Monthly Archives: June 2012

Sloppy and Indifferent: The Problem with English Football

There’s no point in denying the truth. England are still suffering from the same illness that has been eating away at them like maggots for the past few years. Their interests lie in money and a shameful celebrity status that glorifies them and reports degrading behaviour such as cheating on their brainless, annoying WAGS. They are paid £100,000 a week. Is it any wonder, therefore, that when it comes to playing for their country, the drive and passion (which, for them, is driven by money) simply isn’t there?

English football players seem to have no comprehension of what it is to stand proud simply for the fact that they have the honour to wear the shirt of England. They seem incapable of setting aside their lust for millions of pounds in order to retain some old-fashioned pride. This is a great insult to the numerous fans who place their faith in them; if you really are being paid so much money generally as a footballer, at least have the decency to perform to the standard that is expected of you.

Take the Euro 2012 competition. After their absolute failure to even qualify some years back, faith in English football had reached an all-time low. Hence why there were hardly any fans who followed them to the Ukraine. Wayne Rooney’s petulant, ungrateful snipes into the camera didn’t do England any favours. However, when they succeeded in their few first games and miraculously found themselves facing Italy in the quarter finals, everyone’s faith was restored and thousands more fans chose to support them in the stands, many using up savings they had acquired for months. Even my own faith jumped back into play and I truly believed that England had transformed their complete apathy into pride.

But how foolish. England seemed to start off well against Italy but the truly strongest side soon became apparent. Italy, by right, should have won something like 10-0. The opportunities they had were incredible, including a goal that was declared off-side. They only won on penalties, which lives true to the English curse for losing in this area, a curse that is probably more of a self-fulfilling prophecy if anything.

However, even if England had achieved a miracle and beaten Italy, there would be no doubt in anyone’s mind that the worst team won. For England was way behind Italy in terms of strength, speed, agility, coolness and team playing. England were sloppy, sluggish and undisciplined. The worst of the lot was Wayne Rooney. What exactly is that lethargic lump of lard even doing on the pitch? He has shown himself to be average at best when playing in the Euro/World Cup; he was slow, lumbering, red-faced, seemed to be out of breath most of the time and missed a couple of golden opportunities. Really …. is this the best England has to offer? The amount of times that Italy had possession of the ball and actually had the courage to take shots show how unbelievable it was that England made it through to penalties at all. England were weak; they were cowardly and hesitant; they passed the ball to Italy on numerous occasions and, physically, it was as though they were all recovering from a hangover the night before (apart from Carroll who was described as a ‘bull in a china shop’ and Joe Hart, the only player worth mentioning in a non-negative light, who kept cool and confident at all times). There would have been no glory if England had won on penalties and, quite frankly, the Germans would have been laughing their heads off; they would have known that the final was in the palm of their hands.

The best team (by miles) won. But the core of the problem does not lie in lack of talent for England. It lies in a mix-up of priorities. My suggestion is to cut their salaries to the point where they can just about afford a mortgage on a 3 bedroom house; quit glorifying Wayne Rooney as though he were some kind of legend, which he is not; stop reporting their celebrity philanderings, which no one even cares about anyway, except for minions with mundane existences. Let them truly WANT to hold that cup in their hands and teach them the value of national pride. This celebrity-obsessed world has seeped into the heart of football and, unless this way of thinking changes within society, England fans will continue to be disappointed. Don’t listen to those idiotic commentators who praised England for their “courage” “big hearts” and “team spirit” when in reality we all know that there was no team spirit (clearly demonstrated by their non-ability to effectively pass the ball to one another and keep it for more than 30 seconds). As for their “big hearts” if their hearts are so big, why is it they cannot find enough heart to feel the passion of playing for one’s own country and simply desiring glory, rather than money?

It pains me to write as I have. But England leaves me with no choice. This is the fault of the FA, the media and us, the people, especially those deluded ‘fans’ who will still continue to drone on about how wonderful England are and how much ‘fighting spirit’ they have, not realizing that this way of thinking is contributing towards the lack of care shown on the part of English players. Forgive me, but some of us prefer not to bestow praise where it is not due. Praise is to be earned, not a God-given right. When we decide to stop feeding the unjustified egos of the England players by showing the same indifference towards their personal lives as they do towards playing for their land, we may be fortunate enough to see an improvement. Until that day arrives, we can continue to be disappointed by players that are capable of so much more than what they display, all thanks to greed, immaturity and selfishness. Three lions? I saw only mice on the pitch, mice who ran away rather than attacked with full force. Bring them home … and give them a kick up the backside.

