Monday 27 January 2020

The Best Books About Rock And Roll That I Didn't Write - A List

Having written two books about being in bands, I have now read an awful lot of books about bands (research, research, research). Most of them are biographies but there are a handful of fictional ones, almost exclusively about people who dream of being rock and roll stars before going on to do so in exciting, original, world-bestriding bands that crash out spectacularly.

My Weekend Rockstars series is not about that. The first book is about a middle-aged bloke who joins one of those dreadful bands that turn up on a Saturday night down the Dog and Duck at the same time as your main course and start playing Mustang Sally.
(And you can download it for FREE for a limited time only when you sign up to my mailing list)

In the second he drags his teenage daughter into it after her rock and roll dreams crash out spectacularly.

(Available to preorder now for February 14th when it comes out)

Only they’re not really about the band, they’re about love, sex, friendship, family, death, grief and how there’s nothing like a midlife crisis and a band to amplify the tensions between them.

If that sounds a bit bleak (and it’s not, it’s actually 'a really fun romp, with a gallery of great comic characters' according to Fiona Leitch (writer of the extremely funny Dead In Venice)) then maybe you’d like to try some of these other fictional books about bands that aren’t really about bands.

Daisy Jones and the Six - Taylor Jenkins Reid 

It’s really difficult to explain what’s so good about this book without spoiling the end. I can tell you it’s a great twist on the fake documentary genre. I can tell you that if you know anything about Fleetwood Mac and the making of Rumours then you’ll love it. And I can tell you that if you love all the madness and debauchery of big ‘70s rock music you’ll love it.

Told as an interview transcript with members of the band, their families and various hangers on, the narrative’s delivery method sounds like it could be a bit dry, but you very quickly get drawn in, start to wonder if anybody is actually telling the truth and realise it is absolutely the only way the story could be told.

Soul music - Terry Pratchett

This is the best book about being in a band ever written - because it’s by Terry Pratchett. (See this post for why he was so important to me.)

Any Discworld book with Death in is great, add Susan Sto-Helit, Albert and the Death of Rats and it is even better, throw in CMOT Dibbler as Colonel Tom Parker and it’s gold (or glod).

The puns are par excellence (Cliff, on a mission from Glod, he looks a bit elvish, etc. etc.) and The Band With Rocks In are almost certainly the greatest band to never exist. It was the first Pratchett book I ever read and as such is probably the most important book in my life and I will not hear a word said against it.

Here’s some of the Band With Rocks In’s songs in case you’re not yet all in.

1) "There's a Great Deal of Shaking Happening"

2) "Give Me That Music With Rocks In"

3) "Pathway to Paradise"

4) "Born to Rune"

I mean, come on. I feel no need to give an actual review as if you haven’t read it we probably can’t be friends.

Call me maybe - Stephie Chapman

There is a very small genre of books (which I am proud to belong to), the bass-player centred rom-com, of which this tiny gem is a part.

In a wonderfully believable bit of coincidence, Cassie ends up messaging her teenage crush - Bass player Jessie Franklin of short-lived (fictional) 90s boy band Franko (who aren’t Hanson, definitely not Hanson, not even similar). He’s now just a regular session musician in California and almost nobody remembers who he used to be.

They meet up and embark on a fantasy transatlantic love affair which gets all the twists and turns and ups and downs you want in a rom-com thanks to his family/former bandmates.

It’s a story with so much heart, and such likeable, relatable characters that I instantly fell in love with it and recommend it to anybody who has ever had a teenage celebrity crush. It has given me hope that Tiffany (off of the 80s) will one day know that I exist.

Reprobation - Catherine Fearns

On the surface this is a gritty crime thriller about a gay scouse detective who teams up with a nun to solve a series of grisly murders. That should be enough to get anybody hooked in to this excellent trilogy (at present, I’m hoping for more). But…

Mikko Kristensen, singer and lead guitarist of Death Metal Band Total Depravity (and font of all Satanic knowledge, obvs) steals the show, (and is eclipsed by his drummer, Knut, in the third part of the series, Sound, though that might just be because Knut reminds me of all the drummers I have ever known). Music - and particularly metal music - is a central theme to the story, and Fearns describes the unbridled joy of a fuck-off-loud concert in the most perfect way I have ever read.

