Frankly, I’m gobsmacked.



  1. utterly astonished; astounded:
    “the locals were gobsmacked when us lot trooped in”
    amazed · filled with astonishment · filled with amazement · astounded · staggered · surprised · startled · stunned · thunderstruck · aghast · taken aback · confounded · dumbfounded · stupefied · dazed · nonplussed · dumbstruck ·

I just can’t believe how poor we all are and how much worse it is going to get.

And more than that.

I am amazed that while this disaster is actually happening, there are people still sticking up for this awful government, their privileged lifestyles and even the great liar, Boris Johnson himself.

We have been lied to (Brexit) and quite literally told things can only get better when we actually find child poverty in the UK on the rise. There are people with jobs, actually claiming benefits.

As an island that traditionally relied on what our surrounding seas could give us there is no longer a fishing industry and as a country that led the Industrial Revolution we no longer make anything.

And perhaps most shocking of all, our saving grace, the only real thing that actually looked after our health and wellbeing, the NHS, is being intentionally taken from us. Stolen. Pulled away, slipping slowly from our grasp and out of our reach.

The rich are getting richer and the poor, poorer, is without any doubt truer now than it has ever been. And it is all being done blatantly. In clear sight. right in front of us, before our very eyes. We are being taken for a ride. Cheated. Conned and perhaps worse of all, we seem to be sitting here and taking it. Lambs to the slaughter. 

The way we are being manipulated is shocking. Such is the power of the rich, the people who own our communication channels encourage us to blame the only people who are attempting to do something about the situation.

Rail workers and others who have found the courage required to  strive for better living standards are being identified as the source of our discomfort.

The scum that is the majority of the British press describe strikers as the enemy within. The root of all our problems, when in fact the absentee press barons are the ones who should be facing our wrath.

But it’s not just the rich and powerful.

I really cannot believe what I see and hear that comes from the mouths of those who are ‘comfortable’. In many cases pensioners whose slow poisonous ageing has caused them to lose the fight and wherewithal that they might have had when they were younger.  Disciples of Thatcher, they actually still exist. Still spreading her poison.

The stereotypical blow dried, blue-haired, thin-faced bitter and twisted…are real.

Frightened, racist middle-class conservative voting matrons who remember their beloved M as a saintly figure and their fat useless husbands happy to be retired and do nothing except mow the lawn, hate their own country and reject change. Sitting in their over-stuffed armchairs ‘remembering’ wars that they never took part in and hating anyone who is unlike them and could bring something fresh and new to their stale traditional table.

Our country has to change or these monsters will drag the good majority (?) down with them.

Martin Lewis (the money man) has expressed a view that with what is coming, there could be civil unrest. And for what its worth…I agree.

Not something I want or look forward to but perhaps, as history has often shown us, the only way to remove the greedy from my beautiful but damaged, country.

A state of bewilderment.

I have to admit I spend a lot of my time in a state of bewilderment. Of wondering what it is all about. I have always thought that there is a kind of organised chaos about this place we call home. I’ve always felt a oddness about the world. Yes, odd is a good word. So, confusion is not new territory for me.

But these days I have to admit, are some of the weirdest I think I have ever experienced. Uncomfortable. Weird. Odd.

I’m talking here of our lives in general. The everyday humdrum existence that most of us live. The routine.

And by routine, I’m not suggesting that life is somehow boring but more excepting that to live the way we do, i.e. following a day-to-day life of routine and expectations, is ok and in most cases bearable.

What I am suggesting is that this routine, these expectations seem to have changed, almost overnight. Like someone, something outside of us, is interfering.

I don’t know about you, but we appear to be living under some sort of siege. And I’m not referring to the Covid restrictions we have just come out of but that ‘coming out’ of those restrictions has introduced us to a world that we are unfamiliar with.  A world we don’t necessarily recognise. It doesn’t appear to be the same place we left BC (Before Covid).

We find ourselves in a new place.

A strange, new world that OK we ahave to admit, we have gone someway to creating for ourselves. So much is different. From the empty supermarket shelves to the strange votes for self-destruction (Brexit and Climate Change) that we appear to have made while asleep.

Like the appearance of new disease.

From the unusual people we have chosen to lead us and the amazing and breath-taking drop in intellect and honour (discuss) in those leaders…etc…etc. Something is afoot. Something is wrong.

Something is in the air.

And yes it’s a lot to do with self-affliction. As previously mentioned from Brexit to Climate Change. No-one else to blame. But all the same, weird and unexpected decisions have been made and fall upon us all like a new kind of plague, taking us by surprise and inflicting upon us obvious consequences.

It maybe just me but I mean it when I say, ‘there’s something in the air’. Literally. It’s like we are under attack? And I can’t help but wonder if our recent woes are the consequence of a new kind of warfare? Has something been released into our  atmosphere that severely harming us? Are we the first  casualties of a new way to fight a war?

Everything seems slower. There’s no energy. No electricity in the atmosphere. And perhaps the scariest thing of all, nobody appears willing to put up any kind of a fight.  Like zombies we stumble almost willingly towards our demise as though we have already lost.

There’s change afoot and I don’t like it.

It feels as though the whole human race is about to experience…something? Excuse me for a moment while I appear to go over the top and suggest, ‘the end of the world – at least as we know it’.

But it really does feel odd. I can’t explain it better than that.

The Stratfordian

ODD is a good word.

Stating the bloody obvious.

The StratfordianI know it’s stating the bloody obvious but what with everything that’s going on in the world, not just at the moment but for the past few thousand years, it’s pretty obvious we are not a very nice bunch of atoms are we?

I mean, the way we go for the jugular when we want something so bad is pretty disgusting isn’t it. There’s no need to answer that because I know you agree with me.

And there’s the other strange thing. We know what we do. We’re perfectly aware of our awfulness to each other yet still we do it. It’s no secret that if we get hungry enough we will eat each other.

Look at the evidence.

