In Search of My Father 2017 Writing Project

In Search of My Father 2017 Writing Project
In Search of My Father, 2017 writing project supported by The National Lottery through the Arts Council of Northern Ireland

Saturday, 24 September 2016

RANDOM THOUGHTS X 3



I read a news item today suggesting that the late entertainer Paul Daniels left an estate net worth circa £500,000 and the tone was one of "how come" when he was such a successful man. Well, who really cares, apart from his family, who might be missing the man rather than anything else? In his TV heyday, he was a massive draw, very popular and rightly so. He was brilliant at his job as a superb magician. He was ridiculed by clever-arse comedians who will never achieve anything like his success. We are so obsessed about money, celebrity gossip, who's up, who's down but we can easily forget that famous people are people too just like us. They are trying to earn a living, they have loved ones who mourn their passing and whatever they leave in their last wills and testaments, well, in the end, it's got damn all to do with us.

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I went into a Timpson's shoe repair shop today and the guy was as charmless, cold, personality-free and lacking in courtesy as a boulder. It got me thinking about how, gradually, like erosion of the coastlines, we are losing good manners. On the same day, old-fashioned gentleman as I am, I held doors open in a several shops for people of all genders and not one, not one, said 'thank you'. I thought....well, you can guess. The letter F featured, silently in my head. In the car park, I let a guy out. Not a jot of acknowledgement. I tried again. I let a lady out. Nada. I thought....yeah, the letter F featured, in my angry skull. What is the matter with people? What has happened to manners and courtesy? Who gives a flyer anymore? Well, I do. And I will continue to be courteous and gentlemanly and respectful and as nice as I can be in this world of who gives an F-word? But, people, there is hope. I also noticed quite a few, young and old, being naturally nice. Naturally nice. How do people become naturally nice? Upbringing? Something in the womb on the journey to birth? The atmosphere of home life to a baby, toddler and beyond? I worked in shops for 35+ years with the general public - sympathy cards welcome - and the good, the bad and the ugly were always lurking. I have more to say but I'll stop there. Manners and respect need to be taught, encouraged, influenced. Or else, well, there's the F-word again....

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The notion of freedom of speech used to be such a noble ambition. Now, whoever and whatever is to blame, freedom of speech needs courage above and beyond the slings and arrows of political correctness. It is so easy to offend, upset and insult people now that free speech is consigned to the dustbin. It has been replaced by "Whoa, hold on there, Hoss, speech" and I'm certain many a tweet has not been tweeted and many a Facebook post hasn't been posted and many a word has not been uttered for fear of some shit hitting various fans. We live in stupid, frightening, angst-ridden times (a lot of which is whipped up out of all proportion) but we still have the option of calm, reasoned, rational thought. Sadly, the next and the next and the one beyond that "gadget generation" will not have a clue about compassion, respect, emotion or humanity. 

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