pure evil‘.  If this is so then what does that make this man (Peter Tobin)?  His story barely registered on my radar simply because it was not front page news and my patience with the mainstream media is almost at an end.  If the mainstream media coverage reflects the severity of a crime then that would make Ms. Matthews more evil than Mr. Tobin.  Feckless, inarticulate and not exactly over-endowed with brains she may be but ‘pure evil’?  In the grand scheme of things, I don’t think so.  She sucks at being evil and is, at this very moment, awaiting a rejection letter from hell.  Satan himself wrote: “Evil?  We’ve got Hitler, we’ve got Pol Pot, we’ve got Stalin.  Sorry, love, but your name ain’t down here so you’re not coming in.’

Superintendent. Brennan also (most unwisely in my opinion) stated his belief that if the police hadn’t found Shannon and arrested Michael Donavon when they did then she may have been murdered.  There appears to be no concrete evidence to support this, only speculation.  One has to wonder why, if this is true, Mr. Donovan was never charged with attempted murder.  This:  ‘Little Shannon Matthews may have been just minutes from being murdered when she was rescued, senior detectives revealed last night. They believe Michael Donovan was poised to kill her and flee when officers burst into the flat’ sounds like pure conjecture to me. ‘ Supt Andy Brennan, who led the massive hunt for the youngster said: “I am convinced Donovan was planning to take Shannon’s  life rather than face justice.’ ‘

I am not defending the actions of Ms. Matthews.  I condemn them unequivocally.  I also believe that her treatment at the hands of the mainstream media is, in comparison to the treatment of offenders who have committed similar crimes, somewhat disproportionate.  And I have a feeling her sentence will be too.

As for ‘Little Shannon’, she will probably wind up in care or spending what is left of her childhood in the custody of a seemingly endless stream of foster parents.  Until she is sixteen, that is, and the media lose interest in her and the cycle starts all over again.  Or maybe she’ll get the support she needs, compete school and even end up at university before embarking upon a high flying career.  In a parallel universe perhaps, one in which things actually make sense.

Predictably, this case is being used as a stick with which to beat the so-called ‘underclass’ and, even more predictably, it’s being used as a stick with which to beat new Mainstream Media Enemy No. 1: social workers.  No surprises there then.

Voices II

December 5, 2008



I awake in the middle of the night, my heart pounding, my skin damp and I am cold, so cold. I did not know, until now, how much they hated us. I did not know (or maybe I did but just could not bring myself to acknowledge it) how much they fear us. We are dangerous, you see. We hurt people. It must be true because the media says it is. The truth is that, if I thought I were about to harm others, I would stop myself by harming myself. I read the headlines churned out by the tabloid press day after day and I am afraid. It is an indescribable fear, one that threatens to choke the very breath out of me.

They provide fuel to the voices deep with me that tell me that I am grotesque, fat, an abomination, a witch. That all manner of pain should be inflicted upon me, that I am evil, that I should be burnt at the stake. Some of these voices filter through the shield that the medication provides, a little like missiles penetrating the Reagan/Bush Starwars project. They sneak in like lilliputian secret agents. They infiltrate my brain despite every effort I have made to keep them out. And I hate them. I would kill them stone dead if I could.

The use of medication is a scattergun approach. They subdue the majority of these unwanted alien voices but the more devious, those that appear with beautiful and seductive words on their lips (I owe a debt to Primo Levi for that) slip through.  And I hate to anthropomorphize these voices but I can think of no other way to convey their power to a wider audience. They can be overwhelmingly persuasive. So I throw open the door and admit them.

At first those voices – those undercover agents that have infiltrated my mind – are quiet, considerate houseguests but soon benevolence morphs into belligerence and they bleed into what is left of my mind and my inner world is now occupied territory and the cycle repeats itself.  And I am afraid.  I am so afraid.

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