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07 September 2016 @ 11:38 pm
I referred earlier to the girl I became seriously infatuated with during the horror of my last couple of years in Norwich.  And again. It's now over. done with. Not quite "finished", or I wouldn't be writing this. But I have absolutely no interest or desire to make any sort of actual contact. As I'm commiting this to some sort of public inspection - although I doubt anyone's going to actually read obscure notes written in an obscure journal, but one which is open to public inspection, I can't stress this strongly enough.  I very sincerely do not want to identify her or make any waves or cause any embarassment to somebody who does not deserve it. And as stated before, this is going to be "bitty", just a set of ideas and impressions and confessions I might return to later to make a coherent story out of. First notes, really. but they have to be written so very carefully as other living people are involved. Even if only a small handful out there will know who and what I'm referring to. For all I know they might even end up reading this. Look. I don't want to embarrass anyone or make them uncomfortable.  Involving psychological breakdown verging on mental illness, it was a nightmare of a time where my actions caused a lot of concern and anxiety to others. The most embarrassed person should be, and is, me. With only that very slight mitigation.

I'm aware my post-Norwich story has lots of the features you find in the emotionally charged testimony given by former wretched sinners who found Jesus. "I was at rock bottom and the things I did were the worst sort of sins...{{catalogues acts of depravity and evil}} and then there was a blinding white light and I looked on the loving face of Jesus..." I may discuss this later.

Wish it had been that easy. But I also passed through that sort of entry-level Christianity and came out on the other side as a born-again agnostic. Still am.  I still have something of a spirituality, and an awareness there is something more. That all this happened for a purpose. And the purpose was probably to give me a great big kick up the arse and to make me grow up and take responsibility. And it had to be a bloody hard kick as I was in self-destruct mode and blind to all reason.

But anyway. The girl. Gods, I have to talk about her but I do not want to identify her. I know she's still there and lives in the South of England on the other side of London. She's doing well for herself, and is presumably happily married with kids. Home, I discovered after searching on her name and making a few intelligent guesses, is a frighteningly beautiful picture-postcard village in a very affluent corner of a very affluent Home County close to one of the major cathedral cities which I have not visited, and which I now have a good reason not to. Checked it out on Google Earth. It has an aura that makes Knutsford, Wilmslow and Alderley Edge look like impoverished council estates.

I found her Facebook page. A recent photo - although it's so many years on - still has the look of the girl I got into complete miserable agonising unrequieted love for. Nearer fifity than forty now, yes. But still her.  This brought back a lot of thoughts, memories and associations. Strong ones. She'd have been nineteen or twenty then.  but the associations and emtions were past ones that beling to 1988-89. In the past. Memories of old feelings. Whatever drew me to her then is pretty much dead and gone. I was just responding to the memory of it - PTSD again?

I built a picture of her from publicly available Internet sources - as said before, if you put it out in public, you cannot complain concerning who looks at it. I discovered some things that were simply not available to me at the time ( those people i broached the subject with urged me to forget it and move on. They didn't say much about her)  and winced. How the hell did I ever think I could....  me. Loser scruff from a crappy part of the wrong city in the wrong part of the country.   Family dirt-poor, no resources, didn't even own our own homes, mother a single parent bringing up a dysfunctional family in too small a house with no support... the experience, the alienating experience, of having been a scruffy poor kid at a grammar school populated by the more affluent and fortunate, coping with bad social skills and most certainly not the social skills mecessary for making it with the middle and upper-middle class kids at Stockport School....   and I discovered, the same at university when i finally got there, only more intense,  and with a majority of well-heeled upper-middle kids around me. The same sense of growing inadequacy and that I  simply just wasn't good enough. Same alienation. But worse.

She. Seriously affluent family living in two of the richest counties in England. Very stable well-resourced upbringing. Public boarding school education. (upscale girls' boarding school). The background and upbringing to give her that uniquely upper-middle sense of belonging, of having a right to be there, of the right sort of entitlement. Post-university, good jobs, good marriage, making her own way in her own business. Credit to her for that even allowing for the accident of birth and upbringing.

I read all this, refined my mental picture of her, and thought "What a fucking idiot. Did you ever at any time think it was even marginally possible?"  It is said that social mobilty in Britain is not possible. Very, very, few people escape the social class or economic strata they were born into. There may have been a brief window of opportunity where this was possible, but that started to die in 1979 and went very quickly. Virtually gone even by 1984, when i belatedly started university. Dead by 1987.

