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Let reason be your anchor…

I firmly believe the average person in the British Muslim community is outraged by the sort of atrocity we saw in Manchester last night, in which at least 22 people died and 60 were injured, in the same way any Christian, Hindu, Jewish, Buddhist or atheist person with a shred of human decency would be; because none of these philosophies condone the senseless killing of innocent people.

But I expect the headline-hungry media will use this new attack, targeted at kids enjoying a night out, to stoke the fires of hate and suspicion which seem to be smouldering beneath the surface of the world’s psyche at the moment, encouraging division and distrust in communities who do so much to promote multicultural harmony and tolerance.

I fully accept there are a small minority of radical and violent members within any community and I am not naive enough to think for a minute there aren’t also a minority of supposed genuine Muslims who, while not applauding the actions of whoever was responsible for last night’s terrible crime, may not be as progressive in their beliefs as some.

But that doesn’t change the fact that the ones perpetuating the violence are doing so by citing archaic and outdated tenets of a faith which has in recent times, made significant steps in its efforts to more successfully integrate with Western society.
In the same way as there are far right Christian groups who espouse ideas about ethnic and sexual cleansing, take the word of the Bible unbendingly literally, forbid the teaching of evolution, ban abortion and birth control and are generally anything but inclusive and tolerant.
Nobody with any sense would say these “Christians” are living by the general principals of their alleged religion, they’re just cherry-picking outmoded views and debunked superstitious nonsense for their own twisted motives.

I personally don’t hold with the views of any organised religion which go much further than; “Be nice, it doesn’t cost anything. Don’t be a dick and, if you do, expect to get treated like a dick in return”, but we need to recognise when the ones who are doing the killing and spreading the hate are doing so for misguided motives of their own and do not speak for the vast majority of those they CLAIM to represent.

Stop The Hate, it’s up to us.

 

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Shopological warfare…

This may seem slightly conceited and self-referential, (like I care) but I was reading an old guest post earlier, one that I wrote for Ramblings of a semi-mad man nearly three years ago.
It was after a discussion on Facebook about supermarkets and their insistence on us using those bloody automatic checkout things and I remembered I’d written a rant about one of their even more irritating habits, so I had a quick read.

I actually laughed out loud a couple of times, which can’t be a bad sign, what with having written it myself, so I decided to repost it here, as it was only ever posted as a guest link previously and I thought y’all might enjoy it.

So here it is…

Shopological warfare.

So, picture the scene, I walk into my house and someone has repositioned the bath in the living room, moved the sink and cooker into the bedroom, and swapped the beds around so that they are now located in the garden, and the lawnmower is in my wardrobe.
I don’t see anything strange in any of this, so after bathing in front of the tv for a few minutes, I go upstairs, mow the bedroom carpet, cook my dinner, which I sit in the bath to eat, before going to the toilet (oddly, now located in the pantry) and tucking myself up in my rather damp bed (it’s now raining in the garden) for a cozy nights sleep.
I wake up in the morning and……

Wait, what was that?
Sleeping in the garden?

No, that can’t be right, I would have noticed surely?
I wouldn’t just blindly perform whatever functions a room’s appearance indicated, even if I remembered it being a totally different room just the day before?

Or would I?

Well, that appears to be the sort of warped logic behind the thinking of supermarket marketing strategists, (I’m guessing, but this is the sort of wanky title they tend to bestow upon themselves) those evil bastards who use sensory and psychological tricks to attempt to sell us stuff we neither want nor need.

You know, the ones who thought up the idea of making all the ventilation blow the smell from the bakery towards the entrance, to make the Temple to Consumerism smell inviting.

The ones who put racks of sweets next to the till because they know that by then you’ll be so worn down by your kids constant bickering and demanding you buy them stuff, you’ll get them a confectionary fix just to shut them up.(Although obviously you’ll regret this when the sugar rush kicks in on the way home in the car)

These are the  ones who don’t seem to realise that when you’ve already spent an hour battling impending trolley-rage, dithering pensioners and hoards of grockles, the last thing you need is to wander into a formally familiar aisle thinking “Hmm, quite fancy some crisps. Those sausage and mustard ones were really nice. No, actually, I think I might try…….
…….BLEACH…?!?”

