Goodbyes.

A weekend break from the blog which I’ve been cogitating over. I’ve been writing pretty much every day for 6 months, enough for a bleedin’ book or two. Talking to brother Mark last week he said that he’d not been reading the blog as it prevented them phoning me (there’s an old fashioned means of communication). When I talk to those who read the blog it’s as if a sort of one-sided conversation has already happened and can make conversations somewhat weird for me. They’re made weirder when I hear stuff that I’ve written about with my political bollocks and such. Whilst it gives me a buzz to hear some people use terms such as kleptos.

Also there’s little to report on the crabby stuff on a daily basis, although there’s more mental stuff happening it’s harder in a number of ways to write about. So there will be fewer blogs for the immediate future.

Anyway the wine’s just arrived, need a cellar!

I’m going to say goodbye to my class tomorrow which will be a moving occasion.

Keep on keeping on, love Duncan.

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Let’s raise a glass of red to the republican revolution.

Not sure if I feel pleased or guilty. With the impending possibility of some financial discomfort I have just spent some money on a few bottles of wine. Those of you who know me know that I have long had a liking for red wine. In the midst of my treatment I vowed that I would drink less but of a higher quality. Since I’ve been able to drink again I have kept to this and probably feel the better for it, although I probably couldn’t have done this without Kate. Yesterday there was a plethora of wine offers from the various suppliers I have used over the years, I investigated them all and eventually decided against, Kate had said during my research that this had better be my last order before we get my pension sorted.

So, when I check my emails today there is one from wines direct about an M&S wine sale, and what a sale, check it out you fellow oenophiles. Loads of delicious sounding wine at absolutely bargain prices. I bought 10 cases!

Arranged with TAJo to go into school next Tuesday afternoon to say goodbye to my class. Whilst a number of staff know my intentions none of the students do so it’s more than time to tell them. As ever in my class we will have a little party to mark the occasion. I started the ‘tradition’ of having parties to mark various occasions in class many years ago, there were some complaints from certain quarters but I justified having them on many levels, even some educational ones, ignored the party poopers and now many classes do the same. Hopefully this will continue even in the face of ever increasing assessment and other BB. It will be a very sad occasion for me.

Writing of BB the Graeber book I had delivered yesterday is brilliant, well I think it’s brilliant (I sound like that Paul Whitehouse character from the Fast Show “aren’t cheesy peas brilliant”). Being an anthropologist he brings some academic rigour to his writing, being of an anarchic, left wing persuasion he has similar views to mine. But what has so far attracted me is that he is informing me of the history and development of our current bureaucratic state in a readable style. He is filling in many of the gaps in my knowledge and giving me a firmer historical context of the bureaucratic bollocks.

He answered one question I and many have had about why no banker or other klepto has been prosecuted here or in the USA for their kleptomania over recent years when he had a conversation with an economist from one of the big thieving banks. The economist replied to the question of lack of prosecution by saying that the government simply fines the banks, the going rate is about 20% of their ill-gotten gains, so the government get their cut. Now what would happen to anyone else if they committed fraud or stole? Or even missed one appointment at the jobcentre? Or filled in one of their endless forms incorrectly? Or went slightly over their overdraft limit?

By the standards behaviour I could go on a thieving spree, netting say £1 million, and all I’d have to pay is £200K if nicked. Result.

Looking forward to reading charles’ letters. By what right does he perform all this meddling? Oh yes, silly me, because he was spawned by the queen. Anyway the judges made a “step towards enlightenment” as Martin Kettle writes on the day of a weird medieval burial in Leicester, bring on the ‘democratic republican revolution’.

Letters about the clarkson include one from a trio at the Centre for the study of safety and wellbeing at Warwick University. They write about the abuse of women by men, which is undoubtedly far too prevalent in too many societies and groups and does come from “male power and privilege”. They go on to write:”Mostly it is perpetrated by men against women; sometimes it is perpetrated by men against other men”. This is not the whole story as there is also abuse by women against men and against other women. The former is certainly true as I have experienced it, and when I talk to other men and women about my experiences they often have their own stories about female perpetrated abuse. Must get on with my book about it.

