Sunday, 14 June 2015


'It's beyond my control', is one of my all time favourite movie lines (Dangerous Liasons), those four little words can be used to excuse pretty much anything, from promiscuity and hedonism to serial killing.  But they are of course, especially useful to anyone suffering from any form of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).  Why am I hoovering for the 3rd time today?  It's beyond my control.

I use those words to explain why I write all the time, its an addiction or compulsion more powerful than any drug or alcohol and one that I am unashamedly pushing onto others.  Why?  Because it is a hobby that can give you solace in the wee small hours when your troubled mind engulfs you and for some folks, that's a life saver.  Frustrated writers always have troubled minds.

I urge everyone (especially the troubled) to put pen to paper, its the best form antidepressant or therapy out there.  But, being troubled isn't an essential requirement, anymore than it would be for painting or flower arranging, it just requires venturing further into the dark (or light) recesses of your inner mind.  Lots of navel gazing is a given, but the journey can take you anywhere you want. 

Even if it is only a journal for yourself and your heirs, or just for your eyes only. Imagine you are writing a letter to your distant grandchild in a Star Trek world telling them all about your life, what your hopes and dreams were, what you have achieved, and what you are not so proud of lol.  Though your descendants will go straight to the juicy bits it must be said!  And don't you want them to hear it from your side? 

Everyone they say, has a book in them, but far too many are put off because:

1.  They are worried about what others will think
2.  They are not worthy
3.  They are not good enough
4.  They have nothing interesting to say
5.  The Spelling/Grammar/Thought Police will be out to get them
6.  Their thoughts will get them sectioned/arrested.

In response to those points:

1.  Who cares?  You only get one shot at this life, make it memorable.
2.  Says who?  Only your only mind can tell you that, we are ALL worthy
3.  Again, only your own mind can tell you that.  You can be as good as want to be.
4.  Everyone does.
5.  Piffle.  Language is constantly evolving, if it weren't, our words would be written in the language of Chaucer and Shakespeare.
6.   Hmm, interesting one.

6. (continued)  Contrary to popular belief, the majority of us couldn't care less what other people are thinking or writing about in the privacy of their own home - try selling a book of your inner thoughts (even the demonic ones) to a publisher and see where that gets you.  Actually strike that, the demonic, psycho ones are usually the best sellers.  See Friday 13th Parts 1 to 20. 

The sad truth is NO-ONE CARES.  And that, in a nutshell is why most writers are  neurotic, screwed up headcases.  For the majority of us, our work may not be appreciated until a couple of thousand years down the line when our descendants will pore over it as if it were the Dead Sea Scrolls. When I first started my blog, I vowed to continue with it even if I had only reader left, it saves me going demented over the numbers.  I write mostly for myself (a writer writes always), but also in the hope that someday in the distant future, a misunderstood young blood relative will read my stuff and say, blimey, that Rosalinda was quite a gal! 

For those who want to write, please don't let any of the negativity I receive put you off, its beyond your control. Unfortunately, if you are writing for publication and a sensitive soul, the criticism will cripple you, it's intended to.  Some people like the world just the way it is, they like it that the majority stay silent, they like that the majority believe themselves to be inferior, it suits the dominant ideology.  And, sadly, among the majority there are many all too happy and willing to join a stoning party.  If they can't step out of line, then no-one else should be allowed to.  And of course, lets not forget those who are desperately clinging onto their exalted positions by demanding only the elite should be allowed access to the wonders of writing and the internet (Claire Dent).  In other words, lets restrict writing to a chosen few, because if we let the masses in, it will show how talentless and weak we actually are. 

When I first dared to disturb the Universe (did a 'proper' writing course), my eyes were opened.  EVERYTHING is valid my tutors taught us, including all the work we normally scrunched up and threw in the bin.  I and 9 other misfits and oddbods bonded instantly.  We were all outcasts struggling with a world that did not understand us.  But more importantly, we weren't mad after all.  Its OK to make up stories and develop them in your head (I also write fiction and comedy have cabinets full of it), in fact, it is one of the most fulfilling hobbies anyone could ever have.  And there is no shame in writing anonymously, historically anonymity has been the refuge of many great and memorable writers, I just think it is sad that they had to hide who they were. 

