Tag Archives: books

Leeds United: Premier League to Football League Supporter

As you can see from my 1987/88 diary and this blog football was a big part of my life from childhood. That’s one of the reasons people thinking they are a big influence on me late in life annoy me so much. I had a big thirty years of life before coming to Leeds, from being moved from Jersey to  a damp one-parent family council flat where I became asthmatic to travelling to all the populated continents on a shoestring. I learnt a lot at university, and am still learning all the time, with my day-job good for technology and keeping me on my toes, balancing out my coffilosophy deep thought here. Some of the women have inspired some of my feminism, although only added to others before them, and some of my uni friends influenced my appreciation of the British countryside. I’d been hiking around the world before, but hadn’t bothered much in the U.K., trying to be as much of a ‘townie’ as possible when living in the countryside! I’m willing to provide appreciation and thanks to other people, but retract it if they take it the wrong way (such as sexually when it’s not), claim credit for my coffilosophical writing, or don’t consider themselves to have benefitted from knowing me (such as thinking themselves inherently above me). I think the ‘nice’ people have kept me on a ‘good path’, but sometimes think it’s the wrong one, and a dead end, and that I’d be better off deeply embedded with my ‘real demographic’.

Early Influences on Writing

As I’ve written before I dropped out of school in the second year of secondary school, losing interest and increasing rebelliousness, becoming quite politically aware for my age, mixed with the country seeming in turmoil, especially for the working-class. I only wanted to be a footballer anyway, so didn’t think school had any benefit; especially as it was totally focused on rugby union, which I also enjoyed playing, but preferred football.

Rather than schoolwork I preferred reading football and music papers and magazines, as well as The Unexplained: looking back, it’s probably a sign of ADHD, or maybe Asperger’s, having watched a Chris Packham (inspiration for greenYgrey nature correspondent Chris Packwolf!) documentary about his life with a mild form of it. I hope to focus more on that documentary in the near future.

While the first inspiration for my writing goes back to my earliest teaching to read and write, and the books such as Rupert the Bear that probably influenced the greenYgrey, the first big influence was probably the comics I used to read, and during good storylines, used to wait eagerly in anticipation for the next thrilling episode.

I still remember some of those characters. As ‘Hot Shot’ Lorimer played for Leeds, there was a Hamish ‘Hot Shot’ Balfour who played for Princes Park in Scotland; ‘Nipper’ Lawrence who grew up on the backstreets to play for Blackport and of course Roy Race of Melchester Rovers; I recently read the latter’s making another comeback!

Here’s some evidence of my early creativity, inspired and instructed by comics, at the ‘height of my childhood’, born in 1965, so probably the first Olympics and World Cup that I fully knew what was going on, and could watch fully; that’s what I guess now anyway, as they do seem the special ones, although I remember earlier ones:

 

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Leeds United Supporter Career

Growing up in south-west/mid Wales, everybody supports a big team, with Swansea the closest team to the town I lived in, fifty miles away. They were a lower league team in my childhood, so had no supporters amongst my age group that I knew; some had them as a ‘second team’, and took more interest when they reached Division One.

There were lots of Leeds fans, as they were one of the biggest clubs, and as I was more into football than most, I considered myself a Division One Leeds supporter. However, as I played every weekend, I was just an armchair fan.

That changed in 1985 when a friend with ties to the Swindon area asked if I wanted to go to the Swindon v Leeds F.A. Cup replay on February 3rd, 1987 (Footballsite date: I haven’t got a statto brain like a Leeds fan I saw on T.V. that can remember all such stats). I of course jumped at the chance, and four of us went to the game, which Leeds won 2-1 thanks largely to a heroic display by Mervyn Day in the Leeds goal.

I left to travel in August, 1987, and was away for nearly four years apart from a couple of months. I was then home for about two and a half years, and saw a few Leeds games as they returned to the glory days for a few years under Howard Wilkinson.

