Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A Real Hero

I didn't write about it at the time, but I was horrified by the hero-worship of Raoul Moat by some people. I could see nothing to praise in a man who murdered one man, attacked his ex-girlfriend and shot a police officer at point blank range in the face, but the news featured people who thought he was a hero, including one woman who took her kids to his funeral (surely in any sane society this should be grounds for taking her children off her).

The incident brought into the light a section of society who dislike the police and saw shooting of a defenceless police officer as something to be admired. I don't understand this mistrust of the police - as a law-abiding person I've had no contact with the police, but understand why they exist, am glad they do and am relieved there are people who are willing to do that job, because I know I couldn't. And on the frequent accusations of them being racist or power-crazy, like any large organisation, there are probably some people of whom that is true, but like people in any profession, there will be good and bad.

Anyway, the reason I'm writing about it now as I've just heard an interview on the radio with David Rathband, the police officer who was shot. He is now blind, but is not resentful and is probably one of the most inspiring people I've heard speak. His ambition to go back to work and finish the shift that was cut short by the shooting was heartbreaking, but what a brave man.

For all of those morons who dislike the police and thought Moatie was a hero, listen to this man and see what a real hero is.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Nobody Talks about Book Club

I have joined a book club. Apart from online dating, is there a bigger cliché of lonely modern urban life?

My friend C was telling me about it one night in the pub and I laughed so much at his story of nearly getting into a fight with a woman at the previous meeting, that I was tempted to join myself. Then the next day, I was in an Oxfam bookshop and there was a copy of the book they were reading next, so that sealed it – I was joining a book club.

The first meeting was brilliant Not due to any great meeting of minds and a shared love of literature, but because it was just as funny as C’s description of it. I spent most of the night trying hard not to laugh. There was, as I think is obligatory at these things, a woman who looked at everything from a feminist perspective, a literary snob who had read the book in the original French and someone very argumentative (my friend C).

As predicted by C, the other members of the book club would try to turn the subject to something other than the book in question as soon as possible. Sure enough after one sentence about the book, the feminist had moved onto talking about her son, the education system and anything else other than the book, C desperately and unsubtly tried to steer her back on track and I tried to stifle my giggles.

To add to the amusement, the pub where we meet is also the meeting point of a rival book club and I was told to look as if we were having a better discussion than them. Not to actually have a lively discussion, you understand, just to appear to do so. To be honest the other book club did look a younger more fun crowd than my lot and I may defect in the future.

Tonight is my second meeting. This month’s book was Snow by Orhan Pamuk which I mostly found tedious, but I’m looking forward to the discussions or non-discussions regardless. That is, if anyone else has read the book – apparently there was one meeting where nobody had managed to finish the book and most hadn’t even started it.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Hello October

It is hello to thick black tights,
Hello to boots
Hello to coat
Hello to central heating and soup for lunch
Waiting in the wings are hat, scarf, gloves and even warmer coat
Where did my summer days go? Replaced with long dark nights that last most of the day