I realise this is not really a book about bands, but it does feature a band and has one of the most beautifully grotesque openings of any book I’ve ever read.

Also, GEVA have recorded an EP based on it that I only just discovered and I really, really like.

Espedair Street - Iain Banks

This bit of Banks (expect maudlin, expect self-deprecation, expect funny, be pleased there’s no incest for once) follows the old familiar rags-to-riches-to-crazy-recluse formula. But it’s by Iain Banks, so it’s beautiful and complicated and leaves you with a vague sense of unease.

In all honesty, I read it in my early 20s and it stayed with me, so my recollection of the details is sketchy at best. In doing my minimal research for this blog post I am disturbed to find that Daniel Weir, the old, washed-up rock star protagonist is only 31. 11 years younger than I am now. It’s kind of funny, so I include it in the Bass Player based Romcom genre currently only occupied by Stephie Chapman and myself.

The Thrill Of It All - Joseph O’Connor

It’s the usual weird outsider kids meet, form a band, get unexpectedly big, take too many drugs and all fall out with each other story. Pretty much all of which happen because the narrator fancies a girl upon which the whole plot hinges. Most of the books on this list fit that mould - even the Pratchett one - and that’s okay, because it’s what you want when you buy a book about a band.

Joseph O’Connor, however, manages to tinge it with more poignancy than most, ignoring the glamour and painting the realities of sleeping in vans, squatting in old industrial units and having to sell that one perfect guitar to carry on living over the usual depravity, debauchery and reckless spending.

Robbie Goulding owes more than a passing nod to Danny Weir from Espedair Street - but that’s no bad thing, neither are the multiple perspectives and album reviews/press cuttings that may in turn have inspired some of Daisy Jones and the Six’s style.

Ultimately, like being in a real band, it’s about friendships and the terrible things that can happen when you drop them into the high pressure world of rock and roll.

The Rock and Roll diaries - Jamie Scallion

Everything I said about The Thrill Of It All applies to these tiny bursts of teenage joy. Scallion, however, takes it in the other direction. Rather than the grubby realities of a band on the road these joyous celebrations of being a kid with a guitar give you the sudden rise, the unexpected record contract, getting the girl, writing the songs and being the fucking king of the world.

They’re not big books, they’re not complicated books, and they’re not realistic books (actually I don’t know, I’ve never been in a band that made it, this could be exactly what happens). But they are utterly joyful and I read all four in a row at great speed with a massive grin on my face because they made me feel like the 13 year old kid desperately writing awful love songs to the pretty girl in the year above me at school on my dad’s guitar I once was.

Written as blog entries, twitter feeds and the diaries of the title, it’s a format that suits itself to stories of bands - especially sulky, uncommunicative teenage bands.

Scallion also wrote and recorded the songs (with a bit of help from real band, The Script) as well, enjoy.

High Fidelity - Nick Hornby

Oh come on, you’ve read this, or you’ve seen the movie at least. It’s not about a band, I know that. But it does have some of the best being-in-a-band jokes you’ll ever hear. Not least the constant name changes of Barry’s band (to rival The Whom/&U/Surreptitious Fabric from Soul Music) from Barrytown, to Sonic Deathmonkey right up to Barry Jive and the Uptown Five - or were those gags just in the movie? I forget...

Anyway, I couldn’t leave it out.

The Dirt - Mötley Crüe

But Dave, I hear you cry, Mötley Crüe aren’t a fictional band, they’re real, you love them, you have all their albums and will play Dr Feelgood or Livewire at any point without any encouragement.

And yes, that’s true, but given everything they detail having done in this book, I don’t believe they recall any of it, and thus I’m calling it fiction about a real band - like KISS save Santa.

(I haven’t read it, I just watched the movie, sue me.)

Honourable mention needs to be made to John Niven’s Kill Your Friends, and Caitlin Moran’s How To Build A Girl, although I think those two gave fictional names to real bands (in order to avoid legal action).

And you can find Caitlin’s How To Be Famous, and The Rock ‘N’ The Roll, ‘N’ That... by Steven J. Gill on my to read pile - I can’t recommend them yet, but they’ve got bands in and purport to be funny. Will report back - keep your eye on my Goodreads account for more.

