However you look at things, trying to impose grammatical rules often just makes you look pompous. So when you look like a duck as well you may well appear as a grandiose gressingham. Gove the grandiose gressingham.

So someone who keeps using so at the beginning of sentences, even paragraphs, is really beyond the pale.

Kate and I did a garage sale today. After deducting advertising costs we made £1.30, works out at about 13p/hour, soon be joining the kleptos. First couple of hours it rained intermittently, we got pretty slick putting on the covers just like at Wimbledon. Kate very excited at it starting tomorrow, I tried to get a ticket for her through the ‘lottery’ they run, no luck. Quite impressed that I did this during November/December last year. Just noticed in the paper that my old mate John Inverdale isn’t presenting Wimbledon next week, it’s Clare Balding. Wonder if she’ll say that Judy Murray thought Andy will never be a looker, better teach him tennis.

However do they do it?

So, bought a new chef’s knife, it’s lethal. My poor left hand is being cut to ribbons. Taking me longer to cook as I am so careful chopping and cutting.

Had a bit of belly ache yesterday and part of me wondered “is this stomach cancer?”

However do the eu, the ecb and other ffs expect the Greeks to behave if all they offer them is even more straitened times and don’t allow their government to do what they were mandated at the last election. How dare they offer up a referendum to the people, how dare they offer some semblance of actual democracy. The tts here impose their mandate on us, and more besides such as even more anti-union bollocks which wasn’t even in their manifesto.

However, as I continue the process of adapting to my ‘new normal’ I wonder with trepidation at the new normal for ever increasing numbers of women to have ‘work done’ on their bodies, especially faces. As Karen Kay (now there’s a good alliterative name) writes in today’s Observer: “the Stepford-style masses are becoming the acceptable face of womanhood”. I don’t move in social circles where women have stuff done, but it must be weird to keep seeing people you know have ever changing faces. It must be the case that they start becoming different people to you. Do they become different people to themselves as they look in the mirror and see a different face? I find it very sad as it’s reinforcing the ideal that women have to ‘look a certain way’, the pressure is increasing on women to look younger, ‘beach ready’ or whatever. But that’s another consequence of our capitalist world. I began writing more about this, particularly about Felicity Kendal, but have refrained as it’s not fair. The pressures on men are nowhere near the same (even though more men are having monkey bollocks injected into their faces) and I feel I can’t comment any more.

Kate very kindly bought me a paper this morning and it is a rare treat nowadays (thanks again Gillian and Mark for giving me your Grauniad last weekend). Will Hutton’s piece has this headline: “As long as we are divided by our education system, Britons will never grow equally”, enough said.

However there is more evidence of our unequal society as official files of police investigations of child abuse at that private school north of the border called gordonstoun, where our royal benefit scroungers (who’ve just had another benefits increase) send their male sprogs, have ‘gone missing or been destroyed’. Funny that. Now that wouldn’t happen in a state school, still if parents are happy sending their offspring to such institutions…………………………………

Keep on keeping on, love Duncan.


Let’s hear it for naiveity.

Just revisiting Sticky Fingers, some haunting, beautiful songs and suddenly some twat calling himself keith lemon interrupts my listening to flog something or other. Encapsulates the crassness of our financialised world. The ffs corruption of our world knows no bounds, time for some reclamation work.

Lovely piece by Ed Smith in the New Statesman extolling the current New Zealand cricket team, they are playing in a way he describes as ‘gloriously uplifting’ because they are playing in a psychologically naive way, trying to recapture that childhood excitement, to play with freshness and exuberance. As their captain says “to retain a link with their inner child”. Picasso said “It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child.” It seems to have rubbed off on England and they are playing some wonderful cricket as well, bring on the Aussies. Anyway, mustn’t let blind patriotism lure me as Mr Smith then quotes Stendahl:

“The happy few . . . are those who remain emotionally alive, who never compromise, who never succumb to cynicism or the routine of the second-hand . . . The happy few possess what Baudelaire calls “impeccable naïveté”, the ability to see the world always afresh, either in its tragedy or its hope.”

Perhaps we could do with a hefty dose of naivety in our world to counter the dead hand of ‘financialisation’ and the calculated cynicism of modern managerialism, as well as the apparently increasing hatred spreading through the spores of racism, bigotry and fear of the other.

See some Americans are threatening to move to Canada after legalization of gay marriage, they legalized gay marriage in Canada 10 years ago!

Keep on keeping on, love Duncan.