Even then, it was clear that people sorted themselves out quickly into their own kinship groups. I've written elsewhere that British universities don't need frats or sororities as America has them. There's no need. Britain is rigidly stratified by class and economic background in such a way that everybody knows where they belong and you do not need initiation or a skull-ring to know your own. You've been part of the "appropriate" frat since birth. Try to mix with the wrong group, one several rungs "above" you, and you will be corrected and rebuffed. You may make temporary acquaintances and you may be able to nod and say hello if you meet them in the street some years later. But that's as far as it goes.  A friend explained what it was like to be the only working-class kid at Liverpool University. What identified him in his first few days, he reckoned, was not knowing how to use a telephone - having never had one at home while he was growing up. The other undergrads around him noticed and remarked on this.  Excruciatingly embarrassing, he said. I empathise. For me it was a photocopier. The first time I saw one I had not the slightest clue and tried to feed paper into what I thought was the appropriate slot. I was prevented: I'd have blown the machine!
(Come to think of it, I never saw a video player close-up  until maybe 1997: up to fifteen years after the more affluent got them. I honestly thought you turned the tape over and fed it in the other way round to get Side Two, having reasoned from exposure to audiotape). And I remember visits to my actual then-girlfriend CP's family in an upmarket village in Essex, where i was taken to task over things I'd never, ever, considered before, like how you placed your knife and fork on the plate after finishing your meal. (To which my response was "That's important? You are kidding!")  All those little tell-tale identifying shibboleths that mark your place and position on the British social ladder. And yes, there IS a soclally upmarket part of Essex. Forget all the bits which are Outer London, in the same way Middlesex ceased to exist and was absorbed into the cancer tumour which is our nation's capital city. All the places in expanding Outer London  that give Essex a bad name as the heart of chavdom, bad taste and low intellect. The real old-time Essex may have shrunk to a coastal strip around the Blackwater Estuary and along  the border with Suffolk - but it's as socially upscale as anything else in the accepted Home Counties. And CP lived there.

But CP was not the one I shall call, for want of a better name, Margaret Band. MB for now.  ye Gods. Realising 26 years too late that even in the most ideal circumstances things would have been doomed, even if she had been well disposed towards me. Which she was not.  We were simply from too far apart on the social ladder. The ladder would have needed to be a long one standing in a deep pit and I'd have been inside the pit on one of the lowest rungs. MB would have been somewhere towards the top.(quite a few rungs above CP, who I did have an also-doomed association with and which began to founder because of our social differences. Although I screwed up royally.).  We'd have needed walkie-talkies to communicate.  Again - "how could you have been so fucking stupid? So detached from reality?"

More soon. Played out now.

Ah well. Today's theme song.

Sweet child in time
You'll see the line
The line that's drawn between
Good and bad

See the blind man
Shooting at the world
Bullets flying
Ohh taking toll

If you've been bad
Oh Lord I bet you have
And you've not been hit
Oh by flying lead

You'd better close your eyes
Ooohhhh bow your head
Wait for the ricochet

Current Mood: soul-searching, waiting for the ricochet
Current Music: Deep Purple, Child in Time
01 September 2016 @ 11:03 pm
the reason why I'm cagey about writing this stuff. This is from my Facebook account, written in September 2012 after a traumatic experience. Well, several traumatic experiences.

Thank you all for helping me rebuild my account here after the last one went belly-up! I'm still a bit hacked off after losing my old account, but they say no good deed ever goes unpunished. (Long story. Short telling: aware of my impending mortality as I was approaching fifty, I wrote a list of eight people from my past who I felt I'd wronged or given them reason to shun me. And I agonised about finding them and offering apology. as you do. The little business that Sunday night with the car crash reinforced this and gave me a greater and more pressing sense of my own mortality. - I woke up on Monday with the strong  need to start doing this, and I sent the first two "I'm sorry. Forgive me for the past, let's draw a line under it, and let's part as friends" letters. These were sent to two people I'd rediscovered on FB who I'd had a falling out with at university, and not spoken to for 24 years. And to be honest, I really do not want to die leaving outstanding grievances behind me. Life is too short. eternity is too long.

That was on Monday afternoon.

I was hurt and surprised on Tuesday afternoon to find my FB account had been "disabled", ie cancelled, and a curt email in the box telling me it was down to my breaking the Community Rules. One way of breaking community rules, apparently, is via harrassing, cyberbullying and stalking people via an FB account. It doesn't matter if your intentions were good - FB can take the point of view that sending messages to people you are not Friends with online is harassment (even if they are known to you in real life). And if they complain.... well then, FB usually takes the complainants' part and disables offending accounts. I can see why they do it, some people are victims of hate campaigns here, but still...Now I'm hoping my ex-friends from UEA, who I approached out of the blue with apology letters, were bigger than that. But I have a suspicion...

Even so, I've offered sincere apologies and a chance to make up and restore some sort of friendship 24 years after the things that divided us ceased to have relevance. I made the gesture - well, more than a gesture - I   meant it truly and honestly, so i do not see anything else i can do. The fact it was rejected is immaterial. My conscience is now clear.  I did my best, 24 years belatedly.