The internet is incredible and I thank whatever Gods there may be who brought it to us.  I applaud the freedom it gives so many to take their creativity to any new heights they want to.  We have to push and break barriers or we will become stuck in a time warp created by our ancestors.  If I were young, horny and technically minded, I would almost certainly have created an (outrageous) fictional character to paso doble around the social networks.  What I would NOT have done is disguised myself as a middle aged moaning minny, or whining windbag. Where is the fun it that? 

Writing gives you freedom you can never experience in the real world, there are no rules, no restrictions or barriers.  It is the mind's equivalent of running barefoot through an open field.   Virginia Woolf wept for all the women out there, because what prevented them from speaking was their lack of a Room of One's Own.  Society was founded on HIS story, not HER's, because women, quite literally never had a room of their own in which to write or access to a pen and a paper!  Not forgetting of course, that they were deprived of education.  Judith Shakespeare, had she wanted to be a writer, would have failed to get a husband and been a worn out hooker by the time she reached her 30's and her married sisters would have been chained to the domestic sphere, constantly at the call of others.  But I have trimmed back my old feminist claws, it's not just about women, it's the class system all over again, it affects everyone.  The point is, it no longer has to be His story or Her story, it can truly be Our story.

My greatest fear is that this fantastic freedom of speech and information that we now have will be short lived.  That is, there will always be those who will fight to limit the amount of information available to the general public.  They are using the same arguments their predecessors used against education.  Its dangerous (for them) and they only want to control and limit it for our own good.  They are doing it to be kind/philanthropic and anyone who thinks differently is a conspirator and a loon.  Naturally, they are urged on by 'if only' people, who believe those higher up the food chain somehow have the power to make their lives perfect by introducing more laws and bans for the entire population.

For the first time in history we ALL have access to 'paper and pen' and we all have access to information our ancestors and even parents could never have imagined.  We have the means and the opportunity to tell our stories, all of us do.  We need to make the most of the freedom of the internet while we still have it. Though it may not be apparent our liberties are already being chipped away.  An underclass has been deliberately created (if you treat people badly, they will behave badly) to bear the wrath of society and shoulder the burden for all the world's evils.  We are moving ever closer to 1984 and Brave New World, those at the lower end of the social scale have vacuous airheads to idolise and aspire to.  They no longer want to educate their children so much as spray tan them and get their eyebrows done.

Society has always been engineered to keep the cogs of the wheels spinning, some would argue it is a necessity, without it there would be chaos.  There has to be a hierarchy.  In modern civilisation, huge numbers of people (units) were needed to physically construct pretty much everything we have today that has been manmade. The system worked because it gave employment to the masses, and wages with which to purchase more manmade items.  The circle of economics really is that simple. 

However due to the advancements in technology, traditional working class jobs have been cut to the bone.  Many no longer exist.  Man has been replaced by machine and now has a lot of free time on his hands.  The problem is, our morals and values have not kept up.  We are still governed by the antiquated Methodist work ethic, that demands we scrub our doorsteps before dawn and get a casserole in the slow cooker before we turn in.  Unless we have worked ourselves to the point of exhaustion, we do not believe we deserve any leisure time.  Leisure time is quite strictly the preserve of the super rich and the bone idle 'its not for the likes of us'.  Finding ways in which to use all this leisure time has never, as far as I am aware, been brought to a Cabinet table.  It's not a necessity ergo it is kicked under the carpet.  Even when it becomes a necessity (2011 riots), they turn the hose on the rebels and throw as many of them as they can into prison to cries from the public to bring back the lash. 

Instead of finding ways in which to use all this free time for the greater good, science, exploration, education, health and taking care of the vulnerable, our rulers are constantly finding ways and means to apply the brakes, and in the case of the tories, put society back into reverse.  They don't want to educate the masses, so much as they want to imprison them. 

At some point a government is going to have to rethink their entire attitude towards the way in which society is run.  The old biblical values no longer apply.  We all have lots of free time and our surplus energy is no longer being spent on hard manual graft or war.  Happily for the government, today's under classes have little, if any surplus energy, due a diet of MSG loaded food and addictive, dumbed down entertainment.  That's one way to prevent a revolution I suppose.

What put the Great into Britain, was our predecessors eternal quest for enlightenment.  They pushed the boundaries, sailed the seven seas, celebrated their inventors.  We have now stagnated.  We are looking to save, not invest.  In the 21st century, we can no longer afford the NHS, ironically, founded and built in the aftermath of WWII, when the country was living on rations and the economy was decimated.  At a time in history when ALL our lives should be improving, governments still persist with the idea that the people they govern should be worked until they drop. At some point, someone is going to have to give the whole Bible thing a rethink and create industries appropriate to the times we live in.

