The news that a school is banning ties and the news that stepping stones might be bad for your health has really got my blood pressure up of late. I blame the litigious society we now live in. I hold my hand up now and confess that in the mid 1990’s I helped to propagate this terrible affliction upon the British public by working in a solicitors office that mainly dealt with tripping incidents.

People living in the UK pay a tax which helps pay for the upkeep of the area in which they live. This tax is called the Council tax [Incidentally, this year Barnsley council have levied residents a £1095 annual charge for the privilege of living in Band B houses within the district] and is paid annually. The tax funds the local services such as police and fire and coastguard (if you live in a coastal area),Derek Hatton’s new car refuse collection, holidays for the councillors and general maintenance of street furniture (signs, lamp posts, bins), pavements and public areas.

My job as a legal clerk was to gather evidence against Liverpool council for “Breach of duty of care”. Usually this would involve Joe Scrotum calling into the office, all bandaged up, to say that he had tripped over a raised paving slab and caused distress and discomfort to his person. I would then get Mr Scrotum (or his brother or his cousin or some bloke that knew his Aunt once on a Friday afternoon in June) to sign a “Green Form” which allowed Mr Scrotum to claim legal aid and allowed the firm to earn some healthy dosh to pay its employees with. In reality, Mr Scrotum had probably gotten beaten up in the pub for shagging Mr Knutfukker’s wife up the bum; and on the way home from the pub notices a pavement slab which happened to be a bit sticky uppy.

Of course some of the clients were obviously genuine, some had actually fallen or had had some kind of truly accident with a piece of council furniture. But the majority were scam artists. A good 60% of these people put claims in as a supplement to their unemployment benefit and often the solicitor that dealt with these cases would be heard to say “Oh Mr Scrotum? Again? He is a clumsy clopper”. Anyone else probably would have taken a bit more care walking down the road but because the compensation available was sometimes in the £1000’s (Yeah your Honour. Falling down that manhole has put me off sex) there was a healthy income to be made. Indeed some of the injuries certainly didn’t look like they were caused by “sticky up pavements”. Unless, of course, these people had been travelling along a super sonic speed and the pavement slab levitated and twatted them across the head and limbs several times.

Of course the compensation had to come from somewhere. Liverpool, at the time, had one of the highest council tax charges in Britain and possibly some of the most unsafe streets in the whole North West. Not because of gun toting dudes in blacked out cars but because of the actual potholes and broken pavements. However, the money to fix the pavements was being swallowed up by Mr Scrotum and his kin, who didn’t actually pay any council tax anyway because of their employment status.

But thats a tangent I didn’t really intend going off on. Instead, today I got thinking about the numerous things that I probably wouldnt have experienced had I been a cotton wool wrapped child of today. Such as:-

