Like life

April 15, 2011

Sometimes I just want to write.
I don’t know why, but it becomes a sort of irreproachable desire that overwhelms whatever it is I am doing at the particular moment and I want to write. I have hundreds of drafts of random blogs I’ve started when the propensity to sit down at my laptop and arrange thought patterns into words massacres all other modes of thought. And then I get frustrated with the direction the blog takes, knowing it has no real ending, and so I just give up and wallow in languid self pity. I am told this is common for people who enjoy writing. Perfectionism is a fucking bitch. So I thought i’d just write, and see where it leads, and when it ends it ends. And like life It has no overwhelming purpose or meaning, and just imposes itself on those it chooses without aim, quickly forgotten. Bits and pieces imprint themselves on the memory of the back of the darkest reaches of the consciousness, but its essence is always there contributing to what it is (even in the smallest and seemingly insignificant ways) that makes you, you.

I was five when we moved away from Cavendish Road, just off of Saffron Lane. I vividly remember a significant amount of enlightening episodes from before the move. Here are a few:

I remember the fucking horrendous accents – I hate the Leicester accent. I have made a conscious effort over the years to eradicate it from my own speech. If being beaten up badly, and then being spat on as you lay crying in a wrecked ball in a shit filled gutter could be conveyed through an accent, it would be the Leicester accent. It does however provide some beautifully crafted sentences I over hear a lot. Today, in Tesco, a boy on his mobile phone, said “yeah well Josh can suck the fucking piss out of my dirty black nips”. I have never in my life wanted to kill someone for raping the English language, whilst at the same time wanting to worship him as the God of beautiful sentences, so much.

I remember a man being kicked in the face by two other men and then being chased away.

I remember drawing a picture of a boat and my teacher pinning it up on the door of the classroom. I was so proud. But we lived in the social darkness and backwardness of Tory England then, as we do now, and no one told me that pursuing art for art sake is irrelevant in Tory England, we should aim for a life in a call centre instead. Beauty is the destitute office with the distinct smell of printer ink, in Tory England.

I remember adorning myself in Leicester City blue and white and walking down to Filbert Street with my dad, past the rows of cars with Leicester City badges in the windows, and drifting into the wind with the same fans week after week. I was born one year after Gary Lineker moved to Everton from Leicester. The early 90s weren’t the greatest years for Leicester. Though I saw them play in the most exciting Wembley play off final i’ve ever seen, when Swindon Town beat us 4-3 after we went from 3-0 down to 3-3. Steve Thompson was the man on the back of my Leicester shirt that year. The walk to Filbert Street down Saffron Lane was one of the highlights of my childhood. I once saw a man push a grown woman down a flight of stairs of the double decker stand at Filbert Street, she smacked her head and passed out. That wasn’t such a highlight.

I remember my dad and I watching a sunday league football match on Nelson Mandela park, when the ball was manically kicked out of play, and smashed me in the face. The guilty player (who I am adamant even now, should be shot) came over deeply apologetic, and is now one of my dads good mates. My dad befriended my abuser. Thanks dad.

I remember walking downstairs one morning to find our shop had been broken into, the windows smashed, and police talking to my dad. This is pretty normal when you live a few doors in from Saffron Lane. The terraced houses all look the same; the towering army of Edwardian brick chimney tops, street after street. England. But the street is usually full of kids kicking a ball, and old women with nets over their hair for some uninspiring reason. Mrs Spick lived opposite us. I always thought ‘Spick’ was a name that conveyed the feeling of living in cramped streets. She was about 50. I vividly remember the awful smell that emanated from her. She spat when she spoke. Missus Spick spat when she spoke. Oh how the structure of language can disguise the vile essence it is trying to convey. Which leads me onto the next memory.

I remember the day I learnt the word “cunt”. I was 5. I overheard a man on my street call his girlfriend a cunt. We Leicestarians know how to treat our ladies. I didn’t know what it meant, so I thought i’d put this wonderful new addition to my vocabulary to use immediately. My friend who was over with his mum, and I were playing with our wrestling figures. I was Brett Hart, he was Crush. Crush attacked Brett and kicked him across the room. I didn’t hesitate any longer, “you cunt”, I yelled as loud as I could. The helper at our shop overheard me and went insane at me. So I called her a cunt too. I didn’t know what it meant, but the reaction was amazing. One single word could cause an atomic bomb to explode around me? This was like gold dust! Thus began my fascination with the power of language. Word became both exciting, yet largely meaningless and empty. My year 7 English teacher told my parents I would never be a reader and i’d never be a writer. I’ve told this story to a lot of people, because it explains exactly why I struggle at times with my confidence. She used language to convey her stupidity and ignorance and I knew it even back then. Just because I didn’t like Shakespeare, nor her, I was doomed to sit dribbling on myself and getting fat in a dark room with nothing but a TV for entertainment. What a cunt.