Meant to write last week about s&m osborne being photographed holding a pint of Fullers and crowing about reducing the duty on a pint of beer by a whopping great 1p. Can’t wait to join my fellow ale drinkers in our local boozer have a good old session of say, let’s not get too carried away now, 5 pints, and raise our glasses to good old georgie saving us 5p. Like the publicans are going to drop prices by 1p. The twat.

Just had a look at an email I get from the Grauniad about arty stuff and they’re running an assignment for art students to produce an alternative political poster for the election. I liked many of them but this one stood out for me:

Image for An alternative to the Obama HOPE posters of the early 2000's.

Keep on keeping on, love Duncan.

Klepto druggies.

Particularly hard waking up this morning and I had to get up for a blood test (the one I forgot about last week). So I go in to the phlebotomist who I proceed to tell that phlebotomist is one of my favourite words, “that’s nice” she said “as most people think of bloodsuckers or similar”. We chat amiably about words, reading and listening to radio 4. When I talk of my blog she talks about joining twitter to respond to whenever she hears how people’s pay is increasing. As an NHS worker her wages have stagnated for many years, like most public servants (except for the ‘elite’: the vice chancellors, the headteachers, the directors, the council leaders and the like who’ve joined the lower echelons of the kleptocracy). The current government have seen to it that public service remains a dirty term and public servants deserving of only opprobrium and certainly not any share of the loot that’s flooded up to the kleptos. I hope she does add her voice to the twittersphere as us worker types have little voice nowadays as the neoliberals have emasculated the unions.

And then I sit in the car and read Suzanne Moore while waiting for Kate. I know Ms Moore is not to everyone’s taste, but that’s as it should be with an opinion writer, I sometimes even think that maybe there is the odd reader of this blog who may not totally agree with me. Anyway, Ms Moore relates the story of when she rushed her young child to hospital suffering from the rapid onset of meningitis. The NHS staff were brilliant and saved her child, unfortunately not another child on the ward with meningitis, and I’m crying again reading it again now, who’s mother gave her child’s toys to Suzanne and said “Now darling you must fight for yours”.

After reading the story and after incredible sadness incredible anger swelled within me. Recently jeremy hunt announced that he is in negotiation with a drug company to find an ‘acceptable’ price for a meningitis vaccine. It comes down to the ‘free market’ as to whether children can get a life saving vaccine, it’s the same with many new cancer drugs and treatments and any number of other life saving drugs. It’s up to the fucking ‘free market’. It is neither ‘free’, no mATTER HOW YOU DEFINE THE WORD, NOR IS IT A MARKET AS IN MOST PEOPLE’S TYPICAL UNDERSTANDING OF THE WORD MARKET. AS SUZANNE WRITES “THERE IS SOMETHING UTTERLY IMMORAL” ABOUT THIS. THAT KLEPTOMANIACAL DRUG COMPANIES CAN HOLD THE WORLD TO RANSOM LIKE THIS, LET US HEAR HOW THESE GREEDY, AMORAL, LIFE DENYING BASTARDS CAN JUSTIFY THIS IN ANY WAY THAT REFLECTS ANY SORT OF HUMANITY.

Caps Lock accidentally pressed again there but this time I haven’t edited it for quite obvious reasons. We have sleepwalked into a society that is dominated by and worships at the altar of the ‘free market’. It is sucking the lifeblood of our humanity. We have allowed the right wing fucks to turn democracy to mean the ‘market’. As Graeber writes in his book ‘The Utopia of Rules’ alongside this the term ‘bureaucracy’ has come to define the state or government and is “government interference with the market”. The corporations have taken over and humanity is the loser.

And thinking of inhumanity my nemetic (guessed this might be a word and it is, and it’s apposite!) namesake, and has anyone ever used the phrase ‘nemetic namesake’ before? you bleedin’ showoff Duncan, just write what you want to write and stop this pretentious crap before you drive even more readers away. Anyway, my nemetic namesake, the ignorant dangerous smith crops up again today in an article by the young scribe John Harris. In an article about the tories attempts to destroy what society we have left he writes of ignoramus daemonic shit in February this year suggesting that tenants in a housing association or council property who hold down a job for at least a year are given a 60% stake in the property. David Orr, chief executive of the national housing federation, said: “Of all the daft ideas I’ve heard in a career in housing, this is the daftest”. Well done ids, you absolute twat.