After returning in June, 1991, in the 1991-92 last Division One champions season I saw Leeds draw 1-1 at Everton on February 23rd and in my first game at Elland Road 0-0 at home to West Ham on March 28th (Wikipedia) (I’d remembered the Norwich game below as my first home one until now!).

In the 1992-93 season I saw Leeds beat Manchester City 1-0 on March 13th (Premier League).

We lost 0-4 to a great Norwich side on Saturday August 21st, 1993 in the 1993/94 season (Sky Sports), but then equalled it with a win, 4-0 v the Wimbledon crazy gang on October 3rd in the same season (Sky Sports).

Leeds Fan Distant Fantasy and City Reality

I left for the Americas later that autumn, and after returning the next autumn enrolled in an access course, and after completing it in 1995 was accepted by the University of Leeds.

I had a season ticket the first year, but then started working there, and I think saw every game over the next decade, when there was lots of glory without quite winning anything, but I did go to Wembley to see the League Cup final in my first season, and the Champions League semi-final season.

After gambling on regular Champions League football, and off-field distractions, there was unfortunately a big slump that has partially ended, with promotion from Division One to the Championship, and the early season was looking good, briefly leading the league, but not the last few games.

I write this having already achieved a winning season for my 5 games minimum: winning 4-1 v Port Vale, 5-1 v Newport and 2-0 v Brum; I also had a ticket for the 5-0 win v Burton but a ferry cancellation meant I didn’t make it, but I was there in seat and spirit!

Although I thought of myself as a Premier League Leeds supporter before arriving in the city, unfortunately I don’t feel like one any more, although I am still a keen follower. I’m not from Leeds or Yorkshire (although I found out after arriving that my Latham name is!), and don’t really want to go to every game like some fan(atics) do.

That’s probably partly down to the team not doing that well, the way football has gone in the last twenty years and my age too. If Leeds were doing well, it was still cheap to go, and I didn’t have other interests, such as this writing, I probably would want to go all the time!?

I feel able to write this with Leeds in a mini-slump, in the hope that it motivates the team to return to form for a tough schedule of four games in ten days. Good luck!

Like Peter Ridsdale, I nearly took Leeds United to the top of the world, after wearing the shirt for the whole of my Jiri to Gokyo Ri (5,357 m [17,575 ft]-high peak) trek in 1999:

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Marc Latham’s books are available on Amazon.

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Leeds United: Lorimer to Cantona Traveller

I was born in 1965 and started supporting Leeds United in 1970. They were one of the biggest clubs in the country at the time, and would go on to be a legendary one until Don Revie left to manage England in 1974. I can’t remember much about those seasons, apart from the two F.A. Cup finals.

Peter Lorimer and Eric Cantona, Leeds United Footballers

Peter ‘Hot Shot’ Lorimer was one of the star players and best known, because he was renowned for having the best shot and scoring spectacular goals, kind of like the David Beckham or Lionel Messi of his time; before European football was televised much in Britain; or Kevin De Bruyne in the Premier League at the moment.

Uncannily, not only was Lorimer my favourite footballer, but I think he looked a bit like me too… and Eric Cantona when at Leeds!

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From Lorimer to Cantona there was a decade and a half of strife. I listened to Leeds win promotion back into Division One on top of Chungking Mansions in Hong Kong in 1990. In 1991 I returned home on the Trans-Siberian from Beijing, via the Soviet Union (as it was then). I continued on the train to Prague in Czechoslovakia (before it divided), Budapest in Hungary and Berlin in Germany (recently united), before hitching back to Britain from there (taking a day to reach the port, Calais I think).

So I was back for the 1991/92 season, when Leeds won the last Division One title, with the help of controversial midfield/forward, Eric Cantona. He inspired my haircut, and I used to play with the number 2 shirt for my local team, as Cantona did, even though I was a centre forward at the time.

I also liked the fact that he tried to be an artist and  philosopher, providing a bridge to the ‘counter-culture’ I also liked. My favourite rugby union player of my childhood was also a Frenchman (maybe my Jersey birthplace influence), Jean-Pierre Rives, a ferocious tackler in my favourite position of flanker. I didn’t know what happened to him after he retired from rugby until looking him up during the writing of XaW Files, and found out he was also an artist!

