Tag Archives: work

Beat ’em and flog ’em. The players, not the fans!

Tevez, money, manchester City, sex, greed
Carlos Tevez... upstanding citizen.

Recently, I’ve had a lot of people asking me to comment on issues relating to footballers and in particular, their morals.

This was of course, largely a result of the Carlos Tevez situation and his alleged refusal to get his overpaid but extremely talented arse off the Manchester City bench and actually do what he is paid shit-loads to do. But it’s continued thanks to the activities of… well, far too many of them.

Quite why anyone thinks I am qualified to comment on the morals of anyone is something of a mystery as my life has hardly been virtuous but hey, if they ask, I answer. It’s what I do.

For what it’s worth, I think that the vast majority of footballers are decent blokes who are lucky enough to be paid to do a job most blokes would do for nothing. Some of them are paid way too much money admittedly but that’s hardly their fault. Whilst one can argue at length about the issue of players wages, as it stands it is market forces that dictate what they get paid and so until that issue is finally resolved as it surely has to be soon, I say fill your boots!

However, there are also a few amongst their number who are not decent at all and can at best be described as chavs and at worst, as scum. There are certainly individuals who, were it not for the fact that they could play football, would be in prison. Probably for a long time.

This is hardly a shock. After all, football is the working class game and even in this day and age, many footballers come from backgrounds which can hardly be called affluent. So it is hardly surprising that some of them go off the rails when they suddenly find themselves swimming in money, living in expensive apartments and left to their own devices. What doesn’t help is that their clubs or agents are so quick to step in and clean up their mess and that to me is the real problem. It’s the fact that being a good footballer seems to provide a golden get-you-out-of-jail card. That’s not right.

No one should be above the rule of law but equally, no one who represents the game, be they player or manager, has the right to drag it into the papers for the wrong reasons and be able to escape punishment. Being a twat, stupid or just horny is no excuse and I don’t care if it’s drink driving, adultery, rape, murder or simply refusing to play, they are bringing football into disrepute and should be hammered by those who administer it.

Not least because it makes those who follow the game that funds these lifestyles look foolish to those who don’t.

Things that piss me off. People with no shame…..

The other day, as the hacking scandal was still in the early stages of unfolding, I became embroiled in one of those ‘what’s wrong with the country’ type debates. Now usually I relish discussions like these because given that I am always right, it’s inevitable that sooner or later people will come round to my way of thinking and so the entertainment value comes in the journey they take to get there. However, in this instance time was pressing and so I let loose my killer point. The one I tend to save until close to the end. Because the simple truth is that the main thing wrong with this country is that the concept of shame has been lost.

Usually when I make this statement, it results in a silence. After all, it’s a fairly simplistic way of looking at things but it’s very rare that anyone can ever provide any kind of argument against it.

How else can you explain politicians refusing to take any blame for the damage they inflict on the population whilst at the same time bleeding us dry by fiddling their expenses blind? Or footballing greats trying desperately to line their own pockets by selling clubs to far-eastern ‘businessmen’? The answer of course is that they have no shame and if caught out, merely fight tooth and nail to escape any kind of justice be it legal or moral. Justice which would almost certainly never come anyway because as a people, we are ruled by apathy.

The irony is of course is that in the past we have relied on the press to fight our battles for us but in light of recent events, can we rely on that any more? I hope so. Jaundiced as I am against certain sections of the media as a result of my own experiences, I know that there are far more honest and decent journo’s than dodgy ones.

But for me, bent politicians, sportsmen, journalists or even coppers isn’t even the worst of it. Because for me the real rot happens nearer home. When I was younger claiming the dole was unthinkable because of the shame it would have heaped on you but more importantly, your parents.

However, that was nothing compared to the idea of falling pregnant outside of marriage…. Christ almighty, that was the stuff of nightmares for entire families who not so long ago would have farmed daughters out to aunties in the middle of nowhere rather than endure the humiliation of having a knocked up (and unmarried) daughter at home.

