Posted by: docdenbow | November 2, 2013

3 Sides To Every Story

Before I get going I just want to say that there may be the odd spelling error or missed or repeated word. I don’t have the luxury of a proof reader

I have loved writing stuff for this blog ever since I decided that I wanted some kind of presence on the web. My very own corner of the internet or even electronic immortality if you like. I started this little ol’ blog in January 2011, God alone knows why. I fancied myself as a writer I suppose and thought I may get the odd reader here and there. It was and remains a vanity project with yours truly constantly seeking assurance that what I write is good. If I had confidence in my ability to write then I really wouldn’t care whether folks thought. I guess I’m pretty thin skinned.

This is my 250th post here and in less than 3 years I’ve had more than 21,000 reader pass through the “21st Century Thoughts Of A 50’s Man” so even if I can’t write very well at least some people must find what I have to say interesting. Well, that’s my self deluding conclusion anyway. I don’t write about anything in particular with posts lurching from hippy style philosophising to self indulgent wistful twaddle. I also have I have a habit of dropping into the “when I were lad” nostalgia and very often end up feeling sad that my young days are well behind me as I press submit. Yes, there’s an undercurrent of sadness in those posts. I’ve written at some length about the decline and fall of Wolverhampton Wanderers and watched as a lot of what I wrote was sadly prophetic.

Occasionally I’ve tried to be funny. Here I fail as the humour is just there to disguise my obsessions with terrible American reality television like Storage Wars, Pawn Stars, Finding Bigfoot and Dog The Bounty Hunter.01300-fab_four_finding_bigfoot I poke fun at these programmes because I’m trying to make out that I watch them in some kind of goatee bearded ironic poseur kind of way. Well, I don’t! I take these programme bloody seriously. There I’ve said it – so now you know.

However, all of those things are pretty harmless. Each piece I’ve written on those sort of topics has really be based on my own opinions and experiences in life. You know, things that have happened to me that I know all about and because they happened to me I know about them better than anyone else on the planet.

Then I come to the pieces I’ve written about what I read and see regarding news stories. My take on what’s been going down, man. Until very recently recently I thought that I had a balanced view of world news. I believed that newspapers and news media told me what they knew or more to the point the actualité of events local, national and international. Over the past few weeks I have beginning to wonder whether this is truly the case and have concluded that it isn’t. My balanced view of world news is, to be honest, not coming even close to achieving anything approaching any kind of equilibrium. My world views have been shaped by taking in information from a variety of sources, digesting that information and then based on what I’ve read come to some sort of conclusion.

I’ve been wasting my time.

I now realize that a lot of my output here regarding current events in the last three years has been just junk. Pure and simple junk. Puerile and trite. I’ve used this little web presence ask an outlet for my frustrations with what is going on this world of ours. You know, the stuff that you can see on the internet or in newspapers or on telly. You know, it’s what gets called “the media.” Indeed, I’ve been basing my views of the world via a medium that is fundamentally flawed.

News reporting is corrupt and self serving and as such is unlikely to present events in a cold dispassionate factual manner. Whilst I’m all for columnists expressing their views on the world at large I do not believe it is the role of a newspaper, or any other news source per se, to do that. Of course that is never going to happen, I’m not sufficiently naive to believe in that utopian ideal. Owners of news media are manipulative and only interested in revenue and not truth. Having news oligarchs such as Rupert Murdoch cannot in any way shape or form be conducive to balanced reporting, especially as one individual and his range of “business interests” can effectively make or break a government and shape policy in the interests of big business.

In addition to being beholden to massive corporations, news is lazy. You only have to look at the newspapers to see that many stories are compiled from the same source. Some load of old toot hits the Press Association and in jump the press eager to print without really checking the veracity or even the plausibility of the story. With that in mind I’ve been wondering whether there is such a thing as “news” anymore.” Is it all a giant theatre of smoke and mirrors with each story being released to the hungry media being designed to present individual, corporations, companies, individuals like pop stars and even politicians in a favourable light? Pity the poor sods who have to wade in and through this type of detritus instead of being able to partake of genuine news gathering. Do you need need any skills to ready this crap for publication? Probably not as a news story can be checked on various news websites and well, well, well…….. the wording in each article is identical (or close enough to make no difference)

How is that achieved?