Here’s some photos I consider my most Cantonaesque (and Lorimer) from my next travel to the Americas in 1993/94, when Leeds United’s resurgence also inspired me to take a replica shirt!:

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Day in the Life of a Worker-Traveller: October 16th, 1987, and 30 Years Later…

As I wrote my blog about travel heaven and hell on Monday morning, October 16th, I thought there was a strange sepia glow around, but put it down to city lights still being on or something, and didn’t think much about it. I wouldn’t have gone out if it hadn’t been forecast to be the last warm day of a spell of mild weather over the weekend. I went out for the forecasted brightest time in the early afternoon, but wondered why when I got out, as it was all cloud and wet on the ground. I think it was also eerily quiet, as somebody said on T.V. later, but I didn’t really notice that much at the time, or think it was for any particular reason.

Prophecy or Coincidence?

However, after I’d walked east five minutes along the canal towpath I saw the sun poking through the thick grey cloud, and it looked the pinky orange some other people also saw, and that was mentioned on the Yorkshire ITV weather report later. My decade-long website theme was the greenygrey, and towards the end it developed a PinkyOrangePurple twilight times theme after a sun-inspired ascent of the middle greenygrey Y: greenYgrey. Together the colour combinations were abbreviated to gYgPOP. The scene I saw on Monday was like a ggPO, with the classic greenygrey landscape lit up by a PinkyOrange sun; not looking Yellow!

This image of the scene accompanying an MSN story, of sun and Liver Bird in Liverpool, does look fully gYgPOP, with the human constructions providing the green and grey!:

Credits: Liverpool Echo

When I sat down the sky was all grey cloud apart from a thin band of blue on the western horizon. Within half an hour the sky had cleared, and was nearly all blue.

I thought that it was quite a coincidence, and would have looked a bit like Jesus parting the sea if there were any disciples around; and much better than King Cnut and the tide, although he was of course demonstrating that he couldn’t overcome nature.

30 Years Storm Anniversary

It was weird that it happened thirty years to the day after Britain’s worst storm of the twentieth century, and is said to have been partly caused by the Ophelia storm that was happening in parts of Britain and Ireland that day bringing dust up from the south, scattering the blues and greens of the sun’s light spectrum, leaving the reddish ones to dominate.

That’s the scientific explanation, and as I’ve been an advocate for science over the last decade I’m happy to go along with it. I’m also happy to let ‘red’ get most of the descriptions, although pink and orange were more accurate, as there were negatives from Ophelia, as all storms, and some of the dust was thought to have been from deadly wildfires in Portugal and Spain.

Leeds got a bit windy – stormy in the night, but escaped the brunt of the storm. I also missed the 1987 storm, as I’d reached Crete by then, and had started my life as a worker-traveller in a village called Pirgos, going to a certain café where employers knew casual workers hung out. October 16th was quite a landmark day in my W-T career, as I started a longish term job that day. Here’s my diary for that day, and some of the previous one:

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Marc Latham’s books are available on Amazon.

Travel Extremes Experiences Epitomised by Two Families

This weekend I saw two travelling families on television, and they seemed to epitomise the travel experience extremes you could have. I try not to preach, just to relay my experiences and interpretations of those experiences, and further knowledge I encounter. When I set off on my youthful travels I was into heavy metal and rock, and had a similar outlook to Twisted Sister in this video (I saw them at the Reading Festival in 1982, where they got a lot of missiles thrown at them, but I liked them!)

I’m probably closer to the father’s ideology now; need military and strength to protect the ‘free world’ from Islamism (Communism for him, and returned to top of agenda by Trump and North Korea; I used to be a socialist idealist in youth, but have since lost faith in the majority of humanity!); but try to remember my youthful mind outlook, and how I felt about the world then.

