Gobsmacked.

Frankly, I’m gobsmacked.

gob·smacked

[ˈɡɒbsmakt]

ADJECTIVE
BRITISH
informal
  1. utterly astonished; astounded:
    “the locals were gobsmacked when us lot trooped in”
    synonyms:
    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.

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

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…

SOONER RATHER THAN LATER…

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.

 

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).

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?

Nothing.

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?

 

70 years on the throne

Here we all are celebrating a rich woman’s 70 years on the throne, and I read this (below).

*Ambulance boss warns of collapse…

‘Mr Docherty told the ambulance service’s board of directors at a meeting on Wednesday (25th May) that patients suffering from heart attacks, strokes and blood clots were ‘dying every day’ due to ambulances being stuck outside hospitals for several hours.

I’m sorry, I don’t want to ruin your enjoyment of people marching up and down, balcony appearances and fly pasts…

BUT PLEASE, CAN WE STOP, HAVE A GOOD LOOK AT OURSELVES & RE-START BY GETTING EVERYTHING INTO PERSPECTIVE?

* The Stratford upon avon Herald. June 2nd 2022.

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

Facing up to it.

Short Poem: Happy Days.

Is there a price to comedy?

Guns for Good: The scourge of the firearm.

Guns for Good: The scourge of the firearm.

The StratfordianI think the most obvious thing that America faces is the Truth.

And that is...it is far too late and therefore  impossible to rid itself of the scourge of the firearm.

They have made this bed and now they must lie in it. The best they can do is…tinker. Unfortunately, the wherewithal to do even that, appears not to be there.

No matter how many adults and children are shot criminally dead the powers, those in charge appear to be frozen to the spot.  Even the task of making just it a little bit more difficult for the insane, slightly mad and those in between to acquire is beyond even the brightest in the nation.

And I can see why. The fact is…

…it would make no difference.

It’s pretty obvious that even if gun sales were banned (not gonna happen partner) there are so many firearms around that it wouldn’t take much to set up a thriving underground market to cater for any nutter who wants one.

The abundance of guns easily matches the number of nutters…

And let’s face it, with America’s relationship to the great god Money,  the thought of making a few extra dollars by selling their personal arsenal to the crazies down the road would no doubt appeal to the majority of the great American family. And what a wonderful opportunity to buy upscale and maybe buy a missile system.

The fact is, America is a hotbed of extreme views. A country/continent where even Them and Us is impossible due to every view under the sun having a voice backed up in a lot of cases by extreme violence.

Everyone in America is afraid of their neighbour. And protecting their family from the ‘system’ that they themselves have created, is perhaps understandably, a priority. And then there’s the fact that thanks to the all-encompassing ‘American dream’,even the lunatics can end up running the asylum. See recent history.

America is lost.

THE NEW ATLANTIS.

Primitives with money and power who, given time will destroy themselves.

Trouble is, they may take us down with them.

Being Nadhim Zahawi

Rising as the cock crows

Dark and Light

Being Nadhim Zahawi

The Stratfordian
Portrait By Richard Townshend

As one of Mr Nadhim Zahawi’s constituents (although I admit not a Tory voter), I have to say how disgusted I am to his nodding dog attitude to everything the PM says or perhaps more importantly, does.

Always in agreement or should I say obedience he has never offered one doubtful word on what seeps out from Number 10. The man does not appear to have a mind of his own.

I live in Stratford upon Avon so it’s a given that we have a Tory MP and I accept that, although it hurts greatly. However, if I am to be represented in Parliament by someone I didn’t vote for I would at the very least hope that the person whose job that is (even a Tory), would show some character, backbone and perhaps more importantly, a personality that proved more than sponge-like.
I understand that Mr Zahawi was ‘parachuted’ into S-on-A’s Tory-safety-zone without opposition but that surely does not give him permission to be on permanent stand-by. He could for the sake of reality pretend to be a fighting MP. One concerned with the well-being of his constituents.
After all his constituents come in all flavours and he should attempt to address that even if it’s an act.
Instead what we get is a nodding dog, Johnson’s pet poodle who finds it in his heart to disagree with nothing. It’s almost as if he’s waiting for the knighthood to drop from the sky.
I actually think that he did a decent job as Vaccination minister (wash my mouth out with soap and water) but as Member of Parliament for Stratford upon Avon he is more than useless.

the stratfordian's art

‘Robbing the poor to feed the rich’. 2021. Acrylic on A3 canvas. IFH.


Rising as the cock crows

Dark and Light

70 years on the throne

Guns for Good: The scourge of the firearm.

 

Dark and Light

This is a post of both dark and light…

Let’s start off happy. 😆

I wanted to congratulate the new (ish) owners of the Stratford upon Avon Herald and their successful (at least I think so) attempt in giving readers a proper local paper.

At last we find numerous articles, something more interesting than the obituary column (although I must admit that old habits die hard and it’s still the first place I go).

Readable print is also a big bonus along with the fact that it is at last possible to unfurl the paper in a high wind. All in all, a good job, I just hope it continues.

The misery comes in the form of yet another mealy-mouthed article written by The Leader of Stratford District Council as part of his, ‘District Matters’ column.

Basically this week we have a breakdown (in more ways than one) of what is to come in terms of our personal finances. Or, as I like to call it, our choices between ‘Heating & Eating’.

Anyway, on he rambles about how tough it is going to get, and we might as well kill ourselves now (I put that in). And above all we find out what has caused this terrible tumble into the mouth of hell.

Surprisingly, everything.

Except of course,  this present government.

At home with the Stratfordians

70 years on the throne

Guns for Good: The scourge of the firearm.

Being Nadhim Zahawi

Rising as the cock crows

error: Content is protected !!