Saturday, November 04, 2006

I Need Sleeves, Damnit!


Well, summer is definitely, absolutely, see-you-next-year GONE. The big drop in temperature, the leaves falling from the trees in my garden, the horse chestnuts being pinched by the kids next door, trick or treaters last week (and hey, come on, this is Britain, not the USA!) and now November 5th all mean one thing: Autumn. And you know what comes after autumn? Yep, winter.

Today is November 5th, Guy Fawkes’ Night. Now, if you don’t live in the UK, or if you were educated after about 1980, you probably won’t have a clue who Guy Fawkes was. So let me tell you, because he has a bearing on today.

In 1605, Fawkes and his cronies, under the leadership of Robert Catesby, were terrorists. Oh yes. Today, they would be slammed in jail quicker than you can say Gitmo. These guys were hardcore terrorists. Their aim? To blow up the King and the Houses of Parliament, taking as many politicians as they could. Why? Well, basically because King James 1st was making life difficult for catholics, and Catesby and Fawkes were catholic. Fawkes was caught in the cellars of the House of Commons, surrounded by 36 barrels of gunpowder after some of his co-conspirators decided that they couldn’t take part in something that would result in massive loss of innocent life.

And today we celebrate his capture (although apparently not his torture and execution) by having huge fires in our back yards and setting off fireworks. Hmm. Seems a bit funky to me! But it strikes me as interesting that we should celebrate the life of a terrorist, a man who tried to destroy our government!

But that would explain why every pet in my house is currently hiding under a couch or bed, as bangs, crashes and wooshes go off outside.

And with autumn comes the properly cold weather. So cold, that on Friday when I went to fire the bike up to ride home, I had to chip ice off the seat and let the engine warm up for a while first. I am not a happy bunny. I may well be from Scotland, but I moved down here for a warmer climate. And now I have to have the heating on and banish all of my t-shirts to the cupboard in favour of things with sleeves. Don’t you just wish you could hibernate until, oh, I dunno, April?

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Privacy? Forget it!


News today that Britain is the “most surveilled country” in the industrial West comes from UK government’s information commissioner. What a huge surprise, I think to myself as I walk through London, waving at the CCTV cameras that are virtually everywhere.

Last year, a documentary on civil liberties compared Tokyo, London and New York for surveillance cameras. London won by a country mile. And still the terrorists managed to strike on the London Underground. Makes your chest swell with pride at our home-grown nutters’ ingenuity, doesn’t it?!

According to a report co-written by Dr David Murakami-Wood, the UK has more CCTV cameras than anywhere else in the West, and looser laws on privacy and data protection. It’s reckoned that there are up to 4.2 million surveillance cameras in the UK, which works out at one camera for every 14 people. Not only that, researchers have also highlighted a rise in ‘dataveillance’, which sees UK citizens tracked through their mobile phones, credit cards, store loyalty cards and CCTV. I posted some time ago about London Underground’s “Oyster Card” scheme (an electronic ticket) and the fact that the police were using the data stored on it to track movement. This is merely another extension of the fact.

Of course, there’s always the old argument rolled out by governments: but if you’ve got nothing to hide, why worry? Well, that works fine and dandy in a society where you can trust your government, but does anyone really trust their own government these days? In the USA, thanks to the Patriot Act, the Feds can sneak into your home and search it without even having to tell you about it. The first you’d know is when you’re in court. And with so much computer hacking and fraud going on, gaining access to your home PC and sending what you want from it is a piece of cake. So do I trust that information about what I buy, who I call or where I go could not be either misinterpreted or used maliciously against me?

How dumb do you think I am?

After all, this is the country where our former Home Secretary, David Blunkett, told the man in charge of our prisons to call in the army and machine gun rioting prisoners! MACHINE GUN them?! Just amazing.

I bet George Orwell hasn’t stopped laughing in his grave for the last five years or so.

Monday, October 30, 2006

The Sky is Crying


I doubt Stevie Ray Vaughan had our current woes in mind when he penned that one.

