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Category: General

When is rape not rape? When the attacker is drunk

Now that isn’t a title of a blog post I ever thought I’d be writing nor is it the punchline to a horrific gag.

A small story only picked up my one of the nationals (depressingly it was the Daily Mail) says that a man who had sex with someone who didn’t consent has been found not guilty by a jury at Guildford Crown Court because he was too pissed to realise that it wasn’t his girlfriend. Haydor Khan from my old stomping ground of Farnham went into the wrong room at a hotel and proceeded to have sexual intercourse with a person whom he believed was his partner, however it wasn’t and when the accused realised this he fled the scene.

Now first things first. I have always lived under the belief that being drunk is no excuse for bad behaviour, whether it is criminal behaviour or just being an asshole. No-one forces you to get drunk so if you act like an ass then you have no excuses. Secondly even if this was his girlfriend, having sex with someone whilst they are asleep and haven’t consented is as far as I’m aware rape is it not?

What this does though is set a very dangerous and worry precedent that the ‘being too drunk to notice’ defence is actually plausible and can hold up in a Court of Law. Now obviously I didn’t hear all the evidence and no doubt there was more to this case than has been published but on the surface whilst it does seem like a genuine case of mistaken identity, the being drunk defence is scary. Now if you don’t know what you are doing then you can use that defence and in theory it should be successful. If you drunkenly punch a bouncer but say you thought it was your mate and he wouldn’t mind then bang – you should in theory have a solid defence.

My last point. He wasn’t so drunk that he couldn’t get it up and in my knowledge (I said knowledge not experience there – an importantly distinction to make) then that isn’t being too drunk to not realise who you are sleeping with. Still, what do I know? The jury found him Not Guilty and that as they say is that.

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Arrested and charged for taking food out of bins. Great job CPS…

Sometimes I shake my head. Sometimes I tut. Sometimes I roll my eyes and sometimes I do all there. Then though there are times when I am just well and truly flat-out disgusted and dismayed. A story in my mother’s hometown caught my eye and made me feel this way. Woman charged with theft for taking food Tesco threw out.

So a woman got arrested, charged and faces court and a criminal record for taking food out of a bin. Is this the world we live in? Who endorsed this stupid law? What pathetic cop decided that it was worth his or her time (maybe I’m being harsh on the bobby) but my wrath for the CPS knows no bounds. At what point is this ‘in the public interest?’ I’ll answer that. It isn’t. No-one with any form of brain cell gives a stuff about if someone takes food out of a bin. No-one. So is it worth putting a citizen through the court system at the cost of the tax payer? Not on your nelly.

So there is a crime ‘theft by finding’ and doing some research on it there have been cases where people have been arrested by police when handing in things that they have found. Seriously. So if you find something it is safer to leave it than to be a good citizen and hand it in. Bet this isn’t the ‘Big Society’ that David Cameron wants.

Back to this case. I’m pretty sure the moment a company or a person puts something in a bin then they have waived their claim to whatever they have thrown away. Therefore the thing thrown away has no owner and therefore cannot be theft. Maybe I’m just being thick but this doesn’t make any sense whatsoever. I know companies do dump food out and believe that their bins are part of their property. This is where I contest the law as that’s bull. I think trespass laws are even more apt than theft laws. I don’t know the lay of the land of this supermarket and whether the accused had to go on to property to get the food or not and that is the only caveat. If she didn’t have to go on to Tesco property then what is wrong with it?

Whatever the case though is this really in the public interest? Of course it isn’t. Another good solid job by the CPS…

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The Battle of the Supermarket Mums

For a long time my Supermarket advert dream women has been undisputed. The Sainsbury’s mum has held this crown. However now she has a rival.

A couple of weeks ago I saw the husband of a couple want to stop doing the family shop and the wife responded.

So now I have a decision to make (actually no I don’t but lets pretend shall we?).

The first woman has long been in top spot. Very much the stereotypical MILF. Now the actress who plays the mum is in her late 40s, which is shall we say a few years older than me. However I’ve never been one to care about age. Age is just a number. I have long had a shall we say thing for the older blonde. It’s a great look. She has a wonderful smile and when she smiles her face lights up. Her name is Tracy Brabin – an actress who has starred in Corination Street amongst other things.

On to the newcomer to the charts, she doesn’t look as old as the Sainsbury’s mum and her skin is less wrinkly. She also has a nice smile (this is my biggest weakness). I like her hair and her demeanour (certainly when on the beach and just after the lions) but whilst obviously if she gave me a call I’d probably buy her a chinese, she is no Sainsbury’s women. The actresses name is unknown to me.

