At last, now I know what has been missing from my life … the PopMaster Facebook Support Group!  Oh, Ken Bruce, so very often I feel for you but, then, I remind myself of your more than half a million-pound salary and realise that I, too, would be willing to tolerate – sorry, humour – for that figure!  Life continues on its downward spiral.

This is not going to be good.  I had nothing new on which to fixate until last night when the whole thing went pear-shaped!  No more the light-hearted chat, rather utter frustration as to the state of this world and, quite frankly, vacuity where there was once intelligence.  Granted, I am a voice of one but, while able – or permitted – I shall speak up and encourage others to question, if nothing else.  Bear with …

Humour.  Wherefore art thou, humour?!  I suppose I could start with a direct quote from my friend, Fiona, on the phone last night, which made me laugh.  Now, I have long said – demanded – that my epitaph be ‘At least she was never boring …’   Fiona has never made the slightest attempt to cover up her disinterest in some of my chosen topics and, what’s more, delights in telling me that she has never read my blog having no need – apparently, she has heard it all from the horse’s mouth!  Whatever.  She, regularly, yawns throughout our phone calls – most of which last an hour plus … but, more often than not, she has phoned me.  A, now, well-established ‘routine’, we wouldn’t have it any other way and so it was that, yesterday evening – having pulled over in the car to answer her call on my way home from Timbuktu – and following our joint moanings of many minutes, she, suddenly, announced, ‘I am going to go to Tesco and buy some water.’  Worse, still, she wasn’t kidding!

There you have it, the perfect metaphor for life today; the direct effect of our confinement and subsequent boredom.  Once again, though, it does prove that there is humour to be gleaned in all situations.

Hang on, though, there was something else – a headline in yesterday’s Telegraph which brilliantly typifies the sense of the ridiculous to be found in so much of the handling of this pandemic: ‘Council chief warns residents to ‘stay local’ – from the Maldives’.  Where is the exclamation mark so clearly demanded at the end of that?!  Seriously?!  Not only embarrassing, it is utterly insulting.  The mis-placed power of the little people once more exposed …

Yes, yes, I am aware that I am becoming more scathing with each succeeding post but is there any wonder?  Never one to suffer fools, I am afraid that trait is now exaggerated tenfold.  Is ‘afraid’ the right word?  Unapologetic, I suspect not.  So, I move on to a subject which deserves no levity …

Making dinner, last night – or pouring Gin after another arduous day, perhaps – the television happened to be on – Countryfile.  Innocuous background company?  Maybe not!  Anita Rani happened to be talking to the founder of a group called ‘Black Girls Hike’!  For that title, there is definitely an exclamation mark!  Black Girls Hike?  Quite honestly, is that allowed?!  Anita Rani, born in Bradford of Indian parents, was, in colloquial terms, ‘giving them laldy’ – of course!  Googling the aforementioned group, an article in Stylist magazine from 20 days previous popped up, headlined, Black Girls Hike is the walking community offering support and sisterhood’The initiative of 33-year-old, Manchester founder, Rhiane Fatinikun, she, now, finds herself being invited to host talks at outdoor festivals and model for Berghaus for whom she has become an ambassador!  Author, Megan Murray, meanwhile, goes on to cite the incredible success of this group – less than two years old and already boasting the support of Bear Grylls, – as showing ‘how desperate the outdoors industry was and is for diversity.’  Pause.  Breathe.

Diversity.  By its very definition, it suggests difference; variety.  Google the online Collins Dictionary and one finds, ‘Diversity involves the deliberate inclusion in a group or activity of people who are, for example, of different races, genders and religions.’  Please explain, therefore, the use of this word in the context of a group which, by its very name, quite clearly stipulates exclusion: that of women who are not black?  Is it open to mis-interpretation?

Substitute one word, ‘White’ for ‘Black’, and there would be uproar – and deservedly.  Segregation is a thing of the past; a past which allowed white to segregate black.  The world has moved on, ostensibly.  Black Lives Matter.  Of course, they do but All Lives Matter, regardless of colour, race or religion.  Isn’t that the message?  Isn’t that what we are striving towards – unity?  2020 was the year of Black Lives Matter and the word ‘inclusivity’ was widespread.  To what end?  Merely a ploy for sympathy and a platform enabling segregation of the very kind black people fought so hard to overthrow?  Two wrongs never made a right.

Last December, there was an article in The Guardian entitled, The BAME women making the outdoors more inclusive.’  Black Girls Hike, it would seem, is part of a growing community of Black groups claiming to herald diversity.  Take the Black Swimming Association in South London …  Please tell me I am not the only one on whom the irony is not lost?!  How, today, in a country seemingly accountable to the deridable – but dangerous – ‘woke’ community, can such groups exist, blatantly specifying the colour of those eligible?  Rhetorical, of course.  I repeat, what kind of support would White Girls Hike invoke or the White Swimming Association?  Support?  Think more death threats!  Seriously, what is going on?  I think I am right in saying that 2019 saw the last of the men-only golf clubs in the UK forced into opening their membership to women amidst calls for equality and fairness.  (Note to self – refrain!).  What possible justification can there, now, be for groups of any sort whose membership requires only that one is black?

I’m not going to spend my life being a colour.’ 

Michael Jackson, ‘Black or White’.

The sad thing is, that’s exactly what he did – and he is not alone.  The aforementioned groups are testament to that and, as Steve Biko recognised, real change can only come from within.

The greatest weapon in the hand of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed.’ 

Steve Biko.

This is Trish, signing off.