The thoughts of Citizen Nowhere and the Last and Lost of England….

Spring 2017

I’m still waiting on the uploads to complete of what I’ve been working on over the winter – a boring process which I’ve had to redo several times for “administrative reasons” – and all I can say is that I’m anxious.

Because I’m dealing with material which has taken me into territory that we all try to avoid, or set as off-limits in our personal as well as our professional/creative lives. 

Perhaps I’ve gone a bit too far?

But then…

Possibly not far enough…?

But then mibby…that’s what it’s all about in the first place…?

29/3/17:

 The thoughts of Citizen Nowhere.

Angry today – for obvious reasons – along with the fact that it feels like it’s been a long winter this year.

But then at least this year – unlike the last – to help me deal with the “cabin fever” which seems to be a common feature of living in this part of the world, I’ve been working – mostly alone – in my cutting room on 2 projects: Minefield and: Legacy of an Invisible Bullet. In a house, that’s in a city and country that’s not my homeland. A country too where they speak a different language to my own, but which – without any doubt – over the centuries as countless series about Vikings claim – has had an impact on the words that make up the language that I by birth inhabit: Anglo-Saxon English.

But….

And I should warn you that there’s going to be lots of  “buts” in this blog – Because we British have a terrible habit of “butting- in” on other people’s conversations – As well as into other people’s countries.

But then….

Denmark is also a country that’s welcomed me – not because I’m British, or English or Scottish or whatever – but because I’m a citizen of Europe. And that because I’m a citizen of Europe it’s also now supporting my work/dreams – and some might argue delusions – as a film-maker. Just as my own adopted nation Scotland once did. Until one day – and I’ll be diplomatic here and just call him “The Prince of Darkness” – decided that what I was doing wasn’t “cinematic” and that  I wasn’t making what he considered to be “Scottish Documentary” –  whatever that is.

But then….

I also found out before finally leaving the UK to live in Denmark, that BAFTA nominations – especially Scottish ones – rather than opening doors and creating opportunities actually can have the opposite effect – if you cross a certain line…

But then…

Today – just like any other European who happens to be living in the U.K. at the moment – I’m worried about more important things than a film-making career or what actually does constitute a “Cinematic Scottish Documentary”. Because like millions of other European citizens, I’m now in a state of limbo as to whether I’ll be able to continue living as I do: With the person I love and want to be with, in a country that I increasingly prefer to my homeland. A place which – because of what’s been happening – I feel increasingly alienated from.

But then….

That “homeland” that the ‘Little Ingerlanders’ who voted to leave the EU dream of, has never existed really in my world. Except in the worst aspects of a Britishness that doesn’t exist outside of the cosy home-counties and shires of England; In the “pomp and circumstance” of the Queen’s occult rituals and in her version of a language: The Queens English – which you’ll hear spoken on the BBC World Service, at the London Film Co-op, or on the voice-overs of B.F.I. funded Documentaries.

It’s the same language too that you’ll hear spoken by the “Toffs” and “Officer class” in the kind of “Upstairs Downstairs” dramas and comedies about the British class-system that aren’t – and never have been – funny; Or in terrible matinée movies that are still churned out about World War 2 by a “British Film Industry” in which actors get a chance to dress up – in the kind of costumes that actors love dressing up in – and speak a kind of romantic dialogue through stuck-up noses, that has about as much passion or dramatic tension to it as a dead (U)Kipper.

And with Brexit and a General Election coming in June, it’s this version of  stiff-upper lip “Britishness” which will – I can guarantee – become increasingly dominant:

Because it’s the English of someone called Theresa as well as the Queen and the BBC.

