I just read the incredible news that Bananarama are going to reunite. How awesome...not!
I could really do with news of something great right now. The bit of news you get from time to time, which cheers you up and gives you something to look forward to, such as when I got wind that James Bond was going to be used in the 2012 olympics, or that Monty Python were doing a reunion. Such bits of news really perk me up and get me excited, giving me something cool to think about and fixate upon. It feels like ages since I had such a glimmer of hope; I think we could all do with one right now. Every day I check the Entertainment pages for something - anything - for such a nugget of news, but there hasn't been one for quite some time. The only thing I'm mildly looking forward to these days is Star Trek Discovery, and even that's cautiously. I want to find something I can get excited about; something which would remind me that there is still fun to be had in the world, and take my mind off politics for a while.
I suspect all this recent sound and fury might soon be moot. Today, our eyes should be on our southern neighbour: if, as many predict, Marine Le Penn gets elected in France, then I think the European Union will be over as a project. It's days will be numbered, at least. La Penn will want to withdraw; with two of it's key members gone, it'll loose all structural integrity and just collapse. What would be the point of it? Why try to hold it together with people across europe reverting to nationalism? This noble project will fade and die.
Even more worryingly, if La Penn is elected, it will be another step down the path the western world began last year. Between brexit, Trump's election and the possible election of La Penn, it is now clear that we are heading in a very dark direction. Tolerance and respect for others are being supplanted by greed and arrogance; people are becoming more greedy, caring only about themselves. Nationalism - the infantile urge to keep societies and cultures separate - is on the rise. Things are becoming like they were in the thirties. We are heading somewhere very dark: brexit was one step down that road, the election of trump was another; tomorrow we might take yet another.
According to this, an international clown festival will shortly be coming to London. The London Clown Festival will take place in Crouch End from the eleventh to twentieth of May. While there are, of course, plenty of clowns around already with a general election coming up, something like this might be just what we need at the moment. Everything has become so serious and doom-laiden; there is so much anger flying around. I really think a good laugh is just what we need, so I'm seriously thinking about going to watch the guys in oversized suits and red faces - and I don't mean those in Westminster.
I think I need to note how deeply, deeply disturbing I find this video report from The Young Turks up. I came across it last night and was utterly bewildered by it's savagery. It shows a young boy with fairly severe autism being arrested by cops in Florida. The boy was apparently misbehaving at school. When I first saw it, I didn't know what to think, and still don't. Surely the adults concerned - teachers and police - realise that a child on the autistic spectrum doesn't know what he is doing is wrong. He does not understand his behaviour as others do. I've been working with kids on the spectrum at Charlton Park Academy for seven years; to see a child like that treated in such a way is horrifying. Frankly, this is not the type of behaviour one expects to see in a modern, western democracy. I really hope this is not symptomatic of the times in which we now live.
These days, I find great solace in reminding myself that all the awesome stuff which happened before last year remains awesome. 2016 was terrible, and I still get really, really angry thinking about it. Every time I see, hear or read anything about Brexit, I fly into an almighty rage. Humanity is going in the wrong direction, mislead by liars and fools. The only way I can calm myself down is to think about everything I find incredible, everything which fascinated me, and all the cool stuff which happened in, say, 2012 and 2014, and tell myself it hasn't been tarnished. When London hosted the olympics, it was part of the EU; when Monty Python performed at the o2, we were still in the EU.
These days it feels like everything has turned to dust: the xenophobes have got their way; society will soon become far more intolerant and inward-looking. There is a lot of fear and anger in my heart right now. The only way I can control it, the only way I can calm myself down, is to retreat into memory and think about all the cool stuff which happened before last year. That remains unblemished: it happened before everything was smeared with hate, before the country was fooled into betraying itself.
I used to love this country. I loved it's culture, and so much cool stuff that happened here. Yet, after last year, the only way I could justify continuing to love such things was to tell myself that they happened before the folly - before the united kingdom turned it's back on the world. I want to be a member of the global community - how could I continue to love a country which denied me that? Thus, to me, 2016 represents a partition - a dividing point before which I respected and loved the UK, and after which it lost it's way, and was taken from me. In a way I find comfort in the fact that all the cool stuff happened before the country lost my respect, so it's memory can remain untarnished by the utter folly of what happened afterward. These days, that is the only way I can content myself.
This might sound silly or childish, but it's the only way I can find any solace, and keep loving all the things I found so amazing in 2012 and 2014. Of course, cool things can still happen, and I really hope they do - I think we could all do with a shot of awesomeness right now - but I'm glad the cool things now so dear to me happened before the country lost it's way; at least I have a kind of heyday to look back upon, and remind myself that things weren't always so utterly, utterly stupid. Who knows: one day a british city may host the olympics again, and we'll see a repeat of the glories of 2012; but, for now, I can't see that happening. For now, for me, pride in the UK exists only as a memory, and won't return until we get back on the right, internationalist, outward-looking course. If, as many predict, the world at large is about to take a very dark turn, then at least I have some great things to look back on, before everything went crazy.
[Edited 20/04/2017 at 10:25:23 - added a bit]
[Edited 20/04/2017 at 18:01:45 - added links]
[Edited 20/04/2017 at 20:33:51 - added a bit]