As I’ve written before, epitomised by the characters of MacKay and Barrowclough in classic British sitcom Porridge; I don’t know if writers Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais meant to highlight that problem, but guess they do; the nice people are usually taken advantage of by those they try to help; highlighted on a national level by Britain trying to be nice in the New Labour years, only for there to be grooming of British children epidemic, as well as phone fraud robbing vulnerable people of their life savings; not to mention all the benefits fraud and compensation culture draining the nation’s resources.

Battle of Ives

While some of those who’ve used their power to bully me over my lifetime would probably like to be compared to MacKay, I really think they are more like ‘Horrible’ Ives; Wikipedia: Bernard “Horrible” Ives is a creep, a cheat and a snitch, universally loathed (and indeed victimised) by the other residents (and Warders) of Slade Prison.

In contrast, I think they try to depict me as the Ives. Because I have resisted their bullying, and criticised their grooming, they depict me as the ‘horrible’ one, rather than the heroic rebel; an image they try to keep for themselves, even though they are the ones in power!

For example, academics may seem quite high up in society, with positions of power and responsibility, but a lot of them still felt like rebels against the system, and understandably didn’t want to work any more than they were paid to do. However, some went further than that, ‘rebelling’ by grooming students, or not seeming to do much work at all!

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Travel Hell: Taliban Rapists and Child Murderers

The Taliban and I.S. hatred of women and the West seemed to be epitomised by the Canadian couple who travelled to Afghanistan while the woman was pregnant. They were more religious pilgrims than normal travellers, but their decision still seems amazing to me. If he’d gone on his own, it wouldn’t seem so crazy, but with a pregnant wife!

While I’m glad they were rescued, by Pakistan forces, who are also mostly Muslim, providing balance, and showing I don’t think all ‘Muslims’ are bad, the wife had been raped by their Taliban captors, providing them with a ‘sex slave’ for their superiority complexes.

While their use of his wife was expected, they also murdered a baby daughter, and not sons also born there, probably showing their contempt for females (I don’t know the exact reason).

While the majority of serial killers are supposed to be white, groups like I.S. and the Taliban are like whole cultures of serial killers targeting females, and yet like serial killers often attract female accomplices, I.S. manage to groom females onto their side, such as notorious Sally Jones and other white Europeans!

Travel Heaven: Argentinian Travelling Family

In contrast, a couple who left Argentina for six months and have been travelling for seventeen years, having four children, reached Britain this week, and spoke of their joyous experience during their journey around the world.

They have also been to some countries that look dangerous, but I guess they didn’t go to the most dangerous parts.

Sometimes I went to ‘dangerous’ places for a buzz or to test myself, where there were conflicts going on, or bordering them, but it was probably no more dangerous really than living in Britain during all the terrorist threats of my lifetime.

By writing the way I have over the last decade I’ve felt I’ve increased that threat, but have had just as much negativity from ‘my side’ (Britain, liberal – left [formerly, but still on animal welfare and environment!] and especially women – working-class) as those I’ve been mostly criticising.

The latter have probably (definitely in some cases) been stirring up the former with spin or lies, making them think I’m anti-them instead of pro-them, filling those with little general knowledge or interest in current affairs with bollocks, and now I’m so far in the middle I hardly feel it’s worth writing – but maybe that’s good for my writing, in a journalistic way anyway!

Marc Latham’s books are available on Amazon.

How ‘Powerful Men’ Control Masses and Women

Over the last fifteen years I seem to have been intermittently at war with powerful men like Harvey Weinstein, and the masses (students, workers and readers) have nearly always sided with them.

Russell Brand

Although Russell Brand had no further education when he launched his Revolution, and I’d spent ten years at university, graduating with a PhD, he was considered worthy of listening to, and even considered one of the most important thinkers of our time.

When the Revolution never got off the ground Brand is welcomed back into the mainstream media world as if nothing happened. Women consider him a revolutionary feminist, despite his Weinstein-style womanising, and never mentioning the grooming scandal, or even expressing any sorrow or regret for the terror attacks in London or the rest of Britain.