In Memory of my Beautiful Elsa

One year ago, my lovely little Jack Russell, Elsa, who was six, passed away from a malignant tumor. One week she was the same playful dog she always was; the next week she had died in my arms. Words cannot begin to express how much I miss her.

I chose her from a litter of five and the truth was that I had originally been most interested in picking a male, rather than a female. But my father passed her to me, casually asking me what I thought of her. She was so tiny that she fit into my palm. I held her up close to my face and peered into her eyes in a rather skeptical manner; she then proceeded to lick my nose and I thought, this is the one! The rest is history.

Elsa was extremely beautiful for a Jack Russel (I often thought she resembled Audrey Hepburn, though the wide-eyed looks that followed whenever I mentioned this hinted that no one else agreed with me). She was also incredibly playful, fiercely brave, rather rude to other dogs (she would often stick her nose up at them whenever they came sniffing around) and highly sensitive (she ignored me for a good few hours once when I had stayed out overnight.) All in all, she had the vivacious, independent character of her kind, and more. So on the day we found out that this small lump in her neck was actually a vicious tumor and would slowly kill her, we had no choice but to put her to sleep. Within the space of a week, the lump had increased in size, equal to the weight of her head and the vet informed us that if she continued to live until the end, the tumor would eat into her neck and choke her to death.

So we planned the best death for her that any dog could possibly have. The day before she died, I asked the vet to give her an injection that would provide her with energy for a few hours, for she was so lethargic at that point that she could barely move. He obliged and those last few precious hours were spent with us running and chasing each other in the park, as we had done so many times before. For a brief blissful moment, I could imagine that there was no tumor, that she was not going to die and that she was the same happy, healthy dog she always had been. We bought her a delicious steak that she greatly enjoyed and, that night, I cuddled her and told her many things.

The next morning we took her to the vet, that final hurdle before we had to say goodbye. I wanted her to know that I was going to be with her until the very end. They muzzled her, but she didn’t resist. I think she knew it was time for her to go. I held her in my arms, caressed her and kept telling her what a good girl she was; they injected her with a lethal substance and she slid gently down on the table. And I cradled her with a grief that seemed too powerful to bear.

We had Elsa cremated and she now sits in a plant pot on my window sill. I will never forget my little dog for she brought a joy to me that I had never experienced before. There is no doubt in my mind that she is up there somewhere, wagging her tail, being snooty to the other dogs that have passed away and waiting for me to see her again. I had written a poem for her the day before she departed, which is below. God sometimes takes away the ones we love the most but this is not to be cruel or unkind; it is because he knows, as so many of us do, that there is a better place that we go to after life, where sickness, suffering and sorrow do not exist. It is here that my dog waits for me and where all those who have passed wait patiently for those who are left behind. This promise is made to us because such overwhelming love never exists in vain and even death cannot break it; he can only stall it. There is no such thing as goodbye; just goodbye for now.

 

My beautiful little Elsa

Time to sleep

Death has chosen to slyly creep

And take what doesn’t belong to him

And sprinkle the grief that Pain must bring

This cruel mist and blinding fog

Will soon take the life of my little dog.

So we will have one last perfect day

Without suffering or sadness or the thought of decay

Where Elsa will play and run and be glad

These last hours are not a time to be sad

But to remember how special and loved she is

A beautiful dog who will be greatly missed,

And though untimely for she did not hit seven,

They say all dogs go to Heaven,

And though Time was not with us from the start

Time will mend the cracks of my broken heart

Time will do his best to ease this pain

Time is the reassurance I will see her again.

Goodbye Elsa, soon you will be all brand new

For God has promised me he will look after you

For now I’ve got to stay and you must go through this door

But one day I’ll walk through and join you once more.

And no matter how long it is we are apart

You’ll always be number one

And hold a special place in my heart.

