Anger – Week 46 of the 52 week short story challenge

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For the purged

‘So,’ he said, ‘What makes you feel angry?’

I looked at him with the kind of face you pull when you really can’t believe that someone has asked you such a silly question.

‘You know better than anyone what makes me feel angry.’

He laughs. ‘I know what I think makes you feel angry but I don’t know if they are the same things. Tell me? I really want to know.’

I shrug and take a deep breath. I hate these word games but we have to play them so I might as well get it over with.

‘Child abuse, adult abuse, domestic violence, abuse of power – particularly when it is well-paid MPs and greedy members of officialdom taking money and services away from those who desperately need them. Let’s face it – abuse makes me angry – in any form.’

He nods calmly, infuriatingly calm in fact.

‘So how does it feel when someone who doesn’t even know you accuses you of ‘abusive behaviour’ then?’

That makes my hackles rise.

‘The alleged ‘abusive behaviour’ was accidental and it was not aimed at any individual, and doesn’t meet any prescribed criteria of abuse anyway.’

I can feel my face getting hot and red.

He nods. Still calm.

‘But somebody felt offended by that behaviour. Somebody felt strongly enough about the abusive behaviour to complain about it, didn’t they?’

‘No. It wasn’t like that and you know it wasn’t. The powers that be were after us because they disagreed with us. They were frightened of the power that we held due to our numbers and so they sought to cut those numbers down – by using underhand – and I think illegal methods.’

He frowns. ‘Illegal? How do you mean?’

‘I never gave anyone permission to go trawling through my social media accounts. I only gave them the details because they said that the information was needed to communicate with me. I don’t think that the person who originally made the form thought that the data would be used in such an underhand way. That kind of Machiavellian process comes from someone with a particularly devious and hateful mind.’

He is still frowning and I can see that I have him on uncomfortable ground. So do I press him or back off? I look over at my lovely friend; the one who supported me when I had to battle against authority before. She gives a very slight shake of her head and I back off. He looks down at his sheaf of papers again.

‘I need to ascertain whether or not you feel any regret over your actions – and whether you would be likely to make this kind of comment again.’

This really makes my blood boil. My friend is desperately trying to catch my eye and calm me down.

‘All I did was retweet something that someone else said – and unfortunately that same person added hash tags on the end of the tweet that I hadn’t even noticed. I subsequently found out that the words in those hash tags were banned from use three weeks later. I regret not noticing those words now but as they were banned after they had been used, I had no control over the action. Would I be likely to make that kind of comment again? No. Nor would I be so foolish as to allow anyone to have access to my social media accounts.’

‘That wasn’t quite what I was asking for.’

‘That is all you are going to get from me. I am the person whose reputation has been defamed, I lost my vote as a consequence of this underhand behaviour and now you expect me to grovel and apologise? Forget it mate!’

It is at this point that my friend puts her hand on my arm and turns to the young man.

‘Please don’t take it personally, we both know that you are trying to sort things out but I don’t think the people who started this realise how much harm has been done – or what a horrible position you are being put in having to go round and sort out issues that are of someone else’s causing.’

Although I am angry, I know that she is right. This earnest young man is not responsible for causing my anger. The people who did that are too frightened to face us because they know what damage they have done. It was intentional. All part of a noxious plan to put the wrong person back in power. I am still seething but I am back to a simmer rather than a boil.

‘I can offer you membership but this incident will stay on file.’

This is not fair but there is a bigger picture here. This ‘staying on file’ is intended to insult me and make me feel so angry that I stand up and walk away – if you don’t want me then I don’t want you. But that is exactly what they want. They failed to get rid of enough of us to win at the first attempt, so now they are trying to alienate us with this additional slight.

I look across at my friend and she nods.

‘Okay. Do what you want. I want to be a member so that I can help to get rid of the people who are attacking the vulnerable people and making them suffer.’

His shoulders slowly sink back down to a normal level and he seems surprised that I have capitulated so easily.

‘It isn’t just about me you see. I have to remember that there is a bigger picture. I really don’t care about what your boss and his deluded friends think of me. My thoughts are my own and will stay that way if there is any chance that they’ll be used against me again. There is one thing though…’

My friend looks worried and so does the young man.

‘Not only do I love the Foo Fighters, the Red Hot Chilli Peppers and the Stranglers, but Lemmy from Motorhead will always be my hero. So ner.’

It ends in laughter and more than a little relief. I don’t see it as stepping down. There is work to be done and I need my freedom in order to support others.

And then I stepped out of the shower.





Sheer Indulgence – My Top Twenty-Five


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In May 2012 whilst flicking through Twitter, I discovered a link to a site called ‘This is my Jam’.

