Facist Dad

My daughter and I set off to work and radio 4 is on in the car. After 5 minutes I have to turn the radio off to explain what a drug dealer is and what the actions of the republicans in Ireland are in shooting them in the knees. She understands that some drugs are bad, some people selling drugs are bad and that that’s why they are being shot. I have to then explain “due process” where the police are told of a drug dealer and they arrest, search, charge, go to court, sentence and imprison. I then talk about how the republicans will just be told and shoot. She understands now about going through the correct processes and how people can lie and how the republicans are wrong.

All this in the five minute drive to school trying to avoid hung over suicidal pedestrians, militant “I WILL CROSS WHERE I FUCKING LIKE” mothers and cyclist using one hand to hold their cider and the other to make phone calls to their drug dealers – or am I generalising.

At school she (my daughter) runs off calling me “chilli sauce pants”. She comes back and grabs my coat and pulls me to watch her on the climbing frame. I watch and wince as she performs acrobatics that if mistimed would result in an iron lung, wheels chair or worse.

A group of boys are hitting each other with a gym bag and it gets a little rough. I notice that one kid is being hit on in turn by each of the boys. I quietly watch and try to not notice. Then fists come out and one of them hits the one victim in the eye. John Davenport (my favourite and strictest teacher) comes out of my mouth “OY”!!”. The kids stand statue-like. “PACK IT IN, NOW!”. They look sheepish. Some of them have never heard a person (possibly a man) shout like this. There is no way I am kidding and there is no way I will tolerate another movement against the victim. “MOVE!” and they slowly scuttle off. No one looks back. No one says a word. No cheeky kid shouts “fuck off fatty!” etc. The victim stands by the climbing frame and starts to cry. I say “You ok?” and he nods, letting a tear drop onto his cheak.

Now I don’t know what to do. I can handle shouting like a nazi. Tears are another issue. I look around for a teacher, a parent an adult other than me. Parents are stood, mouth open, staring at me. When I say staring, the break their gaze as soon as my eye meet theirs.

Again I am a social pariah.

No woman is stood there gushing about how manly I am or how masterful my command of tearaway bullies is. Nope. I viewed by a crowd like a shouty many. I expect to hear a voice saying “who’s he think he is?” or “can’t talk to my Carl like that!” etc. but, no. I’m a little deaf, so don’t hear too well. I can’t hear them voices or ideas, but I can feel their gaze.

Queueing time and I talk to the teacher when she appears and simply say “That kid at the back was being picked on and he’s upset”. The bullies, queueing to go in, shuffle uncomfortably, but I don’t point them out. A dark part of my mind has me cupping a hand over their sleeping mouths in the dark and whispering “Remember me?”.

I go to the car and drive to work.

A bike is riding 8 feet to the right of the cycle lane at 6 miles an hour. The taxi in front overtakes round the right making a revved statment punctuated with a horn blast of at least 5 seconds. I drive around the left and look as I go. She has no helmet. Fortunately the 3-year-old child sitting side-saddle on the cross bar has a helmt. No seat, but a helmet. I give her another 5 second blast. If I could I’d pull her off, slash her tires and shout at her.

A car is doing a three point turn on the roundabout and a lorry is drivin gon the wrong side of the road.

Chris Rea said this was the road to hell. It’s not. It’s the road to “someone else will sort it”. Had an accident – it’s someone else’s fault. Your were driving across a field full of children playing football? It’s the fault of the police who were trying to stop you stealing that car.

I’m becoming more right- wing as I get older.

Who put me in charge?
Why is it up to people like me to tell people they are doing wrong? Why am I picking up litter on my street?
Why do I clean the bench opposite of cider cans?
Why do I have to tell other peoples kids to not cross the road (even physically holding them back from jumping under cars)?

Easter. Rain. Depression.

So…. as a child I remember going on holiday with my aunt and uncle to Whitby or to Scarborough where my mother’s cousins lived and we could get a cheap holiday. My parents divorced and we didn’t go away on holiday “properly” until I was about 12. I remember holidaying with the stepfather and mum and sister when I was 12. We went at Easter (it was cheaper). The weather was sleet and rain for 7 days in a damp infested cottage, self catering and about 20 miles from a beach in Cornwall. I remember watching the damp patches and thinking “It that rain coming in or damp coming up?”. Utter depression. Hazel O Connor was on the radio 1 every hour singing “Will you”. This continued for a few years. Self catering. Easter. Then one year we went to Majorca. Then we didn’t go on holiday again (as I remember it).

