Tuesday, June 11, 2013

I'm Back!


Been quite a while hasn't it?

I just wanted to pop up to say that this blog may be about to restart. Not in quite the same way. The politics and media stuff will probably take a massive back seat. No, what I want to do is tell you more about being a scout leader and why people like me do what we do. Recent events have made me examine myself in that respect. In a good way I might add.

More to follow and I may need to do some editing of the HTML stuff in the mean time.

Catch you later.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

B'ah Humbug!

Ooh it's been a while hasn't it? But it is time for a strictly one off
post! It won't be around for ever and a day so enjoy it while it lasts.

I wasn't quite sure where to post this. It's something I wanted to put
in writing somewhere, and this seems as good a place as any, it's about
the Royal Wedding, and it's about Christmas. What have they got in
common you might ask?

Well let me tell you about my friend, we'll call him Tom (not his real
name), but first a bit about me as well. I am Christian, I am a
moderate, liberal Christian with definite universalist sympathies, but a
Christian at the end of the day, and I quite like Christmas, both the
religious side and the more secular partying side. I get irritated with
the build up and having it shoved down my throat from mid August
onwards, but come the day I'm there with the Christmas pud and crackers.

Tom though is different, Tom is a staunch atheist. I don't mean the sort
that simply don't believe in God and it's no big deal, no I mean the
sort who is passionately atheist. He can't bare religion, he's not a
Richard Dawkins type (although he's a fan) who will go out of his way to
argue with you, instead he goes massively out of his way to avoid
anything religious. So Christmas is not a good time for Tom. He tries to
hide from it, he tries to avoid it, there's no Christmas dinner in the
Tom household, he'd rather work if only his employer was open on the

Now I've always though, quietly, that Tom is a miserable so and so on
this issue, until recently.

You see I am a republican, not one that just ignores the whole royal
circus, but one who actively wants change. This is not the time and
place to debate the rights and wrongs of that argument, just take it as
read that I want an elected head of state and end to the current system.
I try to keep away from it, I try to ignore media stories about the
royals and try to take no notice, but it's always there. And in recent
months, with this endless build up to tomorrow's wedding it's become
harder than ever.

And it's made me suddenly have a huge amount of empathy with Tom, and
realise why he is such a miserable sod about Christmas, because I am
exactly the same about this wedding.

In the same way that Tom has no problem with me having a happy Christmas
and does not wish ill on my kind then if the wedding and the royals is your
thing I hope you have a fantastic time tomorrow, I really do. I hope
that the happy couple are very happy together, it's no skin off my nose.

Just please understand that I have now had weeks and months of every
corner of the media shoving it down my throat. In the same way that Tom
sees the Christmas lights go up I have seen the bunting go up. I have
been invited to parties I don't really want to go to to celebrate
something I don't believe in, just like him.

I don't care, I'm not interested and I cannot wait until it is all over.

Saturday, November 21, 2009


It's been three years now since I started blogging. It's varied in how often and how much I've written but unfortunately the time has come when this blog is going to go into long term hiatus.

The reasons for this are many and varied. If you are interested as to why then there is more below but if you are not I would just like to thank the small group who have visited this blog regularly over the years, those that commented and those that didn't. It has been nice to know that atleast a few of you read my various ramblings!

I wont be completely vanishing from the interweb. I will still read various other blogs regularly, if you are really lucky I may leave the odd comment, but they will be in exceptional circumstances, and may be anonymously rather than under my "Akela" alter ego, then again Akela may still leave his paw prints, I've not decided yet. Similarly this blog will not vanish entirely. I may post very rare and occasional posts if there is something that I really feel needs to be said so this page will still exist, although the archives will vanish in due course. One or two other bloggers also know, through email, my real name and I suspect that from time to time you may hear from me via email. So you're not rid of me yet!