Had quite an unsettling experience yesterday as I somewhat absently stuffed a little too much toast in my mouth. A little while later the large bolus at the back of my throat started to make me choke, brought tears to my eyes, triggered a coughing fit. These little reminders I get every now and then.

Watching Newsnight and discussion of Greece and how an apparent agreement on Monday has been amended by the imf, the ecb and other money fucks and a new alliterative acronym came to me: the ffs, the financial fucks. These ffs have increased their power over the last few decades, national governments are powerless. As Richard Wolff stated there is “something obscene” about a country who had their debts reduced to a minimal amount after the war who now insist on another country paying their ‘debts’. This is what Germany is doing to Greece. Strange that another country with ‘financial problems’, Ukraine, is getting financial aid because it’s ‘political’ as they are now a ‘bulwark’ against Russia. And, of course, it’s no coincidence that with Syriza having been democratically voted in they are being made an example of because they are perceived and portrayed as ‘very left wing’ (oh how easily the powerful and their media mouthpieces distort). So watch out any other country that might think about voting ‘left’, Spain and Podemos come immediately to mind. The ffs are in control, excuse me while I listen and give prayer to the hourly mantra of stock indices and money rates.

There is a very simplistic morality tale being played out here, somewhat ironic as the ancient Greeks gave us so much with their drama, philosophy, learning and the like, that the modern Greeks have been ‘greedy’ and ‘feckless’, living ‘the high life’, ‘maxing out’ on credit and now need to pay. Because the ffs and the kleptos aren’t like this, are they? They are so parsimonious with their pay and conditions. Sorry, have to listen to reports on the bond markets.

Also heard from Mr Wolff about how the ffs and kleptos are having ever taller apartment blocks built with views over Central Park which is having the effect of increasingly blocking the sun. Apparently even in summer there is shadow in the park from 4 in the afternoon. So they are even reducing the amount of sun ordinary folk, flora and fauna get in the one significant bit of greenery in Manhattan. How ignorant and obscene these kleptos are.

Oh Duncan, you’re getting so boring, endlessly banging on about the ffs and kleptos, lighten up, think and write about the good things in life. The sun is shining, I hear birds singing, our garden is a lovely little oasis with well over a hundred lilies about to bloom, has such a small garden ever grown so many lilies? I am trying to create a sensual delight: we’ve put in various solar powered lights, all the flowers are attracting more bees and birds, there is now so much to look at, there are hopefully many scents to smell (especially now that there’s no bare ground so the cats can’t shit anywhere, I am still going to get a very powerful water pistol and shoot the fuckers, now stop that Duncan, you were doing so well, take your medication and make a cup of tea). We have a magnolia tree which Kate bought me for my previous house, I planted it there and when we moved transplanted to this house. It is now quite a large tree and has large cream coloured flowers that bloom in the summer (not your usual magnolia blooming in early spring) and smell so sweet and ambrosial.

The occupational health bunch have the GP’s report, my consultant’s amended report and hopefully their medical person will amend his report and they can finally send stuff off to Teacher’s Pensions, but I’m not holding my breath yet. So maybe I’ll be getting that ‘gold plated pension’ that us public servants get. If ours are ‘gold plated’ what does that make the ceos and their ilk’s pensions?

Read an email from work last week about the fraught procedure that happens every year at the school around this time when the next academic year’s classes and staffing are sorted. As I’m not part of it I can observe from afar and have a modicum of objectivity. It is clear that the process could be managed better so I sent an email with some observations and thoughts. Surprisingly there has been no reply or further emails about the subject, in fact I received no emails at all on my work email for over 2 days which started making me a little paranoid (especially after my recent experience trying to send stuff to the occupational health people) so much so that I asked Mike to send me a test email, it came through and this is what he wrote:

“You are not a number, you are a free man.You are not a number, you are a free man.You are not a number, you are a free man.You are not a number, you are a free man.You are not a number, you are a free man.You are not a number, you are a free man.You are not a number, you are a free man.​…..

No. 9
Learner “
See that Kenneth Branagh said that playing Wallander left him in a “permanent, acceptable state of anxiety”.
So the latest edition of the Oxford English Dictionary eh? That twerking is so meh.
So, in the new spirit of meh:
keep on keeping on, if you can be bothered, love Duncan.

Let’s go sorrel hunting.

