Jun 022015
 

Many people decry the idea of the United States being a global policeman – intervening militarily around the world. But what about when we need an actual global policeman; a police agency to investigate wrong doing in an organisation that crosses international boundaries and is seemingly beyond the scope of any single national justice system?

FIFA is an international body that is utterly corrupt in a way that involves massive amounts of money. Could the justice system of any country, apart from the United States, possibly attempt to hold FIFA and its officials accountable for their actions?

Would anyone trust or have confidence in the law enforcement agencies of Russia or China to do the job? Or Britain, France or Germany for that matter? People would question such an organisation’s authority or competence. The FBI and the United States Justice Department is another matter.

And make no mistake, corruption in FIFA does matter. It may not be immediately obvious that it’s of massive importance – world cups are international sporting tournaments that work incredibly well and are hugely popular. But the corruption around such a prestigious international organisation has the effect of normalising corruption all around the world. The future well being of international football is not clear as well. A world cup in scorching Qatar built upon the deaths of hundreds of workers? The reputation of FIFA and international football may be irrecoverably affected. What a pity it would be to lose having a respected and admired world cup tournament.

For those of us who often criticise the United States, it’s an uncomfortable truth that the world occasionally needs a global policeman, and the United States is the only player up to the job.

A final thought though – it’s prohibited to take bribes but no-one thinks of prosecuting anybody when worker after worker dies – that’s not illegal even if it is a fair worse crime.

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  • Sep 012013
     
    Red weights on a blue background.

    I’ve never been a very good sleeper but after a recent rapid decline in the amount of sleep I was getting, I decided to hit the nail on the bed and try and improve the quality of my sleep. A bit of research later and I concluded that the pattern of my sleeping was the key to improvement. Each night’s sleep mattered but the overall pattern of sleeping was the key to success – much like it is for exercise.

    A friend of mine started on an exercise program entitled something like, the 30 day shred, a rapid, intense work out that will ensure dramatic improvement. Such a course is doomed to failure. After a month’s holiday around Southeast Asia, I hit the weights again once more and my body did not like this one little bit. Despite a relatively easy workout, my muscles were sore for a good week. A 30 day shred for someone who hasn’t exercised for a long, long time if ever is ridiculous. I doubt the 30 day shred earmarks days 2 to 6 for ‘REST BECAUSE EVERY MUSCLE IN MY BODY IS PURE PAIN’.

    The 30 Day Shred and similar programmes are close to useless for improving one’s health. What is the 30 Day Shred designed for? To get the participant exercising quickly and to see a rapid physical improvement? No. It is designed to make money for its creators. The internet is littered with adverts that promise to reveal a secret, ‘one funny little trick’ and son, that will allow for a quick loss of weight, rapid muscle growth and so on.

    Of course it’s all baloney – there are no short-cuts to greatness. One can wake morning after morning at 6am so in the evening you are tired or you can pop a sleeping pill – but only one is a long-term solution.

    Exercise, weight loss programmes and many other plans for improvement ignore the key to success. Discipline. Now some people reading this are thinking, ‘obviously’. You know the ones, conversation-killers who drop the ‘obviously’ bomb to kill the conversation when you bring something up for discussion. Well to you guys I say that not everyone is like you – thank goodness.

    But this group can be divided into two. Their are people who have discipline and use it to achieve success and to those guys I say well done. The other group, I think would say that it’s obvious that discipline is vital but in reality they have got little or no discipline in their lives, so maybe it’s not so obvious.

    Few exercise programmes for the beginner seem to try and teach discipline because the short quick fix seems is so appealing. Intense short bursts of effort are rewarded with quick gains. On some level perhaps we just can’t face the idea of slow but steady improvement.

    People can spend years talking and thinking about losing weight or getting more exercise with little if any long-term improvement. The long-haul approach is vital to achieving change. The individual exercise session or one day’s efforts are important, they are the building blocks of the wall but getting used to doing something day after day is far more important.