I’ll let you into a little secret. A touch of ctrl + c and ctrl + v goes a hell of a long way way to filling news websites and newspapers with stories. Very often these stories come from external agencies and, hey, why investigate something when a good old cut and paste job is cheaper and quicker? Pointless is it not to spend money when you can cheat a bit and at least it’s in a vague semblance of English. Checking the truth and accuracy of stories is lacking as well. Viewers of Dave Gorman’s “Modern Life Is Goodish” would have been able to see his planted story about Jesus appearing in a fabric conditioner stain on an old tee shirt go virtually viral. It seems likely that you can fool all of the press all of the time these days. None of the papers look that closely at what comes their way and all seem desperate just to fill the pages with text to fit inbetween the adverts.

The lack of checking the story source is bad enough but then there are what I would term the sins of omission and sins they most certainly are. In the wake of the scandalous debacle involving the BBC’s non coverage of Jimmy Savile’s “habits” I have questioned myself as to who in the news media was aware of Savile’s predilection for under age girls? I don’t find it at all credible that no one in Fleet Street (or Wapping) knew what he was doing or what he was like. I find it incredible that for all of the public hand wringing that no one knew and that knowing did the slightest thing to stop the odious creature’s behaviour by printing what they knew. We’ve all heard that people had “suspicions” but I cannot believe that more than one perfectly printable article wasn’t spiked.

The same goes for Cyril Smith. During his lifetime both Private Eye and the Rochdale Alternative Press printed allegations (stories) about him being a predatory sexual abuser of young boys. (This was in 1979 and he died in 2010. Plenty of time for plod to lock him up) The “mainstream” press ignored it and fat Cyril never even tried to sue or ask for a retraction. Now in the wake of the Savile revelations even Channel 4 have run a Dispatches programme about Smith, “The Paedophile MP: How Cyril Smith Got Away With It” Why wasn’t this done when the fat bastard was still alive? He could have been brought to justice “as it ‘appens” so could Savile. Yet with both of these individuals (and how many more?) it was not just the news media that was culpable. Savile had access to the PM Margaret Thatcher, he wandered around a secure mental hospital like he owned it. Are you seriously trying to tell me that any vetting that was done on “Sir” Jimmy didn’t at least highlight allegations made against him? The least said about the vile Smith the better. Of course their horrible tastes were known, but for some reason it was deemed that it was for the public good to keep them quiet.

In September 2013, Andy Rhodes, Assistant Chief Constable of Lancashire Constabulary, told delegates at a child sexual exploitation conference in Lancashire:

“The reason Cyril Smith, Jimmy Savile and Stuart Hall got away with what they got away with, which was serious prolonged sexual exploitation of young people, was because leaders who had responsibility to do something, did not do it. They turned a blind eye. Buried their heads in the sand.”

That is a terrible indictment of our society and especially of those in positions of power and I believe it continues to this day.

Even at my advanced age I’ve sort of fancied myself as a journalist. The man who will find the truth and share it. It’s really a futile pipedream as I don’t know enough about anything to be able to write with authority. I’m just an average bloke with an average education and ideas above my station. For all of that if I can find it within me to get some self righteous right wing moral indignation with a soupçon of homophobia and xenophobia I feel there may be a place for me at the Daily Mail. For all of that I really have no idea whether the journos on the Daily Mail believe the inherent tosh that they write or whether they just just churn out any old tat as long as it pays the mortgage. Are these writers whipped into place under the jackboot of Paul Dacre? Do they leave their own personalities and beliefs at the door when they enter the building? Reading the Daily Mail (for research purposes I assure you) makes me feel like Yosser Hughes.

“I can do that, I can write bigoted bullcrap……………..”