 

Why does fear of convention challenge our sense of right and wrong?

One evening some time ago, I was on the bus when it stopped and three “rudeboys” jumped on. Typically, they each wore a hooded jumper, moved in a slow, gorilla-type fashion and had the same arrogant sneer on their faces, the archetype of their kind. Two were mixed Jamaican/English, the other black. (And yes, I can imagine the SS of political correctness getting riled up at the fact that I mentioned the words ‘Jamaican, black and gorilla’ in the same paragraph; not different to the white teacher who once innocently called a black child a ‘cheeky monkey’ and found her job on the line for it. Please … before hurling any absurd left-wing accusations of racism at me, at least read the post. For this is not a post about colour; even the most stupid of people know that evil comes in many shades, white, black, yellow or brown. *eye roll*).

It turned out that the boys had no money to get on the bus and the bus driver asked them to leave. They refused. The next few minutes was spent with them tormenting the bus driver, and one of them arrogantly remarking, “I’ve got alllll day to do this!” (Of course you do; you don’t exactly go to school or work). The bus driver, who quite frankly was a pretty weak specimen of a man, repeatedly asked them to leave, to which they continued to laugh and jeer in his face.

By this time, I had had quite enough. I often feel a boiling rage inside of me when I witness one group of people picking on a singular weak one. There is something about groups and gangs that I thoroughly dislike; I think it’s because those who are part of them are often cowardly weeds when they are on their own. I rose from my seat and stormed over to them, demanding they leave. Naturally, being a girl and slightly shorter than them, I was met with raucous laughter, one of them even having the audacity to ask where I was from. I threatened to call the police if they didn’t leave. More laughter. One of the boys grinned, turned his back to me and started swinging from the hinges of the bus door. There was something about the sight of his swinging back that instilled in me this overwhelming urge to push him off. And I did. Except he didn’t fly from the bus as I had hoped. Instead, he saved himself by clutching each side of the door with his palms. Each boy turned to face me and suddenly it wasn’t a laughing matter anymore. One boy urged another to ‘hit me’ and the boy he was egging on took a lunge for my bag. I held on to it tight but he succeeded in breaking the strap. Infuriated, I yelled at them and it was at that point that they jumped off the bus. The bus driver (who had remained quiet throughout the whole incident) asked me if I was alright and I told him to close the doors and drive on.

My thoughts on the matter are this. Firstly, the bus driver should have exerted more authority and ordered the boys off, no matter what measures it took. It is his job to protect his bus and his passengers, yet I believe that his fear of the boys caused him to submit the way he did. He did not let them on without paying but he stood for their disrespectful jeers. Bus drivers have to put up with an awful lot of crap these days; rude behaviour, scammers, filthy looks. But one thing they shouldn’t tolerate is such an overwhelming act of disrespect towards them. What kind of a society is this where an adult man will cower in fear to a bunch of sneering, teenage layabouts who have nothing better to do with their time than  cause grief to normal, decent citizens? Furthermore, what kind of society is this where grown men will sit passively on a bus and watch a girl confront three hoodlums and do nothing to assist?

For that is exactly what happened. There were grown men on that bus. In fact, the majority of people on the lower deck were grown men. Yet they all sat there and pretended that nothing was happening. The honest reason I believe this was for? Because of the pressures of convention. Conventional society states that you do not speak out or act when something our of the ‘ordinary’ occurs; it demands that you retain a level of ignorance and keep yourself to yourself. In other words, it ensures that we are surrounded by cowards who will stand and watch while injustice occurs, rather than stand and fight in order to do what is right. I was lucky; the boys could have had knives or guns. I could have been stabbed or shot. But this says less about me than it does about the complete out-of-control spiral that this society has become, where teens run rampant with weapons and the decent citizen lives in fear. And the politician sits comfortably in his home, completely disconnected with the outside world (and, quite frankly, where is his compassion for it anyway?)