    Forget about the high-intensity effort of any single session but rather about implementing a long-term plan that is low-intensity but regular.

    Have you tried everything to lose some weight? Well have you gone for a 30 minute walk in the morning and then again in the evening, every day for six months? No? Well maybe that might do it. It’s long, boring and the only way it will happen. I suppose you can eat less too but I can’t quite get my head around that. One thing at a time.

    Anyway I’m off for a bike ride. I decided to cycle every day when I wake up (after writing!) for 30 minutes. I am on day four of a ninety day plan. I’ll let you know how it goes.

    May 142012
     
    Bolton Wanderers 1920s

    “I’m Bolton till I die,

    I’m Bolton till I die,

    I know I am,

    I’m sure I am,

    I’m Bolton till I die!”

    A rather dramatic title perhaps but I suppose that is the point and I do not think a more gentle way to describe my feelings regarding Bolton Wanderers Football Club would be appropriate.

    There are two kinds of football. There is the football you play and then there is the football you watch. This second kind of football really makes very little sense and it is the sort of football that I am writing about.

    I am not sure that I like football. In many, many ways I don’t understand football but I love Bolton Wanderers with all my heart and I think always will.

    What is Bolton Wanderers or any club for that matter? A name? 11 players? A stadium and some supporters? Well it really isn’t any of those things, although they are all requirements. Perhaps it is simply – history. The celebration of every goal and every fan who ever dreamed that this day may be our day.

    Some people laugh when they find out that I am a Bolton fan or think that it is somewhat strange – why not support another team, a more successful team? I find this a bewildering attitude.

    You don’t choose a football team to support! Your football team chooses you! It’s not a calculation or a decision. One day, you realise that you support a team and that is that. I can think of few deeds worse than that of changing which football team you support (with a possible exemption for children).

    I admire and respect the dedication and heart that people put into supporting their football team. I never think, ‘really?’ I take my hat off to them and wish them well, unless they are playing Bolton Wanderers that week.

    My first memory of supporting Bolton Wanderers is from January 1993. We were in the third tier of English Football. We hadn’t been in the top flight since before I was born. We were to play the FA Cup champions, Liverpool, the most successful club of recent years, certainly before the soon to take place rise of Manchester United.

    We were written off. No chance, no hope, the result a mere formality.

    I listened to the match on the radio. We were 2-0 nil up at half time! I can recall the unbelievable feeling of exhilaration as the goals went in. I think, and could well be wrong, that it was John McGinley and Jason McAteer who scored. In the second half Liverpool got two back and the game finished 2-2. We went to Anfield for the replay and miraculously, won. This would set the bar for my expectations rather too high for the years that followed. But we did have the odd few moments of glory in the FA Cup over the next few years. We would rise to the dizzy heights of the Premier League in 1997 after coming down from 3-0 in the Play Off final to win 4-3.

    I think the hardest day for me as a Bolton fan was losing to Aston Villa in the semi-finals of the FA Cup. It was the last final to take place at the old Wembley Stadium before it was demolished. Bolton won the first FA Cup final that ever took place at Wembley, way back in 1923, and what an idea, that we might be in the final of the last FA Cup final to be held there. And who knows – we might even win…

    But it was not to be. Bolton came desperately, heartbreakingly close to winning. The ‘golden goal’ system was in operation (the next team to score would win). But no-one did and it went to penalties and Villa won. Bolton weren’t in the premier league at the time and I remember the commentator saying how great it was that the final would have two premier league teams in it and he added that it would be a final, ‘worthy of the occasion’.

    It wasn’t so much that we lost that bothered me (though it did, enormously), it was the idea that we didn’t deserve to be there in the first place. We weren’t just defeated. We were dismissed from the right of even competing.

    To those people that laugh at the idea that someone would support Bolton Wanderers, I have a rather simple message: go fuck yourselves! To hell with your ridicule and your mocking.

