Saturday, 17 September 2022

LETTER TO THE FUTURE - THE WEEK THE QUEEN DIED

 I had an idea a couple of weeks ago, to write a letter, or journal recounting the evets of our time, a bit like Samuel Pepys, though I get my information from the news I see and read on social media.  Twitter, for keeping up to date and Youtube for the same reason, but also for all the wonderful documentaries and charismatic vloggers and all their interesting niche subjects.  2022 is indeed the age of information, especially for my generation who's idea of a mobile phone was two rusty cans and a piece of string.  Our first home phone was a party line shared with neighbours we were at war with, not helped by the fact that I was a young teenager who needed to spend at least 8 hours a day chatting to my mates.

I abandoned my first letter to the future a couple of weeks ago.  It was full of doom and gloom as the soothsayer in me predicted all sorts of Walking Dead situations in the weeks and months to come.  We have already lived through one plague and I suspect more are on their way. But to be fair I was morose at the time and I had recently watched Prince of Egypt.  Ok, maybe not a WD situation, but certainly we are experiencing the rumblings of a revolution.  Without going all preachy again, the greed of the billionaires will force millions in the UK into food and energy poverty.  Something that should be unheard of this 21st century.  As in the French Revolution of 1789 and the Russian Revolution of 1917, something's got to give.

But I will stop from that political vein before I start throwing rotten tomatoes at myself.  This week has been ultra dramatic.  The old Queen, Queen Elizabeth II, who has been on the throne for 70 years has passed away!  It's the biggest news since Princess Diana.  QE11's son has instantly become King Charles III, lots of people are remembering their history lessons and saying The Queen is Dead, Long Live the King, in the same breath I believe.  A precaution previous monarchs had to take in case some upstart from another branch of the family decided to ride in with an army and steal the throne.  The Normandy branch were known for it.

Suffice to say the throne of Great Britain is pretty secure.  Heirs and spares all over the place.  Princess Diana secured the throne and kept her head, by giving Prince Charles two sons, and his sons have sons.  Now I am not particularly a monarchist, though maybe I am because I have always had an intense interest in the Royal family.  I think it started with Diana because I loved the clothes she wore and tutting at the mistakes she made.  Ditto Fergie, the Duchess of York, not because she couldn't wear haute couture but because she reminded me of my schooldays and those bossy, lumbering jolly hockeysticks types who did not share my love of a ciggy behind the bike sheds and talking about boys.  Oddly enough, in later life, those 'types' became great pals of mine, always good for a craic.

When I heard the news, well actually I was watching it all day, I had feelings of shock, and indeed sorrow, that I never expected to feel.  I have joked about this moment for years, well complained that she would probably outlive me, never thinking it would come.  I kind of felt sorry for Prince Charles, because he has spent a life in waiting and that is probably how history will remember him.  To his credit, in these days of mourning he has done a whistlestop tour of the United Kingdom and attended non stop church and cathedral services.  Actually the whole of  the Royal Family have been very much on show, including Prince Harry and Meghan (more on which later).  The age old pomp, ceremony and pageantry are very much to the forefront at this time, reminding us of the long lineage of our rulers.  I am actually quite proud of it all, the UK is putting on an amazing spectacle for the world, a reminder of not only our past, but theirs too.   

But I wanted to tell you what it feels like at this time.  It compares I think to the madness that took over the UK in September 1997 when Princess Diana was killed in a car crash in Paris.  The country was in shock, probably more so than now because Diana was only 36.  The feeling now is more that it is the end of an era, a very long era.  Most of us have not known any other monarch, Queen Elizabeth had been on the throne our entire lives.   No matter what our feelings towards the Monarchy and all the sycophancy that surrounds it, it is impossible to be untouched at this time.  We are caught in a moment of history.  We have lived through and are at the end of the second Elizabethan age.  Historians of the future will look back at the week of September 2022, and they will mark 1952-2022, the rule of Queen Elizabeth as a time of what?  Great change, democracy, fairness and equality?  Debateable.  We still have a huge divide between rich and poor, bigger I would say than during the Victorian Age.  Some would argue that the monarch has no say in the way in which the country is run.  But I disagree.  The Queen is often recited as being wise, informed and diplomatic, her experience is legendary, meeting 15 Prime Ministers and virtually every world leader.  She could, for example, have told Liz Truss (new PM) not to allow her people to freeze and/or starve to death this coming winter.  

But tut tut to myself here, I did not mean to criticise at this time.  I've actually grown quite fond of the Royal Family in recent years, I especially love the birthday pictures of the little ones taken by their mum Princess Catherine.  My whole perspective changed when I saw the then very elderly Queen visit a hospital in Manchester caring for the young victims of a devastating bomb at a Ariana Grande pop concert.  The effect this sweet old lady had on the patients and nurses was miraculous.  It was at that moment 'I got it'.    

Whilst I hate to end this missive on a sour note, the well oiled Royal PR machine failed to take into account the human factor, that is a very pampered, grumpy, 73 year old man surrounded by servants and sycophants who do literally everything for him!  From putting toothpaste on his toothbrush to ironing his shoelaces.  I also hear his staff have to cook six boiled eggs for his breakfast to ensure he gets the correct consistency.  I can't help thinking that in order to live that kind of life, one, hmm, would have to enjoy demeaning others because that's how the whole Master/Servant thing works.