I digress slightly but understandably to have another pop at my nemetic namesake. Anyway the tories when they came to power again in 2010 cut funding for new social housing by 60% and are now proposing that if elected they will allow all housing association tenants to buy their properties with a significant discount funded by the state. At a stroke making what is a disastrous housing situation in this country even worse. They target the non-profit making housing associations, not the rapacious private landlords such as daniel burton, robbie fowler, charles gow, kevin green and fergus wilson, (google ’em) who have acquired large property portfolios, much of it ex-council. Why do the tories have a blind spot to the likes of these who typically charge exorbitant rents, why not pass a law that any of the tenants of these rentiers can buy their property at a much reduced price? We of course know why, and all the tories do is feed them more goodies like the right to buy bollocks, of the recent right to but scheme a third went to these private klepto landlords. An outstanding example of our rentier society. Apparently Scotland has done away with the right to buy scheme, sensible Scots.

Despite all this human on human inflicted misery I am in a good state right now as I’ve just had a wonderful massage from my wonderful wife. She thinks I’m turning Italian as I am eating and enjoying lots of pasta, drinking even more coffee, have bought a Vespa and keep saying ciao bella.

Just turned on radio 2 and Jonathn’s playing ‘My Sweet Lord’, haven’t heard it for ages.

And Tarisha sent me an email last week to say how she had added a written note for me in ‘The Burning Man Temple’ in Derry, and I’m crying again, what a soppy bleeder I’m turning into.

And now Jonathan is playing 1d! And Zayn’s left! And Brand was voted fourth in Prospect’s top thinkers! That’s Russell not Jo, although I think she may well pip him if included.

They should do a bottom thinkers poll, come on you ids.

Manifesto: can’t decide between right to buy from greedy private landlords scheme and nationalising all drug companies.

Keep on keeping on, love Duncan

Bollocks.

Throat quite sore, partly due to all the talking I’ve done today, especially with the doctor who was occupationally assessing me. He said I looked remarkably healthy for someone taking early retirement on health grounds, but fatigue is something that doesn’t show itself overtly. Suppose I could do the occasional few squat thrusts soon get out of breath and look very tired. Anyway after chatting for a while, describing my symptoms and general health and emphasizing that I’ll be at retirement age in two years anyway he was firmly of the opinion that I have a good case. He read out his report and hopefully it will be good enough for the bean counters at Teachers’ Pensions.

Still have to sort out who will actually write the form the pension folk want.

I sometimes wonder for one who is often quite taciturn verging on rude how frequently people open up to me about pretty personal stuff. When the doc asked if there were any other significant events in my life that may have an effect I told him about what happened with the external cancer in my life. He then told me about his fairly recent divorce and how his ex-wife had accused him of all sorts of horrendous stuff. Must get on with my book, it feels highly relevant and currently pertinent.

Watched a thought provoking documentary by Trevor Phillips the other night and his thesis that multiculturalism, or the format it has taken with him leading it in the bliar years, has not worked and has had unintended consequences (like ukip). I agreed with some of what he said but there were many holes and very narrowly selected examples. Anyway it was really disturbing seeing an interview with bliar, I haven’t seen him properly for a while and it was quite an unpleasant experience. There’s another new book out about him: “Blair Inc: the Man Behind the Mask”. Since leaving office in unsavoury haste he immediately set up a complex and very secretive network of offshore companies and trusts, so secretive it’s impossible to find out what he earns and is now worth. He is definitely now a klepto and he and his mates have done much to wreck Milliband’s election campaign. The twat really is ‘tory plan b’.

Great letter today in the Grauniad in response to Zoe William’s musings on monogamy. Some time ago the degree of species monogamy was thought to be related to testicle volume relative to overall adult male mass. So the bonobo with relatively large testicles has multiple mates and the gorilla with small balls is monogamous, human males are between the two. Just goes to show what a load of old bollocks it all is.

Wonderful interview by a bloke called James O’Brien, who’s a presenter on LBC, with the grinning gargoyle https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-pyYoL9ngtE . Why aren’t more interviewers like him, especially on the BBC. So, farewell clarkson, apart from being racist, a bully, mates with condom features, a right wing twat, unafraid to say and write populist bigoted shit and a one man band doing so much to help bring on global warming, you were alright. I’m sure your ugly mug will pop up somewhere else very soon like on one of those splat the mole games.