It can be something as blatant as destroying the planet (more to come) as we go along. Or murdering people because we reckon they’re living where they shouldn’t be. Or don’t look like us. Or don’t worship the same gods. Or even…worship the same gods but not in the ‘right way’. Or on an individual and trite basis, we want that person’s watch because it’s not fair that we haven’t got one like it. Crazy eh? Madness. Let’s face it we are a pretty fucking awful lot.

I sometimes wonder if it’s a disease (dis -ease) that we have carried since birth for which there is no cure or it’s something that we will grow out of as in, evolving.

Whatever it is, it’s terrifying and something that has plagued us since we first appeared on the planet. The need to have more. The need to take from our neighbours what we don’t have. Jealousy. Envy. Whatever…

I suppose it’s the ‘evil’ that people have talked and written about for eons if we have to give it a name. And I think we do because it is something we all are aware of, and on the whole disapprove of,  but still take part in. Something as confusing and destructive as that, definitely needs an identifying mark.

What is total madness is the fact that it, ‘the evil’ is blatantly obvious. Although its capability to operate in darkness is well known, it can operate also in plain view for all to see.  We are aware of its tremendous destructive power yet at the same time know full well that if defeated, if conquered our lives would change drastically, dramatically for the better. We inherently know this to be a fact. It is in our hearts.

Throughout our history certain people have told us so. Jesus Christ, Ghandi, Buddha etc, etc they have all told us so. They have all stated the obvious.

They all said in their own ways…’pack it in’, ‘behave yourselves’, ‘stop it’, ‘love one another’ etc and we always knew in our heart of hearts they were right. And did we take any notice…did we fuck.

So it remains a mystery.

Why do we treat each other like shit? Why are we so bloody greedy that we would kill for what we want? Why can’t we just stop being shits to one another?

Some believe we are being manipulated. Some suggest we are part of some macabre game. An experiment in a jam jar or petri dish on the laboratory table of some god-like creature with a sick sense of humour. I suppose it’s a possibility, I mean look at the sentient creatures we experiment on, we can’t be the only ones in this mysterious universe who are this cruel.

The only thing is. We aren’t helpless. We could fuck the experiment up by being nice to one another. We have a choice. But why can’t we make it.

Then there is the view that suggests the only thing that would change our vicious mood and behaviour is an invasion from outer space. You know…that we would have no choice but to join forces and become friends and allies to defeat the enemy.

But this has actually happened/happening. Our planet is under attack. OK, so admittedly, once again we can look to the human race rather than to aliens for the route source of the ‘attack’ i.e. lack of care for the environment but you get my point. It still does require us to get together to defeat the enemy. There is common cause which is…our…er…our survival….

But I’m afraid the common cause theory falls at the first fence.

We can’t do it. We can’t even get together to save the lump of spinning earth that we all live on. Common cause….my arse.

And because of our collective stupidity, soon we will be gone.

Why people don’t go to the theatre.

First of all let me say, on the question of why don’t people go to the theatre. Of course people go to the theatre. But for the purpose of this quickly put together piece, I’m more concerned with those people that don’t go to the theatre. But should.

Theatre has, in my opinion, like many of the arts been hijacked.

In simple terms because it is such an enjoyable medium, it didn’t take long for shall we say, ‘people with money’ (no better way I can put it as I want to stay away from terms like ‘Upper’ & ‘lower class’, but you get my gist?), noticed there was profit to be made.

Rich people decided they could make some cash by taking control and keeping it  (theatre) for themselves. In other words, sell it to their rich friends and acquaintances.

History shows us that for instance, during Shakespeare’s time and before, theatre was for the masses. A popular and exciting experience that dealt with the issues of the times. An entertainment for the ‘great unwashed’ to enjoy in their own way. Theatre was an adjunct to the public house. What could be better? A pub with entertainment. And theatre was cheap. Therefore… popular and packed.

Naturally, it wasn’t that long before theatre’s success was noticed by profiteers & businessmen as a hub of money-making activity. A business  proposition if there ever was one. But work was needed.

It had to be handled correctly and above all…sanitised. Cleansed. Made fit for those used to comfort and getting their own way, those with the real money to spend.

The first thing the moneymen had to do was to make the theatre appear inclusive. That it was only available to the chosen few. That to enter on in, there were now certain ‘rules’ that had to be followed.

To make the point, over time a Dress and Behavioural code was introduced.

A sort of ‘myth’ was spread that to enjoy this ‘new form of entertainment’ required not only wealth but also manners and civility. Or to put it another way ‘CLASS’.

Naturally, the drinkers and ribald  theatre go-ers of old, faltered.

The loud, do-anything, just enjoy yourself atmosphere of the theatre soon became a thing of the past. And the ordinary citizen found themselves wanting in the  required evening suit or ball gown department.

To top it off came the inevitable…the price rise.

The theatre that the average citizen had come to love and look forward to after a hard week on the mudflats was now out of sight and most definitely out of pocket.

The task of stopping the so-called riffraff from polluting the stalls was a success. Theatre became and still is a pastime for those with money to spend.

But it goes even further…word was spread that a certain educational level was needed to really enjoy the theatre. That the stories behind the plays were far too intellectually demanding for the average citizen, especially those who worked on the land tending mud.

Playwrights were offered a standing that implied that they were somehow purveyors of the psychological. That their stories were beyond the scope of average unread men and women. Everything had deep or double meanings and plays were no longer presented with a beginning, middle and end.

If you, poor average citizen came expecting to enjoy this new theatre then you were in for a shock. You would leave puzzled, out of place and with a serious headache. That’s if you could afford it in the first place.

The ploys on plays (see what I did there?) worked. The takeover was successful

To this day the average citizen does not go to the theatre.

The TV set offers a cosier, ‘safer‘ experience in the comfort of your own home which is a great sham and shame. To go to the theatre as something to be done naturally has been forgotten. And as usual, so good was the highjacking the general public does not know or has forgotten what it is missing.