Because those evil geniuses have decided in their infinite wisdom, that if you happen upon a two litre bottle of industrial strength disinfectant where your favoured brand of delicious, crunchy, savoury potato based snack usually resides, you’ll immediately lose your appetite and  suddenly remember some urgent toilet sterilising you’d been meaning to get around to.
Or maybe you’re on the home straight, making for the checkout, when you realise you forgot the soy sauce. Well, that’s ok, it’s just round this…… BIN LINERS?!! Ohforfucksake!!

And do you sit in front of the tv that evening, knocking back the Parazone (“Kills 99.999999% of anything you can’t see and are frightened of catching, DEAD!”) after cooking your stir fry in a bin bag?

Do you bollocks.

BECAUSE IT DOESN’T BLOODY WORK!

All they achieve is to make you even more stressed out because you’ve got to traipse all the way back up the detergent aisle,…. oops sorry, my mistake, make that the paté and shoe polish (?) aisle, to get your recalcitrant condiment from (where else? ) the erstwhile toiletries section.

So if any of you meddling, ex-psychology majoring middle management wannabes are reading this, will you Please Leave Everything Alone, We Know Where It Is.

That is all, thank you for your attention.

 
3 Comments

Posted by on May 4, 2016 in Blogging, Humour

 

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Trump (reblogged from Linda G Hill)…

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Anyone who has been following me for a while probably has a pretty fair idea about my opinion of Donald “Fuckface von Clownstick” Trump and although I have no real wish to grant him the oxygen of publicity in any but the most scathing and derisive way, some other bloggers take a more mature approach. (Which we’ll get to in a minute; the photo is one of mine)

As a British citizen, I am fortunate enough to be sufficiently removed from the unhinged wig womble, that his imminent elevation to the most powerful powerful man on Earth (think about that for a moment; The most powerful man ON EARTH) will not immediately or directly impact on my life. But as we all know (after all, you’re probably reading this thousands of miles away from where I sit typing) the modern world is an increasingly small place and, no matter where we live, global events are now just that; Global.
We should all worry that a man who is so obviously driven by self-interest and an amoral thirst for personal power is so close to being the representative of one of the most influential nations on the planet and that makes it all of our responsibilities to call upon those who have the ability to prevent that from happening, to do so for the good of us all.

One heartfelt and straightforward reiteration of this, my not very humble opinion, was just posted by one of the most popular, generous and genuine people that I’ve met since I started blogging on WordPress and I’m pleased to reblog her post here.

Ladies and gentlemen, Linda G Hill…

I feel nauseous just typing the name. But I’ve stayed quiet long enough. I find I have no choice but to speak out. Why, you ask? I realize the chances of changing the mind of anyone who is determined to put him in office is slim to none. But there are people out there whose voices might be heard. My ultimate plea is to those who can make a difference. Also, I feel by not saying anything, my silence in a way condones the possibility that my children and grandchildren will live in a far less free world than I have enjoyed.

I am Canadian. Let’s get that out of the way right now. I have no say in who becomes President of the United States. That is up to the conscience of the society south of my home’s border. But the fact is, the fateful decision to elect this…

View original post 477 more words

 

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Colour me childish…

Rhonda reminded me at the weekend that I have a birthday coming up soon, (that she had to remind me this, shows my enthusiasm for arbitrarily celebrating another 31,536,000 seconds as a passenger on a spinning ball of rock, but that’s beside the point) an “event” that will mark the beginning of my fiftieth year of continuous breathing.

That’s 1,576,800,000 seconds, should you be interested.

I’m sure most people will tell you that they don’t feel their age, after all, nobody likes to think they’re getting old, whatever their own personal definition of being “old” is and I’m certainly no different.
In fact I’m pretty convinced that I’m still about 25, and that’s only in my overall outlook, the me that lives in my head can’t be much older than fifteen, judging by the nonsense that passes for my internal monologue most of the time and that has always seemed perfectly natural.
I bet if you really think about the way you communicate with yourself in the privacy of your cranium, you’ll realise you too are largely at the mercy of your inner child.