Weekend Rockstars 2: The Ballad Of Fat Labrador is available to preorder now from amazon and you can catch up on the story so far by downloading the first Weekend Rockstars for free (for a limited time only) when you sign up to my mailing list (feel free to unsubscribe later if you don’t like it).

Sunday 15 December 2019

Protest and Survive

I, like most people I know now, am sick of talking about politics. In fact, I won’t do it in person any more, it’s too dreadful these days. I have fallen out with friends, family and followers too many times in the last three years and don’t want to lose anybody else.

Having said that, there are still things that need to be said (from the safety of my laptop, if you engage me in person on these issues I can and will hide in a fridge).

You lost, get over it. Words that were doubtless said to Martin Luther King, Emmeline Pankhurst, Alfred the Great and Jesus. And words that many of us have heard over and over again in the last few years. Time to take them to heart and get over it.

There's a certain element in British society at the moment who enjoy a military metaphor, so here's mine. After losing, you should get over it like the British Expeditionary Force did after the battles of Mons and Charleroi in 1914, or their comprehensive trouncing at Dunkirk in 1940. Regroup, re-strategise and get your shit together.

Brexit is going to happen, whether the ‘Stop Brexit’ man outside parliament likes it or not. The plus side of the massive Tory majority is that it should at least happen with a deal now, rather than the disastrous no-deal crashout that was beginning to look so likely.

So those of us against it need to organise (still) to mitigate the effects. Those of us who voted for it need to help. Whether or not you believe that the short-term (and we’re talking years, possibly decades, not just a month or two) pain of the break justifies the possible long-term benefits of leaving Europe it cannot be denied that those short-term problems are going to happen. So everybody needs to help.

The government should step in and help those suffering from poverty, homelessness and the proliferation of mental illness in this country. But they’re not going to, and a huge majority of less than a third of the electorate (first past the post really does have to go) have voted in favour of that. On the bright side, Boris Johnson rarely keeps to his word, so he might turn out to be a socialist in disguise before revoking Article 50.

If we are going to have to rely on old-fashioned Victorian Philanthropy to make sure people don’t die, then it’s time to get to work. I know this sounds dramatic, but actual people have already died as a direct result of austerity policies, and this looks likely to get worse. Donate to Shelter and the Trussell Trust, volunteer, organise, get out there. You may think the mega-wealthy should be doing it instead of you but they probably won't.

And keep protesting - not for more referendums, not for fresh elections, but on issues, for change, for the future. Because the people in charge are ignoring the single greatest issue facing humanity - climate change. The USA has a denier in charge, and we have just voted in a party with a firm policy of post-horse door bolting on the environment


If it weren’t for Greenpeace, Extinction Rebellion and the Green Party they wouldn’t even be thinking about it. Protest works. If it weren’t for the Pride marches of the last 50 years would David Cameron have legalised Gay Marriage? If Emmeline Pankhurst and Martin Luther King had just accepted they were in the minority would Chi Onwurah, Dawn Butler and Diane Abbot be sitting in parliament? If Jesus had just stopped after the first Rabbi told him that he lost and should get over it would I have had to spend my formative years singing ‘Cross Over The Road My Friend’?

I’ve spoken to people on the supposedly compassionate side who think we need the collateral deaths that will surely happen to go ahead so people sit up and listen. I fundamentally disagree, when your government lets you down, don’t create unnecessary martyrs, rally together and do what your government won’t. This is the kind of thing that slides you along the sliding scale of socialism a little closer to Stalin and a little further from Jesus. (If you don’t think Jesus was a socialist you’re an idiot. He divided up the loaves and fishes to feed everyone, he was cool with the tax-collectors and totally fucked over the money-lenders. Also, he didn’t expect anybody but himself to die for his cause - a policy that failed spectacularly, but still.)

So let’s get our shit together, organise, help each other, get to the end of this awful project and make sure we all survive it. We lost, let’s get over it together.

Protest and Survive, and if all else fails, I'll see you on the barricades.

*I know I’ve gone on about Jesus a lot here, but I am still an atheist, you can appreciate the message without the magic-beard-in-the-sky parts. Also, it's very nearly his birthday.

Wednesday 4 December 2019

Exciting news for Artful Badgers fans

I have news.

Good news.

