Ah, there it was gone. All done. Passed by. Sodded off. 2018. The year that was. Wedged between 2017 and 2019 like a mouldy pickle stuffed between two slices of stale brioche buns.
I think, in the manner of thinking, that for me, 2018 was the year that everyone wanted to be heard, but nobody wanted to listen.
2018 continued the shift in perceptions and behaviours, in how we address each other and where aggressive entitlement, virtual mob fury & divisive hatred have all combined to create the perfect storm.
It’s been two years since Trump was elected, and two years since we held the Brexit referendum. That’s two years in which the initial outrages have festered, and the battle lines have been drawn. Which side are you on? WHICH SIDE ARE YOU ON?
Pick a side and choose an opinion formed of a narrative that may or may not be false news because nobody has a fucking clue anymore what’s real or not. Pick a team and be ready to fyte like a demon mother-fucker who likes fyting.
It doesn’t matter what team or side you choose because no one wants to listen to you anyway unless they see something that offends them. But they still won’t listen or read the context of the thing you said. You’ll just be hung, drawn and quartered regardless of what you actually said. The Virtual Mob will get you. Fuck it. Show your outrage and indignation in everything you do. Be ready to be offended. Hell don’t just be ready but go seek it. Hunt out the things that offend you and actively press buttons in order to access them – just so you can join the oh my god! brigade and get whipped up into a frenzy and throw snowflake bombs out while laughing alone at home as the debt piles up and the bailiffs knock at the door.
Ah, and don’t forget to hate. Hate everything. Hate everyone, and don’t just hold your hate inside like a dirty secret, show it. Be proud and tell the world. Do you like Trump? I hate you. Did you vote to leave? I hate you. Did you vote Clinton? May? Corbyn? Putin? Merkel? Did you vote remain? Are you left or right? Alt-left or Alt-right? What about Israel? They bomb innocent people. Don’t they. Do they? I hate you anyway. That’s anti-Semitic. Shut up. Whatever you say is anti-something. Oh my god! You’re such a snowflake– said while gorging on more sugar. But fuck it. Sugar is cheap. Fruit and veg cost more. Why don’t you look perfect? Why are you fat? Go online and see perfection modelled by hot young things and feel bad as you spray barely cooked frozen pizza across the screen of your phone, eyes wide, brow furrowed, finger jabbing, outrage showing. Oh my god! I’m so confused right now.
But hey. Strong and stable, right? We’re all strong and stable. Yay for strong and stable. Brexit means Brexit. We’re out. We should stay in. We’ll all die if we leave. The EU will kill us if we stay in. They’re all corrupt anyway. Oh my god! Look at the migrants. They’re rapists and murderers and murdering rapists with ISIS badges. Shut the gates. Quick! Snowflake.
And the BBC is sexist. Like so sexist. Like, oh my god! Do they even employ any women? And like, the ones they do employ are paid less.
“No! We don’t do that. We’re like, super attentive and progressive…” said the BBC spokesman. Spokesperson. (quick, find a woman to act as a spokesman. And get some lady DJ’s into presenting slots on radio 2. And pay them too. With money.) Radio 2. The home of the wealthy white middle-class radio presenter. That’s anti-something. I know it is. Shouldn’t have said that. Someone will be offended and get angry to a level never seen before and reserved only for ex-admins of Facebook groups. Oh My God, I am Fumming Right Now. What’s up hun? R U OK? PM ME.
If Russia invade us, which they will, cos like, some politicians said they’re the baddies now. Like ISIS are still the #1 baddies, but aren’t Russia the #2 baddies? Or is that North Korea still? I thought North Korea dropped a point after having a sex-fest Twitter share with Trump. Dunno. I’m so confused right now. Can someone PM me. Aw sending hugs x
Anywho, if Russia invade us all we need to do is gather up all the bitter ex-admins of FB groups and send them to defend us. The fytin’ will be done in seconds.
2018. The year of self-radicalisation. Seriously, that’s happening. People I know are doing it and believing the shit spewed out by far-right groups and far-left and alt-anything crappy videos on Youtube. I spoke to a young lad this year, he was 16 at the time. He said only white people should be on Britain’s Got Talent, cos like, It’s Britain’s Got Talent. I tried to talk to him about it but the adult men around him laughed and clapped him on the back. He was rewarded and accepted into manhood based on those views. Aye up tiger. We’re all fucked.
2018. The year of the expert where anyone with a diploma felt the need to tell us why we think the way we do. Why Trump came to power. Why we voted Brexit. Why the Russians poisoned people. Or did the UK government do it? Why Saudi people killed that journalist and why and why and why. Reasons without solutions. Words without meaning. Without answers. Noise adding to the noise. Hate adding to the hate. We sell bullets and bombs to make a profit and then run advertising campaigns with sincere celebs asking us to give money to aid the people hurt by those bullets and bombs we just sold at a massive profit. What the fuck.