So I get yet another email back today from the occupational health company informing me that they haven’t received any of my emails trying to send them a copy of my consultant’s amended report. But then I wonder how did they know to reply informing me they haven’t received emails? I call them on the old fashioned landline, get straight through and it’s recommended that I send a ‘hard copy’ through the old fashioned postal service. As I’m doing a copy to send to them I have the bright idea of sending a copy via email to the school’s HR department but their email system won’t allow me to make any attachments! I shout and swear loudly, almost hurl the computer across the room, poor Kate is alarmed and calms me, suggesting I send the letter ‘guaranteed next day delivery’, it costs over £6. Is it a conspiracy against me? Of course there is no one person I can blame and it’s tempting to start blaming oneself. No modern company or individual representing their company will accept any responsibility, it’s the modern way. And then we get the likes of the corpulent Jabba the Hut like sorrell pronouncing to all and sundry how things are and should be as his ilk, the marketing lies ilk, who act only to promote the interests of the kleptos and their fucked up capitalist system that is rapidly in the process of subjugating the whole human race to their bollocks. The parameters within which any debate happens in our modern world are so narrow, defined by those ‘free marketeers’, ‘neoliberals’, tts (who are only just lackeys), such that almost all debate is so desiccated it only continues to shackle us within a system that dehumanises and offers little that is worth looking forward to. Oh that all we can aspire to is to be a ‘hardworking family’, an ‘aspirational striver’, merely aspiring to be what?

Well, that’s got that off my chest after my little explosion earlier. This writing lark does help.

So, I had to write a comment on Grauniad online, despite my current ‘pre-moderated’ status to the following article:

Greece is a sideshow. The eurozone has failed, and Germans are its victims too

And it wasn’t moderated! It was:

“Of course we understand the present through studying and understanding the past. Unfortunately too many only have any understanding through the warped prisms of our current dominant forces (murdoch media comes to mind). What we don’t have are the agora where we can have full and open debate and allow the people to have a greater say in their existence. Mr Wilde, for example, had an interesting take a fair while ago in his essay “The Soul of Man under Socialism”. Sadly we now have the likes of the desiccated IMF dominating discourse and the ‘rule of the market’. Sad days.”

More locally run agora I say.

Sadly not going to my painting day for the foreseeable future, too many other things going on that I find committing myself to going every Tuesday difficult. Had a lovely reply from Gay.

Had my first viewing from Turkey yesterday, adds to the long list now of the different countries I’ve been viewed in.

HaHa, Scottish landowners squealing about the changes to land ownership in Scotland, lets extend it and have more common wealth. Land ownership in Scotland is still feudal. I’d like to set up shoots on land where people can hunt kleptos and the like. I think hunts with sorrel as the game would be fun.

keep on keeping on, love Duncan.

Let’s have a stile council.

Just had a lovely weekend; Friday Kate and I went to Wells to surprise Kate’s aunt with her 80th birthday celebratory meal then on Saturday to Barthomley to meet up with Gillian and Mark. Surprises all round on Friday with Kate’s aunt very happy to see Kate augmented by delicious food and wine, then stay in south Cheshire, our first visit to the area. We met in a great old pub in Barthomley, The White Lion, they had TWO fires burning, the day before the summer solstice. Went for a walk and I discovered it’s easier getting lost in a potato field than wild open moorland or the like. Lots of stiles, and who is responsible for their upkeep? Why the Stile Council, of course (thanks Mark). Apparently the last wild wolf was killed in Barthomley Wood. Cheshire felt very toryland, well s&m osborne does have his constituency there. Typically tired on our return home, not due to hangovers, in fact more was drunk on Friday night.

Before getting to Wells we stopped off in Glastonbury, primarily for Kate to leave flowers at the Tor for Yan. We didn’t make the climb to the top owing to my tired old legs so we stopped in a field looking up at the Tor. Kate took some great photos of our bunch of wild flowers in the foreground of the Tor. I kept smelling a distinctly fecal smell whilst we were sat down , it wasn’t a typical agricultural smell and was a little unsettling. As we got up to leave I noticed an extremely large dog turd right by my hand, even more unsettling for various reasons!

We’d stayed in a rather splendid B&B in Wells, the bed was almost as large as ours and very comfortable. The landlady was a very chatty lady and at breakfast told us how she’d suffered from eczema since childhood, cue my unctuous speech and the giving of an unction sample. Her initial response was avowedly cynical having tried so many treatments over the years, but she tried it, said it smelled lovely and almost immediately reported reduced itching! Have booked a stall at Bath Artisan market in 3 weeks time to sell me unctions.