Hazel O Connor – Will You?

You drink your coffee and,
I sip my tea and we’re,
sitting here, playing so cool thinking “what will be, will be”

It’s getting kinda late now.
I wonder if you’llstay now, stay now, stay now, stay now or,
will you just politely say “goodnight”.

I move a little closer to you,
not knowing quite what to do and I’m,
feeling all fingers and thumbs.
I spill my tea, oh silly me!

It’s getting kinda late now.
I wonder if you’llstay now, stay now, stay now, stay now or,
will you just politely say “goodnight”.

And then we touch; much too much
this moment has been waiting for a long, long time.
It makes me shiver, makesmakes me quiver,
This moment I am so unsure, this moment I have waited for
is it someting you’ve been waiting for?
Waiting for too?

Take of your eyes, bare your soul.
Gather me to you and make me whole.
Tell me your secrets, sing me the song.
Sing it to me in the silent tongue

It’s getting kinda late now.
I wonder if you’llstay now, stay now, stay now, stay now or,
will you just politely say “goodnight”.

Easter with my family. For years we had chocolate eggs. Normal happy stuff. Then when I was about 8 my mum decided chocolate was bad for you. I then started to get “other items” . One year we got cardboard eggs. I seem to remember it was full of paper flower petals. Another year is was wood. Seriously: I’m 9 and I’m telling the kids at school about my wooden egg “Yeah it’s got fucking flowers painted on it”. I remember one easter getting some Hungarian wooden double flute bollocks. My parents tried to fob me off with “Look at the decorative carving”.
I’d sit in my Star Wars wallpapered bedroom and stare at the kids across the street, chocolate around their mouths. Happy. Bastards.

Royston Vasey by the sea.

If you know the TV show “League of Gentlemen”, you’ll be familiar with the town where odd things happen. Not just odd, but bizarre. Things work the wrong way around. Things that should be spectacular are spectacularly dull. Things that should be non-existent are the norm. See “Withernsea carnival” and die.

One thing I need to point out here – I do love Withernsea and its people.

One scene sticks in my mind when I think of the League of Gentlemen. It was pure genius. it takes a special mind to see the world this way:
A man stands on a street corner
“Lighters: three for a pound. Three for a pound. Lighters”
A man walk up and hand over three lighters and the first man hands over a pound coin.

I was in Withernsea at the weekend. My wife grew up in Withernsea and people I know and like seem to come from “With”. Friends at work. First friend I made in Hull. Wife.

Mother-in-law.

This is why I was in “With”. Clearing my Mother-in-laws house before she moves lcoser to Hull and family.

I went to a charity shop with a pile of book and black bin liners full of VHS (and yes – Beta) video tapes. I was disheartened, but felt a small leap of joy as they happily took the books and refused the original Disney films. The book lives on longer than video. There was something wonderful about that, but I still had to dispose of the VHS tapes (12 bin liners full!).

Anyways, I digress.

After the charity shop I walked through an indoor market / car boot sale and persused the nonsense for sale. The usual tat was on display. Old copies of James Herriot novels stood side-by side with brass horseshoes and plastic flowers.

Then one stall caught my eye. This one had a collection of DIY tools and supplies. Nirvana! Mecca for dads. So I walked over with a bit more purpose. Then it struck me. They sold the “Withernsea equivalent” of B&Q. Half used rolls of gaffer tape, a spirit level with the glass tube missing/ broken. Then one set of items stopped me in my tracks. I actually stopped breathing. There amongst the rusting screw drivers was a collection of about 20 three pin electrical plugs – all different designs and colours, all with 2 inches of cord sticking out and cut off. WTF!?

The only time I have seen this sort of thing is when a burgular takes an electrical item and cuts the cord to make a speedy exit without having to untangle spaghetti behind the TV before making to the nearest pub car park.

Mild shake of my head and I go back to my mother in laws house to continue the clearance. More bin liners full of magazines about the Amstrad CPC, telephone directories from the 1980’s.