And the amusing thing. Even 24 years on, she (ex GF)  and I still have common interests, as I joined an FB group where I maintain and will swear in front of any God you like that i was unaware she was an existing member.   When I looked down and saw her name... well, what are the chances of that happening after a quarter if a century? My postings to that group died with my other account. Best I do not go back there as she will only think I'm stalking her.  A shame as I liked the London Fortean Group (nothng like that here in the North)  but, well, she was there first. Best leave her to it.

I'm aware that I left Norwich under a cloud and alienated a lot of people. For it to resonate like this 24 years later and to provoke a reaction like this on the part of people who knew me then - however undeserved and unfair I think it is to respond to me like that now - then it must have been pretty bad. And apart from saying I was psychologically fucked up and it did tilt into genuine mental illness, there really isn't much of a defence. I did wilfully behave badly and I did offend and alienate a few people and there isn't an easy way of saying that. I screwed up. No excuses. Mental disturbance might mitigate it and other things going on might have skewed things, but I did behave badly.  I cringe now to think about it and I do still feel guilt and some shame.  I'll try to discuss why I think some things happened and how I reacted badly to circumstances but this is necessarily going to be bitty and uncordinated. But it will be truthful. A lot of it stemmed from lying to myself and I try not do do that any more. Lie to yourself - and to try to get others to collude and share in the lie - means everything crumbles and you're standing on quicksand. That's a lesson learnt the hard way.  And i'll try not to identify people, save where they've put something of themselves out in public on the Net. That's fair.


Sing along, kiddies.... this was me in the spring and summer of 1988. Not a nice place to be.

I hide myself inside the shadows of shame
The silent symphonies were playing their game
My body echoed to the dreams of my soul
This god is something that I could not control

Where can I run to now?
The joke is on me
No sympathizing god is insanity, yeah
Why don't you just get out of my life, yeah?
Why don't you just get out of my life now?
Why doesn't everybody leave me alone now?
Why doesn't everybody leave me alone, yeah?

Obsessed with fantasy, possessed with my schemes
I mixed reality with pseudo-god dreams
The ghost of violence was something I seen
I sold my soul to be the human obscene

How could it poison me?
The dream of my soul
How did my fantasies take complete control, yeah?
Why don't you just get out of my life, yeah?
Why don't you just get out of my life now?
Why doesn't everybody leave me alone now?
Why doesn't everybody leave me alone, yeah?

Well I feel something's taken me I don't know where
It's like a trip inside a separate mind
The ghost of tomorrow from my favorite dream
Is telling me to leave it all behind
Feel it slipping away, slipping in tomorrow
Got to get to happiness, want no more of sorrow

How I lied, went to hide
How I tried to get away from you now
Am I right if I fight?
That I might just get away from you now
Sting me

Well I feel something's giving me the chance to return
It's giving me the chance of saving my soul
Beating the demigod, I'm fading away
I'm going backwards but I'm in control
Feel it slipping away, slipping in tomorrow
Getting back to sanity, providence of sorrow

Was it wise to disguise
How I tried to get away from you now
Is there a way that I could pay
Or is it true I have to stay with you now?

How I lied, went to hide
How I tried to get away from you now
Am I right if I fight?
That I might just get away from you now
Suck me

I'm really digging schizophrenia the best of the earth
I'll chase my soul in the fires of hell?
Peace of mind eluded me, but now it's all mine
I simply try, but he wants me to fail
Feel it slipping away, slipping in tomorrow
Now I've found my happiness, providence of sorrow

No more lies, I got wise
I despise the way I worshiped you yeah
Now I'm free, can't you see
And now instead I won't be led by you now

Current Mood: thoughtful.
Current Music: Black Sabbath, Megalomania
28 August 2016 @ 11:31 pm
Found this article on a politics blog. Christ, it hit home in the context of trying to make sense of my big catastrophic crash at UEA and (to a lesser extent) my school education.