Workplace

As Jane Fonda said in her interview yesterday, the Weinstein boss is more the ubiquitous norm, and that’s the experience I’ve had. The managers usually control the debate, and my image in the workplace, as they’re there much more than me, and can spend hours on the telephone stirring and demonising; as well as gossiping and grooming.

They can do the same with customers in shops, and often live locally to the area they work in, whereas lower ranked workers are just visiting and passing through to work and there for less time. This refers more to my experiences in previous marketplaces I’ve worked in, with the city centre providing a more balanced location.

University 

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Enjoying Christmas dinner in my undergraduate house, when I still felt ‘normal’

 

The two Heads of Department when I was doing my PhD were apparently acting like the stereotypical Weinstein boss. One got engaged to his student/secretary after a conference in Hawaii and chaperoning her, and her him, in lectures and seminars. The other staff members congratulated them, and she acted like the cat who’d got the cream, as if knowing she’d won a great prize. And she was right, fast-tracked to Professor.

When I complained I was considered either jealous of him or her.

In reality, I would have liked a good academic job at the start of my PhD, but had decided to finish as soon as possible and get out after I wasn’t upgraded straight away after the first year (when I had much less supervision than I should have, and nearly all with a trainee supervisor doing her first one, as my main one was the first Head of Department; the main examiner was the second one!), and my appeal took nearly two years to process.

She was a borderline for romance, nothing more.

Demonising the Whistleblower

Although the above are all personal, and influenced by my upbringing in the 1980s, when socialism and unions were still strong, and workers still had rights, I’ve had all kinds of demonisations thrown at me; I presume originating by those in power.

The Russell Brand fans seem to think I’m jealous of him, and/or that I’m an old right-winger, in the way of their colour Revolution! They think Islamism is the cool revolutionary thing, inspired by women who cover up, while their Saudi sisters are trying to go the other way, and other women around the world are losing their freedoms and rights to Islamism. They include white British girls of the Jordan (Katie Price) generation who only know grooming and gratification; monetary value is all, care and consideration is creepy.

Workplace managers work the staff and locals against me either by saying I’m not really one of them; a full-time company worker for staff, or a local-to-the-area person for customers. While I don’t mind those, as they are true, they also lie and spin to increase their hold on the workplace, and lessen my popularity: I don’t like the area, I don’t support the local team, I don’t like their nationality/ethnicity, I only complain because I’m a competitor for their job/grooming target, I’m interested in them sexually etc.

I think the same or similar was true in university, but they put me complaining and leaving more down to not liking the university, or because I didn’t like the city, or the class system. The latter was partially true, as I wanted to research how multiculturalism was diminishing class equality, and especially the grooming scandal that was still simmering under the surface at the time, and which would continue for another decade. I was never offered a job, as some people seem to think.

Bleak Blighty

I must admit I was looking for such scandals, being a 1960s-inspired critical theorist, but I thought the scandal and power control attitudes were only at the top, and that the masses were generally critical. Unfortunately, I’ve found the attitudes are ingrained in British and Irish culture, and that the ‘new cultures’ of multiculturalism are just as bad or worse.

Moreover, the Jordan generation seem likely to be as bad or worse, mixing the worst aspects of traditional power, Brand sexploitation and the paedophilic sexism of ‘new cultures’. The old union jobs are dying, and they are being replaced by zero contract style jobs, with no rights, and applicants forced into a ‘get the job at any costs’ outlook.

Can a bright brave new world like women are calling for after the Weinstein scandal emerge in such a culture. Not if the majority of students and workers are going to put their university or workplace brand first, and people second; and listen to the bollocks spoken by their great leaders as they try to groom them!

Marc Latham’s books are available on Amazon.

Sweet Photo of Crete (Guns N’ Roses Song Wordplay)

As I wrote the headline to this blog the warm autumn sun broke through cloud, entering my writing room, which is the only one I have, Dark Side of the Moon built up ten minutes in, and the coffilosophy brews as I just started my second mug, pouring out into this opening paragraph of new words, and Sweet Child O’ Mine inspired the title.

