Text speak, Nina Simone and capitalism through clothing

Turns out IRL means “in real life”.  Surely I wasn’t the only person who didn’t know that?!  I am one acronym closer to understanding modern colloquialisms.


In June 2015, Netflix released a documentary about Nina Simone, “What Happened, Miss Simone?”.  The documentary consists largely of archived footage and interviews, most pertinently with her daughter, Lisa.  On reading about this film in the context of being Charlotte Gainsbourg’s “On my radar” (Guardian) favourite documentary, I realised that I too know very little about Nina Simone’s life.  For example, she was a concert pianist first, though having sung in church, and only made herself sing once she had moved from classical to jazz and blues because a particular piano bar she worked at said she could only continue playing there if she also sang.


In terms far more basic and vague than should probably be acceptable, capitalism kind of came about during the latter 1700s with Britain’s Industrial Revolution when, for example, a textile worker’s pay, the yarn, machines and factory costs amounted to X [eg £100] but the product generated Y [eg £170], meaning a profit of Z [£70].  As Z is so attractive, trying to reduce X became increasingly appealing.  With improvements to technology thus production capabilities, England, as one of the northern hemisphere regions that benefitted most, ensured more viability as the provider of mass market end-product goods than, say, Bangladesh, which was still using traditional, non-mechanical methods.  Thus regions like Bangladesh ended up merely supplying the raw materials for England’s burgeoning textile industry, a far less profitable enterprise than exporting the finished garments.  With a need for fewer skilled artisans and a much diminished ease for making profit, less skilled work and raw material production flourished, thus an economic divide was created and endures 250 years later.

I had never thought of how/when/where the concept of capitalism emerged nor the concept of finished product = profit potential versus raw material = exploitation potential, but I find it unexpectedly fascinating that and how we in the UK, with only a small scale textile industry now, rely on both raw materials and garment manufacture from, for example Bangladesh, yet we’re still considerably better off.

I reiterate that I am well aware how much more there is to it, but it’s a small point that struck a chord with me while reading the below book.

[Clothing Poverty: The Hidden World of Fast Fashion and Second-hand clothes by Andrew Brooks]




{02/09/2012}   Forgiveness

Team GB Paralympic Beijing gold and silver medallist Simon Richardson, a cyclist, was cycling (safely and responsibly) along a road one morning in August last year when a 60-year old farmer, having knocked back a whisky that morning, after a heavy night of drinking, got into his car and set off, drunk.  He hit Richardson on his bike, which flung him into the air and rendered him unable to compete in the 2012 Paralympics.  The drunk driver drove off and tried to hide his van.  Fortunately, by the next day he (still twice the legal drink drive alcohol limit) and the van were found and he was eventually given an 18-month sentence.  I was outraged by the whole series of events and extremely angry at the incompetent, irresponsible and disgraceful behaviour of the drunk.  Who I don’t think should be given the credit of being called a “driver” in a state like he was obviously in.

However, in the article I read Richardson bore no ill will to the man who caused him so much pain and suffering and there was no trace of rage, resentment, blame, etc, for, among other things, losing out on his chance to compete in the London 2012 Paralympics because of one man’s irresponsible behaviour, to put it mildly.

Usually, on reading such a story, I would feel only rage at the drunk.  But because of the gentle, forgiving reaction by the cyclist, I realised that my reaction was to pity the driver, thinking how weak and pathetic he was rather than feel sorry for the cyclist; an interesting and refreshing perspective.

If somebody does something undeniably wrong that affects the life of an innocent party, I think it is a natural response to feel anger at the wrongdoer.  But this whole scenario has left me thinking that I would (sort of) rather suffer someone’s wrath than their pity and I would rather think of the goodness of the wronged than the badness of the wrongdoer, if you follow me.

People have done things that have enraged me and I have been left with a bitter taste in my mouth, as it were, and it’s not pleasant when such things fester and consume you.  To harness your anger and accept what has happened has happened and get on with your life is surely a more positive way to progress.  I just don’t think I could be that calm and seemingly forgiving of someone whose hateful actions caused me severe detriment.  But what good does blame do?  It doesn’t make you feel better and it hinders your recovery.  I guess you’d know and hope (or is that just me?!) that, in this scenario, the drunk would be riddled with guilt and thus have punishment; an 18-month sentence doesn’t seem harsh when his actions could easily have killed innocent people rather than causing complicated injuries to a man already seriously injured as a result of a car accident.