Perhaps everyone should start questioning themselves as to why we live in a society that teaches us to do the wrong thing. And why we obey it. No one likes confrontation; I absolutely hate it but I will do it if it is the right thing to do. And allowing a bunch of rude, disrespectful teens to behave in such a disgusting manner is definitely not the right thing to do. The bus driver cowering in fright was not in the right; the grown men and women who turned a blind eye were not in the right. So what does society consist of? Rude, cruel individuals who will torment others, cowards who refuse to stand up for themselves and physically powerful people who prefer to remain in ignorance for their own safety? We run the risk of harm to ourselves when we challenge any form of evil in this world; those boys would have run away in fear, had even one of those men rushed to my aid, but they did not. What is sad is that if they had chosen to speak up, the strength in number would have ensured the victory.

Evil prevails when good men do nothing. Next time you witness an injustice, remember that.

The Truth About Plenty of Fish

*EMERGENCY APPEAL* – $2000 reward for lost dog in Guangdong Province, China. Please read this emergency blog post and share far and wide!

 

For those of you who don’t know, Plenty of Fish is a dating website used by millions of people around the world. The one special factor regarding this dating service is that, unlike many others, this one is free. However, you may not have to pay in terms of money but you might find yourself paying when it comes to your very sanity.

If you are a man, you will initially view this website as a treasure chest of gold that has fallen into your lap. A free website with the opportunity to meet lots of women in your area? You never need enter a bar again and stumble up to that attractive woman by the counter with a gallon of Dutch Courage inside you. The reality, however, is far different. The ratio of men to women is about 7:1 and the end result is swarms of men fighting for the attention of one woman, not different from the barbarian days of the cavemen when they would clobber one another over the head in order to win the partner of their dreams.

Alas, these poor, naive souls are not even fighting for the partner of their dreams. Upon viewing the female profiles on the website, I discovered that there were a great deal of the following:

  • Obese 18 – 30 year olds in skimpy clothes, pulling provocative, pouting poses and stating they need a ‘real man to handle a real woman.’
  • Defiant single mothers with pictures of themselves and their kids, claiming that the kids come first and if the men on the site don’t like it, they can get lost.
  • Women with their breasts out in their profile pictures with the headline, “DO NOT MESSAGE ME IF YOU ARE A PERVERT AND ONLY AFTER ONE THING.”
  • Average-looking women who will have a long list of their likes/dislikes, needs and wants. “No tattooed men, no men without a car, no men who are shorter than 5’10, no men who live 20 miles away from me, no divorced men, no men who are still living at home with their parents…” And so forth. They will then go on to state that they want “a sweet, romantic, sensitive man who knows how to treat a woman.” In reality, no matter how sweet, romantic and sensitive the man messaging them is, if he isn’t harboring the same devilishly handsome looks as the majority of Hollywood actors, his message will be swiftly deleted. Oh, this cruel, shallow world.
  • Older women over 50 who are searching for a toyboy.

This is only the beginning of the vicious cycle. A lot of the men on Plenty of Fish are only looking for one thing and they are willing to drop their standards to the bottom of the bucket in order to get it. No matter how overweight, ugly, demanding or rude the female may be, she will be inundated with messages from desperate men who need to satisfy their wayward libidos. Such men fall under the following:

  • The ‘Sales’ man. This man will type out a general spill of, “I have read your profile and you sound extremely sweet. You look absolutely beautiful and I would love to have the opportunity to chat with you.” Without reading their profiles and regardless of what they look like, he then copies and pastes it out to a hundred women in his area and may receive about five responses in return, if he is lucky.
  • The ‘Muscles’ man. This man will post numerous pictures of his rippling, toned torso, pout into the camera, and then send a message with one word, “Hey” in the belief that his bulging biceps will warrant a response. For some women, this does work.
  • The ‘Joker’ man. This man will google an extremely unfunny joke and then post it to a bunch of women, hoping that this “humour” will strike him lucky. Usually fails.
  • The ‘Great Pretender’. This man will pretend to be interested in aspects of the female’s profile but it isn’t long before he is asking to hook up for a drink to ‘discuss’ her interests in cycling and hiking.
  • The ‘Straight-forward’ man. This man will just come out and say whatever he is hoping for, which is usually followed by a swift finger on the block button.
  • The ‘Clueless’ man. This man will, like the ‘Sales’ man, send out copy and pasted spills; however, his will be about him and him alone. He will write 500 words on what he does for a living, what he is looking for, how he believes others view him, how he wants to find someone to spend the rest of his life with, his life’s work, his ambitions and what sports he likes. He will then end by saying, “Hopefully I haven’t bored you!” The irony.
  • The ‘No-Pic Cheat’. This man is usually married or in a relationship and seems to think it is acceptable to flaunt his immorality in front of everyone with his audacious, “Not getting it at home, looking elsewhere: Females apply within” heading.