Yet these days, continuing to pop out kids whilst living off the state or claiming jobseekers or DLA whilst working on the sly are both seemingly acceptable career paths. How the fuck did that happen? How did it become OK to sponge or steal off of everyone else because make no mistake, that’s what we’re talking about here.

I seem to recall once reading that it took 16 taxpayers on an average wage to fund just one single parent who wasn’t working. Now I don’t know how accurate that is but it has to be pretty close and even if you halved that number, it is little more than a national disgrace. Think about that for a minute…. 8 people (at a generous best). That’s you and 7 of your mates. Working your tits off simply to fund one person. Nothing else…. just that one person.

It beggars belief doesn’t it. So why do we allow it to happen? The answer is simple really, because no one understands the concept of shame any more.

Don’t get me wrong, I know enough single mums (and dads) as well as lads out of work to know that we’re talking the exception rather than the rule and I also know enough people with disabilities to understand that they need all the help that we as a society can provide. But the reality is that there are far too many exceptions. I don’t know about you, but I’m sick and tired of hearing ‘I’d be £10 a week worse off if I went out to work’ because to me as a taxpayer, what that translates to is ‘if you went out to work you bastard, this country would be X amount BETTER off’. So fuck off out to work!

The government of course, would argue that they are doing what they can to get people back into work and to be fair, they are making the best of what is a shite situation left behind by a shite Labour government.

But until the people of this country decide that they are sick and tired of being taken for mugs by the idle and the feckless and actually start to help the authorities do something about it, nothing is going to change. We cannot afford for that to happen, not just financially but morally.

And maybe that’s where the real shame lies. With us.

No More Mr Nice Guy.

As requested ...

The other day someone levelled an accusation at me. I have, apparently, mellowed.

Initially, I dismissed this outrageous slur out of hand but as they pointed out, my blog, which was set up for the sole purpose of providing somewhere for me to get things off my chest, has recently become little more than a cross between a glorified diary and a series of plugs. And to be fair, as I pondered this later on, I realised that my accuser was right. The question of course, is why?

After all, I pride myself on my love of moaning and as plenty of people can testify, it’s not like I moan any less these days nor is it for want of suitable subject matter! Leaving aside my personal and working life (if only you knew the half of it!) I only have to pick up any national newspaper or turn on TalkSport and I guarantee that within 30 seconds I’ll be off about something.

Equally, I have always loved sitting down and tearing into something or someone but it is nevertheless a fact that my enthusiasm for letting rip has indeed waned in recent months. Which brought me back to the question of why?

However, before I could even begin the search for an answer to this most simple of questions, it landed in my inbox courtesy of The Purple Diva. An amazing woman and a fabulous writer who does things with words the like of which I can only dream about. And it came courtesy of a simple URL. A URL which led me to what I can only term a proper full bore championship winning rant.

It was sent in January 2001 by the famous author Hunter S. Thompson to Holly Sorensen, then a Production Executive at an independent film studio, The Shooting Gallery and related to the adaptation of his novel, The Rum Diary, to which Sorensen’s studio held the rights. Things had not gone well and eventually, Thompson reached boiling point.

Read on…..

Transcript

To HOLLY SORENSON / Shooting Gallery / Hollywood / Jan 22 ’01

Dear Holly,

Okay, you lazy bitch, I’m getting tired of this waterhead fuckaround that you’re doing with The Rum Diary.

We are not even spinning our wheels aggressively. It’s like the whole Project got turned over to Zombies who live in cardboard boxes under the Hollywood Freeway… I seem to be the only person who’s doing anything about getting this movie Made. I have rounded up Depp, Benicio Del Toro, Brad Pitt, Nick Nolte & a fine screenwriter from England , named Michael Thomas, who is a very smart boy & has so far been a pleasure to talk to & conspire with…

So there’s yr. fucking Script & all you have to do now is act like a Professional & Pay him. What the hell do you think Making a Movie is all about? Nobody needs to hear any more of that Gibberish about yr. New Mercedes & yr. Ski Trips & how Hopelessly Broke the Shooting Gallery is…. If you’re that fucking Poor you should get out of the Movie Business. It is no place for Amateurs & Dilletants who don’t want to do anything but “take lunch” & Waste serious people’s Time.

