The Little Black Mermaid Matters

Ryan Griffen was playing X-Men with his son and wanted to give him an Aboriginal superhero. The Aboriginal sci-fi show Cleverman was born. In series 2, the super humans, the Hairy people (who appear in many Aboriginal traditional stories) were allowed to have their DNA replace to become human. They had to use a modern name, not speak their traditional language, not have any of their traditional art or music in their lives, and become fully human.


This echoed how Aboriginal people who wanted to assimilate into white cultures in the 1960s were treated. We see Trevor in his flat, with no family, no warmth, no culture, nothing that marked him out as a Hairy or as an individual. His life was utterly meaningless.

The same thing was done with African slaves in the USA. They were given European names, were not allowed to speak their own language, not allowed to sing their own songs. It was a major part of the dehumanising process.


Fast forward to 2022. We have a Black Little Mermaid. The Little Mermaid comes from a Danish story by Hans Christian Anderson and was first published in 1837. It has since been the subject of studies by Danish academics about the meaning behind a tragic story that ended happily. The original story comes from Danish mythical spiritual beings, and Anderson’s mermaid reached spiritual being status because of the sacrifices she makes for her Prince. The mermaid at Copenhagen is renowned around the world, like the Mannequin Pis in Brussels. Race swap Ariel for a Black, non-Danish actor, and this is problematic because Danes back in 1837 were all white.


Do we gain anything from the race swap? What if a Danish studio had made the new film? It may have been rooted more in Danish folklore and understandings, and made it more of a genuine story loaded with culture and heritage that would have educated us as an audience on Danish stuff and given us a richer experience. Race swapping Ariel to be Black is just a cheap gimmick. Mermaids are not part of Black cultures as far as I am aware. I am aware they are very much part of European cultures, from Denmark to Ireland. There is one story about a mermaid in Ireland becoming a Christian and being baptised by a bishop. Mermaids were a big part of European folklore.


Now I turn my attentions to the new Narnia stage show.


Oh yes, Lucy – a child from 1930s, 1940s England – is now Black. What does this add to the story? Nothing. Absolutely nothing except wokenistas clapping at how stunning and brave it is to have a Black person on a stage, as though Black actors are a totally new concept.


For anyone who isn’t aware, the story of The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe is set against the backdrop of evacuations in the Second World War. England was being bombed by German planes, so children from the cities and major towns were sent to the countryside (and the USA and Canada). Some children had a great time with their hosts and went on to have fond memories of this time. Other children were physically and/or sexually abused by their hosts.


The four children in this Narnia story were evacuees, missing their parents, scared about the war and lonely in a big house with an odd professor. This is trauma that real children experienced. CS Lewis, by writing this story, was giving a gift to the children who grew up with the memories of evacuation and war. He gave them this story, a story about finding God and goodness even in a time of utter despair. CS Lewis had fought in the First World War, and he knew how vital it was to hold onto goodness and God in such horrendous times.


Now race swap the children. By race swapping the children to be children who never lived in England in the 1930s and 1940s and never experienced the horrors of that time, the stage production has taken away one of the deepest meanings of this story.


Taken away one of the deepest meanings and messed with CS Lewis’ therapy for his traumas, which is also happening to the work of his friend and fellow ex soldier Tolkien. Tolkien, in writing Lord Of The Rings, was writing of his own experiences in the trenches, and he also wanted to give a gift of folklore to the UK and Europe, to the peoples of the countries who fought so hard for liberty.


And in come the race swappers, trashing Tolkien’s writing therapy for his PTSD and trashing his gift to the people who fought for freedom in Europe. What does race swapping a few dwarves add to the story? Black people exist. I never knew that before!


Hang on, I did, because I am a human being who loves other human beings… and almost every TV advertisement in the UK features Black people and mixed race people solely. The UK is 85% white British, but almost all the actors in our TV advertisements are Black or mixed race. A few are Asian. No Chinese. Apparently, Chinese people don’t exist.


But it’s representation!


Yes, Ghana has just passed a law that bans white people from its TV advertisements. So it’s OK when an African country passes a law to genuinely represent its population, but it’s not OK for the UK to do it. We would see riots on the streets if anyone in the UK government even spoke about the TV ads race issue. But Ghana has done it – Ghana, which is now a world leader for tech and business. Go Ghana.


The race swapping only goes in one direction. In the past, white actors such as Scarlet Johansson have played BAME characters, and have since apologised for this.


We now have an Indian version of Forrest Gump. Don’t Indian people have their own stories? Yes they have. They have incredible stories that are rooted in Indian history, culture and heritage. Instead of seeing a Forrest Gump remake, I’d love to see big screen depictions of the beauty and diversity of India.


Back in the 1990s, we had a great band in the UK called Kula Shaker, named after an Indian god. The band were all white but New Age believers who covered Indian and Buddhist songs, and their videos were stunning. Anyone of my age from the UK, whatever their race, can sing “Govinda”. The lead singer Crispian Mills (son of actor Hayley Mills and director Roy Boulting) went to India’s rural areas for a documentary and showed us the beautiful temples in isolated areas. Gold temples in the middle of nowhere. Stunning, uplifting and educational.


Same with Skunk Anansie, a Black and white band who wrote tracks about mental illness, love and life in general. Their name comes from a Caribbean story. I never knew about this until I saw Skunk Anansie in an interview.


The UK learned about other cultures and other histories when we cherished other cultures. Race swapping doesn’t teach anyone anything. It’s just something for the wokenistas to talk about with their middle class, white, heterosexual friends, or to tweet about with other middle class, white, heterosexual people. I have seen young Black women or girls on social media saying they now feel good about themselves because they can see a Little Black Mermaid. Eeek. Placing your self worth in a cartoon. Not how I build self esteem, self worth and my character.


Jane Elliot, the veteran American anti racism campaigner, was on a TV talk show. A woman from the audience said to Jane that she was glad that we live in the melting pot now. Jane said hold up. When we eat a salad, do we put the pepper, the lettuce, the cucumber, the tomatoes and the cress into the food blender, then drink the sludge it creates? No! We want to taste the pepper, we want to taste the tomato, we want to taste the cucumber. And this is how it is with people. Do we want a grey, meaningless, boring, bland mess? Or do we want vibrant, diverse, different, individual people who we can get to know and love?


Culture – including stories – matter. We know this from how culture, stories, music and language were taken away from Aborigines. It resulted in drug and alcohol addictions and children over represented in young people’s prisons and then in adult prisons. Briggs, the Aboriginal rapper, addresses this in the track Bad Apples. If we take culture, stories, music and language away from people, their heart is ripped out. Their meaning is taken from them.


We have to ask why big corporations, the story telling outlets and some Black folk are so keen for white peoples to have our culture, stories and music taken away from us. Is it the over correction that Douglas Murray talks about in Madness of Crowds? Or is it something more sinister? In many comments I have seen from Black people on one facebook thread about the new The Little Mermaid, if those comments were made by white people about Black people, they would have been removed from facebook and the people who had made the comments would likely get a ban from facebook. But the several hundred comments were comments about how white people deserve x, y and z, ha ha ha, white people are evil, etc etc.


