Tag Archives: Society

Homophobia in Sport

It’s 12 years ago today that Justin Fashanu hung himself in a lockup garage not a kilometre from where I’m sitting now, miserable, pursued by a press following up an unsubstantiated assault charge, he spent his last wretched hours in Chariots sauna – if you ever needed to sum up a fall from grace the dark alleyways of Shoreditch are a long way from being the first Black, openly gay million pound footballer.

12 years is a long time, the world has moved on – but we still don’t seem to be any closer to sport and gay people coming together, sure we’ve got gay football and rugby teams, but we’re not exactly represented in top flight sport? Why is it – when even our military has come round to having it’s pink contingent – that top flight sport seems so entirely unable to come to terms with the fact that some people are gay: it’s an odd area that doesn’t seem to have moved with society.

There’s an interesting article about this in Today’s indie, not sure it comes to any conclusion, much like this blog – as I’m not sure that there’s a conclusion to come to, things don’t seem to have changed, there’s a lot of talk; but still no action.

It’s the final countdown

We’re now in the final few days before what I consider to be the most important election in my lifetime: the choice is clear – more of the same, a slow slide toward authoritarian big state dragging out society toward economic and social failure, or two very different choices that are at the same time almost the same. You see the problem with the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats is that there’s stuff in both their manifesto’s that I like and dislike in equal measure – It’s going to be a difficult one, but I think the military family history and the entrepreneur in me will keep my vote in the Conservative box: I just hope that Cameron now comes good on his big liberal society promises, and finally answers the parties European issues.

The one thing you can expect, is that this week is going to be dirty – people are going to be spinning and smearing all week: it’s going to be vicious: I think I’ll be down at Haymarket’s Sports Café for live coverage until dawn – either that or stuck in the office with pizza and beer cheering Blinky Balls getting his arse kicked.

The yoof of today.

So there we are in Pizza Express on Notting Hill Gate tucking into wholesome doughy goodness after a long day and an evening meeting when at 10.15pm the waiter has to rush to the inner door to hold it closed against three small boys, 10 minutes later they returned and the waiter wasn’t quite so quick to hold the door shut; as they burst into the restaurant they went straight for the people at the tables, “trick or treat” they cried, their lack of costumes and cups rattling under your nose showed they weren’t out for harmless fun, but cold hard cash: I felt like picking them up and throwing them in front of the 94, or even better the Oxford Tube (it’s got an extra set of wheels you know, for that extra level of squishiness that you just don’t get with an LT bus…), but the waiter once again shooed them away before they were able to wreak any further havoc on our quiet evening meals to high pitched cries of “don’t touch me”.

They couldn’t have been much more than 12, one looked morbidly obese, and it made me think just how much the world’s changed, being almost ancient (26 on Thursday *sob*) I can remember back when I was that age that you just wouldn’t have dared do something like that. To be honest I wasn’t even allowed to trick or treat, and frankly if I’d have spoken to any adult like they did to the waiter and diners yesterday evening that my parents would have booted me firmly into the middle of next year with a size 11 up my arse… it certainly left Dave and I wondering, has the world really changed that much in just a few years? And if it has where are the kids of today going to end up?

Railways are dangerous – well duh!

I’m sorry if this sounds harsh, but this has annoyed me: Family campaigns for rail safety. What? As if the fences, gates, big signs saying do not trespass on the railway, danger trains & danger high voltage electricity signs, plus all of the thousands of posters, television and radio adverts plus in school education… aren’t enough?!

It’s very simple Railways are *DANGEROUS* – trains are heavy chunks of metal moving at great speed normally powered by electricity that’s either an obvious third (or indeed third and fourth) rail or by overhead cantary wires? – I mean it’s obvious it’s dangerous, so why is it every time some kid is (tragically – and it is tragically) killed do you always get a flood of calls for better safety? It’s very simple… stay off and away from the railway: you wouldn’t hear a call for ‘greater safety’ if a kid got killed by taking a shortcut across 8 lanes of the M25 moving at 70mph as a shortcut, so why is it every time this happens on the railways the families react as if it’s the train companies fault? Do you honestly think they don’t do more because they enjoy picking up pieces of teenager? If people were a taught a little bit more responsibility, they’d perhaps think before acting and not end up in as much trouble?

I’m really on my high horse about this one, I mean they’re calling for all third rail systems to be replaced with overhead wires, perhaps forgetting the billions of pounds and years of work it would take to do this, in this day and age it always seems to be someone elses fault, it couldn’t possibly be because you omitted to tell your child not to take ridiculous shortcuts that take her across a busy railway?! – Take responsibility for crying out loud, yes it’s tragic: but don’t expect the world to change around you.