I would like to think I could be as “accepting of my lot”, and maybe I’d surprise myself by managing that, but I don’t think I have it in me to be that forgiving, positive and determined.  But I was surprised by how my reaction was altered by the forgiving, blameless words of a man who has been through so much.

On 1st July 2007, just over five years ago, smoking was banned in enclosed public spaces in the UK.  Every now and then I visit a country where smoking isn’t banned and it’s far more awful than I ever remember it being.  I read this morning that the Japanese coffee chain, Doutor, unlike Starbuck’s for example, allows smoking inside.  This seems a huge novelty but there is no way I would go into such a café now that I have become pretty much smoking-intolerant.

I used to smoke but gave up long before the ban, but even as a smoker I never liked the smoky hair and clothes that were inevitable after a night out.  Having had five years of smoke free socialising, I really can’t imagine it was ever ok to smoke inside.  The air would be thick with stale and “fresh” smoke, ashtrays and cigarette butts would be on the floor and on table tops, smoke would be puffed towards you wherever you walked.  And in restaurants.  While eating food.  I can feel myself getting indignant, I can’t believe it was considered acceptable for so long.

I had an unexpected flash back to life with smoky clothes a few weeks ago; I can’t remember what triggered it but I was looking at a pile of worn clothes that needed putting in the laundry basket.  I suddenly recalled a pile of post-pub clothes in a pile on a bed and picking them up, releasing the pungent, foul smell of stale smoke.  Just the thought of it made me recoil.  But to go out – to a restaurant, pub, club – you would return home stinking of smoke, and it’s a horrible smell.

I also remember being on a few flights either in the smoking section or, pretty much just as bad, being in the non-smoking section.  Being trapped in a plane with increasingly stale air and more cigarette smoke the longer the flight was just horrendous.

I have spoken to a few Tube drivers who recalled days when drivers could smoke as they drove the Tubes and passengers could smoke on the platforms (could you smoke inside the carriages?  I’m not sure but it appears that smoking was banned in 1984 so maybe you could smoke inside the carriages up until then).

It amazes me how quickly attitudes change.  There was a huge uproar about the smoking ban being introduced.  People were convinced smokers would be less inclined to while away the day or night drinking and smoking at the bar.  Pubs are struggling but did the smoking ban contribute to that or is it that alcohol has got more expensive and/or that we are in a recession?  I guess we can’t really know for sure.

It’s a weird thing to be out with smokers, and it appears that hardly any of my friends are smokers these days, who disappear for chunks of time to go outside for a smoke.  But I almost envy them the sociable nature of being a smoker now.  There seems to be a great sense of smoker camaraderie outside pubs and the al fresco seating areas in cafes and bars seem to be the domain of the smoker.  Best seats in the house or leper colony?

I have just looked through pictures of Tbilisi, Georgia, which accompany a high end travel article about the city.  The pictures are stunning: architecture and lots of people having a fabulous time.  The photos I took of Tbilisi are very different and reflect what I saw and experienced.  The magazine pictures are of grand and beautiful buildings, rooms, cafes, restaurants and people enjoying idyllic outdoor pursuits looking very well dressed.  My photos are of a stunning yet crumbling city and any restaurant or café photos are more taverna and less white napkin.  Looking at resort pictures of late, it never ceases to amaze me the extent to which selective photography can completely alter a place and thus your impression of somewhere and whether you think you might like to go there.

I know it’s all about marketing and attracting a certain type of visitor and there’s nothing wrong or new about that.  It’s just that I find it fascinating yet bewildering.  I recently saw a leaflet for Folkestone, where I live, displayed in France.  It was dreadful.  I have since walked around Folkestone thinking about what I’d take photos of to encourage people to visit.  One thing that stands out is that I wouldn’t recommend or photograph the Bouverie Place Shopping Centre (ASDA, TK Maxx, mobile phone shops, Primark, a sports shop, Body Shop, a 99p shop, a newsagent and a few others).  It’s not so much the shops that don’t appeal, it’s just a relatively new, bland, could-be-anywhere-in-the-world shopping precinct.  It doesn’t photograph well, though I expect the shopping centre had something to do with the leaflet.  My shopping photograph would have been of the cobbled Old High Street with all its small quirky boutique type shops (ignoring the vacant premises).