One more example is some English Morris dancers have stopped using black face paint. They did not want to be perceived as racist. The black face paint was used for three main purposes.


1) To honour Black people – Morris dancing came from Moorish dancing.
2) To honour coal miners who worked incredibly hard for us.
3) To tell a story about a raven.


Nothing racist at all. I wish people would learn about the things they criticise. If people are in the UK either for a holiday or to live here, whether they were born here or not, they should learn our culture and our history.


So, no black face paint for some Morris dance sides now. But no one has told Aborigines to stop using white face and body paint. Again, the Aborigines are not using white paint to be racist. Their paint is about hunting or spiritual stories or being sexually attractive. Nothing racist. Yet they can keep their white paint and the Morris dancers are criticised by clueless, race obsessed people for using black paint.

So again, the demand to change culture and heritage to fit 2022’s woke sensibilities only goes in one direction.


But it’s only face paint!


1) It is part of our heritage and culture, celebrating our racial diversity and our hard working men and our stories.
2) It’s the thin end of the wedge.


Sure, most white Brits aren’t into Morris dancing and don’t give a monkey’s hairy bottom about this, but most white Brits are starting to feel uncomfortable about how the traffic is one way traffic and how the anti white racism that is being thrown at us is supposed to be how we go about defeating racism against Black and brown people. Demonising European cultures and demonising white people is only going to create resentment and racism. And I am seeing resentment and racism against BAME people increase.


As Douglas Murray said in the case of race, we were doing very well and heading towards a racially equal society in the UK. Our generation grew up with friends from many different backgrounds and we saw it as no big deal. We didn’t even think about it. We sang Skunk Anansie songs, we chanted Govinda, we fancied Naveen Andrews and Sonique, it was all good. No one tried to ban white music, and no one thought they were big and clever for liking Black and Asian music. Let’s get back to happier and more relaxed times.

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We Need Help

We need help. Maybe you have been in need of help from the boys and girls in blue lately?

On Saturday afternoon, I was walking through my city centre and started to walk down a smaller street where council offices are, close to where several restaurants are. Two men who I could see were addicted to heroin (I worked with addicts for 20 years) approached me, begging for money. I kept walking. One of the men started following me, demanding money, shouting at me, becoming aggressive. I turned around and told him that he should not be following me. He crossed the road and went back to his friend, but shouted all sorts of obscenities and threats at me.

I worked with people addicted to everything imaginable for 20 years. In the past, I never saw behaviour like this. In the last year, I have seen addicts threatening an elderly lady who refused to give money, and I saw a man shouting at a foreign student who seemed to feel like she had to give him money. He was still shouting obscenities at her while she was handing him all the money she had in her purse. Most beggars are softly spoken when they ask for money, but increasingly some are not and are quite aggressive and confrontational.

I spoke with the police. I said the behaviour is getting worse and I am worried that members of the public will be physically attacked, especially as the financial crisis deepens and the public give beggars less money. I am worried that people will be physically attacked.

In the past, addicts or other homeless people used to regulate other addicts’ or homeless people’s behaviours. The older guys especially were grateful for all the help they got and they knew that their help would be cut if there was bad behaviour, so they “had words” with anyone who was aggressive or even violent.

Some services I worked in would evict a client if there were reports of them causing trouble with the neighbours or the wider community. First, we did not tolerate that sort of behaviour and we were teaching people what acceptable behaviour in society was, and second, we did not want the police or council to close our services. We never saw behaviour like the behaviour I am witnessing or experiencing for myself.

But I should have talked to the man instead of walking away.

Two months ago, I spoke with police officers due to previous behaviour I have seen in the streets with beggars, and the advice of the police is to give beggars a wide berth and to not engage with them.

The behaviour this weekend, which happened in the city centre in broad daylight, has jolted me to get back to my plans of looking into what private security teams do when they patrol areas of paying clients.

In some parts of the UK, people are fed up with the lack of policing, thus their safety being compromised, and so give £13 per year to a private security company to patrol their street, deal with low level anti social behaviour, clean graffiti off their property and help when they have been burgled.

I am very interested in these teams, and the novel I wrote earlier this year was around a group of police detectives who were sick of not being able to help people so quit the police and set up their own private security team to help their community. I will contact several teams that exist in real life and see if I can go out on patrol with them and see what sort of issues come up in their day to day work plus how they deal with these issues.

Last week, the BBC reported that a gang of teenagers in the Lancashire town of Chorley are terrorising other children in the town, attacking the children and posting the attacks on social media. The police made a statement to the concerned parents of the victims. According to the BBC article, the police said that they would only come out of a child suffered brain damage. There has been no refute of this article by the police.

The parents have set up their own patrols of Chorley’s parks and town centre. Good.

I do have to ask what we are paying our taxes for. We have all had to pay more council tax in the last year, and council tax helps to fund the police. I do not know why we as a nation and as individuals are paying for a service we are not receiving. I do not know where the money we pay for policing is going.

When only 6% crimes are solved in the UK, with a 1% prosecution rate for rape, we have to ask what on Earth is going on with our police, where is our money going and why are our police so incapable of solving crimes.

This country is a mess. We need to face up to this fact, and we need good people to step forward.

I will be coming out of retirement. I don’t know in what sort of capacity that will be, but my skills, knowledge and experience are needed. We have many more highly skilled and able people with the heart to do something to help our friends and neighbours and to help turn this country around.

I would also love to see the police get back to what they should be doing.

Town Pastors or Street Angels operate in many towns and cities, including London. They are Christian run charities, but anyone can join and patrol without pay their town or city centre, offer help to people in need and simply be there. They do work in conjunction with the police and so are recognised as a decent organisation, not groups of hoodlums berating girls for wearing western clothes or attacking lgbt people as a couple of patrols from other groups in London did a few years ago.

If you want to help with patrolling the streets, your local Town Pastors or Street Angels are the best places to start. You can move on from them if they are not your bag, but they are a good place to start. Always work in conjunction with the police, uphold UK law in your own practice as well as with those with criminal intent and do whatever you do for the right reasons.

The Key is the first of my novels that feature a private security team. It is available on Amazon for £1.99 as an ebook and £6.99 as a paper back.

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Murder And Mayhem At The Notting Hill Carnival

One man murdered, seven more people stabbed and eight reported sexual assaults. One female police officer was sexually assaulted, and another female police officer was held in a head lock and sexually assaulted by a number of men. Was this a gratuitous Tarantino film, or was it the Notting Hill Carnival?


The Notting Hill Carnival dates back to 1958 when a Trinidadian immigrant Claudia Jones wanted to unite people rather than divide people after a spate of racially motivated attacks against West Indian immigrants in London. As I have said before, many things that turn sour were started with the best of intentions.


I have never been to the Notting Hill Carnival, and I would never want to. I have been to the New Year’s Day parade in London. That was fine, no problems, lots of fun. Same with Bonfire Night in London. Big crowds, fine, no problems. But the Notting Hill Carnival is something that has never appealed to me, and I noticed that every year it was on, there were knifings, sometimes shootings, lots of class A drugs and fist fights.