Sainsbury’s woman wins out. Obviously Kerry Katona looks much better these days than she did during her face of Iceland days but she’d still not win out.

This might have been my most pointless blog ever but still, it’s my blog.

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All Hail Professor Martin Conboy

Stepping away from Politics for two blog posts in a row but this is a special one for all that know him…

All Hail Dr Professor Conboy of the University of Sheffield!

Yes that is right folks. The man who was far too intelligent for the likes of me at the little old Surrey Institute of Art & Design University College has moved up in the world and now is officially even cleverer than he was previously – which was to be honest pretty darn clever. I like to think I’m not stupid but in the presence of genuinely dialled in people I feel pretty darn dumb. It is a bit like when doing a Pub Quiz machine with Sean – I’m not even in his league.

Professor Conboy is the author of the following publications:

* The Press and Popular Culture (2002)
* Journalism: A Critical History (2004)
* Tabloid Britain: Constructing a Community through Language (2006)
* The Language of the News: Communication and Power (2007)
* The Special Issue of Journalism Studies on Global Popular Journalism (2007)

So this is a) a short note of congratulations for the man and b) a note to all students who may pass under his – or any other lectureres/doctors/professors – wing. Actually listen to them, work hard and you can get a lot out of it. I didn’t and that was doing myself a disservice. I sailed through university with my only eyes on the practical side of Journalism and had little to no interest in the theory. It was this that turned by comfortable 2:1 into a 2:2. However whilst that might have been all fine and dandy in a practical sense, part of the journey of life and certainly university should involve expanding the mind.

For example Michel Foucault. I know of the name. I know he was pretty darn smart. Beyond that…

I am sure I spent the best part of fifty hours either in a lecture or in a seminar discussing the aforementioned scholar. Alas without doing any research I couldn’t tell you too much more about him. I zoned out. It wasn’t my interest and I’d have preferred to be spending this time either up in the print or radio newsroom. If I had my time again I’d take a legitimate interest to try and understand. So for all those at university or going to university in the future, heed my warning, make a real effort with every class you have. Whilst in the long run it might not directly help you career wise, what it will do is help your ability to learn along the greatest journey of all – life – and those who sail through life and stop learning are people I do feel sorry for.

So well done Professor Conboy on being awarded a personal chair and keep giving the students who pass through your door the opportunity to grow to become the men and women that they can be. If they choose to keep their mind closed then it is their loss but if you get through to a handful and help them achieve greater life goals then it is a job – and life – well spent.

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2010 – A Neil Year in Review.

Well 2010 is in the books so it is time for me to write my review of the year. Usually I do this in the standard Meme form but not this year. This year it’ll be more of a blog post. So let’s play darts get on with the blog.

2010 will not go down as a vintage year but one important thing and one interesting thing happened. First of all the important. On July 3 2010 I made a decision that I was quitting caffeine and with particular reference to Coca-Cola. For the past 14 odd years I have drunk Coca-Cola as my standard drink – whether it be straight or of the Cherry variety. I woke up that morning and had heart palpitations and it wasn’t the first time. Enough was enough I thought.

Knowing that I had a serious addiction I knew it was going to be hard so I had a plan. I was to cleanse my system as quickly as possible. I did this by drinking litres of squash for a couple of weeks. I was peeing every 20 minutes and then drinking another glass of squash. It worked. I had no significant headaches in this period and the caffeine had been flushed out of my system.

When you compare that to previous years where I’d have a headache after 24 hours of not having a Coke that says something.

Taking Coca-Cola out of my diet has led to other benefits. I now have a lot less sugar in my diet and this had directly led to both significant weight loss and the stop of night sweats. For years I had woken up drenched in the middle of the night and it was getting worse. In the past three months I haven’t had this once. Weight wise I have lost well over a stone despite doing no more exercise. I feel healthier and I don’t sweat just when eating hot food or just walking to the shop. My health has taken a giant step forward in 2010.

The other interesting thing that happened was at the start of the year I decided to see if I could go the whole of the calendar year without drinking any alcohol. I’m not a huge drinker any way but it was a worthwhile personal challenge. I succeeded and went through the year without alcohol. People have said on more than one occasion just how weird it is. I just feel that it is a sad indictment on society if not drinking alcohol is deemed as strange.

Workwise the year has trundled along with me doing the same work for the same company. I run a very successful World Cup campaign and all in all the department has certainly got stronger as the year has gone on. I could have possibly moved to either Malta or Leeds at various points early in the year but chose not to and to stay working from home.