A climate change report was released today in the UK by Sir Nicholas Stern. Former chief economist at the World Bank (no, they wouldn’t give me a loan when I applied), Sir Nicholas is widely regarded as a man who knows his stuff. His report lays out just what financial and economic sacrifices we will have to face in order to turn climate change around. And it doesn’t pull any punches. At the core of his report is the conclusion that spending huge amounts of money now in order to reduce carbon emissions will pay off on a massive scale, so to not spend that massive amount of cash now would be crazy.

Naturally, in an attempt to restore his almost invisible popularity, Mr Blair and the government have embraced the report. One of Blair’s top men, David Milliband, has already suggested a wide range of ‘Green Taxes’, aimed at reducing things like air travel and car use in an attempt to make Britain ‘greener’, and the general concensus from political pundits today was that the public are going to face more taxes and higher prices.

A couple of things, then. It’s widely agreed that our worst polluters are our fossil fuel power stations. Any sign of their being replaced quickly by clean fuel sources? Of course not. Public car use. I live in a two car household. I used to drive a highly economical diesel car, but the government insist on slapping tax on things like that, so any financial savings were pretty minimal. What about LPG or bio-diesel? Again, taxed at the fuel pump by the government. They’re not exactly encouraging us to switch power sources, are they?

Electric cars? Oh, please! Where do you think your power comes from? If you live in a major, metropolitan area then okay, I think they can be hugely practical. But until the range is improved beyond 150 miles per charge, or until top speed can rival a petrol car, they are simply not a practical option for the rest of the populace.

The only truly clean car is the hydrogen fuel cell car, and we are a long way from seeing those on our roads. The notion that driving a hybrid like a Toyota Prius was deconstructed nicely by one of the major TV shows over here. They analysed just how environmentally sound those cars were, from their creation to their ultimate disposal as well as useage. They didn’t fare that well compared to normal, petrol-powered cars.

And just what will these new, green taxes be spent on? Do we have any guarantee whatsoever that they will go entirely to funding green policies? Will we have whole, new forests planted throughout the land? Will the money go towards grants which allow home owners like me to install solar panels (a dumb idea in the UK anyway, given our lack of sunshine), or a mini wind turbine on my roof? Of course they won’t. Today, I watched a green activist interviewed. The Euro average carbon footprint per person is 9 tonnes. He has reduced his to 1.5 tonnes per year. Good man. He rides his bicycle to work, doesn’t own a car and has done his house up with solar panels. His grant from the government? £400. Yes, about 700 dollars to entice him to go green. I’m pulling my shoes on right now, so I can rush to the nearest application form…

I have no faith whatsoever in my government using any money raised by green taxes for green advances. Not at all.

While I’m on the subject of global warming (and the scientists are still arguing about it, make no mistake), so far I’ve only seen one person talk about global dimming. This phenomena goes hand in hand with CO2 emissions. What global dimming does, however, is protect us from the worst of the suns rays. As we reduce global warming, so we decrease global dimming, which means the sun gets brighter and we are all exposed to more harmful radiation. Okay, so in the UK this might mean better weather, but in Australia, Africa and many other places, it could have an even bigger impact than global warming. It’s a subject worth reading up about.

Bottom line, of course, is that we in the First World are going to pay through the wallet for our industrial sins. The hard part will be in convincing countries like China (who bring a new, coal-fired power station online every week!) to join us. And then we can tackle India and Africa, who want the wealth they see on TV regardless of the environmental impact.

Is it any surprise that George W. wants no part of the Kyoto Agreement?

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Iraq War Fuelling Terrorism Shocker!

Yes, yet another report has come out which tells us what we already knew: the war in Iraq has fuelled domestic terrorism and ignited hatred against the UK and USA in Muslim countries around the world.