OK, so he's a dinosaur, a relic from a bygone age, but the whole bottom teeth baring at lackies and temper tantrums, yes plural, was shocking.  I am referring to King Charles III's inability to operate a fountain pen or move an inkwell on his own.  In the words of Mya Angelou, 'when someone shows you who they are, believe them', I now suspect the purveyor of the dodgy fountain pens has now been dragged off to the Tower!

I should before I go, mention the dissent among the masses.  And there is some.  A bit of booing here and there, and few signs demanding the abolition of the Monarchy and 'Not my King'.  It is stamped out immediately with offenders being marched off in handcuffs.  There is a real clampdown on any signs of dissent, it's almost as if the entire establishment are insisting we all mourn and we all cheer the new King.  

I suppose those looking back at these times will consider just how stable the monarchy is at the end of a long reign.  While republicans might have put up with the Queen due to her longevity and distance from our lives, a new King might upset the status quo.  Maybe that is why all the Windsors are out and about meeting the ordinary people.  King Charles needs to capture that goodwill the Queen had enjoyed, he and  his heirs need it if the Monarchy is to survive.  

Now I really will say ttfn (ta ta for now).  There is a big week ahead with lots more ceremony and pageant to come.  It will be the biggest gathering of world leaders, well, ever.  Which begs the question, how does an Emperor greet a King?  Who bows first? I mention this because the Emperor of Japan, Emperor Naruhito is among the world leaders attending and of course the President of the USA, Joe Biden.  I'll give a full list of attendees in my next instalment.  For now, just those two names send a shiver down my spine and I feel quite chuffed on behalf of the Queen and her family that the world treated her with such respect.  My kindest wishes to any reader who has got this far - take care.

Friday, 1 July 2022

BEING OVER 60 ISN'T SO BAD

A year ago I was singing 'will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I'm 64'.  This year I am feeling even more trepidation as I approach 65.  I was filled with the hebee jeebies when reaching Sixty because that I would say, is definitely the turning point, when you go from middle aged to just plain old.  Sixty five is when you start to shrink away, both literally and figuratively, I have lost both height and weight and I think an invisible veil is starting to engulf me in.  

I can't say I have ever thought about what I would be like as an old person, I knew I would never be a regular little old lady with a cauliflower perm, a battered old purse and a shopping trolley, but yeah, ha ha, I am.  Except for the cauliflower perm.  But with the addition of a magnifying glass, because I cannot read food labels. when Smart Arsed Son first saw me use it, he asked 'anything I can help you with Sherlock', he has a gag for every occasion.  Seriously though, I need to know how many calories are in that large cream eclair before I commit.  You see I'm not all bad, I balance it out by eating a piece of mackerel and a handful of rasberries.   Not together obviously, but both look good in my daily eating record, yes I do that now, I keep a food diary.  Whilst the eclairs may congregate with the doughnuts around the waistline, the fish livens up the brain and the rasberries flush it all out.  There is a method to the madness.

I was going to have a moan about getting old and decrepit, but the truth is, I am quite enjoying it.  My flowing blue locks are fooling no-one, I'm perceived as ancient, but I'm OK with that.  The world feels like a much kinder place, young people go out of their way to be helpful and polite.  I am on the outside edges of the hustle and bustle and phew to that. I don't know how I managed as a single working mum, but I did, and I survived it and much, much more, but I'll never forget the nights I cried because I had to stay in.    

Now, at 65 I am able to do whatever I want whenever I feel.  Unfortunately the good Lord, if there is one, chucked we over 60's a curved ball.  He (it had to be a man) gave us all this freedom when we are least likely to enjoy it!  Sure we can go to wild parties, do drugs, and stay out all night, but we don't really want to.  My list of things to do before I die is shrinking.  I have had to strike off ketamine and MDMA but I'm still up for the mushrooms.  I jest, my weekend with Jack Nicholson getting drunk and high in New Orleans, has been downgraded to a night in with a movie (one of his obviously) and a cup of cocoa.  Nah, scrub that, loads of drugs and a medic on standby.  The wicked little devil became my kind of guy when he told Cher to leave the dishes and laundry because she would have to do it all again 'tomorrow', made me swoon.  

But I digress.  Getting old and decrepit can be cool.  No rushing for trains, no arsehole bosses, no boring filing and no paper cuts - jeez they hurt.  In the past few months I have been able to watch all the ins and outs of the Johnny Depp .v. Amber Heard trial and I have to say it had more drama, conflict and pathos than any movie or drama I have ever seen.  Being an old hippy chick, I am naturally aligned to Johnny Depp, he is unique and kind of crazy.  I don't know what it is with brilliant men, that they can be so easily swayed by a pretty face, but they can.  Arthur Miller/Marilyn Monroe (though she too was brilliant in her own way), Charlie Chaplin and his penchant for young starlets.  Some might say they ask to get taken for a ride, but it is a human trait.  History is littered with tales of young scarlet women and totally smitten old eejits willing to give up everything for them, see Henry VIII.

Happily justice has been done.  The jury saw exactly what the behaviour analysts, the pundits and we the audience saw.  AH is a terrible actress and violently psychotic.  Johnny, poor sod, was lucky to get away from her alive.  Prince Harry on the other hand has no escape.  When someone starts cutting people out of your life, you are in the hands of a control freak and it is not pleasant.  Harry has a new life, but he hasn't got his old life, the one he clearly enjoyed before he gave it all up for his wife. Ouch, actually a lifetime of ouch.