The pen is mightier than the sword.  And in almost every instance, it is the only weapon we have.  So many people are angry and bitter because they have no way in which to express their frustration  - I luv Mr/Mrs Angry letters by the way, I inevitably find myself saying 'Go You' even if they are completely bonkers.  Governments and Authorities work on the assumption that no-one, other than the usual suspects and eccentrics will protest at any new law/legislation that they introduce. The word protester is usually accompanied by a spit and a rolling of the eyes.  Protesting isn't cool, it means you are barmy. 

We actually have a stigma against protesting, or daring to express our outrage in the written word. It is seen as attention seeking, possibly the most heinous crime in our ever so 'umble society, and one that must be dealt with by an angry mob.  I jest, angry mobs are scattered throughout history and they can be found anywhere from 0-0 football matches to internet chat rooms. 

Angry mobs aside, I know among my readers, there are many aspiring and talented writers who feel passionately about injustice, tiptoing and hesitating, afraid their words will disturb the universe (they should be so lucky!).  Tis true, simply saying the words 'I want to be a writer' or 'I want to write' will trigger a neurosis that will torment you for the rest of your days.  Even if 99 people tell you that your work is good, you will believe the word of pollster 100 who says you are crap.

From a psychological perspective, writing is a form of baring your soul.  Its like walking through Piccadilly stark naked, or discovering the priest in the confessional box has got you on loudspeaker.  Some people like it, myself included.  I am used to the words 'I can't believe you just said that',  in the old days they were usually followed by a call to Room 7, (or any Corporate equivalent of room 101) and a uniformed escort from the building.  I have since learned that it is far better to tell your boss/partner, relative, (ex) friends exactly what you think of them in written form (expletives included) that you must NEVER send, particularly in the case of your boss and you use descriptive narrative.

Writing can not only relieve anger and frustration, it is a great cure for loneliness, and you can feel lonely even when you are in a crowd.  But for many, many people the loneliness is very real.  As a young single mum without a babysitter, I longed to dress up and go party with my friends, and I actually cried real tears as I sat on my own night after night.  I was a chatterbox rapidly running out of people to chatter to.  And it wasn't because I was obnoxious (contrary to popular belief) though I took it that way, it was because my circle of friends were young, loved up or horny and preferred to spend their time with the opposite sex.

For me, writing opened up a whole new world.  I always had someone to 'talk' to and I could waffle on for hours uninterrupted on any subject I wanted.  If I couldn't go out dancing, my fictional characters could, ditto they could get revenge on exes (I had a list) with an assortment of grisly ends while leading a revolution and winning the Pullitzer Prize for Literature.  By writing down my thoughts I could chatter away to my heart's content and I have never been lonely since. 

My writing has been described as Take a Break.  That's absolutely fine and exactly what I am going for.  It isn't necessary to use complex verbs and nouns and loads of jargon to get a point across.  Some people go to such extreme lengths to show how clever they are, that their words come out as gobbledygook. They might know what they are trying to say, but their reader doesn't.  My style, if I have one is unashamed homage to my own favourite writers, P.G. Wodehouse, Sue Townsend, Harper Lee, Jerry Seinfeld and Christopher Hitchens.

It is also a tribute to my dear old Dad who always had the time and patience to answer all my questions, from my childish 'but why's' to my teenage 'what's going on in Northern Ireland?' and beyond.  If he didn't know the answer, he would find it, then explain it to me in a simple way that I could understand.  I was the luckiest kid ever and I wanted the whole world to have a dad just like mine. If I couldn't share him, I wanted to be just like him.  Of course, as an adult, we squabbled about everything, politics especially, but on one thing, we were solidly united, education, education, education. 

I hope that my freestyle of writing will demonstrate that not everything has to be an academic essay.  There is no need for elitism and pomposity!  I actually find 'clever' writers the least readable.  If a reader has to go over a paragraph 3 times in order to translate what the writer is saying, they will quickly ditch the text.  The aim shouldn't be to get the highest score on a scrabble board, it should be to get your message across/tell your story.  You would be surprised how many A level students ruin their papers by using 'big' words to impress the examiners because they are not using them in the right context.  My advice to anyone who wants to write, be it their memoirs or angry letters to their MPs and newspapers is KISS - Keep It Simple Stupid. 

