My profuse apologies that this blog has been sadly neglected for a few weeks now. But finally the current crop of drab columns in the Manx press has convinced me to end this indolence.
Why on earth are such dismal excuses for opinion in print? Why here, why now? What possible purpose do they serve, apart from confirming to townies the dullness, pointlessness and sheer cretinism of existence in a redneck backwater? Manx columnists never used to be this bad.
The blokey Stu Peters I liked, even when disagreeing with him, and Paul Speller was also always worth a read. But the current offenders……!
Well, Terry Crinkle is what he is and always was. Cheerfully one step behind, a bit like your unfortunate mate’s grandad making the odd off-colour joke, but no real harm. Old Crinkly is of his era, still clinging on in there and good luck to him. I could do without any of the nostalgia he produces elsewhere, but his little Examiner column is dependable, old school hackery, and more power to his arthritic elbow.
Pullyman, by contrast, is sheer drivel. Seriously, what kind of slack-jawed yokel gets off on the droolings of this dullard? Oh wait, have you met many Manx people? Well, OK, we know who gets off on it, but the job of any real columnist is to slap them, hard.
Which is where you might expect Bernie Moffatt would come in. When they gave him a weekly rant, I thought, ‘Oh good, now we might get a few home truths’. And for a week, or maybe two, we did. Then I started to get worried. I knew Bernie very well back in the 1980’s, so what happened? Has he been told to tone it down, that certain topics are off limits? If not, I just scratch my head to know why he spends so many words saying so little that is new or different.
And I have never read the Green Column – ever- and seriously doubt if anyone else has apart from the particular tree-huggers who write it. I suspect even fellow FOE members take one glance, recognise the leaflets it came from then use it to lag their pipes…or something. But if anyone seriously wonders why it is even there, I should let you into a secret.
Because years back I commissioned the first green column in a Manx paper, long before such things were fashionable (at least amongst the professional classes). The editor liked it immediately because (unlike average members of the public asked to comment for publication) greens go on, and on, and on……
I was sincere enough in proposing it and getting it established, but eventually, like my canny editor, I just liked it because it was a page I never had to fill, so I could spend more time on real stories. Which is always a plus for any local journo putting in 80 hour weeks – at least 70 of which can be soul-destroying.
I felt the same way about the earnest types who typed reams about hairy-knuckled lads kicking each other around muddy fields each Saturday, even as their surviving subjects were getting legless. Splendid fellows all, just never ask them about the offside rule.
This has always been the way small and genuine community newspapers work. What has changed is that now (a) even the local papers are owned by huge corporations run by faceless accountants and (b) because their survival depends upon the advertising of even bigger corporations there is no other news either.
If it was news, their management and advertisers would not want it printed, but the same parties will insist that the pseudo-events dreamed up by such corporations be reported ad nauseum. This is where the business supplement fits in.
All of which means that with no local professional opportunities to find and report news (and no Manx public appetite for opinion pieces from anyone with an informed, original thought) I may as well write here for fun, and anyone who cares to drop by. So, as long as the drivel flows on the IOM newspapers site, I shall try to produce here something you might be reading in a saner, funnier society.