getting through

The Times (15.06.2021) front page headlined “ English team playing gesture politics


by taking the knee, says Patel.”  Patel should only see my gesture politics to her and her colleagues, finger rather than knee.  What are people supposed to do in the age of opinion ? 

Then a bit further inside the paper there’s “Men, have you got brain fog ? 


It may be low testosterone”.  Though when you think of all the things that could cause brain fog now (no work, overdraft, disarray of children’s education, strain on personal relationships, holiday confusion and cancellation, any illness other than Covid, and and and – why blame testosterone except for headline value ?      

One of Forum’s experts was a Dr. Robert Chartham , the originator (at least as far as I was concerned) of the idea of the “hooded clitoris” on which he blamed most of female anorgasmia.  Every time we published that phrase, I swear circulation rose.

This is the beginning of what we used to call The Silly Season.


  Apart from the occasional joke and April Fools, the silly season is when summer is upon us (the British are very sentimental about summer because there isn’t much of it) and, it is alleged, we lack real news.  Or the real news happens, but we are too chilled to give it attention, being busy sunbathing and sniffing the roses.  I have always felt that if there isn’t serious coverage, it is probably more to do with DNotices than a drought in world events but it does open the door to  why the young feel baulked at only spending £20,000 on a wedding, and Kelly the lip reading collie.

Getting through is increasingly difficult in a world obsessed with systems.


   When systems work, they are things of wonder – like getting money from the cash machine.  When you get it and it’s no trouble at all, it’s terrific.  When you don’t and the money goes missing, it may involve anything from a 15 minute rescue mission on behalf of the bank, to a full scale form filling omigawd. 

Like so much in modern life, the systems look speedy but probably slow things down.   You can’t write a letter, whether of blame or appreciation, with any expectation that it will get through. I speak less of the post office,


rather of the system that receives the post.  So you may spend the time, stationery and stamp in the knowledge that even if the envelope is delivered, the chances of it reaching the addressee aren’t great.  Nobody cares.  Their minds are elsewhere, party to the systems..

I wrote to a company featured in a reliable newspaper (there are still one or two).  I was asked to sign a Letter of Authority.  I did and returned it in the enclosed business paid envelope.  A month later I emailed the signatory of the supporting communication.  Nothing.   Two weeks after that I rang her.  She had not received the Letter of Authority – “Oh yes, we have had a problem with that.”    And she hadn’t got my email.  Really ?   She sent me a second form and a second letter (thank God for my postman) which I returned a second time, making a note of the date.  Nada.  Ten days later, I rang again.   “I’m away from my desk …” indeed.  Probably in Alaska.  “Leave me a message…” “No messages may be taken for this mailbox.  It is full.”    Clearly a case for gesture, hang the politics.  

You cannot explain how insecure you may feel about personal details floating around.   The prevailing view is everybody else does it. Ergo, you should put up with it.   Just as it’s a pity the gestures of team solidarity have offended against Ms. Patel’s sense of what’s appropriate but as in spite of being at the top of their sporting tree, they are racially abused


or know somebody who is, so isn’t it admirable that they make a peaceful gesture of solidarity ?  

Gesture politics might include Churchill’s V for victory sign, the Duke of Edinburgh’s fingers to the brim of his hat at his last public engagement, Marilyn Monroe’s curtsey upon presentation to the Queen, the first clenched fist salute at the Olympics (John Carlos and Tommie Smith), Shakespeare’s Mercutio biting his thumb.  Feelings conveyed.   

“Myanmar against the military”



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