How things change – the place that was

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I’ve given up and accepted the fact that I have to think about everything. Nothing just happens anymore. It goes into my head and gets chopped into tiny pieces and comes out again as a thousand questions, like pasta through a spaghetti cutter. It’s kind of annoying on occasions. I suppose the opposite would be to be totally vacant at all times, and that would be far worse.

What prompted my latest period of introspection was the fact a new Sainsbury’s has been built nearby. I like Sainsbury’s. Mostly because they have an apostrophe in their name. It’s the little things that count.

The location of this new store is in a very narrow field between two main roads, a sort of splinter of green land between the town I live in and the roundabout you need to go to in order to access the A roads which start you on the path of escaping Cornwall. Sainsbury’s new location is about 500 yards from a Tesco in one direction, and 500 yards from a Morrisons (no apostrophe, note) in the other. Penzance is only a small town. We now have more supermarkets than things to do.

Of course the locals complained

Penzance – in fact, Cornwall is general – is one of those places that time forgot. Or rather, the Cornish were offered time, didn’t like the change, and decided to stick with measuring the sun, thank-you-very-much. Anything new happens, the locals are up in arms and a committee is formed to protect the local landscape. As happened with Sainsbury’s. It was destroying the local landscape; spoiling the view.

What existed in that spot before Sainsbury’s was a tiny heliport: a large, rusty metal warehouse where the helicopter slept, and a small white shack that served as the departure lounge.

It’s not so much about Sainsbury’s itself, I don’t think. The locals here just don’t like change. When the local college was revamped, they erected a small Wind Turbine for the science students. Residents of one village claim they can hear it spinning, and they live a mile away. I’ve stood right underneath it, and it would be drowned out by a car driving past.

The shifting nature of a place

A couple of weekends ago, we went to explore the new store. As I said, there’s not much to do down here. It was an event. The local road now has a roundabout in the middle so that middle class people who desperately aspire to shop in Waitrose can buy Jamie Oliver products in orange plastic bags. We pulled up into the car park, with its slick, freshly tarmacked surface and its crisp parking bay lines. I stood in the car park then, faced by the glowing juggernaut of the new store (it was night time; the whole thing was quite beautiful, with its flowing roof, stone walls and wood cladding), and remembered that this used to be a field.

A field in which I had never been, but had driven past probably thousands of times in my life. I knew that field. It was green, full of helicopters and rabbits. It didn’t change at all in the decades during which it sailed by the car window.

But now, it is something completely different. The green grass is hard black car park. The rusty old helicopter hutch has been replaced by a gigantic structure, big neon orange signs everywhere. People who would never have set foot in a mere field now flock to buy croissants and wine and balsamic vinegar and Potpourri.

Which is funny, isn’t it? It’s like looking down at your body to find you’ve got donkey legs. Something so consistent, so unchangeable, has been completely transformed. Perhaps it’s grown up, like everything does? Perhaps that’s what the residents in Cornwall are afraid of? That one day they will wake up and everywhere will be carpark and aisles of fridges full of posh yoghurt.

We went inside and explored the new supermarket. It was very nice. I bought the latest Stereophonics album, which is also nice. I’d never have found that in a field with a helicopter.

And in ten years’ time, it will be hard to believe that there was ever a time when Sainsbury’s wasn’t there. I’d love to have some kind of siren go off in my mind at the exact point where it became pedestrian, so I could appreciate the moment it transitioned from something new, and worthy of considering, to something to take for granted. Something as permanent and unchangeable as a thin field with a spluttering old helicopter in it, and a few surely deafened rabbits.

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A Christmas advent calendar of jokes

As a special Christmas treat (and I use that word lightly), I’ll be posting a new one-liner joke on my Facebook page every day until December the 24th, when I’ll end with a joke bonanza. To let you know what you’ll be in for when you Like the page, here are the first two ‘doors’ in your Christmas Comedy Advent Calendar.

Christmas One Liner #1 High Christmas One Liner #2

The next door in the advent calendar of laughs/guffaws/groans/decisions to kill this humble writer will be uploaded to my Facebook page tomorrow. Visit to make sure you don’t miss out.

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Do you have to be aggressive to fight for a cause?