So what’s brought all this on? Well, my real awakening about the news and media really began when I started to question the way news is compiled after watching @davegorman and his “Goodish” show. that I mentioned earlier. It struck me that if you can plant the seed of an idea, or in his case a bogus news story about a fabric softener Jesus, and get someone to run with it then whole concept whether moral or amoral can be made to spread like a disease. Fine, Dave’s story was a little bit of harmless fun, but like Chinese Whispers with each retelling a new spin was placed on essentially a simple little tale with assertions and made up comments being added. In the grand scheme of things, in this instance, it really didn’t matter. It provided Dave with material for his TV show. However, in “real life” something like that can be both sinister and frightening, very frightening.

Of course planting the seeds of a story is commonplace. Untruths are reported in such a way that leads to unconscionable manipulation of public opinion. Even the BBC has been party to this type of thing, patently incorrect information being passed off as fact. In doing so the corporation has been party to eliciting sympathy, perpetuating a myth and making the British Fuzz look brilliant.

Take Crimewatch for example. Now you would think that this is is a programme that deals with “Just the facts ma’m” Dragnet style. Well my friends there was an episode recently that didn’t really present the facts in a way that you may expect. I’m not much of a conspiracy theorist, but I do always hope and indeed crave that when the chips are down, when it’s vitally important that people and organizations tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. In this recent Crimewatch episode evidence was projected into our living rooms. Evidence that would alter the whole timeline of the case. Wow, the British Fuzz are pretty good aren’t they, finding all this new evidence. Brand spanking new evidence and even photo-fits.

Fan-bloody-tastic, right?


This evidence that was presented as new was nothing of the kind, it was only 5 years old. Only. However, as it conflicted with other spurious evidence and crap eyewitness sightings it was buried underneath writs and confidentiality clauses until plod dug it up and bunged it on the telly and presented it all as brand spanking new. Oh dear, BBC. Oh dear the Fuzz. Please tell us all why that was done. Surely we deserve an explanation.

Personally what I want to know is how it is that Madeleine McCann was abducted and Ben Needham simply disappeared – where on earth did that division come from?

Media manipulation? That’s not for me to say is it?

As I got to this point in writing this, 1st November 2013, It has been announced that Paul Gambaccini has been arrested as part of the ongoing Yewtree investigations. He is 64 years old and was arrested at the same time as a 74 year old. It has been seen fit to release his name officially to the press yet the 74 year old remains at this point anonymous. Why should this be so? Perhaps because Twitter has been “alive” with comments and speculation as to the identity of the 64 year old arrested and I’m wondering if legal representatives put pressure on the police to name names to end the barbed and libellous Tweets once and for all. I have no idea if the police wished this information to be in the public domain as no doubt enquiries are ongoing. Nevertheless the releasing of Gambaccini’s name could be viewed as media manipulation. Certainly this would be the case if pressure was applied.

Then we come to the standard of the writing. I’ve read non agency stuff in some papers that is barely literate. God alone knows who writes these pathetic pieces of poop that masquerade somewhat unconvincingly as the English language. Articles full of colloquialisms that wouldn’t be out of place in a Premier League footballer’s tiny mind or heard on Jeremy Kyle on a regular basis.I mean the South Wales Evening Post always tell reader that So And So has been “sent down.” Why not “jailed” or “imprisoned” or “sentenced to…?” Are we as a nation so bloody thick that we’ll put up with being force fed this sort of semi literate horse manure? Are we collectively really that thick or am I just one of those language snob tossers?

You decide. I can’t be bothered.

Dr Who said “Don’t you think she looks tired?” of Harriet Jones and you could modify that to “Don’t you think he looks tired?” and apply that statement to me. I’m not tired in the “let’s go to bed for a snooze” way, I’m tired in the “oh, this is getting on my nerves” kind of way.

I have always known that even if you ignore something, it doesn’t go away. It can indeed fester and grow like Japanese knotweed or a virus and pollute your entire life and being. In life we shouldn’t ignore or gloss over the unpleasantries, but take action to eradicate them. In this aspect of life some of us are far more successful than others. There are those of us who get bogged down in the minutiae and miss the bigger picture. There are those of us who only see the big picture, but forget about the minutiae. These latter types, if placed in positions of power can see the minutiae as little more than collateral damage or cannon fodder.