Fuck this. We have a good writer, we have the main parts casted & we have a very marketable movie that will not even be hard to make….

And all you are is a goddamn Bystander, making stupid suggestions & jabbering now & then like some half-bright Kid with No Money & No Energy & no focus except on yr. own tits…. I’m sick of hearing about Cuba & Japs & yr. Yo-yo partners who want to change the story because the violence makes them Queasy.

Shit on them. I’d much rather deal with a Live asshole than a Dead worm with No Light in his Eyes…. If you people don’t want to Do Anything with this movie, just cough up the Option & I’ll talk to someone else. The only thing You’re going to get by quitting and curling up in a Foetal position is relentless Grief and Embarrassment. And the one thing you won’t have is Fun…

Okay, That’s my Outburst for today. Let’s hope that it gets Somebody off the dime. And if you don’t Do Something QUICK you’re going to Destroy a very good idea. I’m in the mood to chop yr. fucking hands off.

R.S.V.P

(Signed)

HUNTER

Upon reading this, I immediately realised what my problem has been. Instead of embracing the concept that my blog allows me the freedom to say pretty much what I want about what I want whenever I want, I had instead begun to follow the ‘if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all’ ideal.

More worryingly, that had also begun to spill over into my working life. My god, I have lost count of the number of times in recent months I have encountered either ineptitude, deceit or even condescension and instead of sending off a Thompsonesque style missile aimed directly at the relevant anus, I have sat back and done pretty much sod all. In essence, I had somehow become ‘nice’.

Fuck off

Well fuck that. No more doormat for me. Normal service is about to resume.

Be warned….

It’s true. I’m in love.

Yes, I have recently fallen head over heels in love. Such an admission is, I know, not exactly blokey and I doubt many people who read these all too infrequent ramblings of mine will ever have expected to view those words here but it is nevertheless, a fact. I am besotted.

I’d actually go so far as to say I’m happy which, as anyone who knows me will understand, is not a phrase which normally sits comfortably in my shoulders but hey, a good female can have that effect sometimes.

We met, like increasing numbers of people in these hectic times, via the internet and it took just one brief glance at her picture for me to know that we were destined to be together. Call it love at first sight if you like but within 48 hours, we were a couple and I know my life will never be the same.

The object of my affection? A 1997 Mercedes Vito van who I met via the petrol heads dating site that is the motors section of eBay. And I say who rather than which for a reason. Because my van isn’t simply a collection of metal objects thrown together on some assembly line in Germany and used and abused first by the RAC and then an electrician from Redbourn, she has a soul.

I know that because she’s already responding to the love, care and attention I have been pouring upon her. I’m not just talking stuff like the obligatory scrub up here, I’m talking proper maintenance. Oil & filter changes, sorting dodgy wiring and let me tell you, nothing helps forge a bond between a man and his vehicle like changing a dodgy driveshaft.

The result? Well at the risk of this sounding like a sexual metaphor, each time I climb inside her she seems more pleased to see me than the last time. She starts easier, runs more smoothly and little things that didn’t work when we first met have suddenly and mysteriously started to function. It’s like my own version of ‘Christine’ but without the brutal massacre of people who cross me (although I am hopeful that may begin any day).

As for me, well driving, which I’ve always loved, has suddenly taken on new levels of pleasure and I feel increasingly like Toad of Toad Hall as we bowl around the country together, windows open and without a care in the world. And let me tell you, having a mobile space the size of a garage available to you is even more useful than you can imagine! Oh yes, I am a van convert.

But equally, the fact that she only cost me £500 means that….. no, I can’t say that. Of course I care about her and in no way is she disposable!

Yet deep in my heart I know that even though we are still basking in the dawn glow of our relationship, one day it will end and she will shuffle off to the great big car park in the sky (or more likely, Africa via Tilbury Docks). And whilst I will be heartbroken for a time, I’m sure that eventually a new love will come into my life almost certainly via eBay dating and possibly even a slammed VW T4 with air con and some decent alloys.

But until then……. 

 

Shhh…. it’s a blog about racism!

