Up the Duff: Criticising Guns N’ Roses Reason

Readers who don’t know or understand my writing over the last decade at the greenYgrey, fmpoetry and here might think I don’t like Guns N’ Roses, and especially Duff McKagan, after my last blog post cited some criticisms. However, they will have missed the point, and one of my biggest motivations in my writing: that everything is criticisable, including your biggest heroes.

Kill Your Idols: Just Be Open to Criticising Them Really

In fact, I’m following the advice of Guns N’ Roses, or Axl at least, as he once wore a t-shirt with Kill Your Idols (metaphorically, I’m pretty sure, as it featured Jesus on, who’s not around any more; I think Axl’s a Christian too, as he wears big crosses now!) on; a punk message I’m sure Duff will understand, and probably support.

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I’m also probably influenced by my decade in university, when I was taught to look at issues from all angles.

I was always a bit of a contrary rebel anyway. I was at a young impressionable age when punk started, followed by Pink Floyd’s The Wall, then a full on Metal and Rock headbanger, so I don’t know if it was nature or nurture.

Unfortunately, Western culture seems to be less open now, partly because of political correctness (somebody’s very offended about everything), and partly because of the openness of social media leading to more crassness and less eloquence, volume rather than quality, therefore making more censorship seem reasonable (I accept that some people may think the same about me; and that I could also sound snobby writing that!)

Duff’s My Closest Guns N’ Roses Life Comparison

Out of the three autobiographies I read, I think Duff was my most comparable life, as he went to university and took up endurance sports to escape the excesses of the rock n’ roll life, or at least to give him another dimension to his life. Duff has also been working as a journalist, and he and his wife have also been supporting animal welfare issues.

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Of course, our lives are not equal or comparable really, as he’s one of the stars of Guns N’ Roses and I’m one of the fans, and that’s the way it’s always been; and always will be as far as I’m concerned.

Dreams do Happen, but so do Nightmares

While it may appear I have an Eminem ‘Stan’ relationship to Guns and other stars, I’m completely in touch with reality; but try not to let it box me in. Lars Ulrich of Metallica fame was a fan who did travel to California (from Denmark) chasing the rock n’ metal dream, and it worked for him!

I’ve written several books since becoming a Doctor of Philosophy, achieving my initial ambition to be published (against those who want to make me a failure), and had a little success (for the nice people who want me to be humble), but I know my place in rock n’ metal music is just as a long-term and not very fanatical headbanger.

Lars Ulrich went to the right place at the right time. Music and writing are both struggling now, due to the internet, but there are still opportunities, and I’m still doing it… because I love writing, and especially writing about things I love, such as rock n’ metal, and its culture of freedom, openness, escape and dreams…

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Guns N’ Roses Layabout Image and Hard Sell Reality

Reading Duff, Slash and Steven’s autobiographies last year I realised that although they had a layabout punk image, and seemed to have emerged into stardom by accident from nowhere they had worked hard at it, flyering and even relentlessly cold calling people who registered with them.

So although their image was one of anti-capitalist rebellion, they probably played the ‘game’ more than most people.

They then had to have a good ‘business head’ while negotiating contracts, including dealing with Kim Fowley, of The Runaways notoriety.

Of course, after they got big, there were internal disputes, with Axl taking the rights to the Guns name.

Although Duff was the ‘punk’ of the group he seemed particularly peeved at all the money dealings he missed or loused up; as well as having disdain for an old music hero of his he ended up living next door to, and who still had a bad drug habit; and he then became a music business adviser: Wikipedia – he attended Seattle University‘s Albers School of Business and Economics in the early 2000s, and subsequently founded the wealth management firm Meridian Rock.

I’ve tried to keep to a soft sell in my writing career, but I now know, since last year, that if I was copying Guns, I would be much more proactive and hard selling.

I think society is full of people copying their heroes’ image, rather than the reality.

 

At Home in Athens at End of Epic Hitch-hike in 1987

We made it to Athens, and my fellow hitch-hiker who was going home, made me feel welcome. He was a cool guy, the kind who’s popular in youth, carefree and conniving, like a young Russell Brand.

Looking back at him with middle-aged eyes and brain, he looks a bit of a user, avoiding national service and living off his parents and friends. I don’t know if he was really on POAK’s books as a footballer, or if they dismissed him because of his long hair and earring. I can’t remember if any of his friends or family confirmed his story or not; and they’d probably have heard it from him anyway. I guess he did play for them, but maybe he just didn’t make it, and his hair and earring was a better reason to give for his image?