BUT, (there is always a ‘but’) perhaps  times are slowly, very slowing changing  maybe the theatre is waking up to its past sins?

Lacking in audiences’ and therefore their life-blood theatres are at last dropping prices or at the very least allowing special days and times for the peasants to begin to reclaim what is rightfully theirs.

Playwrights (not all) are once again attempting to make sense and above all communicate their ideas so that the majority can understand and perhaps above all recognise them.

And thankfully, the bollocks of so-called theatre etiquette is at last being dropped (although it is not unknown for some (snobs) to insist on wearing fur coats and evening dress on First Nights).

People are returning to theatre slowly. Yet there is still a lot to do.

The rise of the actor and playwright as Personality, Prophet and Seer has to be curtailed and they have to return to looking as themselves as the tellers of stories, our stories.

Like so many successful and money-making ventures theatre now has university courses to teach ‘how to..’ Not necessary.  A storyteller is born not taught and if skills need honing (which they will do), the stage will do that.

Which leaves the Last Stand.

Amateur theatre and the myriad of companies spread up and down the country are so very important. They are at at the root of life’s experience. This where it all begins. Where the stories themselves begin their journey. Where they come from. Where the best actors and playwrights, the purveyors of the art always come from. 

They are to be cherished. Continually fed with talent and those just wanting to explore. Above all kept free from the wanna-bees and those who see theatre as a gravy train and the route to a fast buck.


Zahawi poised to take throne?

Breaking news from the Stratford upon Avon Herald.

WHY don’t Stratfordians protest?

The (destructive) power of Prayer.

With all the love in the world…wake up and smell the coffee.



I don’t know what the following is. What you might call it. If I were pushed it’s just a flow. Not worth anything. Just done because I can. Purely selfish. Pointless.

Every time I feel like I’ve found it

I lose it.

Every time I think I’ve discovered the path. My path.

My reason to be. THE POINT.

It disappears. It slips from my grasp like a bank note in a breeze.

And I fall back into a ball of confusion, of need, of definition, of decree. Of mess.

Never quite…happy.

Never quite…satisfied.

Never clear or concise.

Not quite Chaos…but close.

I want to say that this is everybody’s lot but I don’t really know.

Some Do. Some Don’t.

And if it were…So what? They are not me and I am not them.

And even if it were so and we all suffered from the same sickness why should I accept and make it my lot…my map.

I don’t like it. I won’t accept it.

I won’t acknowledge that my life is somehow under the control of other…?

Even if it means being in this state of uncomfortable dissatisfaction until the day I die.

(I wanted to say, ‘Even if it means being in this state of uncomfortable dissatisfaction until the day I am released’.

But of course that is to assume/accept that someone holds the key).



On being mixed-race.

Just to make things clear and in case there are any objections, in this article ‘On being mixed-race,  ‘mixed-race’ is the term I choose to use, to own, to describe myself.

If you don’t like the term I’m sorry but it’s the one I’ve become used to and feel comfortable with. If ‘mixed heritage is your thing then that’s ok with me but as far as I’m concerned it’s too difficult to say if you’re drunk, which in my experience is when ‘Where are you from?’ type discussions tend to take place.

Anyway, the point is throughout my life as a mixed-race man ‘we’ have been ignored.

NOT, and this is important, ignored as far as insults are concerned. We have always had them and grown used to them. The Great British Public (for it is they) have never made any distinction about shading of skin colour or indeed where you are actually from. No, as far as they are concerned if you are off white you are a **** or even worse a ******. But that is not what I am here to talk about.

I just wanted to make the point that no-one (or at least rarely in my case) has ever asked aloud, what is it like to be mixed-race? Oh sure there has been the odd book about it (I have bought most of them) but nobody seems remotely interested in the experience. So, I thought might express one or two thoughts if you don’t mind.

First of all it ain’t been easy. (Upon saying this, THIS IS NOT A MOAN).

There is, as you might think (don’t forget, this is about me. I am not talking for other mixed-race people) a lot of confusion involving  identity.

Who am I? Where exactly do I belong?

The where do I belong? question I think was my first mistake. It is a question (in my case) based entirely on looks and colouring. The sort of mistake primitive man might make. Visual. Purely visual. Where is the rest of my tribe who should look like me? Mum doesn’t look like me. Dad doesn’t look like me. Thankfully you (ME) soon grow out of this BUT are constantly reminded of your difference by the ignorant.

The answer to the problem of identity is soon countered by making your own space.

Which is actually what everybody should be doing (not just the mixed-race) Leaving tribalism behind and saying this is me, this is my space because I am unique, there is no-one else like me etc, etc. This approach if we all took it would solve a lot of problems. Owning who you are. Important.

There was a moment in my life concerning identity I shall never forget which initially bought me to tears but after much thought I decided it wasn’t as wonderful as I thought.  It happened during the time I was training to be a Priest (CofE).

I happened to have been invited to a Rasta’s Reckoning (meeting) where to cut a long story short, I was embraced as though a long-lost brother and told…’Welcome home’. Perhaps naturally, I was touched and emotionally overcome. It was only after much thought I decided it wasn’t as helpful as I first thought and my ‘positive’ reaction actually a denial of who I was.

Being mixed-race can make you the subject of attention.

People are naturally curious and need their questions answered. ‘I don’t wish to be rude but…Where are you from? Really? I thought you were Spanish/Italian/Chinese? (it’s happened).

When I was a young man I was quite successful in the romance dept purely because of curiosity. This may sound awful, but I know for a fact that some women were only interested in me because of my colour, and they wanted to satisfy er…. Certain theories, (say no more).

Growing up as a mixed-race man has had a major downside. Rejection. Rejection by both sides of the argument which is worse. To be rejected by both black and white is initially devastating.

When that first hits you…that’s when you really feel alone. BUT. It will pass. As you get older and wiser your uniqueness kicks in and you realise you wonderful, beautiful and much-missed mum, was right.

