It has been 12 months since I last blogged. Since then a lot has happened. An elite, selfish, blinkered, money obsessed minority of the United Kingdom has succeeded in electing the most manipulative, corrupt political party imaginable. The result of this travesty of electoral justice will only be truly revealed in a drip feed manner over the next 30 years. Renewable energy, our only true ray of hope of avoiding total world meltdown and widespread panic when resources eventually run out, will be largely ignored – even ridiculed – with preference given to the desperate, filthy, earth contaminating short term process of hydraulic fracking.
Austerity. A word the majority of the public will have never heard before, let alone truly understand. Putting it plainly it is the decimation of society’s dignity, power and status. Those who believe themselves to be above the rest of society are now free to exploit them once again – and continue to do so ad infinitum. Equality in our society is unattainable without the help of the wealthy. Don’t hold your breath.
In the UK a brainwashed, media fuelled society continue to eulogise royalty; blind to the madness of which they are being subjected. No family has the divine right to rule. They are not part of our democracy, and the argument that they bring in tourism no longer has any economic credence.
Then there is the subject of animal cruelty. Humanity has now reached a point where it can provide a healthy, sustainable diet for every one of its inhabitants without the mass cultivation and slaughter of non-human animals. The double standards humanity exhibits regarding its regard for ‘animals’ is pathetic. Dogs, cats and horses are no different from pigs, chickens and cows – however conditioning dictates than some are edible and others are not. As long as the governments of the world continue to prioritise war and space exploration above the provision of easily providable food production for the whole of the world’s population, humanity is theoretically doomed.
Four months ago I blogged about the benefits of drinking sour cherry juice for curing gout. It’s expensive stuff and not to everybody’s taste, but in my case it definitely kept the pain and swelling at bay. I had slight recurrence of gout for a day whilst taking it, something which I was warned might happen as the condition is known not to follow any logical pattern. Unfortunately it can simply be bad luck that one’s uric acid levels fluctuate without any logical explanation or is simply heritary.
I had read that taking Alfalfa is known be an option. So I trotted along to the health food shop and couldn’t believe how cheap it was – less than £5 for 100 tablets. A hell of a sight cheaper than the cherry juice – but would it work?
Since turning vegetarian I’ve had enough jibes about my eating of rabbit food. Telling people that I take Alfalfa everyday simply fuelled the fire again. The smell wasn’t particularly pleasant – neither was the taste, but the effect was astonishing. I stopped taking the cherry juice for a few weeks for the sake of comparison, and I’m pleased to say that I have been gout free for 4 months – without really cutting out the things that are known to trigger it.
So now my diet consists of a daily dose of Alfalfa and the occasional glass of sour cherry juice. There have been no side effects (unlike the four types of synthesised tablets with which the NHS experimented on me, causing internal problems I’m not going to discuss in detail here) and any harboured thoughts I had about buying a walking stick are now long gone.
Come to think of it, I’ve never seen a rabbit with gout – now I know why!
It’s 8 months since I gave up eating meat. Apart from cheese and the occasional craving for fish I’m almost vegan! I can probably cut out the fish, but the cheese – now that’s a different kettle of… oh, you know what I mean. There are plenty of milk alternatives – almond milk being my preference – so that’s sorted, but cheese… that’s hard (once again, pardon the pun). If anyone has any suggestions as to cheese alternatives that genuinely work I’d be very appreciative. Somehow I don’t think it’s going to happen.
Here are a few tips for anyone considering a vegetarian or vegan diet.
Firstly: make sure you take B12 tablets every day. Following a blood test after 4 months of not eating meat I found that I had a dangerously low level.
Secondly: braised Tofu and Soya chunks are an awesome substitute for the texture of meat. I’ve been told on many occasions that it’s not about replacing meat – however in my case, finding alternatives has been an essential element. Soya chunks aren’t to everyone’s taste, but they are to mine.
Thirdly: make sure you have a well-stocked cupboard of nuts and seeds. Plenty of protein and they stave off the hunger pangs. Dried apricots work well too, and are a good source of potassium – but can be high in calories.