I went along with him because I was getting something out of it too. If he’d just been asking for money all the time, and not doing anything for me, I’d have gone my own way; as I’d do with some fellow worker-travellers on Crete, and other people later in life; such as those who tried to claim credit for my writing!

Anyway, I’m probably trying to analyse it too much, due to my time and training in university, and writing career, and the grooming epidemic in U.K./Europe.

You readers would probably prefer to see it as a nice friendship between two people from different countries, thrown together by fate in a magical hitch-hiking ride covering most of Greece by a driver from another country, as one hitch-hiker returned home, and the other finished his over month-long mostly hitch-hiking and sleeping rough inaugural travel journey around Europe.

Here’s the next day’s diary, as it was in all its youthful innocence back in 1987:

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90th Hitch-hiking Lift Greek Gods Heaven and Hell

My last day of hitching on my journey from the U.K. to Greece in 1987 was an epic one, as I travelled through the land of Greek gods, with the final epic lift also providing classic comedy, as there was a breakdown, and we had to be towed part of the way.

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Grenfell Government – Immigration Balance Needed

I signed a petition for better sprinkler systems in multi-storey housing yesterday, and added this statement on Facebook:

I want safe housing for everybody, which I think depends on both a responsible government policy, and limits on immigration so there is enough room and funds for those needing social housing in this country. If there are too many people, and not enough housing and money, then disasters like this are more likely to happen.

Immigration a Factor on Public Spending

However the Grenfell disaster happened, it wasn’t directly caused by immigration, but it may have risen the number of casualties: that of course wasn’t the fault of the people involved.

However, the exponential rise in immigration over the last twenty years may have been a factor, as there is less public money to go around, and more people to accommodate – thus, less money for each housing complex. I don’t know if there should still be enough money to go around, but just going from logic, it seems as if it must be a factor?

New Labour left parliament with a note saying they’d spent all the money. Corbyn’s Labour plans to spend even more, as well as having an open borders policy on immigration, without explaining where the money’s going to come from… increasing our deficit for future generations? Are the Conservatives now spending money on the right things? I don’t know.

Immigration Causes Environmental Problems

There was a similar problem after the tragic death from asthma of a girl, and the mother was reported as suing the government because of pollution in London, claiming it as a causal factor.

I have particular sympathy for the mother and daughter in this case, as I have suffered asthma most of my life, and had many nearly all sleepless nights when young, sitting up in bed because it was too uncomfortable to lie down, maybe falling asleep in the end, but only when too tired. I had to have the doctor up to the house a few times in emergencies when young, while on the road I had a couple of bad attacks after getting colds in damp conditions.

I don’t know if the mother’s case has gone ahead, or if it’s been successful if it has, but I think it should only go ahead and be successful if the mother is also calling for controls on immigration, rather than just criticising the government for their policy.

Hong Kong (when U.K.) and Dubai Examples

What’s this got to do with travelling you may ask. Well, I’ve stayed in a lot of dodgy places while travelling the world on a shoestring. I lived on the 16th floor of Chungking Mansions in Hong Kong for a few months in 1990, and we used to joke about what a death-trap it was renowned to be, and how we’d have no chance if there was a big fire. It was more of a hotel and shopping complex than just housing, but Grenfell reminded me of it.

Then after Grenfell, a similar housing skyscraper in Dubai went up in flames in a similar way, and there were no fatalities.

What was the difference between Dubai and Grenfell/Chungking? I don’t know for sure, but it seems to have been a properly planned construction without cutting costs. Dubai is a rich country anyway I think, but the United Arab Emirates also has a strict immigration policy, and weren’t even taking refugees from Syria the last I heard – compared to Europe taking millions.

Politics and construction should be about good planning and decisions, creating the best conditions for the most people possible with the money available, not just piling as many people as possible up in dangerous conditions – if things go wrong, the survivors are just likely to sue anyway, and need compensation, taking away even more public funds.

In contrast, the government has apparently been reluctant to compensate child victims of the grooming epidemic that was ignored for a decade or two, mostly under New Labour, who started off the era of mass-relatively-uncontrolled immigration.

Conclusion

The main point of this blog post has been to call for a proper government strategy to make sure there are no more skyscraper deaths like Grenfell. I think that means having strict rules on immigration and building, and not an anarchic system either on borders or in building – more like my writing career than my building one, as I was a bit of a headless chicken cowboy labourer there – which does sound a bit like my spontaneous prose coffilosophy I suppose, but I have learnt to structure and format it as well, and am proud of my book constructions.