Well, when I say “what we already knew”, I do, of course mean: what we knew, but our leaders refuse to acknowledge. Because let’s face it, Tony B. Liar and George W. are never going to come out and admit that a) they may have been wrong or b) the invasion of Iraq was a stupid thing to do. Because it clearly was, and unless your news media diet consists entirely of Fox News, you’d agree with that. All the war has managed to do is remove a dictator (whom we in the West installed and armed). A dictator who was able to keep his own Sunni Muslims and the Shi’ite Muslims at peace by killing large numbers of both groups, as well as the Kurds.

And still my petrol and heating oil costs too much. Go figure. Maybe I should have bought shares in Halliburton.

What we now have is an unreported civil war with allied casualties. Even in Basra, where the British had a good relationship with the local population, things have gone down the crapper.

But I digress. I could tell you about my friend’s work in Afghanistan, training up Special Forces guys and working with former Mujahadeen fighters. But then I’d have to kill you. Put it this way: if you saw footage of clean-shaven British soldiers fighting the Taleban, forget it. My pal had a beard down to his collar while he was over there, and he and his friends were hit hard, lost a lot of men and repaid that compliment in spades with the Taleban. So trust me when I say I know a little about this.

So to the report. According to the Sunday Times (as reported here), it was leaked by Cabinet officials in the British government. Naturally, this has been denied and everyone is toeing the party line. Which is: there is no trouble. Terrorism doesn’t exist. Go to sleep, it’s going to be all right.

Tell that to the relatives of the bombings in London last July. Anyone who honestly believes that our little adventure in the Middle East hasn’t sowed the seeds of terrorism against our countries wants immediate brain surgery. Either that, or they’ve already had a lobotomy.

Hmm. Did I suggest in a previous post that I was no longer getting angry about things? I may have been premature. I believe there are tablets I can take for that sort of thing.

The Common Cold. The Most Pointless Virus Ever


Look, I understand viruses. I realise they have a point. After all, without viruses, it’s unlikely that man would have progressed this far. Without bacteria, we wouldn’t exist.

But the common cold still defies logic as far as I’m concerned. Not only can’t ‘they’ cure it (they being those boffins we all hear about who no doubt get paid by Big Drug to keep cures under wraps, hey, this is my conspiracy, so get your own), none of the remedies on sale actually do any f*cking good at all. “Oh, take paracetamol, that’ll help.” Yeah, it’ll help mask the symptoms for about two hours until snot pours out of your nose and your eyes water…

And while I’m ranting, just what is that about? Why snot? WHY? Stupid damned virus. Why make my eyes run? Why deprive my body of any moisture whatsoever while simultaneously making my throat sore? There’s nothing left in there for me to swallow, for God’s sake! I could take a throat tablet, but that would be playing right into the hands of Big Drug. Hey, wait a minute… is my cold in league with Big Drug? Is it really a virus, or am I being attacked by highly trained nanobots, programmed by Big Drug? Hmm. I could be on to something here. I need to spend some time with my thinking cap (a tin foil hat I made earlier) on. I’ll get back to you when the fever breaks…

Love those whacky Germans

Apparently, German opera lovers will get the chance to see a Mozart opera which features the decapitated head of Muhammad after. Despite being told by police in September that staging the opera had ‘incalculable’ risks, Deutsche Opera have now been given the green light to go ahead with the planned performance. The full story is here.

Seems the sequence featuring the lopped off heads of Jesus, Bhudda, Muhammad and Poseidon was ‘added’ by the opera’s director, Hans Neuenfels, as a protest against organised religion. Well, I’m sure he knows better than Mozart, doesn’t he?

This is all part of a bigger discussion currently going on in Germany over free speech, and even the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, has come out against self-censorship out of fear. This all stems from those whacky Danish cartoons of Muhammad a few months ago.

I’m very anti-censorship, but I’m extremely pro common sense and sensitivity.

As we saw during the cartoon debacle, the main problem with non-Muslims doing anything featuring Muhammad isn’t that Muslims in their own countries get upset. No, it’s the countless other Muslims around the world who don’t hear the full story or see the images for themselves, but are nevertheless whipped up into a frenzy by fundamentalists eager to push their own agenda. Not only was the Danish embassy attacked in various Middle East countries, angry Muslims also attacked any building that had a flag even remotely resembling Denmark’s!