But back to the joys of getting older.  I love having the time to explore subjects that have always interested me and discovering new ones that have kept me fascinated.  I am still in the midst of my Viking phase, mostly because I have been able to go back and watch the series again from the beginning, this is where the geriatric memory loss comes in handy.  And I have loved being able to, vicariously, visit the most interesting and inaccessible places on earth via intrepid vloggers who always have their cameras with them.  Viva technology say I, who ever thought we would live in such a brave new world eh?

My kindest wishes to those who have come this far, my writer's block, I hope will break one of these days, now that I have the time and 'room of one's own', all I ever wanted.  Meanwhile, take care, thank you for reading.  Would love to hear how being over 60 affects others, thoughts welcome.


Tuesday, 28 June 2022

LONG HAIR OVER 60 - DO WE DARE?




Well, that's it, finally I have been to the hairdressers.  The no more cutting, no more colouring began with the lockdown, but then just carried on when I realised that long hair is actually far less maintenance than short hair!  Who knew?  I must have spent thousands over the years having my hair done, hair cutting is the one area of my life where I have never economised and I have had some wild and wonderful hairstyles over the years, it's always kind of been my thing.  Some might say, if I had taken as much care with my choice of men as I do with hair stylists, it might all have been different...... ah, such is life.

But little things make me happy, none more so than a great new 'Do'.  I had forgotten the joy and anxiety of going into a hairdressers, fearful yet excited as to how it is going to go.  I haven't been able to sleep since I made the appointment.  I can't forget the one time I gave my hairdresser free rein.  She cut my hair in the style of Friar Tuck, it was the 80's and boxy short hairdos were in.  There were no redeeming features, I could neither brush it upwards, backwards or anywhere other than square in the centre of my head.  The best I could get from family, colleagues and friends, and yes, there were snickers, was it will grow back.  Not when it's above your fecking ears it won't.

But I digress, I get very emotional when recalling bad hair experiences, mostly it has been a joy, in the past I would always go show my dear old Dad when I got my hair cut.  He knew the way to my narcissistic heart, if I was down in the dumps he would put his hand in his pocket for a couple of notes, so I could go and get my hair done.  His knowledge of psychology ran deep.  My next step would be to call my mother to discuss the new do in depth.  When I first went blonde she asked ' what, like Lily Savage?' why her first thoughts went to that extreme visual is mind boggling, but also hilarious.  Thereafter it would be 2 hours on the phone to my mate Big Lynn, she was a very patient woman, and then basically anyone who would listen.  

Keeping people interested in the hair talk is kind of hard work.  I am currently exchanging texts with a friend who's first love is home decor, she is pretty skilled at steering the conversation into lampshades and wallpaper, getting the chat back to my blue hair is proving difficult, it's like a game of chess.  Smart Arsed Son managed a 'yeah, it looks good', but will not go beyond that.  He pointed out yet again that he is not the gay son I had always dreamed of.  Now planning a night out (for my 65th) at a gay club where the shallow subject of hair can be discussed with empaths.  The whole concept of empaths is quite new to me, and I am sure I am one.  Not a wise thing to claim as I have discovered.  Smart Arsed Son has found thousands of new and creative ways to say 'not an empath', which is vexing.

But I cannot complain, I received an abundance of compliments from the young girls who worked in the salon and the stylist who kept using words like gorgeous and fabulous, I felt like a film star!  For anyone who is interested, I got the colour from Fanola No More Yellow purple shampoo (on recommendation of a dear reader) and the Fanola purple hair mask (like a conditioner).  I haven't used anything else, not even regular shampoo, and my hair has been in fabulous condition ever since.  I was advised 'carry on doing whatever you are doing', which is a great thing to hear from a hairdresser.  Also great to hear long hair at any age is OK.   I think back in the 60's you would have been put in a straight jacket, or earlier still, the ducking stool!   I will shut up about hair, a blog on the joys of being over 60 follows:


Thursday, 7 April 2022

Sorry Sonia, but no........

 I'm not sure how I ever ended up on the same page as Sonia Poulton one time because on almost every subject we hold polemically opposite views.  I have no problem with people being whatever gender they choose to be, it matters not to me, I actually have a soft spot for those with the courage to be themselves, even if it does mean stepping outside of our traditional codes and conventions.  Most people, myself included, though less so these days, present ourselves as the world expects us to.

To be honest I have not paid an awful lot of attention to what Sonia has to say about the trans community, the men especially, because I look on it as, and I hate to use this phrase; 'fearmongering'.  For myself, I cannot see how someone's sexual identity is in any way threatening to anybody.  I have never been scared to use a public bathroom and I would question is there even one recorded instance of a trans man accosting or assaulting a woman in public bathroom or store changing rooms?  I remember once bumping into a divinely glamorous Queen in a powder room, well it was more of a boudoir, did I feel threatened, not at all, I remember having a delightful conversation about lipstick.  I simply cannot understand why anyone would want to attack the way others choose to live their lives, what does it matter to them? it makes no sense to me.

