Sunday, 1 April 2012

Early Monstaville Appendix I (2005) Removed from Book

These early appendices from the first part of Monstaville (book 1) were removed as the work matured and dumped by the side of the road. Subsequently, they were maimed, then put out of their misery. Then hauled back to the kitchen at the ranch, cooked in the oven for a couple of hours and are hereby served on a plate to you, the reader, with peas and chips and some cheap plonk. (Oh, don't worry if you're a veggie like me. Analogies neither look nor taste like chicken unless you want them to!).

Julie Cullen, an interviewer for BBC Radio (6Music), mentioned that Lynval [Golding] told her it was weird for The Specials to get back together when there was a recession on and loads of knife crime as well. “Does it almost feel in a way like not that much has changed?” she asked Terry Hall. Hall replied, “I think that these underlying problems are always there. They were there before we even formed a band. And I think it’s sort of a horrible coincidence really but when isn’t there knife crime? There’s always been knife crime here. And there’s always a recession. It’s just sometimes it’s highlighted.”

“Each time a violent crime occurs ‘we get a step further away from what it is to be civilised,’ David Cameron said yesterday. The Tory leader pointed to the recent killing of a young man at rush hour in Victoria station in London as an example of ‘broken Britain’ during a talk in south-east London. ‘There’s a danger that we as a society can slowly become almost immune to unbelievable events like this,’ he said. ‘Each time the shock is a little bit slighter, a little bit quicker to pass. And as our sensitivity gets coarsened, we get a step further away from what it is to be civilised. There has always been violence. There has always been evil. But there is something about the frequency and depravity of these crimes that betrays a fundamental problem in Britain today.’ Joining Mr Cameron was former EastEnders star Brooke Kinsella, whose brother Ben was stabbed to death in 2008. ‘This year, nine teenagers in this city alone have been murdered – and that is nine families going through the worst grief,’ she said.” (Metro, 28 April 2010, p.5. Some might point out that Britain was broken, or divided, by a Conservative government in the first place!).

Appendix I

Subsequent newspaper articles, notes and other items collected since abandoning my journals: 2005

“Our friends show us what we can do. Our enemies teach us what we must do.” - Goethe.

I cut out various articles reporting incidents of bullying and knife crime from the free papers I picked up in town and kept the in my journal as extreme examples of injustice, representative of the national problem. Of course, violent crime in the capital is now rampant and people are too frightened to confront young thugs because they could be carrying knives. We still read about caring individuals stepping in to stand up for victims or trying to help resolve arguments and ending up getting stabbed themselves.

I know someone who popped out to his local off licence in Brixton and was asked by a young black youth to buy him some drink. My friend made a joke of it and then, after making his purchase, was bottled in the eye in the street. He had two black eyes and his face needed several stitches (around one eye), so he was very lucky not to have been blinded. I told him ‘bullies and alcoholics have no sense of humour.’ It surprises me that he and a few other people I have known who live in the area deny that there is a problem with street crime there. It’s no wonder this is such a taboo subject. When the police came round for a casual survey about crime in my area I explained that I had seen more crime here since black people had flooded into the area from East London in a short space of time. That was the reason for the increase in crime as far as I could tell, having lived here for a decade. I was told, simply, they could not enter my reply on the form!

The only English people remaining in this part of London are generally druggies, thugs and vulnerable people who are stuck here and can’t afford to move. Prior to this rapid decline and ghettoisation, there was a fairly healthy balance between white English and Asian residents and the area felt quite safe. Some English people have told me they had felt obliged to move away because certain Pakistani families had become too ‘militant’ to cope with. I get on just fine with many people from all backgrounds, black, white and Asian, but even the Bengalis I have known have often told me they are extremely wary of many black and Pakistani people because there is a higher proportion of hard, aggressive or vicious individuals with those cultural backgrounds. They are particularly concerned about Somalians who, of course, are dangerous because the environment they come from offers some pretty horrific experiences, from genocide to starvation. We should never be afraid of the truth. In my view that will only make matters worse. I should point out that I have known many good people from Pakistan and got on very well with them. I just feel that, when they’re bad, they’re very bad.