Notting Hill Carnival is said to be the biggest street festival in the world. It is a free event where you can go to the streets in London and party. There is loud music and well, that’s it.


I go to different festivals – mostly folk festivals – and I was at one at the time the Notting Hill Carnival was being held. At the festival I was at, no one was sexually assaulted, no one was stabbed, no one was punched and no one was murdered. At the festival I went to, there were so many activities for the children – everything from an entertainer doing tricks to shallow boxes with different textured bottoms so that children could feel different surfaces with their feet. There were litter picking teams so that the site was completely clear of rubbish, there were weaving classes, how to play a musical instrument classes, some people were reading, some people were playing their own music… There were lots of activities. At Notting Hill Carnival, there is the music and that is it.


You can go on Youtube and find footage of the full Adults Day at Notting Hill Carnival. There is a Children’s Day the day before, too. The Adults’ Day is where all the drugs and violence happens. If you look up Notting Hill Carnival, you will find pictures of women dressed like this.


And this.


These are not unique pictures. Most of the women in the carnival procession are dressed in this way. Butt cheeks on show and nipples only just covered. Is this what Black London wants us to see and think about Black women? How are Black girls supposed to process this? Do Black girls see this as the only way to be a Black woman? Do Black girls see no other future than making themselves a sex object?

Take away the Notting Hill bit and the feathers and you would assume that these women were lap dancers or prostitutes.


There has been a recent complaint in the media that Black girls and Black women are hyper sexualised by white people, teachers and police officers, and then we are presented with these images.

This police officer was at the Notting Hill Carnival to do his job. He did not ask this woman to rub her bottom against his penis. This is sexual assault. But it’s OK according to some Black feminists and queer folk because it is a Black woman taking her power back from a white oppressor. Yes, I’ve actually seen that in previous years when Black women are photographed or filmed sexually assaulting male officers. I don’t know why these women are never arrested, but it’s a bad look for white male officers to arrest a Black woman for taking back her power from them.


Many social commentators have rightly called out the hyper sexualised behaviour at a lot of Pride events in the USA and UK, and the people – usually men – in the Pride parades wearing nothing but a thong and twerking and otherwise behaving sexually. I am glad people have called out this sort of behaviour. It does nothing to present us LGBT people as normal, every day people who just want to get on with our normal, every day lives.


Now, back to the almost nakedness at the Notting Hill Carnival and the women with all but their nipples and vagina on show.


If you watch footage of Notting Hill Carnival, you will see men running up to these almost naked women and filming themselves with them.


If you watch footage of the Notting Hill Carnival, you will see many women dancing sexually, twerking and more.


If you watch footage of the Notting Hill Carnival, you will see complete strangers dancing extremely sexually, as though they were having sex.


So women with their nipples and vagina barely covered are dancing sexually, are dancing like strippers and lap dancers, and the men are approaching the women, drunk and high. At least in lap dance clubs, men are thrown out when they are drunk or high and there is a no touching rule. This is so that the women are not sexually assaulted.


Women and girls are sexually assaulted at Notting Hill Carnival. If you have a highly sexualised atmosphere, no ability to control behaviour because everyone is crowded tightly together, and add to that drink and drugs, what do you think is going to happen?


But surely not every year at Notting Hill Carnival is a hotbed of crime? OK, let’s look at some of the recent years.


2016: 25 police officers assaulted, 90 knives taken off people, 13 sexual assaults, 6 GBHs and 17 assaults. Almost 200 arrests for drugs offences.


2018: 25 police officers assaulted, 70 knives taken off people, 20 sexual assaults, 1 GBH and 13 assaults, plus 170 arrests for drugs offences.


2019: 37 police officers assaulted, 34 knives taken off people, 10 sexual assaults, 5 GBHs and 14 assaults, plus 162 arrests for drugs offences.


The police say they want to either shut down the Notting Hill Carnival or move it to a closed location because they dread policing it every year. One female police officer sexually assaulted. Another female police officer held in a head lock and sexually assaulted by a number of men.


Does this sound like the kind of party that you want to go to?


The BBC said that Notting Hill Carnival was “warm and uplifting”. Here is a warm and uplifting photograph of a man punching a woman to the ground after another woman pulled her by her hair and the man grabbed her and slapped her.

He punches a female stranger to the ground. In public, in broad daylight. This behaviour is normal to him. He is not ashamed, he is not trying to hide it. To him, punching a woman to the ground is a normal, every day event. Same with the woman who pulled her hair, too. To these people, violence is normal and nothing to be ashamed of.


If you go on Youtube, you can find several pieces of footage of different fights at Notting Hill Carnival from this year’s event. You will find a group of men attacking one man, you will find 20-30 young men (possibly gang members) fighting under a railway bridge in a crowd of people, you will find five men attacking one man, and another man keeps coming up to kick the man who is on the ground. It goes on. There’s quite a few different fights caught on camera and put on Youtube from this year’s Notting Hill Carnival.


All of this is giving racists an excuse. They can point to the evidence caught on camera as evidence that Black people are not the same as white people. And they do. Under much of the footage, you can see for yourselves the racist comments.


But people die at other festivals and there were fires and looting at Leeds festival this year!


Yes. One 16 year old died from a drugs over dose, not from being stabbed, and the man arrested for starting the fires at Leeds was Black. So yet more ammunition for racists. A majority white festival where a Black man was arrested for starting the fires. It is ammunition for racists.


I personally think that Black people are equal to white people in every way. As many Brits know, I know that the police of the UK are a joke. They don’t come out for break ins, even if a woman phones and says that men are breaking into her house, they do not come. I have been attacked in the street by addicts and by young men and the police threatened me with arrest if I continued to press for them to do something. And the police are racist; they hardly chase Black and brown criminals for the most serious crimes such as murder of women and children for “honour” reasons, stabbing, rape and child rape trafficking, and very few arrests result in court action, conviction or prison time. Our politicians have been too scared to say what needs to be said; that criminal behaviour will result in criminal prosecution and jail time.


Knife crime and sexual assaults in London are disproportionally committed by Black and Asian men and are disproportionally committed against Black and Asian men and women. Only one murder of a woman in London has been covered in the main stream media this years so far, yet over 12 women have been murdered on the streets of London. Why were these women’s murders not covered? Because they were committed by Black or brown men – mostly not British born. We regularly see footage of Black men fighting with knives or swords on the streets of London. We see groups of 20 Black school children attacking one lone Black school child in the street and stabbing that one lone child to death. In 2013, 400 children of African descent or African birth in London were murdered by their parents or care givers for being “witches” or possessed by the devil. Social Services said the figure of 400 “was the tip of the iceberg”.


Black and Asian criminals know that the UK is a free for all in regards to crime, including the most serious crimes, and so they know they can commit these crimes with almost no fear of being caught or no fear of being sent to prison.


Having watched Youtubes of young Black Londoners preparing for Notting Hill Carnival or saying why they don’t go to Notting Hill Carnival, I have concluded that sexual assault is normalised amongst Black girls in London and gang violence is a normal, every day experience of Black people in London, even if they are not part of a gang. The Youtubes I watched of people going to the Notting Hill Carnival or avoiding it warned people about gang violence and sexual violence at the Notting Hill Carnival.


