Audioblog: Ireland & Eurovision

Hey, I learnt to talk again!

Here is the Harvey Milk post I mention.

A* Life Choice: Impromptu Tourism

On Tuesday afternoon I thought it would be fun to take the Underground from Angel to Tower Bridge, walk by the Tower and across the Bridge then through Hay’s Galleria to London Bridge station and back to Kings Cross. Here is what I learnt:

  • In England, you can never wear enough layers. Ever. Especially if your umbrella is of debatable quality and folds up in anything stronger than a breeze.
  • You should always carry change, because although you might not begrudge the city of London 50p to use a well-maintained public toilet, you will be pretty bummed out if the machine doesn’t take change.
  • They used to keep lions at the Tower of London. Like as extra-toothy burglar alarms or something.
  • I shouldn’t have walked so far when I had work the rest of the week and recently made the decision to use a standing desk.

Tower Bridge

Least it was pretty though… and even if I did spend all of yesterday feeling like a zombie, it was not wasted on me that I could have been in an exam instead. Francesca’s life choices: 1, naysayers 0. Didn’t even get lost. Much.

Let’s Talk About the Weather (and Eurovision and some guy I read about on the news)

Before I forget, because I might, there’s a giveaway running on my shop at the moment. Everyone who buys my Eurovision game is automatically entered to a draw to win one of my mirrors (your choice which one, of course). Yay!

Right, important stuff: is it really windy where you are at the moment? Because a lot of supplies that are being used to fix my house’s roof have fallen down outside the front door so I may well be trapped inside by timber, which wouldn’t be annoying if Donnie didn’t freak out every single time a leaf rustles.

But he does.

So I hope we can both leave someday.

Speaking of business ventures – sort of – this bloke has made me feel highly inadequate. I have very little understanding of what his company actually does, but the fact he just sold it for £40 million, having started it aged 16, tells me all I need to know…

… and that’s that I should have misbehaved at school a lot more.

Takin’ Liberties

I was considering a break from the news after the election, but then the new government went and announced new laws I’m not sure about and since I didn’t vote for them I feel like I’ve got a civic responsibility to moan talk about it…

These laws are aimed at reducing and/or preventing radicalisation by banning groups and individuals who use or promote hate speech. My first thought was ‘does this mean we can ban Katie Hopkins?’ because if there’s ever been an individual in this country with a penchant for stirring shit, it’s her. And on the surface, banning ‘poisonous’ extremism sounds like a great idea. Nobody likes listening to extremists stand on a soap box, whether they’re radicalised Muslims or the Westboro Baptists… Extremists prey on the vulnerable, stoking people’s fears and encouraging them to take violent action instead of peaceful protesting or legal change, and everyone with sense understands that extremism exists in all religions, ideals and lifestyles (case in point: Hitler was a vegetarian atheist).

Thing is, not everyone has sense. Some people will use the laws to try to ban anything they deem hate speech and some people may try to use it to stop civil rights advances – kind of like how in Russia the anti-gay propaganda law was marketed at protecting children. But who’s qualified to decide what counts as hate speech? Is it violent and graphic, like calls to exterminate cockroaches, which was the rhetoric that preceded the Rwandan genocide? Or is it an expression of anything that’s different to your own point of view? Because there is not a person in this country who shares a point of view completely with another person and the moment we’re told we can’t express ourselves we’re risking 1984 territory. Like what if homophobic groups tried to ban the discussion of homosexuality, or what if an atheist group wanted to ban public sermons?

The other problem with the proposals is that by banning extremism one is both admitting it’s a problem we can’t solve and is not actually helping to solve it. People don’t wake up one day and say ‘I think I’ll go fight for ISIS’ or ‘I think I’ll bomb an underground train’. Their beliefs and fears were stoked over years by other people who sensed them as a target. Similarly, the Suffragettes didn’t start out throwing bricks through windows or stepping in front of horses – they resorted to drastic measures when the peaceful options were exhausted.

I’m not suggesting we sit with the leaders of al Qaeda, link hands and discuss our hopes and dreams, but just banning extremism will not make it go away. We have to stop it starting in the first place, and I don’t think there’s a law that can do that yet.

Which means we as citizens should probably try to do that ourselves, by teaching our children tolerance and empathy, and attempting to learn those traits ourselves.

But that’s going to be way too easy, isn’t it?

Mirror, Mirror

I fell asleep on the patio with my trousers rolled up yesterday, which means one thing… summer’s here. Or it’s visiting at any rate.