I hope all the innocent and good victims of Grenfell get their lives back on track, and the mother of the asthma victim gets the justice she deserves, but I also want the best for my demographic, and think we’ve been overlooked and largely ignored all my life – from the attacks against the unions in my 1980s youth, through New Labour neglecting us, to the Con-Dem cuts and now being caught in the middle of Conservatives being more interested in cutting public spending and Corbynistas catering more for race and immigration than class and tradition.

 

 

Guns N’ Roses Song Remembered On The Road

I didn’t remember citing a Guns N’ Roses song in my diary travelling through the old Yugoslavia in 1987 until re-reading it recently, but was delighted to do so, after naming my memoir of the journey: The Guns N’ Roses Worker-Traveller.

Living the Dream is sometimes a Nightmare

This page of the diary also shows that I have always preferred slim waify women, preferably blonde, or honey brunettes, considering a Samantha Fox lookalike fellow traveller a ‘bit overweight’. That’s because when I said the same after a ‘relationship’ with a similar looking woman went pear-shaped people just thought I was saying that.

It also shows that I have usually been too standoffish with women, and was usually happy to take the easier option of watching the view go by, or get drunk, than enter into a relationship, or take the necessary steps of courting to make that happen. That was down to good ol’ simple shyness or uncomfortableness, and one of the reasons I liked a drink.

It also features a meeting with an old man, that was as far as I know genuine. I didn’t try and visit him in Athens afterwards. The book does include some similar situations that were dodgy, in part featured because of the grooming situation I knew was going on in Britain and Europe, and as a general warning for youth about the dangers on the streets; as bands like Guns N’ Roses were also warning.

Warnings for youths about grooming were a constant during my decade of writing, and I also tried to do the same in (post) university and work. It was my goodbye present to youth, as I passed into middle-age; as seen in poems such as the fictional what could have been Professor Green / Plan B inspired Middle-Aged Memories.

Maybe I should still be trying to be a youth, as Lemmy of Motorhead seemed to be, and was loved for it, and as I’ve said before, the goldlilocks zone for women is still 21-40; but only if they want to be with me for me, and not gold-digging! But, to be truthful, I hanker more after mature sophisticated conversation than partying and debauchery; although it’s nice to have an occasional drink.

I’m sick of explaining everything I write, but then remember that my doctor and professor examiners didn’t seem to understand what I was trying to do in my PhD. I was beyond them then; in my head and world anyway, and their perception of me; which I think was generally classist, and sexist where applicable.

It’s quite ironic that people were trying to retire me when I was in my early 30s, but now they wonder why I don’t want to go out on the town when I’m in my early 50s! C’est la vie!!

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Elite Traveller and Student, not Elite Soldier

While some people may object to me using the word ‘elite’ I use it specifically and deliberately. When I’ve done my marathons I’ve not objected to the best athletes, many from Africa and Asia, being called ‘elite’, or taking my place behind them at the start, so after becoming the ultimate in studentdom of becoming a PhD, and achieving my ambition to travel to all the continents as a low-budget traveller in the 1980s/1990s, I think I’m entitled to call myself elite in those two areas – you may disagree, and you are entitled to your opinion.

Warrior Soldier Mentality in Society

I grew up on war movies and westerns, boxing fiction and reality too, so I don’t know if the warrior – soldier part of my personality psychology is nature (there is apparently a warrior gene) or social cultural nurture, but I always had it from an early age.

I thought about joining the forces at times, but wanted to be a footballer most, and anyway had asthma. By my teens I’d rebelled against authority anyway, and probably would have been diagnosed with ODD (Oppositional Defiance Disorder) now; as well as ADHD and bipolarity!?

By the end of my teens I’d worked out that it could get me into trouble, and I didn’t want to spend my time in prison, so I’ve been trying to avoid trouble as much as possible since. However, travelling tends to put you in situations where trouble is likely, as does moving to new areas. Not that all trouble hasn’t been my fault, and I know that drinking too much can cause me trouble, and turn me into a troublemaker.

Scumbags Should Accept Themselves for what they Are

One of the things I like about Axl Rose and Guns N’ Roses is that when they were L.A. back streets lowlife scumbags they accepted what they were, and even introduced themselves as such. Some people just won’t accept it, and hide behind ‘political correctness’. If people are poor, vulnerable or disadvantaged they are probably entitled to think they are that way for that reason, but the richer are even less likely to accept they are at least sometimes scumbags; I think it is human for everybody to be a scumbag sometimes, even if it’s just looking down on others they view as scumbags.