Speaking of home I moved yet again in 2010. This time I moved into my own apartment in a small place called Thorpe Bay on the outskirts of Southend-on-Sea in Essex. I live within a stone’s throw of a railway station with trains every 15 mins into London if I want. I have local shops a stone’s throw in the other direction and the beach ten minutes walk down The Broadway. It is a quiet place and that in general suits me fine. At times I miss living with people and working from home and living alone leads to plenty of quiet times but overall I deal with that fine.

In my private life there isn’t a lot to tell. In 2010 I did have dates – for the first time since 2006 – however I had zero second dates. What that says about me I do not know but only one of those disappointed me. That story has been written elsewhere and I don’t feel the need to write it again. One cancelled a second date as they had – and I quote – ‘washing up to do’ and never spoke to me again. One didn’t speak to me again anyway and one cancelled a date after reading my blog and reading that I had never had a relationship before and basically said she wanted a man not a boy. Score!

Elsewhere the return to this area brought about my permanent return to Hospital Radio. In 2006-2007 before I moved to Aldershot I anchored the Wednesday Night Request Show at Southend Hospital Radio. When I returned there were several new presenters for the show but slowly they have left and I have slowly slid back into the role. I record the show these days as well for the wider non Hospital audience. It is purely voluntary and the feedback we get makes it well worth it.

Two of my closest friends from my school days got married. I was invited to one but not the other. When I was down there for the wedding it was scary just how much everyone had moved on. I felt completely out-of-place there for the first time. I haven’t lived there since 2004 but every time I had returned previously I didn’t feel like a total outsider. I did this time and the time I went back in April. It showed me quite clearly that I don’t belong there anymore and in a sad way I don’t belong anywhere. It made me sad but life moves on.

Sports wise I am still luke warm on Portsmouth as the crooks still hold the keys to the club. Until an owner steps forward who has the best interests of the club at heart and not about lining their own pockets then I’ll continue to not live and die by football results. Cricket has once again risen to the top of my tree but the NFL and NCAA FB are not far behind. I need to start playing sports again. This might be something I can address in 2011.

Overall I wouldn’t say I’m happier but I am certainly much more content with life. 2009 had been an up and down year and saw me call three addresses home and a change of job. 2010 was a lot more straightforward. financially I am doing better than I was and as I’ve already mentioned – my health is in a much much better position than it has been for years. When I used to work at Fubra I would have crashes in the afternoon after lunch and would at times struggle to stay awake. These days I have no problems with this whatsoever.

Lastly of course there is politics. I have become more interested and involved with this as the year has gone on. I’m still not a member of any political party despite my heavy Liberal leanings and Liberal Democrat sympathies. I keep umming and erring about joining and at some point I probably will. I find it interesting but also want to get more involved in other loves including space and the search for ET and UFOs this year. I love being a geek deep down.

So there we are. That was my 2010. I wouldn’t say any one day stands out as it really has been a quiet year. We’ll see what 2011 brings but things are ok. If my boiler gets fixed soon then I’ll be happy. I may write a blog about my hopes and dreams for 2011 but I might not. We shall see.

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Tuition Fees are not What Jesus Would Do.

Just a quick one folks.

I read the following today:

But Mr Clegg faced a fresh blow last night as the Bishop of Lincoln said the rise in tuition fees is ‘contrary’ to the ‘teachings of Jesus’.

The Rt Rev John Saxbee said the Bible called for sacrifice for the ‘common good’.

Seriously. What. The. Fuck.

Now I haven’t read the bible cover to cover I will admit. So there ma well be verses in there about tuition fees and Nick Clegg being the evil temptress but really. How any anyone of sound mind and judgement say that the rise in tuition fees is contrary to the teachings of Jesus? Only a moron would say that and clearly despite being a man of God – The Rt. Rev. Jon Saxbee is a moron. Now I know you can interpret things differently – that is just the way it is but using the Jesus card Bishop? Really? I know you are standing down in January but do you really want to go out on a limb on this one?

I’ve been around the church all my life and I’ve heard some absolute codswallop in my time but this might just take the biscuit.

You can disagree with what Nick Clegg and his party has done. That is fair enough. Everyone is entitled to their opinions but to use the Bible and Jesus card on this?

The Rt. Rev. John Saxbee enjoy your retirement. You are a muppet of the first degree. You are the Miss Piggy of Muppets. A boisterous attention seeking whore (oh and you aren’t very popular – nobody loves Miss Piggy – they just all wish she’d leave so Kermit could find someone worthy of his love).