To very great extent I really don’t care for politics or politicians. They’re all the same, in it to fuel their outsized egos. All wanting us on our hands and knees fawning and telling them just how great they are. None of them are worth my time, except as an amusing digression from time to time. True I do enjoy mocking Nick Clegg, but as he’s a liar and has a face just designed to be punched and then spat on, he doesn’t take up a great deal of my intellectual capacity.

There are things in life that are best ignored. Miley Cyrus getting her t*ts out at every opportunity is one. Justin Bieber per se is another. These two and many like them are irrelevant to right thinking individuals and their actions whilst stupid and pathetic are not illegal so are best removed from your own consciousness. Emotions and time wasted berating these two post pubescent egocentrics and other such non entities is time that is coming out of your life allowance. I suppose it’s your choice how you spend your thinking time and your life. I prefer to mull over and think of other things, things that stretch me and will serve to educate me in order that I may become a better more rounded individual. Unlike some religious deity, however, I cannot turn the other cheek or suffer fools gladly. I don’t even feel sorry for and put up with w**kers and a**h*les. I used to. I was in the pub practically every night and spent far too much time wasting what was rapidly becoming my diminishing intellect and self respect talking to people to whom reading The Sun and The Daily Star was an intellectual challenge. Having to narrow my conversation parameters down as much as I had to, made me drink so that I could erode and destroy even more brain cells than natural ageing does on its own which of course I did.

Like Russell Brand I’ve moved on from a time in my life that I’m not especially proud of and perhaps we’re both overgrown 6th formers who should know better. Yet he and I share the view that the world is knackered and is heading for further knackerdom. With his revolutionary ideals as per his Paxman interview and article in the New Statesman he tells us what we know already but offers no solution. How can he offer a solution? How can anyone? It really is not that simple.

It’s taken the human race a good 500 years or more to screw up this planet, build enough weapons to blow it up several times over and begin systematically making several species of plant and animal extinct. Some twattish cynical bleeder who writes in the Guardian had the audacity to criticize my mate Russ because as a spindly legged comedian he was offering no long term solutions and alternatives to our virtual armageddon. Wake up mate, he’s a spindly legged comedian with bad hair, ( I didn’t mention the hair before but I did say about the legs) he’s not meant to give answers. He’s there to point out the absurdity of those in power. How can he do anything else? We must all realize that in 500 years you have plenty of time for planet screwing up ,so it ain’t going to be easy to put this right. Not something that Russell Brand can stick into a 3rd series of Ponderland.

So where does this leave me? I’m really not sure. I’m really not sure whether I have anything relevant or even entertaining to say. Just like you I have opinions, some of them strong, some of them not. I’m no Russell Brand, I don’t even know what paradigm means. (Well I do now as I’ve just looked it up. It means “I am a pretentious twonk who won’t say concept”) What I mean is that no one really cares what I think. No one will discuss what I think. This blog post/article/essay will not act as a catalyst to a mass debate although I may well be thought of as a mass debater. The thing is no one really cares what you think either. I’m not sitting here crying “woe is me!” bemoaning the fact that mine is a voice in the darkness, we’re all in the same boat. Nobody listens to you either.

So with all of that in mind, I’m going to scuttle away into my own little Ponderland to consider that there are 3 Sides To Every Story, yours, mine and the truth.

Ciao For Now



  1. I might have to read this again as its so long I found myself just glossing quickly over it. Its a pretty lengthy piece.

    • There’s lots of it, wrote out a lot what disappoints me about the world in general and managed to some up the total ambivalent apathy that I’m feeling towards life, the universe and everything.

      Unfortunately the answer is not 42


  2. Phew that’s heavy stuff dude. Loving your “ranting”. Like Jay I think I will have to read it all again in order to take it all in. Maybe two shorter pieces would make a better impact, but as always a interesting and well written piece.

    • Well, I was on the point as implied in the post of knocking it on the head altogether thinking I’d gone as far as I could go.

      That remains to be seen and after nearly three years it would be a shame if I just left my little presence on the web to gather dust.


  3. […] 3 Sides To Every Story […]

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