Next the craziness surrounding Covid-19, the anti-masking, anti-vaxxing and lunatic conspiracy theories she is promoting regarding protecting ourselves.  She and others have forced our, albeit incompetent, government to drop all the defences we had against this virulent disease.  No masks, no distancing, no testing, no numbers, though we do know 4.5 million were infected last week and 368 people died.  That is, we are right back to the days when Covid was at it's peak - and no-one cares.  In 1918, the 'Spanish Flu' came in waves, then it mutated and killed 50 million worldwide.  Naturally, that is a risk Boris Johnson and his mates are willing to take, in their pursuit of even more riches, they have literally made billions out of the pandemic thus far.  Those on the front line, the NHS, the delivery drivers, the food industry, all the people who kept this country ticking over, abandoned as the virus rages.  We are now in the place Sonia campaigned for.  No more protections even if the virus does mutate into something more deadly.  We haven't gained more freedom, we have lost it.  Because those using common sense will continue to practice social distancing, masking, handwashing, and if advised, more boosters.  Those still taking advice from Boris et al need their heads testing.

It angers me that Sonia is using her considerable talents to take on causes that are not only wrong but dangerous.  I am no supporter of this government, but the half arsed effort they put into the pandemic in the beginning was something at least.  Compared to the rest of the world however, the abysmal UK covid stats were among the worst.  The big question I would ask Sonia?  How can she look at the dischevilled oaf that is Boris Johnson and the demonic coke heads that surround him and imagine him putting together some kind of Dr. Evil plot?  The most inept government we have ever had taking over our minds, lives, etc, now that is laugh out loud funny.  

Thus far, I can look on Sonia's views with a raised eyebrow and a few ffs, but but her latest comment on the invasion of Ukraine offends me on every level.  How on earth has she bought into Russian Propaganda?  We live in a time where news is instant and brought to us by people who are 'on the spot', both the press and the public.  We have factual news from every angle.  It is a cruel and wicked lie to suggest that footage of mass graves and bodies in the streets are staged.  That kind of cruel propaganda is expected from Putin but not from a British journalist.  Since the Russian invasion, I have followed a number of individuals, Ukrainians, who are on the front line, literally posting from a war zone.  How they are surviving on little rations and the devastating sights they are seeing.  The horror is very real to them as Sonia would know if she did a little more research.  I am also following Russians, escaping Russia, or reporting how the sanctions and the actions of the West are affecting real Russian citizens.  

Putin is a monster.  He is sending mobile crematoriums along with his tanks, to cover up the evidence of his war crimes.  No-one thought Hitler could be topped, but Putin has found a way.  This is a war where we hear the voices of the real people who are on the ground, Ukrainian and Russian.  There is no excuse for any connected Western journalist to promote clearly fake Russian propaganda.  For me it brings to mind Lord Haw Haw's 'Germany Calling', and that's a road no sane journalist wants to go down.

Sonia asks if any other President has spoken at the Grammys in wartime, a silly question in my opinion.  The world has moved on considerably since the Grammys began (1959), it is possible now to transmit information globally, in real time,   As a child of the 60's, WWII was still fresh in people's memories, especially the horrors of Hitler's death camps and crematoriums.  The top phrase at that time was 'this must never happen again'.  

We now have the technology and the will to record and report war crimes to a wide audience.  Yes, it was rare, in fact a first, for a President to speak at the Grammys, but President Zelensky was invited because he is a hero.  He is fighting for freedom and democracy, beliefs I would have thought were in line with Sonia's.  It is right that the world should be applauding him and helping him.  There is no moral dilemma here.  History is littered with heroes and villains,  and the heroes usually take unexpected and unconventional ways to win their battles.  This is a war of propaganda as much as it is a bloody battlefield and Putin is pretty good at brainwashing, he has had over two decades to practice.  Giving Zelensky a spot on the Grammys is one of the best weapons the West could have given him, without kicking off WWIII.  He spoke directly to the pop stars and musicians who are worshipped by young Russian people.  How can Putin top that?

 I have to admit that I am struggling at the moment to understand why Sonia and a handful of people on the Left that I used to admire, are taking the 'fake news' path on Russia's invasion of Ukraine, is there something I am not seeing?  


Saturday, 19 March 2022

BLAIR AND STARMER, FEMINISM, UKRAINE, END OF WORLD PACK

I used to be a proud, fully paid up, member of the Labour Party many, many, many moons ago.  I even supported the smartened up New Labour of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown who eschewed the regulation corduroy trousers, pipe and no time for grooming look of the Left.  Looking like the working classes was getting Labour nowhere, all those Labour had lifted into the middle classes had no time for activists, they wanted their leaders to be like the Tories for a snapshot, but a little less cruel.  It was a time to cosy up to the bosses, be more like them.  

It worked for a while, in fact Blair and his descendants think it was a success and is working still.  Basically the ideology is give the bosses everything they want and they will stop treating their employees like shit. Bosses and workers, standing together, friends.  If peace is what you want, in the sense of workers not complaining, then yeah, it works, full appeasement usually does, but the rights of those workers have been decimated.  There are now zero hours contracts, firing and rehiring and a subjugated workforce with few, if any rights to protect pay and jobs.  See P&O Ferries.  Brexit helps too, no more pesky European Courts to point out Britain's human rights abuses.  

Sadly, Keir Starmer is of the same ilk as Blair, he wants to be everyone's friend and he is happy to stab workers in the back.  Starmer wants whatever unholy alliance Blair made with elite to continue. Maybe, like Peter Mandelson, he hopes one day to drink champagne on an Oligarch's yacht, or have a play day with Jeffrey Epstein.  