About the book that people are calling 'not finished yet is it Dave?'

It’s been a blissful ten years since George put down his bass, left the Artful Badgers and vowed never to play in public again. But when tragedy strikes his best friend he’ll do anything to help. Unfortunately that means going back out on the road, and this time he’s taking his daughter with him.

Alice has realised she wants more from her best friend Becky than she is prepared to give and the band they have spent so long building up may not survive the fallout. Luckily her dad has the perfect plan to take her mind off of it.

It might feel more like a support group than a band, but if George can’t keep it under control then it could destroy his best friend’s life, his daughter’s happiness and what’s left of his own sanity.

Join George, Alice, Tim and a whole host of familiar faces as George is dragged back into a world to which he hoped he’d never have to return.

Weekend Rockstars 2: The Ballad of Fat Labrador will be released into the world on the 14th of February 2020 and is now available for pre-order.


If you can’t wait that long, there’s a preview of the first chapter at the end of the new edition of Weekend Rockstars that I’ve just put out, with a new cover and everything.




If you subscribe to my newsletter you can download that preview chapter of The Ballad Of Fat Labrador for the princely sum of


Hang on though Dave, I already read about this in your latest (frankly brilliant and funny) newsletter, why should I have to pay when all these brand new subscribers are getting free stuff?

You should have read it properly, there was a free download link in that newsletter, stop skimming you bellend.

Thank you for your time, and patience, please pre-order the book - it’s only 99p if you do and I can’t be held responsible for the enormous price hikes I will almost certainly apply as soon as it’s actually available.

Tuesday 12 November 2019

How can we be lovers if we can't be friends? Are men broken?

This weekend was carnival time in my terrifying little corner of Devon. A time when our primeval fear of the cold and dark leads us to set fire to things and throw them at each other. I knew this because my google calendar set off my ancient primeval fear of the cold and dark by beeping a midnight reminder as I was dropping off to sleep. Why did I need my phone to tell me this when the whole town was full of it and local excitement stalked me across social media?

I didn’t. At least I don’t anymore. (I also haven’t figured out how to turn off reminders so it doesn’t wake me up every other night, don’t @ me).

Carnival weekend was on my calendar to make sure the band didn’t book any gigs so I could enjoy it (or play at it, as I have for the last god-knows-how-many years). So it was a bitter-sweet, heart-stoppingly loud beep it gave, reminding me that for the first time in my (admittedly very poor) memory, I am not an actual member of a band anymore. My current band did its last gig last weekend.

I’ve got gigs booked, I still dep for more bands than I can actually remember and do the odd solo show (hence all the google calendaring) but it’s not the same. It may be because my recently expired band was made up of people I have been friends with for over thirty years. As an adult I have very few fully-functional friendships, and those I do have tend to be the result of bands I used to be in.

I have a feeling that adult men in the 21st century are poorly equipped to maintain proper, healthy relationships with people we are neither related to nor having regular sex with. I have an even stronger feeling it might just be me.

As men, we don’t talk about important things. According to stereotype, women meet up and talk about everything: sex, books, death, genital hygiene, the whole gamut of the human experience; while men talk about cars and football. In reality, I doubt any of this is true, particularly since I have no interest in cars or football.

As a result of this non-communication and brushing important things under the carpet I fell out with a very good friend over what turned out to be a misunderstanding. For most of this year we did not speak, until we finally did, whereupon it turned out we had both taken offence where none was intended. I’m not going into details, but it highlighted just how little we men talk about things. At least nobody died. I spent a lot of time being surprised at how ill equipped I am to deal with a broken friendship as an adult.

These two were not the best role-models for male relationships to grow up to

And then the unthinkable happened. I am not terribly sociable or communicative at work and up until this year I have never missed anybody from any job ever after they left unless their replacement was a useless bag of shit-spanners that made my life harder. (That’s nearly always the case, but not where I work now. We never replace anyone, just make somebody else’s job harder). But nevertheless, a chap I’ve worked closely with for the last decade unexpectedly quit and it took me weeks to work out that that was what I was unhappy about. It should have been obvious, but like I say, I’m not the best at maintaining functional friendships - or recognising them.