I remember cricket. I come from a cricket background. My dad played cricket. He now coaches cricket. He loves cricket. My mum catered for cricket testimonial matches. I could often be found in a hired out old pub, surrounded by people in grey suits talking about who should and shouldn’t make the team. Cricket is an odd game. It is played by kids, coached by the kids grown up, and watched by snobs. The pub rooms and the snobs always smelled of real ale. I can remember the smell so distinctly. Sometimes I miss it. Real ale, and old leather from the seats in the pub rooms. I played cricket for the school for a few years. I was pretty good too. But my god, it’s a boring sport.

I remember being told by our school that we should be careful because there is a man roaming the area trying to take kids by offering them sweets. I have only just learnt that all schools do this every year to teach kids about the risk of paedophiles. But when I was younger, it sounded to me like they were warning us against taking sweets from people. Why would they do that? If someone is offering me sweets, I should say no? Only people who offer kids sweets, want to kill me? All of them? This confusion led me at the age of seven to accuse the shop keeper at the end of the road of trying to take kids, because he sells Snickers. In a shop full of people, me, a kid, accused the shop keeper of being a child molester. Great. Thanks school! Not only did you make me believe I could be Fritzled at any moment, you also ruined the life of the nice corner shop owner. I hope you’re happy with yourselves.

I remember a man a few doors down from us, who was in his 90s and had one leg, the other had been blown off when Saffron Lane was bombed during the war. On the BBC war website, a writer who was eight years old during the war writes:

The worst bomb damage that I saw was in Cavendish Road, on August 21st 1940. I was with my dad in his lorry on the coal wharf at Danvers Road. The air raid siren sounded, it was just after ten o’clock. Dad made me go into an air raid shelter near by, when the all clear sounded, I came out of the shelter and we could see the smoke rising. Dad was worried as it looked to be in the direction of where we lived. He said “come on son we had better go and see if mum is OK”. As we came up the Saffron Lane past the end of Cavendish Road the gas main was blazing and I could see lots of bomb damage, many buildings were in ruins, people were just being rescued with ambulance’s and fire engines all around. This was less than half an hour after the raid. Six people were killed

All I knew from the history of my street, was that it had been destroyed during the war. This one guy in his 90s used to say this his knee in his one remaining leg hurt, and he’s lucky he doesn’t have to deal with pain in the other one. He was fascinating. Here is a picture of the building that got hit. Our place was a few doors up from here:

The houses are pretty much exactly as they were back then. Though, minus that massive gaping hole on the corner.

I remember my primary school teacher had some sort of odd mental breakdown whilst reading a book with me one day, and started to sing “the wheels on the bus” whilst stood on a table. She then collapsed and was taken away by the school nurse and a few teachers. It’s funny because I worried about her. We never saw her at school again. Years later I saw her driving.


The Keys and Gray Affair

January 30, 2011

There have been a lot of people on my facebook wall especially who, not content with insisting every Christmas that Muslims are trying to destroy their holiday cheer, also have an issue with the recent dismissal of Andy Grey and Richard Keys from Sky Sports for making quite obviously sexist remarks. “It’s political correctness gone mad” they say. Apparently we must throw our weight of support behind two fat, sweaty middle aged Neanderthals, because it’d be political correctness gone mad if we didn’t.

It seems that when someone mentions “political correctness gone mad” in regard to racism or sexism or homophobia, the story is quite different. It usually means that the most unintelligent idiots, making shockingly crude, and disrespectful, needless statements have been finally brought up on their ignorance. I cannot see why this interpretation of “political correctness” is a bad thing? In fact, I fully support it.

Here’s the transcript of what they said, during the Liverpool vs Wolves game in which Sian Massey was assistant referee:

[Andy Gray]
Yeah I know. Can you believe that? A Female linesman. That’s exactly why I was saying; women don’t know the offside rule. Why do we…

[Richard Keys]
Of course they don’t.