I love it. I love that I can swap hot coffee for frappes, jeans for short shorts and procrastinating on the Internet for sitting outside being, like, zen. It’s a bit strange that it’s May and for the first time in half a decade I’m not about to sit an exam, but it’s the sort of strangeness one associates with waking up on holiday.

Speaking of summer, this weekend I added two new things to my Etsy that I’m really, really excited about: pocket mirrors. I don’t know how many of you have a collection of mirrors that you take out to different places, but I have a little stash and I love them. Course, none of them are sarcastic, grumpy or outright rude, so I had to design my own.

It's Rude to Stare  It's Okay You Can Tell Me I Look Great

Cool huh. Get them here, for less than the average Starbucks beverage (in fact, I think everything I sell is less than the average Starbucks beverage… and I do my tax in the UK).

I’ve also managed to make myself a portfolio site that isn’t completely repulsive – the link is in the menu bar if you fancy my attempts to be incredibly professional. Speaking of, I have some emails to sort out. Happy Monday… unless you’re packing your bags to leave Tory England forever, anyway.

Is anyone actually doing that?

Out With the Old and In With the… Old, Mostly

I’m having one of those days where I can’t tell if I’ve got a cold or if I’m just very tired, but the election coverage is making it way too easy for me to veg out in front of the TV so I’m writing this as a bridge into paid work. (Now I think about it, that’s Indifferent Ignorance in a nutshell).

I won’t talk politics here today because everything is happening rather quicker than expected – Farage resigned in the time it took me to walk the dogs – someone should have told him it was that easy months ago – and Miliband went while I was taking a break from the coverage… on Netflix.

Wish they could all bugger off, eh. At least the bloody campaigning’s over… until the referendum on the EU or whatever’s next.

What’s next for 24-hour news coverage? There’s got to be something internationally significant between now and the US election.

Wait a minute.

Conchita from somewhere on Tumblr
Conchita from somewhere on Tumblr

Oh god there’s another election before the end of May. And this one enjoys strong links to Vladimir Putin. And there’s gonna be a green room for the winner instead of a podium in a Central London street.

I bet more people vote in that than did yesterday.

Enduring Idiocies Legacies

I get more and more like a middle-aged lady every year, but I’m just going to go ahead and ask how it is that it’s May already. I think it was January last week? And Firework Night?

There was a spectacular show of indifferent ignorance on the radio this morning, with presenters from the Today programme asking people if they were voting… some didn’t know who the Prime Minister is. I can’t really complain about that because they do in fact all look the same. But still, Mr Apathetic Citizen, has it not occurred to you that by not voting you have no right to complain about any sort of governmental process? You say that politics doesn’t affect you but that’s just ’cause you don’t know anything about it. Have a sniff around and I’m pretty sure you’ll discover the odd law that dictates your life.

Speaking of laws, I finally watched this film:

(Well I watched it twice because I rented it from the library and I like to get my money’s worth support local services.) It was funnier than I thought it would be… most civil rights-esque stories make me want to cry and throw things. Well I did get a bit sniffly but what was really funny – and I mean this in every interpretation of the word – was that the people who spewed homophobic bullshit in the 1970s are completely identical to the people who spew it now.

It was like when I listened to MLK’s I Have a Dream Speech and kept thinking of Ferguson. A lot of good things have happened in the last three or four decades, but it seems unlikely that the world will ever be completely rid of fuckin’ idiots.

On the plus side, this Thursday we might be able to remove a few of them from public office. I don’t hold out much hope for electing anyone better though… that shit’s stayed in the ’70s.

A Question of an Evening

It’s another one of those bank holiday weekend things isn’t it? Good thing I don’t need to work weekdays from nine til five… I’m going to get to Friday and think it’s Tuesday again. Again.

Who’s excited about Royal Baby #2? Me neither. I mean, it’s always lovely when someone gives birth to a healthy baby who’s loved and wanted, but one of my cousins had a baby the other day and the world’s media didn’t give a fuck about them – and this princess is going to be shat on for her entire life, so I kind of wish the start could be a little bit private.

How do you like the new layout so far? I’m not convinced about those bubbly things but other than that it does the job. It doesn’t look like 1995, anyway, so it can stay.

Just noticed that everything I’ve written so far has been a question. I ought to stop asking your opinion and get back to work, trusting my instinct like a true artiste… except it’s five thirty on a Saturday evening and the fact I need to keep working suggests I’ve fucked up somewhere along the line, so maybe my instincts are a little off.

Either way I do have some shit to do, so happy Saturday!