    It’s not just about winning! It’s about your team winning! If it was just about winning everyone would support Manchester United and in many, many ways that would not be a world worth living in.

    Bolton Wanderers got relegated yesterday after 11 years in the premier league. I remember when we got promoted back in 2000, there was no sense of entitlement, we had earned it and we knew that we would have to earn it each and every year. We half expected to get relegated the very next season as we had done just a couple of years previously.

    Some people support what they consider ‘big clubs’. Some club’s supporters believe that they have a right to a place in the premier league, even a right to success. If there is such a thing as a ‘big club’, you earn it, one tackle, one goal and one match at a time. No football club has a right to anything.

    As a Bolton fan, I will never complain that we are not where we deserve to be (though of course, I reserve the right to complain about horrendous refereeing decisions). For better or for worse, we are exactly where we deserve to be, and I am right there with them. There is only one kind of victory in football that means anything to me and that’s a victory for Bolton Wanderers.

    Bolton Wanderers is my football club and it always will be. God forbid that it should cease to exist one day, but if it did, well then I would have no team.

    So here’s to next season, to the heartache and disappointment of defeat and to the ecstasy of victory and to the sometimes too cruel hope that this year may be our year.

    To those of you that do not understand why I support Bolton Wanderers – I pity you. To quote Thomas Paine, ”What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value.” That it so hard is what make it worth doing. Though sometimes I wish it wasn’t quite so hard.

    Nov 162011
     

    When I first heard that Margaret Thatcher was to receive the Hollywood treatment, my stomach filled with feelings of despair and helplessness about what was surely to come.

    Would the film, starring Meryl Streep, look at the huge and costly effects of her premiership on the quality of life of people in Britain? Would it examine the morality of her extreme right-wing, anti-working class agenda? Or on the other hand would it just show her and the battles she had with other politicians to become Prime Minister. Would it show her as a brave, courageous woman fighting discrimination and the male elite or would it show her as someone who was firmly part of the ruling-class elite, perhaps indeed that ruling class elite’s greatest ever champion and someone who cared little for millions upon millions of working class women?

    If the reviews are correct (such as this one) then it seems my fears have been realised. Perhaps the title, “The Iron Lady” made it inevitable that it was going to portray Thatcher in such an admiring way. I would have gone for the title of “Thatcher: Milk Snatcher”.

    Thatcher it seems is still in popular in parts of British society. But she’s far more popular in America. The devastating effects of her programme on the British people aren’t of as much interest overseas as they are in Britain. In America and elsewhere, she was seen chiefly as a female leader, an ally of Reagan and a fearsome and courageous leader.

    She was the first woman to become Prime Minister and as Prime Minister she did nothing for women. She was a green grocer’s daughter who rose to the top of society, and she did her best to ensure that the people who came after couldn’t do the same.

    She made Britain a worse place and the lives of millions of people harder. It is a pity that the film doesn’t think that this is worth addressing. But why would it?

    Most political coverage is a bit like sports coverage. Sports coverage looks primarily at the players and the tactics of the teams rather than how the game is affecting the crowd. But when political coverage treats politicians like players it does us all a great disservice.

    The effects of the political ‘game’ on the ‘crowd’ matters a heck of a lot more than the effect of a football game on the crowd watching. Different sports teams don’t (with some exceptions!) have differing levels of morality. And usually the results of a sports match aren’t a matter of life and death for people.

    The peaceful protest of the Occupy Wall Street Movement at Zuccotti Park was violently terminated just a few days ago. Yet how much political coverage doesn’t feature this story and the all connected issues involved? Far too much. Instead they have superficial coverage of candidates for the Republican nomination. Such coverage can be about candidates performances in the polls for example, but what all these stories have in common is this; they do not look at the issues. They treat politics as a clash of personalities and as a game when they should be looking at how people will be richer or poorer or better or worse off as a result of the agendas of the politicians and how those agendas often differ from what the majority of society believes.