History repeats itself over and over again.  Tyrants know that if they impoverish their subjects, create mass unemployment, all the advantages lie in the hands of the employers, they can pick and choose and the workers will fight each other.  Cute, bumbling, laddish, Boris has broken the back of the working classes, He has taken the power of the many and given it back to the few.  How the fuck did that happen? Historians will ask centuries from now.

My heart was broken when Jeremy Corbyn did not win the 2019 General Election, it felt like the last chance, in my lifetime, of seeing a progressive socialist government that would invest in people, the NHS, infrastructure, education, science, the arts, the caring professions.  Imagine all those billions salted away by the greedy being invested in this country?   

Now I am politically homeless.  I simply cannot, cannot, vote for a party that has Keir Starmer, Wes Streeting and Jess Phillips.  Jess Phillips makes me hate the fact that I ever described myself as a feminist.  Feminism these days seems to be all about being a victim and of all soul destroying afflictions, victim mentality is about the worst.  Telling a woman she is a victim, will, err, keep her victim.  Surely, feminism is about empowerment?  The truth is no-one needs to remain in an intolerable situation.  The choices we make in our lives are OUR choices.  We have no control over the behaviour of another person, none whatsoever, our control lies in how we respond to that behaviour.  That is the limit of our control.  I hate to say it, but quite often abused women believe they can tame the beast, take control, I blame Disney, but they can't.  It is only when they accept they can't, that they can move on. Helpers should be telling them how powerful they are, not how pathetic they are.

Jess Phillips et all can blame men, make them the bad guys for every word or gesture they deem offensive, but hating men is rarely the answer.  I grew up in a non PC age, I worked in London as a 'temp' a different office every week.  Every office had every category of perv and groper, we 'gals about town' would swap notes and giggle about them.  No-one was traumatised.  In fact work was fun, I can't imagine how joyless offices must be these days, I certainly didn't turn up for my love of typing.  And before anyone calls me a wanton strumpet, purrlease, like most women my age, I can turn any man to an apologetic wuss with a raised eyebrow and one word 'Seriously?' 

But back to the present day, I am obsessed with the war in the Ukraine and terrified at how much it could escalate.  Yesterday our cars were covered with red sand from the Sahara, you see what I am saying.  Just how crazy is Putin?  He held a rally for himself, emulating Trump, but as we have seen large rallies are not an indication of overall public opinion.  Trump had big rallies and lost.

From everything I have read and seen, I think Putin has lost.  Not just because his large convoy of tanks is stuck in a quagmire, but because the soldiers on the ground in Ukraine are not committed to him and this war.  Many it seems, are abandoning their vehicles and going door to door begging for food.  Putin was badly advised.  He did not foresee how hard the Ukrainian people would fight.  How can he subdue a nation that refuses to be subdued?  At the same time he must subdue his own Russian people who, it would appear, are openly rebelling.  Today, Russian Cosmonauts appeared in public wearing Ukrainian colours.  Putin's victory celebration of annexing Crimea, was a show of strength, a commitment to his war (not a war in Russia) remains strong.  Putin is not known for putting on victory rallies, so I would say he is in big trouble.  

So those are my thoughts for this week, 19th March 2022, hopefully, I will do this regularly.  My kindest wishes to those who still look in, hope life is treating you well.  Who knew we would survive a pandemic only to face who knows what.  I am currently mentally preparing an 'end of world' pack.  It would contain lots of mind altering drugs (obviously), a nice Chablis, blinis with caviar (only had them once and they were mindblowing, or that may have been the shots of vodka that accompanied them).  Desserts, Oooh that is a toughie, I think a slice of Black Forest Gateau, but I do love panna cotta.  Strange how my end of world scenario goes straight to food and mind altering substances rather than a ball of string and a deadly weapon, but there you go.  Take care.

Saturday, 26 February 2022

Aha, now I get why Putin is evil

 There's an awful lot to dislike about Vladimir Putin tis true, but I kind of admired his unashamed machismo, confidence and mysterious KGB past.  The pure evil of his character didn't hit me until this week.  Not his violent invasion of an independent democratic country, as bad as that is, but his appeal to the men of the Ukrainian army to join him and not to use their children, wives, elders as human shields.   In that moment, finally, I could see him as he actually is.   

The term male chauvinist is so overused, it no longer sounds derogatory, and Putin is so much more than that.  He has positioned himself as a fighting man talking to fighting men, warrior to warrior as in, we the gun carrying men, are the ones who are really in charge, the ones who will make the decisions.  He doesn't appeal to the elected Ukrainian government or to it's male and female leaders.  Nor to the women who are fighting alongside the men in the streets of Kyiv. In his short appeal to Ukrainian men, he lists women as wives and they come after children as if it were a list of chattels. He is not addressing Ukrainian women at all.  His message sent a chill through me, this is who he really is, this is a glimpse of how he would rule Ukraine.  Not with a Council of representatives from each gender, biological or other, or every faith and ethnic background, but with macho white men willing to carry out every atrocity asked of them.  He eschews democracy.

For me this was a lightbulb moment and a time to do a bit of serious research and by serious research, I mean watching experts on the Russian threat giving detailed analysis of the history of the region and the current situation.  I now feel like a fool and more than a tad ashamed of my ignorance.  I spent at least 6 months of the lockdown watching everything Russian I could find, historic and present day in the form of Russian films and 'Bald and Bankrupt', an English vlogger on Youtube who travels all around Russia and areas that were formerly part of the Soviet Union.  And they are bleak, neglected and poverty stricken.  It is clear that Russia does not use it's vast wealth to improve the lives of its' citizens.  Clearly there is little to no investment in housing, roads, infrastructure and amenities that are enjoyed by all the European countries that surround it. They look as though they are trapped in a time warp.

