Thursday 18 April 2013

Pick up thy bed and walk!

On Monday I accidentally deleted – like the twat I clearly am – approximately sixty thousand words of a novel I have been ‘working on’ for nearly two years. Bugger. I could blame somebody else of course, Bill Gates maybe, but it’s entirely my own fault and it was entirely avoidable; I was just stupid. I've been told it might be recoverable and I've had a go - no joy - but actually it’s not an issue.

Truth is I've been dragging my heels a bit because I had distractions and anyway, it got too involved and too ‘plotty’ to be able to leave for long periods and then get back into. If it was hard work for me, how much harder for a reader? All just excuses, really. So despite offers of help to recover the files, I've decided to start over. The plot is in my head, I know where it's going and I know the characters, so it’s just a matter of ditching a struggling project and adopting a new, streamlined routine with a view to meeting a deadline and getting to market.

See, for my one-man wording band the means of production are truly under the control of the worker and I can make the right decisions and live with the consequences of any shortfalls. Same with my household budget. In straitened circumstances I've cut my cloth to suit and managed to reduce my outgoings by the simple expediency of doing without. It’s hardly rocket surgery; you just have to pick up the pieces and get on with it.

What a shame that back in the dark days of the late seventies the entire country didn't have an inspirational leader with exactly those same values of thrift and balance and a sense of proportion.  Oh, wait... The irony of the poor, supposedly oppressed people of Goldthorpe dressing up and cavorting and recording their Thatcher hate day with their smart phones and posting the photographs online wouldn’t have passed the great lady by.

We have NOTHING! Look, we're burning it!

Whole countries have survived cataclysmic natural disasters killing thousands, have come through ethnic cleansing and have undergone economic revolutions in under a decade, yet a few thousand people in a mere dingy shithole like Goldthorpe can’t get off their collective fat arse and organise themselves into something better in an entire generation.

Instead they mourn a world most of them never knew. As David Tristram said on Twitter, you are allowed to have opinions about things that happened before you were born, but they won’t be your opinions. For thirty years all they've done up there is gripe and moan and wait for somebody else to tell them what to do; wait for somebody else to help them out. Their helplessness deserves none of your pity; it doesn't even deserve your scorn.

Margaret didn't invent selfishness. She didn't invent living within your means. She didn't invent the dole and she didn't invent market forces. Most of all she didn't invent class-driven strife and management and union corruption. Anybody believing she did could do worse than watch the 1959 film I’m All Right Jack

'Divisive'? Of course she was divisive. I'm divisive, you're divisive, everybody who isn't a doormat is divisive... and we don't even agree about that. Oh and why are ex-mining communities somehow more important than ex-fishing communities, or ex-shipbuilding communities, or anybody else? You have to wonder. I fully expect to generate a bit of hate myself for this - the downtrodden are remarkably quick with their fists and their brickbats - but the fact remains they are more victims of their own apathy and bigotry than anything else.

A society in which we all club together to help out others less fortunate is a lovely thing to belong to. So it's good that we already do. But ultimately the means of your salvation must lie in your own hands. How many more generations will pass before they grow up and realise the world doesn't owe a living to those who can help themselves? 

If anything it’s the other way round, Lazarus.

(PS: Goldthorpe Colliery wasn't even closed until 1994.)


  1. I can make out about a dozen smart phones there, what a poor downtrodden bunch they are. Can we celebrate when someone they care about die?


  2. I stopped in my tracks when I heard a woman at the, er, event say there hadn't been that much community spirit since the mine closed. Not much of a community then.

  3. Don't press delet.... shit!18 April 2013 at 12:37

    Hurrah! The Great Battsby blogs what thankfully, the vast majority of our Great Nation thinks!

    Before I heard it was about some place called Thorpegold, that used to have some sort of mining arrangement back in the 1800s or something, I thought it was a BBC Public Information Broadcast about the dangers of in-breeding.

    Thanks Battsby, now I know what it's all about ;0)

    1. Haha! I'd love to hear some hate from the inbreds!

  4. Novel lost? Reminds me of the part 2 of a novel I was writing having done a (complicated) part 1. I'd got to 50,000 words in the second part which went some way to explaining why the first 180,000 words were so twisted and tangled. However I accidentally sent part 2 to cyberspace from where it refuses to return and the whole thing now sits, laughing at me.

    I think I can recall what I was trying to explain but frankly, I can't be bothered.

  5. Life is all about making the best of what you're given, worst thing you can do is moan about your food ration. After all, there will be someone somewhere looking at your tiny portion of bread and think "cor, wish I had that"

    Bad news on the delete button, however as you say may be a blessing. Good luck on 'take 2'.

    I'm gonna steal "It's hardly rocket surgery" from you ;)