    So you can look see the story of Margaret Thatcher as how a woman rose to the top. You can look at her battles with Heseltine and Howe. Or can see her rise as an internal battle in the establishment and instead look at how she made millions of people’s lives harder, at how she stood up for the interests of the rich and how she battered the poor. You could even look at how many of our current economic problems started with Reagan and Thatcher and the rise of the hard-right/free-market fundamentalists as the dominant political ideology of the western world.

    Aug 242011
     

    There are a number of different epiphanies or moments of realisation that you go through as a smoker. You think things are one way and then you realise in a blinding moment of understanding that they are not and everything is suddenly changed and the world may even look like a slightly different place. For example there is the first time that you realise that you can’t simply just stop smoking, that it’s no longer a habit but an addiction and that you’re hooked.

    Perhaps the scariest realisation I had was that even if I stopped smoking perhaps the damage had already been done. I had always thought that as long as I eventually stopped smoking I would be okay, the damaging effects of smoking would be reversible. After all, I had only been smoking for a little while. Then all of a sudden, I woke up one day and I’d been a smoker for 10 years. Maybe the damage had already been done.

    After starting smoking again, after my longest period of nicotine abstinence (57 days), the thought occurred to me, what if I can never stop smoking?

    I had known for some time it would be difficult, then I thought maybe it would be the most difficult thing that I would ever have to do but I always thought, one day, I would manage to stop smoking. No matter how long it took, no matter how many times I failed and lit up again, I always thought that one day, eventually I would look back, a happy ex-smoker, free and contented. But now I have to face the fact that I may smoke to end of my days, and that that end could come a fair bit sooner and be a lot more painful.

    I started smoking when I was 17. I don’t know why, maybe it was boredom, maybe I liked going out with everyone at break-times. I would often have to choose between spending my money either on getting the bus to college or to buy a packet of cigarettes. I walked an awful lot back then.

    After two or three years of smoking, going for a run became a bit more difficult and I would cough up the most vile, despicable substances you can imagine.

    I first tried to quit a few months around then. I managed nine days. In the maybe hundred attempts to quit since then, I’ve managed to surpass that nine days perhaps half a dozen times. I must have thought about quitting every day for at least the last five years.

    Everyone knows that smoking is dangerous, that it’s a huge financial burden and that it makes you, quite frankly, stink. But less talked about, is the coughing and hacking and the phlegm and the fact that it gets harder to breath. I hate it. And I can’t seem to stop. For the last couple of months, I’ve gone about a week maybe two before I break and light up again.

    Some people say that stopping smoking is like quitting any addiction – you just have to stop – and there is something to that. But saying that you just have to stop smoking is just repeating saying what you have to do – stop smoking. The problem is when you stop smoking you no longer want to not smoke, you want a cigarette and as soon as you light up, you want to be not smoking. I had to learn to tell myself that when I crave a cigarette, I really don’t, it’s just the addiction speaking. But sometimes it’s not enough.

    Nothing great happens when you stop smoking. In fact things can get worse, you cough a lot more as your lungs start working again, and that little crutch that gets you out of office, that is your reward, is gone. You stop smoking and you take a look around and your life is pretty shit. It gets better, but it takes a while.

    Some smokers say that they enjoy smoking, and I can’t disagree that on occasion having a smoke is great. Say after a meal or in the pub with a few beers but most of the time we puff away wishing nothing more than being free from this soul-crippling addiction. Even as we bring the cigarette to our lips we wish we could stub it out for the last time. Some people say they have no wish to quit smoking but I think most of the time that’s ego talking. Who wants to admit to being a junkie? So people tell themselves that it’s a choice that they happily pick.

    As you go through a period of smoking less as you repeatedly try to quit, it is tempting to think you can just cut down a bit, that you don’t have to completely give up. You can smoke one or two a day or once or twice a week, but keeping yourself to that is a difficult task. It requires a huge amount of effort that I think it is unsustainable. Eventually you become a full-time smoker again. You’re a smoker or you’re not – there are no half-measures.