Angry man

The other day I sat down at my laptop determined to write a long and rambling blog.

I had the subject matter all sorted in my head, the rough text I wanted to write, the tone I wanted to use and even the conclusion I wanted to reach. Unusually for me (sic) I had even done some research and had various quotations cut, pasted and highlighted in yellow at the top of the blank page ready to be used as and when I needed them.

Even as I sat down, I knew this was going to be a controversial read of the type for which blogging was invented. It is after all the perfect tool for those of us who are keen to get our opinions out into the public domain but who are not clever or lucky enough to have a newspaper or magazine column through which to do it. But then, as I prepared to construct the perfect opening line, it happened. A little ‘ding’ went off in my right ear. Well it’s not actually a little ding. If you’ve ever heard an old fashioned typewriter as the rail nears the end of the page, that’s what I hear.

And it’s always my right ear. I don’t know why as it’s actually the weaker of my two ears, but this is a largely irrelevant point. The important point is that the ding is a warning. A warning that I’m either about to write or say something which either I shouldn’t say at all or which I need to consider very, very carefully.

Quite why this happens is a mystery but be it sixth sense, guardian angel or simply something which happens with old(er) age, as someone who is prone to letting their opinions get the better of them, I’m bloody glad it does. It has certainly saved me from dropping myself in serious shit on more than one occasion.

Not because I don’t necessarily subscribe to whatever it is I was/am about to write, but because I have learnt the hard way that in these politically correct times there are lines one should be wary of crossing. If the media fascists can bring down fabulous (if contentious) radio journalists like Jon Gaunt and James Whale for making on-air statements which ‘they’ considered unacceptable, just think what they could do to someone like me who barely registers on the media radar yet is still has a desire to make an impact with a wider audience.

Make no mistake, it’s incredibly difficult to forge a career in the media but it’s the easiest thing in the world to kill one.

It could of course, be argued that this is cowardly. And that maybe, as someone who is known for having what could be considered controversial opinions about certain subjects I should actually be more forthright in the things I have to say. After all, as anyone who has ever read one of my books will know I’ve never really been that concerned about what people think of me and I’m more than happy to debate my opinions when challenged. Furthermore, like it or not I do have a profile of sorts and for some reason there seems to be plenty of people interested in the things I have to say. Some would even argue that as a writer, I have a duty to the people who have purchased any of my books and who have subscribed to some of the opinions I have put into print, to drive forward and help right some of the things I complain so vehemently against.

To be honest, I have a lot of sympathy with that. In my book Rebellion I made the point that I was humbled by the passion shown by some of the people I’d featured in that book, inspired as they had been, to battle an injustice. And let’s face it, there are more than enough issues impacting on football never mind our once glorious country which demand a response. Not a response from someone mindful of their profile or their career, but from someone who merely has something to say and feels the need to say it. Which brings me back to the matter of the aforementioned ding.

You see reading back over my notes, I can see why I need to be wary but a big part of me is also saying ‘fuck it. Just write it and be damned’. And for once, whilst I’m going to give it nod of thanks, I’m going to disregard the ding and dive straight in.

I have, in the past and on more occasions than I care to remember, been accused of being racist. Often theses accusations will be based simply on the fact that I have a shaved head, am fat and follow football. Three things which make me the stereotypical right-wing thug so beloved of the media. Others factor in the fact that I write about hooliganism, have written about the extreme right-wing or am a fan of Lady Thatcher and a lifelong Tory voter (not any more mind, but that’s another story) to reinforce the notion that my politics are firmly in the neo-Nazi camp.

This is of course, total bollocks and I’m not even going to waste the battery on my laptop trying to defend myself because I don’t need to. If you need to know where I sit in the political arena and especially with regard to racism, read my book Kicking Off because it’s all in there.

The problem is that for many people the fear of being accused of holding racist views is a fear too far and even being linked with someone who might is regarded as a high risk (ask Ron Atkinson). Equally, Like all fascists (and that is what they are as far as I’m concerned) the supposed anti-fascist brigade know that fear is their greatest weapon and the racism accusation card is the H-Bomb in their arsenal. One they are quite happy to throw around seemingly willy-nilly because they know that no one would dare challenge them.

