The older I get the more I hurry when doing mundane tasks. Often I attempt to do three things at once and in a fragmented mess fail to conclude any of them, that or I carry a general anxiety that I’m not doing enough with the time I’ve got. It’s the ultimate form of futility that causes disorganisation and ultimately costs time. The best analogy I can come up with is of trying to clasp really fine dry sand in your hands – the more you squeeze your fingers together and tense the muscles the quicker it seeps out.
Instead of dwelling on the existential nightmare that is our present (as The Pistols rightly concluded – there is no future) and in an attempt to do something more constructive than ‘doing a Peter Sutcliffe’ (which involves wandering around GTA V hammering random pedestrians over the head), I decided to attack my neuroses head on, and avoid present-day introspection for good measure, by indulging in a wee retrospective. Yes children, we’re fast approaching the eight year anniversary of WLWASIOH.
Life events have instigated this, which I won’t bore you with. This blog was started after a significant event. Creating it helped me through that time, and is now there to distract me again when I most need it. The date of WLWASIOH’s creation to the present day essentially bookends a period of great change for me personally. Let’s just say I’m in the mood to reminisce about it and other things beyond.
Morbid curiosity is at play here too. With one housebound day bleeding into the next, usually I can’t remember what I had for tea the previous night, so I’ve got little chance of remembering what I wrote on here several years ago. Just what disasters lurk?
Having accepted that I’ve reached a point in my life where I simply don’t have enough time (or patience) to be embarrassed by my failings, I endeavoured to read all my content again with a more forgiving eye. Lately I’ve been reminding myself of the following; ‘the goal cannot be achieved without suffering’ and ‘the purpose of life is not happiness, but usefulness’. Even if we successfully find ways to delude and distract ourselves, we know this life is all about adversity, and you’ve just got to cope with the varying degrees of it as best you can. WLWASIOH may fail to be useful and I may not be suffering enough to succeed (and that depends on what you define as success), but it does sufficiently distract me from nihilistic and fatalistic thoughts. For me, that’s invaluable.
Surprisingly I came away feeling quite enthused by the body of work on WLWASIOH. It’s not…dreadful? That’s…something? I’m really proud of the short stories, articles about music and TV. Yeah, there are subpar offerings in each of these categories and elements in all I would change, but broadly speaking, I actually enjoyed re-reading them.
I’ve gotten some ‘hot’ take opinion pieces right too, even though they irksomely belong to the realm of clickbait journalism more than beguiling creativity or intellectualism. My piece on Ched Evans’ return to professional football after he was released from prison for rape is a particular highlight. Sure, I was right, after the initial outcry died down he started playing football again and nobody cared. The whole episode exposed the dishonesty and cynicism inherent in cancel culture, that it’s mainly populated by self-serving and fickle poseurs obsessed by the egotism derived from (predominately social media) status, who temporarily focus ire on a specific target, before moving on to the next outrage to maintain their visibility in the vanguard of the milieu. While this process has aggregated to permeate some cultural attitudes (some for the better, others not), we can say with complete certainty that it’s impossible to expunge someone like Kevin Spacey or Michael Jackson retrospectively. Most us of don’t and won’t let our lives be dictated by guilt. I mean, really now, you’re not gonna watch ‘Glengarry Glen Ross’ or ‘The Usual Suspects’ cause Spacey is in it, or dodge ‘Off The Wall’ and ‘Thriller’? Piousness of that degree is an impossible standard and makes you an insufferable bore.
But, anyway, just like cancel culture, this is all about me. And it’s clear the opinion piece genre has produced my worst articles. Lowlights include arguing that the cynicism with which Liverpool football club’s American owners had ran the club would demolish and demoralise Jürgen Klopp. Quite the opposite happened – though I still contend that’s mostly thanks to the incredible qualities of the German. My excitable theory of Yes campaign’s momentum being unassailable, as evidenced by the infinitesimal ratio of Yes stickers appearing in Glasgow windaes compared to ‘No Thanks’ ones, ranks high (I mean low) too. But the pièce de résistance was my column from early 2019 where I was convinced that Scottish independence was inevitable by simply waiting. It is my worst take on WLWASIOH, and recent events has seen it clinch its place at the bottom.
I’m left quite bewildered by all of Salmond trial stuff (pre, during and post), the abject failure to protect the anonymity of his alleged victims, the selectivity of prosecutions for contempt of court when covering the case: it seems that writing for a newspaper, no matter how crap it is or how much of a hack you are, affords you establishment immunity, whereas a blogger disseminating the same information is prosecuted, oh well. The idea of there being a SNP government led conspiracy against Alex Salmond seems really far-fetched, particularly when there’s abundant proof of government ineptitude to chew on. As someone who isn’t versed in the internal politics of the SNP, why an SNP led Scottish Government would go out of its way to destroy Salmond, who hasn’t been an MP or MSP for nearly four years, makes no sense, even if they suspected he may, at some point, return, as he now has. It’s the Madelaine McCann syndrome. For too many, a conspiracy theory is preferable to uncertainty or no (good) theory at all. The truth is often supplied by the most obvious explanation – that there were a series of fuck ups, followed by a succession of other fucks ups trying to rectify or cover for the initial errors, given those involved likely became aware of the consequences for themselves professionally. Acts of panic can be mistaken for guilt very easily.
The latter doesn’t absolve the shocking failure to date to hold them to account, however. More importantly this episode and the SNP’s inertia over independence (to use a trite football analogy, you have to shoot to miss an open goal, the SNP haven’t even cocked the leg in this parliament term) has harmed the chances of it. Will Alex Salmond’s list party enhance it? I don’t know. Either way, we’re about to find out.
So yeah, my delusion that independence was inevitable just because of, well, continued popularity and that that can ever be perpetual without delivering on its main purpose, was the most foolishly shite thing I’ve blogged in eight years. Not bad all things considered. Having established my instincts on this particular political subject are continuously defective, mixed with my growing pessimistic despondency that Scottish independence will ever happen, means it’s all but certain the opposite will transpire. I’ll conclude with the caveat that, particularly at a time such as this, having hope for the future, whether arrived at spuriously or otherwise, is a dangerous, but necessary, thing.