For me it is becoming more clear why Ukrainians today are willing to fight and die on their streets rather than surrender to the tyrannical rule of Vladimir Putin.  Forget 'Godwin's Law'*, there is a direct comparison to Hitler.  He has carried a grudge against the West for his entire life.  He wants to right the wrongs of previous Soviet leaders who broke up 'his' territory, his Russian Empire.  And let's not forget the role of money.  He probably is the richest man in the world, who knows, but imagine how rich he would be once he owns everything?  Sure the sanctions will hit him but the prize is worth it and besides he has been preparing for this war for over 20 years.  His people and his country have been deprived for years, paying one presumes, for an almighty war machine.  The rich USA has 8,000 tanks for example, 'third world' Russia has 22,000.  Just as an aside, a lot of the money stolen from the Russian people is invested in the London property market, so there you go.

Right now I feel ashamed at the response from the USA, the UK and NATO.  Why would they not allow Ukraine to join NATO?  Is it because they knew Ukraine would be first?  Maybe membership of NATO would have prevented this invasion?  It is good that the allies are offering support in the way of sanctions and humanitarian and military (equipment) aid, but it changes nothing.  Here's a crazy idea. What if NATO sent actual troops in to help the Ukrainians fighting on the ground?  And Putin has chosen the arena, ground fighting on the streets, not as yet weapons of mass destruction.  Is he mad enough to go there?  Some might say, yep, he crossed that line eons ago.  But right now he has chosen hand to hand combat, thousands of trained Russian soldiers against a mostly civilian population.  The men and women of Ukraine stand alone against the might of Russia while the rest of the world watches.  Couldn't NATO at least protect them from incoming bombs by declaring Ukraine a no fly zone?

We have never seen this kind of horror so clearly and so graphically as we do now.  Wars filled up the column inches of the broadsheets and occasionally the front pages of the tabloids, but this one, with social media, is happening in real time right in front of us.  We oldies are thinking, jeez, this could have happened to us if 'the Few' and Dad's Army hadn't guarded us against the Nazis.  And of course it did happen to other European countries which is why we fought so hard to hold onto all the freedoms we hold so dear.

Now I feel really scared.  Hitler did not stop at invading Poland.  Putin has stashed enough arms and ammunition to take over the world.  That's what mad men do as history and James Bond have shown us.  The world is now at a pivotal moment, not too dissimilar to the Cuban Missile Crisis.  Joe Biden is in a horrendous position, and thank heavens for all his political experience, because he is now playing a game of nuclear chess.  Putin is feeling emboldened because his troops are now marching in Kyiv.  My greatest hope is that Putin's soldiers start asking themselves, what am I doing, these are my friends, my relatives.  It's happened before, it can happen again. 

At this moment I am rooting and praying for President Zelensky, what a hero and an inspiration, so polemically different to every other politician we have ever seen.  I hope he gets all the miracles he needs to get through this, I just wish the world would do more to save these innocent people, what is the use of a powerful international force if it is kept only as a threat.   If I were Biden, I would bring the full force of NATO against the invading Russian army.  Stop them before it goes too far, because too far is what Putin is aiming for.  Putin wants all the territories of the former Russian Empire under his control and he has embarked on a mission to get them back.  I don't think he will stop at Ukraine, do you?



*if you mention Hitler or the Nazi's, you've lost the argument.

Friday, 11 February 2022

HOW DO YOU BEHAVE OVER 60?

 I got chatted up today and I was tickled pink, it's been donkeys years since that happened.  Now I am used to strangers talking to me when I am out and about, although to be fair it is mostly me who instigates it, I am a cheery soul.  But today was totally different.  I thought it nice and friendly when a young man I stood next to at a pedestrian crossing  asked if I was having a nice day, and indeed I was.  He then remarked how beautiful I was, beautiful eyes, beautiful hair.  At this point I became totally discombobulated, as in Ooo ooo, he's chatting me up, I was caught between 'this is totally inappropriate' and giggly schoolgirl mode.  Good heavens said I, I'm old enough to be your grandmother, should have said mother, because he was about mid 30's just to give it context, but nevertheless the compliments continued.  I will spare you the details of how wonderful I am, but I will keep them to myself and cherish them forever more.  Take note male readers, don't hold back on the compliments, we gals treasure them as much as diamonds.  But  I had to bring it to an end by pointing out I was over 60, whereby he departed gracefully and I walked away grinning from ear to ear.  

Naturally I couldn't wait to tell everyone I know (about 3 people) I got chatted up!  Of course I got the asylum missing a lunatic jibes etc, but the best reply goes to SAS (Smart Arsed Son) who said I should have got the number of his dealer.  Hmm.  I was most delighted at his [chatter upper]compliments for my hair.  It is very long, very thick and very blue.  Today, any thoughts I had of having it cut into a more age appropriate and much easier to manage, style, went right out the window.  I have spent a lifetime and a lot of money on stylish, high maintenance hairstyles, mostly bobs, and do I want to go back to blow drying every day, hell no.  Even if I don't wash it for a week, I can still put it up into all sorts of stylish 'dos' that I am learning from the internet.  Having never really had very long hair before, I'm experiencing all the joys that the 6 year old me missed out on.  Both my mother and my father sheared me of my locks as a child, mostly because I wouldn't let them near me with a brush, comb or shampoo and I kept getting fleas, so I don't hold it against them.

