Cop's son held in riot is cleared

Before I get to the headline, I apologise for allowing a week to turn into several and thank you very much for the kind messages of concern, patience and jovial resentment, as well as your generous and quite lovely birthday greetings. How you’ve missed me. Sincerely, I’m touched by that.

Today I wanted to blog about a very small story I noticed in one of the Sunday (tabloid) newspapers. It was one of those that’s compressed into a single column and pushed to the paper’s edge, space usually reserved for witty non-stories about people breaking pointless world records for the number of clothes pegs they can attach to their face or some such nonsense. Or maybe not in this case, considering that tabloids tend to reserve their double page spreads mainly for celebrity gossip, after all. Anyway, either way, the story’s headline was the same as this post’s: Cop’s son held in riot is cleared. You can read the story here (it should take you all of twenty seconds), but you don’t need to: the gist of it is that a young man alleged to have ransacked a Vodafone store in ­Woolwich during the much-talked-about riots in England in August, is the son of the former chairman of the Metropolitan Police ­Authority, the body responsible for supervising Greater London’s police force. Who has an OBE and is now a Labour member of the London Assembly. This may be entirely coincidental, but the young man has now been completely exonerated of the charge of burglary and, it is claimed, may have been the “victim of a false, ­malicious ­allegation” all along.

I love that: victim of a false, ­malicious ­allegation.

Maybe he was stitched up, of course. I don’t know. People often suffer because of their associations, including having friends in high places. We all know this.

I’ll admit that my first reaction to the abridged version of the story was ‘How bloody typical.’

The London Evening Standard had given the story more space on Friday, I was glad to note upon my shuffled return to my now unfamiliar desk yesterday morning. The accompanying photograph of the once assumed rascal, presumably lifted off Facebook, shows him looking a bit rough and miserable, it has to be said (could he be on drugs, perhaps?), with closely cropped hair and standard hoodie. I’m not quite sure what can be seen behind him in this photograph, but it looks a bit saucy. The Daily Mail, helpful as ever, added that he lives in a council flat with a bull mastiff, which would, of course, make him fit that neat profile: member of the feral underclass which we all ought to live in fear of.

Having gleaned this insight, put forth to convince the reader of the man’s capacity for criminal engagement, I should think, with the added bonus of shaming his father who just so happens to position himself at the opposite end of the political spectrum, I found myself feeling sympathetic and decided to reserve judgement.

All this must have been hugely embarrassing for his father, and for his father’s distinguished connections, no doubt. Days before his son’s arrest he had called on the public to turn in the rampaging yobs for the good of the nation.

“Mark always denied taking part in looting,” wrote the Daily Mail, “and said he returned home after a phone call from his father urging him to get off the streets.”

Hmm. Tip off, you think? Maybe we’d all do anything to protect our children and at the first sign of trouble would think only to warn them to keep out of harm’s way, rather than advise them urgently to dodge the somewhat inevitable strong arm of the law if, as expected, they happened to be where it is most likely required.

The London Evening Standard, along with pretty much everybody else, yesterday reported that, of the capital’s rioters, 40 per cent were unemployed; 28 per cent were students; 55 per cent were black; nearly one in five belonged to a gang and a staggering 93 per cent of suspects had ‘previous’. Two-thirds of the youth involved had special educational needs. As their headline put it: Half of arrested looters were unable to read or write by the age of 11. I don’t know which of these categories, if any, Mark falls in to, but I suppose it doesn’t matter now that he’s in the clear and free to get on with his life, no doubt a relieved man.

For me, all that remains is a slight sense of shame at how judgemental we are. How little we know, yet how keen we are to pass moral sentences. The events have absolutely nothing to do with me and should be no concern of mine, yet so familiar are we to seeing the culpable getting away with assorted breaches thanks to their wealth, celebrity or influential friends, we’ve come to expect nothing but.

I wonder about your initial reaction to this headline, as well as the other major controversy missed in my absence: the acquittal of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito for the murder of Meredith Kercher. We all make up our minds one way or another each time there’s dispute and align ourselves accordingly with those who share our suspicions and prejudices based purely on the evidence deemed relevant to, and presented typically by, the media. We don’t have to be right, we don’t have to show remorse when we’re wrong. We just wait for the next suspect to come along and try to improve our score. It’s not like we even have to wait very long.

May we never find ourselves to be victims of a false, ­malicious ­allegation.

