Westfield, The Terrolympics & Me

A couple of years ago when the Westfield in Shepherds Bush was announced I was distinctly underwhelmed. Do we really need more shops? In this global recession?

Then when the central line was suspended for 8 months at 4 weeks notice to “accelerate transport improvements ahead of the Westfield development” I was pissed off; and when I found out that Westfield had helped to pay for the work and heard the rumour that it was on the condition that the work was done in the day time (and in turn starve local business) I straight up loathed the place.

Then it opened and it had a Waitrose so I left my principals at the door and filled my boots with lovely foods… I reconciled my guilt with the fact that it was that or Morrisons and I’m only human.

I shop in the Waitrose there most days (I’m an actor, I don’t have anything better to do) and have done since it opened; and as time has tempered my ire (and made me a hypocrite) I also go there to buy pants and socks from M&S (easy girls) and games from Game (sexier by the second); to cut a story short I’m a regular Westfield bitch.

A couple of days ago I went to M&S and bought some jogging bottoms which turned out to be too long for my little fat body so today I took them back to change them.

Only I didn’t.

On approaching the Westfield I noticed there were lots of private security guards, an airport style walk through metal detector and a sniffer dog.

As I made my way to the store one of the security guards approached me and in a very friendly manner said that they were carrying out random checks and that they’d like to search me. I replied that I didn’t feel that was appropriate but that I would like to return the jogging bottoms to M&S.

Then another security guard came over (again very friendly, I can’t stress that enough) and explained that for people’s safety they were randomly checking bags, searching and sniffing people with metal dectors and the dog.

I asked the chap if that was legal and he said that as Westfield was private property it was perfectly legal and if I wouldn’t consent to the search they would simply refuse me admittance.  I said that I was happy for him to look in my bag but personally I felt that the metal detector and dog was a step too far.

The chap said that I should just think of it like I was at the airport and that it really wasn’t a big deal. I said that it doesn’t seem right to have to be searched and sniffed  to go shopping and he replied that  he understood where I was coming from “Blame the Olympics, this really is just for peoples safety”.

At this point he lent into me and said quietly “Look sir, you’re a nice guy, very calm and polite. You’re not the type we’re worried about but we have to be seen to be even handed with the searches”.

This didn’t really have the reassuring effect on me that he hoped it would.

I thanked him for his honesty and started to head back home only to be told that I couldn’t walk the way I needed to (completely in the open, past the restaurants) so I had to turn back around and walk back the long way home.

I’ve not really processed this all yet, apologies for this blog being a bit of a stream of conciousness, I just wanted to get down the turn of events as quickly as I could; I understand that there are times when security measures are necessary but obligatory  searches for shopping are surely beyond the pale. I worry that this could set a dangerous precedent for the future and I wouldn’t be suprised if these private security searches stick…

Also now I can’t go to the fucking gym.

Thanks for reading.

PS While writing this blog I’ve been getting a bit of stick on Twitter for making  a big deal out of nothing (These are vastly outnumbered by positive respones though). If you don’t think this is a problem then that’s great. Genuinely. But I’d want to know if this had happened to someone else and so I’m just passing it on.

Is it justifiable to treat people as criminals to protect them from criminals?

Stupid Fucking Heliotropes

I decided to write this blog today because I just couldn’t put my thoughts about The Sun newspaper into 140 characters.

There has been a lot of talk about The Sun in the last couple of days and I’m enjoying the debate, anything that gets us talking about this countries media has got to be a good thing.

I don’t buy newspapers, I think in their current form they do more harm than good. There are a handfull of great journalists in this country but no great papers, some are better than others, but none do more good than harm. I’m no expert but it seems to me that one of the biggest problems is that the press have to make money; money is made through advertising; big business only advertise in a non contrary environment; A non contrary environment for big business is one which doesn’t talk about unsavoury truths; Uncovering unsavoury truths is journalism.

Newspapers don’t expose the truth, they present a highly filtered and designed version of the world which their sponsors would have us live in. They create a world where the West is purely a benevolent force, where the destruction of the planet is to be ignored or even celebrated and where the poor and the vulnerable are a hindrance:

As a purely benevolent force can do no wrong, the West’s atrocities are simply “Mistakes”, whereas other countries atrocities are carried out knowingly and therefore “Act’s of Evil”.

Environmentally devastating cheap flights, gas guzzling 4×4’s and power sapping electronic devices are peddled without restraint while climate change is accelerating at a rate beyond which anyone could of predicted. A global blind spot has been facilitated by the media to the extent that the most important issue of our time is ignored.

When the super rich are responsible for times of economic hardship they just play us off against each other; It’s down to the disabled, the “benefit scroungers”, the strikers, the rioters, the kids… And when that doesn’t work they’ll just throw a bit of casual racism into play and stoke up a bit of hatred for Johnny Foreigner (the funny speaking bastard). If you dare to question these “truths” or heaven forfend actually protest you are attacked as a trouble maker or ridiculed as a loon; and It works a treat, it really, really works a treat.