But this major event in my life, the other one was the discovery that you can add spinach to a smoothie and not taste it!  Who knew? set me thinking on the onset of the menopause, middle age and old age.  And for the purpose of this blog, and by popular demand I will turn now to the menopause, for me, now just a distant, but I have to say, enlightening memory.   Never mind the extremes of emotions, the spontaneous crying, the hot flushes and the God help me I am going to murder you rages, I like to focus on the pluses, and jeez, they are major.  You get your brain back!  Take a minute, let it sink in, remember that bright young science/arts geek you once were before a whiff of testosterone turned you into a wanton strumpet.  I have the unique experience of reading a social worker's opinion on my 14 year old self; 'Linda could achieve anything she wants, unfortunately she has discovered boys'.  Honest, but ouch.  I remember at the time being in love with a boy who loved my best friend who was in love with my brother.  Yes, I was at the tail end of this little love cycle, unloved by anyone but the fat kid with a dodgy eye.  I will never forget, and even now it brings a lump to my throat, how the love of my life danced with my best friend to 'Hey girl don't bother me' and glared at me with loathing!  Ok, I used artistic licence there with loathing, it was more of a 'ffs will you piss off' glare, he might just as well have said, I have the better girl in my arms and it broke my innocent young heart.  How could this be, thought I, he liked playing wrestling games with me too?  Little did I know, that men like playing wrestling games with lots of girls, doh!  And it was on my birthday!  Yep, you can reach for the tissues now, the only consolation I have is that he had a big nose (even though it was adoreable).  

But let me return to the big issue, getting your brain back.  Some may call it losing your mojo which at first glance may appear to be a disadvantage, but all the benefits soon become apparent.  No more phoning dealers at 3.00am when you want the part to go on and on and on.  Very quickly you will notice the rise in your bank balance and the lowering of your blood pressure, stress levels and yes, chaos in your life.  You will quickly see the love of your life, or the infatuation of your life not as Romeo, Heathcliff or Gerard Butler but as flesh and blood males in cardies and slippers.  For myself,  I was never much enamoured by Romeo, he seemed like a bit of a wuss, but Heathcliff was the man I wanted when my oestrogen levels were high.  As a young woman, I wanted to procreate with someone dark, moody, and yes, mad, bad and dangerous to know. Damn you Emily Bronte for awakening all my teenage hormones to the delights of six packs and male passion, credit also to the Diet coke 11.30 ad.  And thanks to, to Lady Caroline Lamb, for summing up a penchant for bad boys so succinctly.  

I'm trying here to sell loss of mojo as a good thing, and doing very badly.  Ha ha, must have been my delightful encounter today, but goodness me, the thought of going on a date or having any kind of encounter with a hmm, gentleman, (a must), has made me come over all unnecessary, as my old pal, Big Lynn, used to say. A charming expression, I hope you will agree.  And, as my old dad used to say, mostly after half a bottle of Teachers, 'never on my nelly duff'.  I never really understood the meaning, but it was usually accompanied by lively arm movements and a deep sigh, so I got the drift. 

Well never on my nelly duff (can someone please tell me what that means, (my dad was a Dundonian) did I think I would ever get chatted up again at this grand old age.  That part of my life was firmly locked away when I got my brain back.  Men, hmmm. who'd have them!  But I like their company and that 'guy' perspective, screams the inner me.  Is going on a date with a guy my age, or a tad younger such a bad thing?  At least they would remember Tony Blair, Princess Diana, the Beatles and Johnny Rotten.  Besides, since getting my brain back, I can quickly distinguish between the gold diggers (I wish lol), those looking for a carer and the downright unpleasant.  Not that I have looked, ha ha, the idea, in my school marmish head is 'totally inappropriate'!  

Such is life, when we are at our best our reproductive organs and hormones make really dodgy choices that are beyond the control of what little is left of the brain we once had.  Never mind the future millionaires and academics, they are looking for the Yorkie bar eaters and silver backs.  The nearer the knuckles are to the ground the more desireable they become.  Meanwhile the clever fuckers are discovering the joys of rotting fruit and making plans on how to improve their lives without doing any actual work.  It has always been the dinosaur slayers over the cave drawers and thus, here we are.  So listen bitches (have drunk gin) never mind his biceps and triceps, what has he got in his bank account and is it going up?  If you want an Adonis, get a ring on your finger and you will have years to torture him under the guise you are only doing it for his benefit.  As an addendum, was going to write an advice book but was afraid it might come across a tad bitter.  

I digress as usual.  Today's encounter has lifted my spirits in a whole new way.  Sadly, the darkness, and the G&T have now kicked in.  What if his intention was to abduct me?  Highly unlikely, we were in a public place in the centre of the town.  Was he harassing me?  No, absolutely not.  He was a gentleman, polite and respectful throughout, I did not for one moment feel threatened.  I felt a bit sad actually that men can no longer approach women or vice versa or whatever which way without fear of causing offence.  Why is being friendly so often misinterpreted as aggressive or threatening.   As someone who used to describe myself (annoying post grad mature student) as 'Marxist/feminist', I was very naive.  I now cringe and steer away from those those who label themselves as feminists now.  I hate the #metoo movement and I hate the woke culture that is sucking all the fun, humour, banter and male v female jousting that is part of our genes, our heritage and our culture.   