Lone Crete Photo Reflects Worker-Traveller Ethos

I only took one photo in my three months on Crete; or to be more correct, I didn’t take any, but had one taken of me; it was that kind of place and experience, mostly about work and drinking, experiencing day-to-day humanity in a true Beat kind of way. Me keeping a diary was the height of culture most of the time, but there were a lot of spoken gems, and comedy classics.

The photo was taken about a month after arrival, and I look like a typical worker-traveller in it, scruffy and bedraggled, unfit and under-nourished, looking to me like a Wild West cowboy out on the range – which was the kind of image I had at the time.

The woman was a sweet pretty fellow worker-traveller. Her face is hidden for her benefit, as I don’t know her circumstances, and if she’d want her appearance here.

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Kazuo Ishiguro Nobel Prize Literature Mistake Agreement Parody

Kazuo Ishiguro won the Nobel Prize for Literature yesterday, and humbly said he thought it was a mistake.
I thought it was a mistake too, as I was sure it was my year!

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Self-Parody Explanation

I thought about including this explanation before, or a self-parody warning, but thought I’d tell the joke first, as it would otherwise spoil it. I didn’t really think I was in with a chance of winning it… but do think I’m capable of deserving it, even if I don’t now.

I made that point in XaW Files (8:15), when adding to Richard Flanagan’s thoughts on how writing empties you in an Imagine documentary, after he’d won the Man Booker Prize; he’d said there was no why, there just was:

Moreover, I have also felt the same as Flanagan: that each book written and published, or even poem or philosophical thought, diminishes you.
With the benefit of time, I think the reason I think that is that the writer is sharing themselves with the world, so that their thoughts and experiences are not all theirs anymore; your mind life is scattered all over the pages and world. This can be good and bad for your psyche and soul, hypothetically, releasing negativity and sharing positivity.
Our books from life experience are also material evidence of time elapsed. We can write a limited amount from personal experience in our finite time. Each book tells the story of a part of our lives that has passed. It has been lived and written.
In childhood and youth we look forward, with our minds and lives to fill with experiences, knowledge and memories. Writing about them is evidence that some have been found and achieved. However, it also shows that your life is not as full as it once was. You have already lived some of your life, and the hard evidence is on your written page; unavoidable evidence that your time in this life has diminished.’

Funnily enough, a quote featured in the FundsForWriters newsletter this week has a similar theme:
Only to the extent that we expose ourselves over and over to annihilation can that which is indestructible be found in us.
~American Tibetan Buddhist nun and teacher Pema Chödrön

Parody and Satire Critical Theory High Cost Writing

I think critical writing can be the most costly, and especially self-analysis, self-parody and self-satire; as I try to do, in part so I think I am justified in criticising, parodying and satirising others.

I thought about writing freely that I thought there was a second mistake when they said Kazuo Ishiguro is an Englishman, but now only write it as an example of how I think it is beyond the political correctness line.

Japanese and Jewish (I’m not Either! – self-parody exclamation!!)

As the U.K. left make the ‘racist’ mistake of thinking they can say what they want about Jewish people (not that I’m Jewish!) because they are stereotypically whitish and westernish, the Japanese might seem similarly open to ‘free’ parody, but I know differently.

I know that my parody probably makes it even more unlikely that I won’t win any awards, or get a big publishing deal, but I continue to do it, because it’s what I want to write, and would rather write freely and poorly than censored and richly.

Mainly because I just wanted to, but also to show that I’m not bitter or jealous, except for self-parody comedy reasons seen above, I’ve started reading Ishiguro’s The Buried Giant book. It’s not his most famous work, but it was available, and sounds interesting with a British pagan history timeframe, and a protagonist called Axl (Axl Rose being the lead singer of Guns N’ Roses, the band I named my first book after!).