[Richard Keys]
I can guarantee you there will be a big one today. Kenny. Will go potty.

[Andy Gray]

[Richard Keys]
This is not the first time, is it? Didn’t we have one before?

[Andy Gray]

[Richard Keys]
Wendy Toms?

[Andy Gray]
Wendy Toms or someone like that yeah.

[Richard Keys]

[Richard Keys]
The game’s gone mad

[Richard Keys]
Did you hear charming Karren Brady this morning complaining about sexism? Yep. Do me a favour love.

Pushing aside the apparent inability of Keys to recognise the irony in complaining that a woman was talking about sexism in football, just before saying “do me a favour, love”, the obvious thing to note here, is that were not saying any of this in a humorous manner. They genuinely believe that a woman couldn’t possibly understand that most challenging of human mysteries; where a person is stood when a round thing is kicked. How could she know? She’s just a woman. Presumably Keys and Gray think Massey just thinks about shoes and kittens and pretty flowers, and couldn’t make room in her tiny mind to understand the complexity of a game in which twenty two men run around for an hour and a half. It is far too much. Sure, women can be politicians and lecturers and doctors. But understanding what happens when a striker is in front of the defended as the ball is kicked? Surely they’d just break down in tears and need a real man like Andy Gray to take her in his manly arms and protect her from the harsh realities of what is obviously a man’s World.

“The game’s gone mad”.
Little bit of an exaggeration? The game is no different than ever before. Other than a few men (probably gay, and feminine, and girly) rolling around crying whenever they get close to being tackled, it’s very much the same non-mad game as it’s always been. In fact, it is far less insane now than in the 1980s, when police-swarmed stadiums were filled with crazed firms of hooligans. One female assistant referee has not created a hole in the fabric of space time, sucking everything including light itself. All it has done, has exposed a couple of fat tossers who apparently haven’t managed to leave the 1950s.

Sian Massey must have had to put up with sexist idiots her entire career. The beautiful game is still dogmatically male orientated and has an air of insecure masculinity about it. She refereed the Women’s FA Cup Final in 2010. That is quite a huge achievement. She officiated at the FIFA 2007 Female World Cup and at UEFA Women’s Euro 2009. She has gone from Women’s Football Assistant Referee in 2009, to assistant referee in the male dominated arena of Premiership Football in 2010. She made an excellent decision in the Liverpool v Wolves game, in which none of us watching on TV managed to spot. She is more than qualified. Let’s not forget that it was Graham Poll, an English male referee who booked a player three times during Croatia’s match with Australia at the 2006 World Cup. But that must all just be down to luck. How could she possibly understand the offside rule.

Keys and Gray obviously believe no woman is as intellectual as they are, when it comes to football. They know it all. Women know nothing. That’s the philosophy. This must extend also to the first female to referee a Football League match, Amy Rayner. She has an economics degree, and is a full time top rated accountant. Luton lost the game 3-2 to QPR. Instead of accepting that his team were just not good enough on the day, and maybe even questioning his own failings as a manager, having lost his previous club, Hartlepool a staggering 16 point lead in his first few games in charge and only just managing to secure promotion that was absolutely guaranteed when he took over (he was subsequently sacked for a massive run of incompetence from Hartlepool) Luton manager Mike Newell chose instead to blame the fact that the referee was a woman, stating:

“She shouldn’t be here. I know that sounds sexist but I am sexist. This is not park football, so what are women doing here?”

Housewife, and former girlfriend of Jamie Redknapp, Louise Glass was on the receiving end of one of Keys’ little outbursts not so long ago. Keys asked Redknapp, in the commentary box, when he thought the cameras were off:

“Did you smash it? Mind you, that’s a stupid question, if you were anywhere near it, you definitely smashed it. You’d have gone round there any night of the week and found ­Redknapp hanging out the back of it.”

What a putrid old idiot Keys is.
Will I miss them? No.
Do I have sympathy for them? No.

Plus, this means that Gray wont be commentating on any more Fifa games on my Xbox. This pleases me beyond anything else.

Seven Months.