In all of this what I find most troubling is the growing disparity between the taught world of the media and the perceived world we experience. The taught world is designed for us by newspapers, television, advertising, social media, friends; it’s information which is once removed, things we are told, a world bereft of experience. The perceived world is made up of what we actually see, touch, hear, taste and smell. A world made purely of experience.

We exist in both worlds and it’s good to know the difference.

You would hope the perceived world would take priority, but the taught world of the media is powerful and many of us are enlightened by papers that care only about profit and have no inclination or incentive to be morally correct or socially beneficial. Yesterday The Sun ran an article in its defence by Trevor Kavanagh titled:

“Witch-hunt has put us behind ex-Soviet states on Press freedom”

I detest the erosion of any freedom, press or otherwise, but is this genuinely a big concern for The Sun? It wasn’t last week when they felt no need to cover the Twitter joke trial, controversial for being an extraordinary attack on freedom of speech.

This headline is outdated rhetoric, a paper clinging onto an imagined sense of superiority. Why is it not enough to bemoan a weak government for failing the public? The headline could read:

“UK Press drops down World Press Freedom index”

But it doesn’t. It reads:

“Witch-hunt has put us behind ex-Soviet states on Press freedom”

What does this headline imply? To me it suggests that Britain has a God given right to be ahead of ex socialist states when it comes to matters of press freedom. Do they realise how offensive that is? It seems to me they are so entrenched in their mind sets that they can’t even see how archaic and odious those mindsets are.

At a time when they are doing their absolute utmost to obtain a moral high ground they can’t even get out seven words without exposing their in ground jingoism. Or maybe they know exactly what they are doing and they’re just trying to tap into the xenophobia they’ve helped to culture. Who knows, either way it doesn’t really fill me with empathy.

Kavanagh talks about the disparity in the response to the banking and newspaper scandals and while I agree I do wonder if we’re coming from the same end of the stick; I think the banks were treated much too leniently and should have been hit just as hard as the press; but isn’t Kavanagh actually just asking for the same softly softly approach for the press that the banks enjoyed? And although the disparity between the treatment of the banks and press is wrong, getting it right the once is certainly preferable to fucking it up both times.

I’ll leave you with this from Mr Kavanagh “It is important that we do not jump to conclusions. Nobody has been charged with any offence, still less tried or convicted.” Very good point, tell it to Christopher Jefferies.

So forgive me if I don’t shed a tear when The Sun sets.

And those who preach it’s shameful and uncaring to celebrate the potential death of an absolute bully of a rag, which pushes misogyny, sexism, jingoism, war and xenophobia are beyond a joke. Or maybe they’ve just been blinded by The Sun.

Stupid fucking Heliotropes.

Cameron; He does exactly what it says on the tin.

I loathe David Cameron and Nick Clegg.

If I had to give an order to that hatred then I must say that Clegg would win, but please don’t get me wrong, just because I prefer Cameron to Clegg that doesn’t mean that I like Cameron, just that my dislike for Clegg is greater.

I also find Mussolini preferable to Hitler, having one leg broken preferable to having both legs broken and Bolton preferable to Stoke but this does not for one second mean that I in any way like Mussolini, having a leg broken or Bolton; Just imagine Mussolini breaking your leg in Bolton, that would be horrible, but it wouldn’t be as bad as Hitler breaking both of your legs in Stoke.

I don’t want to speak on your behalf but I think we can all agree on that.

I have a very strong disliking for Tories and their elitist, ultra capitalist ideology… so why if I had a couple of freebies would I punch Clegg first? (Actually maybe I’d use Cameron as a sort of warm up punch and then unleash my warmed fist of justice on Clegg’s pudgy little face of lies…hmmm, not sure, leave it with me).

Allow me to explain.

Tories, as we all know, are vile, twisted, destroyers of society and seeing as Cameron is a Tory I would expect Cameron to be a vile, twisted destroyer of Society, obviously. So no surprise there.

Cameron is and always has been exactly as advertised, he is Ronseal made flesh.

Complaining about David Cameron being abhorrent is like going out, buying a can of dog shit, getting it home, opening it and complaining that it’s a can of fucking dog shit!!

But you bought it, you bought that can of shit.

Clegg however is like a packet of Kettle chips (and we all know Kettle chips are delicious) that you’ve brought home and opened only to find that inside is actually a can of dog shit.

And no one bought that shit.

Open them up and you’ll find that Clegg and Cameron are both exactly the same, they are both just cans of rancid shit.

But one of them is masquerading as a crisp.

NB: A very good friend thinks that Cameron is just as two faced as Clegg and highlight’s several of his actions as proof but that is missing my point.

He’s supposed to be a duplicitous lying twat, he’s a Tory.