As I get to the back of a cupboard, three feet deep in astology books, there in the dust is a rusting screwdriver and three plug with 2 inches of cord sticking out of them.

If you want a mind blowing experience. Go to Withersea. Don’t just glance at the high street. Scratch the surface. read the post office adverts and the newsagent windows. Read about the handyman who will “Do anything to anyone and any time”, marvel at the advert for the “Man with a van – will move anything (no lifting!)” then look in a second hand shop and try to work out who would buy a china statuette of a bird with wings missing.

One stall had a power converter for a car – you know it plugs in the cigarette lighter and provides 240v for a hairdryer etc.(http://www.maplin.co.uk/car-and-sat-nav/vehicle-power/invertors). I asked how much and the man said £15. I said I’d think about it and walked off. After passing by on the way back to the car I noticed it had gone. Then, I saw it on another stall. I asked the lady here and she said £20. She explained she had seen me ask and thought she could make a quick £5. She actually explained her thinking. I walked off. Mind boggling.

 

Supermarket story:

We went to the supermarket on Sunday.

Nothing unusual there.

Here’s an observation: The people who make an impression on you through visual contact or through a comment bump into you as you traverse the aisles.

The nice lady who commented on my daughter’s knowledge of fish species was met on each aisle as we shopped.

The family with 3 girls roughly the same age as my daughter were there on each turn.

Sometimes going faster than us, sometimes slower, sometimes the opposite direction.

The fruit area is wide and open and welcoming. Fresh fruit, colourful displays and attractive signage all draw you in.

But, as we get closer into the shop, the aisles get narrower and the shelves denser. The people who were 10 feet away choosing a pineapple are now struggling to get past the beans on display and the bread toppling off the shelves.

My daughter isn’t aware of the etiquette of shopping in a massive supermarket. She stands next to the trolley and not behind or in front. She dawdles and stares into space. She is attracted to the colours and the labels. She is also practising her reading: “That says ‘Tip Top'” etc.

As this slow walking gets slower and the aisles get narrower, the speed of a 6-year-old becomes a minor irritation.

I ask her not to turn a corner and stop.

I ask her to not turn a corner and stop.

I ask her a little more forcefully to not turn a corner and stop. I’m getting annoyed now.

The next corner is met with me stating (quite loudly) “Look! Either move or get out of the way!”.

Ten pairs of eyes look at me. They move out of my way. I start to apologise and say I was talking to my daughter and then decide to talk to my daughter “Please keep moving” I say to her – hoping everyone will understand that I am talking to her and not the crowd of retreating shopper.

A couple of aisles later and I notice the same shoppers moving out of my way.

Another aisle later and I see people turning the corner, see me and back off and go to another aisle. “let’s come back to this one” etc

I’m a pariah in Morrisons.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shopping_cart

So called “Working class hero” visits “lesbania”.

I’ve been busy. This was written over a month ago, but it’s still relevant. You may think I’m sexist. Honestly I’m not. I just think some people are pretentious idiots.

A return trip to Hebden Bridge has brought the rough working class side of my nature out. I like to think that although we weren’t poor, we were still working class. My parents got married and moved into their parents home. This is probably why I like Peter Tinniswood.

The more I saw signs of middle class aspirations over the needs of the masses, the more enraged I became.

The first place we visited when we arrived was a Spar. I needed paracetamol and milk. I couldn’t understand why there was such a large queue to buy things like a sliced loaf or a tin of cat food.

When we continued around Hebden, it not only became apparent, but with ruthless regularity, the words “organic” and “fairtrade” rammed home the nature of it all.

Shop after shop screamed “lesbian organic co-operative” selling fairtrade home made candles candles, sandals and wood carvings – all for 10 to 100 times their actual value. Why buy a box of candles from Tesco for 85p when you can buy a single hand made candle for £12 each? Why? ‘cos Jocasta made it with her life partner “Rainbow”. Everywhere I looked there were things that you don’t need at prices you couldn’t afford. There’s no Wilkinsons, no Heron, no cheap frozen food stores. Where do people buy batteries? What about nails? Who sells light bulbs? Does the lesbian co-operative make glue or paper clips? Each shop I looked in irritated me more.