This is of course something we should all celebrate and be eternally grateful for, because if it wasn’t for the ability to see the world through the eyes of a child occasionally, where would the wonder go?
We need that childish naïvete and innocence sometimes, just to enable us to live in the world and not go mad.
We need to be able to just forget we’re “grown-up” for a while and indulge the big kid in all of us.
This doesn’t mean that having a childlike view of things makes us immature, juvenile or stupid, it just means we can enjoy exercising our intellectual faculties on a different, maybe more instinctive level.

And one of the best ways to channel our inner kid is watching a completely unrealistic, fantastical and unfeasible science fiction movie or TV show.
Because the genre title alone, Science Fiction gives you a get-out from the get-go, letting you suspend your disbelief and cynicism and allowing you a guilt free two hours of wishing you could fly an X-wing like Luke Skywalker in Star Wars, or beat the crap out of zombies like Alice in Resident Evil.

So imagine my amazement this morning, when I read that one of the recent greats of British geek TV and cinema, the creator of Spaced and Shaun of the Dead, Simon Pegg, has said in an interview that he thinks our fascination with all things sci-fi has dumbed down our culture and society and made us all “infantile”.

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Simon Pegg – Don’t make me laugh, I’m trying to look intellectual.

This from the bloke who not only gave us two grown men miming slo-mo gunfights on television and a film about a couple of geeks meeting an alien on the way to a sci-fi convention, but who is also in the process of writing the next Star Trek movie, which I’m sure will once again feature him giving toe-curling comic relief in his role as Scotty, not to mention the hopefully excellent Monty Python spin-off, Absolutely Everything, which, would you believe it, prominently features comedy aliens.

Here’s the trailer.

Now, correct me if I’m wrong, but that doesn’t look like the sort of film that’s going to be shown in art house cinemas anytime soon, (In his interview, Pegg singles out such classics as The Godfather, Taxi Driver and The French Connection as being films that we could intellectually engage with. The Godfather? Art house? Really?) nor do I think that many of the movies that were likely to have influenced him in his youth were all that arty or cerebral.
I may be wrong, he might have spent his formative years watching nothing but Fellini and Bergman films while he stroked his wispy adolescent beard.
But I doubt it.

Simon Pegg’s argument seems to be that when you come out of a modern blockbuster, having watched two hours of robots kicking the shit out of each other in the Pacific, teams of superheroes fighting aliens, or presumably even Sandra Bullock dying of boredom whilst floating in space, you haven’t had much of a mental workout.
Although I don’t believe I recall the scene in which Don Corleone challenges a rival mobster to a sudoku tournament to settle a turf war, or Popeye Doyle quoting Nietzsche at a suspect as he beats a confession out of them.

Let’s face it, most films boil down to some kind of morality tale: Good vs Evil.
Star Wars is just a western in space, Guardians of the Galaxy could just as easily be the Dirty Dozen and Pegg’s own Hot Fuzz, well, that could be any number of buddy movies, all the way back to Butch and Sundance.

So I’m going to give him the benefit of the doubt and assume he’s fighting his way through some kind of early-onset, inverted mid-life crisis that makes fun people dull.
Then again, there’s just as much chance that he’s taking the piss, in order to promote his latest not-very-grown-up film.

Either way, I don’t intend to grow up anytime soon, no matter how many times I go past the same flaming ball of gas.

I shall leave you with two full movies to enjoy, one by Ingmar Bergman and the other by John Carpenter.
See which one entertains you the most…

And remember, stay childish everyone. ;~}

[Simon Pegg’s picture stolen from Google]

 
2 Comments

Posted by on May 19, 2015 in Arts, Films, News, TV, Video

 

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A roomful of elephants…

Blogging is a funny business.
The whole idea of having a platform that is unpoliced by the arbitrary moderators of taste and.decency who randomly patrol the virtual corridors of Facebook and other social networks is extremely attractive, especially if you’re the type who isn’t too concerned about what others think of your opinion.
The only problem is, after a very short space of time your blog becomes an incredibly personal thing, something to be inordinately proud of, irrespective of technical know-how or literary prowess.
It presents you with a private window on the world, inviting you to lean out and shout words of encouragement or scream abuse at passers by, depending on the view.

And nobody can bang on the wall and tell you to keep the noise down.

However, you do still want people to read it, that’s the thing.