The site gives you the opportunity to choose your favourite piece of music (or comedy clip) and post it.  You can leave a brief comment on the post and as well as sharing your choice with other jammers, you can also link it to FaceAche and Twitter – to name just a few social media sites.

I love ‘This is my Jam‘ because it enables me to play my favourite songs and to listen to those enjoyed by other people.  I’ve found old favourites that I’d forgotten about and discovered new singers and groups that might otherwise have been lost to me.

Apparently 130 other jammers appreciate my choices – which is nice 🙂

Since May 2012 I have posted 162 of my favourite jams – which is roughly (very roughly – numbers are NOT my strong suit) one a week.

From that 162, I’m going to extract 25 – and in no particular order (ooh, sounds like Strictly Come Dancing!) attempt to explain why they are special to me.

Some of my jams have been shared by at least 75 of my fellow jammers, some  have fewer shares but I love them anyway and the others appeared on the site for the very first time – some surprises for me there.

They are songs that make me want to dance, songs that make me smile or cry so those offended by sentimentality may as well bog off now.

Ta Ra La!

One – Somebody That I Used To Know – Gotye – I put this on after hearing my very talented young cousins singing it at a family birthday party. I like it and so did 776 other jammers.

Two – Rip It Up – Orange Juice – A song that always makes me smile and want to sing along with its boppy, popcorn beat. Huge respect for Edwyn Collins after all he and his family have gone through.

Three – Teenage Kicks – The Undertones – A common love shared with John Peel – I think I’m having more fun now than I did when I was a teenager though.

Four – Shipbuilding – Robert Wyatt – Covered by others more famous but there is something in the plaintive wispy singing of Robert Wyatt that makes this song even more poignant.

Five – Rock The Casbah – The Clash – Another song that makes me want to get up and dance – preferably in the dark.

Six – River – Joni Mitchell – My big sister and big brother introduced me to Joni Mitchell and my love for her music has never gone away.

Seven – Take Me Out – Franz Ferdinand –  Another choon to jig around  the kitchen to.  Love that beat.

Eight – Weapon Of Choice – Fatboy Slim –  I couldn’t believe it the first time I saw the accompanying video.  Having only ever seen Christopher Walken in sinister or menacing roles, this was a wonderful revelation.  The man can really dance!

Nine – Life’s What You Make It – Talk  Talk – Guaranteed to lift my spirits however bad a day it is.  The wailing guitar solo sets the hairs on the back of my neck quivering.

Ten – Peaches En Regalia – Frank Zappa – I was amazed to find that 75 other jammers liked this one too.  I listened to a lot of Zappa  music in my teens – my mother hated it – but not quite as much as she hated Captain Beefheart.

Eleven – Roxette – Dr Feelgood – Timeless  – and as I listen I can see Wilko Johnson stalking ominously around the stage – a fitting tribute to a lovely bloke.

Twelve – Rush Hour – Jane Wiedlin – I have to stop and sing along whenever I hear this song on the radio. Happy words and an equally happy tune.

Thirteen – Rocking In The Free World – Neil Young – ‘One more kid that will never go to school, never get to fall in love, never get to be cool’. Heartbreaking.

Fourteen – A Dream Goes On Forever – Todd Rundgren – If I had to choose the best, this is a song I would never grow tired of hearing.

Fifteen – Nobody Does It Better – Carly Simon –  This is dedicated to the one I love – my Hub.

Sixteen – Go Buddy Go – The Stranglers – Yeah! The definitive get up and boogie song.

Seventeen – Loveshack – B52s – Hub and I have made complete and utter fools of ourselves dancing along to this one – and we DON’T care!

Eighteen – My Sharona – The Knack – A song to sing along to in the car with the sound turned up to eleven.

Nineteen – Capricorn – Motorhead – If Lemmy can be said to be romantic – this comes near it – dedicated to me by my Hub.

Twenty – Sail On Sailor – Beach Boys – Love the Beach Boys but love this one the best – it’s a bit spooky.

Twenty-One – The Time Is Now – Moloko –  Such a smoky, sexy song. Flippin’ heck!

Twenty-Two – You’ll Hear Better Songs Than This – Eleanor McEvoy –  My Bezzie Mate introduced me to Eleanor McEvoy. Love her voice and love the humble and beautiful message of the song.

Twenty-Three – As The Snowflakes Fall – Smith and Burrows – This is just one of the wonderful alternative Christmas songs on the album.  I had to force myself to choose just this one.

Twenty-Four – Northern Sky – Nick Drake – ‘Brighten my Northern skies’. A beautifully romantic song to lighten the saddest of hearts.

Twenty-five – My Head Is My Only House Unless It Rains – Captain Beefheart – Not renowned for romance, I love Beefy’s ballad the best.