I’m not trying to make myself out to be a hero, or remove any blame from myself. I’m quite happy to take blame when it’s my fault; as my books, writing and poetry show; but I’m not happy to take blame when it’s not my fault, and especially when it’s being put on me by scum people; and especially scum people who think they’re brilliant, and don’t accept any blame or recognise any negativity about themselves.

The biggest scum of those people were the lifelong friends and somebody I was supposed to be in a relationship with; followed by some of the people I met in uni and work when I moved. Over the last twenty years those personal issues have been a cloud over me; mirrored in society by the rise of Islamist terrorism and mostly Muslim child grooming, rape, torture and forced prostitution.

I feel sorry for any innocent Rohingyas and other ‘Muslims’, but I still remember the YAZIDIS are being kept as sex slaves by Muslims in the Middle-East, as part of the attempted genocide of them, as well as many other victims of Islamism across the world.

Some of those people have been in the ‘establishment’, and a part of my brain thinks they’re behind it all: bring in a ‘culture’ under Multicultural Fascism that is even more sexist and paedophilic than them to make themselves look better. However, it was New Labour that brought that in, and the extreme left is still ignoring it: John McDonnell was quick to call Grenfell institutional ‘murder’, but where was he during 20 years of institutional ‘rape’ of the white underclass?

Real Hero Soldiers and the Problem with the Counterculture

I watched a couple of documentaries recently that kind of had a couple of sides to my personality in it, on different sides of ‘mainstream’ and ‘counter’ culture; documentaries that explain my shift from more ‘counter’ to more ‘mainstream’.

Storyville’s Silk Road told the sad story of a naturist libertarian intellectual who tried to create a better counterculture online, but ended up creating a dark web place for child porn, and ordering punishments when robbed, and is now serving a life without parole sentence.

The second was a Booktalk discussion with Captain Jonny Mercer, whose book We Were Warriors told of his time in the British army, including service in Afghanistan. Mercer talked very greenYgreyly (remembering my beloved greenYgrey) about himself, the British army’s failings and how he views the Conservative party he’s now joined.

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I’m Still greenYgrey

I’m not joining the Conservative party, but probably agree with them more on most things than Corbyn’s Labour, apart from animal welfare and environmentalism – Corbyn’s Labour doesn’t add up on the latter anyway, as mass immigration obviously cancels out any green initiatives.

For those who think I’ve changed drastically, well, I think I’ve probably changed less than most people my age; it’s Britain and the world that’s changed more than me. When the Falklands War happened when I was a teenager I didn’t like Thatcher and the Conservatives, but supported the war, because we were attacked and were in the right.

I’m probably still trying to prove I can be as hard as a soldier, and sensitive as a libertarian!

I went to my first festival the same year, and took my first hallucinogenic. I still think hallucinogenics can bring benefits, and have seen holiday articles in the mainstream media where they are used in therapeutic retreats. However, any drugs, including alcohol, can also lead to dependency, and a steep decline in the health of individuals, including putting children at risk from groomers, so I’m cautious to recommend it.

Tom Cruise on Booze

I’ve tried to be cautious in what I write and recommend during the last decade, and perhaps too much. Tom Cruise and other actors don’t seem to worry if their amazingly impressive brave and athletic stunts lead those who watch their films into great risk taking, so why should I – although the monotheistic mainstream like to blame me for all the problems in the world anyway!

It’s up to you, as is taking part in extreme sport, or joining the forces. I can’t advise too much, and don’t expect you to take any notice anyway, or even to have reached the end of this extreme coffilosophy blog post! If you have, thanks, and have a nice day…!

30th Anniversary Tour Finished: Thanks AAWfully, Rest greenYgreyly (coffilosophy wordplay to contemplate)

I concluded my 30th anniversary tour of my travels starting on August 25th, 1987 with a spectacularly genius combination: returning to my birthplace of Jersey for the first time in just over 50 years! It was a week full of the ups and downs typically experienced while independent travelling. I hope to write more about it soon.

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One of my first photos in 1987.

My year of returning to hobo travelling on short trips 2017 tour took in:

  1. Scarborough to Withernsea coastal path trek in May.
  2. Helmsley to Scarborough imprecise rest of the Cleveland Way walk in June.
  3. Guns N’ Roses gig in the Olympic Stadium in June, camping in Abbey Wood.
  4. Camping and hiking in Jersey less than fortnight after anniversary, and in the month of my birthday, and taking a ferry across the channel as I did in 1987.