Some writers, (like fellow blogger and ranter extraordinaire, Scorpion Sting) seem to revel in their licence to aggravate, making it perfectly clear from the start that they suffer fools not at all, let alone gladly and will happily join in slanging matches with spammers and offended whiners alike, ensuring a regular audience of like-minded followers who will tune in just to see who the latest target of their invective is.
I’ve always attempted to keep the tone of Diary of an Internet Nobody reasonably light, or at least not too intentionally confrontational, even if my natural instinct to take the piss does occasionally make me unpopular with the odd reader.
And when I do cover a serious or emotive subject I try to be respectful and mindful of the fact that I have readers all over the world (one of the things I still have trouble getting my head round) knowing that flippant remarks made about something I’ve seen from my little cyber peephole may well seem deeply offensive to others with a different perspective on the world.

Having said that, it would be dishonest of me only to write what I thought you, my readers wanted me to say, in case any of you felt included in the general group of people I may have pilloried or berated in a post.
So it’s sometimes a bit like trying not to talk about the bloody great elephant sat on the hearth rug, whilst simultaneously having the uncontrollable urge to poke it with a stick and pick its scabs.

Pachydermatitis if you like.

For example, I was thinking of writing a post inspired by a conversation I had with a friend of a friend on Facebook, which would have begun something like;

“There’s a lot of talk of religious extremism in the world these days and it impacts on our lives in various ways, some of them fairly minor but still unwelcome nonetheless.
I’m thinking of one group in particular who, not content to peacefully worship their chosen deity, must attempt to impose their outmoded and barbaric morals on others.
The complete insistence on unwavering adherence to rules that have no relevance to modern life and beliefs blatantly denying the evidence of scientific discovery is not the way to integrate yourself into society.
It won’t be long before they start to influence the laws of the world, forcing us to conform to their skewed view of the universe, citing theological dogma as justification for inflicting their values on everyone.

You know the ones I’m talking about.

That’s right, Christians.

No, wait! Come back!
I hadn’t finished, let me clarify.

I’m on about the sort of pious, fervent, utterly devout believer who, assuming they don’t try to force their views on me, I have only the greatest respect for.
If they are that devoted to a spiritual path, then it shows a dedication that few of us are capable of, or at least willing to demonstrate.
If however, they decide that I am for some reason “demonic” and need to be “saved” or “delivered” from the ways of Satan before I’m forever doomed to the fiery pits of hell, then we have a problem.

Who are they to decide that I’m risking eternal damnation for…”

And it would have gone on in that vein, ranting about how someone who claims “God created everything, even evolution”, and then used that statement as evidence that some Christians are capable of showing “common sense” is never going to admit they’re in the wrong about anything, or even try to see your point of view, so why bother arguing with them, it’s no fun.

I would have spent ages coming up with smartass, snarky lines that might have made me laugh but wouldn’t really address the subject in a sensible, grown-up way, thereby almost certainly pissing people off.

So it’s lucky I didn’t write that.

There’s no end of topics out there, just waiting to be written about, but I know my, um… “style”, for want of a better word, doesn’t suit every situation. No matter how interested I am in the material, I have realised that sometimes it is best to use social media for making political points and having theological debates.
At least that way, you’ve got a reasonable idea who can see what you write, it’s not automatically, instantly everywhere at once like an open blog, free to gallop around the internet looking for people to be friends with, like some sort of demented puppy with verbal diarrhea.

Take the situation in Israel and Palestine for instance, I’ve had a few good tempered discussions on the current conflict there in recent days, mainly on Facebook and mainly with people who side with the…

Oh no.
I’m not even going to try to tackle that one.
I mean, where would I start?
Two thousand years ago?

So for a lot of reasons I carefully tiptoe around some of the dangling trunks, every so often risking a gentle prod from an irritated tusk, but trying to avoid getting trampled underfoot altogether.
Because if using my own little corner of the blogosphere to poke the elephant every now and then helps to point out the differences between us, it’s only a way of understanding what makes the world tick the way it does.

Sometimes pushing people’s buttons until they react is the only way to learn a new point of view.