This was my response:

This is hellishly familiar. You only mention Britain in passing, but all the ideas you describe concerning the economic divide in the USA are even more deeply entrenched here. Our social class system is all-pervasive and all-encompassing and it’s had far longer to entrench itself. (On my own journal pages I’m struggling to work out a fairly traumatic time I had in childhood and at university and this sort of writing really resonated. This is useful to help me focus my thoughts. Thank you.) It’s said of Britain that the idea of “upward social mobility” is even more of an illusion and a chimera than it ever was. That people in British society will — despite a few exceptions — end up in the same socio-economic bands as their parents and pretty much remain there for their lives. I was one of the last decade or so of British people to get completely free university education and some sort of maintainence grant to sustain me while I was there. Today students have to meet the full cost of their tuition and take loans to live on. The effect of this is obvious. People from poorer backgrounds are deterred from higher education by the cost and the only people who can take it on are those with independent incomes or whose parents can support them through the three or four years. Universities become part of the process by which the affluent classes self-select to ensure their “own people” receive preferment. This is pretty much an ongoing process: people self-select to mix and socialise with others who are “just like them” and go for familiarity. Even in the 1980’s at a typical British university, it became obvious that while you might mix with people from all backgrounds and socialise with them and co-exist with them, all the subtle markers and recognition signals of British society still applied. You could be friends, at some levels, with people from outside your social class or socio-economic stratum, but you could never be fully accepted by them. It became more and more obvious that the relatively small numbers of white male undergraduates from the lowest socio-economic levels were a sort of curiosity. At my own uni, for instance, it was estimated that sixty per cent of undergraduates had been privately educated. And it was a hell of a gulf. My own painful memory of having a girlfriend from the upper middle classes was of her parents approving that “given my background, I spoke really nicely”. The feling dawned some time afterwards that I was being seen as some sort of trained performing animal, an experiment in seeing how a scruff from the wrong part of the wrong sort of town with the wrong sort of family background could be “socialised” to be more middle class. And I was being conditionally permitted to be C’s sowing of wild oats, her permitted "slumming it" for a year or two before she met and married somebody far more suitable. Not a good boost for a shaky ego there…

Sums it up! Christ, I wish this had been released when I was at UEA Norwich - 1984-1988, where it was estimated over 50% of undergrads had been to public schools. Jarvis Cocker evidently got the same bullshit I did - only he handled it with more style...


Anyway, you mention Nigel Farage. He’s just the pus at the top of the pimple, to be honest. Britain has millions of people who have been scorned and disregarded and marginalised by politicians and a social elite increasingly drawn from a narrower and narrower segment of society. Just as the USA has undergone a similar process in which the decision-makers and the governing classes are drawn from a small tranche of society which is utterly divorced from reality as seen by millions of people. Our disregarded millions turned to Farage and Brexit to give the governing classes a great big kick up the arse. The wrong man, in the wrong way, for the wrong cause. Your disaffected people are doing the same with Trump. Wrong man, wrong cause, wrong reasons — but he is seen as their champion. This process of alienation where an élite ignores an inconvenient underclass creates demagogues. And it’s dangerous.

Current Mood: horrible recognition
Current Music: Pulp, "Common People"
Originally written on Facebook but decided this wasn't the most appropriate place, especially when people I'll be referring to - even in passing without naming names (much),  who were around at a catastrophic time in my life and saw me at my very worst, have presences there. So If I want to carry on writing about a period of my life that was pretty inglorious and which involved other people, most of whom have FB accounts, best to do it somewhere like here. So reviving this account....

I said:

. There was a woman who was going to go places - she had the right blend of self-confidence et c. It showed. And go places she did, up until quite recently. I was sure I recognised her on the street in Didsbury, Manchester, a few years back. (she didn't recognise me, though, Just as well). Yesterday, I read that she went through seriously bad times a couple of years ago, and lost everything. It even made the national press, but as she worked in PR and I recall she wrote for the Guardian at one time, that didn't surprise me. Everything went for her - husband, high-flying career, house, home. We weren't close, anything but, but I read her story and felt bad for her. You wouldn't want that to happen to anyone, and when you read about it happening to somebody you know by face and name and had a tangential association with.... not good. But I did think "Well, you've joined the club, Michele. We UEA grads who hit rock bottom. Then had to get back up again." Harder to get back up when you've had further to fall, I suppose.

I stress this is not a personal attack or a gloat. Especially as I'm linking to her account, published in the Daily Mirror (ie, public domain and out in the open)  to give something of the background. It cannot be. And I hope it isn't interpreted as this. I went through similar shit myself and it was so relentless and prolonged that I despaired there'd be an end to it. And I know through mutual contacts that Michele C once witnessed me doing something boneheadedly stupid out of sheer desperation.  So no. I'm not gloating or laughing or being vindictive. Especially since the crap coming down on me at that time was pretty much of my own making. I know what it feels like to hit rock bottom hard and it's got to hurt more when it happens despite your own actions and you're largely blameless, as I suspect applies in Michele's case from her published account and those things she chose to make public. The goal, I suppose, is confessional, to talk about me and to get out in the open something of that period for me and how it felt. Maybe to make a few general observations in passing about British life and society - vaguely political.