Fourthly: herbs, spices and sauces can recreate the illusion of those meat-eating smells without the fatty aftertaste. I use mustard for ham, mint sauce for lamb and horseradish sauce for beef.
Fifthly (and finally): check out Quorn – the closest thing to chicken or turkey you will find. Yes, I know some vegetarians and vegans are sceptical, but it’s better than mindless slaughtering of fowl – and correctly flavoured it’s gorgeous.
Regular readers of this blog will be fully aware of the ailments that have beleaguered me during the last 6 months. I am pleased to report that the two irritations I have endured are now fully under control. Hopefully, the few words I am about to type will act as a guide to anyone suffering the pain I have recently experienced.
Logically, vegetarians should not get gout – but somehow I managed it. Numerous side-effect conjuring forms of medication were prescribed – resulting in internal bleeding and prolonged pain in the big toe, sleepless nights and the inclination to bludgeon the doctor who suggested the remedy – as well as creating a large financial hole in my pocket.
So what got rid of it? Super Concentrated Sour Cherry Juice. Rather expensive, but immediate and effective. Take my word for it – it works. If you have gout, try it first. Just a single 25ml optic measure each day will do the trick. I wish that I had known about it before being used as a guinea pig by the physicians.
For several months I couldn’t play any sport, exercise or even clean the house due to this debilitating ailment. Ice packs, heat packs, mainipulating pressure points, painful exercises and rest failed to work. A steroid injection was offered and then withdrawn when it was deemed plausible that it would clear up on its own. It didn’t, so finally my elbow was peppered with numerous deep injections into the painful area. For two days I was in agony. My right arm was inoperable and the pain indescribable. Then – the pain was gone. It was astonishing – and 6 weeks later there is no sign of any return.
If you suffer from, or know anyone that suffers from either of these health problems, please let them know. I wish somebody had told me months ago.
I make it a rule that I will only blog if topics I feel strongly about prompt me into action. For weeks nothing has aroused my trigger finger. Then without warning a particular sound re-activated an uncontrollable rage that had festered hatred in my brain for many years. It was the sound of… a drummer.
Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing more satisfying than the sound of a talented drummer demonstrating their art. I was fortunate to witness the great Buddy Rich giving a masterclass many years ago. Neil Peart of the awesome Canadian rock band Rush blew me away back in 1983. John Bonham and Keith Moon are two of my favourite deceased musicians – although the debate still festers as to whether percussionists qualify as musicians… anyway, I digress.
Our front room is rigged up with surround sound for improved television viewing. It greatly enhances films and TV shows, making the experience exhilarating and far more entertaining. Unless of course I’m watching a sporting event where a self appointed ‘entertainer’ insists on persistently thumping a drum out of time. They are occasionally accompanied by a trumpet player – that I can just about tolerate – but the constant irritating thud of a drum throughout a sporting event tends to stimulate any murderous thoughts I was latently harbouring.
One person in a crowd of 50,000 can ruin my enjoyment of a game of football. I now have a deep-set hatred of Sheffield Wednesday due to the fact that years ago they started the trend. It doesn’t help that I’m a Leeds United fan as well – but that’s another story.
I’m not opposed to rhythm being used to build an atmosphere. Way back in 1976 the West Indian cricket fans made the test match atmosphere incredible. Brazil’s soccer fans are always entertaining and the occasional band stirring up a crowd at a rugby game is inspirational. But when it comes to vuvuzelas – whoever promoted the idea of their use in the world cup a few years ago deserves a medal… shoved up his arse… and a freshly forged hot one at that!
What I object to is the one solitary sad bastard who takes it upon himself (it’s never a woman) to attempt to motivate a crowd with the constant thumping of a stretched pigskin. I’ve experienced the torment of these irritating nobodies many times when attending both football and rugby matches – usually leaving with a migraine and an uncontrollable urge to slaughter anyone holding a drumstick. However the most annoying feeling is having to switch off the surround sound at home and lose the illusion of the big match atmosphere. At least when you’re there in person you can shout obscenities at the perpetrator/s and hope that others will follow suit.