The chatroom is open tomorrow from 2pm (UK), especially to those wishing to discuss the trial of Michael Jackson’s doctor.

Author: FEd

Features Editor of David Gilmour’s official blog, The Blog (‘Features’ previously being its rather naff title), affectionately – or lazily – shortened to ‘FEd’.

58 thoughts on “Cop's son held in riot is cleared”

  1. Oooooooooh, don’t get me on my soap box.

    I know you are quoting Fed, so this is not aimed at you, it’s at the reporters and journalists and probably all the defence lawyers who are using the term.

    Special Educational Needs???? That is a downright lie and shameful effort to get these people recognised as somehow disabled and in need of our help. Someone was either very clever or very stupid in defining them as having SEN. Probably to get them off.

    I hate that disabled people are “labeled” with terms like SEN or “learning disabilities” or whatever else and that the labels get changed for political correctness reasons. The truth is, they are handicapped by some illness or birth defect or physical impairment or brain damage that prevents them from being able to learn in the normal ways. I understand why the labels are necessary though, the teachers and therapists need to have a way of categorising people with impairments so that they can be slotted into the best medical and educational services for them.

    There is a big difference between that group of people and these so called SEN rioters. If we are going to give them a label, it should be “*Normal to High IQ but Criminal*”. Or something like that. They underachieve for reasons other than a physical or mental handicap.

    Some irresponsible journalist or lawyer has hijacked the term SEN. Next they’ll all be clamouring for disability benefits!

    ash (I worked with SEN children in another life 🙂 )

  2. I remember the OJ Simpson trial, some 15 years ago. People were venomous in their opinion that OJ was guilty as sin and that he should rot in jail. I also remember the near-riot that took place when he was acquitted. To this day, people still “know” that a guilty man was wrongly freed, that he got away with murder. If I want to risk my life, I could remind certain people that none of us was on that jury and that we have no real notion of what happened during the murders.

    The media is a very powerful tool because people believe it without question. “War of the Worlds” radio special in the late 1930s proved that. Today it has become a recruitment tool (the “occupy” movement is entirely organized via social media, for example) and a political tool (FOX and MSNBC using television to galvanize its people on opposite sides of the political divide in America). I know some people who stay home all day and don’t have jobs, for any of a variety of reasons, whose world view is derived entirely through the media. Most of us have limited access to the “real” world (one workplace, for example, and one or two stores) but spend all day in fromt of a screen. To one extent or another, we’re all at the mercy of media. Even the movers and shakers.

    Thus, in my city the “Occupy” movement has taken over a park near City Hall. It is a peaceful protest, but one drunk guy came in from the street and punched three people at random. THAT was what they reported on the newscast, so some people think the protesters are all about the violence. People don’t question the things they see on TV and for them, the reports they get ARE the only truth. The fact that those who were assaulted (two men and one woman) chose NOT to strike back is irrelevant if that was not part of the report on the evening news.

    How can my voice of reason compete against that?

    On the other hand, how can it not? It is in my nature to make people understand me. I’m a teacher, after all, and that is what I do for a living. So even when it seems that no-one is listening, that my small voice cannot make a difference, I know it’s incredibly important to speak up anyway.

    When some news story (Dr. Conrad Murray, at present) has everyone talking, I always remind them that we only have what was reported — true or not, and almost certainly incomplete. We do not have all the facts on Michael Jackson’s death, so how can we even consider whether he’s guilty?

    For sure, I have my opinions about OJ Simpson and about Dr. Murray, but I will not say horrible things like, “They should stuff rocks in his shorts and throw him in the river.” Nor will I ever say that a jury got it wrong. I do wonder about certain verdicts I’ve heard, but always I remind myself that there are things I don’t know about. That lack of knowledge always means I cannot condemn anyone to a horrible fate.

    1. With regard to the Michael Jackson’s doctor trial, I have to say my first thought was, ‘how did he get such powerful drugs?’, we know he was prescribed them.

      Regardless of who prescribed them it was probably wrong to do so, but that is my opinion and the court has to decide if given the circumstances, the prescribing was unlawful. I don’t know enough about these sorts of medications but we are being told it was a drug normally used in an operating theatre.