Moron.

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Random things I think I think

Stepping away from Politics for a bit. Here are some random things I think I think:

 

When in an M&S queue and an old lady starts talking about you when you have your iPod in and when you comment on it they say ‘you aren’t one of the nasty ones are you?’ (in reference to me being a young man wearing a hoodie) a good reply is definitely ‘don’t worry – the nasty ones rarely shop in M&S’. Defuses the situation quick sharpish.

 

My local chippy has finally worked out how to make a good battered sausage. The batter should be very soft as should the sausage. The whole thing should be floppy. This is one positive note about my local chippy. It is like very unorganised chaos there if there are more than one or two people waiting. Battered Sausage, Saveloy, Chips & a Curry Sauce should not under any circumstances take 20 minutes. I could’ve gone next door and waited for a Curry in that time. The women who serve are nice enough though. Brucie Bonus as the Brez would say.

 

I missed the return of StormChasers last night and I’m gutted. Not only that but there is no repeat until Saturday evening. I do love StormChasers and love them following violent tornadoes. One of the few shows that I do make a point of sitting down and watching (or Sky+ing). Looking forward to Saturday to see the opening episode of the series.

 

Cliff Lee spurned the Yankees overnight to go to Philly for less money and less years. I thought he was going to Texas. It was clear as every hour passed that he didn’t want to come to NY for whatever reason. Yankees offered the most money and he wasn’t buying in at all. Lee moves to the best rotation in the game and joins the prohibitive NL Faves. Staying out of the AL and the powerful AL East. Does this mean Lee is a good guy or that he has little stomach for a fight? Is he the LeBron of baseball wanting the easy ride to rings? Is he looking at pitching a few years in the NL to help his HoF chances? Bad news for the Yankees but I hope they don’t panic and sign Carl Pavano and Jaret Wright. Oh poo. We’ve done that before…

 

Penn State’s three-time defending national championship Women’s Volleyball team are back into the Final Four and are the highest seed left in the tournament. A repeat of last years final match in the semis v Texas and then Cal or USC in the final should we make it. They are without a doubt one of the prides of the university.

 

We had a big power cut here last week. Without power for about five hours. It showed me just how reliant I am (and I suppose we all are on electricity). No PC, No Laptop, No Interwebs, No TV, No happy faces in my apartment I can tell you. To pass the time I went outside and helped a neighbour who was breaking up the ice around the complex so people could walk without falling over. I’m a good guy really.

 

Lastly TweetDeck has revolutionised the way I use twitter. I use it a tonne more these days and am more willing to randomly speak with people and ‘debate’ certain things.

 

Ok and now back to politics…

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The Beach

Sometimes I wish I took my laptop/camera everywhere I go. However this is not exactly feasible.

So this afternoon I made the decision that because the weather was so nice that I would stroll down to the beach a bit earlier than usual. I often go down there for the peace and tranquility but usually wait until the evening. So I strode down there around half five and then was not a hint of wind and it was just a perfect setting for a stroll.

As I got down to the beach I decided that I would go towards Southend instead of towards Shoebury for a change. The tide was well and truly out and the River Thames was as calm as a mill-pond. The sun was setting to the west and was just going down over Southend Pier as I made my way across the stones and along the sand. My iPod was busy playing music whilst I wended my way along the beach and there was hardly a soul in sight. A young couple were walking towards me with the dad holding the infant kid across his midriff. It looked beautiful.

As I passed them I saw a couple of young kids playing along the jetty. It reminded me of those carefree days. I’m told it is half-term this week (I guessed when I went into Southend at lunchtime to get my groceries). When you leave school and don’t live with nor have any kids of your own the school holidays become something that never crosses your mind. I don’t have many memories of just hanging around or discovering the great outdoors as a youngster. In a way I regret this. To my right there was another set of kids running along the sea wall – growing up can suck sometimes.

I got as far as the Ocean Beach Cafe which I decided would be my stopping off point. It was closed but that wasn’t the issue – there was a bench outside it on the beach. So I sat down and contemplated the world around me. The sky was clear except for one puff of heavy black smoke coming from one of the chimneys on Canvey Island. The poignancy of looking at a clear sky and then that one spot where mankind was pumping bad things into the atmosphere. It stuck out like a sore thumb.

The water was so still I could easily see the reflection of the four red lights on that chimney and the chimney itself on the water. It was getting darker and the lights across the river were starting to take effect. The lights were flickering majestically on both the reflection on the water and when looking directly at them.