All of this brought my mum’s offhand, ‘if we knew what we know now when you were little I’d have had you tested for autism,’ back to my mind. I went down a googly wormhole and quickly diagnosed myself as functionally autistic with a side-order of ADHD. This was clearly bollocks. Last time I self-diagnosed myself I was convinced I would die within the year, but it turned out I just wasn’t getting enough sleep. I can’t diagnose myself as anything, but I did recognise a lot of symptoms.

So what do I do with that? I’m 42 years old, have a job, a couple of lucrative side-careers, thirteen years of happy marriage, two well-adjusted step-kids that are partially my fault and a lifetime of coping mechanisms that keep me in check. What good would an adult diagnosis get me?

That’s an actual question by the way, I struggle to see what good it would do me to put yet more pressure on the NHS trying to find out why I freak out utterly at some fairly odd triggers. It could just be flashbacks. I’m more worried about the undiagnosed arthritis I can feel in my wrists as I type this blog, but I’m not going to the doctors about that either.

Men eh?

I saw the root of the problem while watching World War Z. Brad Pitt’s character is going off somewhere and leaving the women folk without a man. So he tells a prepubescent boy to look after them. I’m paraphrasing but basically it was, ‘Look after the ladies for me small boy I just met, for you are male.’

I’m sure we men just need more rights to maybe be better, so I am going to become a mens’ rights activist and fight for the following rights:

The right to wear a dress
The right to cry in public
The right to talk about why we’re sad
The right not to let it all build up until we kill ourselves
The right to play with dolls
The right not to be feel guilty every time a girl pays a bill
The right to not like football, cars and fighting
The right to do housework without expecting a fucking medal
The right to like the Phantom Menace and Jar Jar Binks.

Of course the irony is we do have all these rights already.

Because we’re men.

But some other, bigger boys are trying to stop us utilising them.

Tuesday 1 October 2019

How Eddie and (Dead) Jesus Taught Me How To Be In A Band

Being a reliable dep bassist/guitarist I regularly play with a lot of different people in a lot of different bands. I have done for longer than I care to admit, yet it still amazes me how often I come across people who cannot play nicely with others. I don’t mean the usual muso problems (that I spent most of my first novel, Weekend Rockstars, making jokes about) like ego clashes, everybody trying to be louder than everyone else, or stealing the drummer’s girlfriend. I’m talking about the basics, like starting at the same time, being in the same key and playing at the same speed.

This is not my band

My first band - which isn’t the one I tell people was my first band - was a Christian rock group formed at a church youth club in 1989. It was made up of the precocious little prick that was twelve year old me, two girls who could just about hold a tune, a friend who could play drums, another friend who claimed to be able to play keyboards but in truth could only play 'Silent Night' on his nan’s accordion, and another friend who had no discernible musical talent: we gave him a bass - obviously.

I am not naming names - you all know who you are.

Our first few rehearsals consisted of my trying to teach them an epic 15 minute prog interpretation of the book of Genesis I had written called 'In The Beginning' - of which there are thankfully no surviving records - while hammering the importance of the guitar solos into them by playing a borrowed guitar as loud as possible through a ghetto blaster. The girls had no idea where to come in and it was becoming obvious 'Silent Night' didn’t really fit.

Luckily for me, the church youth club leader was a grizzled old muso called Eddie (who was approximately 3 years younger than I am now). He had played all over Wales with Dave Edmunds (who none of us had ever heard of) and Welsh Fargo (which was a pun we didn’t get). It was he who loaned me the guitar I was playing - I have not given it back as it’s still my go to number one guitar. Without him, my life would have been markedly different and I miss him every day the same way I missed his funeral in the deep snows of a freezing December a decade ago.

30 years on long term loan, it's changed a bit

He very quickly took us under his wing and made us spend the next four rehearsals playing a three chord, 4/4, 40 bpm dirge in C major called 'Thank You Jesus'. He made us listen to each other, count, watch for the changes and play for the song. There were no guitar solos and excitement was very much discouraged.
I highly recommend you don't listen to the above link - which is the song we did

The one below, however, is proof that Christian music can actually be awesome, even for us heathens

But it made us better, something clicked, and even the non-musicians could learn it quickly. We were playing a whole song, start to finish, without any fuck-ups. I learned that my ambition far outstripped their talent (a thing I have had to live with every day of my musical career, I’m still enough of a prick to never doubt my own ability) and to lower my expectations. Sometimes simple is better: fewer chords, less fret-wanking and slow the fuck down.