A while ago I read some piece analysing what’s happened politically and economically since the crash on 1929. Basically for the next 50 years or so Western democracies followed a Keynesian formula and governments raised money primarily through taxation and the rich were taxed more. Welfare states developed and more people enjoyed the fruits of economic growth. Since the late 1970’s and the rise of the so-called neoliberals, taxes for richer folk and corporations have been steadily reduced and governments (and individuals) have relied increasingly on borrowing. This approach has been increasingly fruitful for the kleptos and is making life increasingly difficult for the rest of us. The tts are using a particularly simplistic model (that of ‘austerity’) to drive through their class-based programme and in their eyes permanently reduce the ‘welfare state’ to a rump, perhaps on a par with that of Victorian times. It is a particularly vicious and punitive programme which involves the use of propaganda to basically divide and rule, we all know the terms: strivers versus skivers, hard working families and all the other bollocks.

I find it all so depressing, there is little in the tts narrative that is uplifting, that gives us the vision of an improving society in which we believe our children can look forward to a better world. As a former teacher (sounds weird writing that) I have experienced the increasingly dispiriting nature of teaching as the ‘neoliberal audit society’s’ tentacles spread their demoralising bollocks. Theirs is a joyless world for the vast majority of us, they, of course, having the wealth and power, enjoy the fruits of our labour. Humanity’s latest technological revolution has already been commandeered by the kleptos and is almost totally applied to increasing their wealth and power and not for the benefit of all.

But Duncan you don’t live in the ‘real world’ and can’t you feel the trickling down of all the increasing wealth? No, I, like most others, just witness the increasing desiccation, even the current pope recognises this.

Brilliant bit of radio last Friday on the jeremy vine show when Bonnie Greer and a man who’s name I can’t remember discussed the racist massacre in Charlottesville. She ‘called out’ murdoch and fox news for fostering and perpetuating racism, the man, who’s name I can’t remember, contrasted the arrest of the white perpetrator of the mass murder with the arrest of a black man for illegally selling cigarettes. The black man, like many other black men, was shot and killed by the police. We need, as I was desperately trying to describe in a recent blog, to develop a better discussive, discursive language within more open formats. Fat chance with the likes of the tts in power and with murdoch dominating our media and an education system that perpetuates this bollocks. And of course the nra gun lobbying, their spokesman saying if the pastor in the Charlottesville church had had a gun then he could have defended himself by killing roof. It truly is madness.

Keep on keeping on, love Duncan.

Proper Discussion

We need to learn and develop language, not the basics of languages but the ability to discuss openly and honestly about anything. We are so hidebound in oh so many ways that so much meaningful discussion gets closed down before it even starts. It is intimately connected with freedom of speech and I’m certainly not advocating the freedom to be racist, misogynist, homophobic or any other type of hate speech, although it has to be allowed. What we need is the freedom to counter such speech. But what I am trying to write about is so much that may well be thought but doesn’t reach any sort of meaningful exposition.

A good example and for long one of my interests (and already before I actually commit this to text my own self-censorship kicks in: how will others interpret this?) has been sex education. See what I mean? Sex education in this country has been bollocks for ever, or at least as long as I am aware. Reasons are multiple: our own poor sex education perpetuates stuff, religion; or more particularly patriarchal religious interpretation and indoctrination, embarrassment, ignorance, capitalist distortion and exploitation, misogyny, fear of alienation, possible prosecution, societal mores and laws but most of all an inadequate language that keeps us mute.

ukip latched onto this during the last election having as one of their policies to have no sex education in primary schools. This fed powerfully into many of the reasons I’ve just listed, preying on people’s hangups and prejudices. But proper discussion is not allowed because as soon as someone utters the term ‘sex education’ all sorts of thoughts kick in for everyone and hinder continuing sensible discussion. Now some have argued that perhaps if we use different language such as ‘relationships education’ then we can get around the ‘sex problem’, for want of a better term. I would argue otherwise and we need to get over our problems with the term sex, it doesn’t just mean sexual acts (important and pleasurable though they are), it is everything about our actual humanity; we are sexual beings, female, male, transgender, or whatever. It is the essence of our being, we wouldn’t exist without it and yet we can’t discuss it properly without disapproval, tittering, embarrassment or lewd salaciousness.