Sasha Johnson, the BLM activist and a student at a prestigious college in Oxford at still lies in a hospital bed with part of her skull removed after she was shot in the head at a house party in London last year. Sasha was not part of a gang, but someone else who was at the party was involved in some criminal activity. Four Black men turned up with guns and began shooting indiscriminately at the party. Sasha was caught in the cross fire. The court case against these men collapsed after witnesses refused to testify. Sasha remains in a hospital bed and three children are robbed of their mother.


This is what happens when the law was not applied equally due to skin colour, where society expects lesser behaviours because they say people of different backgrounds did not have the same opportunities as white people, that guns and knives and over sexualising girls and murdering children for being “witches” and beating and murdering women for being independent is “another culture” as was shouted by the course leader on an equal opportunities course I attended in 2004.


And so we get the Mayor of London tweeting that Notting Hill Carnival has been “largely peaceful”. Largely peaceful where one man is murdered, seven others are stabbed, eight women and girls report being sexually assaulted and two police officers are sexually assaulted.


The seeds for this were sown 25 or more years ago with one rule for one group and one rule for another group.

This bias teaches Black girls that they are sex objects and to expect violence, and it teaches Black boys that violence, drugs and murder are normal and they should expect these crimes in their lives.


I went to a festival last weekend. No one was stabbed, no one was punched, no one was murdered and no one was sexually assaulted. No one at the festival would stand for that sort of behaviour.


I hope they scrap the Notting Hill Carnival. This is how our modern culture is represented to the world. This is modern England. A Levellers song from 1992 about fox hunting says, “If this is as far as culture’s got, then I deny it.” Quite so. I am filled with disgust when I see women bending over in front of complete strangers and rubbing their behind against the stranger’s penis. I am filled with disgust when I see the gangs fighting and men punching women to the ground, and I am filled with disgust at the amount of litter left after the revellers have gone home. It is disgusting and I am embarrassed that my country is being represented in this way. This is what people around the world see of my country.
The UK music festivals promoted on the BBC come with explicit lyrics warnings. Most of those musicians are Black American acts such as Megan Thee Stallion who, like the women at Notting Hill, barely covers her nipples and vagina, and the male acts are Black Americans who rap about violence and drugs. Why can’t we represent the UK with UK music and UK culture, instead of the culture of violence and sex with whoever that we have imported from America?


We have fantastic music in this country, really diverse music, and of high quality, such as Keld, Honey And The Bear, The Dhol Foundation, The Afro Celts, Show Of Hands, Imagined Village, Talisk, Gigspanner, Edward II, 3 Daft Monkeys and much more. We have a wonderful and diverse culture in the UK that fuses our history and landscape with our people. There is something for everyone in the UK and our rich music scene. We do not need to import criminal behaviour from other countries to have a good time. There is something for everyone in the UK.

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Free Financial Advice in the UK


I am not a financial guru. I am someone who has made mistakes, suffered a lot of discrimination in the workplace, been fired for being gay/bi, and so I have suffered money problems, as have many other lgbt people with the latest stats being 1/3 lgbt Londoners live in poverty despite being in work, due to discrimination. This is why I have been posting about finance lately.

I have benefited from getting free financial advice. As I have said, I have made many mistakes with my personal finances – namely not taking any care of my personal finances. However, one good, great thing I did over 10 years ago with my personal finances was to start a private pension.

Around 2006, when Tony Blaire was Prime Minister of the UK, he encouraged every UK citizen to get a private pension. He said with the constantly changing financial landscape, no one knew what pensions in the future may look like or how much money they would give to a UK citizen in their old age.

It remained unsaid that the UK old age pension may not even exist when I reach the age of 67 – the age at which the UK pension is now paid, or if the age of pension receipt would rise further.

Like most of the developed world, the UK has an ageing population. This means that people are living longer, thanks to advances in medicine and changes in lifestyle, plus there are and there will be more older people than younger people. If there are not enough young people working and contributing tax, from which the pension pot is taken, then there may not be a pension for pensioners in years to come.

Therefore, Tony Blaire recommended that all UK citizens get a UK pension.

I didn’t at that point in time. I wish I did.

It was another 5 years later that I got a private pension after the UK government made it law for all private firms with more than 100 staff to pay into their employees’ pensions. I asked my firm and they said they were exempt. Of course!

So I booked a session with an independent financial advisor, and we looked at my health problems, how much I earn each month in general and what sort of standard of living I want. I now pay less than £250 per month into a private pension and the government adds £50 per month.

This means I have a private pension in place now.

But I can’t afford an independent financial advisor!

Neither can I. In the UK every citizen is entitled to free independent financial advice. I booked a session with an independent financial advisor and we talked about how much I earn (not much), my health conditions which could prevent me from working for periods of time and the standard of living I want when I retire.

We then did the paperwork and set up the pension.

My advice to anyone in the UK is to go to your high street’s banks and search online for pensions. When you go into the banks, ask them for information on accounts beyond the normal savings accounts. Ask them what they have on offer. If anything grabs your fancy, book a session with one of their financial advisors. This will be free of charge.

However, an independent financial advisor may work from your bank or from a service attached to your bank, but they are independent, meaning they will give you the pros and cons of all accounts and services open to you. They will listen to what you want, and they will find the financial product that is best for you, whether it is from the bank they are attached to or or.

In the UK, we also have money experts such as Martin Lewis who talks about all things money, and he trusted because he is bang on the money.

Do not do nothing! You need to secure your own future. None of us know what will happen, but we know that it will take money. So plan ahead as much as is possible. Get a pension sorted. I know it sounds boring, but you can take time now to secure money for your future self. By taking time now from the present you, you are giving financially to your future self. You are worth this.

Good luck!

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Intentionality

ALERT! We are being lied to! ALERT!


We are being lied to all the time, and not just by the LGBT media.


We’ve all seen the memes. I posted about them a couple of weeks ago. The memes and twitter “experts” who have no expertise telling us how evil people who have money are, how they have stamped on the human face as they made their money. The latest data in shows that 90% millionaires in the USA are self made, and every racial background you can think of, sex, gender, whatever are represented in the data. Over 80% these millionaires are sure that anyone can become a millionaire if they put in the work.


ALERT! I am going to email money gurus to see if they have counterparts in the UK who can give stunning financial advice for the UK financial scene. If they do, and I get the information, I will share it here, so that you can have stunning financial advice.


OK, let’s get intentional about intentionality.


I heard Chris Williamson who does the podcast Modern Wisdom say “intentional” a few weeks ago. I like this. Chris Williamson is from the same area of the country as me, but he has had a lot of great mentors in life, especially in the areas of morality and finance. I really recommend his podcast.
“Intentional” was a word in UK evangelical Christianity about twenty years ago. Intentional about friendships, intentional about studying the Bible, intentional about dating. This week, I heard Dave Ramsey talk about intentionality about finance.


Dave’s first Baby Step to financial freedom and wealth is to make a budget. He quotes someone else who said, “A budget is telling your money what to do instead of wondering where your money has gone.”