What do you say?  Some years ago I saw her in the street in Didsbury (upmarket suburb of Manchester. Seriously so. London standards of prosperity). To live there you have to be doing well for yourself. And by inference, the "nearby council estate" she refers to must be Withington or Northenden or Northern Moor. (that's if Manchester were the responsible authority; if home was one of the Cheadles it puts her in Stockport, so the nearest council estates are Cheadle Heath, Heald Green, maybe Adswood.)  Not the crummiest by any means but a hell of a comedown after Didsbury/Parrs Wood/ Cheadle borders. I saw somebody walking down towards the corner of Wilmslow Road and Barlow Moor Road who looked familiar. Normally it takes a while to place a random person on a street who looks familiar from somewhere, if you manage it at all, but this one rolled back the years to UEA Norwich around 1987-89. Even then - around 2010 - I recognised her instantly and association of ideas brought back a few hideous memories and a red surge of embarrassment and, I  suppose, guilt. She hadn't changed much. I wasn't too surprised: such contacts as I'd kept with UEA had brought up that she lived in the area. I'd shrugged and considered the chances of running into anyone from that time would be pretty random, even remote, in a big city like Manchester. But not impossible.

I'd already run into somebody from that time, by sheer chance, in the top floor of Waterstones Deansgate. As it was somebody I'd ended up being alienated from, I bottled out of walking up to him and saying "hello". Suspected he'd have blanked me. Based on one later interaction, he might have called security or the police and had me arrested or something! Sadly, this was a possibility. also I wasn't on my own, and I didn't want the humiliation of being blanked or otherwise adversely-reacted-to in front of the person I was with. Maybe on my own I might have chanced it and taken the whack. I did learn later he was doing a postgrad at Manchester Uni. (He's a professor at a university in the USA now. Different story but one I may cover, in a discreet way.)

Anyway, on that occassion in Didsbury, Michele Cheaney, a person I'd not seen since about 1990, passed by on the other side of the street: I doubt she had any of the same awkward recognition. No reason for her to. On the other hand, the surge of bad memories, for me, was powerful. Even if the trigger was somebody who'd only ever tangentially been a part of them. Took a while to recover and I was glad I was on my own and didn't need to explain my change of mood to anyone. This ghost from my past seemed happy, healthy and prosperous, anyway. I tried to be positive about that and not to think in any negative or petty ways. Thinking about it, was my reaction a sort of PTSD? You associate that with wars and violence and serious shit, but there's no denying the time from autumn 1987 onwards for several years was cumulatively traumatic for me and took a lot of recovery. If that was how I felt on seeing somebody who was only ever  on the fringes of my nightmare, wonder what might happen if I encountered {{name redacted}} again in the flesh.... seeing her current photo on FB was uncomfortable. Although the reaction was ultimately a sad and wistful one, tinged with feelings of {{shame, guilt, inadequacy?}} - like a memory of past pain and hurt but relief, recognition that it's all over and in the past. Not that I'm in any hurry to go to the area where she lives. Ye gods, no. No reason to and best avoided. And it's a long way away from here on the other side of bloody London. The closest I ever go is Kent and that's nowhere near. (Bet with my luck I see her on Westgate or St Peters in Canterbury or even Sandgate Road Folkestone... life has a habit of dropping surprises like this...)


Had to post Dylan here.  "Positively Fourth Street" would have been inappropriate as we were never friends or more than very tangential associates. But "Like a Rolling Stone" nails it, I think. It was once quoted at me by the above-mentioned former friend I alienated. i only really got his point a long time afterwards.

I'll come back to this later but this is a start. Things to do immediately, alas. Birthday today, but I'm relieved I wasn't in any life-threatening car crash on this one!

Current Location: Northern England
Current Mood: "Mystery Tramp" mode
Current Music: Bob Dylan, like a Rolling Stone
Realised after I wrote this that things are verging on getting too indiscreet for a public forum like Facebook. So If I want to carry on writing about a period of my life that was pretty inglorious and which involved other people, most of whom have FB accounts, best to do it somewhere like here. So reviving this account.... with additional punctuation and text effects you just cannot do on FB.

My FB post, suitably revised for here with a little more detail. This is less public than FB.

It's funny how with a birthday coming up you get nostalgic. And if you're not careful you can get the wrong sort of nostalgic. I left university in the late 1980's. (UEA Norwich). But thoughts are wandering back there. I found myself remembering names, faces, trying to put names to faces that bobbed up.... started looking people up, out of interest, to see what some of these suddenly-recalled people might be up to now.

