Monday, December 9, 2013


I guess we all have heroes. I’m not sure a sportsman can ever be called a hero as they’re just entertainers and I suppose with that rationale I cant call my beloved Ian Hunter (lead singer of Mott the Hoople, but you knew that yeah?) a hero although performing at aged 74 is pretty heroic. 
Looking good Ian!
Heroes inspire, heroes make a difference, I was up in London on Friday night and I walked past the South African Embassy and it was mobbed with mourners with placards ‘Viva Mandela’ placement of candles, flowers, worshipful chanting. Its too easy to write a tribute to him, but because I never met him and its done to death, I’m not going to. 

However I will say one thing, if you’re looking for an example of true forgiveness,  you need look no further.

In religious circles my hero has always been a geezer called Tony Campolo. He’s an American but I’ll forgive him that. He’s getting on a bit now but in his prime he was a radical. I hope the following anecdote is not apocryphal, but I would not have put it past him:

Tell it as you see it Tony!
 Speaking in front of 10,000 Southern Baptists at their annual convention  Tony addresses the crowd. He starts to click his fingers…click….click…click and then states ‘Every time I click my fingers a child dies of a preventable disease and you people don’t give a fuck!’

The crowd gasped! Some stormed out in protest. They had not come to church to hear swearing!

And then he said ‘..and do you know the biggest tragedy? You are more concerned that I swore, than the fact that  click…click…every time I click my fingers, a child dies of a preventable illness’ What a radical!

Have you ever taken offence at the smallest of things and denied yourself the benefit of a friendship, or being part of something radical and life changing? Sometimes the visionaries are not the best at inter personal skills because they are so focused, so driven. They don’t have the time to cuddle sensitive egos. But they change the world.

Sometimes I think Christians are their own worse enemy. I found this T shirt on line which I would love to wear to church on Sunday. 


It could be looked on as terribly irreverent but it’s actually sold by a Christian charity which works with people in the porn industry! It’s called XXX Church and they believe that where it says in the bible that ‘God so loved the world’ that is an inclusive bunch including all breathing human beings which also includes pervy tattoed body building actors  playing the role of the plumber and top heavy actresses playing bored house wives!

But I know that some Christian would take offence deeming it blasphemous or something. I’d just hate to be so judgmental and negative. (Footnote- I love the church I go to and 99% of the people that go there are really cool)

There’s a proverb which talks about the hypocrisy of trying to remove the speck from your brothers’ eye whilst having a plank in your own. Hey, guess what, Christians are flawed. This one particularly so! It’s because I’m human. But it also nicely gives me a reminder of why 2000 years ago a baby was born in a stable. Can I request that somewhere in the craziness of Christmas we give that baby a nod?

So I suppose it is worth taking a leaf out of Nelson’s book and try to look at the bigger picture in everything.  As we approach a new year and make our resolutions, it’s a good time to re evaluate what are those things that really matter to us, our ideals, our passions and to not let the petty get in the way of what really matters.

Finally, on the subject of Christmas Ads (see last blog) we have hit a new low with the McDonalds one. It’s called ‘Somewhere near you’  and again it has promise because its got the hauntingly beautiful music from Edward Scissor hands (Jonny Depps finest hour!) but I had to do a double take at the words in the poem narrated by some welcoming old crooner:
And beside all this glass made from fire blasted sand is a door you’ll adore when its pushed with your hand’

Desperate or what! Lads, what rhymes with hand? Er Sand? Yeah, how do we get the word sand into this poem?
I'm not!


Friday, November 29, 2013

Autumn & Winter

I ran to work on Thursday morning. It was the most enjoyable run of the year. It was early and apart from a rogue cyclist I had the path to myself. I follow a path that matches the old railway line that linked Luton to Welwyn Garden City and my tired old legs are cushioned by a carpet of leaves. The maturity of the foliage makes for the illusion that you are running through a tunnel of golden browns and green with shards of sunlight breaking through it really is easy for me to dispel the Big bang theory. 

Can such beauty be caused by coincidence?  

I look at it this way. Whatever made us, created something that he wanted us to enjoy. And although WE are doing a good job at buggering it up, I’d suggest it’s difficult not to argue that it is a beautiful world, and where it’s not, that’s usually down to man. 

So if there is a higher being and he created something for us to enjoy, would that not imply that he loves us? I mean, I wouldn’t do Hitler a favour. It’s one of the reasons why I so love autumn. It’s not just the climate, the scenery, the freshness but it’s also a great bridge between the joy of summer and the misery of winter. If winter is a necessity, then thank God it doesn’t follow summer. Imagine how miserable we would be if overnight we changed from daylight until ten to never seeing daylight outside of office hours. 

There is an illness called SAD (Seasonably Adjusted Disorder) and its people who get depressed because they don’t get enough UVA in the winter. My business partner had it and had to have this bright lamp in the office. It was like having an apparition of an angel, and it caused havoc with all the planes flying into Luton airport at night but it did the job. 

But for the workers among us, lack of sunlight can be a real problem. We drive to work before dawn and we sit in our enclosed offices with its artificial light and then we drive home anytime after 4pm and its already pitch black. I’m fortunate that I have a shower at work which affords me the opportunity to go for a 35 minute run at lunchtime. Ah, sunlight!

But even for the most dedicated of runners there’s the horrible tension between festive calorie intake and pounding frost covered pavements. Some runners like the cold, but blokes in tights is just not a look I’m ever happy to embrace. Bright yellow gloves & matching beanie are also an acquired taste! 

Need i say more!

 Having said that, they obviously breed them hard in Luton as I’ve seen countless nigh time runners wearing all black! C’mon guys, do you have a death wish? One year I was bought a flashing armband, and although I did feel like a Christmas tree I also did feel decidedly safe. And I guess that’s the message: If we are going to stay running in the winter in the dark to counter the inevitable calorie attack, lets make sure we can be seen, even if we look stupid to the people that can see us.

Talking of Christmas, loving the ads more than the telly. Streets ahead, even though they have Lily Allen singing (& her attitude does grate with me) is John Lewis who have equalled their feelgood offering of last year with the little boy who couldn’t wait for Christmas day so that he could give everyone their presents.  Who would have thought a rabbit could have inappropriate thoughts about a bear.

Ahh, true love xx

M&S is pretty sassy too, and I don’t even mind Ferrero Roche but then anything was better than the awful ‘oh ambassador you spoil us’ drivel, but the two that need to be removed from our screens are Morrissons and the Samsung Galaxy ads. What’s so annoying about those ads is that they have great content within the sentimental drivel. To me Ant & Dec are comedy genius and the sole reason (other than Joey Essex (is he for real?)) to watch ‘Help I’m a celebrity’, but those inane faces they pull as they are introduced to a platter of festive fayre by a superimposed gingerbread man are enough to make me vomit up my pancetta!

Comedy genius

Proper blokes

Similarly, the engineer in the cargo ship who face-times his family has a Slade soundtrack, brilliant! I mean, they were no Mott The Hoople but they could produce a tune. But Mr engineer if you are wealthy enough to own a Samsung galaxy, sire three kids and own a dog (no I’m not talking about the wife) you can afford to take Christmas day off! Perhaps I’m not living in the real world, but a similar Christmas ad which does resonate with regards to estranged families is Sainsburys where they are making a video Christmas message for their Dad serving in the armed forces and all of a sudden he appears through the door. Pure class, and an opportune time to salute all our boys who will be serving in hostile lands away from their families this Christmas. God bless you all sirs!