‘You can hold your head up high. You can walk tall. You are different. Unique. Special. Always remember two different races of people came together to make you.’

Thanks mum. x

The (destructive) power of Prayer.

With all the love in the world…wake up and smell the coffee.

Refugee crisis

70 years on the throne

Being Nadhim Zahawi

How many different types of US there are…

One of the most interesting things about being alive is the constant discovery of how many different types of US there are.

We’re past the shock (some of us) of discovering that some of us actually like our own sex. OK historically, I suppose quite a recent discovery. Don’t forget modern history shows us that it wasn’t that long ago it was against the law to fancy our own sex. And now look at us…we’re on to Trans people.  Equally exciting, fascinating and here we are again consumed with the rights of being people ‘not like us’.

Working on the assumption that trans people/homosexuals etc were/are always there it all seems so unfair. One can only imagine how awful life is for those who have to keep themselves to themselves.  Part of this modern world and yet ostracised and forsaken. Where nothing applies to your real self. Horrible. (See people of colour).

I always work on the sensible basis that ‘people of difference ‘ have always existed so my imagination makes me wonder how it must have been for  say, in the Middle Ages. It’s not so good for them now but in the times when people ate mud for breakfast the mind can only boggle.

Of course just because we have begun to recognise that different folk exist doesn’t mean their struggle is somehow over. They will still have to navigate through the minefield of present laws that were created and constructed for us ‘normal folk’.

In a society created for everybody but them they still have to make their way through the hate and ignorance of the knuckle-draggers who unfortunately still run the world. But there is hope. The cracks in the world of ordinariness are forming and soon perhaps in the not too distant future they will open fully and those who have had to remain hidden will be revealed.

I’m pretty sure that what I describe is nothing to do with evolution unless you talk of the evolution of thinking but that is nothing to do with genes rearranging themselves, more to do with people having had enough and speaking out. More politics than physical change.


One thing that has always garnered my interest is how far will we go to accepting everything and anything. Do not forget, time was when the issues I have described above were beyond the pale. Never discussed and seen to be forever designated to the darkest room in our minds. Indeed, once even considered figments of a sick imagination and not existing at all.

Now look at us.

Homosexuality has found its place and without doubt the debate about Trans people will soon find its rightful place in society no matter how long it takes. Pornography has come out of its shell and is free for all to see. We talk about everyday ‘perversions’ on a daily basis and find them ‘joke-worthy which I guess is a little better than abhorrent and totally disgusting.

Society has changed or is changing. Debates are admittedly raging, and prejudice still abounds but you would have to be fairly dim not to accept that change is happened or at the very least, is afoot.

So…what next?

What other areas will step forward in the future to demand change and acceptance.

Bestiality? Paedophilia?

The sheer mention of those words and the suggested possibility that one day they might be acceptable sends a shiver down my spine. A  similar shiver I suspect the majority of society felt at the mention of the existence and acceptance of homosexuality etc.

But who knows what is to come. 

No matter what happens and how… know one thing for sure…


Happy Birthday to me.

Well here we are then. The 74th Happy birthday to me.


And as usual, for me there is always the very odd feeling of ‘not being here’.

Is it really me that people (family) are greeting with a ‘happy birthday’ smile, a card (maybe) and sometimes a gift (a sugar bowl???). Why?

I have always found the idea of birthdays if not a little odd, to be honest more than scary. Apart from the strange disconnect described above, the birthday is really a counting down of time. Behind the smiling faces and best wishes is the knowledge that what they are really saying is…’Not long now…’.

Strangely, for me it’s not so much the passing of time, although I do find that difficult enough to handle, but more the feeling that I am, against my will, being slowly poisoned . That something, call it ‘age’, is being at the command of what we know as ‘genes’, being slowly released into my bloodstream.

To be totally honest I feel like an experiment ( lab-rat) that is coming to the end of its time.

That year by year as the poison accumulates another little bit of me breaks off. A piece of me decides that it has done its time and will now let itself be absorbed back into the soup of the decaying body, smug in the knowledge that it has done the work assigned to it and now it can have a well-deserved rest in oblivion until it is returned to its ‘real home’, the earth.

It’s a funny old thing this birthday thing.

Once I suppose ‘a necessary’ insomuch it was a  celebration to acknowledge the fact that you had made it through another year without starving to death. Or being eaten by a wild animal. Or dying painfully at the hands of a disease that usually comprised of pus and very large black spots. Survive all that and I guess I can understand the need for cake, even with candles.

Anyway here I am trying to put a brave face on it.

A recipient of a very nice card (just the one), a sugar bowl (?) some ‘happy birthdays’ (yet to arrive) from Facebook people I don’t really know (and let’s face it they are only doing what they are told by Zuckerberg. They actually and who can blame them, couldn’t care a toss).

And then it will be over. Much of a nothingness, gone. Everybody having performed their duty and interrupted a day when they have much more important things to do.

I think we had the right ideas about birthdays when we were younger. Birthdays were part of that ‘any excuse for a party’ lifestyle. Ignore the fact that you were another year closer to death and get obliterated by alcohol instead.

Happy birthday to me.

Zahawi poised to take throne?

The Stratfordian
Un-official ‘Prince Charles Cuff link pose’
The Stratfordian
‘Official Cuff Link pose’.








I note that in the Stratford upon Avon Herald’s picture of education minister/chancellor/number 10 doorman/etc,etc Nadhim Zahawi has adopted the ‘Prince Charles grasp a cufflink ‘ pose. Does anyone else besides me find this alarming? How are we to take this? Behind the lizard- like smile is this really…

An unconscious but truthful sign as to where his true ambitions lie or perhaps a signal to his band of followers that he is, (perish the thought), ready.
Whatever the reasoning behind the display might I suggest that all monarchists take his lead and also make themselves…ready to deflect any disrespect or danger to her majesty’s throne.
God bless you ma’am. X

Breaking news from the Stratford upon Avon Herald.