The Guns N’ Roses Worker-Traveller, XaW Files: Beyond Humanity and my other great coffilosophical (not the first coffilosopher, but the first to name myself such, as far as I know) books are available on Amazon:

 

My Religious Views Remain Secular Agnostic bordering on Atheist Neo-Pagan

In yesterday’s blog post I wrote that XaW Files’s subtitle Beyond Humanity had a meaning for the knowledge still beyond humanity in time and space, although great advances have been made in the last century, and I feel honoured and privileged to be alive during this exciting time of discovery and progress; although on the other hand, greenYgrey style, unfortunate to be alive in what seems like the inevitable destruction of our planet’s resources and mass extinction of many species due to human overpopulation and greed.

Russia and Britain: United in Environmental Loss

That’s especially after watching Simon Reeve’s Russia (one of my favourite countries historically and socially, and the first travelled in XaW Files, where I was delighted to hear of all the forests there, even in Moscow, setting for an epic anthropomorphic chess story) travel documentary, where big climate change evidence is emerging in the permafrost melting, leaving massive craters, but the forest is still being cut down at a similar rate to the Amazon rainforest, and often illegally thanks to corruption – even when governments and official bodies do act, there’s usually others who try and do it illegally!

I’m not saying Britain’s any better, and there’s fracking going on now despite big public demonstrations. The protestors look like left-wing greens, who also demonstrate for more immigration and hence more construction, which will mean greater energy needs!

Left and Right Foot Soldiers

If the left-wing think I’ve gone to the right, so they should try and persecute and censor me more, well the right-wing seem to support royalty and establishment, but royalty and establishment seem to care as much about Dhaka and Lagos as they do about Darlington and Liverpool; as seen in the Victoria and Abdul movie and Harry and Meghan relationship; due to the Queen and Royal Family still having a Commonwealth left from the Empire.

Although I value democracy and protest, in my advanced years and doctoral knowledge I am more in line with David Icke’s view that those fighting each other over dubious political differences are more like puppets (Icke says slaves), or just going along for a ‘bit of action’; especially after Russell Brand’s Revolution! (more like a slapstick Hollywood movie, starring himself; which he’s back to doing now, eating plastic on day-time TV, and being loved by the rich capitalistic luvvies he was supposed to be revolting against!).

Jesus Christ and Jeremy Corbyn

The left have oh Jeremy Corbyn to worship now, with the same initials as Jesus Christ, as parodied well on This Week last week. I quite like them both, but don’t believe Jesus was who his supporters claim, although he was a great heroic martyr figure; as I don’t any of the other Middle-East monotheist religions being superior to others around the world; and don’t believe Jeremy will save Blighty with his policies.

I think using Grenfell as a rallying call was also sick, as present problems are partly due to New Labour spending all the money when they were in power. Jeremy might be able to claim he was on the back benches then, but Diane Abbott was right at the front, playing the race card as she seems to have done all her career; before being shown as incompetent during the last election campaign, before taking a sickie for the rest of it!

Elon Musk More Revolutionary than Russell Brand 

Putting myself ‘Beyond Humanity’ has allowed me to write the above, criticising right and left, black and white. Hopefully those criticised will see that now, if they didn’t before.

While I also supported women more than normal for a man, that was also ‘beyond humanity’ rather than trying to seduce them, as Brand seems to have used his revolution to do; admittedly without the discipline and prestige a decade of further education gives you.

As he was a decade behind me in finding Chomsky, he’s now talking enlightenment and sexual ethics fifteen years after I became ethically celibate!

I talked of my admiration for Amber Heard during the greenYgrey years, and then she started going out with entrepreneur Elon Musk, but the romance has since ended.

I didn’t know much about Musk at the time, but saw his book Rocket Man in the library and read it. I was impressed by his environmental outlook, and think his revolutionary views on electric cars are similar to mine on religion and politics: that a little tinkering is not enough, and that you need to get above the current battles for hegemony, and have a more historically nuanced overview. I put it into words in 2011, in a poem included in my second poetry collection, 242 Mirror Poems and Reflections:

Too Many Gods Spoil the Earth

Sky gods whispered
to Earthmother of the
natural harmony,
the Great Spirit of all.

But humanity hid it under monotheism
Jesus Christ crucified for humanity’s sins
Prophets followed speaking of God dreams

people were kept in dark
resources sacrificed
with love to representatives
of warring Gods.