One the biggest fears people have when thinking about writing their memoirs is the fear that they will hurt other people.  This is where honesty and integrity come in.  It isn't necessary to hurt anyone, it can in fact be a way in which to mend bridges and restore harmony.  When you go back over the events that led to any falling out and consider their circumstances at the time, you often see things differently and very few traumas warrant a lifetime of not speaking. 

But I don't rule out revenge either, everyone has encountered evil b'stads in their lives, people who have deliberately hurt them or who have set out to ruin their reputations.  For those, I would say, fill  your boots, they deserve it, you probably won't even have to be nasty, the truth will generally be enough. 

If you are writing your memoirs, begin with the happy memories, the memories that moulded and shaped your character.  The person you were at the age of 5, is the same person you are now, you may not throw yourself to the ground kicking these days or feel the urge to punch your brother in the eye, but you probably still want to. 



  1. Thank you for this piece.

    Very encouraging words for anyone, who ever thought they had a book in them.
    Especially writing for yourself first and foremost - it reminds me of van Gogh only ever selling one painting in his lifetime: The Red Vineyards near Arles.

    But I bet painting all his pictures brought deep enjoyment and solace to his troubled life.

    1. Anon @ 17:11 says:

      "But I bet painting all his pictures brought deep enjoyment and solace to his troubled life."

      Yeah, I bet! Especially the self-portrait after having his ear chopped off.

    2. @ the ignoramous 2056

      it wasn't an ear - it was an earlobe

      Do get an education before posting publicly

    3. @ the ignoramous (sp) (sic) 2342.

      Was that really necessary? Do you feel better for that? Especially as you got a red cross for your spelling error in your first line!

      Most of us did not know Vincent ONLY cut off his earlobe. His dramatic self portrait with his head bandaged tells a different story. The injury looks as though it was far greater than a mere lobe. Perhaps it became an 'established' myth, similar to the one about Catherine The Great and a horse?

      Your snappy response portrays you as a one of the crueller teachers in a 19th century orphanage. What troubles you? Gout perhaps? Toothache? Do take a couple of aspirin and think about what you said. And I hope your head gets better.

    4. irony is lost on you - and what was that about the spelling police in your OP?????????????????????????

      latest research shows Gauguin lobbed off Vincent's left earlobe:

      'Gauguin, an excellent fencer, was planning to leave Van Gogh's "Yellow House" in Arles, southwestern France, after an unhappy stay.

      He had walked out of the house with his baggage and his trusty épée in hand, but was followed by the troubled Van Gogh, who had earlier thrown a glass at him.

      As the pair approached a bordello, their row intensified, and Gauguin cut off Van Gogh's left earlobe with his sword – either in anger or self-defence'

    5. Many thanks 17:11. The word 'writer' is a misnomer. We are all of us writers, as indeed is anyone who puts pen to paper. There are no exams to pass, nor is membership of an exclusive club required. Anyone can write, there are no laws against it.

      I love your Vincent comparison (aw shucks), Starry Starry Night was the first single I ever bought and I had a bit of a crush on Kirk Dougas. Showing my age here, even his son Michael looks ancient. Kirk's passionate portrayal of the troubled artist may well have set me on a course of men who were mad, bad and dangerous to know. I wanted someone to that obsessed with me, but it really was a case of 'be careful what you wish for'. Word to the wise. If any potential future partner looks even a tad unstable - Run! Sadly, women who still have their mojo are blinded to much that they will regret later. Unfortunately, their brains have been taken over by the 'let's whoopy' hormones, and their common sense has packed it's bags and gone off on a long vacation. When we should be saying 'oi, it's your turn to do the washing up' we are usually bumping and grinding to Captain and Tennille and singing 'Do that to me one more time'.

      Apologies for the feminist rant there. The message I am trying to get across, is that the worlds of writing, psychology, philosophy, theology or indeed any of the 'ologies are not dark, mysterious, elitist places. They are within reach of everyone, especially now that we have the internet, and millions of people worldwide kindly sharing their wisdom and knowledge with everyone.

      Information and books are no longer out of the financial and restricted, reach of the masses. We can write about any subject we want, and if we choose to, we can self publish and sell what we have written too. All the barriers that existed have gone.

      However, what most writers seek (constantly) is approval, or more accurately, reassurance that they have talent. Now this is where the bitter pill comes in. 99% of the population are thinking about themselves 99% of the time (or thereabouts) - ergo, you will be hard pushed to find ANYONE to read your budding Masterpiece. Its the reason why script readers, therapists and lawyers earn so much money.