The consequence of this of course, is that it stifles debate which is undoubtedly the whole idea. However, whilst researching both my book ‘Kicking Off’ and the forthcoming movie about Afghanistan, I encountered vicious racism aimed at the black community from within the black community, even more aimed at Muslims from Sikh’s (and visa versa!) and plenty aimed from within pretty much every ethnic group directed at us ‘white’ folk yet we rarely if ever hear of that in the mainstream media. Does that make it any less illegal? Of course not. So how can it be allowed to continue?

The authorities, the media and especially the anti-racism brigade would argue that this is not the case but this is clearly untrue and we’ve recently had as cast iron proof as you can possibly get.

Consider this; an England player is sitting at Wembley during an international fixture and tweets a ‘joke’ about the visiting fans and the idea that the game is actually an immigration trap and the stadium is surrounded by officers who are ready to sweep up anyone who shouldn’t be in the country after the game. When he is challenged, he complains that it was merely a ‘joke’ and that people should have a sense of humour.

Now, suppose said ‘joke’ had been tweeted by Wayne Rooney for example. Can you imagine the reaction? The press would have gone apoplectic whilst the anti-racism and anti-fascist groups would have been screaming for his head. And quite rightly too.

But supposing the ‘joke’ had been tweeted by one of England’s black players. Should the reaction be any different? Of course it shouldn’t, but it was. For this is exactly what the odious Carlton Cole (and there’s a bloke you wouldn’t want your daughter bringing home!) did during the game against Ghana.

Fair play to the FA (and there’s a sentence I never thought I would write) who immediately hit Cole with a charge of improper conduct but where was the clamour for his head in the press? Where were the usual rabid statements from ‘Kick Racism out of football’ or the various organisations who only recently were all over the press screaming blue murder because there have been no ethnic minorities in ‘Midsummer Murders’ or salivating at the realisation that Zenit St Petersburg have never signed a black player?

They were nowhere, that’s where and that was totally and utterly wrong. Racism is abhorrent in all its forms but guilt is not the sole preserve of the Anglo-Saxon community and if you are genuinely serious about combating it then that simple statement has to be fundamental to your approach because until it is, not only can you never actually solve it but you have absolutely no right to preach to anyone else about how they act and what they do in their own country.

If ever there was a subject about which this country needs a free and open debate it is the issue of racism. For until we have that debate, we cannot possibly have a level playing field and that is all anyone really wants. It’s also what this country desperately needs because until every citizen irrespective of colour, religion or background feels confident that should they have cause for a race related complaint then it will be treated fairly, justly and equally, all you are doing is storing up more and more resentment and an increasing sense of unfairness and intolerance. The sad reality of that is that such feelings can and do only ever lead in one direction. Toward the right.

And who in their right mind would want that.

racism, john terry, rio ferdinand, black union, chelsea, manchester unitedKicking Off, how hooliganism and racism are killing football, is available via amazon. Just click right here.

It’s me!

As you may or may not have noticed, the level of work I’ve been putting into my blog in recent weeks has slowed to what can only be described as pathetic.

In my defence, to say life has been manic of late would be an understatement as I’ve had various producers champing at my creative backside in an effort to secure either revisions or my services.

Not that I am ungrateful of course, but sometimes, I do wish I had half-decent time management skills or better still, the ability to say NO to people who are being, for want of a better word, twats.

Indeed, it’s fair to say that one of the worst things about being a writer is that you are usually the first link in the creative chain of a project and the last one to get either paid or recognised. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve made the point to people that without writers, there would be no…… well, anything. Yet as a breed, we are quite possibly the most frequently shafted group within any creative field.

I’m not sure quite how we have allowed ourselves to end up like this but it is certainly something I’m keen to change even if it is only for my own sanity.

However, in the meantime I will do my utmost to update my blog on a more regular basis not least because I have a few things I really do need to get off my chest.

Oh yes……..

It’s me!