Dave tells us to make a budget at the start of every month. Write it down. Don’t do it on an app. Write down. What are your outgoings? Rent? Debt repayments? Bills? Phone bill? Food? Write it all down. Then write down if you can save, how much you can save. As soon as you get paid, put that money into your emergency fund or your savings.


Dave also says to pay off debts. So if you have money left over, pay off more of your debt. That interest on your debt will keep accruing more debt for you to keep paying more and more. So pay off any debt. Start with the smallest debt first. He calls it the Debt Snowball. Look it up, look up Dave Ramsey and his Baby Steps. You will not regret looking up Dave Ramsey and his Baby Steps. He has helped over 4 million families get out of debt and stay out of debt. When I have a heavy cleaning shift, I put Dave Ramsey or Austin Williams on Youtube and that gives me the boost I need to power through the shift.


Four weeks ago, I heard Chris Williamson say in a podcast that he has worked and invested hard, and saved so that his future wife can take 4-5 years off work on maternity leave without worrying about money. Chris is single. He has no idea who his future wife will be. But he has put money in place so that his future wife has choices. If she has children, she can choose to take maternity leave for up to 5 years. That is a wonderful gift for him to have prepared for his future wife. Chris says that the older men who advise him had all done the same for their wives. Wow. That is intentional living on another level.


People say things like, “I don’t care about money. I don’t want to be rich. Money isn’t important to me.”


Wut?


You go to work for 8 hours per day, 5 days per week. You DO care about money! And if you are lucky enough (insert your own joke) to work in the NHS, care homes or home care, you will work 13 hour shifts. To earn money. You DO care about money.


So what are you going to do about your money?


Write a budget. Pay off debts. Cut any expenses you don’t need eg the porn channel subscriptions. Are you buying too much food? Are you throwing food away because you are buying too much food? Most households in the UK do. So stop buying too much food. Can you go to a cheaper gym? Can you stop using the bus and walk to work instead? I started doing that after Christmas, and I have saved £20 per week, and lost over half a stone.


How are you spending your time? Another thing the finance gurus all say is read. You must read and listen to experts. Don’t listen to your mate who is broke or the jealous and bitter people on social media. Listen to experts. Read other experts. Read current events, business and finance, literature, culture, science, biographies. Just read, keep learning, keep having something to offer the world that you can monetise, and something that brings you joy.


You can spend your time on social media or you can learn and develop new skills, meet new people and make more money.


I go on Facebook maybe twice per week. I usually have a load of Youtubes to dump on my time line – information that I want other people to have access to. I occasionally put an opinion based on my own lived experience, or data and facts according to experts, or both on a discussion. I don’t go back to argue with people who are being nasty or plain don’t know what they’re talking about. I leave my comment and move on because to back and forth with people who don’t know what they’re talking about is a waste of my time, my energy and my peace of mind. Some people will change their mind because of a comment on Facebook. I’ve changed my mind about several things after people who knew what they were talking about commented. The difference between me and many people on Facebook is I am teachable and I do want to learn. I am not ashamed of admitting I am wrong and need to change my mind. Otherwise, I don’t waste my time on social media.

Due to the fact I work online, if I am online, I want to be earning money. One of the platforms I teach on, I learn so much and I talk to people from all over the world. On another platform, I teach material that I write, but the kids always have questions that push me to pull knowledge from the back of my mind and explain it in a child friendly way, so it pushes me to be better than what I was one day ago, and it gives me material for writing more lessons.


As a cleaner, I have remembered reading an interview with a Belgian lady who makes around 80000 Euros per year (£67891 or $80376) as a self employed cleaner. The lady started out cleaning houses, but she also cleaned the street outside of the house. The home owners returned home, astonished at the clean street as well as sparkling house. So they paid more. The lady could then put up her prices. She changed her job title from “Cleaning lady” to what I translate as “Concierge-Caretaker”. She’s a cleaner, absolutely killing it and raking it in! She didn’t do any of this by accident. She had a plan from the beginning. She had learned the best techniques for cleaning. She had taken good advice on how to clean houses. She worked hard, and reaped the rewards.


Be intentional in your friendships. As I said at the start of this blog, this was a big thing in UK evangelical Christianity 20 years ago. But there is something to be said for it, as I have learned, and as all the financial gurus have learned and now teach.


Sorelle Amore uses the quote, “Average minds talk about people, good minds talk about events, great minds talk about ideas.” She said to be careful to be around people who do not talk about other people behind their backs ie gossip. This is just going to pull you down morally, intellectually, emotionally, mentally, and you don’t need that. You need to be around people who will lift you up.


Dave Ramsey quotes the 5-15% figure. Your income will be around 5-15% of what your closest ten friends earn.


Who are you hanging around with? What do you talk about? What are you filling your mind with? Both Dave Ramsey and Sorelle Amore say that you become what you fill your mind with. Whatever you focus on is what you will become.


Chris Williamson says to fuel yourself well. Sleep enough, drink water, work out, read, eat well. Be intentional with how you take care of yourself. You cannot perform at your best if you don’t take care of yourself.

Since I began my journey to financial freedom, I have utilised the pin board – that comes free with my room as part of the furniture – to state how much I should earn each week and how much I should be able to save each month, how much money I want to make online each month, ideas for a book I want to write, and then an updated statement from my savings account. Some people have a vision board. I guess this is my vision board. It is my road map out of poverty.


In the last month, I have saved £800 and paid for a short holiday that is £400. That is the result so far of two months of focussing on finance and listening to the experts. Sure, there’s been more cleaning work in the last month. However, £800 plus a holiday away without having to scrimp is an amazing achievement for one month. I wanted you all to know that I have done this so that you know that what I am writing about works, and that you can go and do this, too.


Tell your money what to do instead of wondering where it has gone.


Go and be successful!

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Blackpool: An Absolute S***hole

Hot on the heels of blog posts on my trips to Manchester and London comes this blog post on my trip to Blackpool. This post will be very different from the others. Sadly.


Blackpool was one of England’s first beach holiday resorts that grew up around Doomsday villages after the invention of the passenger railway in 1825. Workers from Liverpool and the rest of the north west would go either by train if they had a bit of money or by horse and cart if they didn’t, and they would spend a week by the sea, taking in the sea air, the sand and the prostitutes.


For over 150 years, Blackpool’s entertainment revolved around the beach, the family based entertainment and the sex industry, and it was also my home during childhood and several years of my adult life. Street violence was the norm when I was a teenager. One afternoon, I witnessed a man strangling another man on Abingdon Street (main town centre street) and a woman hitting the wheels of her pushchair (stroller) against the strangler’s feet as she tried to get past him. Such was the norm of street violence.


As I said, I lived in Blackpool 15-20 years ago as an adult, and that was a pretty shit time. The violence was so bad in the town centre that the bus drivers refused to drive their buses through the town every summer. Who caused the violence? Mainly the stag and hen parties (bachelor and bachelorette parties) and other single sex groups of heterosexuals who came to our town for a few days or a weekend to party. Partying included getting so drunk they could not walk, taking a shedload of illegal drugs, urinating on homeless people, going to one of the many strip and lap dance clubs, stripping for a bottle of wine in one woman’s case, having indiscriminate sex with whoever and generally behaving in a degenerate way before they got back on the train and went back to whichever sleepy town they came from.