The Shit Police.

Resources low but battle goes bravely on…

No rest for the shitting dogs of Stratford upon Avon.

A spokesperson for the Stratford upon Avon police (A.C.D. Animal crap division) said today…

‘All our officers undergo an intensive training period at the end of which they are able to identify at least thirty types of animal waste product eminating from the bowel area. They are trained to work in all types of weather and perhaps more importantly at night where their training enables them to identify animal faeces by smell alone’.


The Stratfordian
Stratford Police at Shottery Fields.  Stratford-upon-Avon ·
Several near misses of dog 💩 today whilst out on patrol on Shottery fields! 🤮 Gross!!
The Sergeant wasn’t impressed!

Happy Birthday to me.

Zahawi poised to take throne?

The (destructive) power of Prayer.

With all the love in the world…wake up and smell the coffee.

With all the love in the world…wake up and smell the coffee.Refugee crisis


WHY don’t Stratfordians protest?

I freely admit that I am one of those people who wander around with a permanent furrowed brow. I’m not in pain nor am I waiting for something awful to happen. I am actually wondering. I am in a permanent state of asking the question…’WHY’.

Because I am only human, the ‘WHY’ question, as you might expect varies from week to week, if not day to day. But lately the ‘WHY’ has stuck with me for some days. Why now (that’s not the ‘WHY’ question by the way) I wonder. Why (nor that) has this particular puzzle began to weigh me down. And then it hit me…

Everybody is protesting.

It’s in the air. People are not happy. In fact, people are angry. They are fit to explode because no-one, (the authorities, the ‘powers that be’ etc) is listening. The environment. The government. The cost of living. You name it. People are fit to burst. And I have a feeling that the next few years are going to ones of protest, and I for one say, HURRAH and about bloody time. But, even this is not my ‘WHY’.

My ‘WHY’ is more localised. My ‘WHY’ is ‘WHY’ is Stratford upon Avon so tame’. So, sheepish. ‘WHY’ for instance, when the town so obviously has a problem with an infestation of traffic has no-one done anything about it?

Every year since I’ve lived here (since 1971) there has been some sort of….what would you call it…a survey? An official look at the state of our streets. And always the same conclusion is reached. Stratford upon Avon has too much traffic flowing through its narrow streets. And then…NOTHING. OK, maybe a few streets are experimentally closed off and then…NOTHING. I remember a time when an electric bus introduced…then…NOTHING. Anyway my point is why have Stratfordians not protested about this literally poisonous situation. Why have whoever is in power at any given time, been allowed to get away with doing…NOTHING?

There will be some who say that protest achieves nothing. But I beg to differ.

Way, way back in the ‘80’s I was part of a group that protested about the presence of the South African Apartheid government being present at the Shakespeare celebration. In fact I got arrested (and yes, I am proud of that fact-I got fined for ‘disturbing the peace’ and the generous actors at the RSC passed the hat and paid it for me. £92 a lot of money in those days). Anyway, it changed things. Suspicious governments were no longer welcome and the Shakespeare celebrations became…………..(fill this in yourself).

My point (at last).

Why don’t Stratfordians protest about the long-term problem of traffic pollution. Especially as the solution has been searched for, for far too long. (The solution – Ban Traffic. There, that was easy wasn’t it).

This is serious stuff. The effects of traffic pollution especially on Children and old folks like me are well known.

Why haven’t they taken to the streets to let their views known? Do Stratfordian’s care? Do they have views? About anything?

(At this point I was going to mention writing to Stratford’s member of Parliament but then I remembered it was Nadhim Zahawi).

Anyway, just to say in anticipation, yes I am willing to take part in a protest and if you agree with me that this is a very important issue…


On being mixed-race.

How many different types of US there are…

Happy Birthday to me.

Zahawi poised to take throne?

Breaking news from the Stratford upon Avon Herald.


The (destructive) power of Prayer.

I guess one of the many reasons my career as a Priest in the Church of England was curtailed was my lack of faith.

Take prayer for instance. I came to realise the destructive power of prayer quite early on.

It didn’t take long for me to reason how unfair it all was. The jubilation and joy in the faces of those who found their requests granted and the sadness and despair in those who got nowhere. It was a bit like winning the lottery. Chance. Luck.

the stratfordian's art
The Last Resort’. 2022.
Oil on canvas. An observation on prayer.

Like a beggar on the streets who adopts a similar pose (kneeling, hands clasped) watching his or her hat fill (or not) with coins of the realm.

The trouble was in a lot of cases the despair was doubled because the failure of the prayer would often be put down to that terrible guilt-inducer ‘Lack of Faith’. And not just by the owner of the failed prayers but by those who felt themselves in favour with God. Of course, all dangerous nonsense.

And I was expected to sit there smiling and offering up ridiculous platitudes that made me want to gag. Crap such as, ‘Well now is obviously not the right time’ or ‘God has obviously decided that that is not the pathway He wants you to follow’ or perhaps worst of all, ‘God obviously has other plans for you’.

This Priest had no real answer but spewed out the nonsense anyway. AND sat there watching the courage of the unanswered as they swallowed their disappointment wondering what they had done to deserve this treatment (something in a past life perhaps?) and…AND amazingly carrying on not only with their lives but with their faith as well.


Counting down the days.

The Stratfordian

I admit I do have a tendency to be a  bit over-dramatic but hey let’s face these are special times. With what’s going on in the world (at least what we know about) it’s a great time to get whatever is bothering you off your chest (before it’s too late).

So what’s bothering me…?

It’s the passage of time. But that’s nothing new. It’s always bothered me since I was a kid. How fast it all goes. One minute you are as I said a kid, the next you are a father with kids of your own. How did that happen?

Anyway, what I’m trying to say here is not only does it go too fast but, before you know it you’re close to the finishing line. Over. Done. And for what?

