Monday, 25 July 2011


And so I went to Thorpe Park. Hot heady heat amidst rides that had names of tortuous horror films (Saw), condom sounding rides (Colossus - or is that just my mind?), and weapons of natural destruction (Tidal Wave, which perhaps should be called Tsunami. Or perhaps not). Then there were others called Rush, Vortex, No way out (I identified a bit with this one as it was in the dark), and Nemesis Inferno which the boys I took thought was 'the best'. I think they should call a ride 'Ouch'. I'm sure 'Brain Damage' would attract a following.

I was surrounded by teenagers. Fat ones, emaciated ones, join the dots spotty ones, ones who practiced the Victoria 'I am too cool to smile' Beckham pout, and others who were cool but didn't know it. Many others who thought they were, but weren't. I am so pleased I am not a teenager again. Anyone who ever angst for these times should go to Thorpe Park. It reminds me of the insecurities of that age. Of wanting to be noticed and not wanting to be noticed. Of wanting to stand out and not wanting to stand out. Of wanting to be something, anything other than who you are, under the guise of gaining any experience, good, bad and ugly. I know quite a few forty somethings that are still going through this phase or have re entered it.

I didn't go on the rides. Instead I waited in the 'shops' the riders had to walk through at the end of each roller coaster. In one they sold 'victims blood slime' next to sweetly smiling teddy bears with Thorpe Park emblazoned in embroidered yellow on little blue jumpers. It made the bears look creepy and sinister. Then there were the voodoo doll key rings (without the pins), mini marshmallow chain saws (they looked like chain saws), little statues of a man with a very white face and blood red mouth on a tricycle which is something to do with the film Saw, but I've never seen it so didn't get the point and rather than be impressed I just thought them very strange. There were a lot there so don't know if they had sold any. Then there were huge medals for going on each of the rides. You could get three for £10. And loads and loads of jelly sweets and other brightly coloured sugar immersed gelatin filled crap.

I sat there in the sun, and kept thinking of what the place reminded me of. I've been to Alton Towers and Universal Studios in Florida and Phantasialand in Germany, and other 'lands' with rides of this scale, but this one was different. As I sat watching everyone scream their heads off, and praise themselves afterwards for not throwing up and still being able to smile, speak, see, walk - I breathed in the whiff of pizza, pasta, curry, chinese, fish 'n chips, mexican drift in the breeze - and I thought of the story of Pinnochio and the land he ended up in when he started to turn into an ass. I left with stealth, as the ride Stealth was closed.

Sunday, 24 July 2011


I fell in the mud. Walking down from my home in France to the nearby village of Najac I slipped in a puddle and went flying in the cartoonish way you do when the sun is shining, birds singing and all is right and white with the world. And then bang. I mention this as since my last blog about mud not sticking it seems some of it has. Ms Brooks/Wade has been arrested, I'm told Murdoch senior played up the senior moments to the hilt and deserves an Oscar in 'I don't know what time of day it is' method acting. His son I am told was totally spaced out but according to Murdoch's biographer (who doesn't sound as though he liked/respected his subject matter very much) will be arrested soon. Perhaps. I still think these people are slippery. Keep thinking of that character in The Rise and Fall of Reginald Perrin..."I didn't get where I am today by.....".

The guile less were briefly pushed off the front page by the mass of innocents who were sacrificed en masse in Norway. The man who planned it is, I am told photogenic and articulate. Unlike most who do this sort of thing, he didn't kill himself, which makes me feel he still has something to say and do to camera. The 93 he killed also had plenty to say and do. The guilty are always dealt with with much more civility than the innocent. And are always given the last word.

Thursday, 14 July 2011


What does that mean? What do those three words mean? Profoundly relational structures? Intellectual deep throat perhaps? I think the audience would have listened more intently if he'd used that term than the dry dull verbose political patter he did. I heard this and other gems when I went to a think tank evening this evening which was (I am assured) filled with thrusting young MPs all wanting to do the greater good, whatever that is. I attended because I was told it would be good to network with these people. But I walked away confused as to why it would be good to network with these people? I couldn't even understand what half of them were saying. It reminded me of the days when I worked with management consultants and they spouted out one sound bite after another after another which meant sweet FA.

I dressed up like a grown up to have a grown up evening and felt I'd arrived in the land of the morons. There were three speakers - the head messiah, an MP (one of the thrusting ones I think) and a Lord. Bit like father, son and holy spirit I suppose in reverse. The Lord was a dreadful speaker and I haven't got a clue what he was talking about but he kept mentioning 'paying for results.' I drifted off at one point and he mentioned 'paying for results' again and I immediately thought he'd changed the subject to phone hacking, but no such luck.