Having got to 25, I am now discovering loads of other songs and singers that I’ve left out – so…

Anything by Steely Dan, The Stranglers, Paul Weller (in all of his incarnations), Paulo Nutini, Foo Fighters, Carole King, Jake Thackeray, The Beatles and Fleetwood Mac.

When I pop my clogs I would like ‘Old And Wise’ – Alan Parsons Project – playing as you troop in to the Crem, and ‘Meet On The Ledge’ – Fairport Convention‘ playing as you trudge out to admire the flowers – freesias please?

Not that I have any intention of shuffling off this mortal coil for some time to come – but it’s nice to get these things settled way ahead of time.

Oh, and the Lovin’ Spoonful, The Mamas and Papas, Kate Bush, Peter Gabriel, Robert Palmer – ‘She Makes My Day‘ – Glorious!, my cousin Jake singing ‘Witchita Lineman‘ in my front room and making me blub.

Yes, music hath charms to soothe this savage breast (not beast) – well said William Congreve.

Time to break out of my mellow mood now and catch up ‘The Neighbours From Hell’.

This week’s jam is ‘I Won’t Back Down’  –  Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers’ – I love the song but I think Sam Smith might have been listening to to around the time that he wrote ‘Stay With Me’.

Just sayin’.

Check out ‘This Is My Jam’. You’re worth it.




‘There is always something there to remind me’

Scary photo alert!!!!!

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Time to renew the passports and oh boy have they tightened up on the rules and regulations.

Picture 1 is me circa 2004 – short dark hair, tinted Deirdre specs and just the hint of a smile – too far away from the camera, this photo would not make it through the awfully nice Passport checking lady at the Post Office (worth paying the extra fifteen squids to get her to check it).

Picture 2 is me circa 2014 – back to my reasonably natural blonde status, sans specs, sans smile – my sad face fits in the red oval of the photo-me booth.

Hub and I visited our local supermarket last night to get our passport photos done, and we were both deeply traumatised by the results.  It took me three goes to get photo 2 – the first two versions had me looking decidedly cross-eyed as I tried to peer at the instructions on the screen.  Yes, I know that the nice lady tells you what to do but I don’t hear so well without my goggles on. BTW it took Hub two goes before he pressed the final green button, so ner.

I have worn spectacles since I was eight years old; going from the anaemic pale blue plastic NHS horrors, to the more severe black plastic ‘these are supposed to be for boys not girls‘ to the gold-rimmed, blue-tinted lens John Lennon lookie-likies of my teens. I have had even larger Deirdre bottle-ends and smaller metal framed versions. I even dallied with red metal frames but the red coating wore off and brought me out in a rash, leaving me with the choice between more mega-plastic nasties or expensive titanium. As I earned more money I ventured into designer specs – Versace, Dolce and Gabbana –  but they didn’t actually make me see any better especially when I had to give into varifocals.

This year however, the local supermarket came up trumps and I now have a pair of stylish titanium frames with brown transition varifocal lens AND a pair of slightly purple metal frames, as above but with grey transitions. They cost me £500 squids less than that the place that we should have gone to. Hmmmm.

All this optical rambling is tenuously linked to my discomfort at having to be photographed with a glasses-less face after years of being so used to looking at my features through a range of (rose) tinted lenses.

My dearest Hub is mourning the loss of his locks. Still abundant at the back of his nicely shaped head, his cranium is getting more and more exposed as the years fly past; visits to the hairdresser are a thing of the past as electric clippers wielded by my own fair hands can now do the job to his – well – not satisfaction exactly because he’d far rather have enough hair to have a professional do the job.

Comparing my 2004 face with my 2014 face – yes, time has worn away at me and etched a fair few wrinkles and bags  – bags which are usually hidden by the specs, and wrinkles that don’t seem to show so anywhere near so much when you smile.

Ten years ago I was doing two jobs – both of which brought me fulfilment and frustration.  Our boys were still in primary school, we had a houseful of cats and I had just embarked on my Open University journey.

Facebook was born.

Janet Jackson flashed a boob at the Super Bowl, Uni Boy was obsessed with Harry Potter and Gameboys, Gap Year Boy was playing football in a local team and Hub was as much into Motorhead as he  was as a teenager and still is today.  He is as constant as the Northern Star.

My Bezzie Mate took a look at photo 2 and recommended ‘some of that TV glowing youthful reflective base, lightly pencilled eyebrows and lighter lippy’.   I may take that on board but I will have to consult some of my female friends for confirmation.

Hub looked at the pictures, gave me that smile that I know so well and made me forget all about silly old passport photos.

I have included picture 3 because I feel comfortable with it.  It is also proof of my ability to take  selfie. It may well be an only child though.