That’s how I feel right now. Near the end. Now don’t get me wrong this is not necessarily a complaint. I’m a little nervous but not scared. Apprehensive, yes but I’m of the school that thinks this is a journey of different stages so in a strange way I’m curious…even excited. Morbid to some I admit but this part of the journey (the living part) has been everything. Weird, frustrating, pointless (?), revealing, pleasurable (sex) plus a lot of other stuff that seemed to make it all worthwhile and by that I guess I mean, kids, offspring, children. No doubt they are THE THING that’s made it moderately worthwhile.

What’s brought this on?

Well a few years ago after a bout of breathlessness and a suspected heart attack (although that is now in doubt), I had some stents fitted. To cut a long (ish) story short – miraculous. I was back to er ‘normal’.

Cut too today…

The symptoms appear to have returned. Not as bad but they’re back. After a week or so of doing the typical male thing and ignoring them, I have been persuaded by you know who to book an appointment with the doctor.

So here we go again.. More stents? Big heart operation…watch this space.

I’m 73. No complaints.

OK. I’m not in the Ukraine or starving in some sun-scorched desert. I’m in the UK FFS with the only thing to worry about is the toad Boris Johnson (wash my mouth out with soap and water). I guess, like us all I’d like a bit more time. Selfish, I know but I’m trying to be honest. And as that’s the case, to be truthful I am a little scared of being fiddled about with again.

This has been a purely selfish post.

Musical thoughts; An old fart speaks.

So that’s the excitement over for another year. Glastonbury, come and gone in the blinking of an eye. Performers become superheroes and saviours of the world all on the basis of their constructing a simple melody that strikes somewhere deep in our consciousness, enlightening us and for a short magical moment taking us on a trip fuelled not by drugs but by the very vibration of the air around us.

Music would appear to be important in our lives.

Indeed there are some that are convinced that we cannot live without its vibrations. And so we have things like Glastonbury and other festivals and concerts etc that take us away for an hour or two to another place. A place of rest and escape.

Music can and does change the world.

Its vibration, the way it moves the air, its echo can infiltrate even the hardest heart and has the ability to make people stop and think. It excites memories and in between making certain people famous and a lot of money, it can give the listener, hope.

But hey, let’s not get carried away here.

Music is also fashion item and therefore a momentary thing. Once out of fashion its power is gone (until next time around maybe). One only has to look at the various musical campaigns to ‘Feed the World’ to note the short shelf life. People dance and react with fervour and passion until the beats don’t strike home anymore and the dance that they are performing looks suddenly clumsy, old-fashioned and embarrassing. So much for the poor and starving.

For all music’s and musicians’ macabre efforts to combining entertainment and deadly disaster, music cannot be denied its most useful purpose which is the passing on of information.

Music still plays the part that it has always done.

That of the travelling minstrel. The word will get around.

Music, although it does not have the ability in itself to drastically change the world it will always be able to inform and inspire. The other amazing thing about music is it gets to the parts other systems cannot reach and that is because of its ability to float in the air. To penetrate barriers, political systems and of course its magical ability to send coded and secret messages. It can also operate in disguise. Pretending to be one thing when in fact it is another. An iron fist in a velvet glove.

There is something weird/strange/mystical about music’s vibrations that will always make people stop and think…and thereafter…who knows?

With all the love in the world…wake up and smell the coffee.

The Stratfordian
Thank you from the bottom of my heart but it’s time to call it a day.

There comes a time when even the best in the world should wake up and smell the coffee. Even the one-time-best in the world should do the right thing and realise that they can’t do it anymore and if they do make an attempt, their legacy is at risk.

I’ve had to turn off Paul McCartney’s efforts at Glastonbury and I do it out of respect.

I just couldn’t take all those wonderful songs that were a very important part of my growing up, just being croaked out and by the man himself. So sad and I can’t bear it.

I guess that once you’ve been to the top of the mountain it’s extremely difficult to come down. It must be like an addiction.

You’re so used to being up high, to come down to earth is nigh impossible especially as people continue to tell you and write about how marvellous you are and what a genius etc, etc. And in Paul’s case, one of the greatest song writers in the world. Let’s face it, how are you going to let go of all that? You are gonna want to stick around forever aren’t you.

But that’s not how it works…

It’s the songs that stick around forever not the person who writes and sings them. Paul is only human and it’s beginning to show. The voice at 80 years old is behaving just like it you’d expect. It’s cracking up. The fluidity of the performance is changing and even reasons for watching the great man are different than they used to be…and that’s why I turned it off.

I don’t want Paul McCartney to become a museum piece. A curiosity. A fair ground freak. OK, some might say we’re not there yet but it’s obviously just around the corner and I don’t want to watch it happen. I have too much respect for the man and I owe him so much.

I don’t want to have to watch and find myself making a judgement call about how old he has suddenly become since I last saw him. Of course he has…he’s 80 years old. The McCartney I ‘knew’ and enjoyed was in his 20’s/30’s/40’s. And he no longer exists. And besides that I want to hear his masterpieces at their best. That’s the beauty of recordings they don’t age, they’re recordings of a wonderful moment in time.  Unfortunately, us soft, fleshy things age and then we die.

So Paul (if I may be familiar for a moment)…time to put your feet up mate. And thank you very,  very much for your service.

And if you could tell your mates, Elton, Rod, Roger (I’m not sure about Mick) to do the same that would be great. X




Refugee crisis

The arrival today of the giant refugee puppet Amil in Stratford upon Avon today (I forgot) got me wondering about the world’s present day refugee crisis (who’s having the crisis by the way – the refugees or the ‘receiving country’) and the ferocity of feelings against those who for various reasons want to escape, run away call it what you will, from their present location.

I want to say that I don’t understand the anger against these people but of course that’s not true. There’s only one reason certain refugees are not welcome in this country and that’s based around the colour of their skin. All the other stuff about ‘economic refugees’ or ‘there’s not enough room’ etc, etc is all bollocks and designed to cloak and put some sense of respectability around racism.