July 30, 2010

Me and Ash are seven months old today. And as most of the people who read this are aware, I (being from England) am staying with Ash (being from Australia) over here on the over side of the World, for ten weeks. I absolutely adore waking up next to her each morning, hearing about her day, learning to cook from her, exploring the World she knows with her. These 6 weeks so far, have reaffirmed my initial reaction upon meeting her back in December, that I want to spend my life with this girl. Completely one in a billion.

I have met all of her family now, and they have been amazingly welcoming. I already feel at home here. I have met the people she hangs out with; Gianna; a rather cool carefree Aussie who should have been this age during the 1980s (Aussies seem to love the 1980s, as opposed to us Brits, who like to pretend it didn’t happen), she seems to have a magnetism that people appear drawn too, which intrigues me. Kerry; a friend of Ash’s with an awesome sense of humour and gets TV rage at bad mums on awful yet strangely mesmerising reality TV shows. Mark; a kind of gentle giant who happens to be able to cook pretty fantastic food. And Kerry’s boyfriend (I forget his name, Ged, I think); very knowledgeable chap which is great for political discussions, with a quick wit, a very friendly aura, and a camera buff for all my photographic needs.

Ash now needs to meet my friends.

For our One year anniversary, Ash will be over in England. We plan to spend New Years in Paris, and then onto Florence, Venice and Rome. I know Rome pretty well, and Ash knows and adores Paris, so it’ll be an exciting few days, and a particularly spectacular way to spend a one year anniversary.

Anyway, here are a few photos of Ash, me, and a few people who have made my trip a happy one

This first one, is us in Surrey in December 2009.

This second one, in eerily similar fashion to the one above, is in Melbourne, July 2010.

This is me and Ash in my bedroom back home in Leicester, in December 2009, complete with my Abbey Road picture, Vettriano and Doisneau works languishing pointlessly in the background.

This is a rather awesome photo of Mark, Ash and me, at a bar in Melbourne. We should be a band. Except, I can’t sing or play any form of instrument.

This is me and Kerry’s boyfriend (I still forget his name, Gene, I think).

This is me teaching REAL football to Ash’s little brother, on their land in Tasmania.

This is us on a rather beautiful beach, on the South coast of Australia, last weekend.

This is Ash’s dad and her step mum, at their BBQ in June.

Kerry, drinking an ENTIRE jug of alcohol to herself. Okay that might be an exaggeration.


In a little over five months time, I will be posting a similar blog, full of photos of Ash, my friends, and European exploring, entitled “One year”.
Fun times.

GEOFF!!!! That’s the one!!!

Three Lions

April 25, 2010

I’m not a big sports fan in comparison to a lot of people. My family are a family of cricket lovers. My dad used to coach Leicestershire, he and David Gower were the closest of friends growing up, and I used to play as a kid. But I really don’t enjoy cricket at all any more. It bores me a little. The Ashes has me hooked, but apart from that, it’s a little bit awful.

My relationship with football is a little odd. Of all sports, it is my favourite. It is the greatest game on Earth. Soccer AM is a must watch every saturday morning, and I do tentatively follow the basics of what is going on across England and Europe, every week. I don’t follow everything as closely as possible though. I certainly don’t claim to be an expert. I follow it all, my own way. I cannot tell you who the centre back for Barcelona is, nor who West Ham are hosting at Upton Park this weekend, but I do keep a close eye on my team – Leicester City, I keep a close eye on internationals across the World, and I keep a close eye on England.

England, in the World Cup or the Euros, always strikes up a sense of Patriotism across the Country. Even among those who aren’t football fans in the slightest. One of my earliest memories, is watching my mum (who does not like football) being unable to watch the 1990 World Cup Semi final, because the intensity of the penalty shoot out had her hid behind a cushion, and angrily yelling at Pearce a few seconds later.

The World Cup this year, is held in South Africa. Games will be played, whilst I am in Australia, which means getting up at around 3-4am every morning to watch (which I will be doing, without fail). England have, what should be a pretty easy group. USA, Slovenia, and Algeria. Every four years, we say “this is the best chance we’ve had in years” and we always blow it. So whilst I remain optimistic in a sense that I secretly hope 2010 is the new 1966, in reality, if I had to bet now, my money would be on Spain. Ten out of ten in qualifiers and current holders of the European Cup, suggests that Spain, are a little bit brilliant. Argentina (if we invade Argentina, and make it a British colony before the World Cup begins, can we technically put Messi in the England side? That would be nice) I think could prove to be a problem for Spain, as could Brazil. But i’m still putting my bet on a Spanish win.