While elsewhere in what calls itself the mainstream media, we will fast reach an all time low in the bile being spewed-out of the mouths of True-blue Shock-Jock, ex-Army Officer types, who appeared on the “Apprentice” once – and who I won’t even give the credit of a name check too here – and in the border-line fascist, jingoistic fear mongering of a tabloid press, that’s owned and editorial controlled by “patriotic” weirdo-billionaires and tax-avoiding “coffin dodgers”

Or “Codgers” as we’d call them in the version of Anglo-Saxon English that I speak and a version of the language that’s known derogatively as: “Estuary English”, and which my creative collaborator on “Invisible Bullet” the Danish actress Charlotte Munck says involves her having to learn to “speak too fast and eat my words…” for the role she’s playing in our ongoing collaboration.

But then…

I guess the really serious question that has to be asked with what’s happening in the UK at the moment is: Just how low will this new version of being “British” – which is based on an old version of a nation that never existed anyhow – really take us after Brexit?

But then….

I never thought that what’s happening now “back home” in a country which I both love and hate would ever have happened in the first place. Which is – in the end – a kind of top-down class war, rather than a workers uprising. Neither did I think I would end up believing – and hoping – that the “Little Ingerland” that these rabid-right-wing nut-jobs dream of  post-Brexit gets screwed. Totally and completely screwed. And that everything falls apart for the banks, the corporate sector, the political class and the media elite – the whole rotten lot of them. Or to steal a quote from the final lines of Julien Temple’s wonderful documentary about London:

” You know wot?

….Fuck the lot of em’…”

Now at least that’s a scenario that would be entertaining – for about a TV hour or so – before the real tragedy hits home.

And hits hard.

Because you don’t need a PPE (Politics, Philosophy and Economics) degree from Oxford or Cambridge to work-out for yourself that it’s the poor who’ll get screwed and suffer after Brexit – or the very people who voted for it in the first place – if you happen to believe all that you read in the Guardian.

So – as of today – with Article 50 triggered and Brexit officially starting – I’m proud to officially call myself:

A Citizen of Nowhere.

Which I guess also means that I now make Nowhere Films. Which actually really suits me, because I’ve always had a problem with the term: “BritDoc” and – even worse – with “Cinematic Scottish Documentary” anyway.

Marianne Faithfull: Singing about broken English

But then….

Even though I am angry today about what’s happened, like many other Europeans who’ve been lucky and privileged enough to be able to migrate elsewhere for love and as a life-style choice – rather than out of necessity because of fear and war – I like to consider myself an Optimistic Internationalist rather than a “Victim of Geography”

And I refuse to be used as a bargaining chip by politicians.

But…

For for the moment at least, all I can do is continue doing what it is I am doing, where I’m doing it, until the day might come, when I’m asked to leave – probably nicely this being  Denmark – because I’m British and no longer welcome to live and work here any more. Unlike in Britain where I think I can guarantee that the state will probably get all James Bond about it, and start getting G4S to dawn raid and eject EU Nationals in the same way that they currently do “failed” Asylum seekers.

And if it does happen?

Well, I’ll think seriously about becoming nomadic, or getting a fake passport and joining the Pirate party – who happen to have some pretty good ideas and policies worth checking out – if you’re looking for an alternative to the usual left-and-right of centre dithering. Or happen to want to believe – and live – in a world without Borders.

And a world where resistance is never futile.

But then….

Who seriously believes – other than the clinically deluded – that we can all just go “back home” to “little Ingerland” or the occupied military airstrip that’s seeking to be independent called Scotland?

Giving up in return for our “Britishness” creative and full-filling lives for the only kind of jobs that will be on offer in the “New Britain”, which will mostly involve sweeping floors in Pound-land, picking veg in Kent, working as minimum wage security guards, or cleaning the shit off people in a privatised National Health Service?

Because the kind of thing we may have been doing elsewhere when living in Europe – like making documentaries – is considered to be a “reserved” occupation for those that always claim to do things better than we do?

But then…

Being British in the place where I originally came from has always been about one thing:

“Knowing your place”

But then…

At least  “We” or rather I should say: “They” – the kind of people who really do believe the “John-Bullshit” narrative – will have “Our” – or rather “Their” – country back after Brexit? And that no European – despite the fact we’re all Anglo-Saxon’s – will ever again interfere or tell us what to do because we’re “Independent”

But then…

Independent of what exactly?