Did you know – you can also listen to this post via Soundcloud below. That’s right, with your ears!

A bus drove past me the other day. (Imagine if that was the end of the story). It had a poster on the side of it that read ‘Some people are gay. Get over it.’ I immediately crossed off ‘Find out if some people are gay’ from my to-do list, replacing it with ‘Get over the fact that some people are gay’.

Now, in reality, I don’t have even the slightest problem with gay, lesbian, or bisexual people. I’m not even one of those ‘Well, as long as they don’t do it in public’/‘Try to brainwash me into becoming one of those homosexuals you read about in the papers’ people. It’s great that some people are gay. It’s great that some people are straight.


Love is love, whomever you choose to direct it at. What does it say about us as a species that we actively try and stamp out love, because it’s the ‘wrong’ kind of love?

It is, however, rather a strange feeling to share an ideology with a bus. I’ve never met this bus before. We haven’t even exchanged pleasantries. Yet, fundamentally, we both agree that those people who have a problem with gay people really need to find something more productive to do with their time.

However, I’m not entirely certain what this poster was attempting to achieve.

The message is…um?

As a copywriter, I spend a lot of time thinking about the right way to convey the messages I need to get across. You have to have a pretty good understanding of how people will respond to ideas in order to write something that hits the spot.

Presumably ‘Some people are gay. Get over it’ was written by a copywriter. Considering I haven’t yet written anything to go on the side of a bus, they are a better copywriter than I am. But if you look at what the response to those words is, compared to what it is meant to be, you can see the point I am getting at.

Intention verses actuality

Let’s all pretend to be homophobes for the next bit. No, that’s not a group of people who are afraid of sounding the same. We’re all walking down the street together (maybe we’ve just been out to buy biscuits; it’s a fantasy, go nuts). We’re all angry at ‘the gays’. Look at them, loving each other. Feeling compassion. Knowing the warmth that comes from being connected to another human being on a level beyond description. Wearing sparkly shoes. Grrr, they’re everything that’s wrong with this world.

A bus drives past us, informing us first of all that some people are gay. ‘I bloody knew it’, we tell each other, and we adjust our coats (which were made by children in a developing country), step around the homeless person asking for money, and say ‘These people feeling compassion are just plain wrong’.

But there’s more. Next, the sign has the audacity to tell us we should get over this fact. Get over it? As though being gay is something that does no harm? As though a gay wedding doesn’t end with a plot to steal some children, and as though a gay marriage isn’t made official by the ceremonial sodomisation of a vicar?

Annnnd…back to reality

The point is, if you are the kind of person who hates or fears gay people, this rather aggressive poster isn’t going to do anything productive. It’s going to get you angry, or defensive. When, in the history of ever, has a scene like the one below happened?

BIGOT: ‘Racial abuse at those people of a different race!’

BYSTANDER: ‘You’re being very racist.’

BIGOT: ‘Good grief, I am, aren’t I? What appalling behaviour. I shall apologise to those people then go home and mend my ways’.

As far as I can see, the whole point of the sign was to annoy homophobes. Which isn’t going to help. You can’t win someone over if they are angry, and feel backed into a corner. You have to draw people out from their prejudices.

Perhaps we should all love for a cause

Imagine how differently things would have turned out in York if those wonderful people at the mosque had, instead of greeting EDL protestors with tea, biscuits, and football, gone out and beat the crap out of them all? It would have proved, in the eyes of the detractors, that everything the EDL claimed about Muslims was correct.

You can’t bully someone out of their beliefs, for two reasons. One, because it doesn’t work. Two, because you aren’t really enlightening them, or teaching them anything new, you are simply plastering a new set of doctrines over their old ones. They may go through the motions, but are they truly accepting, or is a deeper, more subconscious resentment growing?

Being aggressive with bigots might make us feel better, but it doesn’t do anything productive. Look at feminism. If you go around accusing people of sexism all the time and flinging around the term misogyny, you get labelled as a ‘man hater’ or an ‘angry woman’. It’s by taking the time to explain to people, compassionately and respectfully, why what they are doing or what they believe is wrong, that your messages will get through, rather than being dashed against the barriers they throw up as soon as they feel threatened.