Since then I have come across a million different people who never had an Eddie, never learned how to work with others. From those who blindly follow the song note for note, beat by beat, with no space for improvisation - not even the kind necessitated by having to wait for a forgetful singer to come back in or an equipment malfunction - to those unable to keep the same time as the rest of the band (it’s surprising how many of those are drummers). Along with the no-compromise ‘just play the fecking note Dougal!’ dictators and ‘ah that’ll do’ bumblers who are happy to carry on playing minor chords that should be majors.

(Again, I can’t stress enough that if you are chuckling in recognition you will definitely enjoy my book - Weekend Rockstars.)

All these little problems can be ironed out with a willingness to listen to and learn from each other. Musicians are fragile of ego, and naturally given to melodrama, so in practice any slight criticism tends to lead to a flounce and the end of the band. But it wouldn’t if everybody had the memory of a middle-aged welshman with a fondness for lying about his achievements knocking them down to size.

Less than a year later, I had philosophised myself out of my Christian upbringing and - in a splendid accidental metaphor - left that church youth group to play in a punk band called Dead Jesus. I suppose I should probably say 'Thank You Jesus' for lowering my proggy expectations to shouty three-chord wonders with no guitar solos, but it was Eddie that fixed it, even if Jesus told him to.

That's me there - about the same time as Dead Jesus was happening
A cocky little shit if I ever saw one

Friday 6 September 2019

A Word In Your Ear - From Father To Son (or vice versa)

I’ve written a lot of stuff about fathers and sons over the years - it’s the central theme of my most recent novel Gap Years - and I don’t think any of my books fail to mention that defining moment in life when you realise your father is not an all-powerful, omniscient creature.

Sorry Dad (if you’re reading) no idea why I keep harping on about it. Love you, and you are an all-powerful, omniscient creature as far as I’m concerned.

This week I experienced the other side of the equation for the first time.

I am only 42 years old and already becoming obsolete.

Record scratch - 'That's me, I guess you're wondering how I got here'

Without going into details, our bedroom ceiling desperately needed replastering and I am by no means a practical man. Despite this we reasoned we could save a few quid by pulling the old ceiling down ourselves - a decision both of us have since come to regret. It seemed a no-brainer to ask my firefighter stepson to help since he is both younger and fitter than me.

My initial misgivings were obvious. Despite the fact he has plenty of experience ripping out old plaster and lathe ceilings, as far as I know he has never before had to do it slowly, carefully and without anything being on fire. However, he and his girlfriend turned up, suited up and got stuck in with the crowbars.

Within not very much time at all, it became apparent he knew what he was doing a lot more than I did and I quickly deferred to him on most decisions that needed making (one of which should have been obvious, and had been pointed out to me for days by proper builder people before we began).

And then there was a lot of loft work, perching precariously on beams that clearly weren’t fit for purpose when they were put there over a century ago (which is probably why I need a new ceiling in the first place). My vertigo has led to me getting Adam to do stuff for me plenty of times before, but usually I point him at a thing then tell him what to do and how to do it. This time the situation quickly became reversed as it became apparent he knew how to get insulation out from underneath beams without ripping it to shreds or getting it in his eyes.

A more traditional, manlier man than I would have felt threatened.

Especially when he told me to stop if I was too hot and vertigo-ish.

If we were lions he would have taken me out back to a quiet bit of Serengeti and ripped my throat out before taking the pride for himself.

Look at the murder in his eyes - my days are limited

Luckily we are not lions, and I have never had any pride.

This is the first time he has been better than me at something I needed to do that isn’t going up a ladder. It didn’t take him long to be better than me at skate-boarding and putting out fires, but that never really mattered. This one felt important. I sat in the garden that night, looking up at the stars and contemplating my mortality.

The wheel of time keeps on turning, and nothing lasts forever. Not me, not you, not even Keith Richards. For sure as Windows 10 made us forget all about XP (what happened to 9? How bad was it?), One Direction made us forget all about the Beatles, new Melissa McCarthy Ghostbusters made us wonder who this Bill Murray guy is and Dan Brown eclipsed Dickens we will all be replaced by newer, more modern versions of ourselves that we - mistakenly - think are not as good right up until the moment it becomes glaringly obvious we are wrong.