Because it certainly won’t be independent of a God or a country whose patron saint happens to be Kurdish and born in the Lebanon; Or a Queen who is German and married to a Greek; Or a class system that exists in our body politics, in hearts and minds as well as in a language.

In our broken-English.

A  film–makers shadow lost in the “town of the shouting men” Gillingham, Kent.

The Last and Lost of England

On a recent trip to the UK –  a break from working hard as much as from the long Nordic winter which is enough to turn anyone into an alcoholic – I went to visit the town I was born and brought up in: Gillingham in Kent, which when translated from ancient English means:

“Town of the Shouting Men”

It’s a place that politically lies in the very heart of UKIP-land, and geographically is half-way between a European city called London and a channel of water which – even though there’s a tunnel now – divides the UK from the rest of mainland Europe.

And as well as visiting family and a Mother who is starting to slowly fade away in her mind, I also got to sit and watch an over-priced, under-achieving football team who I’ve followed for some irrational reason to do with supporting an underdog – like we British always claim to do – since my childhood.

A Gillingham v Millwall game is a local derby match which you can guarantee will always ends up in mindless violence between the “patriotic” ageing, beer-bellied skinheads who’ve been fighting each other for decades; While on the pitch the football always quickly turns  into the kind of faint – rather than Lion-hearted – game that I’ve endured on countless visits to Priestfield stadium since I was a boy. As the minutes on the clock passed, in what would eventually be yet another disappointing draw, I found out from my younger brother Jonathan – a masochistic “Gills”season ticket holder for years – that a kid I had been close to through-out my teenage years – and who I use to watch football with here, back in an era when we stood rather than sat on the terraces of the “Rainham-end” had been found dead on an allotment. He said that no-one was quite sure how long my old friend: Fred Lee’s body had been laying where it was – but that a heroin overdose had taken his life.

And even though I haven’t seen or been in contact with Fred Lee since we were teenagers back in a different century, it still hit me in the same way that it would have done had I seen him yesterday.

Fred Lee’s death by the sound of it was the kind of common-place, squalid drug-related death that’s a million light years away from the junkie chic culture celebrated in books by millionaires like Irvine Welsh and in films like Trainspotting; With their Hollywood A-list casts and spoilt film crew, who – being Scottish – all claim to have either been ex-junkies or in street gangs at some-point in their lives. And something which is a part of the “scotch-myth” and “rebel-done-good” narrative that they, their Producers and “Soul Rebel” Commissioning Editor’s alike love to create in an attempt to authenticate what it is they’re doing.

Which is in the end create entertainment.

Not to mention add weight to their fake “street credibility” in the hope that it will silence sceptics and critics like me.

But…

Poor Fred Lee’s death – in complete contrast to the over-hyped drama-queening of Trainspotting – was just another story that you’ll find if you bother looking in any small-town local newspapers across the UK. Just another quickly forgotten drug casualty among many, in a nowhere town with a big drug problem. And the kind of “little-Ingerland” town whose passive “Ever so umble” population have always – as if it’s encoded in their DNA – gone out and voted Tory – or more recently for UKIP – and whose main reason for wanting to leave the EU seems to be “Because of the Kosovan’s…” rather than politicians, who are taking away their jobs and dismantling a welfare state that at some-point in all their lives that they’ve all depended on.

But then…

Gillingham – “The town of the shouting men” has always been a place where – just like it’s under-dog football team – has always been synonymous with losers rather than winners.

Fred Lee’s death also brought home to me how little people’s lives have really changed from when we first met at the start of the seventies.

And that the dominant narrative for post-Brexit “Little-Ingerland” reads more like a Dickensian throw-back than it does a progressive vision for  a 21st century nation. It’s ironic – and in Fred’s case tragic – that many of Charles Dickens novels were set among the people, in the landscape and marshlands that surround Gillingham, Chatham, Rochester and the estuary along the River Medway.

