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New Year’s Dishonours December 29, 2014

Posted by markswill in Uncategorized.

It’s Christmas: seasonal cheer, goodwill to all men, that sort of thing. And in the spirit of that sort of thing I’m temporarily reviving my Blarg, specifically with an apology to those who responded to my rather pompous announcement in the last one – way back in mid-June – that I was planning to launch an odd little classic car magazine. So to those who wished me well, albeit with a tinge of justifiably bemused scepticism, and especially those who offered to scribble something for it, I must sheepishly announce that it ain’t happened, and probably never will.

Classic Car Reader – not it’s real title, obviously – was to’ve been a low budget and therefore relatively low risk enterprise, but a major obstacle proved to be a vast media org. who unaccountably felt threatened by its editorial premise. Which proved tiresome, to say the least. And were I twenty, even ten years younger I might’ve called their bluff or taken ‘em on legally, but frankly life is now quite literally too short for such shenanigans.

Indeed as the weeks and months passed by towards my entirely arbitrary launch date and the issue remained partly unresolved, plus the whole stressful business of launching a wee print magazine in a world gone digitally mad, made me realise that I simply lacked the appetite for it. Or at least the appetite for doing it alone and risking most of what little money I’d scrimped and saved on something that mightn’t work. I would’ve had to’ve given up my film reviewing contract, too, which means regular money for a job I love – albeit with a wildly irregular workload that makes forward planning almost impossible.

Its premature demise also and with convenient irony provides the backbone of this little epistle, for I have lately been musing on the broken promises of the past twelve months. This has of course been most notable in the political arena with the posh boys who swagger around Westminster casually determining our fates failing to reduce the national deficit, curb immigration, re-balance the economy in favour of manufacturing exports, sort out the NHS, end various costly military misadventures… the list is endless. The major overall consequence is to’ve reduced even further public confidence in politicians, which accounts for the rise of Farage and the other clowns who comprise UKIP. Whether a major protest vote in their favour – bearing in mind that it’ll be a woefully low turnout – will give UKIP an influence in parliament beyond that of short-term scaremongerers remains to be seen, but as a measure of my faith in politics I shall again be voting Monster Raving Loony.

In America the situation is much the same. Obama for all his fine oration and intentions, has failed to deliver on anything except arguably the economy, but that was largely down to the luck of fracking. And elsewhere in the world I can’t immediately think of any government that has successfully risen to the challenges faced. A few despots have disappeared these past couple of years, but only to be replaced by cruel, ruthless and/or religious psychotics whilst totalitarian states such as those in Syria, Egypt, North Korea, Russia etc., etc. have continued to destabilise a world that has little appetite for addressing the damage they do… mainly because we need their energy or they need the arms we can sell ‘em. And organised religion remains the most divisive, inhumane and hypocritical force in the world.

Although many otherwise sophisticated governments remain in denial about climate change, the evidence of increasingly hostile and unpredictable weather patterns is as clear as the irreversible denuding of fauna and flora that’s the inevitable consequence of overpopulation. Mankind’s failure to do anything significant about all of this evinces perhaps the most anguished handwringing of the lot, but closeted in my own little bubble I’m of course more exercised by our ability to let library closures continue unabated, the inability of the motorcycle industry to stop its slow-drawn-out suicide, the sucking of public money for the absurd vanity project that is HS2 at the expense of our otherwise creaking railway network, Amazon and Google’s relentless pursuit of untaxed profits as they speed the downfall of traditional retailers and publishers and the race-to-the-bottom of most cultural institutions and human qualities that I once held dear. Readers of past bloggery may recall what they are so I’ll spare them and anyone else who’s come across this scrawl more recently, or by mistake, any further wailing.

What I will merely list in conclusion are those who have failed to survive a further year and are much missed, at least by me. Felix Dennis, my oldest friend and colleague from underground press days died last summer: his support, loyal friendship and sharp intellect is as much missed by many others who were close to him, and indeed not-so close. Mick Farren, of the same ilk and era also departed earlier in 2014 and other losses in recent years and the serious illnesses suffered by many friends compound the discomforting feeling that we haven’t got too long left to make the most of our lives. So if there’s a positive message to be drawn from the failures and disappointments of the past 12 months, may it be that we’re all still lucky to be here.


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