However, it’s all about perception.  Some people do go to Tbilisi and live the high life, going to opulent restaurants and not wandering around beyond the centre, an area that has been and is being restored or redeveloped.  Maybe it’s the more wealthy who are likely to be lured there.  Likewise, maybe Folkestone will get more visitors if it appeals to people looking for a relatively cheap seaside town.

Review sites such as Trip Advisor are very useful, it’s good to read what supposedly independent visitors have to say about places you want to stay at/eat in, etc.  But it doesn’t really take into account that we are all different and while someone may enthuse about a holiday resort, how lovely it is, what nice people, etc.  Another may say they didn’t like it.  But one reviewer might have been there with a group of lads, met lots of girls, frequented a bar every night, caught happy hour at each one and spent the afternoon recuperating on the lovely beach and thus had a fantastic holiday.  Another review might have hated it because it was noisy, the bars and restaurants were catering more for the former holiday-maker, etc.  I guess you just have to use your best judgment.  But I think it’s a shame that I wouldn’t visit Folkestone if I had picked up that leaflet and I wouldn’t visit Tbilisi if I’d seen that article as neither appeal to me based on the selective information and pictures given.

All that, I guess, is why we should be careful about what we read and what we believe.  I think I’m usually quite careful and aware, particularly when reading marketing copy, but sometimes I just wish I’d ignore leaflets, articles and reviews and just go places with a completely open mind, not having read a guidebook even, and really truly make my own mind up.  That’s what travelling is about, discovery.  And it doesn’t matter that others have been before because it’s your first experience and only your reaction matters.  I wish I went more places with Christopher Columbus eyes.

{29/07/2012}   Table manners

Bad table manners make me very frowny and annoyed.  I put my elbows on the table and I spoon soup/cereals towards me rather than away.  Double standards to an extent, but I was recently reminded how unbelievably horrible it is to dine with someone incapable of eating with their mouth closed.

Where do you learn table manners?  I assume it’s from your parents.  I largely know what I shouldn’t do, but when it comes to elbows on tables, not eating at a table, I have my own rules.  But I don’t mind other people doing the same!  But I do get irritated by people who start eating before everyone at the table is ready to start.  Actually, the more I think about it, the more annoyed I get about that.  I don’t think it’s the etiquette side of it that bothers me, more that it seems rude to be tucking in while other people are either awaiting their dish to be served or the cook/your friend is in the kitchen still.

As for eating with your mouth open; I just don’t get how you go through your childhood without learning that it’s rude, it’s unpleasant for others to view the masticating process, it sounds revolting and it makes people not want to go out with you.  There are few things that repulse me more where everyday habits are concerned.

Another one that annoys me is talking while eating, to the extent you can see food being churned around.  I do talk a bit while eating, but I at least cover my mouth and wait until most of it has gone.  It’s still pretty gross, really, isn’t it?!

I remember many years ago eating with someone who used to swill the food in their mouth with gulps of beer then do the swilling thing, mixing food and beer.  I was horrified, it sounded foul and the thought of lumpy beer was just too much to endure.  The result is also a burp fest of enjoy-it-twice sounds.

Now, as to burping, I burp.  I do make efforts to disguise it when I’m eating in polite company, but I am prone to burping.  Cucumbers and fizzy drinks are guaranteed to make me burp.  It’s horrible, for me and anyone eating within earshot.  Burping does, however, still make me giggle, the more inappropriate the situation, the better!  But it is horrible and shouldn’t be heard by anyone eating with you.

Living in Japan, I got to quite enjoy the slurping-is-fine way of eating noodles.  But it doesn’t translate well back here, it seems rude because it is considered rude, whereas in Japan it isn’t rude.  But if I eat soupy noodles at home alone, I slurp, and I love it.

Oo, beard dribble and bits is minging.  But that’s just unfortunate and isn’t about table manners.  I was getting side-tracked there.

As for fine dining, the etiquette there eludes me, scares me and puts me off my food; all this napkins a certain way, careful cutlery selection, which way to “scrape” your plate.  I guess I fall into the just about acceptable category of table manners, and there I feel relatively comfortable.  At least I don’t chew with my mouth open though, that to me is the worst table manners faux pax.


Why do I have complainer’s guilt?  If you get bad service, particularly for something you are paying for, you have every right to complain when it’s not up to scratch.  So why on earth do some complaints make me feel guilty or that I’ve been unfair?

I wonder if it’s a bit of a British cultural thing whereby we don’t like to upset people.  But the reality is that if you’re complaining about something, you’re upset so shouldn’t feel bad about making someone else upset.  And so it goes round and round!