But…then…

It also too still sounds a lot like a world that Fred Lee and I grew-up in, before punk came along and put a bomb under it all.

A world which we would read about not in Charles Dickens, but in the pulp-fiction novels of Richard Allen, who wrote books with titles like: Skinhead, Suede-head, Sorts, Skinhead Girl, Glam-Rocker and Boot Boys….

2 covers from the many Richard Allen youth-sub-cult pulps published in the 1970’s

Back at the start of the 1970’s a young casually racist, scruffy skinhead-looking kid – well he actually looked more like what a style-guru these days would call a “Suede-head” or “Boot boy” – turned up late as he often did – to Arden street primary school in Gillingham, Kent. His head full of thoughts of the summer that was to come, rather than with a thirst for knowledge. A summer which he would spend just a few miles away from his school, down at a local out-door swimming pool, close by the river Medway at a place known by everyone simply as “The Strand”

A word which has Danish origins and which – when translated from Danish – means: Beach.

Although the “Strand Leisure Park” in Gillingham, Kent, with its concrete and mud, polluted river, oil refinery, worn out putting-green, rusting swing-park and toilet that was used for cottaging, was hardly a very accurate translation of the word: Beach – into anyone’s language.

The Strand “Leisure” Beach, Gillingham, Kent (image found on Google)

But….

Getting back to our Richard Allen like story…

It wasn’t look before the young suede-head/bootboy’s dreams of the summer, were cruelly interrupted, by a teacher who told him to sit down and get ready to take a test.

A test that the Teacher said bluntly – and with a certain degree of smug satisfaction – would:

“Determine what you do for the rest of your useless, underachieving and pointless lives…”

There was no warning given to our subject – or many of the other assorted young suede-heads, skinheads, boot-boys and Dickensian looking street-urchins that were about to sit the “Kent Test” that day. So consequently there wasn’t any time for any revision or preparation – although our main character could tell – when he looked around the assembly hall – that some of the smarter and better – off kids had a smug look on their faces. Which he later found out was due to the fact that their parents had been told well in advance, to allow them enough time for both private coaching and to attendant after-school classes which the majority of the kids in the hall – our main character included – hadn’t been told about, let alone invited along to….

So when our character finally did speak up and tried to complain about what he thought was an obvious injustice and mentioned the words:

“It’s not fair”

An old-fucker of a teacher who had lost an eye fighting the Japanese in the 2nd World War called Mr Harris told him to shut-up and:

“Know your place…..Aubrey”

Before threatening to “knock that chip off your shoulder” once and for all…

It was probably the first time in my young life that I’d ever really encountered the so-called “level playing field” of the British class system at its absolute – and totally shittiest – worst.

Which I guess isn’t really grammatically correct English.

And was the day that I became a trouble-maker.

Needless to say I failed the Kent test.

In fact my school’s Headmaster went even further when my Mother – a Life long Labour party voter – tried to complain and challenge both the legitimacy of the test and it’s “unfair” outcome.

For the most part, Arden Street Primary school’s teaching staff, consisted either of ageing spinsters who wore black-seamed stockings and would mercilessly use school-rulers as weapons of corporal punishment – something which I can only imagine – along with their far from sexy stocking fetish – gave them some kind of warped sadistic pleasure; Or were – like the Headmaster – disciplinarian ex-Army types, mostly still traumatized by their involvement in brutal wars in Europe and Korea – which they would talk about at every opportunity  – usually at the expense of teaching.

But …

Getting back to the Headmaster – whose name I can’t recall but who also happened to be a Conservative Town Councillor – that spent most of his afternoon’s drinking in one of the many United Service clubs that Gillingham, being a military town was full of – Sober or otherwise, told my Mother that if he were to be totally – if not brutally honest – that the reason I never received prior warning about the Kent Test, was because I was considered to be:

“…A Bit thick….”

