A pocketful of mumbles by Trevor Plumbly
Who knows where the time goes?
One of the benefits of age, as far as I can see, is that it waters down a lot of unnecessary mental clutter and excuses you for taking a more jaundiced view of stuff you once thought serious enough to worry about. I’m not thinking about the big things like war, starvation, climate change and so-on, more the irritating personal baggage other people expect us to carry on their behalf.
Such people have been around since biblical days, but they’ve got more sophisticated since then and the old straight and narrow’s developed a few kinks, courtesy of misguided prophets, screwball academics and those labouring under the impression that our lot would be improved by adopting their particular grievance. Problem for us is that the limelight’s not as exclusive as it used to be and we get stuck with a lot more bit players than actual heroes.
He ain’t heavy
Most can scarcely be labelled ‘activists’ because the term implies a serious commitment to a cause rather than nibbling around the edges in the hope of attracting attention to fill a vacuum in otherwise vacant lives.
A prime example of that breed was our recent visitor, Posie Parker. Posie has taken it on herself to publicly unravel the complexities of gender identity and sexual preference. Like most people, I’ve always considered such things personal and not worth a town crier’s rant. Posie, however, is of the ‘let it all hang out’ breed (excuse the pun) and leaves no pebble unturned. In a recent, often hilarious radio interview, she raised the issue of sex change males using a female toilet, conjuring visions of burly women guarding the ladies loo and barking out ‘show us your kit!’ to potential users. Posie certainly pulled the crowd, but it wasn’t friendly and she was hustled off to the airport before delivering any words of her peculiar wisdom, leaving the police conduct authority and the taxpayer to clean up.
But even here, in the land of ‘no bullshit’ and ‘fair go’, we breed them too. One such is the Bishop. He is self-ordained to his high office, which is a little like awarding oneself a medal: it looks OK but it doesn’t mean a great deal. He leads a ‘new age’ church; the sort people who can’t afford it give money to. His Grace’s folly and by default ours, is that he wants to be political and finds it hard to let a crusade slide by; thus it was no great surprise to see him and his disciples turn up to Posie’s little parade of prejudice. For some reason the Bish and the apostles rolled up on motor bikes, hardly gospel-bearing transport, I’m more of a chariot man where that’s concerned, but maybe that’s just an age thing along with a dispassionate interest in other people’s sexual journey. I’m sure there are very serious issues out there, but they won’t get solved by screaming them from the rooftops, or from the evangelistic efforts of Ms. Parker and the Bishop.
Napoleon in rags
It’s astonishing really how many gullible folk there are out there: remember that old magician’s trick of sawing the lady in half? We used to watch transfixed, knowing full well it was a con job but still half expecting to see a trickle of blood. Of course, most of us grew out of it.
The magicians though are still there, sadly in the role of saviours, waving the saws of cock-eyed fantasies and there’s heaps out there gagging for a bit of razzle-dazzle. Trump certainly didn’t write the book, but he lives by it; the script is so basic that it’s amazing people still suck it up! Stick and carrot, then for the benefit of the simple minded, repeat, repeat, to fill the void, and bingo, the bewildered shall praise his name.
The last thing on my mind
It strikes me that simplicity became endangered in the 70s and now looks like heading for extinction, buried by those who feel the need to be heard. There’s an army of them out there courtesy of social media, champing at the bit to broadcast wrongs experienced by whichever association or group will have them. Theirs is a world of constant angst: stuff done quickly proves lack of consultation and any delay shows poor leadership. Surely we of the counter-culture were better served, we certainly didn’t need signposts marked ‘meaningful narrative’ to speak up; sure we had half-arsed cranks, but the thin ice of ultra-sensitivity didn’t stop us calling them that. The best way to get heard now is by appointment as a spokesperson, whether you represent ‘Left Handed Window Cleaners’ or ‘The Impoverished Tories Association’, I can assure you someone will listen because that’s the modern way. However, I’m sticking with the, ‘them was the good old days’ school, and like the man said, ‘I ache in the places I used to play’, and a curmudgeonly approach seems less stressful than trying to absorb the wisdom of folk anxious to protect me from obstacles I bypassed years ago.