The number of police has risen enough to reduce the problem but I found it interesting that the signs they put up requesting information relating to murders never used to mention the colour of the suspects or victims. Then, even Tony Blair announced that we should not be frightened of adding this information. While we do not, of course, wish to discriminate against entire groups of people in broad terms such as ‘black’ and ‘Asian,’ I feel, personally, that it is important to exercise more caution towards specific groups that include a higher proportion of aggressors. I would also extend that premiss to the fact that I feel generally safer and more trusting when I know someone is ‘European’ (or from parts of Asia other than Pakistan) than I do if they are English, and white (and a Londoner!). It is simply a feeling and response borne of personal experience over the years since I moved to London.

I have just selected a few of the articles to include here.

The number of victims of street robbery aged between 10 and 17 increased by 47 per cent between 2003 and 2005, the Evening Standard reports. “Met Commissioner Sir Ian Blair blamed the increase on a culture of bullying and petty robbery among children under 17.” (Evening Standard, 13 April 2005, p.4).

“Two young women are behind bars today after attacking a teenage model so brutally that she later took her own life. Lisa Burgess was slashed with a kitchen knife and beaten with iron bars and broken bottles. She was so badly injured that doctors twice had to bring her back from the brink of death. Surgeons had to remove a damaged kidney. Mary Seymour, 19, and Christine Anderson, 18, were part of a gang of four who subjected Miss Burgess to the savage beating the day after she told friends Seymour’s boyfriend had raped her. Their attack left the 19-year-old part-time model suffering severe flashbacks and nightmares and, three months later, she took an overdose of painkillers. Her parents Mary and Chris branded the gang ‘evil animals’ [She also ‘thought they were coming back for her’]...After being accused of rape, Colin Rose - who had had a relationship with Miss Burgess years earlier - co-ordinated a campaign of intimidation against her. Hours before the assault last May, Seymour was heard shouting on her mobile phone: ‘We are coming round to your house and you are dead’...All four had been drinking. Miss Burgess was so terrified she armed herself with a knife. When she answered the door Mary Seymour grabbed the knife and sliced the top of her head before the others attacked. Seymour was jailed for six years and Anderson for three and a half years at Reading Crown Court. Rose, 25, was sentenced to nine years in jail and Victor Seymour, 22, was given a six-year sentence...Judge Jonathan Playford told them: ‘Three months after these events, Lisa Burgess committed suicide - 19 years of age, scarred and disabled by your savagery. Their ‘wickedness,’ he said, was yet another example to come before this court of drink-fuelled violence that plagues even prosperous little towns.’ Miss Burgess took her life after learning the Crown Prosecution Service had dropped the rape charge against Rose [who had also ‘bragged about the attack’]. A coroner recorded an open verdict. Mrs Burgess said her daughter had been devoted to her brother Sam, 15, and had dreamt of helping children in Africa.” (Bo Wilson, Evening Standard, 5 May 2005, p.5).

“A 15-year-old girl killed herself after being picked on by school bullies for eight months, her mother said today. Anna Marie Averill, who was studying for her GCSEs, was found hanging in her bedroom. Her mother Annette, 42, of Quinton, Birmingham, said today she had been targeted by three girls who hurled insults at her and had tried to push her head through iron-railed gates.” (ibid, p.5).

Why some men wolf-whistle at women: “It’s not because they think they can actually score with the ladies - it’s to get a reaction. Every time you tense up, throw dirty looks or react negatively, they have succeeded in getting what they want.
            If you want it to stop, don’t let it bother you and don’t respond. If everyone ignores these men and if no-one responds in any way, it will stop being fun and they will stop doing it.” (A reader’s letter in Metro, 20 August 2006, p.18).

“Never pick a fight with an ugly-faced person - they have nothing to lose.” - Victor Lewis-Smith (Evening Standard, 31 August 2005, p.25).

‘60 Second Interview’ with former SAS soldier (and author) Chris Ryan (two of the questions):

Q. “What are the best tips for survival in general?”
A. “To me, it’s second nature because of my surveillance training in the SAS, but awareness of what’s going on around you is extremely important. Take notice of people who are in your immediate area. If it seems anyone is interested in you, then nine times out of ten, they will be up to no good and will probably be about to mug you...”