Something tells me we haven’t heard the last of this. If you were planning a trip to Germany in the near future, I’d postpone it!

Today’s the day


In about eight minutes, the most important motorcycle GP of the last decade kicks off. Can Italy’s Valentino Rossi win the title again, or will Kentucky boy, Nicky Hayden, beat him to the punch?

My money’s on Vale. That guy can ride a bike like no-one else. To take an uncompetitive Yamaha and consistently win races takes more than just a good rider. It takes a great one. I can't wait! The last race of the year, and two men separated by just eight points. Forget Formula 1, where insanely expensive cars overtake one another in the pits and not on the track. These guys defy the laws of physics week in, week out. And the racing is closer than anything you can imagine. Let’s get on with the show!

LATER THAT SAME DAY...

Waaaaaah! Maybe it’s a good thing that Blogger refused to let me post this. Maybe it just wasn’t meant to be at all.

Whatever higher power was guiding Blogger, it also guided Valentino Rossi into the dirt and saw him fall off his bike, re-mount and bring it home way behind the leading pack. Nicky Hayden, the Kentucky Kid, came home in third, winning the World Championship for 2006. Good news for the USA, inasmuch as MotoGP will now have a slightly higher profile there, since Nicky’s the first US champ since Kenny Roberts Jnr back in, um, 2000 I think it was. But bad news for racing fans. Nicky only managed to win two races all year, and that’s not the mark of a champion in my book.

You want to see a real champ? Then take a look at Australian racer, Troy Bayliss. Troy won the World Superbike Championship a couple of weeks ago on a factory Ducati. When Ducati MotoGP rider, Sete Gibernau, injured himself last week, the company gave the bike to Troy. Bayliss rode for them for a couple of seasons with some success; a few podiums but no wins. Now in what some would call the twilight of his racing career, Troy Bayliss led today’s race from start to finish, becoming the first man ever to win a WSB title and then win a MotoGP race. And what I really like about him is his spirit. The guy never, ever gives up. Even when he’d secured the WSB title, he was still battling for the front spot in the final races of the season. And that’s what a champion is in my book: someone who never, ever quits.

Still, Nicky Hayden won the most points in 2006, so he’s the champion. Valentino Rossi has won the title five times in a row, the last two times on a bike the whole paddock agrees is uncompetitive. I don’t think the trophy will grace the Hayden mantlepiece for more than 12 months, somehow.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Oh, the Glamour of the Location Shoot!


Last week, I travelled to Portugal for a week-long location shoot. I was in the company of a video director and his assistant (who was as much use as a chocolate fireguard), my favourite photographer, a make-up artist (and man, was she a pain in the ass) and six models.

A recipe for disaster in anyone’s book, I’ll grant you. But we’ve done this before. Used to do it twice a year, but this was our first trip out in 2006, and we were all looking forward to a chance to work in the sun and maybe a bit of relaxation. Usually, the weather favours us; we tend to get temperatures in the mid to low 20s (Americans, you’ll have to do the conversions yourselves, but it’s basically t-shirt and sun lotion weather). This time, the Big Guy decided to dump on us. In a whole week, we had maybe one and a half days of sunshine, total. We had two days of absolutely torrential rain, and I mean torrential. It was so bad, the drains were overflowing in the streets. I’ve never seen anything quite like it before.

Of course, it all meant that work was a bit hit and miss. We had a couple of days where both of the guys could shoot outdoors, but then we all had to retreat back into the villa and try to work inside. Not ideal at all. You don’t travel all that way to shoot pictures inside someone’s house. Particularly not when the house has been furnished to a budget by Portuguese owners who generally try to appeal to German tourists… no, not ideal at all.

