I am unprincipled bloke. Despite my protestations, my bogus concern for the poor and needy, my lefty political rants and join-this-or-that- campaign bollocks, this morning, I found myself insisting that our two chubby cats were given the best possible cat food. Not the ridiculously extravagant ones like ‘Sheba’ but the next category down ‘Felix with vegetables.’ This is sufficient to put them both into ecstasies of anticipation and as my mother-in-law says “they cleana the plate.”
M and I play a game. She pretends to care about the price of everything fulfilling the objectionable stereotyped Thatcherite role of the thrifty housewife while I insist that we don’t bother with coupons, throw away anything 10 minutes over its sell by date, don’t recycle (those poxy multi-coloured annoying, smelly boxes) and take only one from a bog-off deal. The reason is simple – the only principle I even vaguely hold dear is the one of contrariness.
To me the important thing (just so long as I don’t actually endanger myself- I am not brave) is not to do what other people do or say I should do. If everyone recycles I buy an incinerator to burn plastic in the garden (causing a cloud of noxious gas to pervade the neighbourhood.) If my children’s friends are vegan, I buy veal, preferably the unspeakably evil type involving slow baby cow bleeding to death. A friend of mine was a convicted paedophile as far as I know I was the only one of his old friends to visit him in jail 4 times (therefore not a passing gesture- and a 250 mile round trip). I care more passionately about sticking my fingers up to authorities; even legitimate ones (do they exist?) than just about anything else. Why?
To be brutally honest; probably because of my dear Dad – He was the most dreadful stickler and admirer of authorities. If you had a title or were respectable or a policeman or a teacher or had a posh voice then you got respect. From as far back as I can remember I was suspicious of this premise. Dead dodgy people seemed to elicit admiration from him, mean old snobs continued to impress him up to the day he died. ‘An authorative achievement’ was what mattered – something in the paper, some letters after your name, a mention by another on his list of greats. Individual, off the wall achievements meant nothing – it was only those with an official stamp, preferably a certificate that cut the mustard. When I introduced his to ‘Sir’ Peter Hall at Glyndebourne, he radiated pride. When on the other hand, I premiered what I considered to be one of the few good pieces of directing I ever did, at some fleapit – he was certainly kind, but his indifference and lack of understanding was obvious.
This sounds like awful sour grapes. The protestations of a frustrated artist whose great works are ignored while his trivial lapses into commercialism are lauded. I have to admit I do feel that ‘achievements,’ a word my Dad embossed on the family psyche, is a big load of poo and stands as just one particularly relevant example of where ‘authority’ corrupts, deceives, bullies and generally fucks up stuff. Consequently I hate authority of any kind with a passion that overrules every fibre of my better and more rational self.
The authority I refer to is not just the obvious ones, police, teachers, politicians, bosses but also the insidious ones. Sneaky moral codes, that lurk in dark corners springing out when something complicated cannot be resolved to whitewash over ambiguity with some global claim of eternal ‘rightness.’ ‘Global Warming matters’ – who says? Do we? Does this planet? I for one am not that sure? My wife and children matter more than anything in the universe FACT! But what else – nowt much – except of course my two chubby cats.
What a looser! Peace and love again xxx