And (extremely tenuous link ahoy) speaking of pushing buttons, in an update to a recent post I am very happy to announce that my friend Lisa has finally bowed to the weight of public opinion and started a blog of her very own.
So you should push the relevant buttons on your electronic device of choice and head on over to read her inaugural post on Notes Dropped In A Well.

Coming up…
Another award and a spot of animation.
Stay tuned.

 

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The anti-social network…

When was the last time you were offended or upset by something that a stranger did in public?

Is there a benchmark for inappropriate public behaviour that most people can agree on?

For instance, if a topless woman got on the bus you were travelling on, would you expect anyone to be offended?

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Ok gentlemen, bad example.

How about breast feeding?
Perfectly natural. Nothing unacceptable about that.
At least you wouldn’t have thought so.

Once you get online however, all the usual rules and logic seem to go out the window.

Hypocrisy appears to be the order of the day when it comes to the policies of Facebook in particular.
Only this week the social networking platform flip-flopped their ruling on gratuitously violent content, when they first defended the already once-reversed decision to allow the posting of an incredibly graphic video featuring the beheading of a woman by a Mexican drug gang, then re-reversed the ruling when there was a public backlash that such extreme violence could be so easily accessible by anyone with a Facebook account.

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Yet posting a photo of a woman breast feeding is expressly (no pun intended) forbidden by their nudity policy. In fact the policy, which specifically bans the depiction of a “fully exposed breast”, was rather confusingly cited as the reason for giving me a 24 hour ban from the site after posting the picture below, under the heading “Does anyone think this is an appropriate pose for a family photo?”

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See any breasts?
No.
Ok, it’s wrong on many levels, but it does not contravene the boob law as I understand it.

Even more bizarrely, I received a stern warning from the Fb taste police after posting a photo of a topless woman which most definitely does not contain breasts.
Posted in relation to a story on breast cancer awareness, the following photo shows the beautifully tattooed chest of a woman who has had a double mastectomy.

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See any breasts?
No.

The rules governing what is and what is not acceptable are so arbitrary they seem to have been pulled out of a hat at random and selectively applied to equally random content, without any rhyme or reason whatsoever.

Despite, or perhaps because of, this peculiar interpretation of their own policies it is still entirely possible to view other, similarly gruesome decapitation videos on Facebook without any special access being required.
Not only that, there are pages dedicated to everything from making tasteless jokes about babies dying of cancer to those that promote dog fighting and graphic cruelty to animals. Blatantly racist and misogynistic content seems to sail invisibly past whatever passes for the Fb decency filters, which only ever seem to be activated by mild sexual titillation and the hopefully obvious category of threatening other users with rape or personal violence.

Other platforms are often guilty of comparable lapses of common sense in applying their own rules,  most recently illustrated by Twitter‘s lamentably slow response to the raft of rape and death threats suffered by women such as the history teacher I would have loved to have had at school, Mary Beard, over something as ridiculous as whether or not we had a man or a woman on a bank note.

Really? Bomb threats over something like that?
You wouldn’t have thought the sort of moron who makes anonymous threats on Twitter would have that passionate an aesthetic appreciation of the engraver’s art would you?

And don’t get me started on the self-harm and bulimia glorification showcase that occupies an alarmingly growing percentage of tumblr content.

It’s true that we should have the freedom to watch, read and listen to whatever we want, without the censors second-guessing our moral standards for us. But the fact remains that anybody, including children and anyone else who can access a computer, laptop or smartphone, can join one or more of these ostensibly inoffensive social networks and within minutes be exposed to the type of graphic images once vilified as Snuff Movies.

I don’t claim to have any answers to the dilemma of how to regulate what makes something too offensive to publish, nor do I expect the situation to get anything but more complex as the sprawling embrace of the World Wide Web encompasses more of our daily lives.

But I do have a tenuous link to finish on, with two excellent videos for your entertainment.

The first is most certainly “all done in the best possible taste” showcasing as it does the comedic talents of one of Britain’s best loved and sadly missed performers, Kenny Everett
(Ron from Vent, this is for you)

… and the second most certainly isn’t, because right here you can watch the full length movie of Peter “Lord of the Rings” Jackson‘s outrageous debut feature length alien/zombie comic horror masterpiece from 1987, Bad Taste.
(Hilarious, but not for those of a delicate disposition or those easily offended, blah, blah, etc, etc..)