Of course, that only really addresses the religious wars, and now North Korea has emerged as a serious threat to the world; or ‘West’ at least; they probably view it differently.

Anyway, three of the things I particularly related to Musk saying in relation to my writing over the past decade, and the criticisms I’ve received, mostly because my critics, on the left and right; the left were particularly disappointing, as I’d spent more time in that field, historically and recently; didn’t understand my writing and reasoning were:

Critical Thinking, page 15: ‘Do you have the right axioms, are they relevant, and are you making the right conclusions based on those axioms?’ That’s the essence of critical thinking, and yet it is amazing how often people fail to do that. I think wishful thinking is innate in the human brain. You want things to be the way you wish them to be, and so you tend to filter information that you shouldn’t filter.’

Open-Source Patents, page 68: ‘Tesla Motors was created to accelerate the advent of sustainable transport. If we clear a path to the creation of compelling electric vehicles but then lay intellectual property landmines behind us to inhibit others, we are acting in a manner contrary to that goal. Tesla will not initiate patent lawsuits against anyone who, in good faith, wants to use our technology.’

Naysayers, page 119: ‘What I find ironic about a lot of the naysayers is that the very same people will transition from saying it was impossible to saying it was obvious.’

La Hougue Bie, Jersey, Underground Place for Me… Pagan Statue of Liberty!

On my first journey around Europe in 1987/88 I visited some of the biggest tourist sites, such as the Eiffel Tower in Paris, Colisseum in Rome and Acropolis in Athens. It’s a tradition I kept up on my 25th anniversary tour, visiting Mont Saint Michel near Saint Malo; the Naeroyfjord near Bergen; Gamla Stan in Stockholm and the Nou Camp in Barcelona (should probably have been La Sagrada Familiar, but did visit other Gaudi sites!).

In Latvia last year I visited Turaida Museum in the Gauja Valley, a day-trip from Riga to Sigulda; the Open-Air museum on the edge of Tallinn in Estonia and Suomenlinna fort guarding Helsinki’s harbour in Finland.

Jersey has some very impressive castles, such as Elizabeth, guarding Saint Helier harbour…

… and Gorey (Mont Orgueil) on the east coast…

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… as well as several interesting museums, but when I found out about the 6,000 years old Neolithic burial chamber of La Hougue Bie it was the place for me to be.

The original Neolithic burial chamber, with the entrance positioned facing east so sunrise reached the back wall on the equinoxes, had a mound built over it originally, making it look very greenygrey (remembering my decade-old Blighty dominant landscape concept):

In Medieval times a church was built on top, adding another layer of grey; and it’s greenYgrey inside too!:

I entered the burial chamber three times, without intending to originally. The first time was to have a look; the second was after remembering the torch on my phone to light it up better, and the third after I’d visited the museum and found out more about it. The first photo here is looking inside, and the second out:

You may be wondering if I felt a connection to the ancestors? I don’t know really, maybe I did, or maybe it was just me wanting to, creating it more in my mind.

Making the Most of Life: Life is for the Living

I think I’ve felt more of a connection to the living creatures I’ve met the last year, decade and life. I felt more of a ‘magical connection’ this week, with an unplanned stop in the last place of sunshine before returning to ‘civilisaton’, at first just planning to get ten more minutes of hot sunshine for a Vitamin D boost, storing it up for the coming autumn.

Staring for a few minutes into lush vegetation, a tree I’ve probably passed hundreds or thousands of times began to take shape in my mind. A few trees away, two squirrels ran around the trunk, looking as if they were playing; making the most of the morning sunshine. Then water fell from one branch, looking like a waterfall; and big flying insects landing on leaves reminded me of the Avatar movie.

Standing there, with a bag of blackberries in one hand, and my t-shirt covering my front in the other (sun on my back), I knew I must have looked odd to any ‘normal’ people who saw me; but later thought I may have also resembled the Statue of Liberty (in a pagan kind of greenYgrey way!):

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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…