    Quitting smoking is hard, I think it might be the hardest thing that I ever do. Thomas Paine said, “What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: ’tis dearness only that gives everything its value. ” And that’s it. You quit smoking and you get the world or least your life back.

    Normally when I write a piece about the news or my life there is a natural end to the story. If it’s not there when I start, something usually turns up as I’m writing. But not this time. This story doesn’t finish, it just goes on and on and on. That’s the thing about quitting something. There is no day where you win, were you can stand up and declare victory and move on with your life. You just carry on, a day at a time, not doing something.

    Anyway, I’m off. Writing all this has really made me want a cigarette.

    Aug 182011
     

    I’ve got it folks. Ever since the Tories and the Lib Dems joined together to form the coalition government following the general election in 2010, people have been wondering what issue, what event could drive the two parties apart? Everyone with an interest in politics has devoted some amount of time to thinking about this because of the potential consequences; a general election. An early general election would not only be important, it would be great to watch on News 24 as the events unfolded.

    But until now nothing had quite fitted the bill. Both parties were quite willing to comprise on their supposed deeply-held beliefs and polices to get what all politicians crave above all else; power and the opportunity to make poor peoples live even worse than they already are.

    The Tory leadership were quite willing to disappoint their backbenchers and be less overtly sexist and homophobic. It was a win-win for them really, they got to appear modern and tolerant and yet they can say to their backbenchers, “Sorry, we would love to be more bigoted but there is nothing we can do. Those bloody Lib Dems! Oh well…” The Tories were also quite willing to give the Lib Dems a referendum on a change to the voting system that no-one wanted, including the Lib Dems! How they must have laughed about that.

    The Lib Dems were of course willing to make comprises to get their grubby little hands on power. They had not been in Government for around 90 years and were like some perpetually horny teenager who was finally getting the chance to ‘do it’. Although the whole experience may be so traumatising that this particular Lib Dem horny teenager will find it’s a long, long time before they ever get the chance to ‘do it’ again.

    There had always been a divide in the Lib Dems on economic issues; the ‘orange-bookers’ on the right-wing and the ‘social democrats’ on the left-wing. But the right-wing had always been bigger and dominated the leadership and the left-wing had never been that left-wing, more of a centre-wing really.

    It also helped that they were quite willing to abandon any policy whatsoever like their commitment to not raise (and in fact to get rid of) tuition fees, not seeming to understand why it was that people got annoyed when they said “Sorry… for making that promise in the first place.”

    Maybe civil liberties would turn out to be the Achilles heel of the government? The Lib Dems have been to the left of the Tories and Labour on civil liberties, ie they believe that people should have some civil liberties. The Tories traditionally have been authoritarian and believed in a government just small enough to berate people on their sexual morals (while never living up to their professed standards), listening to their phone-calls and locking people-up with no evidence for their guilt.

    It has to be said that the Labour government went so far to the extreme on believing that having rights a government could not disregard any time it chose was a quaint concept, that they made the Tories seem reasonable in comparison, but there was still quite a gulf between the two coalition partners to be.

    It turns out that the Lib Dems and Tories came up with quite a clever solution. Essentially nothing would change. The Tories would not take up Labour’s example and further curtail civil liberties until Britons had so few liberties it was like we were all at a new years eve party waiting in 1983 and the Lib Dems would do what they do best; very little. There would be no roll-back of the restrictions but things wouldn’t get any worse. Genius really although not an Einstein kind of genius, more the genius of a really evil shit.

    So what could it be? What could bring down the coalition? Well the riots and their aftermath have given us the answer. That while all the Tories are always completely batshit crazy, the Lib Dems aren’t.