      Even if you do have doting family and friends who will read and analyse your every word, in the whole scheme of things, their opinion won't matter very much. Writing is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration (or thereabouts), you will have to do what every other writer out there has to do. Tread the boards. Or the literary world's equivalent, buy the Writers & Artists Year Book - every year. Advice given to me by none other than the Great Alan Bleasdale.

      I know how many people there are out there who long to write, I'm always being dragged aside at parties, lol. And they are all prevented from doing so by points 1-5 above. Writing is just too personal, it might give too much away. The fear is almost on par with those ancient tribes who were afraid their souls would be stolen if they had their picture taken.

      When I began my writing course, for the first time in my life I met others who shared the same insane need to write. And we could not have been more diverse. From trekkies to Jane Austins, to kitchen sink drama, to cartoonists to stand up comedians. We faced our fears, we read our work out loud, and from then on we were buzzing. Far from being competition to each other, none of us wanted to write the same thing!

      I want to say to those hovering on the edge asking themselves, should I? shouldn't I? come on in, the water's fine, and you will love it once you take the plunge :)

    6. Lopped surely? or were you teasing? ;)

      Many thanks, I still believed the rather more romantic version, but your one makes more sense :)

  2. 'If any potential future partner looks even a tad unstable - Run!'

    So any chap with a lazy eye, droopy mouth, or heaven forfend, Down's syndrome

    need not apply to be a suitor?

    Do you realise how shallow that one sentence makes you sound?

    1. Immediately prior to my advice to 'run', I am discussing men who are mad, bad and dangerous to know. 'Unstable' clearly refers to men who are emotionally unstable. Eg, Vincent Van Gogh and Lord Byron (mad, bad and dangerous) and your average crazy, obsessive stalker.

      I have never in all my years heard of anyone with a lazy eye, droopy mouth or Downs Syndrome being referred to as unstable. And just for clarification, neither do I have a personal vendetta against anyone suffering with such afflictions.

      When selecting words to be offended by, you really should read the text as a whole, it might help to prevent you looking like a complete twat.

  3. Poetry is another therapy for anyone not brave enough to write a book/autobiography.
    It certainly helped me to cope with my feelings, in the wee small hours while alone with my thoughts. I became a single parent through divorce and had two young children to look after, so once they were tucked up safely in bed and the loneliness began to creep in, I'd sit and wonder how I'd pass the lonely hours till dawn. Having friends round during the day was great, taking the kids to the park etc, but come the evening I longed for adult company, just to be able to chat with someone who understood my situation without being disturbed by the patter of tiny feet, seeing mummy with swollen eyes because she couldn't cope with the realization she was going to loose her home, because daddy had not kept up the mortgage payments for a year, now the building society were seeking repossession. Luckily for me, I asked them if they would give me three months to see if I could sell it myself, and they agreed, It was the year of the housing boom when you could get the full market value of the property!!

    You may wonder were I am going with this... I would just say not everyone has the confidence to write a book as my example above shows, grammar, spelling. Putting into words what you want to come across to the reader doesn't come easy to some people, It's bloody hard work to make it sound interesting, lol :) I haven't got the time to sit with a dictionary by my side, to be a successful writer you've got to have a good vocabulary, and a good understanding of the written word, the more complicated words I'm referring to. Poetry for me seems much easier, than writing a book as funny as that may sound. :)

    1. You hugely underestimate your ability to write 11:10, your words moved me, and I am sure will move hundreds of others. I am sure there are many women out there who have experienced that same situation and those same tears.

      And I agree, poetry too can sweep you away, the right words can capture a thousand emotions. For some writers, poetry is their niche, they can say so little, whilst saying so much, tis a gift I do not have, lol.

      The writers I admire the most are those who can say everything they need to in just one line. They are the crème dela crème, the Oscar Wildes, the Dorothy Parkers and the Jerry Seinfelds. They have already deconstructed the information, analysed every option, and reached a conclusion while the rest of us are still saying 'can you repeat the question'.

      But I digress. Hating your own work is part and parcel of writing. On the plus side, as your own sternest critic, you will constantly strive to improve. But no matter, you will always walk away saying 'it could have been so much better, I'll try harder next time'. And when you have a goal, you have the will to live and the will to thrive.