When I walk around ASDA I overhear conversations that now sound like sweet music. In Hebden I heard a kid called “Ollie” being told off for asking for a packet of crisps. He hadn’t eaten his humus at breakfast. Honestly – this isn’t stolen from Viz*. “Ollie”, in Hebden, is the equivalent to “Dave” in the rest of the UK. One name I heard was “Rave” FFS!

Adults in Hebden have a hairy smugness about them. In other towns they’d be ridicules. Here they have found a haven for wannna-be-hippy behaviour. The kids though have a tired exasperation about them. I wanted to be a pied piper and take all the kids off to a sweet shop and then onto Toy-R-Us. “Come with me ‘Elfnature’ Johnson and we can have a sugar rush and play some Nintendo!”.

I have never visited a place that I have thought requires, nay, DEMANDS a punk ukulele group. I wanted to gate-crash a primal screaming group therapy session drunk and vomiting, I wanted to burn carried bags in the street, I wanted a McDonalds to open in the peace park. I wanted to shower in cheap cider.

I wanted to go back to my Edwardian town house, in my tree lined avenue and sit in my 130 foot garden (probably drink an imported Pilsner lager).  Get me! Chav!

 

*

More misery. Come in. Pull up a chair.

My mind always goes to the darkest places. I’ve had therapy. My wife once said everyone does it. I then went on to tell her something that struck me. An observation. I thought she’d say “oh we all think like that”. She didn’t. She asked me not to talk about things like that, it’s depressing and could I not talk to our daughter about that ever.

I’m not that bad, but when I see some things my mind wanders to what could be the worse case scenario.

The other night I was driving and I saw a family of four crossing the road as I stopped. Mum and dad in their 40’s two girls under 10. Father, looking worn and a little angry. Mum had been crying. Kids a little scared and tired.  It was after 10:30pm and and kids were under 10 years old. My mind instantly replayed the scene as burly men pushed them from their rented flat and into the night, leaving all their worldly possessions behind. The kids were allowed to take one toy and a bag of clothes (which they were carrying as the crossed the road). In  my mind they had been walking the streets since 6pm looking for shelter or someone to help them since 6pm. They’d get thrown out of the 24hour supermarket and end up being hassled by the transport police a the train station/ bus depot. Mum would ring the women’s refuge and get shelter for her and the kids, but dad wouldn’t be allowed. They’d have to lie and say he beat her. The family would be split up and dad would turn to drink under a bridge and drugs in a  shelter. He’d be thrown out of the shelter for the drugs and end up sleeping rough. Mental health issues and eventual suicide would follow. His body would never be identified after floating in the cold brown Humber for 3 months.

The light changes to green and the family have crossed. The rapid spiral descending from a missed rent payment to death for the Humber Bridge had been played out in my mind in 20 seconds.

I drove home past short skirts, tattoos and fake tan. Into the night and more dark thoughts.

I’m tired (and violent)

My head hurts.

I’m tried when I get home. I’m more tired having walked and it’s warm. I don’t do a physical job and it shows. Fatty. But, to have to think for other people all day is exhausting. Where do all the mentals come from? Are they sane at home and only difficult and odd at work?

We have people who will spend the best part of two 40 hour weeks arguing with IT staff about what they think software should do, rather than accepting what it does do and utilising it effectively. Someone picked an argument and then backed it up with knowledge of written English as to the use of the word “Permissions” (but not in an IT sense).

I see even the most senior and serious staff as naughty children denying their stupid behaviour. “No I don’t know how that Nigerian scam got my 15 character, computer generated password. They must have guessed it. What? You can see it was me who sent them my details via email? It’ must have been someone who found my computer unlocked? What? you can see I was logged in and my pass card was used to get into the building at that time?”.  really? REALLY!? As  Dr or Professor, that the best you can come up with? That’s the best you can do? Not “oops, I thought it was legitimate. My mistake! I won’t do it again”. Is that beyond some people?

We are warned that pride will be our downfall, but I’m sure it was meant that pride as a guilty embarrassment, something that you might refuse to accept that leads to a problem in the future. I see it as a fat IT bloke caving you head with a keyboard shouting “DON’T GIVE YOUR PASSWORDS TO ANYONE!“.

Bloody Keyboard - bloody, keyboard