Gosh, that’s all doom and gloom isn’t it.
Take a breath.
Take a minute and get some perspective.
Life isn’t all bad because 2018 also saw the emergence of the Decent Human Being. Those that don’t give into hate and shouting and rage. Those that don’t feel the need to be fashionably cynical or witty within their sarcasm.
Decent Human Beings listen and retain values of positivity and hope. They’re often shouted down and ignored. They’re often quieter, but now more than ever, their visibility is becoming more pronounced because of those divisions created by rage and hate.
That’s how it is becoming. That all of the shouty people, even those with damn good reasons and opinions, are being lumped in with all the bad shouty people. That’s the them and us. Not the good shouty versus the bad shouty, because to the quieter ones, you are all spewing hate, therefore you are all the same. We will bracket and compartmentalise you in exactly the same way you do it to each other. Pro-anything versus Anti-anything. You’re all the same. You’re all full of hate. Go outside. Go somewhere far away and let the rest of us get on with it, and as you fuck off, so the path widens a bit more and the Decent Human Beings can see each other a little better.
And because of those others, the quiet workers. The diligent and calm. 2018 has been a pleasure and one of the best years of my life. Possibly the best year of my life. I’ve met some truly amazing people. I’ve sold heap big amounts of books and gained super lovely feedback from so many decent people. And that decency opens doors too. We’re starting to recognise each other. We’re like a new super-secret club.
We meet in life, as you do, in context, in situations, and we see the calm, the ease, the smiles, the gentle words, and from that – we help each other. I bought a new car in 2018. Second hand, but still nice. I was ready to haggle and barter. I was ready to fyte my corner. The dude selling the car was decent. He was one of us. I could see it a mile away. That connection. That thing was shining inside. I didn’t haggle. I didn’t want to, and in return, he offered to knock some money off and couldn’t do enough to help me get it legal and ready to drive away. There was no scam there. No hustle. No anything.
I’ve had work done on my house. Some of the workers have been shouty, lazy and awful. Others, like Rich, the decorator, have been decent. He has that inner glow. That calmness. That kindness. I’ll recommend him to anyone. Same with Nick the electrician. One of the most decent, nicest people I have ever met. Matt, the vet who takes such good care of my dogs – he’s the same. Kind. Calm. Decent.
Then there are the two editors I work with. One male, one female. Both are top professionals. I mean, like whoa! These guys are up there working with the best this country has, and I adore working with them. I met them through publishers and agents and now, if I write a new book, I’ll willingly pay them direct to give me structural edits. They’re good editors too, damn good editors, but they are also Decent, and because of that I will always choose them before anyone else.
Just like that dude that sold the car. Just like Rich and Nick. They have that thing inside. The same with Mark, the guy that does my covers. You recognise that decency, that honestly, that willingness to work and understand. The respect they have for the values of others. They never boast either. I cannot recall a time when any of those people I just mentioned ever boasted about anything.
And because of them, and because of the sheer gorgeousness of having so many readers contact me with inspiring words and warm messages, 2018, the year of hatred, rage and bitterness for so many, has been incredible.
Oh wow. This all sounds so trite doesn’t it. Cliched and simplistic. But hey, there you go. And you know what? Anyone can become that way. Decent I mean. It’s like a button you press. A switch inside. Just click it and that’s it. Done. No more hate. No more rage. No bitterness. No online arguments. No name calling. No boasting. A realisation that hate can never, ever defeat hate.
Smile at people. Look them in the eye. Work hard. Be diligent. Help people. Hold doors open. Be patient. Show tolerance. Listen and understand, and if you don’t understand then say so, but say it nicely and with kindness.
I promise you, I absolutely promise you that all of those things require far less energy and effort than the shouty twats. You’ll feel good too – and then, when all of a sudden you are somewhere, needing something, needing help, you’ll see the smile and the earnest look of a Decent Human Being and the path between you will glow golden and bright.
One more thing, it’s not weakness to be that way. Don’t mistake politeness for weakness. Only fools do that.
That wrath you had before. That ferocity. It will be there when you need it. When someone takes advantage and you know within your heart this is the time to show rage. Use it then and only then but use it fully and without limit. That’s when you fyte. That’s when you fyte hardest of all, teeth barred, eyes set, fists bunched.
2019 is here, and it’s okay. Whatever the haters do, whatever the shouters do, don’t give in and go back. Keep going forward and look for us. We’ll look for you and see you on the road.
Happy New Year to you all.
‘Come into my house. You are welcome. You are always welcome because you are kind and you do not shout. What can I do to help you? I’d like to help you…’
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