As you may or may not have noticed, the level of work I’ve been putting into my blog in recent weeks has slowed to what can only be described as pathetic.

In my defence, to say life has been manic of late would be an understatement as I’ve had various producers champing at my creative backside in an effort to secure either revisions or my services.

Not that I am ungrateful of course, but sometimes, I do wish I had half-decent time management skills or better still, the ability to say NO to people who are being, for want of a better word, twats.

Indeed, it’s fair to say that one of the worst things about being a writer is that you are usually the first link in the creative chain of a project and the last one to get either paid or recognised. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve made the point to people that without writers, there would be no…… well, anything. Yet as a breed, we are quite possibly the most frequently shafted group within any creative field.

I’m not sure quite how we have allowed ourselves to end up like this but it is certainly something I’m keen to change even if it is only for my own sanity.

However, in the meantime I will do my utmost to update my blog on a more regular basis not least because I have a few things I really do need to get off my chest.

Oh yes……..

Hillsborough… and other stuff.

Time wasting

The other day, whilst trawling the internet in one of my all too frequent bouts of boredom, I stumbled across a link which took me to a message board. Nothing unusual in that you might think but this particular one was overflowing with vitriol aimed at a journalist. Mind you there’s nothing unusual in that either.

However, what captured my interest in this instance was the reason for that vitriol. It was the fact that the journalist had written a piece about the Hillsborough disaster.

Now as any football fan will know, Hillsborough is an emotive issue, especially to the people of Liverpool. And as someone who has written extensively about it in the past and being one of the few people who question some of the sentiments which have come to cloud opinion surrounding what happened, I know better than anyone that if you write about Hillsborough, unless you want to get slaughtered you had best get your facts right and/or be prepared to back up every letter you commit to paper.

Sadly, this journalist fell foul of both of these golden rules because to say his article was ill-informed and poorly researched would be to give new meaning to the word ‘understatement’. To make matters worse, the inevitable negative response to his article was discussed on one of those dreadful news debate shows the US media love to produce and if anything, that was even worse! Because whilst their defence of their colleague was stout, their references to the disaster were equally flawed! Not surprisingly, the subsequent response was, to say the least, equally colourful.

The problem was however, that the bulk of those responses were based on a particular perception of what happened on that fateful day. One which placed every single ounce of blame on the police. And as anyone who has ever read any of my work will know, in spite of my sentiments toward the thin blue line, I don’t subscribe to this view at all.

Normally, given that Hillsborough is one of the subjects I tend to shy away from these days (extreme right-wing politics, immigration and women drivers being amongst the others) I would have avoided becoming involved in this debate. However, on this occasion a heady mix of irritation, boredom and a desire for amusement sucked me in.

Even more unusually, rather than make tongue-in-cheek comments designed simply to get people fired up, (as I said, I needed a bit of amusement) the fact that it was about such a serious and controversial issue actually resulted in me behaving myself. The consequence being that aside from resulting in a quite reasonable debate with a guy who eventually almost conceded that I had a point (which obviously I do) I suddenly realised that I had wasted an entire day.

And that, in a nutshell, is the point of this blog.

No, it’s got nothing to do with Hillsborough. It’s to do with time management. Because that day is a day I’ll never get back and it really should have been spent doing something more productive.

Yet all too often in recent years, I have fallen into the trap of getting involved in pointless debates with even more pointless people and if I should have learnt one thing by now, it’s that to anyone who is self-employed, Facebook and Twitter are the tools the devil has devised to exploit our inherent weaknesses and steal our valuable time.

So please excuse me if I frequent them less from now on. Indeed, if I am to make a new years resolution it will be to stay away from social media sites. Although saying that, I do have this idea for a fabulous book about Facebook.

No honestly, it’s genius. It just needs a bit more research……

Grovelling time!

Apologies for the lack of any blogs recently but I’ve been engrossed in writing a new screenplay as well as re-writing an existing one ahead of production.

When you are as lazy as I am and have zero time management skills, deadlines are terrible things. However, even I realise that it is far better to have them than not. Indeed, if the latter were the case I would never get anything done!