Before going on to make his point about how kids like me needed to learn to “Know our place” and not expect too much from life – because we weren’t going anywhere in the world – unless we signed up for the Army – which many did; Before finally adding that I didn’t listen to my teachers when in class anyway so how could I learn anything? Something which was probably true and as much down to boredom with hearing the same war stories repeated again-and -gain, as it was to a hearing problem that the NHS didn’t discover until I took my first hearing test years later.

After a summer spent kicking a ball around in a playground, close to the allotments where Fred Lee’s body was to be found years later in another century, swimming down at the “Strand Leisure Park” and starting to look at girls chests differently, I finally began the second bit of my “secondary” education at Upbury Manor “Secondary” Modern school, Gillingham.

And along with a school uniform – that would soon mutate from being an uncomfortable and ill-fitting Tesco purchased official version – into one of Ox-blood Dr Martin boots, white Fred Perry’s worn with a school tie, and Levi Sta-press trousers; I also ended up sitting in the same class and next to, as well as facing-off a “Carib” kid called:

Fred Lee.

After our initial stand-off and territorial cock-strutting rituals – a display of adolescent machismo, that was aimed more at impressing the girls in our class, who wore pencil skirts and had newly feather cut hair then it was at intimidating each other  – Fred and I finally ended up hitting it off – rather than hitting each other – and quickly became the best of friends. In the years that would follow, we’d play in the same football team together “Medway Tornadoes”, go to school discos together, discover the Sweet, Slade, Light Ale and Gary Glitter together and chase those girls with feather cut hair  – who always ignored our advances and seemed out of our league, preferring the older boys or “men in cars” that would hang around the school gates after school, and who the teachers on gate duty would turn a blind eye to. The kind of men who in modern times would – quite rightly – be labelled as predatory paedophiles…

But…

Who instead back in an era when pop stars and DJ’ were routinely abusing teenage girls – while Benny Hill would run around making jokes about it all on the TV –  were viewed as romantic “Sugar Daddies” by the under-age girls, who they picked-up and spoilt with clothes and records before eventually ruining their lives with unwanted teenage pregnancies. Something for which our school was becoming notorious renowned.

But…

The point that mine and Fred’s life really started changing, was when we went along to Chatham Town hall to see a guy who wore make-up and who called himself: Ziggy Stardust – along with his band: The Spiders from Mars . All I can remember about that night as well as the music, was that it was the point when a couple of angry suede-head kids – who otherwise were destined to become: Gillingham Boot Boys – would start to look at the world they lived in through something other than just their adolescent sexual frustrations, their anger and teenage toughness.

After discovering David Bowie together and going on to share – as well as survive – the troubles of secondary modern school life with all its traumas, fights, highs and lows, Fred and I would eventually go in very different directions in life. A direction which – in my case – was largely down to a few decent teachers in History, Art and English classes, who told me in no uncertain terms that I had a brain in my head and should seriously think about starting to use it  – Before it was too late.

Ever since Primary school  I was always known as being a “Good drawer” but it wasn’t ever seen as a skill worthy of being important either by the Kent test – or later on in life – by many of my Secondary school male friends, or most of the teaching staff at Upbury Manor, who regarded Art classes as effeminate.

“A Girls or Poofs” option or – at best – as an excuse for a “Good Skive”

Unlike the more macho car mechanics, metal work and extra PE classes that the real men in the school – including: Fred Lee – opted to do instead, which also had the added bonus of not having any exams attached to them at the end of 5 years.

By that point too, I knew after clinical tests, that I had a hearing problem in one ear – So started sitting at the front of the class and listening hard to my teachers, rather than – as I had done – at the back messing around with Fred Lee. I even started doing my homework and – as a result – 5 years on from first failing the “Kent test” – and being told by a Headmaster and Tory Councillor that I was as thick as shit, had a chip on my shoulder and wasn’t going anywhere in life – I was advised to consider crossing-over  to the very Grammar school that I’d been denied entry too.