This is so symptomatic of the problem that is crippling the UK at the moment, no one understands the value of responsibility, it’s all great fun till somebody loses a bollock and then the world cries blue murder, and what’s annoying is we’ve seen it all in the past couple of weeks, the war cry of ‘we didn’t know’ seems to be a cover-all that indemifies practically everyone from taking responsibility for things that they either should have known about, or at least should have thought about.

Auto-big-headed-ographies

So Pete Doherty’s going to release his memoirs, it’s amazing with all the drugs the papers allege he takes that he can remember anything at all. I can just see it now…

June 1st – Got Stoned
June 2nd – Got Stoned
June 3rd – Got Arrested
June 4th – Got Stoned
June 5th – Verbally Vomited over some new song, and got stoned,
June 10th – Got stoned, did ‘community service’
June 11th – Got Stoned

I’m getting a little sick of seeing people release diaries, sure do it after you’ve lived an interesting life, but when you’re in your mid-twenties it all seems a bit, well… bandwagonie… if that’s even a word. I mean someone in their mid-twenties, what’s there to talk about? The first five years is the same as everyone else, shitting yerself, falling over, learning to walk, talk and stay continent, then there’s the school day’s, which frankly no one wants to hear about, ‘oh i was bullied’ or whatever, what bollocks: well join the club you’re no different to anyone else… then that leaves, what; 5 or 6 years between finishing education and where they are now in life to talk about? And what gets me is they manage to fill a whole book with it, (although most of that is down to using a size 14 font throughout), it’s the same as 2 year old bands having the gall to release a ‘best of’, I mean what are they going to do after that? It’s almost like they’ve lived their life, stop at 30 and then die, and as much as in some cases you might want that to be the case it’s not how things happen in real life is it?

I’m amazed at what crap people put in these books, ok some people may have had a stunning life, but if all you’ve done is get famous for getting your tits out, or lounging about in a house live on channel four, it’s hardly going to make a gripping read is it? It’s just the cult of celebrity taking yet another stride towards the completely ridiculous in my humble opinion

</rant over>

“Positive” Discrimination

The Met really should get a better communications consultancy, as the timings of their releases and general handling of the press sucks arse: yet another example of this has come to light this week, in a week when relations between the Muslim community and the Met is probably at an all time low it’s come to light that a report has highlighted that Muslim (especially Pakistani Muslim) officers in the Force are more likely to be corrupt than their white counterparts: now the fact that the report has been compiled by a high profile Asian (although I’m not sure whether he’s Muslim) officer should have given the report some credibility from the background of the Met only having recently been labeled institutionally racist, but in the light of last weeks raid in East London now might have been a good time to apply some strategic communications strategy to at least appear as if you’re not out and out goading the community to go to war with the force?

Obviously people have leapt to the usual sound-bites of racism, perhaps to afraid to actually consider that the report might be true, which is worrying, to often now people leap to the defence of the indefensible on the assumption that no matter if it’s right or wrong it’s racist/sexist/or any other *ist to mention it. This strikes me as ridiculous, in just the same way that we’re now in a society that’s openly tolerating “positive” discrimination (i.e. it doesn’t matter if he/she or it is any good at what they actually do, they just fit the racial, sexual, gender, disability profile we need). Society needs to be yanked back on it’s leash, and needs to take this social PC bullshit seriously, when problems, disadvantages and home truths are being swept under the carpet just because people are afraid of speaking out means that we’ve lost the freedoms that have in the past been denied to the very people (and I speak as a member of a minority) who over the years have had their freedoms and rights curtailed.

Mydeathspace.com – and the questions of virtual friendships & grief

The internet’s always had a morbid side, there’s always been places to go to tread on the other side of the tracks, to think about things you wouldn’t normally consider, including, so I’m informed: ways to commit suicide, videos of insurgent executions, and even a questionnaire to figure out how long you’re likely to live, but the oddest I’ve heard of so far (via: the guardian podcast) is mydeathspace.com a site of obituaries and reports of deaths of members of the now ubiquitous website myspace.com.

It’s sad reading, a collection of suicides, overdoses, car crashes, murders and other assorted accidents and illnesses, but it’s telling that the two highest forms of death from the brief look I had at the site were car accidents (hardly a shock when the average age on myspace seems to be around about 18) and more worryingly suicide. Is it the case that some of these people are living two lives, a life online full of virtual chat and friends, and a life offline of loneliness and depression?