I'm not naming names on a public forum like FB. (I suspect that now and again, other people have looked me up. Not bothered about that, FB is a public space. Material people have chosen to go public with - well, they can't complain either, nor try to control who looks at it.) . Some surprises. There was a woman who was going to go places - she had the right blend of self-confidence, personality, assertion, et c. It showed. And go places she did, up until quite recently. I was sure I recognised her on the street in Didsbury, Manchester, a few years back. (she didn't recognise me, though, Just as well). Yesterday, I read that she went through seriously bad times a couple of years ago, and lost everything. Her story  even made the national press, but as she worked in PR, and I recall she wrote for the Guardian at one time, that didn't surprise me. She would have had the connections to get it into national papers.  For her, everything went - husband, high-flying career, house, home. We weren't close, anything but, but I read her story and felt bad for her. You wouldn't want that to happen to anyone, and when you read about it happening to somebody you know by face and name and had a tangential association with.... not good. But I did think "Well, you've joined the club, Michele.  A small select group of UEA grads who hit rock bottom. Then had to get back up again." Harder to get back up when you've had further to fall, I suppose, and your life hasn't previously known poverty or destitution. Must be a learning curve for somebody from a well-off middle class family with a history of well-rewarded  career acheivement - having to claim benefits and try to get a council house. And no, I'm not being embittered or gloating in any way. I do feel desperately sorry for her. Possibly because I've hit rock bottom too and I know what that felt like. I would not wish that on anybody.

Another of those remembered names and faces was this guy who I worked with in an eaterie in Norwich, and who at the time was good to me when I needed encouragement. He's doing OK now. If you've visited my FB page, GW, I'm glad of that, and I thank you for being decent and fair-minded to me despite no doubt having heard my ex GF's side of the story. I'm not hitting the "add friend" button, as I note Claire Parry is on your friends list. After what happened there a year or two back, and my original FB account was lasered out of existence. No way.

Then there's the affable Dutch chap I did some am-dram with. Not that he'll remember.

Then I found (online) the girl I was catastrophically infatuated with a long, long, time ago. Glad she's done well for herself, and that she lives a long way away in a part of England I have no plans to visit. May it remain that way. I could write more about this but maybe FB is not the place: if i can bring myself to do so it'll be here, but with discretion, as I'm aware identifying the person could cause her embarrassment and I really do not want to do that.  Let's just say I recognised her photo instantly (mixed feelings) and felt a sort of relief it all seemed to work out for the best all round. And very carefully naming no names nor providing clues.

And above all, avoiding the "send message" and "add friend" buttons. I tried this once and believe me it did **not** end happily. If anyone reading this is somebody who recognises my name from UEA days and was moved to  look me up - don't be a stranger. Talk to me. Leave a message. If you have issues with me, then we can talk about them, get it all out in the open and dealt with. Thanks!

Current Location: Northern England
Current Mood: relective, nostalgic
Current Music: Suzanne Vega, Marlene on the wall
28 June 2015 @ 12:30 am
Wow. i've got to pick up where I left offf and start adding entries.

hi to BillyPilgrim59. I've not been ignoring you; I genuinely haven't been here for over a year. Just been  catching up, reading things, checking out all the stuff i wrote about Stockport School and other things.

Attended Sue Reckless' funeral, genuinely sad, but met old faces there.

Consider this a placeholder till new stuff appears - which it will!
Current Location: United Kingdom,
Current Mood: tiredtired
03 October 2012 @ 11:18 pm
I suppose I should start talking about how I actually got into a place like Stockport School in the first flaming place. I'm writing in the aftermath of learning of the death of Sue Reckless.. Hearing of the death of an old teacher is depressing.  You feel desperately sorry for her and he family, and I believe I've discussed this in other places, Facebook and elsewhere.  Then you have to deal with all the selfish stuff that you feel vaguely ashamed of having, as It Isn't All About You by any means.  Thinking about your own vulnerability, your own mortality, memories of a car smash I was in at the end of August but was able to walk away from (it could have been so different). 

And thinking: September 3rd 1973.  My first day in the hellhole.  It would have been Labor Day in the USA.  Within a month the Yom Kippur war was about to start, and being young and male, we'd be watching it on TV every night. (My memory is of TV commentators gloating about the damage the Israelis were inflicting with British-made tanks, which were walloping everything the Yanks and the Russians  had to offer. A triumph for British weapons. Oh, and for the Israelis we'd flogged them to.)

But somewhere in the middle of that, I arrived at Stockport School. The one thing I am sure of is that after Assembly and formal welcome of the new first year intake, we had a boring boring boring hour spent in orientation, copying our timetable from some sort of master copy. As I recall a new and stern looking youngish woman teacher, a Miss Edwards, was supervising us while we did this. Then  a brief few words were spoken about what was expected of us,  delivered by a short fat elderly man who looked like the walking talking caricature of a child molester.  Although all men over thirty would have been elderly to us, and this was a more innocent era where nobody knew the specifics about child molesting. Mr Taylor just looked like the sort of dodgy-looking geezer our mothers warned us to steer clear of and not allow to get us alone, although our mothers, if asked, would never say WHY.  You just looked at Mr Taylor and something about him did not fill you with confidence.   And we were just cynical enough to look at each other when Mr Taylor  confidently asserted that he was good at dealing with the problems and issues of young boys." In fact, I am good at dealing with young boys of eleven and twelve!"          Yeah, right. If he was he would have had no need to say so - it sounded as if he was reminding himself.