For myself, I really didn't want to again start the paragraph with 'I' again, err, I have always loved being a girl.  Just want to get that out there.  And those who want to be girls.  I'm like yay, come join us -let's talk makeup.  I wasn't always so in touch with my feminine side, actually, I was a tomboy little girl who just wanted to beat all the boys up, but I never wanted to be one of them!  I was a bit of a sociopath aged 5, world domination was what I was going for.  Naturally, I never felt inferior, because, basically, boys were so easy to boss about.  Punch the right one in the eye and you have domination. The others will fold.  That was why adolescence came as such a shock to me, some of them fight back.  It set all my plans back by decades.   

Now I have nothing to label myself with.  Left, hmm, not so sure, will never get over Corbyn, he is right up with my boy with a big nose, but see nothing for real socialists within the forseeable future, unless of course, JC starts a new party.  But even then, I am uncomfortable with the nanny state attitude of the Left and that is what I think scared scared all those Centre people at the last election.  We demand our right to eat copious amounts of sugar and invest in pyramid schemes and yet to be established shipping firms.  Ears ears' shout the Eton front bench and 'ere ere' shout the right wing football thugs who now believe their interests are aligned with the Tories. I'm one of those who shout 'education, education, education' but how tf do find your way through such density?  

I condemned the Labour Left there which was probably unkind, as they are the decent people I feel most aligned to.  It is kind of ridiculous that there are areas of this planet where they still suffer the kinds of deprivation experienced by our ancestors in the middle ages.  How can anyone be comfortable feeding all their greed, be it diamonds, yachts or designer clothing, yet walk past those who's lives would change overnight for the price they pay for one designer dress.  I've been watching Project Runway.... again.  

The world is topsy turvey, as always, but maybe that's a good thing.  Maybe we have all seen enough sci movies, to see the multiple ways in which it could all go drastically wrong.  I'm an old stoner so won't be rushing to a beach to embrace and say farewell to my loved ones as a giant wave engulfs us, I think, having seen, vicariously, the dramatic images of those forever captured in time in Pompeii, my inclination would be to strike a pose, as in Madonna, circa Vogue 1980's.  

I would have loved to have had a one hour session with Freud, preferably when he was extolling the virtues of cocaine.  I can picture me laid back on his chaise longue, asking 'why is it I love men yet also want to murder them'?  I used to pretend my idea of re-laying the patio were all fictional plots (I'm a writer doncha know) but I would love to get together with Picasso for an 'icepick in the back of the head after saying 'while you're up love, get me......'.  I think it would encapsulate his art and my underlying psychopathy.

I jest of course.  I never thought of murder, except for that one night when I looked longingly at my then new fish filleting knife.  Honest to god, it was the kind of knife that would have been beloved of the Silence of the Lambs killer or indeed, Jack the Ripper.  I had all sorts of reasons to carry out the heinous act, not least that he added ham to scrambled eggs the next morning.  Who does that?  But still I am joking, I phoned the 'Samaritans' that night, 'do you want to kill yourself they asked', because that's their job, 'no, said I, I want to kill him!'.  I don't think I did really, but I was extremely cross.  More than cross, he was the most annoying person I have ever met!  If I had lived in the US I would have shot him down, and probably be out by now.  

Still jesting.  I have no regrets for all those years we spent knocking seven bells out of each other.  I do regret that I was so easily taken in by the extremist feminist view that convinced me I was a victim.  I was never a victim, and I think it is wrong to indoctrinate women with the idea that they are victims, or somehow at a disadvantage.  This new generation of feminists are persuading women that they are weaker and they need help, an advantage over their male counterparts.  I hate that attitude.  Surely if you win, you want it to be on an equal playing field? It's not really a win if it isn't.  

It feels weird to say this but I hate #metoo, I had all those do good organisations that dedicated to persuading niche groups of men, women or any gender that they are victims.  Wtf?  As an (amateur) historian, I would ask, why would any group (gender) present themselves as weaker than their enemy, their opponent.  Who would stand up and say 'I am weaker than you, so give me concessions'.  The 5 year old me would say, get the f outta here, let's fight.  Whilst I hate #metoo, I think I hate 'woke' culture even more.  Bizarrely I find myself siding with otherwise insane, right wing loons, who are saying enough already, on pc language and the woke stuff at least. Lets enjoy being women, men or whatever we choose to be and call a halt to all this 'don't gender assign me' shit.  I think of them as the puritans from days gone by, that is, their purpose is to suck all the joy out of life.  

And no, I have not gone down the insane route of my friend Sonia Poulton.  I don't know where the hell she is coming from in her desire to fight for freedom.  Don't get me wrong, I am all for freedom fighting, but demanding the right to prolong a pandemic and ignore science is a step too far on the loony side for me.  I picture offering the people of 1917/18 a vaccine against a pandemic that was killing them in thousands turning down a vaccine that would safeguard themselves and their families.  Methinks, 'are you f*cking insane' would be their first response.

Apologies, I talk too much, my kindest wishes to all who still look in, I am always chuffed to pieces that people take time out of the day to have a read, even if they love me or hate me.  Matters not, I will keep writing, even if I get down to 1, it's kind of like having someone to chat to.  Take care, and keep safe, xxx