Still, it all got done without too much drama. Except a make-up artist who felt it was okay for her to disappear in a foreign country until 2am. An assistant who allegedly robbed one of the other girls (don’t worry, I got the cash back – it helps that I look like Vic Mackey). Oh, and it could have been so much worse. We had a visit from a friend of mine, an adult producer who recently moved to Spain.

He is now the chief witness in an attempted murder. Long story, but basically he was asked to host an event and one of the guests stabbed another visitor in the head. In the head!

So it could’ve been much, much worse!

All I came back with was a streaming cold. I think I was lucky.




What have I been up to?

Well, when was my last proper post? Sometime in May? Hmm. Okay.

Clearly, I didn’t go on and on about how much fun I had at the end of last year when I visited Japan with Mrs Monk, for example, or my few days in Sydney after that? Well I won’t bore you now. Suffice it to say that Japan rocked like a zoo-bound chimp.

Work has been… busy. I finally got my long-awaited promotion, and am now master of all I survey. And a bit more over the horizon. Essentially, I’m now in overall charge of the magazines my company produces, with the lofty title of Publishing Director attached to my name. Yes, it still makes me laugh, too. Next stop is the board of directors, proper, which will really make me laugh. And I still won’t have to wear a suit.

And lately, I’ve been spending some time on MySpace, where I now have my own page. If you want to know more, email me and I’ll send you the link. Maybe…

And now I have to watch the rest of final qualifying for the last round of MotoGP tomorrow. If Valentino Rossi doesn’t win the championship tomorrow, I’ll be stunned.

So where have I been?



Well, for starters, after an apparent epiphany where I suddenly remembered my user name and log in (hence the recent posting), a sudden head cold meant that I immediately forgot it all.

I’ve just spent 15 frustrating minutes trying to get back in to the account. And naturally my own stupidity mean it took longer than it should have.

Anyway, where have I been? Well, mooching around, really.

So much crap has happened this year in the world that I was in danger of having a huge heart attack if I kept writing about it. So I stopped. I stopped reading newspapers and I stopped paying attention. I gave up. And you know what? It’s much better this way! I seem to be happier in oblivion than I ever was when I was aware! But I missed my blogging buddies like Fez and co. Nice to see he occasionally checked back.

The rumours of my becoming a zombie were greatly exaggerated…

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Don't panic, I'm not dead!

I've just been too damned angry to type for the last few months. Also, I got promoted, so more work = less time.

Still, I will have one of the fanciest coffins in the graveyard…

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Spontaneous Priapism


It’s no laughing matter, I can tell you. Of course, I knew it would happen. I had ample warning. Just checking the calendar gave me all the information I needed. It was May 9th. The second day of the Electronic Entertainment Expo 2006. Or E3, if you will. That meant that somewhere in a convention hall in Los Angeles, the world’s richest geek was making his keynote speech. And, much as I hate him and his crappy operating software, I have to admit, his games’ system rocks.

The man? Bill Gates. The cause of my sudden, unwanted erection? The trailer for Halo 3.

Okay, so I’m an old timer. But I have impeccable gaming credentials. From an early start with the Atari VCS system (those games look, um, yeah… nowadays), the Atari 800 computer, the Sega MegaDrive (that’s Genesis to you) and onwards. I wrote reviews and walk-through guides for the UK’s leading two Sega magazines (under different names, thus getting paid by both mags!), and I ended up as a correspondent on Electronic Gaming Monthly in the US before it changed publishers. I’ve always loved video games. They’re my friends. They don’t judge me the way people do, I… oh. Sorry…

Despite no longer working in the games biz anymore, when Microsoft offered me a free Xbox when they came out (as opposed to Sony, who made me buy a PlayStation and PlayStation 2, the swines), I was “so there, dude”. And when they then managed to give me an Xbox 360 the week they came out, I was also really quite literally there, dude.

I’ve been fortunate over the years to get invites to some good launches. Or was that lunches? But nothing compared to the shiver I got when I played Halo 2 a couple of months before it was released. Or so I thought.