      The next really important consideration is, if it wasn’t this doctor providing ever stronger meds to Michael, it would probably have been another. 🙁

      I can’t understand why people are so venomous either, Dan. You wonder if modern humans are so different from the people who used to crucify others, or stone them to death, or throw them to lions, or drown them. . . etc.

      ash

      1. It doesn’t seem that long ago that we were watching Michael Jackson stand trial. I recall some pretty horrible comments directed at those who claimed he had behaved inappropriately around and towards them as children. The venom then, as now, was coming from his most loyal, and certainly most vocal, fans.

        It’s intriguing to sit back and watch, though, isn’t it? Rather like a car crash, I suppose. We all, I should expect, stop ourselves from looking for any longer than we feel is justified in that given moment. Then the stark realisation hits us: the people trapped in the wreckage could be our loved ones, could be any one of us, and so we feel shame and disgust at our morbid curiosity.

        I’d rather prefer watching those watching a scene unfold, actually. It’s fascinating observing how different people react.

    2. I don’t think any of us will ever know the full truth when it comes to what ailed Michael Jackson physically and how his so-called doctor and others in the medical profession treated his ailments.

      All I know is that Dr. Murray and other doctors that treated him did not uphold the Hippocratic Oath or whatever form the oath has taken in the United States and elsewhere (I believe it’s gone through some adaptations over the years to make it more “politically correct”). As such, this makes him and others in the medical profession guilty of negligence.

    3. Ash,

      You wonder if modern humans are so different from the people who used to crucify others, or stone them to death, or throw them to lions, or drown them. . . etc.

      I don’t wonder. They are not. Period.

    4. Thus, in my city the “Occupy” movement has taken over a park near City Hall. It is a peaceful protest, but one drunk guy came in from the street and punched three people at random. THAT was what they reported on the newscast, so some people think the protesters are all about the violence.

      Hi Dan,

      I saw some beautiful images of the peaceful New York and US protests on TV and, like you, I think we should appreciate those young people’s effort and their will to live in a fairer world.
      It’s disgraceful to see how the inappropriate behaviour of a few individuals, immediately exploited by the mass media, so often ends up ruining everything.

      Did you see what happened in Rome, on 15 October? A huge, peaceful protest completely invalidated by, it seems, a few hundred criminals. Not to mention the injured and the damages to the public and private properties, which will be repaid by community (except for those who evade taxes, of course…) and by some common people who had absolutely nothing to do with the wrong government’s choices and probably even agreed with the protesters’ reasons. That was shameful.

      As I already said in the past, violence, especially if pointless, just makes us all fall into mass media’s pro-government trap once again and only contributes to scare and discourage those who would like to peacefully voice their opinions in the streets.

    5. As I already said in the past, violence, especially if pointless, just makes us all fall into mass media’s pro-government trap once again and only contributes to scare and discourage those who would like to peacefully voice their opinions in the streets.

      Alessandra, you said it all. They WANT us to be violent because it helps them make their point.

  3. 🙁

    Hello,

    I was touched by your blog (10-25) and here in Brazil the politicians’ and senior officials’ children are also away with accusations. The rich will not even be arrested. To get an idea, they pay high amounts of bail. Two weeks ago, a rich young man with his Camaro ran over three people (one died) and the process will respond in freedom after paying a bail of R $ 250,000.00 (approx. £ 80,000). I confess that this news makes me sick and I feel helpless. In addition to these events in Europe because of the crisis, I wonder – where do we stop?

    I share my thoughts with your​​s.

    But – changing the subject … David, when will you come by this tropical side?? It’s my dream, OK? :))

    I beg your pardon for the bad writing in English. (After all – I’m using Google Translate) and I thank you for the space provided here.

    A big hug.

    Orlando Gomes

  4. I still believe in the jury system, because that is the only system which has the best chance for impartiality and ability to hear and weigh all the facts to come to an accurate verdict.

    But the lawyers are of course the weak link in a jury system because in the end they are not interested in justice, they are interested only in winning. Unfortunately that includes the prosecuting attorneys, which in my opinion is the biggest reason why you get so many false convictions (and over-sentencing for that matter). Too often the lawyers with the best spin story wins rather than the lawyers with the best evidence, which I believe is why OJ and Casey Anthony were not convicted and why Troy Davis was executed.

    And I stress the word “believe”, because I am of course forming an opinion based on what the media represents, which is the worst way to convict someone of a crime. I make a conscious effort to keep that in mind when a verdict does not go the way I think it should, though human nature makes that very difficult. Especially in the case of Troy Davis.