The MP was a little more animated but no more illuminating, telling us absolutely nothing about everything as all good politicians do. The Messiah was very enthusiastic, at one point almost jumping up and down, but I am still not quite sure about what. Perhaps about being on a stage in front of a big screen with a new website in front of it with loads of thrusting young MPs watching him.

I know I've been in the playground a long time, but I felt like the boy with the Emperor with no clothes watching these dull dull men - one after another - spouting platitude after platitude, and jargon after jargon - about helping the poor, and paying for results.

The room was full (I was assured) of professors and lecturers and other learned folk who listened in revered silence at at the way in which the head honcho threw out how he intended to 'change the terms of debate'. I didn't have a clue what that meant and I didn't have a clue when I left although I did ask a lot of people questions afterwards and they didn't seem to know either.

I am sure the message was a good one. Just the messengers were naff.

Sunday, 10 July 2011


Of course nothing will stick. After the City it had to be another establishment that holds itself up as a vanguard of integrity, or rather integral to our society - 'people need to know and all that'. Regulated by another toothless institution that is unable to stop it's charge from behaving greedily, unethically, and illegally - although the City argues that everything they have done has been within the law. albeit screw the public.

And I am sure Murdoch will present a case that the readers demanded the information, so the press had to go that one step further. Problem is you have the corruptable regulating the corrupt. The politicians with their back handers and expense accounts that can be bought by the bankers and threatened by the journalists. Everyone seems to feel they have too much to hide and too much to loose. Bankers have the money and Murdoch has the information and both have power and use it for their own gain. No one else's - least of all for the public good. Take the fear away and you take the power away from all of them.

Banks are there to keep people in debt under the guise of helping us to keep out of it. The media are there to keep people fearful under the guise of keeping us 'informed'. The politicians are there to make sure this continues to happen. The government will be as inept dealing with the media as they were with the banks. Nothing will change.

There is no Messiah who will rise above it all who can magically visit those who have profited most and take it away from them. And even the social network creating a form of immediate transparency and potential to get masses together to attack in any way and every way they can these establishments that hold themselves up as something they are not - trustworthy and 'our friend' - has been corrupted by companies trying to get their message across - 'buy from me, trust me' when we should never trust them and certainly not buy anything they say or make.

As for why nothing will change in the Murdoch empire - it depends who has the most mud on whom. Rebekah Wade must be a goldmine of the proverbial on the Murdoch empire if she has been trusted and a bit like the city trader who was made a scapegoat for the practices of that another illustrious establishment that thinks highly of itself, never said a bad word about the hand that fed him - he got very well paid and kept his mouth shut. Who has the most mud on whom? That's what counts.

Wade or Brooks as she's now called will do the same. As someone who will do anything to get people to speak, RW will never crack. Any one who has achieved that level of success is as tough as they come. Like banking, journalism is a completely soul less profession. I don't think either profession attracts soul less people, I just think it makes them. Despite the seemingly huge philanthropic gestures it is a drop in the ocean of their wealth. I am more sympathetic to journalists at the top of their game because they don't get rewarded for their greed or ineptitude on the same level as do the bankers, whereas traders and the top banking bods do. And journalists at least make an attempt at transparency, getting the truth out of politicians who are nothing of the sort. It's the very last thing they want to be.

So how is the system to be broken? It is broken already but how do we get rid of it, because we're still riding on a financial and ethical roller coaster that is broken - we won't get off, (we can if we want to, but are told it's too dangerous - but how do we 'know' if we don't try?) . How do we break a system where it is in the interest of too many wealthy and informed people to keep us on there?

How do you break a system that encourages greed and corruption in the city? How do you break a system that encourages unethical behaviour in journalism? Don't focus on the characters on the stage, or the play for that matter. Focus on closing down the theatre. And building another one. Perhaps that's what all the 2012 prophecies are all about - if we don't mend our ways ourselves, something will happen that will do it for us. Be the change you want to see in the world, said Gandhi. We have the power, then why don't we believe it?

Nothing will change. Nothing will stick. If Murdoch goes another will follow, just as if we got rid of all the traders others would immediately take their places - break the system and they won't want to. Break the system and then no on would want to be in Murdoch's shoes again, because it wouldn't be worth it. Of course, those who are motivated by money will say that then society will collapse. Morally, I think it has already.

Friday, 8 July 2011


I have devised a 'mummy mafia' app which will help all first time mums new to the playground in navigating the madness that is playground politics. Identify if you are a yummy, scummy, plummy, schtummy, ommni, sweaty betty, chummy or crummy, and a host of other mother types - what you're like, and how you can avoid becoming mafia and being a victim. The illustrations are excellent. Just download from the apps store or itunes and let me know what you think. I am producing one for 'daddy mafia' 'granny mafia' and 'office mafia' ready in time for the new term.