Monday, 25 July 2011

The Aftermath from Amy

The news of Amy Winehouse's death spread like wildfire on Twitter.  I, like many, were sceptical at first, but it wasn't long before the "Breaking News" banner was scrolling across the Sky News screen.  And along with confirmation, came the many opinions of the Twitterati.  I didn't much get involved with the conversations, from either point of view, so I thought I'd reflect on my feelings here instead.

The first deluge of tweets were the "She brought it on herself" camp.  Amy Winehouse's addictive and self-destructive lifestyle were well documented as were her father's frequent attempts to have admitted for rehab.  The last performance video of her in Serbia shocked so many people and my observation then was why had her management team let this happen.  However, I've never been behind the scenes in Amy's life so I can't say what really happened.  What I can say, is that not one of us should judge someone else's life when it was not ours to live.  Having an addictive personality is a recognised syndrome and anyone can be inflicted.  To say Amy deserved the death she has because an infliction she couldn't control is callous and ill-informed.  If I was to die tomorrow, would people say, "Sure she'd no-one to blame but herself.  Did you see the size of her?  She was a heart-attack waiting to happen!"

Another frequently tweeted message questioned how people could be sympathetic towards Amy Winehouse when so many young, innocent people had been killed in Utoya.  The reason Amy's death affected more people was because, as a person in the public eye, they felt they knew her.  It felt closer to home.  And since when has our sympathy and sense of injustice been finite?

Then there's the issue of the rapidly spreading jokes that followed Amy's death.  Though you may fine it crass and heartless, it is human nature.  It's been happening for many years and always will.  It could be a defence mechanism, it could be a lack of empathy or it simply could be that some of us have a warped sense of humour.  I didn't find all the jokes funny, I thought some were tasteless but then again, I can have a giggle just like the next black man at a sexist or racist joke.

So, that's my opinion.  I do hope Amy can now finally rest in peace.

Friday, 8 July 2011

Thank You For Your Patience...

....normal service has now resumed.

This week, number one son Andy has been on work experience.  Now this is all new to me as I never expected him to be doing this so young; he's not yet fifteen.  But we checked out the options, he made several applications and was pleased he ended up with a placement at a local school, in the Science Dept. as a Lab Technician.
Now, I love my son more than I love Shiraz.  He's very intelligent, polite and confident.  But he does have his foibles.. he's a bit of a know-it-all, he has very strong opinions that he likes to share, he can be a smidgen sarcastic  (yeah, I know.. the apple didn't fall far from the tree!).  Baring this in mind, I worried about how he'd get on.  Would he drive them mad?

I needn't have worried.  The staff were wonderful to him.  They were helpful, friendly and considerate.  They not only made him feel welcome, but also made him feel like a colleague.  They bought him a cob on Cob Day.  They chatted to him in the staff room.  They told the other kids to call him Sir.  Thanks to all of this, he had a fantastic week.  There's wasn't anything he didn't like about it.  It's made him more sure about what he wants to do with his future and more determined to achieve it.

I'll probably never meet the people Andy worked with.  And though he'll send a letter of thanks to them, I'll never get to show my appreciation.  So this is a great big THANK YOU to any of you who has ever had to endure a work experience kid.  THANK YOU for not getting annoyed when they ask the same question for the fifth time.  THANK YOU for understanding when they don't listen to your instructions, because they think they know-it-all.  THANK YOU for rescuing them when they get lost coming back from the toilets.  THANK YOU for making them a cuppa and giving them your own time from your lunchbreak.  And THANK YOU for putting their mother's minds at rest.

Saturday, 2 July 2011

Hotpoint R.I.P.

This week our washing machine died.  A tragedy of epic proportions (and no, I'm not exaggerating!).  Not least because it has served us well, with eight years excellent service under it's belt and even at that, I don't think we bought it new.  (Hotpoint, pat yourself on the back).  However, due to many factors, we're not in a position to buy a new one at the moment.  Which means for the coming week at least I am left to handwash, a time-consuming activity.  It's not that I don't have the time; it's all the time I get to think while doing it.  

The following is just a taster of what's been going through my mind.
How do the enzymes in washing liquid work?
Why is my garden like a Pet Cemetery thanks to my bloody cats?
How will Andy do in his Work Experience next week?
Is the soluble plastic on washing tabs made of the same stuff as edible underwear?
Why can't every question be asked in cookie form?
Have I worked off enough energy to have a chocolate muffin for breakfast?
Why aren't I skinny already?
What was that Lost ending all about?
What the fuck was Ed Miliband thinking of?
Will I go to hell because I laughed at Frankie Boyle's joke?
Why have I suddenly become obsessed with nail varnish?
How come I didn't marry a millionaire?
What's the value of fantastic sex - a million pounds maybe?
Am I a sad case because I missed the #FridayTwiz last night?
Was the Euromillions won last night?
And why didn't I buy a ticket?
Is it an age thing that makes me so excited about the prospect of using my new vacuum cleaner?
Do I think too much?

Thankfully, I can tweet while it's drying...