An offer which I adamantly refused, not least of all because if I stayed where I was – at Upbury Manor which was mixed-sex – and went part-time to the Grammar – which was all-male (well mostly) – I got to take Friday afternoon off after double Economic and Social History as what it said on my timetable was “personal study” But in fact became time that I would  spend in the company of a bright and rebellious classmate – who was also by then was attending part-time at the Grammar with me. A girl with the nickname of: “Red Kate”

“Personal Study” with “Red Kate” would involve either spending our time sunbathing and swimming together down at the “Strand Leisure park” when the weather was good, or increasingly – as the weather got colder and our friendship warmer – in empty parental homes – right up until the day came when Kate told me that she’d passed the entrance exam, and so was off to Maidstone to train to become a Policewoman. And had been advised that she had to be careful who her friends were, and so couldn’t be seen hanging around town with people like me or Fred Lee – who by that point was fast becoming my former best friend.

But…

Even though I chose an education over our friendship in the end as my way out of life in Gillingham – in the same way that the once rebellious “Red Kate” had found her escape route by joining who we – and she – had always considered to be the “enemy” – I still learnt a lot from my years of friendship with Fred Lee before he finally left school – like many others – at the first opportunity and with no academic qualifications. I’d learnt about Fred’s family and their history – which was of both Jamaican and Chinese origins – and how he – and his big sisters – dealt with and overcame small-town racism and earned everyone’s respect as a result.

But then…

I also learnt about the music I still love from Fred Lee. About the kind of music that he would always insist on calling “Black music” which was made up of the Old school Reggae, Soul, Ska, Tamla-Motown and Jazz records that Fred’s Dad owned, which we would play and listen to while drinking stolen cans of  his Dad’s Double-Diamond when we should have really been doing our home work.

But then…That’s all that I can really remember about Fred Lee and his, and our lives back then.

Apart from the fact that he was always a better footballer than I was and should really have played for Gillingham – if he hadn’t wasted his time, started drinking and smoking too young.

That he’d supported West Ham all his life.

That when we got together we certainly weren’t Angels and had only narrowly avoided getting into serious trouble with the Police that “Red Kate” was now joining on many occasions.

That we only managed to avoid getting badly hurt in fights that were turning increasingly nasty as we got older, as that started involving bottles, hammers, knives and eventually guns.

That I grassed him up once for smashing the old dragon who my family had as an interfering next-door neighbour’s living room window with a football, who in return for her not calling the Police, that I blamed on Fred Lee….and that even though he said he did – and that it had cost him a fiver for the repair as a result – I sensed that Fred Lee never really forgave me for that betrayal of our friendship.

Fred finally went off to train to become an apprentice car mechanic for a while, before chucking it in and falling in with a crowd who we both knew were destined for criminality and the dark-side of life.

And then years past….

And then decades…

And then the start of another century came and went…And I finally found out that Fred – who I had almost forgotten about – had left this world at a Gillingham v Millwall game from my younger brother – who was also written off as yet another “Medway loser” but has gone on in life to become an advisor to the Mayor of London…

….And I’m not even sure if Fred Lee ever got married, had kids or even at our age has grandchildren…

All I can imagine is the dark, lonely and despairing place that Fred Lee – who bore an uncanny resemblance to the young afro-haired Michael Jackson when we first met – must have been in to have ended up how and where he did when he finally left this world.

But…then…

Fred Lee’s story is also a story about the last and the lost of England.

A story too about someone who I’ll always remember as one of my first real friends in life, and from whom I learnt how to over come my fear, square up to prejudice and beat the bullies of the National front  – both physically as well as verbally.

It’s a story too about the real roots of what makes the Britain that I use to think I knew: A multi-cultural nation – with a common narrative and social history that started – and is still being played out – on the council estates of a sad, broken and traumatized nation.

