Saturday, 31 December 2016


Everyone is bemoaning 2016 as a bad year. It was an eventful year and amazing things happened.  Even the 2016 Wipe by Charlie Booker failed to be as funny as it usually is, because how do you satirise the surreal?  The surreal is already satirising itself.   There are more tigers and hopefully will be more elephants and people are planting more trees.   Everyone is bemoaning Trump as being as being clinically insane, but perhaps we are just exchanging one illusion for another.     Don't fix it if its not broken, they say, but people forget, all the establishment from the financial world, the economic, the political, the health, the education, the legal system - IS broken. So the establishment in all its guises does need fixing.

The Years Honours list is awful.  There are some names deserving of merit, those not mentioned on the news, but those who don't deserve it, the celebrities, the sportsmen, devalue those who do.    No celebrities.   No sports people.  And definitely no Posh Spice or Cameron cronies.   Cameron will be recognised as being almost as odious as Blair.   Or perhaps he is, and we don't know it yet (I suspect Murdock does).   As for the others, they have been rewarded financially enough.   And if they give to charity, then they get back in terms of feeling good about themselves (which they will) and in tax breaks.    Those who deserve the rewards are those who don't make the headlines and don't have the financial breaks.     

Patsies have been put out to protect the guilty in all areas.  People like Rolf Harris and the football coaches, long dead, have been given out as something to chew on while the others continue to go about their business believing they are above the law because half the time they make it.   But at least we know now no one is the public eye is to be trusted, respected, or given time. More people are turning off the news, not reading the news papers and trusting in their instincts.   And starting to identify who to talk to and who isn't worth the time any more.   Its a shame because there are some wonderful writers out there, just not the outlets for them to share their voice, which has neither ego nor agenda.   

I've had a good year.  Learnt lots of lessons.   And I know whats important.  I'm blessed to be teaching in phenomenal schools with phenomenal teachers who deserve the honours bestowed on the sports men and women and the celebrities.    We are completely misplaced in society about what is really valuable.   Funds should go directly, without passing go, to the schools and the hospitals and get the nurses, the teachers, the doctors, the heads to distribute the money. They will know what to do with it.   Where it is best applied.  But perhaps that is too simple.   

A lot of voices have chosen to leave, while others have chosen to remain, like a heavenly Brexit all over again.   

I have a list of things to achieve in 2017.   In order of priority.    But for now, a poem to appreciate the moment.  

Dragon fly life

one day
a breath
a whisper
an opportunity
one word
or perhaps two or three
no more
to fly high
and breathe deeply
and smile
and love and 
and scream
and love
oh to love 
and watch 
the beauty

Tuesday, 13 December 2016


I watched Philip Schofield on the TV last night. He was presenting a strangled excuse of a programme on the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme which celebrates its 60th birthday this year. I never did it. I did the Queens Guide instead and had a hell of a time passing my camping badge because none of my patrol liked it each other.  It was my first taste of party politics, getting that badge. Getting people to cooperate and do something they didn’t want to do, didn’t have to do, and for which there was absolutely nothing in it for them.   And unlike politicians I didn’t even lie.  That came later.    But I got my badge and watched while others told me about their bronze, silver and gold which seemed a lot of work for nothing.     I don’t know much about HRH Philip. I have heard loads of rumour, which I’m sure most have on the internet. He drives around in a taxis in London, probably with his light off so that he can pass people by in the street when its pouring and Scrooge-like not offer them help.    He was skint when the then Princess met him and it was a marriage that was arranged by Mountbatten and the Queen Mother (allegedly).  I met someone who did a bust of him who told me he is an ‘alpha male who has to behave totally out of character and walk behind a woman.’ And an alpha male never follows anyone. They lead.   I’m sure he’s found his ways to rebel.  The taxis is perhaps a touch of it.  And he has many children, but then I’m sure the prune faced Mick Jagger has more than the eight he is officially announcing.   

And it was interesting watching Schofield sychophant his way so far up HRH’s arse, even the Prince looked pained.    The Prince has a contempt for the media, but then again, so do I. They lack authority and credibility now and it’s a pity because there are good writers out there who are boxed in by editors who have an agenda, which is nothing to do with the news.    In the late AA Gills’ review of the ‘fictional’ Royal family in the series ‘The Crown’ he comments ‘a not very bright, frightened and stifled family, looking out at a world they don’t understand and don’t really like’.   That’s ours and although I think the Prince is probably one of the brighter ones, that is not saying much. His arrogance and pomposity make him ignorant because he thinks he knows better.   Because he is better.

Talking on a completely separate matter, I do wish someone would get on leading that government paedophile enquiry. Then there would be some news to not write about….

Ps Brian Sewell dead, AA Gill dead.  Great writers and great voices.   I never met Gill but I met Sewell. The world is a poorer place at the end of 2016 and its nothing to do with global financial crisis.


Degree done, yoga teacher training done.   I feel as though I've achieved something over the past four years.   Its been like being in the wilderness, and occasionally coming up against sand storms and tsunamis of other peoples emotional dramas.   As though I've walked into their book and don't want to be there, so I've walked out again, literally.   Interesting as I'm a storyteller and I've found the most interesting ones are the ones we tell ourselves.    Never again.  I didn't feel like myself, as though I'd lost myself.  Not got lost. I'd lost myself.    I've felt like Paul Pennyfeather, things happening to me, and when I've walked away, walked straight into someone else's storyline, and I was nothing more than a mirror for them to project onto.   Their stuff, their story.    I though it was my drama, my storm, my tsunami, but it wasn't.   I was just pulled into it, sometimes willingly.   Perhaps thats why I did the degree, watching all those years ago Educating Rita at the theatre in Bath, and realising I knew the stuff, I just needed to get the accreditation to be heard. And write my own story, and my own book again.    And the yoga teacher training, because although I can write, I wasn't appreciated.   They strangely complement each other.   Academia is isolating, as is teaching yoga.   They are both disciplines.   You focus in on yourself with yoga, and focus in on a subject with academia to the point of exclusion of everything else. They discipline the mind.   And the mind, if asked, wishes to be disciplined like the body.    The emotions want to be appreciated and let go of, and the body. Well the body likes to be stretched, and balanced and twisted but really just wants to have a good time.   Oh, and it loves it when you breathe.
Both the degree and the yoga has allowed me to walk above, below or around the sand storms and tsunamis without even knowing I am doing it.
I'm telling my own story again.