Normal service will be resumed shortly. Unless something else crops up!

Things That Annoy Me (Part Six – Selfish bastards)

A couple of weeks ago, whilst returning home from an unexpectedly successful meeting in London, something happened that scared the shit out of me.

However, before I relate this particular tale, I need to go back 24 hours prior to that because what I am about to tell you is important in relation to the story that will unfold. You see the previous day I had been haunted by a Crow. And I say haunted advisably because as those who follow my ramblings on twitter will know (well, I had to tell someone!) this bloody thing seemed to be everywhere I went. Not only did it keep staring at me through the window, but it was even sitting on my car when I went out to run an errand!

Now being pursued by a bird which, if you believe in such things, is supposedly a foreteller of doom or even death does not do much good for the nerves. However, I somehow managed to survive the day intact (as did everyone I know I think) and even more amazingly, the night.

So, delighted to be still in this mortal realm and with a meeting to get to, I headed off to London and another encounter with the Underground which, for a variety of reasons, I despise.

OK, with the scene now set I can jump forward to my journey homeward.

There I am, heading for Euston and escape from the big city with the euphoria of what I had just been told still fresh in my mind when I glanced across the carriage and saw something that made me freeze in my tracks.

Sitting there, dressed head to foot in his traditional clothing was an Asian chap. Not an altogether unusual sight in London I’m sure you will agree but what made him stand out was the fact that he was rocking backwards and forward in his seat, eyes closed and twirling some beads between his fingers.

Having served in the Military for as long as I did and having seen at first hand the evidence of what human beings are capable of, to say I became somewhat worried is an understatement. More so because of my recent encounter with the aforementioned Crow.

Thankfully, I was getting off at the next stop and the second the doors opened I was out of there. A glance back revealing him still rocking backwards and forwards with his eyes clamped firmly shut.

Now I’m sure he had his reasons for doing what he was doing and it was obviously totally innocent but even as the train vanished into the tunnel, I actually began to become annoyed. Not just at myself for being more concerned about getting off the train than about actually saying or doing anything, but at the offending individual.

After all, if he wasn’t in London at the time of the 7/7 bombings he would certainly have heard about them and would, like every other traveller on the tube, be wary of anything suspicious. So why did he feel that he had the right to act in what to me at least, was a suspicious if not actually frightening manner? The answer of course, is that it almost certainly didn’t even occur to him and that, to me, is the definition of selfishness.

Indeed, trains and selfishness seem to go hand in hand these days. Quite when it became acceptable for males to remain seating whilst elderly, middle aged, pregnant or even disabled women are forced to stand is beyond me but it really is the height of bad manners. And why do increasing numbers of people seem to feel obliged to wear rucksacks on packed trains? Do they not realise what a bloody pain they are? Of course they do, because they are exactly the kind of people who moan about people wearing rucksacks on trains!

But most selfish of all are those people who talk on mobile phones. I very, very rarely have conversations on phones in public because to me, they are private and I don’t want anyone knowing my business almost as much as I doubt they want to hear it. So quite why others why people feel the need to regale the world with the most inane conversation escapes me. I don’t need to know you are on the train home, I don’t give a toss what you are having for dinner and I certainly don’t care that such and such is screwing such and such.

To make matters worse, I’m sure that these ignorant gits think that when they are talking on mobiles, no one else can hear them. I once listened to a young woman talking loudly to her bank in the seat opposite to me and by the time she had finished, I had written down her account number, sort code, name, date of birth and home address. When I handed them to her and told her that she really needed to be a bit more discreet, she looked at me like I was some kind of sex fiend.  

The sad thing is, selfishness is merely a reflection of what this once great nation has become. It is bereft of both good manners, courtesy, politeness and most importantly of all, shame. And whilst it is easy to blame Lady Thatcher and the ‘me, me, me’ policies of the 1980’s or even the quest for sexual equality (a just battle fought appallingly) the truth is that it’s because too many people do not understand the notion that respect is only given if it is earned.

And they don’t understand it simply because they were never taught it. Which to me is one of the great failings of both our schools and parents across this increasingly desolate country of ours.