  5. Oh and HOW we have missed you! Selfishly, I had begun contemplating putting together a “woe is me” playlist.

    …yet so familiar are we to seeing the culpable getting away with assorted breaches thanks to their wealth, celebrity or influential friends, we’ve come to expect nothing but.

    So true, and yet we see many ‘innocents’ being ‘victimized’ for the very same reason. 8|

    I’m loathe to admit that I didn’t follow the Amanda Knox story at all and then there was all this live ‘hoopla’ on the day they read the verdict and a group at the office wanted to see it on television (rewind to OJ Simpson). I popped my head in to the conference room to see what all the ruckus was about and took one look at the screen and declared to myself that she was guilty as heck! Honestly, I cannot answer why (was it a certain look on her face? the colour of her hair? perhaps there was a smug smile? or was it in the eyes?), I didn’t know any of the background to the story, didn’t bother ‘investigating’ (it occurred to me that I’d never learn the facts anyway since newspapers and television news no longer do the job they’re supposed to do in my opinion) and yes, I do feel a slight tinge of guilt at having prejudged someone I don’t know from a bar of soap!

    I’ve always tried to instll in my son a “do not prejudge”, “learn the facts” approach to life and sadly I must confess that I fall short of being a good role model. :!

  6. That’s a bit tame for the Daily Mail.

    Reasonable to assume by their omissions then that he’s not in receipt of any benefits; does not have a toned bikini body or indeed a burgeoning baby bump (fake or otherwise); doesn’t drive one of those nice shiny £35,000 BMWs that people get given free when they get Disability Living Allowance, and, perhaps most importantly, has never been in close proximity to Pippa Middleton’s arse?

    1. I wondered how he got a council flat. Usually you need a girlfriend and baby at least.

      Maybe he’d been on the streets homeless (why would he be homeless though?) and was re-housed out of a hostel.

      Of course the only reason he’s in the papers is because of who his dad is.

      ash

  7. Hi Fed, it’s great to have you back, and I hope your other duties were of an interesting nature.

    I have followed the the Knox-Raffaele case. I am convinced they played a part in the murder of Meredith. Even the appeal judge stated they may be guilty but had to let them go because of the lack of evidence. My thoughts are with the Kercher family, I know what they are going through. Its a terrible thing enough to lose a child or daughter, but when a life is taken in such a sickening despicable way, how do you get over it? I don’t think you do.

    Once again great to have you back. Just watched the Waterboys on Later with Jools. They were just magic.

  8. I wonder about your initial reaction to this headline

    Haha, for me, it was about the irony of the situation: the son of a former head of the Metropolitan Police Authority was arrested at his home “after someone wrongly claimed to have recognised him in CCTV footage released by police in August following the disorder across the capital.” 😉

    “Tel est pris qui croyait prendre.”, we say here. :)) (Don’t know the English equivalent, sorry – FEd?)

    I can’t stand the Metropolitan Police behaviour, that is asking for the public to help them identify and denounce rioters and looters. Completely immoral, I think.

    1. Hoist with his own petard, perhaps? One of Shakespeare’s finest phrases, but I’m sure you knew that already. 🙂

    2. Oh I’m more familiar with the language of Molière than the language of Shakespeare, you know…

      Thank you.

      Actually, “Tel est pris qui croyait prendre” is a quote/moral by poet and fabulist Jean de La Fontaine, that you can read in his fable ‘Le Rat et l’Huitre’ (should be ‘The Rat and the Oyster’ in English – unlikely duet, don’t you think? 😉 )

    3. “Tel est pris qui croyait prendre.”, we say here.

      Michèle,

      Here we say “Chi la fa l’aspetti”. Something like “Who does it (something wrong), have to wait for it to be done to him”.

      And I agree, the situation was ironic. 😀

  9. Nice to have you back FEd. 😀

    I actually do not pay attention to what tabloids write, I do not buy them and I do not read them. I keep saying that the only facts they print, that are true, are the date and the price. 😉

    I can’t help but I have the feeling, that society in Britain falls into pieces. But then I live in Germany, so what I see is what media want me to see, so I may be completely wrong…

    Best regards

    Taki

    1. My car (not a Skoda) is in the dealership having some work done, they recalled it because of a fault with the fuel tank. It was supposed to be returned before 5.30pm the same day. At about 3pm they rang to say they didn’t have the part ! I successfully argued for a courtesy car.

