My eyes are square. I've been staring at a computer all day. A brief sojourn to the gym is all that has kept me from turning into the middle-aged, 21st Century equivalent of Mike TV. It was worth it. I fired off an organ part for our recording of Oranges and Lemons, (which I've decided it a piece of music which needs to make me a fortune) and also finished the first draft of my brass band version of A Symphony for Yorkshire. Productive.
The news today was full of reports that anti-semitism is on the rise in the UK. We're told it's a reaction to Israel's behaviour in Palestine over the last few years. Even attempting to justify anti-semitism is unacceptable in my view, and I felt incredibly uncomfortable when this particular fact was trotted out by the reporter. No excuses. Besides, British Jewish people have nothing to do with the decisions made by the government in Israel. One of the most horrifying reports was of a man on a bus shouting hideous insults at a group of Jewish kids. The bus driver refused to stop to deal with the issue, which sadly doesn't really surprise me.
I witnessed a very similar event about ten years ago on the tube. In this instance it was a Northern man spitting and screaming racist abuse at an Indian bloke and his eight-year old son. It really upset me. The people he was spitting at seemed to just quietly accept it, like it was a everyday part of life for them, as homophobic bullying had been for me. I was upset for the father. Every father wants to protect his child, but, in this instance, he was helpless to do anything but accept the torrent of abuse and saliva heading his way.
No one on the tube said anything. Everyone merely buried their heads in books and newspapers and tried to imagine they were elsewhere.
I went apeshit at the man, followed him off the tube at Tottenham Court Road and had a scrap with him in the ticket hall, which ended with me sitting on the little bastard whilst screaming for the LU staff to call the police. The staff couldn't have been any less helpful, telling me to let the man go before he "had me up for assault." After a five-minute tussle, during which time I receive no help from anyone, I was forced to let the man go. He crawled out underneath the ticket barriers like a injured rabbit.
When the police finally arrived they said that there was little they would have been able to do even if I hadn't let the man go, because the Asian people the man spat at were unlikely to report the crime. So I made a statement but heard nothing more. I guess the man might think twice before behaving like that again. I think I gave him a bit of a shock!