Finally, after a couple of hours trying, I managed to download the Halo 3 promo film from Xbox Live last night. It took a long time, because it kept dropping out. I suspect that one or two people may also have been downloading it.

Okay, so it was 1am by the time it finished downloading. And yes, I was slightly under the influence of herbal cigarettes (cue blog readers suddenly putting two and two together at this admission… along with several mental health practitioners), but that only added to the moment. The hair on the back of my neck actually stood up as I played the trailer. Mind you, it’s just about the only place where I have hair long enough to stand up.

Talk about theatrical. I remember the day when Sony admitted they had spent £1million on their stand at a trade show. We went nuts. It was crazy. Now, I hate to think how much money Bungie have spent on just that Halo 3 trailer. But man, it rocks like a zoo-bound chimp. Sony? Hell, I’ll probably buy a PS3 when they come out, but it would be a brave man who reckoned against Halo 3.


The Trouble with Young People

This was another TV gem. Journalist, sorry, tabloid hack, Carole Malone, posed the question to a number of families and kids in this horror of televisual entertainment. She met up with a number of people who really should consider taking the easy way out and hey, just killing themselves now. It would save me going on at least one of my planned, murderous rampages.

Although specializing in the bloody obvious, Malone’s TV show did at least reinforce certain things I hold to be absolutely true. Namely that a massive number of parents out there have no idea whatsoever.

We met up with two boys who are in constant trouble at school. They told Malone that they had no respect for their teachers, didn’t think they should be treated “like robots” and that these were the reasons they acted up so much and got into so much trouble. Malone then met up with their mother, whose views on school were identical to her kids. Our hostess tried to point out to the mum that it was her views which were colouring the kids’ attitudes, but to no avail. She didn’t see why teachers should automatically be treated with respect, presumably that attitude went further to encompass anyone in a position of authority.

Next up was a spoilt little brat called Shane. His problem was that he was diabetic. This, we were told, had led his parents to cave in to any demand he made. And seriously, if you’d seen this kid, you would have smacked him in the chops. His mother spent a fortune buying backing tracks and music because little Shane wanted to be a singer. Shane, I’d guess he was around 16, was one of the most ungrateful little snots I’ve seen in years. Tearing open a box of CDs, he discarded them all, telling his mum she had bought the wrong stuff. No sign of a “thanks, but it’s not quite what I was looking for, mum”. Nope. Just total disregard for anyone’s feelings but his own. We then see him in the recording studio, where he’s performing in front of a major talent agent and his signing coach. He ignores his coach’s advice on how to hit certain notes in the song, telling her that he’s never sung it that way before. She says he always does it that way. His parents agree with her. He says that he doesn’t want to compromise. Talent agent leaves, telling child not to be such a prima donna. Mum blames herself for his behaviour, arguing that if only she’d thought about it harder, she would have made him lunch and things would’ve been much easier. Okay, then.

Our next gem was a car thief and habitual scrote. His future was bleak. He was aged 20, but sat there telling Malone he didn’t see any way out of the life he was in. We met his parents. They were well-adjusted, normal people. They admitted not being firm enough with their kid when he first started playing up. His brothers and sisters were kept on a much tighter leash. Had they been too soft with him, they were asked. Yes, they said, but hey, there’s no handbook for raising kids, is there?

Do you know how often I hear this? Well, people, you need a licence to keep a dog in my country, but not to spew a family full of cannon fodder into the welfare system. Is there a guidebook on raising kids? Well, Dr. Spock seemed quite popular when I was a baby, although he’s out of favour now, probably thanks to all of those left wing social workers. You know the ones? They’re the ones who are responsible for things like the death of Victoria Climbie and God knows how many other children at risk who end up dead because someone doesn’t do their job properly.