Thanks to such desperation, the women’s egos will be fed to the point of explosion. It no longer matters what the woman looks like (despite the fact that appearance is everything on Plenty of Fish). It won’t be long that the woman genuinely believes she really is this beautiful, stunning creature that she is being told she is every day by the overflow of males. Her ego will shoot to the roof and, as she is able to take her pick of any man on the site, the list of demands will become more and more unrealistic; any confidence which she possessed will immediately turn into arrogance and, suddenly, no man on the site is good enough, even the ones who are actually genuine; they find themselves falling into the same category as the desperadoes and creeps. This self-delusion soon creates bitterness and frustration in ALL of the men, who cannot understand how they are constantly rejected in such a rude manner by women they wouldn’t give a second glance to in the real world. They are usually completely ignored or receive a “You’re not my type” response to their well-planned message.

Personally, I find this type of arrogance mind-blowingly funny. I am strongly reminded of the children’s story ‘The Emperor’s New Clothes’ about a vain, self-infatuated Emperor who was conned by a pair of tailors into thinking the suit they were weaving for him was of magnificent splendor. They told him that the fabric was invisible to his eyes, but that everyone else could see it. The result was the Emperor stepping outside stark naked while his subjects had to pretend to admire “the suit.” In the end, the home truth was revealed by a small boy, who couldn’t understand why the Emperor was strolling around in his loins and flabby bits, and asked why he wasn’t wearing anything. In this instance, the deluded women represent the Emperor and the desperate men are the wily tailors.

I have spoken to many of the more decent men on the site who have been thoroughly dissatisfied with their experiences. One, who considered himself above average in looks,  informed me that he couldn’t believe it when an extremely large, 21 year old mother of two turned him down with a, “Sorry, you’re not tall enough.” He was 5’9, she was 5’5. Yet, despite the dismissive arrogance of the woman, her rejection was not with the intent to be cruel, but simply because she was probably so overwhelmed with messages that she only had one minute to spare typing a response before returning to the other 100 messages in her inbox. Besides – if she is receiving messages from the ‘cream of the crop’, she can take her pick and anyone not meeting the absolute requirement, sadly, has to go.

The problem with this site, as appears to be the problem with internet dating in general, is that people’s expectations are far too high. The truth is, everyone is riddled with flaws and we should take the bad with the good, or not at all. To create a list of what a man/woman should be and shouldn’t be is preposterous, not to mention downright hilarious. Similarly, there are a great deal of men and women on the site who completely contradict themselves. For example:  “I am a down to earth, intelligent person looking for similar. I have an excellent sense of humour” (even though there is nothing in the profile to suggest this). “I am open to most people for I believe that looks get boring after a while” (They then go on to state ‘No fat/short/etc men/women).

Meeting someone off Plenty of Fish can be similarly gruelling. When someone finally gets lucky enough to bring things into reality, it is not uncommon for the following to occur:

  • People are usually ten stone heavier than their pictures.
  • People are usually ten years older than their pictures.
  • People are usually not the person in their pictures. (This is something I have difficulty understanding. If you are going to meet the person outside of the internet, wouldn’t it make sense to let them know who you really are? After all, they’re going to find out anyway.)
  • Men will meet women who turn out to be a transsexuals.
  • Women will meet men who are hooked on drugs.
  • Men will meet women who are only interested in converting them to their political/religious beliefs.
  • Men will meet women who are simply trying to make their boyfriends jealous.
  • Women will meet men who will suggest living together on the first date and marriage on the second.

And after these disastrous experiences, people will resume their fishing and look for someone else, for the site is strangely addictive. The mind-boggling, disturbing cycle will then continue.