      The courtesy car is the same model as mine but brand new, mine is 6 (?) years old. The Hi-Fi system in the car is so much better than mine, it also seems to be better than my home set up! I’ve had Meddle on repeat and I’m hearing things I never heard before!

      Now, my advice to anyone buying a new car, test drive and take your favourite album with you. 😀 Maybe an idea for a blog one day Fed, bloggers’ recommendations for car Hi-Fi and which album they test drove with. :))

      Advice I am seeking, why does it sound better than my home system? Is it because of the closed environment of the car (and the volume was up at 49) or do I need a new system and a new car too probably? 🙁

      ash

  10. FEd, I thought I should share this story that read in the news a few days ago.There was this old couple who had an English bulldog and someone stole him. They asked for a ransom and the old couple paid it, for they loved their dog and really wanted him back. So when they went to get their dog they found that the dog was killed.

    This is really getting to be a strange and crazy world where someone would steal even a dog for money and then kill the poor animal.

    Take Care,
    Thomas

    1. Sick. Reminds me of an old friend who always claimed that there is indeed a Hell, a horrible place, and it’s where we all find ourselves presently. Makes you wonder sometimes.

    2. Talk of hell reminded me of a “joke” (true?) e-mail I received. I hope you don’t mind publishing to lighten our recent sombre moods, Fed. (Oh and it always reminds me of one of our next favourite bands.)

      The following is an actual question given on a University of California chemistry midterm, and an actual answer turned in by a student. The answer by one student was so ‘profound’ that the professor shared it with colleagues, via the Internet.

      Bonus Question: Is Hell exothermic (gives off heat) or endothermic (absorbs heat)?

      Most of the students wrote proofs of their beliefs using Boyle’s Law (gas cools when it expands and heats when it is compressed) or some variant. One student, however, wrote the following:

      First, we need to know how the mass of Hell is changing in time.

      So we need to know the rate at which souls are moving into Hell and the rate at which they are leaving, which is unlikely..

      I think that we can safely assume that once a soul gets to Hell, it will not leave. Therefore, no souls are leaving. As for how many souls are entering Hell, let’s look at the different religions that exist in the world today.

      Most of these religions state that if you are not a member of their religion, you will go to Hell.

      Since there is more than one of these religions and since people do not belong to more than one religion, we can project that all souls go to Hell.

      With birth and death rates as they are, we can expect the number of souls in Hell to increase exponentially.

      Now, we look at the rate of change of the volume in Hell because Boyle’s Law states that in order for the temperature and pressure in Hell to stay the same, the volume of Hell has to expand proportionately as souls are added.

      This gives two possibilities:

      1. If Hell is expanding at a slower rate than the rate at which souls enter Hell, then the temperature and pressure in Hell will increase until all Hell breaks loose.

      2. If Hell is expanding at a rate faster than the increase of souls in Hell, then the temperature and pressure will drop until Hell freezes over.

      So which is it?

      If we accept the postulate given to me by Teresa during my Freshman year that, ‘It will be a cold day in Hell before I sleep with you,’ and take into account the fact that I slept with her last night, then number two must be true, and thus I am sure that Hell is exothermic and has already frozen over.

      The corollary of this theory is that since Hell has frozen over, it follows that it is not accepting any more souls and is therefore, extinct… leaving only Heaven, thereby proving the existence of a divine being which explains why, last night, Teresa kept shouting ‘Oh my God.’

      THIS STUDENT RECEIVED AN A+.

      ash :))

    3. Remember reading this some years back Ash — got a good laugh as I did then. Also read a very clever “rebuttal” or sorts which was just as funny but can’t for the life of me remember where. :))

  11. I have to admit that my initial reaction to the headline was: “It’s always the same” and my first thought when I knew about the acquittal of Amanda and Raffaele was “Either our law system is more unreliable than I thought, or Italy just had to give in to US’ insistence”. To be honest, even if I certainly agree that, being the evidence of guilt lacking there must be no condemnation, I still can’t trust Amanda and Raffaele and I can’t feel any sympathy for them.

    It’s true, being judgemental against people we don’t even know is wrong, but it’s hard to be so moral when you live surrounded by manipulated information, which makes you feel as if you were always sitting in the front row.

    In the end, judging and having opinions are, for us humans, just natural ways to understand the reality and, in my view, that’s how they should have been used. If mass communication hadn’t made our world so large, we would have probably limited ourselves to observe and judge what happened to us and to our community, instead of having access to any kind of news, even if useless, and feeling protagonist as our opinions actually counted (which, it seems to me, is rarely true).

