Game of Thrones – no. Big Brother, Love Island or Britain’s Got Talent – no thank you, no, no. I loathe Strictly Come Dancing. I have never used or owned a microwave. I don’t have a mobile phone (perish the thought of a selfie) nor bank on-line and I use Amazon rarely (once a year). I do not feel deprived. Hype is another four letter word like kale and I suffer only from being one of those people to whom, if you say I must, I react against it. This is childish, I am not proud of it but it’s true.
Nobody had to tell me to support gay rights, I do. I don’t always support the way that people go about getting them but then I support women’s rights and that lumps you in with people you might not want to eat with.
A couple of weeks ago Wal asked me “What is all this stuff about Pride ?”, this from the man who surveyed his first independent building crew years ago with the words “My name is … I do (details). Yes I am gay and if you think I shall be making a pass at any one of you, get over it ! …” A plumber told me that he and his pals – some 40 plumbers and builders who all use the same local – only take exception to their landlady trying to force LGBT down their throats: what she does and what she believes is her business. It’s the social evangelism they can’t stand.
The Ulsterman David Trimble has apparently always been against same sex relationships but it is alleged, has had to reconsider now that one of his daughters is “out” and has contracted a marriage with her partner. It is thus assumed that he has changed his position. He may have done. But again, he may not. Does it follow that, wanting your child to be happy and thus making the best attempt at harmony in the family, you are now a campaigner for gay rights? I wish I could remember who told me not to extrapolate (first time I ever heard the word) from the particular to the general but it was a thoughtful lesson. Consideration may indicate a change of heart, but then again, it may not. Sometimes a kindness is just that.
Last week the occupants (sex and numbers unknown) fell in the door next door at half past midnight and shrieked and shimmied until 2.30 am when I got up and made ready for battle. As I opened the door the neighbour from the other side was attacking the front door. She is a young mother and I am sure the noise disturbed her child. The lights went out and silence fell.
48 hours later, just as I was updating on the news channel, there was a knock at the door. There stood two young men introducing themselves as the new occupants of the noisy flat “just so when you see us around, you know who we are. We thought we’d just let the neighbours know …” and one of them offered me his mobile number. With effort I restrained myself from shouting hooray for humans (we’ll see) – as I say, sometimes a courtesy is just that. We’ll see.
We used to say you take people as you find them but this is the age of mass – beliefs, convictions and fame are defined as much by the number of followers on Instagram or Twitter as by the number of seats sold, income generated or headlines made. You don’t take people as you find them because finding them ie in any sense of knowing them or what they are about seems daily more difficult.
Yesterday I saw a representative of the Association of Newspaper Editors snarling about the importance of a free press. Where is the conflict between being given the story of the Ambassador’s leaked emails concerning the Trump administration and staying their publication while making urgent contact with the Foreign Office and the Foreign Secretary for starters ? Holding the story till everybody relevant knows what is going down doesn’t impinge on a free press, it just changes the time line. Surely with freedom comes responsibility ?