It is with some regrets. I never completed my "Christian Left" project for example and I am one of the few bloggers that ever tracked, the admintedly rather niche subject, of the tabloids attitude to scouts and guides. If anyone does want to pick my brains on any of that or anything else, although I suspect you don't, then I can be emailed on Akela1235@yahoo.co.uk

So why am I standing down? There are two main reasons (plus others that I can't be arsed going into)

First my pen pic says that I am trying to be a childrens writer. That is still my dream. I can think of no better way of spending my life than inspiring young people and away from scouting words are the way I think I can best do this. Literetaure has the power to change hearts and change minds and that is what I want to do. Don't take my sweary rants on here as an indication of how I write for kids, because it is a completely different side to me.

Writing though takes time and if I am going to do it some things in my life needs to give, one of those is blogging.

I'm not doing this with rose tinted specs. I believe around 5% of those that ever write a novel get it published and of those only around 10% make enough money to live of. But you only live once and what's the point in not persuing your dream?

There are also things in this world I want to change, I am an idealist. You've seen me get angry on here more than once and on occassions those rants have been linked to by more main stream blogs such as Libcon. The fact is though that I am in an awkward position in that respect. I do have a real life and a real job and if this blog went "main stream" I would be putting my job at risk. I am lucky in that my real life job gives me the opportunity to change things for the better and if I can't make a living at writing that job will have to do.

So, as they say, this it.

I'm going now.


PS I will ALWAYS hate the Mail and Express and they will ALWAYS tell lies.

PPS For some proper football get yourself down to Underhill to see my beloved Barnet!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

In This House, Everything is Twice

I am eternally grateful for whoever it was that seems to have posted the entire TV series of The Children Of Green Knowe on Youtube. Whoever you are, thank you, thank you, thank you.

As a kid I was enthralled by it, it was unmissable.

I've never been one for childrens TV nostalgia. Mostly when you go back and watch it it's shit. But there are exceptions and this is one of them, it's a little bit of magic and was written by Lucy Boston, a writer with a truly wonderful imagination. Even then it didn't have a patch on LBs original books which, if you've not read them, are an astonishing example of childrens writing.

I am simply going to lap this up, watching again and again.

Once again, whoever you are, thank you!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

I Blame The Parents

So due to a lack of female leaders at the group I have been establishing a mum's rota to help with scouts. It's been easier than I expected with 7 mums volunteering following a quick email round. What's been most interesting though has been the individuals that have volunteered and the nature of their kids.

The parents that have volunteered are those who's kids are well mannered, that listen, that don't answer back, that clean up after themselves, that are enthusiastic, that smile, that work hard and most of all that say thank you.

And you have to ask yourself, is anyone really surprised by that?

Sunday, November 15, 2009


Having spoken to various people it would seem that in my area of town there are 3 scout troops and 3 Girl Guide units. All of them are full to bursting. Unless you are a cub or brownie moving up you have to next to naff all chance of becoming a scout or guide at my end of town unless you want to travel some considerable distance.

It's great that it's all proving so popular, but I just wish we had the adults to take these kids on.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

A grouchy moment

Do you know what I hate? Do you know what touches that irrational, raw and sensitive nerve that drives me to distraction? You know the one, you have it as well. It might seem minor but someone out there will be unable to bear the sound of an ice cream van or the short one out of Ant and Dec. We all have it, that minor irritation which for you personally may well drive you over the edge into an axe wielding frenzy one day.

Well for me its those fucking Sensodyne Pronamel adverts with that patronising bitch talking to someone away from the camera as if it's not really an advert to shift some more of their snake oil shite but some proper scientific discussion. I can't bare them, I want to throw things at the telly every time I see one. I want to strangle that bloody woman on them with my bare hands every time I see her lips move.

Just wanted you all to know.

That will be all.

Friday, November 13, 2009

The Execution of Gary Glitter

I thought long and hard before watching this film shown on Channel Four earlier this week. I had to ask myself, do I really want to watch this kind of thing? A film about the execution of a human being, it's never exactly going to light entertainment is it? I personally have always found the concept of capital punishment revolting, it is something that makes my skin crawl.

