An apology to my readers

13 Apr

My bad. For fifteen years I’ve been inflicting my views on folk who’ve done me no harm; done nothing whatsoever to deserve such torments. I began innocuously enough with emailed film reviews but it was still sneaky of me to use an opt-out rather than opt-in mode of consent. All who asked could be removed from my mailing list but I presumed on your good will in so sly an inversion of responsibility.

Five years in, around 2009, my attention shifted to travel writing. This I still do, though my NYE decision to cut back on all flying, including long haul, imposes challenges not yet resolved. The bigger shift, however, came three years later when my fight over Sheffield Hallam University’s systematic casualisation began.

Keen from the get go to preempt charges of self pity, and the personalising of a phenomenon blighting the lives of millions across the Western world, I sought from the outset to generalise, understand and contextualise my own struggle within the wider exploitation of a burgeoning precariat. But that put me on a road even more likely to raise eyebrows – and to incur charges of political bias.

To which I plead guilty. In an inversion of the normal process of moving to the right with age, I find myself, now closer to seventy than sixty, on a different road. I still pen a film review once in a while. I still write, and frequently, of my travels; augmenting such scribblings with my at best intermediate level photography. It is through travel – and do please interpret this term broadly, to include my many visits to the woodland to see the cherry hung with snow – I remind myself and maybe you too of how beautiful this world is. You have to know how good things can be to realise how truly dire they are, and through the most casual encounters – in Rajasthani streets, Vietnamese cafes, West Country Hostels and London double deckers – I reengage with the fact that a capacity for love redeems a species combining the most sophisticated reasoning power with the emotional maturity of a chimpanzee.

(Sorry about that, chimps.)

Mostly though I write about the venal corruption, lying and mass murder for gain of the – take your pick – ruling class … establishment … powers that be .. criminally insane …

Sorry about that too. I assure you, many a time I’ve in the dead of night vowed to stop, to spend the rest of my days in harmless pursuits as though none of those things were happening. Come daybreak though, and my first coffee, I see with crystal vision that this for me is a psychological impossibility.

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6 Replies to “An apology to my readers

  1. Well written my friend! Maybe it’s because we appreciate the good, the true and the beautiful that we cannot turn a blind eye to the problems of the world in which we live.

    • My sentiments exactly, Mike. And you will know, because of our shared past, the author of that quote – “you have to know how good things can be to see how bad they are” – as one who himself embodied the dialectic we speak of. I refer to the brilliant but deeply flawed spiritual teacher, Andrew Cohen.

  2. Blimey Phil. Did you get up in the middle of the night to write the first bit, go back to sleep then get up in the morning, brew the coffee and finish it off?

    Your stuff is always well written, insightful and often challenging. You are very welcome to keep inflicting it on me!

  3. The first part of this article needs no apology. It is in fact the listing of the individual circumstances of the many that give us the overall picture of the unfair problems faced by so many. As for the rest of the article – thank you for sharing your wit, observations, intellect, far superior than mediocre photography and your much appreciated joy of life and this earth’s beauty. How else are we to judge what we have lost, what so many others are still losing and what, if we forget for even a minute, we may see an end to, the beautiful and the downright ugly playing out each day.
    Never apologise for being yourself unless you cause harm to others. You don’t.

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