      I actually cringe at my earlier work, especially those blogs I wrote in the wee small hours whilst knocking back Vats of wine. It is crazy of course because Constance (Parts I and II) were both nominated for Sony Awards and I had a popular column in widely read local Newspaper. But one 'nasty' reader's letter sent my depression spiralling out of control.

      But I don't blame that reader, I blame myself. And I don't blame my exes, or my bosses or my traitorous female friends for 'all the circumstances' I found myself in. They were all MY choices. I was living the life I had chosen, even if I wasn't aware of it. The words 'if I had known then, what I know now' come immediately to mind.

      Please do carry on with your writing 11:10, dare to disturb the Universe! Don't measure out your life with coffee spoons 11:10, let your imagination run wild. What would you say now to that woman with swollen eyes, worried about the mortgage and trapped by those 'tiny feet' she adores? Because sure as eggs is egg, there are hundreds of women (and men) out there even now, or especially now, who are experiencing similar traumatic times. To them, the words you have shared will be 'as if a hand had come out, and taken yours'.

      For you :)

    2. If it is any help, when I first dipped a toe in the online world of writing, I used the pseudonym 'Cristobell'. Why? Because at that time I had not yet developed the hind of a rhinoceros and the lunatics in cyber world scared the bejesus out of me.

      Christabel (sic) was the bi-curious, gothic heroine of the poem by Samuel Taylor Coleridge. A feminist icon, a romantic goddess no less, 'hush, beating heart of Christabel!' or a toothless mastiff bitch - depending on how you read it :) I wouldn't describe myself as bi-curious btw, I just like that it added an air of mystery. The name 'Lilith' already had too many takers and had a whiff of the dominatrix about it.

      Creating a pen name and a more confident 'you' is a great way to start writing. Consciously or even subconsciously, it gives you permission to go ahead. Nobody is criticising YOU, they are criticising your alternate ego. I know that may sound as though I am recommending schizophrenia or the splitting of yourself into multiple selves (maybe I am?) but its a good idea to let those fun loving neurons in your brain off the leash once in a while (often), bizarrely, it keeps you sane.

      When creating a pen name, try not to be too obscure, in 15+ years, not one of my readers has guessed or indeed queried my pen name's origins! This is not the narcissistic me btw, it's because my enemies have gone to extraordinary lengths to photoshop and ridicule the name 'Cristobell', lol, yet not one of them spotted it's gothic or feminist origins!

  4. Jeez! What's it like to know everything?

    1. Ask Tony Bennett who 'Lilith' is and get back to me ;)

  5. Cristobell, thank you for taking the time to reply I really do appreciate your kind comments/ advice. I'll look at the link you have given! :)

    When I first clapped eyes on your blog I thought you'd named yourself after the Balenciaga perfume "Cristoball" It's a vintage perfume, very elegant for proper ladies which I believe you are,lol. It's only when I looked at your blog again, I realised I'd read it wrong :) Just in case you like vintage perfumes Le-Dix, and Quadrille, are by the same perfume maker as above.

    Sorry for going off topic, I'll have to reign myself in next time.x

    1. Don't ever reign it in 17:31! I'm already a fan - you didn't venture upon my blog like a simpering Jane Austin heroine, you 'first clapped eyes on it' - something I and my readers empathised with immediately :)

      The link is 'The Lovesong of Alfred J. Prufrock' - a tantalising study of the 'should I, shouldn't I?' conundrum :) by T.S. Eliot.

      Have to admit Laydeeee is what I am going for! As kids, my brother used to say that I would end up as one of those mad old ladies who wear turbans, drink gin and smoke funny fags in a long cigarette holder. I'm almost there ;)

  6. Christopher Hitchens? Why?

    (dodgy quote from Woodhouse there btw: huge numbers of now famous writers were at it because - as Tony Wilson said about Joy Division - they had no choice.)

    1. Christopher Hitchens was a God! I'm so sad I didn't discover his work until so late in my life, and tragically, his. For me, he has blown apart so many myths - it had never occurred to me for example, that Mother Theresa was anything other than a saint.

      And to the ejit who thinks I know everything - you couldn't be more wrong! My brain is in constant turmoil because I know so little and there are so few hours in a day! Like dear old Manuel, 'I learn Mr. Fawlty, I learn'.