And our first formal lesson, later in the morning, was French. With Miss Edwards.

So it is very possible that my first lesson at Stockport School coincided with the first lesson delivered by Susan Reckless as a teacher at Stockport School.  This is a coincidence that has been playing on me for some time this week. She'd have been around twenty-two, I'd have been around eleven.  So if we were there at the beginning, I'd quite like... no, wrong words, I feel a sort of duty....  to be there at her funeral on Friday. If I was in her very first lesson at the start of a thirty-eight year career in teaching, this rounds it off, this offers closure,   whatever that means. It balances the scales. I was there at the start of her career. I should be there to mark her passing out of life.  She threw me out of her classroom once for bad behaviour. I would have walked out completely but my bag and stuff  was still in there and I didn't trust the other guys. I was hoping an opportunity would come up to ask her, much later, if she remembered the grey, drab, miserable, Wednesday afternoon that just dragged and offered nothing, a Wednesday afternoon that had to be endured until four o'clock, a Wednesday where I got suckered into a spat with a tit called Vic Brown and she saw it and chucked me out for bad behaviour.  I wondered if she remembered. But there's no chance to ask now.  Unless Derek Acorah isn't a fraud, of course. 

TO BE CONTINUED                                                     
Current Location: SK4 1NB
Current Mood: depresseddepressed
29 August 2012 @ 06:25 pm
Still blanked from Facebook. You only realise how much of your life is organised online when you lose access to it - feeling definite withdrawal symptoms.

I hope this is a mistake or  a mechanical malfunction, that I triggered some automatic mechanism that tripped a switch and logged me out.  If it is the alternative - and I do recall that the two people involved once  stitched me up by putting a complaint in to university management,  rather than talk to me as they could so easily have done.  So to complain direct to Facebook and invoke "bullying" and "online harrasment"   rather than do as Facebook itself reccomends, which would have been to send me a private message effectively asking me to cease and desist, which I would have done - I assured them as much - they go straight to authority and put in a charge.  It's of a piece with what happened before way back then. Maybe I was a fool to try and mend  an old argument and should have left well enough alone, I don't know...

Heh. Thinking that we were both drawn to the same Fortean interest group on FB....at least after 24 years, ex-GF and I still share some of the same interests, evidently! (It's her birthday within the next week or two, anyway. I remember that clearly.)

You'll never know the hurt I suffered,
Nor the pain I rise above,
And I'll never know the same about you,
Your holiness or your kind of love -
And it makes me feel so sorry.
Idiot wind, blowing through the buttons of our coats;
Blowing through the letters that we wrote;
Idiot wind, blowing through the dust upon our shelves;
We're all idiots, babe -
It's a wonder we can even feed ourselves!
Current Location: United Kingdom, Manchester
Current Mood: moodymoody
Current Music: BOC - Don't Fear The reaper (live version)
Utterly pissed off,  asI  am currently "disabled" (excluded) from Facebook and do not know the reason why.  I suspect  the active malice (or fear) of others. God, that sounds paranoid. But the timing is right: I PM'd a couple of people on FB, with whom I had a bad falling out in my last year at UEA Norwich, and said "let's end this. I'm sorry. Can we talk?"  Two days later, I am "disabled" (read: excluded) from Facebook for violating the terms and conditions. If what I suspect is right - how unbelievably petty.  It's because we fell out 24 years ago and I haven't directly spoken to the lady in the 24 years since.  It's because in those 24 years I have seen my former male friend once, then from a distance, in the upper floor of Waterstones' bookshop in Manchester, and to my shame i bottled out of going over to him to say "hello".

It's because I had a potentially fatal car accident on Sunday night. I do not want to over-dramatise this, but if a good driver had not stopped the car in time, if there had been more traffic on an otherwise busy road, I might not be hear now to type this.

It's because I turned fifty yesterday.

this sort of thing focuses the mind wonderfully and makes you aware of your own mortality.

Life is too short and eternity too long.  I do not want to leave the world with arguments and bad feeling as the last memory of two people who used to be friends.  As I said to both of them, even if we never speak again, can I at least offer sincere apologies for 1987-88, and we can part and just remember the good times?  And if you want, I'm offering  the option to be Facvebook "friends", I'll understand if you decline.

To me, that is not bullying or harrasment. i am not guilty of mis-using Facebook. Yet it's possible that's why I've been barred.