So, as you may have learned, Plenty of Fish is not all it’s cracked up to be. Despite the ‘Chemistry Tests’ (which apparently matches you with those who have similar results to you) and ‘Relationship Needs’ (which obviously knows you better than you know yourself and tells you what you need in a man/woman, including a customized, step by step plan of how to get it) and the range of ‘success stories’ printed on the site, it appears that this particular ocean is overflowing with angry, bitter men and stuck-up, deluded women. I’m sure the odd seahorse does spring up among all the trout but you would really have to wade through a lot of dirt to find it. So if you’re thinking of giving it a shot, happy fishing – or more importantly, good luck! (You’ll need it.)

If you enjoyed this article, come and follow me on Facebook HERE – I look forward to seeing you there!

 

 

 

A Little Bit About Me (for anyone who may be bored or curious enough to find out).

10423821_674862212596098_5091246013496330627_nWhen I was about 15 years old, I had a very vivid picture of who I would be ten years down the line. In my mind, I smugly envisioned living in a ten-bedroom mansion with servants, butlers and cooks at my command due to being an extremely rich and successful author; I indulged in regular fantasies about attending book signings with queues five miles long,  fans including old playground bullies that I could now gloat in the faces of (they, according to me, would be flipping burgers for the rest of their lives, much to my pleasure.)  I imagined sailing on yachts, taking long, lazy holidays in the Carribean and beyond, feasting on the finest delicacies and, all in all, having my every whim catered to.

Of course, this desirable fantasy soon came crashing down when I discovered that the reality of life was absolutely nothing like I had imagined. Ten years down the line, at the age of 25, I am hardly sipping champagne and eating strawberries and cream served to me by a faithful servant, nor am I basking in the joys of being a successful author. Instead, I am the servant, earning per week the equivalent of what that fancy bottle of champagne would cost. The only joys I have experienced have been the numerous rejection letters/emails I have received from agents and publishers, who have politely informed me that my work is not what they are looking for. One miserable rejection after another, the only thing that keeps me going is the faith that one day this dream shall be achieved (plus several instances using Google to inform me of the amount of times published writers were rejected in the past; I have found this is a wonderful remedy to sooth a wounded ego.)

For the past seven years, I have found myself in a multitude of jobs, very few of which have provided me with any sense of worth as a human being. I am quite sure that a well constructed computer would be able to deal with the incredibly mind-numbing, soul-destroying roles that I have found myself in. For example, working in customer service for a well-known cinema chain and dealing on a daily basis with people who actually took the time out of their clearly dreary existences to write 700  word emails on how their hot dogs were inches shorter than they had expected or how there was nattering from customers in the background, (why don’t you simply tell them to be quiet at the time, rather than whine about it afterwards when it is too late?) is enough to crush even the most resilient of souls. Day in, day out it was the same routine, having to display the same ‘sympathy’ for people who wanted to have a gripe and moan about trivialities that mean absolutely nothing in the grand scheme of things. I started to question my very existence. Surely this isn’t what life is all about? Being a slave to the system, a Samaritan to complaining nobodies and putting on a fake grin everyday, as though it was the greatest pleasure and ambition to be yelled at by a customer who was shortchanged 50p by a staff member at the cinema who cannot speak English. But yes, unfortunately that is exactly what it is all about. Because each soul-wrecking role has revolved around money, the heart of survival, whether I like it or not. Another position that swirled in darkness was working in a busy law firm. With all due respect to solicitors, who do indeed work extremely hard, they are some of the most stressed, high-strung people I have ever encountered; I’m sure that most of them will end up suffering with high blood pressure at some point. On one occasion, I informed one of the solicitors that the client file he had asked me to search for was currently in the hands of a sister branch. The transformation that occurred was petrifying; he swelled to the size of a helium balloon, his face enraged, red and bloated, and then screamed a load of incomprehensible words as he released his steam. And all it would have taken was a simple phone call.

I am sure that those much older and wiser than me reading this will chuckle at my seemingly defeated attitude and advise me that the time will come where it all pays off. And I do not doubt them. For now, though, I will have to grin and bear it, for that is all that can be done – oh, and persevere.

I’m pleased to announce that my new novel ‘How The Wolf Lost Her Heart’ is now available on Amazon and all good online retailers. It’s exciting, gripping and based in London 200 years down the line. Dystopia, romance, comedy – it’s all there! Click the link to find out more! You can also find me on Facebook.