There’s not even an argument to be had.

The proof of the pudding….as they say is proven by the fact that if you are Ukrainian and want to get your family away from death and destruction (a sensible choice) AND you are white, you are welcome.

If however, you are from a war situation and want to leave for similar reasons BUT are brown or black er…‘hang on a minute my friend while we check that there are no other reasons that you might want to locate in the UK’. Simple as that.

Personally speaking, I believe that ‘wanting to improve One’s life’ is a valid reason for anyone to go anywhere that looks more inviting and could quite possibly stop you from starving or dying.

*Although, I do admit I am baffled as to why anyone of a different hue would want to come to this predominantly racist country and suffer some more at the hands of the ignorant and stupid who seem to be overpopulating this country at this present time.

Mind you, at the moment we are only locking illegal migrants up or sending them to Rwanda. We aren’t using torture er…yet? (OK…locking up and sending people to Rwanda is a kind of torture isn’t it…but it’s a very British torture isn’t it. Subtle torture-polite torture.

I’ve often wondered who’s feeding our black and brown brethren the guff about the welcome to be found in the UK. Why doesn’t the truth ever get through? Unless of course the situation in their own country is so dire that the abuse they’ll receive over here is minor and at the moment won’t blow you or your kids heads off.

* (Probably something to do with our stringent gun laws).

Confession time; Losing his faith (Part I)


I have to admit that I get some perverse enjoyment from telling people that I am an ex-priest who has, from day one of holiness, been losing his faith.

One:  I like to see the confused look on their faces when they realise they are confronted with someone who has so easily dismissed something they have been searching for or at least been trying to understand for most of their adult life.

And two: It’s not true.

To cut to the chase.

I have most certainly lost my faith but most certainly not in (for want of a better word), *God.

My faith (if I ever really and truthfully, had any) is totally gone in the C of E.

I have stopped believing in the Church of England.

And if the truth were really to be known, the only reason that they (CofE) became part of my life in the first place is because, they were there.

Like some huge blockade, I had to go through them to get to where I thought I wanted to be. They were/are the self-appointed gatekeepers. Custom Control.

They’re the Ones who led me astray and attempted to clone me. They are the Ones who put their grubby hands upon me, dressed me up in outlandish costume, gave me a script to read and let me go blundering dangerously, like a bad actor into the community.

So I blame them.

I blame them from disallowing true exploration into what was calling me.

I blame them for leading me away from who I truly was/am.

I blame them for supplying me with a false narrative and indoctrinating me day in (especially on Sundays) and day out.

I now realise that organised faith systems are always based on abuse.

And I am ashamed to realise at this at such a late hour.

I am ashamed that I was part of a system that basically told innocent people that they were not good enough and their only chance at something called ‘redemption’ would be to change.

I am ashamed because I could and should been concentrating more on the uniqueness of what each person in their own right had to offer. I should have been building confidence in realities not wishy-washy, pie in the sky when you die remedies.

I should have been pushing ‘WORTH’ not ‘worthlessness’.

I am truly sorry…it won’t happen again.



*God. This will be in part II (maybe).

I wish I could do that. I wish I could paint

Facing up to it.

70 years on the throne

Short Poem: Happy Days.

Is there a price to comedy?



I wish I could do that. I wish I could paint

Since I’ve returned to painting (a long story for another time), I’ve had a lot of people say to me, ‘I wish I could do that. I wish I could paint’. This has always amazed me for a number of reasons.

First of all, because it sounds just like I used to be.

Painting (and writing) were the things I wanted to do more than anything in the world but for various and ever-increasing ridiculous reasons and reasoning these activities seemed miles away and ‘not for the likes of me’. A standpoint that I want to make clear came entirely from me. No-one else was to blame. Not mum not dad, not some errant careers’ master, nope just me and an outlook on the world that somehow had me lower down the food chain than was healthy.

At the beginning of my webpage I describe my art as ‘Naïve’. As far as I’m concerned all I am doing here is explaining by use of the word ‘Naïve’ is to say that I have not been trained. No fancy art school for me.

The opportunities to receive that kind of training were a mystery to me. And once again, no-one’s fault just me not paying attention. That’s how it was. That, if I’m honest is how my life has been. A life unplanned. Chaotic some might say. But that’s OK. There’s no going back to change things. And perhaps more importantly, no regrets.

How the desire to create whether writing or painting came to me, I have no idea. Like everything else, it just happened. The odd thing was, it came with a proviso.

If I was to do anything related to those things then, there was no way I could or would take any aspect of writing or painting as a ‘hobby’. No way would it become just a pastime. No way would I use it as just ‘filling in time’. It had in my case to be taken seriously or not at all.

Very commendable you might say but unfortunately that kind of attitude has its hardships, its ups and downs. The worst one to try and get over is the fact that no matter how serious you take yourself, it’s a pain in the arse if no-one else does. Which takes me back to those that say, ‘I wish I could do that. I wish I could paint’.

These days we are obsessed with the official stamp of approval.

And I get that. Letters behind our name tell others that we have spent a period of time ‘training’. Exam qualifications tell people that we have passed some kind of test winning the approval of er…someone else. What those qualifications don’t do is tell anyone if we are any good (whatever that means). And therein lies my point…

We can all create. And what we make is unique BECAUSE there is no-one else like us. We paint, we write…LIKE NO-ONE ELSE.

That’s not to say we aren’t influenced by other artists, writers. Of course we are and that’s no bad thing. That’s how we learn of techniques, styles, methods all of which we can try ourselves. But here’s the thing…

Imagine knowing nothing.

Imagine doing it all for yourselves. Imagine exploring all the above with no guidance. How exciting is that.

Imagine coming up with something of your own pure creation. Imagine no-one ‘queering your pitch’ and telling you ‘that’s wrong’ or ‘that’s right’. Fantastic.

