Friday, 27 March 2015

The tragedy of Clarkson

I can't believe Jeremy Clarkson has been fired from Top Gear. I just think that a man of his stature - a man who "speaks his mind", an everyman, if you will, deserves to, like, do whatever he wants. You know?

I mean, he wanted steak. We've all been there. You know. Think about the last time (I'm sure it was very recent) that you were at an all expenses paid hotel, while at work. You're only paid, like, £14 million last year, so you're feeling kind of taken advantage of. And someone said there would be steak. You're really hungry and there is no steak.

I just can't imagine putting someone like Jeremy Clarkson through such an awful, tragic experience. And his only reaction was to punch a colleague in the face. I think that's more than fair, under the circumstances. Like I said, we've all been there. Someone said there was no cake in the office once and I took a machete to the lot of them. Right there in the Monday morning meeting. So I completely get Clarkson's pain.

The indignity of not having steak! The horror of being denied something he wanted RIGHT THEN AND THERE IN THAT MOMENT.

Some people say that he acts like a toddler and is perhaps mentally ill. But to those people I say, have you SEEN Top Gear. It's a programme where he drives lots of cars and has 'banter'. Some of the banter is racist. Some of it is misogynist. But it's all absolutely hilarious. And really very very clever. He's striking a blow, you see, against the establishment. He's only saying what we're all thinking, am I right?

The bit where he said nigger in an outtake. We've all done it. Don't be pretending you never use outdated racist epithets as casual asides. I mean, come ON. Oh, and when he said that Britian is a 'nation of bastards'. He's right isn't he? Some people would say that by insulting the massed amoebas of unquestioning laddish culture who elevated him to his rightful position of King of the EVERYMAN, he perhaps might be a bit kinder.

But he just says it how it is, you see. He's brave. And so so entertaining. I've seen all of his interviews with famous and interesting people. In some of them the people are allowed to speak!

I, for one, don't know what I'll do without Top Gear. Watching three middle aged men talking about cars, in between going on hilarious adventures and really really showcasing what it means to be British, has been a delight. A pleasure and a delight.

RIP in peace Jeremy Clarkson. I will never ever forget you.

Monday, 16 March 2015

5116 days

Fourteen years.

5116 days.

I have lived 5116 days without you. 5116 days thinking about you. That you’d like this. That you’d hate that. That I wish I could tell you about this. That I wish I could show you that. How much you’d like my friends. How much you would love my dog. How much fun we could have still had. How much time we should have had. How unfair it is that you died. How angry I am that you died. How guilty I feel that you died. How much I should have done something - anything - to stop you dying.

It turns out that being haunted is nothing to do with ghosts. Or the dead rising from their graves. Being haunted is grief endured.

5116 days.

I didn’t ever know I could be that strong.

Before you died, if someone had told me I would have to live 5116 days without you, I wouldn’t have believed them.

I thought I would curl up and die too.

5116 days on I can feel that moment again. The very split second that the world shattered into shards.

Obviously, I choose not to.

It took strength I didn’t know I had and denial of reality I didn’t know I was capable of to begin to stick those shards back together. Even now, 5116 days on, I’m aware they’re precarious. As if bodged together with that crappy masking tape that is good for nothing but that you end up trying to stick boxes together when you move house. I say you, I mean me.

You would never have done something as lazy and crap as that.

It has crossed my mind over the last 5116 days that grief is not something that ever goes away. Grief is for life. It becomes absorbed into you. And every day you work out another way to breathe in and out and do what you have to do.

It eventually grows and adapts to the fact that, despite the very unnaturalness of it all, I am living while you are dead.

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

The Campaign Against Living Miserably

THE CAMPAIGN AGAINST LIVING MISERABLY, or CALM, is a registered charity, which exists to prevent male suicide in the UK. In 2013, male suicide accounted for 78% of all suicides and is the single biggest cause of death in men aged 20 – 45 in England and Wales. 

Let that sink in for a bit. 

Two years ago, SUICIDE was the single biggest cause of death in young men in the UK. No cancer. Not heart disease. Not drugs or alcohol or tobacco. Suicide. 

How extraordinary is that statistic? 

The Samaritans gives these stats for 2012 suicides for the UK. 

An overall number of 5981 killed themselves. 

1391 were women. 

4590 were men. 

Any life lost through suicide is a life too many - but why do men outnumber women in such a dramatic way? And why is there so little awareness of it? 

Ahhhh, there's the rub. The 'a' word. Every internet craze, every fashionable charity drive is to raise awareness of something. And it's often something that we're all quite aware of anyway. No one can say they're ignorant of the possibility of cancer killing someone they know. No one can say they haven't heard of anyone having a heart attack or a stroke. Those causes don't need 'awareness' per se - what they need is money. Money for research and medical breakthroughs. Money to make people as comfortable as possible. 

Today, my awareness was raised of male suicide as a friend linked to the charity mentioned above. CALM. He is running a charity race to raise money for the charity in memory of a friend of his who killed himself last year. A man who, by all accounts, gave no indication of the torment he must have been suffering. 

And then I got to thinking of all those I have known in my life (or known of) who have killed themselves. All men. Every single one. Five.  