Either way.
It’s about time an England open top bus rode through Trafalgar Square with eleven players, and a trophy on show.
Shades of ’66 please.

Never be tired of England

April 23, 2010

Happy St Georges Day.
Did you know that King George III never formally acknowledge the independence of the USA? Therefore, we still own it. Nor did we agree to the full independence of Australia (The Australia Act of 1986, I choose to ignore). Therefore, we still own that too. And when I get there in July, I will proclaim myself Governor of Australia for Her Majesty The Queen. We’ll forget this silly “independence” thing in no time.

The Daily Mail in it’s quest to tarnish Nick Clegg as some great evil, had this to say earlier this week:

“His wife is Spanish, his mother Dutch, his father half-Russian and his spin doctor German. Is there ANYTHING British about Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg?”

It’s amazing isn’t it?
Nick Clegg, the posh English intelligent Lib Dem leader, is apparently an evil foreigner, despite the fact, that he was born….. in Berkshire.
Given that the husband of the Queen is a relative of the Russian tsars, I hope the Daily Mail will soon begin an anti-monarchy quest.

Today is St Georges day.
It is beautiful outside.
I have sat in my garden with a book and a drink sat by me, for most of it.
The reasons I do not fly the St Georges cross flag is something I dislike about the way it has been manipulated. St Georges cross and the Union Jack have been hijacked by the far right in recent years, to show that they aren’t too keen on muslims. It is used by those who keep claiming muslims are out to destroy England, rape your children, punch your grandmother in the face, and ban Christmas. It is from those who use the phrase “it’s political correctness gone mad” to cloak their inherent stupidity and ignorance. “You know, you can’t even smear shit into a a pakistani man’s face in the shape of the cross of St George whilst telling him to fuck off out the Country any more, without the politically correct bias liberal media telling you it’s racist. It’s political correctness gone mad!!!” I don’t want to associate myself with that type of person. Anyone who associates England with “the white race” is disgusting, in my view.

But I do love this country. In fact, I absolutely adore this country. I do not appreciate the far right telling me that I hate this country, simply because I am not a nazi. I do not believe in a singular concept of “Englishness”. My views on Englishness, are pretty post-modern in that respect. I love this country, for my own reasons, which I will now list.

I love the English summer time. I love traditional English seaside holidays. I love the sound of English amusement arcades on the seafront. I love Tudor history. I love being in the city centre for Diwali celebrations. I love the English countryside. I love standing in the sea on the English south coast despite it being freezing. I love the scent of England in the early summer mornings. I love English Christmas, the food, Morcambe and Wise, and bucks fizz. I love red post boxes. I love the majority of the people who are always polite, friendly, and tolerant. I love that I am the grandson of a World War II navy veteran. I love eccentric Brits. I love Camden. I love not understanding a word the speaker says over the tannoy at a local Tesco. I love Newstead Abbey. I love Bradgate Park. I love feeding ducks. I love those little green or red or blue or yellow arm bands the local swimming pools give you, to let you know when your time in the water is up. I love how we are a mash of cultural differences and historical struggles. I love how we cannot go a day without at least one cup of tea. I love Brit pop! I love getting into bed, under a huge new duvet on a freezing winter’s night. I love wearing an England football shirt throughout the World Cup and Euros every couple of years. I love reading the papers before the World Cup that tell me that Wayne Rooney is at his peak. I love not understanding why our clocks go forward and backward every now and again. I love trilby hats. I love speakers corner. I love hearing the sound of an ice cream van. I love that we are part of Europe. I love Devon and Cornwall. I love our charity days like Red Nose day and Children in need. I love the National Health Service. I love that we are a country that still cares for it’s sick and injured. I love that we are a nation of compassion and acceptance rather than distrust, dogmatic individualism and miserable hatred. I love great British comedians like the Pythons, and Spike Milligan and comedies like Blackadder and Only Fools. I love our sense of humour. I love our sarcasm. I love talking to random people on the park when i’m taking the dog for a run. I love our political music like The Clash and The Jam. I love London. I love bike rides around England. I love black cabs. I love that on one long road just outside of Brighton there is a church, a mosque, a synagogue and a gay bar a little further down, and no problems arise. I love that we have minimum wage. I love the BBC. I love how overly excited our papers get when Wimbledon begins. I love our poets like Wordsworth and Byron. I love that Darwin was English. I love traditional English breakfasts. I love that we do not care what our leaders’ religious beliefs are. I love random games of football on the park. I love our regional colloquialisms. I love the words of Shakespeare and Milton.