So to all those who say to me ‘I wish I could do that. I wish I could paint’ my answer is always the same. ‘YOU CAN’.

There’s no-one that dare stop you because the only weapons they have are ‘rules’.

Rules that have no strength, no power of their own. And who was it who said ‘rules are meant to be broken’.

An act of creation is art.

And your own personal act of creation overrules any challenge. It stands on its own. Released into the world and never to be repeated.

No matter how it was done. On a whim. Over days, weeks even years. No matter. You did it therefore it is unique. A one off.

And YOU, painter or writer are responsible.



Other stuff to read.

Facing up to it.

70 years on the throne

Short Poem: Happy Days.

Is there a price to comedy?

Guns for Good: The scourge of the firearm.


The condition of the boat.

I don’t know about anybody else but I’m finding myself quite concerned as to the condition of the boat we all appear to be rowing in and the ocean within which we are straining to move forward.

We appear to be getting nowhere and that’s because we are rowing against a very strong current and an even stronger wind.

What I’m trying to say here is the odd fact (odd because we don’t appear to have noticed), that we are falling more and more under the control, the auspices of ‘those who are nothing like us’.

Let me attempt to explain what I mean.

First off, by ‘we’ I mean those of us who have lived relatively ‘normal’ lives. Lives where we have not accrued great wealth either inherited or made with a great idea or exceptional luck. None of which by the way is, wrong.

If you have made money in any way (but criminal) good luck, live long and proper. Power to your elbow.

What or rather who I find problematic are those because of their great wealth are so far removed from the rest of us, they have forgotten what it is to be human. Those that are so far removed that they no longer have anything in common with the rest of us.

To my point…

I am talking about those that as well as their wealth crave and have an unhealthy desire for Power and Control.

I don’t get it.

I don’t understand the connection or indeed the need to express wealth of the monetary kind alongside that of Power. Isn’t money enough? Why the need for Control as well?

For instance, I am currently represented in Parliament by a multi-millionaire who has absolutely no idea of the life lived by myself, or others like me.

One has only to look at his voting record to see that we have nothing in common and he at a very basic level has no understanding of my life or the predicaments that I find myself in. Yet he insists on telling me how I should be able to live my life.

His views for instance on shall we say, poverty, bear no resemblance to my own thoughts on what it means to be poor.  And in this the year of our lord, 2022, it is proven that his views, his ideas have no bearing on how a major segment of the population lives. And that is because a large proportion of the population of the UK, is hungry and poverty stricken.

But then how could he? He’s a millionaire for Christ’s sake. Him and me and lots of others, we live at opposite ends of the scale.

To put it bluntly, he will not starve but some of the people he represents, will. (And yes I am aware that I live in Stratford upon Avon, one of the wealthier places in the country but even here, people will go hungry).

So, what has happened to us to allow the above situation to exist?

How have we, we who (so they tell us) live in a democracy allowed this to happen? And more importantly, what can we do about it? And more importantly still…is there in fact anything we can do about it?

Have we (as I suspect) before our very eyes and with our permission, allowed the rich to creep up on us and (if you’ll excuse the expression) take us from behind?

Have we been craftily distracted by lots of shiny objects like TV, the national lottery, the promise of owning our own house and postage stamp sized land (garden)?

Or was it the ‘well paid’ jobs (wages controlled by the rich of course) that allowed us (crammed into a flying tube) holidays abroad that made us take our eyes off the ball? (And talking of that why haven’t we noticed that our holidays abroad are quite different than theirs)?


At this point, let’s have a break. Ponder on this…

A rich person buys one pair of high-quality boots that will last him/her for years. Expensive yes, but one pair will suffice for some time.

A poor person buys cheaply made boots because that is all him/her can afford. These cheap boots will not last as they do not have the quality of the rich persons boots…

ERGO…the poor person spends more on boots than the rich person.

NOT ONLY THAT…The rich person owns the factory where the poor person’s cheap boots are made. Mr or Mrs Rich Person also controls the wages and thereby the quality of the boots that the poor person can afford.


Anyway, what’s to be done?


I am of the opinion that the general population is, if not at ease with the present situation, quite willing and lazy enough to sit back and allow the rich ‘to sort things out’.

And as for The Rich, they are quite happy with the way things are.

We are my friends…a suicide case.

A few years ago (the 60’s, the 90’s even. Poll tax riots), there was something in the air. The people had a belief in themselves. A strength that I don’t believe will ever be replicated.

Unfortunately, the rich cottoned on, got together and did a job on us.

To cut a long story short. Madam Thatcher and her cohorts surgically and with great skill cut the balls off the working people of this country, closed us down and returned us to a craftily contrived pre-magna carta time.

Ladies and gentlemen. Fellow peasants.

We are being taken for fools.

The defense rests….

Confession time; Losing his faith (Part I)

I wish I could do that. I wish I could paint

70 years on the throne

Short Poem: Happy Days.

Is there a price to comedy?


Facing up to it.

Well, I’ve tried everything to put it off. But I’ve finally put my big boy trousers on and begun facing up to it.

It’s my heart.

It’s not Covid. Long ot short. It’s not panic attacks and it’s certainly not some exotic and as of yet unnamed and undiscovered disease. I’ve tried everything I can to not face the truth. But I know in my heart of hearts (see what I did there)…

It’s my heart.

It’s the exact same symptoms that I experienced about three/four years ago when on holiday in Cornwall.

Shortness of breath. Tiredness. Uncomfortable feeling in the throat etc.

The same symptoms I had before being miraculously cured by the insertion of three stents into one of the arteries of my heart…but here we go again.

The Stratfordian

I’ve been to see the doctor and he thinks it can be handled by increasing one of the drugs I’ve been taking since the stents thing. So, following his advice I’ve increased the dosage and so far…nothing has changed.

Nope. It’s my heart and I’m off to see the Heart specialist…

Here we go again.

Wish me luck.

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