Last week, two friends tried to go into a café at lunch time.  Bizarrely, the doorway had two chairs across it, yet there were a few people eating/drinking inside and one of the owners was behind the counter.  So one of them asked if they were open, to which he was given a curt “No” before carrying on with whatever he was doing.  Both friends were fairly regular customers of this café and should have been recognised by the owner.  The friend who had spoken wrote a complaint on their Facebook page and a scathing review about their customer service on Trip Advisor.  Bear in mind that there have been customer service issues before, though never that extreme.  So far so good and reasonable, right?

They then responded on Facebook and asked for him to go in so they could address the comments.  Then I started to feel bad because someone else had seen the Facebook comment and posted that they didn’t like poor customer service so wouldn’t be going there.  But the comments weren’t unreasonable and they did reflect how he felt at that time.  I have no idea how they will address it, if indeed such an exchange occurs.  But I was surprised by how bad I felt that there were negative comments up there that they obviously wanted to address.  Silly really because the owner had an opportunity to be polite at the time, he just needed to have explained why it was closed despite being open, it wouldn’t have taken much, however bad a day he may have been having.  Or he could have put a notice on the chairs explaining why the café was unexpectedly closed at lunch time.  Customers don’t want to go places where there is a chance they will not be treated decently or with respect and simple courtesy.

Poor service has stopped me going to a lot of places.  Nowadays, it’s easy to write or read reviews, and perhaps we take them too seriously.  But if I’d read about that café having poor service, I wouldn’t have wanted to go there if I’d never been before.  Is that fair?  Should we not make our own minds up?  Or should we quietly seethe, only venting to our friends about shoddy customer service?  How should owners respond to complaints or criticism?  It’s true that we remember the negative more than the positive.  But in terms of his writing negative comments, he was perfectly justified.  I’m not sure that their, come in and we’ll talk about it, type of response was ideal, but the public nature of reviews nowadays makes it uncharted territory to an extent.  I have no idea how they will address the issue, given the chance, but customers can and should be particular about where they spend their money.  And I shouldn’t feel bad that someone sounds upset about negative comments when it was their rude behaviour that triggered the complaint in the first place.

{21/07/2012}   Causing offence

I, like most people, do not want to offend anyone, unwittingly or deliberately, but over recent years I have felt paranoid about saying and doing all manner of things in case it’s seen as offensive.  I know of someone who complained that the way a white colleague mauled and severed the head of a black jelly baby was racial harassment as the black colleague who saw it felt it was directed at him.

I have recently encountered the world of employment tribunals where issues on a scale I was largely oblivious to come to light.  There were things said that made me cringe but which were not made into issues and other things said that I didn’t think were offensive, yet clearly could upset and offend some people.

Is it a good thing that a lot of us are made to be more careful about what or how we say things?  If you see television programmes from, say, the ‘60s, there are a lot of inappropriate/offensive/ignorant comments or “humour”.  It’s great that we don’t have to endure as many racist, sexist, homophobic, etc, TV programmes, for example, but things do seem a bit sterile now.  In the years of heavy film censorship, it was risqué to show crashing waves in the context of a couple as this signified sex.  Nowadays, you’d just see people having sex, albeit with a packet of condoms on display by the bed, brand visible or concealed depending on the advertisers.  The weird thing is that it feels like those subtleties are the things that nowadays aren’t allowed, or rather have to be politically correct.

The thing I love about “Little Britain” is that it mocks our fear of saying or doing anything that could be offensive or politically incorrect by emphasising it.  Part of the humour of that series is that I think we all know people like that and no matter how much you sterilise television, literature, etc, there will always be people like the Little Britain characters.  Is it not better, more positive, to pity and mock them than to be offended by them?  Maybe, maybe not.

Unsurprisingly I am drifting in and out of potential points.  I think it is good that we are more aware of how we can cause offence, but I think it is a great shame that it has, I think, got to the stage where so many things we say or do can be perceived as being offensive.  Here is a scenario I borrowed from a friend, make of it what you will:

My friend, with limited time, was at work doing the hair and make-up of an actress.  They were both trying to get the actress ready in time and it was a bit tense but they were having a giggle about it.  The actress was in communication through an earpiece with, let’s say a producer but I can’t remember that detail.  The actress was black, the make-up artist white and the producer white.  The actress laughed and said that she was all arms everywhere.  The make-up artist concurred and said the actress was like an octopus, all hands and feet trying to get everything done.  They both giggled.  Then the make-up artist went quiet as she heard the actress exclaim that that wasn’t the case at all.  It transpired that the producer had heard their conversation and was asking the actress if she was offended by such a racist comment and that the producer was offended for her.