    Now I don’t mean the Tories are mentally ill. They are fully aware of what they are doing and should be held accountable. They do not have any kind of political equivalent of being ‘innocent by reason of insanity’. Being crazy is not the only reason the Tories have the policies they do, it’s also because of the deeply flawed, both logically and morally, way in which they see the world. But in a political sense they are crazy. They’re nuts. The hold their political position in a perfect storm of evilness, stupidity and craziness.

    We saw it all quite clearly during the riots. Government ministers would appear on TV and say things like “I don’t want to listen to reasons for why things happened.” On Newsnight, Tories would just shout at people who tried to explain that maybe their were reasons for the largest riots in living memory taking place. They refused to believe that was any difference between the words ‘reason’ and ‘excuse’. They seem to be on the verge of coming up with a new word like ‘reacuse’ or ‘exeason’.

    Essentially anyone thinking that the recession, 30 years of a neo-liberal agenda that has vastly diminished most peoples standards of living, the criminal corruption of bankers and politicians and the rise of vapid consumerism as an all-powerful force might have something to do with the fact that society had just imploded might as well having been running around London in their looted trainers and committing arson.

    Now the Lib Dems are self-serving, opportunistic and completely lacking in any sense of decency but they are not always completely batshit crazy. Some people involved with the riots should go to prison but not EVERYONE involved in the riots – that is clearly completely MENTAL!

    Evicting an entire family from their home because one of their members was involved with the riots is many, many things (none of them good) but it also doesn’t make any sense. Where will they all go? Locking people up for 4 years because of a facebook message is as stupendously stupid as putting a message on facebook that could get you locked up for 4 years – it’s facebook for crying out loud not the inside of your mind – other people can see it! Six months in prison for stealing £3.50 worth of bottled water is as crazy as deciding when you’re looting from a shop to take £3.50 worth of bottled water! Wait a minute there’s a theme emerging here.

    The Tories and the rioters are like the two flipsides of a particularly sorrow-inducing coin. Their actions are unthinking, short-sighted and wrong but one of the sides has poverty, ignorance and an obsession with trainers and mobile phones to explain (not justify!) their actions.

    Locking people up for crimes that clearly don’t merit it and putting them on the path to becoming career-criminals won’t help anyone. America has gone down this route and now has 3 million people in prison – more than any other country in history – though to be far some countries have in fact been little more than giant prisons.

    Of course the Lib Dems won’t actually do anything about any of this because apart from their slender grip on reality (this doesn’t extend to their performances in future elections) they have no other qualities apart such as backbone or principals – the kind you do something about.

    But as for the guy who took the great riots of 2011 as an opportunity to steal Tesco value Basmati rice. Lock him up and throw away the key.

    Aug 042011
     

    After the recent deal to increase America’s debt limit, a lot of Democrats in Congress and some political pundits complained about the Republicans. They complained about how unreasonable Republicans were, how irresponsible they were, how unwilling to compromise and how they were will to take the nation to the brink of catastrophe to get their way.

    Everything the Democrats have said about the congressional Republicans is true.

    Now if only there was someone out there who could stand up to these Republicans and their dastardly plans? If only there were people in Congress who could vote against the Republicans’ plans. If only there were people in Congress who fought just as hard as the Republicans and refused to roll over every time it got tough. If only there were people who said they would be willing to compromise, in the end, but not on any terms and if that meant catastrophe, it would not be their fault. If only these people knew that if you aren’t prepared to walk away from a negotiation, that you will get absolutely nothing.

    If only the Democrats weren’t so completely and utterly useless.

    Democrats make themselves sound like they are the victims of a mugging! No! The vast majority of America are the victims and the Democrats are the standers-by who did nothing to stop the mugging taking place. You could even say that as they control the Whitehouse and the Senate, they aren’t even standers-by, they are armed cops who decide for the sake of everyone involved not to interfere with the mugging in case someone gets hurt. Then they tell the people who got mugged to make sure they still vote for them to stay being the police or things might get really bad.