    Is this enough to justify myself for being often suspicious and full of prejudice against mankind? :))

    1. It’s true, being judgemental against people we don’t even know is wrong, but it’s hard to be so moral when you live surrounded by manipulated information, which makes you feel as if you were always sitting in the front row.

      So true.

  12. About these lines that I enjoyed very much:

    The Daily Mail, helpful as ever, added that he lives in a council flat with a bull mastiff, which would, of course, make him fit that neat profile: member of the feral underclass which we all ought to live in fear of.

    I’d be curious to know if, in Daily Mail’s opinion, the social indicator is:

    1. Having a dog
    2. Having that kind of dog (big and quite expensive?)
    3. Living in a council flat
    4. The correlation between having a dog/that dog and living in a council flat.

    :))

  13. This is just one of many executions that have taken place despite new forensic evidence showing more than a reasonable doubt as to the guilt of the accused, much like the Troy Davis case.

    … Texas Gov. Rick Perry seeks the GOP nomination for president. Perry has defended the execution, describing Willingham as a “monster,” and saying in a GOP debate that he’s never struggled with the thought that an innocent person has been executed during his time in office.” Willingham, he said, showed how bad he was on the day of his execution. “This is a bad man. This is a guy who in the death chamber in his last breath spews an obscenity-laced triad (sic) against his wife,” Perry said.

    If using the f-ing F word is grounds for execution, then I guess I’m in big f-ing trouble! :! (I can’t believe I edited myself … )

    This is a topic that one could spend a great deal of time and energy on as I believe you’ve done a time or two in the recent past, FEd. 😉 I applaud your efforts to stir the pot and get Irregulars such as myself thinking and possibly becoming more involved in making a difference when and where they can. Sometimes it seems so futile, doesn’t it?

    “…we can change the world, rearrange the world…if you believe in justice, if you believe in freedom…show your face…no one can take your place.” Someday maybe?

    Peace & harmony to you and yours!

    1. The same to you and yours, Gabrielle. And yes, it does all seem terribly futile, sadly. It really is a mixed up, muddled up, shook up world, as someone sang.

  14. Hi and belated birthday Fed.

    Last month I had a minor heart attack and a stent placed in one artery. I’m fine now, just a bit weary occasionally. Chin up as you say.

    I hope you had a wonderful getaway, you’ve earned it, I do believe! 🙂

    1. Be sure to take it easy, Frank. Everyone seems to be rushing around, in a hurry, all the time. We all need to slow down a bit.

    2. Glad you’re well Frank — getting your energy back will take some time … slow and steady wins the race!

      Thoughts are with you.

  15. Fed, welcome back, and I hope you had a very rocking and Happy Birthday. I´d like to share this link with you… it is praising the Welsh people.

    1. Thanks Ullie.

      The link brought tears to my eyes… British by birth and Welsh by the grace of god.

  16. Great to “see” you back FEd, thought you had got a better job!!!

    Agree with all comments. Just that I wouldn’t believe everything in the newspapers. There are always two sides to everything.

    Have a good weekend.

    Ian

  17. Unrelated to the current topic except for the fact that the title of this clip is “How do you judge a book?” It’s a marketing campaign for a cosmetic “cover-up” and I think it is just brilliant. However, for me it’s actually more inspiring from a psychological perspective — I feel differently about the subject when I see him in colour versus a black and white shot and then completely differently again at the end. Perceptions become reality in a split second flat when in fact, they’re just that — perceptions (or illusions, if you will).

    And, it very much reminds me of the sleeve artwork of recently discovered The Blue Van’s (thanks again FEd) “Man Up” (could be wrong but likely the inspiration).

    Thinking about the reply to Thomas about Hell and recalling Dante’s Nine Circles of Hell – as applicable now as it was in the 1300’s – I think of Hell not as a venue or place but rather as a state of mind or state of affairs. It sure looks like the glimmers of Heaven are few and far between and getting more and more scarce. 🙁

  18. DAVID!!!!!! I HOPE YOU WILL READ THIS.

    I’m from Brazil and I can say one thing, BRAZIL LOVES YOU.

    Please, I beg you:

    Take a Tour in Brazil. You have a lot of fans here and they love you.

    You are my biggest idol in music and before dying I have to see your show. You are the best guitar player and have the best voice of all time.

    Thank you for existing.