One of my friends who had been in the army said he and some army buddies went to Blackpool for a weekend, and the guys completely trashed a guest house. A guest house is a small hotel that is much cheaper than a hotel. The owner of the guest house is usually poor and depends on their guest house as their income. Guest houses make up most of Blackpool centre’s buildings. People think nothing of wrecking rooms or entire guest houses. Smashed up guest houses, bus shelters and public services brings down the standards for the whole town so that the inhabitants of the town get used to low standards and don’t see them as unusual. Most people in the UK now live in towns with incredibly low standards, and most people don’t realise how poor their surroundings are and how poor their lives are.


So, when I arrived at Blackpool North railway station yesterday and saw the improvements outside – the big flashy Sainsbury’s (semi expensive supermarket), a big The Gym gym and new paving stones, my hopes were higher. After I had passed The Gym and some other big glass building with the name of the local football team and local authority on it, it was downhill from there.


Warwick’s Amusements – the gambling shop – is still there. A gay club has closed and in its place is a new venue where gay people entertain straight people. I went further down Talbot Road and saw one gay pub, and the big pub on the corner has been made into some sort of grown up entertainment bar instead of the family pub with bright decor that it had in the early 2000s. The Bear club (do NOT look up Bear clubs on the internet) had closed but I saw a charity shop for the LGBT community (I’d like some of the proceeds for having endured Blackpool during my formative years) and I saw a man in a gay pride T-shirt. I thought things were looking up.


They weren’t. The rest of this main street was full of tatty shops selling plastic crap and vaping equipment. I turned onto Abingdon Street. The grand old post office building was now boarded up. My old bank was closed, and most shops were closed. Exstacy clothing shop was still there (a nice family ran it when I used to shop there) and a couple of other clothes shops. But most shops were closed, and the famous Abingdon Street Market was closed. That was a shock.


That led me to the large square where the Winter Gardens and Opera House stand proud. I’d performed as a dancer on the stage of the Opera House many times. Sad to see it in the state it’s currently in. It’s falling apart, like the rest of the town.


I went down the street, which was the main shopping street in my day. What did gay teenagers do in the 90s? We’d go to HMV to listen to new music and then go to Whittards to smell the coffee and taste the new sugared, flavoured teas, and then we’d hit The BodyShop to smell the soaps. Whittards has gone, HMV is still there as is The BodyShop, and Costa and Nero’s have set up shop, and then cheap tat (crap, not tattoos) shops. I went to The Grand Theatre, where I danced as a child, which the gays rescued from being closed back in the 90s. It’s now struggling again, and features has-been acts, tribute acts and never-have-been acts. Again, it was heart breaking to see a once great establishment of genuine entertainment reduced to crap.


Walking down that street, seeing the plastic crap sold in the shops, seeing how battered the once glistening glass arches over shop doorways was, I concluded, “It’s an absolute shithole.” I repeated these words several times when I walked around the town.


My reason for going to Blackpool was not to feel heartbroken, but to ride my bike. The city I live in is wonderful, but very hilly, so riding my bike is a task in my city. Blackpool has a long promenade – flat, paved land along the coast stretching for miles, linking several towns. I wanted to bike ride.

So I did, and the sea front was pretty, I saw the big glitter ball and sang the Simple Minds song at it (Glitterball) and then got to the beach where I used to sand yacht.

A sand yacht was a three wheeled cart with a sail, like a boat sail, attached to it, and the yachter controlled the speed by catching the wind with the sail and the direction with pedals. Sadly, two people walking along the beach lost their lives when a sand yacht crashed into them, and the club closed and was never re opened. The beach is still there and is beautiful.


I decided to walk back from the south to the north of the town. In 2003, I worked at the world famous Pleasure Beach. No, that’s nothing sexual. Don’t be a dirty minded biphobic bigot. The Pleasure Beach is a fair ground (carnival), hosting Europe’s tallest roller coaster. I spoke to one of the workers who was greeting visitors to the park and I asked if I could walk around. He said I could, if I paid £46. I said that in my day, people could walk around the park for free. Not anymore. And in my day, it was £26 for an adult wristband to go on all the rides, and £12 for a child’s wristband for the children’s rides. So £46 entry fee now. No wonder the place was almost as silent as a cemetary.


I did go to an inlet behind the park’s hotel and watched The Big One go around with riders on it. There is always something entertaining about that. Or is it the memory of The Big One breaking down and Security guiding riders down the steps of the highest peak of the Tallest Rollercoaster in Europe? I think it was that!


I walked from the south of Blackpool along main roads, and I was shocked at how the area had deteriorated. South and Central were always rough, but there is a difference between rough and nuclear winter. I remember this particular street. 15 years ago, market style shops lined the left side of the road, with painted wooden roofs that stretched out to the pavement, with clothes hanging from them for passers by to inspect and purchase. Those wooden roofs no longer have any paint on them. They are now bare wood boards, and no goods are sold there anymore. Twenty meters up is this building, that is the back of a building on the sea front. Note the giant pile of rubble and a mattress idling at the side.


Across the road are these buildings, just ten meters from the sea front and close to Central Pier.


I also saw a landlord clearing out his apartment block with a workman on this street. I am so glad I left Blackpool 15 years ago and that I wanted more out of life than squalor and minimum wage jobs in care homes where workers are treated like dirt by clients and managers alike. I am glad I live in the city I live in, where I can rent for £400 per month all inclusive of bills and council tax, in a big house with a large garden, close to the city centre, my landlord lives around the corner and his mother lives next door to me.

As a friend said, it’s an absolute disgrace that the local authority of Blackpool has let properties so close to the sea front get into this state. I saw a family of tourists walking from the promenade and down this street. They are poor Brits, on holiday, among squalor, and they think that this is normal, that it is a good break away, that it is what they deserve.


Walking around the streets of Blackpool yesterday, I saw alcoholics drunk and stumbling, I saw a woman whose neuro system was ravaged by alcohol, I saw people who were being pickled on the inside so that their skin was bright red or white. I saw men leaving the Pleasure Beach at the end of their shift, and they look haggard – a living depiction of the stooping, physically and mentally broken men of Steinbeck’s books. I wondered if that would have been me if I had stayed in a place with so few opportunities.


As I walked around South and Central, I said to myself, “Such impoverished people living such impoverished lives.” By that I meant financial poverty, but also a poverty of culture, of hopes, dreams, horizons and a future.


The sea front is good. The promenade has been worked on and has some arty looking lamps and bits of concrete and a couple of cafes akin to some of the modern, arty buildings along the sea front in Liverpool. Across the road, every shop is open and thriving. I actually had some good ice cream from one outlet. There is candy floss (cotton candy), rock (a cylindrical hard candy with different flavours and colours) and all sorts of plastic toys. Not sex toys, I am glad to say. The sex toys in the sweet (candy) shops have been put away and the strip clubs that used to intersperse the sweet shops have been closed. Good.