Q. “Is running around and screaming ever a useful tactic?”
A. “Yes you can dominate people by shouting at them. Screaming at someone to go away or stop what they’re doing can be effective. We did this on camera. I walked into a room and bawled my head off at two girl. They were glued to the floor, they didn’t know what to do and they practically crapped themselves. You go into sensory overload, your brain cuts off and fear takes over - that’s the whole point about the management of fear. It’s good to br frightened because it raises your adrenaline but you have to keep your brain working and use the fight or flight reaction. It’s no good just to look at your assailant and wet yourself like these girls did.” (Metro, 25 August 2005, p.10).

“A man who hit a burglar with a spade was given a £100 reward by a judge who told him: ‘I only wish you had hit him harder.’ Terry Bearpark whacked Heath Randall around the head after he saw his neighbour being attacked in her own home. Randall, 39, and an unidentified accomplice hit Frances Falshaw on the head with a hammer while trying to steal her handbag...Judge Guy Whitburn QC told Mr Bearpark, from Grangetown, near Middlesborough: ‘What you did was absolutely right.’” (Metro, 12 September 2005, p.28).

The Guardian profile: Mordechai Vanunu. “Nearly 18 years ago, a young Israeli nuclear technician went to London to reveal the secrets of his country's atomic weapons programme to the world. Then, lured to Italy by an Israeli secret service agent, he was drugged, gagged, bound and returned to Israel, where he was convicted of treason and espionage and sentenced to 18 years' imprisonment. Next week, after serving most of that sentence in solitary confinement, he will finally be released. Mordechai Vanunu is 49 and has become a symbol for the international peace movement. He has been nominated for a Nobel peace prize, and a long-running campaign has sought his release...Over the years, pleas for his release or for a less harsh jail regime met with little response. The Israeli government position was made clear in 1997 when President Ezer Weizman said at a press conference in London: ‘He was a spy who gave away secrets, and the fact that he did so for conviction rather than for money makes no difference. He was a traitor to his country.’ In one of the hundreds of letters that Vanunu wrote in prison, he said he saw himself as a free man. ‘I'll stay free, to prove that I was right to reveal the madness of the Israeli nuclear secrets. I am not a spy, but a man who helped all the world to end the madness of the nuclear race’...Vanunu on impending release: ‘I'll be free, I won. The gates and the locks will be opened. They didn't succeed in breaking me or driving me crazy.’ (

Interviewed by Metro, Mordechai says, “I went to the Old City of East Jerusalem last week and one woman started to call me a bastard and a traitor. I ignore then but I also find myself quite lucky not to have faced that much aggression since my release. My way is not to be afraid and to behave like normal. Those are tricks I learnt while in prison.” (Metro, 19 September 2005, p.10).

‘Short Sermon’: “The Sermon on the Mount in brief: Much of Jesus’ teaching was brought together when seated on a hillside. The Jewish Law taught that retaliation should be proportionate to the harm done - an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth - but Jesus taught that we should love our enemies and that we should return good for evil, turning the other cheek when others attack us.” (Metro, 22 September 2005, p.33).

On the previous day it was reported that the head of a children’s charity was mugged by a gang of youths: Michele Elliott, 55, “whose charity works to protect children from abuse and bullying, has called for a ban on the wearing of hoods in public buildings...Dr Elliott, a psychologist, saw the gang harassing a mother and baby. After she told the she was calling security, they surrounded her, pushing, hitting, tripping her up and trying to steal her mobile phone. She said: ‘I was so angry I chased after them but they scattered. They were aged as young as eight. The oldest was maybe 13. With badly bruised knees, Dr Elliott approached a security guard who, she says, took no action...CCTV cameras had not been working.” (Evening Standard, 28 September 2005, p.4).

The odds are rarely fair when it comes to bullying: “A man is still in intensive care after he and a friend were stabbed and beaten up by a gang in south east London. The victims, both 23, were attacked by up to 20 black youths in Crystal Palace Parade at about 1.10am on Sunday. A local shop owner protected the more severely injured victim from the mob.” (Evening Standard, 29 September 2005, p.5).

“At the end of the day, you get picked on if you’re too skinny, you get picked on if you’re too big. So you can’t win either way. You get picked on if you’ve got too bigger ears, if you’re a funny shape, if you’re a funny size, if you say something funny, if you’ve got a funny accent: it doesn’t matter who you are you’re going to get picked on one way or another and I think it depends on how you handle it.” (My Secret Body, Channel 5, 14 October 2005).

