Well, the chances of me hanging on to my readers in Ukraine, Costa Rica and China were, admittedly, slim but I have acquired a new one in Japan so Trish-Trash continues to conquer the world! I knew I was here for a reason …

It’s Sunday, again, so my plan to change my writing day has failed miserably. Habits are hard to break; habits which include listening to Sunday’s Radio 2 – Steve Wright, Michael Ball (skip EP!) and then, of course, Sounds of the Seventies. EP? Not a fan of the modern musical and certainly not her ridiculous laugh. I did stay tuned momentarily, however, to listen to a song from the classic 1958 film, Gigi. Not the song synonymous with the film, ‘Thank Heaven for Little Girls’ but … Yes, you know where I am going with this! Who doesn’t love Maurice Chevalier and ‘Thank Heaven for Little Girls’? Nostalgia oozing from every note, it makes me smile. A celebration of cute little girls who grow into enchanting young ladies, it is a gentle, innocent song whose lyrics are appropriate to a grandfather not Jeffrey Epstein or Harvey Wienstein! I did hear it recently but, in this aggressive, PC climate, its days of airplay must be numbered. That would be sad particularly when, only today, I heard a Michael Jackson track played. Granted, he, successfully, managed to avoid conviction for paedophilia during his lifetime but who really believes his innocence? Naively, I used to. Following the two-part documentary, ‘Leaving Neverland’, I no longer do.

A ticket to ride … Off on a train of thought to who knows where, I was interrupted by a knock on the door – DHL delivering my new practice pad; drumming practice pad! While I would, obviously, have preferred the full drum kit, I suspect the neighbours may have lacked my enthusiasm. Yet another reason for a country pile … So, all set to hone my talent tomorrow in preparation for my third lesson on Wednesday. I do have a folder of practice sheets denoting notes in variation but I have never been one to read music. Even as a child learning the piano, I always struggled my way through ‘the paperwork’ once before committing the tune to memory, never to look back – or up. Paul McCartney, famously, can’t read music either so I’m in good company!

I’ve never known an hour to pass as quickly as my lesson last Wednesday but I, actually, surprised myself with my ability, on occasion, to catch a rhythm! I’m sure that is not the terminology but it does capture the essence of my ‘accidental’ success which delighted me no end. So much so, that Jamie decided it was time to hit the music – Back in Black, AC/DC. What can I say? There just aren’t enough exclamation marks! All those wasted years …

Once again, I have a house full of papers to which I have become addicted. A little person, though, I do struggle with the scale of The Telegraph and I shall continue to bemoan the ridiculous waste afforded by the weekend edition – ditto for every other paper. One would think one had nothing better to do! The first thing I do is consign most of it to the recycling. Anyway, a wealth of articles to incense, there was one, in particular, which caught my attention serving only to provide more evidence of the ‘tyranny of tolerance’: the damaging effect of escalating political correctness.

The heading in Friday’s Telegraph (24/1/20): ‘Academic given extra security at lectures after trans activists’ threats.‘ (I continue to shake my head whilst curbing the urge to write the vocabulary most deserving!). The article – courtesy of Camilla Turner and Ewan Somerville – goes on to describe the unacceptable, nay unbelievable position in which Professor Selina Todd finds herself as one of Oxford University’s academic body. A historian who specialises in the lives of women and the working class, she was warned by some of her students that she was, potentially, in danger of attack following threats made against her on email networks. Investigating said threats, the University obviously recognised sufficient danger to warrant Professor Todd being accompanied to all future lectures – for the rest of the year– by two burly security men. Now, that’s the PC solution; the cowardly one doing nothing to address the problem. In what world are threats of unprovoked violence towards a teacher allowed to go unpunished? Rhetorical, of course. God forbid, someone confronts or upsets the aggressive, bullying minority!

Apparently, Professor Todd’s teaching of feminist history is ‘transphobic’. Her research ‘suggests that women who posed as men in the past were often lesbians seeking to protect themselves or because they wanted to do jobs that were only available to men.’ The first complaint suggested that such lines of research would make it impossible for a transgender student to be taught by her. Of course. Just hold on one second … sorry, by which title do you dictate/ would you like me to address you? … while I see if I can change history! No, not at all. My pleasure … Sound ridiculous? That’s because it is!  Amid daily calls from activists for her dismissal, the Professor said the History Faculty had been ‘hugely supportive, including referring her for counselling’. Counselling for the Professor subjected to threats of violence while the transgender activists – a small minority of students – continue to bully and intimidate, seemingly answerable to no-one, let alone the law?! (Pause for breath) In Professor Todd’s words, ‘”It would be far more helpful if the university could take robust action against the people making these threats in the first place.”’ Once again, with backbone.

There is more to incense in that particular article. Perhaps I should just quote: ‘Earlier this week, Merton College, Oxford, was criticised over plans for a debate on transgender issues that required attendees to sign a code of conduct stating they must not express views “intended to undermine the validity of trans identities”.’  Oh, help! Thank God for the next paragraph: ‘Following an outcry, it was removed from the event page and replaced with a statement in support of free speech.’ Freedom of speech. The right to express any opinions without censorship or restraint. Last time I checked, this was the United Kingdom not China. Lucky, as I don’t have a mask … Bad taste? Apologies. I couldn’t resist.

It is Monday as I write, now – of course – but a very significant date which cuts all else down to size. Today marks the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz by Soviet troops. It was the 27th January, 1945; the end of the physical horror, perhaps, but the mental scars could never be healed. 1.1 million people were killed in that death camp, mostly Jews. 7000 remained that day in 1945, half of whom would not survive, succumbing to exhaustion and disease in the months ahead … A service of commemoration is to be held today on the site of the former Nazi concentration camp, specifically in front of the infamous ‘Gate of Death’ through which victims walked to their murder. Two hundred Holocaust survivors will attend – of which two are British – along with delegates from more than 50 countries. I watched the early coverage on the lunchtime news unprepared for its effect. With pain etched on their faces, the few remaining survivors clearly needed every ounce of courage to march forward and lay their wreaths against the Death Wall, the site of thousands of executions, in the yard next to the infamous Block 11. Many wearing their original striped hats, they were there to honour the friends and loved ones who never left but also to show defiance in the face of evil.

How dare we belittle such horror and suffering by affording triviality any credence …

There is no more fitting message to share on Holocaust Memorial Day and no more powerful message for us; for us all to hear of our individual and collective responsibility to each other. This is not a duty. It is much more than a duty. It is a lifelong obligation. It is not a choice.’

Huw Edwards, Holocaust Memorial Day, BBC 2.

This is Trish, signing off.