That has got to be a damning indictment of something rotten at the heart of our community - doesn't it? Or our society? Or something? There has to be a reason why suicide rates in young to middle aged men are rising. 

This charity is relatively new, and it's there to provide support to men who are struggling with anything and need somewhere to go. I don't like to think that we still live in the kind of society that frowns at men talking about stuff, or asking for help. Is there really such a stigma on it still? In 2015? 

I'm a massive advocate of talking about depression, anxiety, mental health problems and the general day to day hardships of being human and alive. I don't subscribe to the thinking that it's better to bury stuff. I don't agree that talking about or labelling something makes it worse. We're all human. We're all here. We're all trying to do our best to get by day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute. 

And how sad that thousands of people (not just men, of course) come to the conclusion that there is only one way out. 

And I can't think of a better thing about which raising awareness is actually needed. 

Check them out here:

Sunday, 8 March 2015

Sushi talks

Hello. This is Sushi. I'd wave but I'd fall over. Only one front paw, see. Sometimes causes me some balancing issues. I only really play on it when I know it'll get me extra treats though. Most times I don't even notice.

Sometimes I forget and try and scratch myself. Then I'll fall over. I just shake it off. No shame here. Pffft. I only have three legs and I can run faster'n most of my furry friends I meet on my walks. I can definitely run faster than she can.

Anyhoo, she's off learning the code of the highway and that so she can finally drive me places. I like to go to different places and I've been waiting ages for her to get on with it. She still only knows that squirrel sign though, so it's not looking that great, between you and me. She asked me to take her place to thank lots of people who clicked like on Facebook or something.

I don't really know what she's on about and it takes me bleedin' ages to type with one paw. On the big day, I spent most of it snoozing. It's what I like to do. I did also play on the beach with my friend Harvey. He showed me how to play with a ball. It was ace. Especially when she panicked cos she thought I was going into the sea and dropped her phone in the sane on the beach. That was funny.

I almost did run into the sea. Harvey made it look like fun. But then I got my foot wet and I was like, shiiiiitttt no. That stuff is cold and wet, man. I ain't going in there.

Yes, I have picked up some English vernacular over the past 14 months. Nice of you to notice. Since I arrived, I've tried hard to fit in with the locals and have found out all the best places to find chips, ice cream and pork chops. It's pretty much a smorgasbord of discarded food, this island. Specially in the summer. I'm looking forward to all those many people coming and dropping all their food so I can hoover it up before she notices.

Anyway, I had a look at that Facebook thing she's always on and saw my picture and that there. I got 1600 votes or somefin. I have no real understanding of why that matters in any way, but she told me that it's MORE than the 300 dogs I used to live with in the shelter in Romania. So that's loads, then. Honestly, I don't care if I win a contest on Facebook, I'm a dog. But she cares and she wanted me to thank everyone who took the time to listen to her pleas, moans, whines and what were most probably quite undignified beggings.

She's really soft inside you see. She may not seem it but she is. And she really really wanted lots of people to see how perfect she thinks I am. Even though I'm just a little dog from the streets. I was anonymous over there. Just another face out of thousands who aren't wanted, are left to die. Some of them are poisoned. Lots of us were kicked around. Loads of us get hit with cars and bikes and things and then they just leave us.

I was just a little nobody dog. Until she saw me. And yeah, she's a bit mad, but she healed me and I heal her.

So it means a lot to her that so many people clicked like on my picture in a silly online competition, so fanks lots and lots from her and me.

I hear Scout won my bit. He only has one eye. That'll be me in an eyepatch next year then... sigh...

Monday, 2 March 2015

Sushi's BIG week - how and when to vote

Well, it had to happen.

At some point the universe was going to wake up and see that I own the Best Dog Ever In The Whole World.

Sushi is a finalist in the RSPCA Ruffs 2015 online competition.

With this picture.

As much as I would like to gush on about her glorious ears, her fabulously hilarious temperament, how much I adore it when she hops along happily, I will merely stick to the facts for this post.

The competition has six categories, with five dogs in each category.

Sushi's category is called Perfectly Imperfect.

Voting for Sushi's category is on THURSDAY 5 MARCH from 10am to 8pm. 

The RSPCA Facebook page will upload an album with one picture of each dog in her category.

Your mission - and please choose to accept it - is to click on Sushi's picture (not the link, not the album, but just her picture) and like it.

The competition is only on the Facebook album but that doesn't mean you can't give it a share on Twitter, Instagram or whatever it is the kids are down with these days. Snapthingie? Something. Grindr? Whatever, I don't mind. Just please vote and share.

That's it.

Job done.

Then you can go about your day and not even give it another thought.

Although... if you could give it a share to your friends/enemies/frenemies/lovers/enemies and whoever else is lurking on your friends list and ask them to do the same, I would say that karma will most likely come and stroke your chest at some point in the near future.

I know not everyone likes animals in the same was as me and many of my buddies, and that's OK. I'm not asking you to worship the ground my three legged beauty hops on, Just give her a wee like. That's all we ask.

We are going to be in the local paper and everything so this shit is going LARGE.