I highlighted “I love how we are a mash of cultural differences and historical struggles” because I think it raises an important point. We have never been a single culture, that is now being “eroded“. You cannot erode something that is not static. We have always been a mash of cultures constantly updating and changing. There have been times when those in control or those sporting racist and xenophobic views have tried to impose uniformity, but Britain is great because we have always rejected uniformity in that sense. I will give you an example.

For the majority of English history, since the year 0, this country has been Catholic. Our history, is Catholicism.
Before the 1530s, England was a Catholic nation. The Catholic church was a predominant feature of every community within England. It’s Latin mass, it’s imagery and it’s elaborate dressings along with it’s rituals and rites were what defined England. We weren’t really a nation state at all. We were a vassal of Rome, in all honesty. Given that our own King could not divorce without the permission of the Pope, suggests that ultimately, control lay with Rome. The English people liked it that way. That was England. That was our culture.

During the Reformation Parliaments of the 1530s, the preambles to the statutes written by Thomas Cromwell, try to rewrite this culture, to suit their own needs. The break from Rome and establishment of an English Church would have been massive. Within the space of three years during the 1530s, the entire English system of power, law, and the basis of community had changed beyond recognition. The Henrician church and the Roman Catholic Church were vastly different systems of control and belief.

According to historian Sir William Holdsworth:

“The preamble to the Statute of Appeals is remarkable.. because it manufactures history upon an unprecedented scale.”

Anyone who happened to disagree with the King’s god-given right above the Pope, to be “Supreme Head of the Church in England“, was swiftly and quite horrifically dealt with. It did not bother Henry or Cromwell or Cranmer or any of the other reformers within Court, that the vast majority of the English public, did not believe the King had power above that of the Pope. English culture, for over a millenium, put the Pope as their true ruler, and no one else. Catholicism, (which by the way, was brought to us by immigrants – the Romans, after Claudius invasion of the Country) was so ingrained in the minds of the public, that people like Thomas More were willing to die for their opposition to Cromwell’s reform, rather than betray their beliefs.

The preamble by Cromwell, to the Act of Supremacy of 1534 intriguingly tries to force opinion again, rewrites history, imposes the Act as objective truth (so much so that the accompanying Treason Act made it punishable by death to say the King was not Supreme head of the Church, or talk about the Pope being Head before him), and one wonders whether Cromwell would have gone this far, had the Pope granted Henry his divorce from Catherine in the first place:

“Albeit the king’s Majesty justly and rightfully is and ought to be the supreme head of the Church of England, and so is recognized by the clergy of this realm in their convocations.”

I cannot express just how momentous a change this Reformation Parliament truly was. We were now completely cut off from the Church in Rome, and therefore, cut off from Europe in it’s entirety. Propaganda from the government of Henry made it an offence to be Catholic.

A little over fifteen years later, after Henry had backtracked a little, adding more confusion to what it meant to be English; his son Edward was a child, and only allowed to read books by Protestant writers. He grew up anti-Catholic. When the Duke of Northumberland became the defacto King whilst Edward was still too young, the first thing he did, was rid the council of anyone who still held even slightly Catholic views. After Edward died, Mary then tried to revert back to Catholicism and rejoin the jurisdiction of Rome. Elizabeth, after Mary, settled the dispute, and created a settlement that held mainly Protestant beliefs, but incorporated Catholic beliefs too, although the authority of the Pope was still denied.

The point of this, is that we have never been one single minded Nation. We have always been a mesh of different beliefs and forced uniformity. Catholics viewed Protestants with suspicion in the same way that those racists who claim to be pro-British now view Islam. Irrational fear. There is nothing English about it. We have always updated, and we have always been in a constant state of change, there is no single identity. English culture is created by it’s people, and it is changed and updated with every passing generation. The people can be Catholic, Pagan, Protestant, Muslim, Hindu, Atheist, Sikh, Black, White, Asian, Gay, Straight, fat or thin. It doesn’t matter. That is what makes Britain great, and it is the one thing I love most about this country.