Enjoy.
And let’s be careful out there…

 

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Running commentary…

The more time I’ve spent writing Diary of an Internet Nobody, the more I’ve come to appreciate how important the part of comments is in helping to keep the stream of ideas flowing.

Since it appears to be the month for celebrating milestones – 15,000 hits, 200 followers – it’s also worth me taking a minute to congratulate you, my esteemed followership, on the fact that over 1000 comments have now been registered on the blog, (although I should point out, that does include my replies) and I’m grateful for each and every one.
I even had my very own troll for a while, but he seems to have crept back under his bridge of late.

Trolls aside, if it wasn’t for the opinions, advice and thought-provoking discussions that have begun in that little square box at the bottom of each post, many of the actual posts might not have been written in the first place.
Quite apart from the direct contributions so to speak, from old friends Oliver, who gave a personal account of a trip to Reading Festival in this post and Zippy, (Richard Thorns) who has added his own inimitable take on two separate stories which you can find at the top of the homepage, along with links to their sister posts.

[In related news, Zip’s passion for cryptozoology continues unabated and you can watch the video about his latest expedition to locate the fabled Pink Headed Duck right here…]

I have actually been congratulated by a writer I rate very highly (not without some degree of envy, I’m pleased to note) on the quality of the comments on the blog, and on the articulate calibre of my readers, so you should consider yourselves suitably flattered.

Both Bully for me… and Foot in mouth disease… were inspired by conversations I had elsewhere on the hard shoulder of one information superhighway or another.
While the time reading and commenting on other bloggers’ posts is time well spent, not just for the welcome reciprocal traffic this generates, but also for the chance to get involved in exchanges with like-minded people on subjects as diverse as the posts we all read.

The trouble is, if I see a good blog I automatically follow it. Likewise, if someone follows Diary of an Internet Nobody I’ll generally follow back, (although I’m starting to learn my lesson now, after getting spammed by various, deeply spurious, get rich quick schemes) which means I now have so many blogs to read that if I commented on them all, I’d need three of me just to give me time to write.

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And I like to leave a comment with a bit of thought behind it if I can, whether it’s just to join in with Adam, bashing the numpty-du-jour at A World Of Pain, trying my best to interpret the enigmatic art of Windhound over at Dragonshades, enjoying the eclectic mix of photography, video, reviews and comment in Emilie Rosson’s world, having an exchange of cultural views with Ron, flamboyant host of Vent or making terrible puns on Toemail.

But nothing beats the feeling you get when something you wrote generates enough interest or emotion in someone that they take the time to leave a thoughtful, well written comment.
These freely offered contributions act as additional insights into the subject of the original post, providing other readers with another point of view and sometimes even lead to cooperation and collaboration between bloggers.
Just this morning, turning my phone on to finish writing this post, I’ve commented on three blogs one of which, Tim Love’s blog is completely new to me, a recommendation from a fellow blogger.

Another problem I’ve had recently is trying to navigate the desktop site of the mobile-unfriendly but otherwise excellent BlogCatalog.com, so I’m going to find the blogs I follow on there which I can’t get through my WordPress Reader and follow them by email instead. That way I don’t need to spend hours trawling through dozens of microscopic notifications to find links to the latest pearls of wisdom from Rum Punch Drunk, to see the latest artistic offerings from the lovely Carol over at Anfinsen Fine Art or to catch the newest batch of scantily clad female fantasy warriors and/or poodle-haired ’80s rock drongos from the Assorted Thoughts of Big D’s Unsorted Mind.
And while we’re on the subject, Hey BlogCatalog, can we have an Android app please?
Thanks.

So thanks again for your help in making my blog what it is today. Because without all those wonderful interactions with all you other writers, readers and ranters to keep my neurons firing, what would I find to talk about?
And thank you once again to Ho, for his latest bespoke blog-toon.
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Rest assured, this will be the final burst of barely-disguised, self-congratulatory own trumpet blowing (for a while at least) but I am inordinately proud of my foray into the world of blogging and I’m not modest enough to care who knows it.
In fact, not since my days as a teenage theatre nerd have I been able to look at a body of creative work and said to myself “I/we did that from scratch and people like it”

And I like that.

 

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