Hmm. My moral high horse has slipped a shoe…

That’s better. My point is that there is a guide book to raising kids. Think back. Did you have parents? Were they good to you? If you answer ‘Yes’, then replicate their methods. If you answer ‘No’, then do the exact sodding opposite. I had a weird childhood. My dad was out banging different women most of the time. I thought that having your father come home, eat his dinner and then go out again all night was normal. I’m told that this is not the case. However, even with a screwed up childhood like that, I turned out reasonably okay. I had a good mum. She was always there for us. If we played up, we got smacked on the backside. So far, I have yet to be convicted of any murders as a result. Although obviously it’s only a matter of time before they catch up with me…

We live in a world where there is no respect for authority. I put this completely down to the break-up of the family and lack of discipline at home and in schools. When I was a kid, we were scared of our teachers; in awe of some of them. But that fear was there for a reason: if we fucked about, we could expect physical punishment. Oh, sure, it didn’t stop the serious trouble-makers from creating; they knew that being given the belt (a leather strap which was smacked down onto your open palms) was an occupational hazard. But the rest of us toed the line, by and large.

We were respectful of our local policeman for the same reasons. If he caught us stealing apples, messing about with fireworks, you name it, we’d get a cuff round the ear and he would take us home and tell our folks all about it.

Yes, we got away with a lot, but we also did our best not to get into so much trouble that we wouldn’t be able to sit down again for a month.

But this whole idea of treating kids like adults is just so much bullshit. It’s like trying to negotiate with terrorists. Kids today know exactly how powerless adults are in most discipline situations. They threaten legal action against their parents and teachers. It’s insane. Our senior citizens are scared to walk the streets at night. They have to stand on trains and buses because snot-nosed kids haven’t got the respect to stand and offer their own seats. It’s just staggering.

The world won’t change for the better until someone, somewhere has the moral fibre to stand up and say, “Actually, I think being slapped down now and again helps a child understand boundaries and limits. In fact, I suggest we use light physical discipline on our children from now on.”

I’m not saying that all children who are ‘negotiated’ with turn out badly. Just an awful lot of them. I lived next door to a girl who wasn’t allowed to watch violent TV shows when we were kids. Her folks kept her wrapped in cotton wool. By 14, she was pregnant and had been smoking weed for three years before that. My parents couldn’t work out where I was getting such good shit from… last I heard, she’d moved on to bigger and better drugs. Maybe a slap could have saved her, I don’t know, but it would have been worth a try.

Kids, You Just Can’t Beat Them, Can You?


Pity, though. I’ll be honest with you. I’m not a big fan of children. Oh, I don’t particularly blame them, it’s more down to crap parenting. With this in mind, let me introduce Dr. Tayna Byron. She’s the host of a show on BBC satellite called The House of Tiny Tearaways and, each week, she helps families deal with their troublesome tots.

This week, we were introduced to a couple who have allowed their daughter to sleep in their bed for the first three years of her life. Daddy bonded big time, but mummy wasn’t getting any of those “special hugs”, and emotionally, they were falling apart. He, of course, didn’t have time for emotions. He was pragmatic. She was emotional. Whatever.

So Dr. Tanya advised them on the best methods of dealing with their little bundle of puke, crap and attitude in a similar style to that Supernanny bird on the rival channel. First job, then, was breaking the cycle of having their baby in bed each night.

How many times do you think they had to get up and put their child back in its own bed? Go on, have a guess…

Wrong.

How does 308 times in one night grab you? Oh yes, they counted and they were filmed. Three hundred and eight. It doesn’t get any better when you write it as text rather than numerals, does it? As a non-parent, I have to question the way kids are currently being raised, and will do in another posting within the next 10 minutes, since another TV show hacked me off this week.

Where is the logic in trying to negotiate with a 3-year-old child? At that stage, their basically a bag of vomit waiting to be told what to do, whilst simultaneously pushing your buttons and their boundaries of behaviour. Call me psychotic (and you’d be in the company of many mental health professionals), but wouldn’t a short, sharp slap on a child’s clothed backside be a better deterrent? I know it worked for me and hundreds of thousands of other people my age, and that by and large, we ended up reasonably sane and normal.

But putting your child to bed 308 times in a night? Now that’s crazy.

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