Continuing on the BBC theme I’ve been listening to Jonathon Ross on radio 2 instead of Steve Wright and his show is way better: he’s more interesting and intelligent and plays much better music, and there are no annoying jingles. I think he really misses the Beeb. He was also recently on a pretty funny show called ‘The Last Leg’ (it’s presented by a one-legged Aussie) berating tax avoidance and avoiders, went up in my estimation, but then I’m very bigoted.

And I still haven’t written about that article in New Inquiry about the autism ‘epidemic’ in America and how it’s being ‘managed’ and manipulated.

Tired now.

Keep on keeping on, love Duncan.

Moving into the psychological phase.

Poor night’s sleep last night, partly due to dry mouth but also brain box buzzing too much. Feel that I’m entering a more ‘mental phase’ of my recovery; up until recently the physical aspects have dominated but as these begin to abate the psychological aspects are coming to the fore. Friends and family who’ve had major trauma have told me how the psychological readjustment can take far longer than physical recovery. Perhaps I’m going through some sort of post-traumatic stress disorder? I feel pretty discombobulated (one of my favourite words) and am working hard to try and keep things in perspective.

What is not helping my mental state is the daily increase in uncertainty about our immediate financial future. As I said yesterday I’ve been trying to implement the procedure for early retirement on health grounds as I’m absolutely sure I won’t be physically or mentally able to return to work as a teacher of ASD students this side of the retirement age of 60. Now one might expect a company the size of the one that runs the school I’m still under contract at would, when an employee informs them that they wish to retire on health grounds, have a system in place for dealing with and supporting their long-term employee through this process. I believe it’s called ‘duty of care’.

Now the new head has been supportive during my illness, but now there are alarm bells beginning to ring. First up is the time I’ve been waiting for my occupational health assessment, and the deputy head fired off an email requesting such marked ‘urgent’ a while ago. Over the last few weeks I’ve contacted the school a number of times to find out what’s happening, finally I was told last week that I have an appointment with a doctor tomorrow and that I would receive details in the post. Nothing had arrived by yesterday so I called the human resources person at school who emailed me the details that had been emailed to her. No letter arrived today in the post.

Yesterday I phoned the company that the company who runs the school hires to deal with occupational health matters. I had ascertained from Teacher’s Pensions that they only accept the forms they send out and I asked the occupational health company if they used those forms. I was informed that the company I work for has not bought into the package that sorts out collating and completing such forms and they simply do the assessment and send it back to my company.

I then phoned the HR department of the company I work for to find out whether they arrange for the Teacher’s Pensions’ (TP) forms to be completed, I was informed not and that maybe I could use my GP. Also that then the payroll section would receive some bumf and do what they have to do before my application is complete, again it wasn’t clear whether they would use the TP forms and I know that completing some of the forms would involve getting information from the school and that would take further time and more opportunity for mistakes.

Now maybe it is the case that the onus is on the individual to oversee and make sure the forms are completed, but what is clear is that the HR department has only so far contacted the company that deals with occupational health to sort my medical assessment. There has been no support from them fro me and so far it has only been through my efforts that I’ve found anything out, they haven’t even sent me details of tomorrow’s assessment.

Writing this I think that it might sound somewhat trivial or that it’s essentially a simple process and I’m being over anxious or whatever. But following on from what I read yesterday about Mr Graeber and then wrote about bureaucracy I already feel as he said he felt undergoing Medicaid bureaucracy: ‘dumb and stupid’. But all I want is the truth and a little support.

Do human resource departments and people exist to support staff in companies or act in the company’s interest?

Following on from my blog about personal, social and health education (PSHE) in schools Estelle Morris writes today and how just before the last election the tories blocked compulsory PSHE in schools and they’re doing the same now. The education secretary nicky morgan says of PSHE that: “It should be at the heart of the curriculum” but makes that statement meaningless and duplicitous as schools (and parents) can opt out. Despite, as I argued last week, that the current PSHE curriculum is inadequate, it’s better than nothing. It’s the tories aping ukip and pandering to the mail and ignorance. And we have a duty of care to our young people which in times of the revelations about saville and cyril smith and brittan and grooming gangs of young girls an epidemic in so many towns and cities and more that it becomes an obscene and actually criminal dereliction of care.