‘Stand up for yourself and defy bullies’: A Metro reader writes that being very tall “is like living your life in a goldfish bowl - everybody can see you. It’s not so easy to blend into the background and you can become a target. Anti-bullying week is coming up in November and I think it’s cruel that people are not highlighting this more.” A father writes: “my heart went out to Callum Brooks, the boy being bullied because he is 6ft 5in. My son is 6ft 7in and has heard every silly and hurtful comment there is and not just from youngsters but from people old enough to know better. He, too, hated violence and always believed you could talk your way out of anything but unfortunately that is not always the case. Sometimes the only way bullies can be taught a lesson is by being on the receiving end. Once my son retaliated he was OK. Callum’s parents should stop protecting the bullies and start protecting their son by letting him stand up for himself.” (Metro, 17 October 2005, p.18).

One horrific murder stands out partly because the victim, barman David Morley, 37, survived the Soho nail bomb attack on the Admiral Duncan pub in Old Compton Street where he was working at the time (on 18 April 1999). Six youths from Kennington, aged 20 and younger “were looking for ‘violence for its own sake’” when they set upon him on Hungerford Bridge on 30 October 2004. A girl aged 14 kicked Mr Morley’s head ‘like a football’ as he lay on the ground after the beating. The group then “carried on their random attacks, setting upon eight people in five separate incidents along the South Bank of the Thames. The girl even filmed the last on a mobile phone...” Another victim that night said: “‘It was random, indiscriminate violence for what can only have been pleasure. The desire to rob was always secondary to the desire to inflict harm.’” (Daily Mail, 21 October 2005, p.15).

“A girl who was bullied for being too pretty is being taught at home - while her bullies can stay at school...But Calli-Jo fears the teenage thugs will find a new target unless they are dealt with a punished. She said the bullying, at the school on the Isle of Dogs, in Docklands, East London, went on for three years but grew much worse this term. Girls told her she would be cut up, killed and thrown into the Thames because she was too pretty. Police have issued two suspects with harassment orders.” (Metro, 28 October 2005, p.5).

“A motivational speaker [from America], known as ‘Scary Guy’...has been hired by schools in the [Greater Manchester] area, at a cost of £50,000, to help pupils battle bullies.” (Metro, 18 November 2005, p.4).

“Give schools the power to stop bullying’: “I was not in the least bit surprised to read that schools are facing a bullying epidemic...With our persistent attempts to be PC and to protect our kids, we have legislated against the schools and taken away their ability to discipline our children. We are so scared of the tiny minority of school staff who could harm our children that we legislate against the vast majority - not even allowing them to touch pupils. Discipline doesn’t mean physical pain. How sad is the irony that legislation is unlikely to stop the minority from whom we are trying to protect our children. Even more concerning is that, in banning effective disciplinary powers in schools, we are producing young adults with no respect for authority, others, or indeed themselves. These people will become our yobs of the future, unable to conform with civilised society; angry, and unprepared to bring up their own children with the skills to fit in. I for one will support any school my children attend when it comes to discipline - we must all take responsibility for the sake of our young. Clearly teaching discipline is not only confined to schools.” (Metro, 15 November 2005, p.18). Aiden Radnedge writes, on the same page, “Meanwhile, the Secondary Heads Association yesterday warned that bullying in school has shifted from physical attacks to psychological cruelty. A spokesman said: ‘Now there are more cases of verbal or psychological bullying.’” (ibid, p.18).

‘School bullies did this to me’: “A star pupil was battered by a gang of girl bullies hours after she was awarded two school prizes. Danielle Price was attacked in the playground and her face was cut and bruised so badly she needed hospital treatment,” writes Aidan Radnedge.” The 15-year-old was “lured over by a group of older girls” during the morning break at the school in Glamorgan. She was battered in the face and spent the rest of the day in hospital. Her mother explained that, “‘The girl punched lumps out of her face. She was wearing rings on her fingers so Danielle ended up with all these cuts and bruises. It can only have been caused by jealousy because Danielle won the awards.’” Only a day earlier, reports Radnedge, another 15-year-old girl was stabbed with a pair of scissors at a school in Surrey. (Metro, 14 November 2005, p.13).