Enough of sex, it’s my example of language restriction and proper discussion. And in the spirit of irony in our age of overwhelming communication proper discussion is made even harder as any public expression can be met with a twitterstorm and the like. As I’ve had to rely on reading more online in the absence of ‘hard copy’ I’ve taken to adding a comment or two about articles or comments I’ve read. This morning there was a piece by a bloke called Jeb who’s upset because jeb bush has entered the republican nomination race stateside and his name will now appear far more and often in negative ways. I tried to post a comment saying “you’re lucky, my name is Duncan Smith!” and up popped a thing saying my comments are being ‘pre-moderated’. What the fuck (suppose I could have used wtf, but what would that mean using that instead eh?):

“Q: When I post a comment, it says that my comments are being pre-moderated – what does that mean? Does that apply to everyone in the conversation?
A: There is a further exception to the overall reactive-moderation approach adopted by the Guardian website: in isolated situations, a particular user may be identified as a risk, based on a pattern of behaviour (e.g. spam, trolling, repeated/frequent borderline abuse), so a temporary filter can be applied to anything they post, which means that their comments will need to be pre-moderated before appearing on the site.

This is a temporary measure applied by moderators to a very small handful of people based entirely on patterns of actual behaviour, and should result relatively quickly in either their posting ability being suspended completely if no improvement is shown, or the filter being removed. The decision to do either of these things would, again, be based on that user’s behaviour and activity during the pre-moderation period.”

So now I’m one of “a very small handful of people” who if they don’t improve their behaviour will be suspended completely! So even in the Grauniad my pathetic little attempts at ‘proper discussion’ are being closed down, or at least threatened to.

Anyway, in what seems to be an increasingly fractured world, I think that ‘proper discussion’ is one very important way to try and get humanity developing a little better than it is. Oh, and pitchforks of course for those who won’t participate properly!

Keep on discussing on, love Duncan.

Mary Poppins paedophile nightmare.

Different start to my day as I very sleepily started going downstairs, slipped and slid painfully down. Some pain, no obvious damage apart from that painful embarrassment which comes from falling over. Now is it part of ageing, being half asleep or ‘chemo-brain’? Either way I woke up quicker than normal.

Just heard on the news that the chump trump is standing for president.

Had my 6 weekly check up today and while driving there I started to think about doing some more research; using what I learnt doing my MPhil (research methods) in researching the efficacy (or otherwise) of programmes like New View with regard to recovering from cancer/cancer treatment. I’ll be a doctor yet! And yet I’ve written about there being no titles, more dilemma.

Anyway was given the continuing all clear, had the horrible camera stuck down my nose again. Talked about my ‘fizzing legs’, the doctors hadn’t heard of it before but we put it down to another chemo side effect. Likewise my continuing mental discombobulation, ‘chemo brain’.

Now with Kate’s urging I treated myself to a copy of the Grauniad, it felt good. Also felt a little weird as I’ve gone cold turkey for the longest spell in many years. Completely distracted me reading it in the waiting room, so much so that I didn’t notice anyone sat around me until I looked up briefly and saw an old workmate from the school. He was with a student on a hospital appointment, they were then joined with another staff member I knew well. We talked about the school and the many shortcomings of the company that own it. Unfortunately an elderly man sat between us took umbrage and then took himself and his umbrage to the other side of the waiting room. One of the blokes spoke about a student who’d been in my class who I had found fascinating and was still trying to work him out when the crabby one struck. He related a tale about how one morning this student had awoken in a disturbed state, eventually he asked this student what was up: “Mary Poppins paedophile nightmare” was the reply! I so miss shit like this, never a day would pass without something happening that made me laugh, wonder or be amazed.

Grace and Ruby are on their way back now with Kate having had their bellies pierced, hope they don’t leak.

Editorial in the Grauniad about the ‘class ceiling’, it ends thus: “Few recruiters see a business case for doing things differently, but then – until competition forces recourse to unpolished talent, they wouldn’t would they?” Deep irony eh? Maybe the Labour party should adopt the idea of the ‘top’ 2 students from every school for the ‘top’ universities?

Last year 70% of ‘top’ job offers went to those who’d been to private or selective schools, that is about 11% of the whole population. Fair eh? Really is still the ‘old school tie’. Remember my tale of when I went for the captaincy at Esher rugby club? My rival began by saying which school he’d attended, surprisingly it wasn’t a secondary modern or a comprehensive, funny that.

Listening to the radio today when they were discussing European countries taking in refugees and the like and they focused on Poland which is now a remarkably homogenous country. One polish woman said that any immigrants should believe in god but not allah!

Time for another Kliban, this one to celebrate royal ascot:

Keep on keeping on, love Duncan.