I also csigned up in a special-interest group and joined in a few conversations.  My fault for leaping in without looking. but guess who a previously existing member of that group is.. yes, my ex GF who for the moment I shall call Maerwyn from Aberbargoed. (she knows who she is).  Using her full name - she never married - would just give her extra reasons to accuse me of harrassment, and I do not want that.   She knows me by my Clark Kent identity, anyway, and not as agprov....

but just upset, if they've stooped this low....

As I say, sad. Petty.

Current Location: United Kingdom, Manchester
Current Mood: disappointeddisappointed
Current Music: Bob Dylan, Idiot Wind
10 February 2011 @ 09:38 pm
I really don't think the BBC cares, to be honest.

Or as we discovered on the Radio Two boards last autumn, the focus had changed somewhat. Rather than allow the boards to be a place for open, frank and free comment, even for reasoned constructive criticism of the BBC and its policies (as had hitherto been the case), the new line of thought was to censor the criticism out of sigh and whitewash it away. The BBC had sunk a lot of investment and prestige into a revamp of Radio Two, after Sir Terry Wogan retired, including importing a presenter hitherto unfavourably known for the size of his ego and the spectacular and totally unprofessional way his previous employment at the BBC had ended. some of us had warned that this was Russell Brand all over again - had R2 learned nothing from that particular train-crash? - and that this presenter appeared to have been given far more power and ability to influence things than was good for him. In the old days, reasoned comment like this, quoting the facts and drawing reasonable inferences from them, would have been passed by mods and left to stand. But the new online management appeared to have been given its orders to allow the messageboards to be a place where only praise of the BBC and its chosen golden boy was allowed to be posted. In short, they wanted the R2 boards to be like a Soviet party conference, where only praise of the regime was allowed and dissidents were ruthlessly trampled and sent to an online Siberia. They could then present the result as unforced listener praise for the new post-Wogan morning and use it as free PR and advertising.

Modding was woefully and painfully inconsistent. Those of us, including me, who were slow to realise the implications of the new regime were placed in the ghetto of premod. The BBC cited "libellious content" as he reason for the premodding. (I have spoken to other people culled at the time, on the independent R2OK! boards, and they all tell the same story). Yet one particular poster was allowed to repeatedly troll abusive and nasty comments about the departed Sarah Kennedy, by then no longer a BBC employee. Those of us who reported this person's deeply personal and offensive postings for abuse of the system were told that we were ourselves abusing the "report abuse" buton, ansd if we persisted, action would be taken against our accounts.

then - and it wasn't just me this happened to - a BBC mod must have been instructed to trawl through my postings. A total of seventeen postings I had made while in premod - and remember, the very definition of premod is that a mod has to see your postings first and agree they are not in contravention of house rules - which had been allowed on the board were retrospectively yikesed. This included a couple made to h2g2 while under premod, and permitted as fair comment by a hootoo mod. I believe the BBC mods ddid this - not only to me but to several other regulars - in order to retrospectively accumulate evidence to justify what they did next, which was to ban me completely from all BBC boards.

I protested that this was unfair and unjust, especially as my membership of hootoo actually predated its being assimilated, Borg-like, into the BBC machine. I had up until then had a total of four postings yikesed from hootoo -a drop in the ocean considering postings made and Entries and UG material submitted. (Two were for good reasons - written in a flash of blood to the head when I wasn't thinking straight. No argument there. One contravened the foreign language rules because it was in Welsh; a fourth I had protested about at the time as it was to my mind fair comment on a Guide entry I felt had been written by an employee of the company concerned for commercial reasons, the intention being disguised advertising and product placement ratrher than information. But that was it - I have largely had an amicable and friendly relationship with hootoo, and to be barred because Radio Two's boards went Stalinist, or rather Evansist... as I recall, I even emailed the hootoo eds for support and a friendly word at my showtrial!

So that's what happened. The BBC banned at least a dozen long-time messageboard contributors, as far as I could make out, and the timing stinks. Apart from our input over R2's internal problems, were cuts being planned even then, and it felt in needed to neutralise the sort of articulate people who would raise opposition? The R2 boards were closed not long after it kicked "the awkward squad" off BBC Online... the last ever message posted was one of glowing praise for Chris Evans...

The masterpiece of character assasination the BBC sent me to justify my exclusion concluded

"Your unwillingness to adhere to House Rules presents an unacceptable
editorial risk and because of this we are not prepared to uphold your

Please note that that once banned, users are not permitted to return to the

It took them eleven years to work out I was an unacceptable editorial risk? And by the way, the letter I got was word-for-word identical to that received by other dissidents ejected at the same time...

So do not look for truth, justice, or straight talking from BBC Online at this time. You may be dissappointed.

Thank you