I have always thought I would find it easy to dismiss potential dates if I went speed dating, for I very much either immediately take to people or I don’t.  Earlier this week I encountered someone I knew instantly would annoy me immensely.  I have been wrong about people before, but there are some people you just know will annoy you for the duration of time spent in their presence, and that person is always going to annoy me.

There are some people on TV I can’t abide watching.  Chris Tarrant is one such person, though I have never watched him long enough to work out what it is that bugs me about him.  At least with television you can just turn them off.  My world would be a much more pleasant place if I could reach out and switch certain people off.  These may be the signs of an intolerant person but I feel that as there is so much mindless drivel on the TV I am less inclined to tolerate nonsense in my out-and-about life as well.  Yes, yes, it’s all very Victor Meldrew again!

I was just thinking about what in particular irritates me and I was suddenly awash with things, fuelling my growing concern I am perhaps too intolerant.  Thinking of recent encounters, epic faffing and dithering when I am not also faffing and dithering is a cause for irritation.  Snobbery and smugness are attitudes I have no patience for and a lack of common sense and awareness of other people’s needs and interests is a major no-no.

The person who got me thinking about all this is delusional and an unrealistic perfectionist, with standards imposed on others that are unreasonable and ridiculous.  But of course, this person is never wrong.  I feel I have dealt with this person in the only way possible, which is that I have politely addressed all their issues and have repeated a calming mantra along the lines that “I am not alone”, for I have seen many eyes rolled and exasperated sighs released.  I shall rise about it, safe in the knowledge our paths have merely crossed.

I believe that as a general rule I can, on at least a small talk level, get on with most people and that there is always something you can think of to talk to people about, even if only about the weather.  But I find myself thinking annoyed thoughts about so many people I encounter and it makes me feel a bit two-faced, though what does that matter if they are people you will probably never encounter again?  It just makes me feel a bit judgmental.  But I guess it’s better to make an effort to be polite than it is to dismiss and ignore people you have no interest in talking to.  Yikes, does that sound really bad or just a teensy weensy bit bad?!  Mind you, I know with certainty that at least some people I encounter feel the same way about me, smiling nicely and making polite conversation!

I was at a house party once and realised neither I nor the bloke next to me were talking to anyone, or appeared to know more than one other person, so I made some pithy comment (ahem!) and conversation started.  Actually, no, it was more like my introductory hello were a key that unlocked a torrent of monologue about that person, how fantastic he was, how you couldn’t possibly have experienced what he had (patronising upstart) so he would explain blatantly obvious things.  I don’t think I have ever endured such tedium for so long; even interrupting to say how hungry I was resulted in his continuing his dull, patronising monotony while he trotted along next to me as I tried to escape to the food area.  What arrogance.  To top it off, he kept winking at me.  I think he was either totally in love with himself so could only assume everyone else was too, or he had a nervous twitch.  All very unsettling either way.

In conclusion, it has been well and truly established that, while I have patience and can appear to be interested and nice, I am actually intolerant and that most members of the general public annoy me.  There, I’ve said it!  Which makes me appreciate and love my friends even more, for they prove I can have nice, normal, interested and interesting exchanges with people and that there are lovely people out there who make niceness rewarding!

                A good friend of mine is now officially dating someone I have never met before.  I realise this means that we will soon be meeting (well I hope so, it’d be weird not to meet the boyfriend of a good friend) and I wonder who of the three of us will be more nervous about this.

                I have always kind of dreaded introducing new boyfriends to friends, there is too much squirm and awkwardness potential.  But for the new boyfriend (as is this case, though I’m sure this applies to girlfriends too!), they don’t know their new squeeze particularly well, and certainly not as well as the friend.  Meeting your new partner’s friends is a huge step in the process of getting to know someone, for friends and boyfriends have to muddle along together somehow and if you dislike all or most of their friends, there’s a chance you are not dating the right person, for your friends are a reflection of you.