Please join me in the campaign to get solitary drummers ejected from sporting events. Personally I’d prefer to put them in stocks on the centre circle and provide the crowd with half-time entertainment as they get pelted with rotten fruit. OK, perhaps my methods are rather outlandish – but my initial idea of a public hanging seemed a little extreme.
After watching a video involving Jacqueline Patterson, who was born with cerebral palsy, the comfort and pain relief she exhibited from currently illegal cannabis use once again highlighted the ridiculous situation that exists on both sides of the Atlantic. I’ve seen similar results over the years involving people with various illnesses – notably multiple sclerosis.
Alcohol happens to be my choice of drug. Legal, socially acceptable, but probably responsible for more illnesses and violent incidents than any other recreational substance. Sure, I experimented with cannabis as a youngster, but I found the smell unpleasant and quite honestly thought the effect wasn’t any different from that of alcohol – and I knew my limits with alcohol. Also it was legal and I wasn’t constantly worrying whether I’d get arrested when in possession of it.
I also saw the adverse effects of countless teenagers smoking far too much high THC cannabis during my teaching career. When not monitored it can be extremely dangerous. Sensible regulation and monitoring of THC and cannabinoid balance has to be the way forward. Its medical benefits are well known and proven, yet it is still considered as an ‘evil’ drug. I’m not advocating that as a nation we all go out and get permanently stoned – just that if we want to stop the escalating problem building in the UK, some form of control is needed. If that means legalising cannabis while incorporating strict controls – so be it.
One of the most irritating things about being a radio presenter is having to sift through every track I play for examples of swearing. I find that with anything from the last 15 years in particular I’m constantly panicking that OFCOM will pick up on the odd ‘f*ck’, ‘sh*t’, ‘c*nt’, ‘w*nk*r’ or ‘m*therf*ck*er’ that I haven’t bleeped or edited out. The majority of tracks before 1990 are generally safe enough – with a few choice exceptions, pre-1980 are 99% harmless and pre-1970 practically unheard of.
I generally monitor tracks by playing them on long car journeys with my kids in the back shouting out ‘naughty’ word!’ in approximately 20% of them. Maybe not the most politically correct method of censorship – but it’s effective.
Which brings me around to the latest revelation from a headmaster that some celebrities are setting a bad example to our kids by constantly using bad language on TV. To a certain extent I tend to agree; many comedians swear every other word and the regularity of profanities in films and TV is now far more excessive than in the past. The watershed is in effect a joke and may as well be scrapped.
Parental control means nothing in our current climate – and in my opinion that’s the root of the problem. YouTube is becoming the main viewing vehicle across the world for the youth of today – and it is totally un-censorable – no matter what the owners claim. I hold my hand up and admit that I don’t know everything that my kids are watching – but I do attempt to regulate and advise. There are many parents out there who clearly do not do so. Indeed, many actively encourage and even glorify it. But as far as I’m concerned this has always been the case. Nothing has really changed, it’s just that society’s lack of imagination when using language is now being reflected in film, television, literature and online. My mind goes back to a line from the classic 1980s BBC comedy series ‘The Young Ones’ where in a Grange Hill spoof, Ben Elton informed a teacher that they couldn’t be that badly behaved as they were the only kids in Britain who didn’t say ‘f*ck’!
In moments of anger I have been known to swear at my children. I have always regretted it later – and my kids know that for me to do so they have pushed me over the edge. However, until they started school they had never heard any swear word in the house. Of course when they began their time in compulsory education they were inevitably exposed to every curse under the sun. I was the same as a kid. My parents swore once in a blue moon – and I remember the horror on their faces when I told them to ‘f*ck off’ at the age of 15. I wouldn’t have dreamt of swearing at or even in front of a teacher. Neither would the majority of my peers – from all social backgrounds. Personally, I feel this is where things have changed dramatically. It is not that bad language has increased – it is to whom it is directed that has changed – and that has to be a direct result of the lack of respect offered to figures in authority that has manifested itself over the past 30 years. Society’s attitudes have changed. All forms of media have consequently changed accordingly.
So although I agree with the headmaster who claims that celebrities using bad language are covertly encouraging the youth to do so, I do feel that there are many other factors that contribute to the targets of their vulgarity.