Unlike Bill Gates and many other billionaires who now back the Tory party and who control the surveillance and algorithm’s of the social networks that we all eagerly – and perhaps stupidly – participate in, I don’t happen to believe as they do:

That if your born poor it’s not your fault but if you die poor that it in some ways is.

But….then…

Coming from where he did, I’m pretty sure that Fred Lee would have had an answer to the xenophobia and racism that Brexit  has unleashed:

“Fuck the lot of em…”

The Strand or Beach: Marienlyst, Helsingør, Denmark

The Upload…30/4/17

Despite having had a hard decade – for the most part – since I hit fifty at least I’ve had a chance as the saying goes in Trainspotting to:

“Choose Life”

Unlike my dear friend and Englishman Fred Lee: A cocky, arrogant and mischievous rather than misguided kid, who was a real “Soul rebel” with a big heart and passion for life – Even if he was a bit of a hooligan at times and ended up falling into the underworld because of an addiction that would eventually take his life.

But…

Unlike Fred, I’m lucky – and privileged – to now find myself living in a European country that – on the surface at least – seems to be a more tolerant and a much happier place than “Broken Ingerland”. Even though you soon discover once you leave the bubble of “Wonderful Copenhagen” that Denmark too has its own problems, and that it certainly isn’t: “A land of milk and honey”

But…then…

At least  I still find myself doing what it is I’m doing as a film-maker and story-teller – even if it is  – and without going too much down the hygge-bollocks route here – becoming more and more a “way of life” rather than a way of making a decent living now.

And that when I look out of my window in Helsingør, I smile when I see that the wind is coming from the North-West, because it means waves and waves mean some surf somewhere close by.

The Spring is late this year, and it’s only now that the air temperature is starting to reach-up into double figures. Which means that very soon our local beach – or “Strand” at Marienlyst – a real beach unlike the “Strand Leisure park” in Gillingham, Kent – will stop being a winter dog-toilet for lazy locals and start to be a place to swim, read, soak up the sun and look over at Sweden; which lies just 6 kilometres away, across the cold water of the Øresund which I plan to cross some day on a paddle boarding adventure, as well as being the current working-title for a film out-line I’m developing: 6 Kilometres  – which is about what happens when you escape war, reach the end of the line and finally run out of places to go when seeking Asylum, with the ground still beneath you feet.

But….

As much as I’ve thought back as well as forward in writing, rewriting and sharing this blog with you – and searched for something that’s positive to say  in what’s happening now –  I don’t and can’t see much “hope and glory” in what’s going down in my own homelands at the moment.

And that the United Kingdom seems more and more like a broken place that’s beyond repair.

But….then…

In the end I also guess that resistance is never futile, and that what’s really important is that we all still keeping searching, questioning and doing stuff like I’ve tried writing about here; And that the fantastic stories we all have in us, about our own dreams and other people’s lives and deaths might just matter to someone.

Somewhere.

And that by sharing these stories that they may even help make some difference – if not change the world – and so shouldn’t just be lost to the fog of time, because we’re nobodies from council estates in places like the “Town of the Shouting Men”: Gillingham, Kent

The important thing is, that while we’re still here and in this world, that we continue to do what it is we do – rather than just remain silent…

Because at least we still have a choice…

In memory of Fred Lee.

A Good Friend and real “Soul Rebel” 

Born sometime in 1959

Died alone on an allotment in the “town of the Shouting Men” sometime in 2017.

To help deal with what it is I’ve been doing creatively over the winter – along with the cabin fever! –  it’s good to know that others have been there before.

And so I can’t finish without referencing the early films of Martin Scorsese like the “Big Shave” and the mirror sequence from “Taxi driver” Along with the films of Terrence Malick  and books that I’ve been and am reading that include  Karl Ove Knausgård “My Struggle”  Alan Moore‘s  “Jerusalem” and my friend Matthew Collin‘s “Pop Grenade” which have all in their own way provided intellectual stimulants, a re-affirmation of the spirit of rebellion, and creative as well as moral inspiration.

Occasionally too they even made me laugh out loud…