I think I have always been reasonably well behaved when meeting new boyfriends of friends before, though I know I am prone to gabble and can come across as a bit of a wally at first.  I do feel it’s really important to get to know new boyfriends and it is not as stressful or horrid an experience as I am perhaps implying, I am just feeling aware that it’s coming up.  He sounds interesting though and I’m sure if my friend reads this she will be vaguely horrified but, really, I’m looking forward to it!

I recently met another friend’s new squeeze.  He very bravely came along to a karaoke session with about ten of us.  He did a valiant job of getting to know people and getting on with having what ended up being a fun evening.  He was dispatched with soon after though.  I have been a tad on the pissed side when meeting a new boyfriend before and I recall later playing back a few hideously dreadful, embarrassing snippets of drunken conversations.  That’s a round about way of saying that I have disgraced myself with conversation topics in the past, something I hope never to repeat again!

Over the years, there is a chance you will spend a fair bit of time with your friends’ boyfriends, who may become husbands.  For me the test of whether I get on with someone’s partner is whether I could imagine being ok about conversing with the boyfriend if just he and I were stuck in a lift for five hours.  There are some boyfriends of friends (actually, I can’t think of anyone at present, though there have been exes and short-lived flings this would apply to) who I would struggle to get on with in such a scenario, so they fail the lift test.  I struggle with the concept of not getting on with a friend’s boyfriend at all because if your friend can like him, why on earth can’t you at least find something of common interest.  Fortunately a short-lived relationship, but I did once get introduced to someone I could find nothing in common with and who I dreaded even meeting.  I was so relieved that my friend gave up on him soon after a load of her friends met him, though probably not because of us; he really was a [expletive].

I look forward to meeting my good friend’s new fella, though really I think it’ll be worse for her and for him than for me, not that it should really be stressful for anyone as I have faith that she has good taste!  Anyway, another friend and I have already gatecrashed one of their dates by pulling up for a takeaway at the restaurant they were on date number two at – though it was the friend with me who got rumbled and saw them!  So I’ve seen the top of his head and am now labelled a spy, despite it being a total coincidence!

{09/07/2012}   Watching sport

               Few activities appeal less than spending time watching sport on TV.  It does nothing for me.  I had a mild interest in yesterday’s Federer-Murray Wimbledon final, but no desire to watch it; internet and Facebook/Twitter updates were more than adequate.  I find the concept of armchair sport viewing most bizarre.  I can appreciate it more if you’re there, actually watching it live, but where is the fun in watching sport on TV?

               I can see the appeal a little if you’re at a pub or a venue with lots of other people as there will be a buzz and an excited atmosphere.  But to sit in front of the telly.  Really?  Is it that great a way to spend time?  I know we all have different interests so I am not meaning to criticise.  During major sporting events, I love that the roads and shops get quieter … though this probably won’t apply during the London Olympics on the streets of London!

I feel sorry for people who get married on the day of a major sporting event.  I have known people to turn up late, if at all, or to be listening to live commentary via their mobile phones.  It can be, to put it mildly, all-consuming and incredibly selfish.  I have visited friends in the past and worked out the day’s activities around a sporting event on TV.

I think I mentioned this in a previous post about football but we used to have a teacher (we pupils must have been aged 11-12) who supported a fairly useless football team.  My dad used to watch the results on TV – remember that kind of “live typing” of football results – and I would always look out for – was it Oldham Athletic? – because their victory would mean he’d be in a good mood and a loss would mean a bad mood.  It was an obsession for him.  I don’t know that he went to watch matches, but he wouldn’t have been someone I’d have dared talk to while a game was showing on TV.  Mind you, I’m not sure if he would have been able to watch many games on TV as there were no dedicated sport channels then … so maybe he did travel to games.

Probably unsurprisingly I do not really do any sport.  I have dabbled in kayaking, I used to do a lot of riding, mainly cross-country jumping and even dressage, have had maybe four bursts of squash over my lifetime and a bit of a badminton phase.  I have never felt a need to watch any of these sports on TV.  I am starting to sound a bit pompous, it’s not pretty!  I wrote this because I was getting cheesed off of seeing Murray’s miserable face on the front pages of the newspapers.  I’m not convinced it is national front page news.  Though maybe it makes a change from seeing pictures of civil unrest and flooding.  And maybe I have alighted on a point, that watching sport is escapism.  So where I’d watch a film, say, others watch sport.  There, I shouldn’t be critical, it makes sense after all!  It’s just a shame it seems like the nation, rather than just those interested, is forced to mourn when “our” side loses!

et cetera