    King Regards from Brazil.

  19. Off topic, thanks for indulging.

    I saw an amazing show on Thursday night. It was Jon Anderson and Rick Wakeman, just the two of them in a small theater. Jon Anderson sounded great, never missing his impossible notes (2 days after turning 67). You would never know that he was a dying man just three short years ago. And of course, Rick Wakeman is still at the top of his game as well. It was a magical show. This was one of the first stops on their short American tour, and they have promised another tour of Europe next year. If you get the chance to catch their show, it’s worth it!!

    Here is a review.

  20. Happy life!

    After your birthday dear FEd, so nice to have you back again. After “our” 6 years together it’s a great pleasure always!

    A sweet hug
    diana

  21. About Michael Jackson, here is something I just read.

    It seems dying is not enough. They still go on giving us details, judging and expecting us to judge.

    If this story is invented, I can’t see no reason to tell it, as it’s definitely in bad taste to speak about someone who’s dead and can’t reply anymore. If the story is real, revealing it is absolutely wrong as it will almost certainly encourage some sick fans around the world to imitate him.

    Searching the web, I could find several people who enjoyed the news and said it was a nice joke. :/

    1. This doesn’t seem true, MJ jumping out of a limo wearing a “hulk” mask and pelting people with water balloons. It’s just too bizarre and unlikely. He was always surrounded by security, where are they in all this? And if MJ wanted to go incognito, would he have done so in a limo?

  22. I notice you were listening to “Mogwai Fear Satan”, Fed. Are you haunted by the memory of last night?

    I had Zombies then the Grateful Dead at my door . . .

    ash :))

    1. Bah humbug. I resisted the temptation to put a big sign on my door warning, CHILDREN! GO AWAY. NO LOOSE CHANGE OR UNWANTED SUGARY TREATS HERE. TRY NEXT DOOR. (And the small print: Go on, throw an egg, see if I care.) Instead, I just switched all the lights off and ignored the one group that hammered – and I mean hammered – at my door, making three dogs bark wildly. It turned out that they hadn’t even bothered dressing up and had their parents with them. Have they no shame? If they’re going to interrupt people’s evenings begging under the pretence that nobody minds because it’s a quaint tradition, at least make an effort to look the part.

      Anyway, good tune. Love Mogwai. Don’t love Hallowe’en or lazy, unimaginative children. 😉

    2. I’m with you on this one F’ed.

      Luckily nobody has knocked on our door in the 13 years we’ve lived in this house … I suspect the “no street lights” policy in these parts may contribute to that although the collection of dead animals and various bones nailed to the door may also help.

      This year we were in EuroTunnel at the appointed hour so I would have been particularly shocked (if also showing a grudging respect for the effort) if anyone had bothered us there.

    3. Poor children… they thought they were Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door, but, no heaven, just three Cerberus(es), guardians of the gates of Hell…

      Nine (some would say 150, or 300) heads barking wildly… Scary.

      Poor children…

      *Away with 50 children for a week (school trip). Scary too. Wish me luck, please. :!

  23. “Cop’s son held in riot is cleared”.

    My first reaction when I read that headline was “Oh yeah. A copper’s son, he’s been cleared because of who his dad is!”. Well, we will all make assumptions about what is said in the media. The media tends to bend the news to get the reaction they want or believe. We can only react to what is written or said.

    The next thought that occurred to me as I read your precis of the news items, dear Fed was, how inconsistent the Law is! It was about a year ago one Charlie Gilmour was caught swinging from a flag on the Cenotaph and consequently ended up with a Prison sentence of 16 months. Now I can only comment on what I hear on the news but while I don’t condone inappropriate behaviour of this kind, how is it that a copper’s son who was apparently nicking and rampaging causing damage gets off scot-free compared with someone who perhaps allowed the occasion and excitement of the occasion get to him who ends up, with to my mind, a ridiculous prison sentence?

    This is of course my personal opinion. 😉

    Am I the only one or have I got it wrong?

    Confused of Langley!! 8|

    1. Not forgetting the most recent example of an utterly ridiculous prison sentence: that of Omar Ibrahim, jailed for 18 months for throwing a smoke bomb during the protest against government cuts (that was ‘cuts’, if you read it quickly, there was no ‘n’) back in March.

      He wrote a piece in yesterday’s Guardian entitled, ‘Is locking people up the way we want to deal with dissent?’

      Sadly, it would seem so.

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