There are people that are now shouting ghoulishly that there should be a proper obituary area on myspace, but I don’t think this will do anything other than creating a sense of mourning by default, creating what I almost guarantee would be a Diana style outpouring of crocodile tears, fueled by a sense that you have to be upset to fit in with the crowd, regardless of how well you knew someone (if at all…). What would be infinitely more useful would be for NewsCorp to show some Corporate Responsibility to it’s new found community, as well as making a ton of songs available to the users how about some advice pages, maybe even a couple of trained counselors that people could talk to if they’re feeling lonely, depressed or even suicidal?

People seem to forget that there’s no substitute for real human contact, for a real flesh and blood shoulder to cry on, to shout at, or even just to rest your head on, and the loneliest place in the world can be the one where you’re sat in front of your computer surrounded by virtual ‘buddies’ who when it comes down to it you’re very unlikely to see often in real life (if ever…) and when it comes down to the brutally honest truth there are people you know online who you’re happy to only know online, you wouldn’t want to meet them, or be a part of the life you talk about with them you’re just happy that they’re there online, continuing on the brutal truth (and it’s one that a lot of people who’ve worked or played with online communities can testify to) there are some people you’re “virtually” friends with who if they went ‘offline’ you’d not notice, you’d assume they just got bored, or they’ve joined another site, they could be laying in a morgue somewhere, but with the separation that ‘virtual’ friendships give you, you’d likely never know, and in time likely never care.

In pursuit of happiness

Other than one of the important things in life being the search for a good meal with excellent wine, there’s not many things that Michael Winner says that I normally find myself agreeing with: but his reasons for turning down an OBE in the queens honours’ list ring unfortunately true: things have changed so much in the world that people are getting congratulated for the smallest things, we seem to have come to a stage where people expect a pat on the back and recognition for everything they do, regardless of whether it’s something they’ve chosen to do, or simply something they have to do.

Winner’s example of someone cleaning the toilets at Kings Cross Station isn’t far off the mark if you look at some of the recent lists, yes there are still a fair number of people in the list that are doing genuinely good things, but amidst them are people like Beckham, who get paid a huge amount for what they do, and people who don’t seem to have done anything other than turn up to work for 40 years without being unfortunate enough to have had a cold that has stopped them from turning up… it’s a little like the students nowadays who instead of being incentivesed by simply wanting to excel themselves they’re now being paid to turn up to classes, I’m all for giving people reasons to do well, but money and accolade are supposed to come after you’ve done the hard work, nowadays with the growing expectation of instant gratification people just don’t seem to think that the hard work to get somewhere good seems to be worth doing.

I think it’s about time that there was a culture shift in the UK, we need to take our work more seriously, stop thinking that we’re entitled to ‘everything, Now’ and start a real understanding in the population that if you work hard you’ll be rewarded, and that there isn’t a shortcut to fortune, wealth, gratification, accolade and fame: Obviously people will point to people like BB entrants, or lottery winners, but they’re few and far between, and they’re not; as much as the media would like to tell us: representative of the real population. It’s not all about money, as David Cameron pointed out so wisely earlier this week, it’s about how happy you feel, and it’s perfectly possible to be happy and only moderately well off, you don’t need millions, or even thousands to be content that you’re making a difference to the world and to your own life… although I’d be telling porkies if I said that money didn’t figure in many people’s idea of what happiness is.

Open letter to Jay Leno

Interesting opening letter to Jay Leno here:

  • queerclick
    (content safe, adverts probably not worksafe)

Bigot

You know the disparity in the law in the UK always amazes me, how on earth can the Head of the Muslim Council of Britain Sir Iqbal Sacrani get away with the following, obviously homophobic comments, asked if he believed homosexuality was harmful to society, he said:

“Certainly it is a practice that in terms of health, in terms of the moral issues that comes along in a society – it is. It is not acceptable.”

he went on to say:

“Each of our faiths tells us that it is harmful and I think, if you look into the scientific evidence that has been available in terms of the forms of various other illnesses and diseases that are there, surely it points out that where homosexuality is practised there is a greater concern in that area.”

Ahem, yeah… whatever: and millions of straight men fucking without protection because ‘she’s on the pill’ isn’t harmful to the health of society?! What world does this moron live in, and how on earth can this man be an important public face while he’s preaching such bitter, unfounded hatred toward another quarter of society? If you replace the word “homosexuality” with “muslim”, you’d probably now face arrest if you aired that sort of thought in public, but he gets away with it.

He’s obviously a very small minded religiously driven bigot who’s not going to win any friends in Britain for his cause by preaching utter shite like that quoted above. You can read the full story at BBC Online here.