Adventures of Frangipan

Monday, 22 June 2009

This weekend...

On Friday I had my usual diet of toast for breakfast, followed by a sandwich and crisps for lunch. After work I went on an 8-mile pub walk where I drank J2Os and had one veggie burger. I got to bed at 1am.

I woke up at 5am, had toast for breakfast then packed up the horses and lorry to go a PC friendly. I was on my feet from 9am until 8pm and didn't eat again until 8.30pm.

I got about 4 hours sleep in the back of the lorry before waking up at 6am. Again I was on my feet from about 9am until 5pm, but this time I had two egg baps and an ice cream to keep me going. I got home at 8.30pm and had toast and a chocolate bar for supper.

Never mind losing weight - it's a wonder I'm still able to stand up with the lack of sleep and food.

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

The British National Party

The BNP have won council seats in the recent European elections. Put simply, this is very bad. I have long thought of the British National Party as a fascist, racist, vile group of people, similar to the Nazis or KKK. One of the problems with the apparent free speech we have is that these people are allowed to infiltrate society with their warped thinking. My original point in this blog post was to undermine one of the central tenets of the BNP: that only indigenous British white people can join, and these are the people the party support and look after. After looking at the BNP website (yes, I feel dirty) I have found that this isn’t going to be as easy as I thought.

The BNP mission statement reads: “we use the term indigenous to describe the people whose ancestors were the earliest settlers here after the last great Ice Age and which have been complemented by the historic migrations from mainland Europe. The migrations of the Celts, Anglo Saxons, Danes, Norse and closely related kindred peoples have been, over the past few thousand years, instrumental in defining the character of our family of nations.” Someone’s been doing their homework on human migration patterns.

The Earth is 4.5-4.6 billion years old. The oldest hominid fossil was found in Ethiopia and is believed to be up to 3.6 million years old. Charles Darwin was one of the first to suggest that we all came from an African ancestor. The Homo erectus species is believed to have first migrated from Africa as much as 2 million years ago. According to genetic and fossil evidence, archaic Homo sapiens evolved into anatomically modern humans solely in Africa, between 200,000 and 100,000 years ago.

But the BNP aren’t really denying this part.

Prehistoric human population in Britain has fluctuated greatly with the advancing and retreating ice. Old Stone Age is the earliest known period of occupation of Britain by man. There is evidence of a species being present 700,000 years ago, when Britain was linked to continental Europe by a land bridge; and evidence of another species 500,000 years ago. Neanderthal man arrived in Britain 40,000 years ago, and the first signs of Homo sapiens date back to 30,000 years ago. The last great ice age ended and the Holocene era began about 10,000 years ago, with Britain once again being cut off from the continent by about 6500 years ago.

After this we basically had the Celts, Romans, Anglo Saxons, Vikings and Normans. These people are all OK. They might have raped and pillaged but they’re white and were on the European continent before the last Ice Age. But for all you non-white people who arrived in the modern day, well you’re just not welcome. There’s nothing you have to offer to complement our society.

Since the expansion of the EU, we’ve experienced more immigration of white people from Eastern Europe. Are these people OK? I’m confused because they’re white and historically have been instrumental in defining the character of our family of nations; but they’re taking British jobs from British people. And they’re not as easy to target! What does it matter if they have a greater economic value because they work harder and get paid less than your average Brit?

What do we do with all the mixed race people? I say I’m Welsh because I was born in Wales to parents who were born in Wales. But you only have to go back to my maternal grandmother to get an English relative, and my maternal grandfather’s family came over from Ireland in the 1500s. I’m OK though because of my ‘peaches and cream’ complexion. What is the BNP’s plan for people born of one white European parent and one non-white, non-European parent? Just round them and kick them out?

Since we’re using the term ‘indigenous’ to describe the people whose ancestors were the earliest settlers after the last great Ice Age, does that mean we have to go fetch all the British Empire settlers from Australia, South Africa, America, and countless other places around the world? It isn’t really fair if we’re saying only historic migrations from Europe complement societies anywhere around the world.

Another excerpt from the mission statement reads: “The men and women of the British National Party are motivated by love and admiration of the outpouring of culture, art, literature and the pattern of living through the ages that has left its mark on our very landscape. We value the folkways and customs which have been passed down through countless generations.”

Hands up anyone who feels the love and admiration from the BNP. Thought not. I’m on the point of laughing. These people are so absurd. They [say they] recognise the richness of the British culture brought by different peoples through the ages, and yet they refuse to acknowledge that modern immigrants can also add to culture, art, literature and the pattern of living.

It’s almost like they can’t see, for example, the doctors and nurses we rely so heavily on, along with many other people of different ethnic origins who come to this country, work hard, try to get involved in the community and generally want to add to society as well as improve their own life. And on the flipside, they can’t see the waste-of-space indigenous white people who want everything handed to them on a silver platter. Skin colour doesn’t dictate human nature!

It’s unfortunate that the BNP are allowed in the political system. But it doesn’t matter how you dress it up: it’s still a racist, xenophobic attitude. Their concept of the nation state is an outdated one in our heavily globalised, interconnected world. Britain has a mongrel population to go with its mongrel language. If we took the chance to embrace that rather than cite racial hatred, we might find we can get what we want, and we might even get along.