Thing  Why Possible reason  Instead of
 Sitting on hot central heating pipes in the cold winter  Not only is it not Arcticly cold in the winter anymore but someone might get burnt Oh poor little Jonny! He sat on a pipe and now has a disfiguring blister on his thigh. This has (will) cause(d) him to have a lack of  self confidence and all the other children will call him names and he’ll grow up to be Charles Manson or someone.  Stupid child. It was hot, you got burnt. Here have some Germoline and stop your whinging. You’ll never do that again now will you. Hot pipes indeed!? Didn’t you get up once they felt a bit hot?
 Cutting paper with scissors  The child might cut his or her or someone elses fingers off!  Oh poor little Milly! She was cutting paper unsupervised when she cut her finger. Now she has no end of playground taunting and she’ll never be able to play the Harp again. I mean fancy leaving a child with paper! That paper cut will never heal. It will go gangrenous and cause her to have some tropical infection like lassa fever or beri beri  Stupid Child! Its only a poxy little paper cut. Just suck the blood off and you’ll be alright. You’re not going to die.
 Chalk on the blackboard  People are allergic to all sorts of things these days: cheese, peanuts, mucky fat, aspidistras. Chalk is no exception. I had to take my little Gary out of class indefinitely because of the dust in that class room. He would come home with his eyes streaming and his face all puffy. It stressed me so much I  would have to smoke a further 20 cigarettes in disgust. How dare that school give my child an allergy! How is he going to take over the family asbestos removals company when his Dad retires?  Oh stop your whinging. Smoke this and go out and play.
 Sitting on walls  Walls, it is known, are generally unsafe. They sit there and teeter like a frightening sine wave and have a habit of falling on or ejecting children when they least expect it.  Our Sharon was sat on them wankers in Number 72’s wall t’other night and she fell off it. Poor little mite. Spilt her fuckin’ Tenants Super as well. Stained her new top an’ shes fuckin’ brok her fuckin’ tuff as she fell. Am goin’ to take them bastards t’ court.  You dosy mare. That walls been there for over 50 years. You come along and kick it with your mates then sit on it or walk about on it all pissed while you pick all the moss and the cement out from between the bricks. Is it any wonder you fell off it?
 Playing conkers  Conkers are notorious for removing peoples eyes. In fact in some hospitals conkers have been used in eye removal operations. The game of conkers is no exception and only increases the risk.  That Tommy, he’s normally such a nice boy. But you know the other day, after his drink of Sunny Delight, he went out with his friend Eddie to play conkers and within five minutes he was going round and punching things and kicking things and pulling the heads off puppies. I can’t imagine why he would do such a thing. Must be because he was playing conkers. Thats such a violent game  Calm down. Stop kicking that boy like that. How many times have I got to tell you. When you are kicking children go for the goolies! Do it properly or not at all!
 Being told off by an unknown adult  Strangers. Are dangers. So they say. I always thought they were a crap indie band from Preston. But it seems that any person other than a member or friend of the family that speaks to a child is a paedophile and possibly an axe murderer or nail beautician. Or all three.  That Mr Jones of number 86. He told our Jade to get off his garden today. He’s a dirty shifty man. He has all those pictures of those children on his mantelpiece and wall. I just know he’s watching me from behind those net curtains. He did away with his wife anorl you know? Chopped her up with an axe made out of a nail file….  How many times do you need to be told? Stop annoying the neighbours and stop doing parkour on Mr Jones’ front garden. He’s old and doesn’t like it. Go and apologise and ask him if there is anything I can get him from the supermarket.
 Sticking things with Gloy Paste  Glue as we know is bad. According to recent social studies sniffing glue is bad for you. It makes your nose all spotty, fucks your head and leads on to hard drugs like. Gloy Paste sniffing is  the precursor to glue sniffing it seems though smelling the back of a postage stamp isn’t quite in the same league really is it?  I caught our Billy making a tissue paper collage last night. I was so shocked. I was passing his room on my way to get my Crystal Meth when I saw through his door…there he was all sprawled out on the floor sticking pieces of scrunched up bits of tissue paper onto a piece of card using GLOY! Things looked so promising for him. I always thought he’d be a dealer you know.  Aww thats lovely Billy. Are you making that for your gran? Arrrey! You’ve got it all over the carpet. You stupid little child. Give it here!
 Nativity  It seems that childhood is not innocent. It is guilty of offending people from other walks of life and cultures. The nativity, the seasonally traditional account of the birth of Jesus, offends not only non-Christians but the papier mache rights people get offended at the use of a papier mache sheep instead of a cardboard cut out. It might also be instrument to child pornography as it seems those people with the cameras might not actually be filming or photographing their children for family posterity but for actually more nefarious purposes.  I couldnt believe it! I was mortified! Imagine having a 6 year old talking about birth. It is obscene! Especially as I don’t believe a word of all that “Christ is born” nonsense and I only had our Tanya baptised so she could get into the school (you know its fairly high up on the league tables). I find it all so offensive. Just wait until Julian sees the education minister when he plays golf on Thursday. I shall also be complaining about the use of the cameras in during the nativity. I mean I don’t know any of those people. They might be axe murderers or nail beauticians or something and they have film of MY child! It’s horrific!  Aww look at them all act. Aren’t they sweet. I mean I know I only got them baptised for educational reasons but still they did a damn good job of the birth. I think little Tarquin played Joseph so well. He should get an oscar lovey!! I’m so glad most parents seemed to be filming the event as, when Tarquin becomes an internationally famous filmstar, they’ll all sell their films to the press and it will be excellent publicity for him darling.
 Playing in the street  God forbid if a child ever went out on the street. There are all manner of dangers. Cars. Drug pushers. Muggers. Rabid snow leopards. Level 15 Dun Modr Dwarfs. Religious nutters. Knives. Sharp pavements. Fresh air. Pollution. Things to do. Mischief to be had.  I dare not let Jimmy out to play incase he falls over and damages his knee. I certainly don’t like him talking to those other children. I mean what sort of dreadful and awful parents let their children out to wander the streets unsupervised. You see them all the time playing football, sitting around drinking Tenants Super, swearing at old ladies, runnign round Mr Jones’ garden. I’d say something but I wouldnt want anyone to think I was a dirty paedo or something. Instead I’ll just keep Jimmy here with me. I’ll give him a nice PC to play with and he can go on the internet all day. Or I can get him a television and some of those Conker films he likes so much.  Go on. Bugger off out. What do you mean you’ve got homework? GCSE’s? What are they? You dont want them they cause nothing but trouble! Look at me do you think I’ve got GCSE’s? Now fuck off out and let me watch me reruns of Trisha in peace…