To my left the darkness was starting to set in and the Pole Star was lighting up the dark sky. To my right the red glint of a sun going past the horizon was sky still kept some semblance of day up. As I looked ahead I saw what I can only describe as something a little bit bizarre. It was like a long bit of smoke – cigar-shaped – that cruised along the Thames maybe 25 foot above the water. I took my iPod out and there was no sound. However smoke wouldn’t travel like that. Very strange indeed.

Slowly the light started to fade and I decided it was time to start making a move. The kids on the jetty were long gone and the street lights were in full effect. As I meandered my way along the beach I saw some writing in the sand that I must have missed before ‘Matteo and Christina’ and then someone had used shells to spell out ‘Maya, Niky, Simca’ and had placed seaweed around the words in the shape of a heart. It warmed the cockles of the heart.

My iPod then decided to be clever and played Chesney Hawkes ‘I am the only and only’ as I made my lonely way along the sand only to follow it with the dulcet tones of Louis Armstrong and ‘What a wonderful world’. The lights of Thorpe Bay Tennis club were like a runway leading me back to home. As I made my way back to the tennis club and got to the steps to take me up from the beach to The Broadway I looked ruefully at the sea and thought to myself that it had been a very enjoyable couple of hours and that it only missed one thing. One day, One day… I thought.

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The Cat in a Bin saga

So if you haven’t seen the cat in a bin incident yet then have a look at the following video:

Having read her interview in The Sun and the Daily Mail article I do feel that this women is being made a scapegoat but then the other part of me is thinking ‘What the [expletive] did she really think she was doing?’ My next door neighbour has a cat and I have to admit that putting him in a bin has yet to ever occur to me. Stroking him when I walk past has when I pop to the shop and quite often he’ll wait by the gate for me to return. He’s a great old thing. Bit fat but he seems like a happy cat.

I’m sure many of us when passing a cat in the street will bend down and give it a stroke or two before wandering on. I’m sure many a person has done so to this cat but what could compel a grown woman to put the cat in a bin and then proclaim that she thought ‘it would be a bit of fun’. In what way is putting a cat in a bin ‘a bit of fun’ or the cat? This woman doesn’t have any record on mental illness so that can be ruled out. It is just sheer stupidity of the worst kind.

I feel for her a bit as it is a small incident, which is rather insignificant in the grand scheme of things but really, how stupid can you be? My motto in life is Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. My mother would inform me that is a biblical quote and the words of Jesus. I prefer to just see it as a basic life principle. I wouldn’t like to be shut in a bin with no means of escape and I’m sure she wouldn’t either so why do that to a cat?

Some people…

PS: According to the WordPress spellcheck, ‘bin’ is not a word…

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Just like they say – it is a small world

So a bit of background. Late last year/early this year I was on a rather famous dating website. I’m not any more due to the fact that it became clear that I don’t exactly have pulling power through photos or my words so it was rather pointless. However I did speak to a few people on there and even had a date with one (who cancelled a proposed second date because she had and I quote ‘washing up to do’ – yeah exactly).

Anyway one of them I still speak to on occasion but we never met due to the fact that I don’t want kids and that for her is of utmost importance. I know she only lives a mile or so up the road but still our paths have never crossed. So we get to last night and I’m sitting on the railway platform listening to my iPod and I glance up and look over to the other platform. I instantly knew it was her. I didn’t do anything incase it wasn’t (and my train was coming in).

When I got home I left a message on her Facebook wall asking if she was on said railway platform at said time and she said she was. So there we go – small world. I’m trying to think if I’ve ever just randomly bumped into someone I know from the interwebs but not met before and I don’t think I have. It happened at uni before actually when I was playing 5-a-side v a team and I recognised their goalkeeper from a website we both used. That however was seven odd years ago.

My other experiences of said dating website were not terrific. One person when I told them I was a Virgin said I should come round and she would and I quote ‘sort me out’ – yeah not exactly my cuppa tea there. One seemed to really like me until she added me to Facebook and saw other pictures of me – and then she never spoke to me again and deleted me off Facebook quick sharpish. Another said that she was always too busy at work to meet anyone (so why is she on a dating website?) and lastly I was going to meet someone, she cancelled that morning and then didn’t speak to me again (coincidentally her Facebook pic changed from just her to her and a guy a few days later).

So yeah – my experience with the big famous dating website was shall we say poor and singledom seems even more probably for the short and medium term futures at the moment. The whole hermit and working from home thing really doesn’t bring one into contact with many members of the opposite sex. Doesn’t bring me into contact with many people in fact but heck such is life.

No-one who knows me should be buying any hats anytime soon!

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