Saturday, 13 June 2009

Boy meets Girl

Girl gets invited to join some people out, including Boy who she quite likes. Boy monopolises her time that night, talking to her the whole time, complimenting her, trying to kiss her. Boy says he'd like to take her out. Girl says OK and gives him her number. Girl gives Boy a lift home, much to the amusement of his friends who are wondering how he's managed this. Girl lets Boy kiss her goodnight.

Boy doesn't call. Girl leaves it a while then sends a 'breezy' facebook message. Boy apologises and again says he'd like to take her out. Girl says "you've got my number". Still, Boy doesn't call.

Ordinarily I would put this down to a bad experience and forget it. But I genuinely think he's interested. So I'm confused. I want to say "oi, what happened?" but without seeming stalker-like or crazy or angry. And it isn't really my turn to move either. My, he's frustrating!

Friday, 5 June 2009

Reality TV and Talent Shows

Ironic really, since reality TV shows are rarely set in a real life situation, and talent shows revel in showing untalented acts. I've always had an issue with these shows, but it's all come to a head this week. Not onyl because of what happened to Susan Boyle, but also because of the media coverage.

I was (unfortunately) listening to Steve Wright the other day when his co-host mentioned that BB was back, then it'll be X-Factor and Strictly again. He said it was barely worth going out. I've lost count of the amount of people who have either been talking about BGT or ask if I watch it. I felt like the only person on Facebook who wasn't watching the new series of the Apprentice.

I just don't get it. Have our lives really come down to watching other people's fake real lives through our TV screens? Doesn't anyone have any hobbies anymore? Or taste for that matter?

There is an Andy Warhol quote: "I believe that in the future, everyone will be famous for 15 minutes." Apparently Andy was a prophet. TV certainly seems to have gone that way, giving everyone their 15 miutes, either because their talented, or so lacking in talent that it's funny. I think it all started with The Gong Show. And rather ironically, one of my favourite films is about the original host, Chuck Barris.

The world is filled with people who seem to think that they have some right to be famous, and by hook or by crook, they will be famous. The main ambition of young children today is to be a celebrity, for any reason.

Doesn't anyone want to make a difference anymore? Isn't anyone content with a leading a quiet life? And what is it about fame that draws everyone in - money? Power? Popularity?

Don't get me wrong: I don't hate or ignore famous people. There are bands and actors that I like and will go on about, and who bring out my shallow-as-a-puddle side while I go on about how hot they are. Some people deserve to be famous because of something defining - Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King Jnr, Gandhi, Che Guevara, Leon Trotsky, etc. But the obsession with fame baffles me. I won't get started on the celebrity magazines here - whole different rant!

And the talent shows. Building up people with so little talent just to tear them to shreds on TV. For entertainment. Wow, that's really something to be proud of. What wonderful human beings we are. Or is that just human nature? If so we might need a new definition of 'humane'.

And the media coverage. Susan Boyle had a breakdown. It was the hot topic on the news all day. On the same day that a passenger aircraft went missing over the Atlantic! What about soldiers and civilians being killed in wars around the world? Or famine? Or any sort of politics (except expenses)? What about anything that involves more than one person having a breakdown due to a media-induced frenzy, all because she could sing?

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

A Soldier's Perspective

I had a very interesting chat with a very drunk army friend of mine the other night. He's just finished his first 3 months in Afghanistan and is home for a few weeks. He's always had this 'hard man' attitude and seems to think that since he's in the army he has the right to get extraordinarily angry about anything, and can knock anyone out. I got annoyed with him on a night out a few months ago because he seemed to be losing his rag about everything and he made a girl cry. He tried to justify it by saying "I can't help it, I'm trained to kill". Not a good enough excuse as far as I'm concerned.

Anyway...Sunday night. He told me that he's only in the army because they pay him. I found this quite surprising since I thought he actually believed in all that. Even more surprising, he told me that he had asked his CO in Afghanistan why they were there: what the bigger picture was for soldiers to be losing their lives. And that eventually led to a conversation about the futility of war, conspiracy theories around 9/11, US hegemony, and many other things I would never have expected to chat to him about.

I'm going to copy one of my favourite songs for him - Letter Home by Strung Out. I'm not sure the music will be to his taste, but I think he'll be able to relate to the lyrics.

Well I feel stupid writing this
Cos it's almost like I'm getting ready for something I'm not ready for
I guess I just want to let you know, wish I could be face to face with you
And tell you how I feel
I wasn't gonna write this you see my buddy and I had a deal
I just hope and pray that neither one of us has to deliver
If it comes down to it
I will always be with you
I will always be watching
I miss you all
Tell my girl that I love her
I'll be dreaming of her
And I don't want to fight anymore
And I'm still not sure what I'm doing here
I'm praying and praying, who we praying to?
That might understand
And if you get this letter I'm sorry I didn't make it back
I will always be with you
Always watching
And I know, that I'll never die alone
No matter where I am
Hold on please, don't forget me when I'm gone
Cos I forgot why I ever left at all
These times take the best of men
And leave nothing for the rest of them
And I judge myself in every way
And I can no longer look at myself in the same way
And I don't want to be a coward but does any of this mean a thing?
The sacrifice, who's sacrifice?
I will always be with you
I will always be watching
And I know, that I'll never die alone
No matter where I am
Hold on please don't forget me when I'm gone
Cos I forgot why I ever left at all
Oh why I ever left at all
Oh why I ever left at all
I just had to let you know.....