Poverty Corner and grannies – A whinge

Sometimes I can be a complete snob.

Sorry. But I can be. I dont mean to be. I think its something to do with my upbringing. (I’m the true heir to the throne of England you know*)

Anyway, I was reading on another journal about how people tend to swarm when they see or hear the words “FREE” and “FOOD” and gorge themselves silly. Anyway, it brought to mind a phenomenon in Supermarkets in Liverpool [I don’t have that much experience of supermarkets out of the city I live in only because when I go away the last thing I want to do is grocery shopping, unless of course its at Waitrose but thats understandable]. So feel free to let me know if this is just a localised thing.

Anywotsits, in the supermarkets I’ve been to they tend to have two places, one in a chiller cabinet and one in an ordinary shelf where the supermarket tries to flog off its damaged or close to sell by date but still edible/usable stock for well below the price. You know what I mean it usually turns out to be something that you would never eat anyway like badger paté or kipper cordial or marmite or something.


Pristene packets of sliced ham say £2.00 compared to dog eared, shiney slimey ham that someone got from the deli counter then left amongst the cereals for 10p

At certain times of day you can see swarms of pensioners, students and bargain hunters congregating around these parts of the supermarket awaiting the arrival of the next batch of soiled goods.

Now I’m not saying its a bad thing, it isn’t, when I was unemployed I would battle my way through the throngs to get my crushed shortbread biscuits, I’m just pointing out what an amusing sight it is to see hordes of grannies fighting over unpleasant looking duck liver paté for 10p. It’s as if all human decency and manners go out of the window as hair is pulled, groins are elbowed and toes trod on. I suppose after all we are all just animals in a base and primal way.

While Im on the subject of grannies. I dont know whether its the same in the states (you’ll notice I have this fascination with cultural differences which one day I may expand on), but is it me or are pensioners today inconsiderate, rude and ill-mannered?

When I was a kid :-

Grannies :- Awww hasnt he got lovely curly hair. Awww bless. Have some sweeties!
Me :- thankyou


Grannies:- Out of the way!
Me:- oooof!

Pensioners today seem to be very rude, they push to the front of queues, hit you with their walking sticks, smell of wee and never smile. They never say “Thank you deary” anymore, nor do they ask “Would you like some sweeties?”. They don’t even have blue rinses, drink tea or bake biscuits.

Whereas pensioners less than 20 years ago were lovely sweet dears with blue hair. They would let you get on the bus first, (or at least offer to which you would politely say “No after you” and you would help them on the bus), they’d invite you in for cups of tea and biscuits, talk about the war and share tales of their youth (Normally starting with the immortal phrase “In my day…”). They would smell of lavender or brut 33, smile with big false teeth smiles and ruffle your curly hair (if you were as unfortunate as me to have curly hair).

When did it go wrong?? I used to hear the cry “Kids today!” but more and more so these days I hear “Pensioners today! They have no manners!!”

My grandparents taught me manners and how to be polite (along with my parents of course), my gran taught me to be the gentleman I am today (I still hold open doors for people of all ages though I tend to let them go in ungrateful peoples faces if they dont say thankyou) and my grandparents were lovely old people full of joy and spirit. Yet it appears that some of todays are being stripped of decency and being taught the ways of the world by rude, obnoxious, piss-smelling biddies… it no wonder theres few polite people in the world??….

*= May not be true

Metric v Imperial

The Today program on BBC Radio 4 had an interesting article this morning about how the UK still works in imperial (yards, pounds, inches etc) despite moves by the European Parliament to put us in line with the rest of the world using metric (centimetres, grams etc).

Click here for several centimetres of diatribe