More importantly though to set the whole film around a real human being was something that I was very uncomfortable with. Paul Gadd is not a nice man, lets be clear on that. His offences against children are well documented and I don't think that there can be any doubt that he is very dangerous and has caused incalculable damage to many young lives. Yet to portray his death, while he is still alive is still something that I think crosses the boundaries of taste in a pretty grim way. Imagine watching that yourself and it was about you, especially when played by an actor made up to look like you as well this actor. Don't get me wrong, I'm not pro censorship, but having the right to do something and it being right to do something are two very different thing. So yes, I thought that this film could, more tastefully, have been done by portraying a fictional character. Gadd is, I understand, suing the producers and while I have little sympathy for him I have to confess that in his shoes I would consider doing the same.

So certainly I didn't watch it on the night. Yet after much thought I decided to watch it on line this evening.

It was billed as a film that would debate the issues and I don't think it's possible to take a strong view on a subject without listening to both sides. If the other side's arguments make you uncomfortable I think it is somewhat of a kop out to simply turn away from them. And take it as read, I was made to feel uncomfortable. The scenes where Gadd's crimes were described in court were dealt with tastefully, nevertheless the viewer was left in little doubt of their gravity.

I should add at this point that I do not know where the line between fact and fiction was. Whether the crimes described really happened I do not know, I don't have enough knowledge of the case. That however is really only relevant in terms of the effect of Gadd in real life. The sad fact is that the sexual abuse and torture of children does happen, thankfully on vanishingly small occasions and the point of the film is whether death is a correct and just sentence for someone that commits such a crime. And perhaps that is another reason for portraying the story with a fictional character.

It is difficult to watch those scenes and then argue to save the life of the convicted man and the actor that played the defence counsel, while mostly a little hammy during the film, certainly managed to put across that difficulty. The film was over all very effective, in its first half of putting the case for capital punishment.

The second half however, as we see the build up to the execution day, was very different and in many ways reinforced my horror at the whole process. The cold, clinical side of it. The deliberate preparation to take the life of a human being, the complete lack of humanity in the process. It is the individuals involved in the process, rather than the convicted individual, that have always featured in my thoughts. How do their minds work?

Over all my thoughts on capital punishment have not changed, maybe its because the "anti" part of the film came second, but I think the film did a pretty decent job of portraying both sides to the argument. With the exception of the actor playing Gadd the acting could have been better, although maybe that's no bad thing. It made it so obviously fictional and perhaps that shielded the viewer a little from the horror of the situation.

I maintain though that it was in rather poor taste using a real person.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Back from the great beyond

Well Italy actually, and a fantastic holiday it was, just me and Mrs Akela and some fantastic Italian food and wine. I have to say that if I spoke Italian I would seriously be considering emmigration right now. As it is I have Britain and today's horizontal drizzle and the Daily Mail.

However before I get back to some meat and spuds blogging I thought I'd share a few observations I have made over the last 10 days or so.

1. Italians are far less paranoid that we in Britain. People leave luggage lying around in stations while they go to get a drink without the police wanting to blow it up. Kids play out in the street till remarkably late in the evening without anyone worrying about paedophiles. It's really quite refreshing.

2. The French are even more paranoid about swine flue than we are judging by all the posters up there.

3. When croissants are good they are fucking amazing. When they are bad they are absolutely awful.

4. While I feel sorry for Lucy Jones getting booted off X Factor anyone that thought that the show was a genuine talent show rather than a cynical money making venture by Simon Cowell really is naive. That said given her previous history and the fact that she wont be SCs latest cannon fodder then if the scouts play their cards right this could be the PR opportunity of the century.

5. I was quite sad, I went all the way to Venice and the only souvenir I brought back was a blanket badge.

6. The Mail is its usual lying self. According to the website today paddling has been banned by 'elf and safety. Yes. Of course it has. Obviously. Twats.

Anyway, that's enough from me for the moment, the blog will be gearing up for some of my trade mark ranting in the next day or so, watch this space!