I once walked along the sea front with a friend who was a youth worker in Manchester and she was shocked that strip clubs and lap dance clubs were next to where children bought sweets. Blackpool has been one of the local authorities that have closed almost all the strip clubs in the town due to the need to protect women from physical and sexual violence. Like it or not, the reality is sex entertainment venues raise the level of rape in the surrounding areas, and women who have nothing to do with the sex industry are raped by men who have visited sex entertainment venues. Blackpool used to hold the silver medal for rape in the UK, second only to Lambeth in London. Let’s hope the rate of rape has reduced massively in Blackpool as a result of these horrendous places closing down.


Between Central Pier and North Pier along the sea front is a mix of sweet shops and bars. This wonderous place is a burger bar and alcohol bar. It looks like a furniture shop among all the beautiful old buildings. Naming a bar after one of the Dharma bases in Lost doesn’t make a place sound sophisticated. It just sounds odd, and it looks odd.


As I said before, the gays saved the town’s Victorian theatre in the late 90s. LGBT people helped bring money into Blackpool, worked on public transport, worked at the tourist spots, in the police and other public services. We were over represented as workers in these sectors at a time when Blackpool boomed and faired much better than it is doing today. We helped build the town.


As I said before, two gay venues were closed on Talbot Road and one place now exists where gay people entertain straight people. That might be OK if it’s done right. But I doubt it is because the only other “gay” place on a main street is Funny Girls, which is a drag bar. As many gay people say, “It’s where straight people go to laugh at gay people.” All the venues I saw for LGBT people to go to ourselves are up small side streets, hidden.


I said that the Bear Club had been closed. Well, I laughed when I saw this.


“Exclusively men only”. I like that.


Last year, a group of “transmen” turned up for a gay men’s sex event somewhere in England. Someone had let slip the details of where the group were meeting. So a group of heterosexual women in short skirts, high heels, low cut tops, make up and long hair turned up, said they were transmen and they were there to have sex with the other gay men. The gay men told the heterosexual women to bugger off. Only a handful of LGBT people have heard about this. Gay women, take note.


Up a small side street, hidden from view, are a small number of gay venues, with a Bear Pride flag – the Bears are killing it! – first and foremost, then the Pride flag, then the Bi Pride flag – always makes me smile to see it – and the Trans Pride flag. Nice.


Up a small side street, hidden from view. That’s what Blackpool thinks of LGBT people these days. Walking around the town, I saw maybe 20 LGB people. I didn’t see any trans. Compare this to the previous figure of 1/3 Blackpool centre peeps being LGBT. I saw so few LGB people and no trans folk. The area my family had a guest house in was exclusively gay several years ago, and our former guest house had a rainbow on its signage. Now only four guest houses in the area have rainbow flags. Where have all the gays gone? And why?


I decided to leave the town an hour earlier than planned because there was nothing for me to do because I’m not an alcoholic, so I walked up Talbot Road to the railway station. On Talbot Road, three straight women who were drunk were having an F word battle with each other, and drug addicts were having F word battles with each other. I was racing a Muslim family to the railway station. That father and mother wanted to get their children out of Blackpool as soon as humanly possible. I don’t blame them. I was sick of the place. I was there for less than seven hours and hated being there.


When I was on the train, my husband phoned to ask how my day cycling was, and I said the cycling had been fine, but Blackpool is an absolute shithole, and I didn’t care who on the train heard me say it. I listed what I had seen, and the shock of seeing once popular markets and the grand post office closed, the crumbling buildings and the shame that the town now shows towards LGBT people. Blackpool was cheap and tatty in the past. It has decayed even further since.


My advice to anyone is don’t go to Blackpool. You will be let down and you will feel disgust. That is not a holiday nor a day out. Go somewhere nice instead, and there are plenty of pretty and cheap places to go in England that will lift your spirits and make you feel refreshed. National Holidays are much cheaper, and yes, you will be staying in a Britannia Hotel with holes in the floor of your bedroom and tape holding the carpet in place, but the coaches take you to fabulous places such as Cheddar Gorge, Loch Lomond, The Cotswolds and more. The UK has some wonderful places to visit.

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A Review of My Book

The Key, available on Amazon as an ebook £1.99 and a paperback £6.99.

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The Example Of Emma

Emma is not the young lady’s real name, but the story is real.

Emma, a 27 year old who comes across as a 15 year old, messaged me to say she was going to start a business with her boyfriend. I asked what sort of business. Emma didn’t know. I asked why Emma wanted to start a business. She said because the Job Centre had sent her on a course.

Emma has had one job. She worked in a cafe, taking orders from the clients, and it was a month before the owner of the cafe let Emma take orders. Emma has a degree in performing arts. Emma cannot write a sentence. I know because I corrected two pages of Emma’s last essay for her degree and gave up. Emma is functionally illiterate. Emma has below average IQ. Emma is a nice girl who was let down by her parents, social services and the education system.

Yet Emma was convinced that she was going to go into business with her boyfriend. Her boyfriend was an economist she told me. Before I met him, I wondered why such a high hitter would be with someone like Emma. Then I met him and saw that he, too, had a qualification he did not deserve, and that the college had merely been after the funding it gets for butts on seats. Duncan was of average intelligence, socially insecure, poor and going nowhere in life.

Let’s learn from this shocking example of how the UK’s system lets people down, gives people ideas they cannot cope with and palms them off from one department to another without helping them.

To run a business, you have to have above average intelligence. If you are below that, you can still invest in a business, be a sleeping partner, and let the brains of the operation do the brains stuff. Even if you have brains but running a business is not for you, you can still invest in a friend’s business.

To run a business, you have to have had jobs. You need to know how businesses are run. You need to know what a normal working day looks like, you need to observe management, the boss, the big cheese, and you need to observe other workers. How do teams work? How does management interact with the team? How do people get paid? How do complaints get dealt with? How does the business function?

According to Dave Ramsey and others, it is normal these days for people to move jobs every two years. This means a worker learns new skills and can claim a higher wage. Robert Kyosaki talks about how business leaders are groomed. He says that as soon as they are out of college, future business leaders are put in one department of the business, then they are moved to another department, then they are moved to another department. The young whipper snappers have to know how each department works inside and out so that they possess the knowledge to run that business.

So, if you want to go into business, work in a business, then work in another and another. Start your business small while you learn from those who know more than you do.

To run a business, you have to have a product or service that people want to buy. Emma had nothing at all to offer. In the last year, I have met a woman who set up her mobile nails business, I have known several people who set up cleaning businesses during the covid shut downs that are now very successful and I have met personal trainers who are running their own boot camps in parks as well as working in gyms.

Identify your strengths and where you need to improve. What level of formal education do you have? What are you good at? What have you won medals in? What do you love doing? Are you good at doing it?

Are you qualified? Do you have recognised certificates? Do you have the skills and training? Can you learn from someone – a mentor or boss? Can you learn online? Do you have the knowledge and know how?

Emma was convinced she was going to be an actor. When you are turned down three times by Spotlight, you are not going to be an actor. I’m disabled. I was never going to be an Olympic athlete. I don’t keep to conventional beauty standards so I was never going to be a model. And that’s ok. We can have hobbies and keep them as hobbies while we earn money doing something else.