 

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On a ferry in western Norway.

Thanks to all those I’ve met along the way and that have played a positive part in it, and especially the awesome AAWs and great greenYliens; and Guns N’ Roses for partly reforming and touring to take part in it (little self-parody there!!).

I really hope I brightened up the day of those who wanted to see me, as seeing people I’d heard of has for me over the years, such as sports and media people in Leeds.

Sorry if I didn’t acknowledge you if you wanted me to; or if I didn’t visit your locality if you wanted me to, or enter your workplace or use your transport.

The first of ignoring people was probably because some people take offence at me looking around, and some even use it to try and entrap me within a ‘negative’ for me, ‘positive’ for them. Sorry if you wanted to be positive, but I ‘wasn’t in the mood’! Like a reality show judge once said, I don’t want to disappoint anyone, and it can be quite mentally taxing at times, hopefully without sounding too self-obsessed!

The second was probably because of either my ambition to stay true to my original travelling as possible; to prove I did it originally to others, and that I can still do it to myself, probably in a middle-aged crisis kind of way.

I’d rather have been spending more money on beer and food, and occasional hotels and transport, but I was on my own little personal mission, and if I’d strayed too far from it, or even a little, the negatives would no doubt have made a mountain out of a molehill, as they’ve tried to do with my writing and running.

Anyway, I don’t want to dwell on the negatives too much, and I’m delighted to have accomplished the anniversary I wanted. Thanks again to all those who took part in it positively, helped along the way, or tolerated me hiking and camping around.

The greenYgrey decade also finished with the greenygrey3 subscription running out on September 4th, the day I travelled to Jersey, in a triple synchronisation of my writing career significance. ‘Mastermind genius’ used in a great way, but that will no doubt be ignored by the mainstream media and publishing; or turned negatively!

The books are there are as a greenYgrey legacy, and I really recommend them, especially the last two, and hope to write more about the greenYgreyology philosophy in the future, but as me, Doctor Marc Latham. I’ve tried to be very ethical the last decade, such as reining in promiscuity, mainly because the greenYgrey could appeal to all ages, and was oppsoing the child grooming disgrace, but some people even turn that into a negative.

I’ll be keeping this site going, and hope to have a new project or three soon, with lots of ideas, but no clear direction yet, in true greenYgrey style. If there are any experts or specialists in exercise, travel, media, sport or publicity etc interested, maybe now would be a good time to contact me.

30 Years Travelling Anniversary: Athens Photos and Ticket, Alcohol Labels

30 years ago yesterday I left home and today’s the anniversary of me landing on the continent, after taking a ferry from Dover to Ostend. I reached Athens in time for my 22nd birthday just over a month later, after hitch-hiking most of the way, first heading west to northern Spain.

Athens Photos and Alcohol Labels

I visited the Acropolis in Athens, and took three photos, but collected more alcohol labels, which pretty accurately showed my priorities at the time: I wanted to see major sites I knew, but was more interested in the experience of travelling, meeting people and socialising. Here’s the photos from the Acropolis in Athens, followed by photos of the Acropolis entrance ticket and alcohol labels:

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Acropolis Ticket and Two Main Beers

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Wine Labels

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Happy Solar Eclipse across U.S.A. and Everywhere, Two Months Travelling Thoughts

Looks like everybody’s having a great time waiting for the solar eclipse in the U.S.A. and I hope everything goes well for you on the big day, especially if you’re in the path of totality. It’s an historic occasion, and should be a historic memory for you… which is the kind of good event experience I recommend in my books.

Travel Diary Thoughts

Like arty creations do, I’m fast-forwarding ahead to the end of the batch of diary I wrote about in the last blog post, with an image of the packet the two months of pages were sent in from Crete, after I’d bought an exercise book to write the diary in from then on.

As I discuss in the diary page, I’d tried for work in Pirgos on the south coast and Chania on the north coast of Crete, and was now trying in Paleohora, back on the south coast. It didn’t turn out well for work there either, but I did find good work after that in Platanias, which is just to the west of Chania on the north coast.

This page includes reference to ‘worker-travellers’, which is what I named my book after: The Guns N’ Roses Worker-Traveller. It was quite an idyllic setting, with a tent community living on a nice beach out of season, with campfires at night.

The last paragraph contains some of my thoughts on the first few months of my travelling, and has more evidence of me being on a conscious journey of knowledge and experience seeking, with hopes that they would grow me as a person.

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