    The Democrats complaining about how mean and nasty the Republicans are, is one of the most vomit-inducing aspects of this debt crisis and of politics recently.

    Republicans fight for the interest of the small section of society they concerned about; a small, rich and powerful elite. Democrats don’t seem themselves as representing the workers that make up the vast majority of society and that’s why they won’t fight for them. Democrats want a deal with the American ruling class and that’s why they won’t fight. They would rather lose, every time, than fight.

    Jul 252011
     
    It's a bird.

    This little tale isn’t really going to go anywhere; there’s no twist at the end nor a thought provoking moral lesson. But what took place this morning was somewhat unusual, so I thought I’d write it down in the hope that it may turn to be interesting or even funny. I’ve also not posted in a little while and this is all that I’ve got.

    I’d just got out the shower to hear the front door bell ring and so answered dressed just with a towel wrapped around my nether regions. On the way to the door I heard a very loud thud but I thought no more about it preoccupied as I was with answering the door somewhat exposed. At the front door there was a delivery man who informed me that the loud thump had been a bird flying into my kitchen window. And that I had a delivery. Well the delivery wasn’t for me, it was for my housemate. This would not be the biggest disappointment of the day. After signing for the package and putting on some clothes, I went to investigate.

    There was indeed a bird in the garden, lying on the plants below the kitchen window. It was not in a good way. Now I had always imagined that if a bird or other animal was in distress I would do whatever needed to be done do to aid the injured animal and ensure it’s recovery back to full health. There would almost certainly be a cardboard box, a blanket and a call to the RSPCA involved. Perhaps a few weeks of tender care involving some feeding with a pipette before the animal was released back to roam the wild or more likely it choose to stay with me, a friend for life. But it didn’t really turn out like that.

    The bird wasn’t moving. I had no idea if it was dead or just unconscious. I went in for a closer look and there were mites or similar such insects crawling through its feathers. Seeing if it had a heartbeat much less any form of resuscitation was off the agenda. So what to do? My main concern was the fact that I was late for work. Terrible I know. Why didn’t I care more? I could only think, well, it’s just a dead bird.

    Now, I couldn’t leave it there on the ground so I got an old towel and very carefully lifted it off the ground and with the towel for a blanket I left it on top of the bin. Now I considered throwing some water on it to wake it up but then I thought how that would be slightly ridiculous. It had smashed into a window and was probably dead. My only knowledge of rousing someone (or thing) from an unconscious state was from TV and films. But neither water, smelling salts or a slap seemed appropriate. I wonder how many more situations I will face in my life where I release that I know absolutely nothing about what to do because TV had fooled me in to thinking I knew something but in fact it was all merely ridiculous lies. Reality eh?

    So I left the bird on the top of the bin (with the towel as a blanket) and went to work. I didn’t really think there was anything I could do or even wanted to do. I didn’t think I could justify coming in to work late and quite frankly I didn’t want to go to work late. When I was younger there was no way I would have left that bird and I wonder when it came to be that I didn’t really care. Although if it had been a cat or dog I would have rang the RSPCA. But if you’d asked me yesterday about whether I would have rang the RSPCA for an injured bird, I would have said yes.

    Now I think a key factor here is that the bird was probably dead. If it had been obviously alive and injured I couldn’t have let it suffer. But I didn’t know, definitely, that it was dead, I just guessed it was. But what kind of a call would that have been? Hello, is that the RSPCA? I have a bird that I think is dead but it might just be suffering from massive brain trauma. Could you send round your top bird neurologist? Cheers.

    So all day at work I wondered what would await me when I got home. Would it be there dead, would it have flown away or would it be in the jaws of a cat looking at me, blinking (do birds blink?) and just before it passed on it would say “Andy, you could have saved me. You bastard.” Great, I’ve just let the world’s first talking bird die.

    Anyway, to cut it short, when I got home, it was lying there, dead. So I put it in the bin.

    True story.