I walked into Muswell Hill with Fiona this afternoon. We were both feeling a little gloomy after hearing the news that a good friend of our’s has lost a baby in the eighth month of its pregnancy. It’s almost impossible to know what to say to her. She must be utterly devastated. Fiona went with the baby's father to Islington Town Hall to simultaneously register the birth and the death. It just seems so unbelievably unfair; a horrifying way to start a year which should have been filled with absolute joy.I’m glad to see that they’ve finally put some of the hideous creatures behind bars who killed Stephen Lawrence. The newspapers are filled with the aggressive, twisted faces of the two lads, and we’ve already started blithely describing them as monsters; whipped up, once again, by the media. But here's my issue; the killing of Stephen Lawrence wasn't unusual. Hate crimes happen. People regularly murder transpeople because they’re transpeople. A young Asian bride is murdered by her family because she's taken the wrong lover. We don’t waste pages and pages of column inches demonising these killers. Half the time the police simply wash their hands of the crime, or behave so shambolically that vital evidence gets sullied or lost. Yes, the killers of Stephen Lawrence should be behind bars - they're odious little toads - but we need to get a handle on hate crime, particularly when it's legitimised by religion. Stephen Lawrence has become a buzzword. It's safe to say we hate his killers, because we know it's bad to be a racist, but hands up if you know who Jody Dobrowski is? Or Kellie Telesford? Does anyone remember the faces of their killers smeared across the tabloid press?
350 years ago, Pepys spent the morning hanging the new pictures by William Faithhorne he’d brought the previous day, and fitting a pair of pewter sconces to the bottom of his new staircase. He went to Westminster by water and met a man called Mr Chetwind, one of the clerks with whom he regularly went drinking. Chetwind had a dog, who became the centre of a scandal when another man appeared and claimed the beast was actually his. The dispute was settled when the dog was placed equidistantly between the two men, and ran to Chetwind when called. I seem to remember something similar happening to Bouncer the dog in Neighbours! Mrs Mangle won.