But as with much in modern corporatised life if it’s not easily measurable, as is the effectiveness or otherwise of PSHE, then it’s sidelined for the ‘hard stuff’ that’s measured in schools. And actually measuring the ‘hard stuff’, the apparently more ‘objective’ and ’empirical’ stuff does not substantially stack up when looked at closely.

And next to Morris’ piece an article about “pupils with learning difficulties being denied their right to sex education” in a school in Cornwall, probably could be any special needs school in the country. It leaves them vulnerable to being abused (or becoming abusers). If I were of a conspiratorial mind I might think that it’s being deliberately kept this way to facilitate the fucked up ‘needs’ of the likes of saville, smith and brittan.

And on the feminist front guess how many of ofsted’s current board are female? One.

And how many are white males? Six out of seven.

Just read an article about the ‘fracas’ last Sunday at the grinning gargoyle’s local. A bloke called Dan Glass wanted to stage a ‘Beyond ukip cabaret’ and invited all those who’d been targeted by the gargoyle and ukip (migrants, breastfeeding mothers, Muslims, NHS workers, disabled people and more) to allow those in the gargoyle’s manor to experience the “beauty of multicultural diversity”. According to the journalist, Stuart Jeffries, it was fun, moving, spirited and creative, the only jarring note when they surrounded the gargoyle’s car and he called them ‘scum’. They’re planning to go to condom cameron’s manor next.

Still thinking about manifesto 100, no suggestions yet.

Time for another Kliban:

Keep on keeping on, love Duncan.

Bureaucratic Bollocks

In a bit of a funk this morning as I started worrying about money as I try to sort out ‘early retirement on health grounds’ as the parlance goes. These bureaucratic things tend to take a while and those who know me know that I have a significant bureaucratic allergy. As ever Kate was very patient with me and helped me calm and allowed me to focus on doing some useful stuff and not feel totally overwhelmed by the bureaucratic bollocks. Despite our impending financial crash I did order a book by David Graeber as it seems that he has a take on things bureaucratic which is very appealing. He was interviewed for Saturday’s Grauniad and recounted how he tried applying for Medicaid in the USA for his ill mother. He soon found himself “sucked into a vortex of form filling and humiliation familiar to anyone who’s ever been embroiled in bureaucratic procedures”. He’s a professor of anthropology and an ‘anarchist author’ and up until this particular bureaucratic episode had been relatively unaware of this aspect of human existence. It stuck with him and led to him writing his latest book ‘The Utopia of Rules’.

The book isn’t just about the idiocy of bureaucracy but more that it’s an attempt to “free us from the rightwing misconception about bureaucracy” in that we have been led to believe that bureaucracy is all the fault of government, red tape and all that. He argues that capitalism in the last 30 years or so has, instead of looking towards the emancipation of us working folk through increased automation and new technology, done the opposite and created new ways to make us work more and in jobs that are essentially unnecessary and utilising the new technology to ‘facilitate and support this’ as they’d say in management circles. Of course the new technology is also used to distract the masses, the new opiate of the masses. Graeber goes on to say that: “The moral and spiritual damage that comes from this situation is profound. It is a scar across our collective soul. Yet virtually no-one talks about it”. And Mark, I agree with you about the necessity of some bureaucracy, but Graeber is thinking about the unnecessary bureaucratic bollocks that is sucking the lifeblood out of humanity.

Does anyone else remember the scene in Terry Gilliam’s ‘Brazil’ when  Robert De Niro playing a renegade plumber operating outside the system is caught in a windswept maelstrom of paper, he is absolutely covered in paper until we can see no part of him, then the wind dies the paper falls gently to the ground and there is no sign of De Niro. Good film about mindless bureaucracy is Brazil.

And they promised us ‘paperless offices’ and there’s more paper forms than ever. Someone ought to do a fire risk assessment on all this paper being stored everywhere. And I thought they promised us jet packs?

And Graeber talks about the importance of play and that play is a more fundamental way of being than economics.

Like the way Will Self plays with words, unless I’m very much mistaken Mr Self, whilst a serious wordsmith, plays with words.

Poor old play, it’s become a much abused word in these serious economic times.

And Will Self reviewed the grinning gargoyle’s new book the purple revolution. Hope no one buys it thinking it is about the great Prince. In the review Self reveals that Blighty, as in ‘good old Blighty’, is of Urdu origin and means “foreign”. Funny that, even ironic.