Which is why, while I respect the sentiment behind the poster, and agree with the aim it is trying to achieve, I think it will probably do more harm than good.

If I had a bus to write on, I’d have gone for something like this:

Note: I’ve imposed upon myself a limit of 7 words and no images – the same as the bus-side banner.

Kiss of life from a gay paramedic?

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Real man? You’ll love these adverts for real men

Real man? You’ll love these adverts for real men

I’m not a real man, so I wouldn’t have been allowed to buy most of these products advertised. Luckily, this Buzzfeed article highlights the stupidity of a lot of these adverts. There’s a lot of complaint about how things are marketed to woman, using old  stereotypes or patronising assumptions, and this article proves that advertisers can have just as misguided views about men as they do women.

Check out the link for a good laugh and an opportunity to scorn lightly.

Anyway, enough talk about this manly stuff. My skinny jeans won’t moisturise themselves, you know.

The Versatile Blogger Award, or hooray: I won a prize!

Occurrence of the week

I ordered food in a pub the other day, and it turns out I was meant to tell them that I wanted to eat the dessert I ordered after my main course, as they both came out at the same time. I had to sit there and watch it melt whilst eating my burger. I know it was only a pub, but I didn’t realise I needed to schedule my food. The last thing I expected when I went up to the bar and asked for some food was for the guy behind it to say, ‘Ok, let’s do diaries. I can do next Tuesday.’

Versatile Blogger Award

An email arrived in my inbox a few days ago, which I’m told is a common occurrence if you have an email account. There I was, waiting for the inevitable rejections (I thought about finishing all my covering letters with ‘I look forward to receiving your rejection,’ but I think the editors in question would probably think I was taking the mickey…) when I saw I had a new comment on my previous post, a review of Green Lantern.

It turns out Danielle Shipley, from  has given me the Versatile Blogger Award. Good times! Thanks Danielle!

Now, this award has strings. I have to do the following things, apparently:

1. Add a picture of the award. (This has been accomplished. It took me and my crayons a long time to trace it, colour it in and then scan it back in so I could put it here, though.)

2. Thank your nominator. (To Danielle, the Nominator, thank you!). Next:

Tell your readers 7 things about yourself

  1. My favourite band is Muse.
  2. I only joined Facebook in the first year of Uni because it was the only way I could find out about the gigs my band was playing.
  3. I love film music. Nothing does Epic like an orchestra.
  4. I play the drums, but have never done grades. When I stopped having lessons, I was just starting grade 5 material. That was 8 years ago, so hopefully I’m a lot better now.
  5. As soon as I get a semi-decent camera, I shall start making films. I love film making/video production, but have only ever really dabbled, having never had the resources/chance.
  6. I used to do stand up, but there aren’t any opportunities where I am now. I’d love to do it professionally. The best comparison I ever got was ‘Johnny Depp meets Jimmy Carr’. That may seem a bit egotistical sharing that, but come on – if someone described you like that, you’d be chuffed too, right?
  7. I used to do fencing. My weapon of choice was Sabre.

And the final thing I have to do is:

Give this award to 15* fellow bloggers and inform them of the joyous tidings

*I get the feeling the blogosphere might be struggling with the 15 part, as every other person I have seen who has received this award has this rule as ‘share the love with your favourite bloggers’. For the reason listed below, I can’t do fifteen yet!

Most of the people whose blogs I regularly read have already got at least one, sometimes more, of these awards, so that made choosing very difficult. Some of these blogs I have been reading/following for a while, some I have only just found, but impressed me enough to pass on the accolade.

  • Brian Killeen, for his blog The 1000 Book Challenge. To quote Brian, ‘One man’s journey to becoming well read!’ Follow his progress as he reads through 1000 books everyone should read at (You can let him do all the work, and then claim you’ve read them all by proxy…)
  • Some Unknown Boy Making Eclectic Goals, or A genuine smorgasbord of interesting stuff – writing, music, pictures… the whole shebang, in other words.
  • Cat “Might have a surname” over at, for her thoughtful, open and honest reflections on her own writing.
  • W.E. Linde, the eponymous author at, for his detailed accounting of his journey towards publication in various different forms.

So, not quite 15, but better than nothing. I suppose I’d better tell them all now, hadn’t I?

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