Now, what are you not good at? What do you absolutely suck at?! We all suck at something. For me, I was too formal when I advertised my lessons for children. I can get distracted by the shiny glass rectangle. I can over commit.

So I am looking at how other teachers advertise their lessons. I can put the shiny glass rectangle in another room. I can stop over commuting and keep tabs on when my lessons are most successful and just focus on holding lessons at those times.

Emma watched Fawlty Towers, which is great, I love that comedy. But. It is forty years old. The style of comedy and the topics of comedy have changed. Audiences have changed. Emma relied on what her Z list actor acting teacher taught her instead of looking to the leading names in the industry. She listened to small fry instead of the big fish. She listened to people whose careers went nowhere and they were basically clueless rather than listening to the industry leaders. As a result, she has gone through her chances.

As Robert Kiyosaki says with his “life pushes you around” meaning you get wake up calls often and they are a chance for you to take action. Emma’s first wake up call was when Spotlight turned her down for the first time. Emma could have used that opportunity to improve. She could have asked for feedback. She could have taken a course with a different teacher, she could have watched YouTubes on acting and acting standards. Instead, Emma carried on doing the same thing and hoped to not get the same results. Einstein had something to say about this.

I want to put time aside to learn from Katherine Birbalsingh. She runs one of the top four performing schools in the UK. She is a brown lady whose students are almost all Black and from poor backgrounds, but those students become some of the highest hitters in the UK. So, I want to learn from this lady. The left hates her for her teaching methods – really! Her methods get top results. I want to learn from Katharine Birbalsingh, not from the low achievers who criticise her for her students’ success. I’ve also found in brief chats with her that she is a nice person, too.

Let’s learn from the best, let’s raise our standards, let’s succeed! Good luck!

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Talent

Warren Buffet said that your best chance of earning more depends on you using the talents you have.

God asked Moses, “What do you have in your hand?” Moses looked at his wooden staff and had no idea what miracles God would perform using this wooden staff.

Robert Kiyosaki in his book Rich Dad, Poor Dad said that he knew a lot of talented people, but most of them did not earn a lot from their talent. He said the reason for this is that talented people often do not learn how to advertise themselves.

I know this. I have a talent for writing, and I acknowledge that I am only just hitting my stride as a writer now in my 40s. I have had germs of good ideas but I have not been able to execute them well. However, now I am. Yet my ability to advertise my writing is not strong. I am going to look at YouTubes on advertising, but I know I need to contact book reviewers, too.

What I write covers real issues that people face every day, but they go against narratives so I know it is useless to look for a traditional publisher at the moment, which is why a friend who runs a small publishing house publishes my work. She believes in my writing and isn’t bound by narratives and what is popular so she publishes my work.

Using a small publisher means I do not get the exposure that other writes may get, so I have to put in the work myself, and my knowledge is lacking in this area.

Anyway, here is some shameless self publicity. The Key is available on Amazon for £1.99 as an ebook and £7.99 as a paperback.

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Skills For Business

We have been sold lies by Hollywood, the BBC and the such like. We have been told that people who have money are all crooks, we have been told that all business leaders are cruel and exploit their employees. We have been lied to.

To be a business leader or to have your own business, you need to be disciplined. In the USA, the majority of large business leaders are ex-military and/or practice martial arts. They have been taught by others to be highly disciplined in the way they think and act. They want to teach their employees how to be disciplined and therefore more likely to succeed.

Business leaders are driven. They want to improve society with their product or service, and they want to improve their employees’ lives. My cleaning boss said that she always checks that all employees have been paid on payday because by paying people she is helping people’s dreams to come true.

Business leaders have a moral duty. They know that their employees’ lives are in their hands. If the company goes under, employees will not be able to pay rent or mortgage or buy food. Business leaders also give A LOT to charity.

Business leaders are hardworking. When I worked with immigrants, my boss phoned me on 2nd January at 10:00 to ask how the chicken pox outbreak was going. It was the day after New Year. Most Brits were still on holiday. But this multi millionaire was in the office working and concerned about the clients’ health.

Business leaders are lifelong learners. They keep reading and listening to people. This means they know what is happening around the world and how their business will be impacted – positively or negatively – and where opportunities lie.

Yesterday, I watched Gordon Ramsey’s Kitchen Nightmares. The restaurants featured had been great restaurants in the past and the staff and chefs had let their skills slide and had not learned new skills, new dishes and what the public today want. The Hotel Inspector in the UK went through a similar process with failing hotels. She sent the owners and workers to other local, successful hotels that had a similar client group so that the needy hotel owners and staff could learn. A hotel that catered for people over 60 years of age were putting on bingo nights and tribute acts. They were sent to a local hotel that also catered for the 60+ crowd, and they offered packages with outward bound centres. The programme interviewed 60+ year olds in their harnesses and hard hats who were rock climbing and abseiling who said they would rather die than play bingo.

We have to keep our skills fresh, keep our knowledge fresh and keep learning.

I trained to work in social care. I worked with people with long term mental health conditions and addictions. I hated children due to my own messed up childhood. When people asked if I would become a teacher like my mother, I said no way. Give me an addict any day!

The work I did was defunded with the 2008 financial crash. I found scraps of low paid care work for several years. When I had worked with immigrants, I had learned basic Chinese and the words and phrases I needed for my work. A guy from that class has stayed in touch with me. He sent me links to an app for teaching English to Chinese children. I had no idea what an app was apart from teenagers use them to pay for things, and I didn’t have the sort of phone that the app ran on.

After some particularly violent and soul destroying “care work” shifts, I bought another phone and added the app, filled out my details and I got an appointment the next day. I applied to teach the well paid children’s course but I failed the interview. I spent the next month watching training videos, listening to other teachers and practising the interview lesson. I retook the interview and passed and had children’s lessons the next day.

Over the four years I was with that platform, I learned how to use IT and online platforms. I learned from other teachers how to teach, how to teach the most boring of subject (the “table, chair, puppet” lessons for 5 year olds was particularly boring for the kids) and I gained teaching certificates.

I worked overnight Friday-Saturday afternoon to cater for weekend students in China who are seven hours ahead of UK time. I went to a local small hotel and paid £39 for a room so that I did not disturb my husband or neighbours, and most Saturdays, I worked solidly from midnight to two o’clock in the afternoon, making £150-£200. I made myself available for requests from students and the Beijing staff because I wanted my business to be a success.

Now that western teachers are no longer able to teach children on Chinese platforms, I have gone to two other platforms. On one, I have conversations with whoever calls, be they military top brass or children from various countries. On another platform, I am writing my own lessons and responding to requests from parents and students. I am updating my knowledge by reading articles and listening to expert teachers who are absolutely tearing it up on the platform and on YouTube.

I am learning, I am putting time into studying. While I work as a cleaner, I can listen to YouTubes about personal finance, business and teaching.

If you have your own business, you need to be adaptable, persistent and you need to work hard. When you have your own business, the buck stops with you. If the business fails, you lose money. This is why I clean as well as teach. The cleaning ensures I have a decent wage coming in and the teaching is what I do out of love for teaching the English language and the culture that is the fertile soil for it.

Good luck everyone!

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