      There are not many I pronounce a God but Christopher Hitchens is up there alongside Noam Chomsky and Charlie Chaplin. I describe women in that same lofty category as formidable (in a French accent). Formidable women, Maya Angelou, Mary Beard, Marilyn Monroe and my feisty pal who is daring to tread where angels fear, Sonia Poulton.

      I don't think I've quoted Wodehouse? And he wasn't a blooming Nazi! (same ejit?)

      Too many of our modern day feminists 'fight' for the rights of middle class women and above. When working class mothers were being fitted with ankle bracelets for not allowing their violent partners access to their kids, Janet Street-Porter was discussing luxury airline seats in the Guardian.

      My wish is to get more working class women (and men - its not entirely a feminist issue) writing about issues that matter to the majority of the population. I'm trying to say, probably very badly, that we all have a voice, if only we would use it!

      To a large extent, 'ordinary' people are 'locked out' of the literary world by the myth that they are not good enough. They are taught to aim for mediocrity, the safe path in life, the road MORE travelled. Their goal is to get a good job, then try to hang onto it for the rest of their lives. Never make waves, never take chances, and for gawd's sake, never disturb the universe. Focus on what you have to lose, rather than what you might gain.

      As you reach middle age and beyond, you begin to reflect on all the 'might have beens' and the 'Doh!'s'. Would the world really have stopped turning if I had slept with that hunky lead singer who winked at me?' (it didn't btw ;) ) In a survey of elderly people, when asked what they regretted the most, the majority said 'not having enough sex'. So there you go.

      Joking aside, it is usually the things that we didn't do, that torment us in the wee small hours. And for those of us who still allow that old Catholic guilt to gnaw at our innards, it's for the things we DID do as well. For me it was the beautiful flat I once owned and the opportunities I turned down because my heart ruled my head.

      Thought for the day: Stream of consciousness.

  7. You described Charlie Chaplin as one of your Gods.

    Do read CHARLIE CHAPLIN by Peter Ackroyd, which shows his shabby behaviour of women/often very young women.

    I shall not charge for this service.

  8. Actually I know a fair bit about Charlie Chaplin, I did a dissertation on him as a mature student and prefer David Robinson's 'Chaplin, His Life and Art'. Although, in the earlier part of his life CC had a fondness for youngER women (as did many men in Hollywood) for the latter half of his life he enjoyed 34 years of long, happy marriage to Oonagh O'Neill.

    Charlie Chaplin was the victim of a negative publicity campaign by Joseph McCarthy and Ronald Reagan among others, who were targeting all the alleged communists in Hollywood. Charlie Chaplin was known by the FBI to be a 'fellow traveller', that is, a supporter, not an official member, of the Communist Party and he refused to accept citizenship of the USA - he was 'a citizen of the world', or declare his patriotism. He [CC] said, 'patriotism was responsible for the death of 6million Jews'.

    Chaplin supported the working man and the Unions, but instead of throwing rocks from a picket line, he threw custard pies from the big screen. At a time when US factory bosses were working on ways to increase productivity and decrease wages, he drew attention to the inhumanity of chaining human beings to conveyer belts in his film Modern Times. And when the world was set on annihilating itself with nuclear bombs, he brought us Monsieur Verdoux a black comedy which juxtaposes the crimes of an amorous serial killer with the crimes of governments who press a button and kill millions.

    What a shame the only fact you remember about the divine Mr. Chaplin, is his alleged shabby behaviour towards young women. You might also want to bear in mind that when an 'A' lister is the subject of a smear campaign, there will always be starlets willing to come forward with stories for the tabloids.
    He drew attention to the plight of the underclasses,

    Due to the constant hounding from the far right and indeed fear of imprisonment, Chaplin left Hollywood for Switzerland in 1953, where he lived for the remainder of his life.

  9. 'starlets' are your sisters too, you know - you should fight their corner

    another one who felt safe in Switzerland: Roman Polanski

    'rape by use of drugs, perversion, sodomy, lewd and lascivious act upon a child under 14'

    Roman Polanski

    wish to defend him and his actions too?

    'Because Polanski fled the Los Angeles court before being sentenced, all six of the original charges are still pending against him'

  10. Switzerland lets you get away with the proverbial,

    as long as you have pockets full of cash

    IF NOT - you are stymied

    Recommended viewing 'Das Boot ist voll' - 'Our boat is full' - on how Jews trying to flee into Switzerland from Nazi Germany/Austria were treated - if they did not have the necessary 'bling'.

    Same country Sepp Blatter comes from - it's a way of life over there.