‘Violence ‘is now the norm’‘: “Schools are facing a bullying epidemic, the Government’s commissioner has claimed. Prof Al Aynsley-Green said nearly every pupil was affected by the problem. He added: ‘Children are brought up in a society where violence is the norm in many ways.’ The so-called ‘children’s tsar’ wants Education Secretary Ruth Kelly to force all schools to present pupils with a questionnaire each term about the issue. He said: ‘There is a lot of denial about the existence, severity and effect of bullying.’ Last week, bullied teenager Tommy Kimpton, who beat his best friend Ben Williams to death with a pool cue, was found not guilty of his murder. The jury cleared Kimpton after hearing 21-year-old Williams had teased him about his weight, thick glasses and big ears.” (ibid, p.13).

“More than 200 people across London were arrested today in raids on the homes of suspects ranging from domestic violence to racist crimes...The high-profile raids are aimed at boosting the reporting of ‘hate crimes’ such as domestic violence. In one case a man was arrested over an alleged rape and in another a man was held o suspicion of stalking and terrorising the family of his ex-girlfriend...Last year the Met dealt with 110,000 incidents of domestic violence with a detection rate of 16 per cent. Recent figures show a campaign against domestic violence led to a 50 per cent increase in cases reported.” (Evening Standard, 30 November 2005).

“Alcoholism isn’t a spectator sport. Eventually, the whole family gets to play.” - Joyce Rebeta-Burditt. (Jane Moore’s column in The Sun, 30 November 2005, p.11).

‘Why we leave it to others to be heroes’: “The worse the attack, the more likely you are to step in, researchers say,” writes John Higginson. Maximilian University in Munich carried out an “experiment in which actors pretended to be in a fight on a train. It revealed that half of bystanders would help diffuse the situation if they were on their own. Yet only six per cent would intervene if there were others who could help. The outcome was different in a highly dangerous situation. In this case, 44 per cent of observers tried to help when alone but so did 40 per cent of people in the crowd. The perception that someone was at serious risk of being hurt appeared to overcome the so-called bystander effect, in which a crowd of people stand back and ignore the plight of a person in trouble.” (Metro, 5 December 2005, p.24). Yeah, but would these figures apply to similar experiments carried out in multi-cultural London or other parts of ‘Great’ Britain?

“Mylene Klass was ‘very shaken up’ yesterday after she became a victim of the happy slapping attack craze. The musician, TV presenter and anti-bullying campaigner had chips thrown over her head before being pushed to the ground outside a shop near her home. A group of teenagers - three girls and two boys - tried to take pictures of the former Hear’Say singer on their mobile phones as she ran away. Her ordeal began when a gang of youths spotted her at a newsagent’s and began singing her hit, ‘Pure and Simple’ - adding the lyrics ‘I am going to kill you.’ The 27-year-old was then pushed to the ground as the gang stood around laughing. One shouted: ‘Shall I bitch slap her?’ - a reference to taking pictures with mobile phones after attacking someone...Earlier this year, Klass helped launch the anti-bullying website for children’s charity NCH. Her spokesman, Simon Jones, said she was back at work yesterday. ‘She is OK but very shaken up,’ he added. ‘The whole point of the anti-bullying campaign was to say, ‘look, speak out about this.’ She wants to get the message across about how important it is to report this kind of incident to the police.’ NCH spokesman John Carr said the ‘cowardly attack’ must have been terrifying. ‘It’s ironic that this mirrors some of the experiences she has been helping us raise awareness of,’ he added.” (Metro, 8 December 2005, p.7). According to, which offers “support to pupils who have been bullied through their mobile or PC,” “one in five young people has been a victim.” (Metro, ‘Klass war on txt bullies). Another national anti-bullying organisation is

Obituary: Jack Colvin (Jack McGee in The Incredible Hulk): “...the actor originally had doubts about playing McGee, saying, ‘When they told me the title, I laughed. But then they gave me two scripts to read and I knew the series would go. People identify tremendously with the frustration, the rage and the anger that breaks out in a man.’” (The Independent, 10 December 2005, p.47).

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