Monday 19 August 2019

Live And Let Nope

It is now a truth universally acknowledged that anybody who does anything creative will get battered for expressing personal opinions online. We get told artists aren't supposed to have political views. Don't alienate your potential customers, stick to writing/singing/crochet/cheese-making. You know, like George Orwell, Peggy Seeger, Margaret Atwood and Chuck D. Well fuck that. I've always been a little to the right of Karl Marx and rarely ashamed to bleat on about it.

I used to spend a lot of time getting into arguments in pubs, on the internet and anywhere where there are people with opinions. My first really big blog post was on this very subject (it was the first time I realised people were actually reading what I was writing and had to start editing this shit properly).

But then social media exploded, and I got tired of the endless bickering, those who wanted to win rather than have an intelligent discussion, and I stopped calling it out. This anger fatigue (a bit like compassion fatigue, but slightly less cunty) made me decide to be more tolerant, even going so far as to tolerate the intolerant. However, it turns out just avoiding conflict has not made things better for anyone. Since I have been scrolling past and respecting other people's opinions Brexit, Trump and Farage all happened, and the 'free-speech' warriors (currently crying about a 16 year old autistic girl on a boat who says climate change is real) have taken over the discourse.

So fuck them. From now on I will not be turning a blind eye to the bullshit. Expect comments, links to Snopes and requests for your source material. There is no such thing as an alternative fact. I won't be engaging in endless back and forth that goes nowhere, so don't assume you have won just because I stop.

IT IS NOT ABOUT WINNING, IF YOU ARE RIGHT I WILL ADMIT IT, I HAVE NO HILL I WISH TO DIE ON - unless you don't like Billy Joel's 'Scenes From An Italian Restaurant,' in which case you clearly have no soul and we can't be friends.

I expect I will lose some friends, some followers and some fuckwits. But honestly, I don't know what else to do, there are some genuine differences of opinion which I will respect, but if your opinion is that some people are not as worthy as some other people simply because of their faith/race/sexuality/class/gender then I don't have to respect that and you are an arsehole.

Opinions that differ from mine that I will tolerate:

That you don't enjoy the same music as me (Billy Joel excepted).
That you don't like my books.
That you think I dress like an idiot.
That football is important.
That capitalism can still work (though expect some laughing).
That the Monarchy are worth every penny.
That it matters whether the jam or cream goes first on a scone.
That tea is not a meal, but a thing you do at about half four with cake.
That your god is real.

Things that I will no longer classify as 'just a different point of view':

Nigel Farage.
That your god thinks the LGBTQI community are evil and subhuman.
That your god thinks you should inflict harm on anybody.
That racist/sexist/homophobic/transphobic/rape jokes are just 'banter'.
That trans-women go through all they do to perv on cis-women in toilets.
That Trump is not a lying, self-serving white supremacist.
That this country is being brought to its knees by immigration rather than tax-dodging, land-owning, grouse-shooting, xenophobic cunts.
That climate change is 'just a natural process, human activity has nothing to do with it.'
That your linked article from Spiked, The Canary or the Daily Mail has anything in it that isn't complete propagandist bullshit.
Nigel Bloody Farage.
That unborn babies have more right to life than foreign adults.
That the laws of economics are as unchangeable as the laws of physics.
Any clear shit-stirring post that involves poppys or people in shops disrespecting our 'brave armed forces' I've never seen one that's actually true - check Snopes.
That an advisory referendum result won by breaking electoral law and barefaced lies represents democracy and anyone questioning it is a traitor.
Any shared Facebook post that begins or ends with the words 'Share if you agree...' or 'Share if you remember...' IT'S A FUCKING CLICKFARM KAREN!
That vaccinations are bad.
That mentally ill people just need to pull themselves together.
Anything at all that mentions chemtrails, prehistoric aliens or a flat earth.
That my socks, bright green crocs and corduroy combination is not cool.
Nigel Bloody Fucking Cunty-Faced Farage.
(I have not mentioned the Hopkins woman out of respect for her family).

And that's pretty much all I can think of, there's probably more, please add to the list in the comments.