So I’m embarking on a bureaucratic voyage, one of the things I’ll certainly not miss about modern teaching is all the bureaucratic bollocks, but I will try and sail serenely. We’ll see, I’ll keep you posted.

Keep on keeping on filling in those forms, love Duncan.

Old Harry and beardy branson the klepto.

I am still catching my breath after the most outrageous series of games for the 6 nations rugby finale. There are some purists and old school types who have criticised the styles of play and openness of the games but they were all highly entertaining and the finale with France and England was the most remarkable game I’ve ever seen with England coming so close to winning the championship at the final whistle. Bring on the world cup.

Having watched the England game in the pub I stayed on as there was a fund raising evening for a young lad with brain tumours, the family are raising money to take him to India for some specialised treatment unavailable here. There was a good turnout and a great atmosphere, it’s a winning combination of being in a pub and there being a number of fun and entertaining  activities for a real and present good cause. I felt a little weird as if what my consultant said last Tuesday is true, then I am on my way to recovery and I was at a do for someone who is in a serious cancerous state.

I still have a way to go emotionally and psychologically with my crabby visitor, apart from feeling the lump just prior to being given the diagnosis there were no obvious physical signs that I might be cancerous. I then underwent 3 months of intensive and very aggressive treatment with many side effects and this took over my life, of the actual cancer there was no sign, no symptoms. And now, quite suddenly, it appears to be no longer there. All feels very weird at the moment. And this is compounded by other very significant changes in my life.

So immediately after reading Nick Cohen and our corrupt ‘democracy’ in The Observer today I check my emails and there’s one from SNP Secretary Mark sending me the academic paper on which Cohen based his article, which is real, non-corrupt coincidence. The paper is called: ” IS THERE A MARKET FOR PEERAGES? CAN DONATIONS BUY YOU A BRITISH PEERAGE? A STUDY IN THE LINK BETWEEN PARTY POLITICAL FUNDING AND PEERAGE NOMINATIONS, 2005-14

by Andrew Mell, Simon Radford and Seth Alexander Thévoz

The paper very clearly shows a direct link between party donations and subsequent peerages, in other words kleptos can buy their way into our government. The parties claim that it is mere coincidence, but the researchers calculated that the odds of it being coincidence are about the same as someone winning the lottery 5 weeks in a row, they state that: “Whilst coincidence is theoretically possible, this explanation does stretch the limits of credulity.” They conclusively prove that our supposed democracy is corrupt, and I know that will be alarming news to many of you.

I called Mark and also asked him about whether the SNP had considered putting up candidates in England, he said they had but decided against as there was no local party machinery. Even so it’s an idea to consider.

We’ve just returned from walking along the seafront to Old Harry and his Wife, these are two chalk rock stacks at the end of Ballard Down which separates Swanage Bay from Studland. It was a really exceptional walk as the tide was exceptionally low, a combination of spring tides and high atmospheric pressure. We were walking on the sea bed and we still didn’t find any shipwrecks, treasure or whale bones. We walked with Jill and Simon and there were many others taking advantage of the rare opportunity including John who was celebrating with Adnams Broadside. John was also showing great concern for Linda who was walking all the way round the headland to Swanage.

I took loads of photos and am planning to use them to create a portfolio of watercolours as there were many perspectives, scenes, natural features both large and small that I know I can create a rare old number of pictures to record and celebrate the occasion.

So beardy branson is going to rake in more cash, this time from our NHS. virgin care has grabbed a number of NHS and social care contracts worth hundreds of millions of pounds. Richard Murphy (he works for Tax Research UK) has discovered a number of ‘holding companies’, many offshore, which ultimately lead to the parent company in the British Virgin Islands and finally into the grasping maw of beardy. So our taxes which go to the NHS are siphoned off to beardy’s empire, he pays little tax here with all the offshore companies being in ‘tax havens’ and them being ‘tax efficient’ and all. Next time you see the smug bearded one just think of how much money he’s stealing from all of us.

See sky have already increased their prices to pay for the grotesque amount of money they paid for premier league football. Time more people boycotted the company then we could mess up murdoch and the bloated and corrupt premier league, I can but dream.

Here’s a pic of Old Harry, when I’ve sorted my photos I’ll show him from a different perspective:

Keep on keeping on, love Duncan.