I woke up this morning, checked my Facebook feed, and was instantly greeted by a shedload of staggering news from America. I'm finding it very difficult to believe this stuff is actually happening in a "civilised" nation... in 2017. I am astounded that a press conference was called simply to address press "lies" which suggested fewer people had attended Trump's inauguration than had turned up for Obama's. The press officer who spoke was bullying and angry, but as his rant continued, it became more and more ludicrous. It was the first time, he said, that the White House had used white mats to protect the grass. Obama's inauguration had seemed busier because everyone was standing on dark-coloured grass which made the gaps between them less obvious. It's laughable to think that the leader of the free world could be so obsessed with popularity and media manipulation that he would order such an embarrassing press "dressing down." If Gadaffi or Mugabe had pulled a similar stunt, we would have passed it off as the ramblings of a narcissist. The fact that he's the American president makes it more worrying than funny. And the whole sorry thing is beginning to develop shades of 1930s Germany. How long is it before Trump starts to punish those who dispute his version of the truth? How long will it be before the crime of being "anti-American" allows people to dob in neighbours they don't like? I hardly need to say that I'm very concerned to read that the first thing Trump did upon entering the White House was to remove all references to climate change and LGBT rights from the White House website.
A photograph is doing the rounds today featuring Trump signing an executive order which cuts funding to health groups which advise on abortion. This, of course, instantly makes me wonder which decade of the 20th century that sinister little mop-head thinks we've returned to. The photograph shows Trump at a desk, pen in hand, with a group of ten or so Republicans gurning proudly behind him in a kind of "let's show these whores how to behave" sort of way. The irony is that not a SINGLE person in the picture is a woman.
Those who read this blog regularly will know that I've always been very clear about the importance of differentiating between the times when there's a need to cry prejudice and the times when it feels like we're shouting it just because there's nothing else to shout. This photograph is definitely an example of the former. Trump is clearly a misogynist. But worst than this, just as Brexit brought the racists out of the woodwork, Trump's blatant misogyny appears to have given scores of people around the world carte blanche to get their own hatred of women off their chests. The responses to the women's marches on Saturday have been astonishing. Comedian, Frankie Boyle wrote a rallying tweet to the marching women, which was instantly shot down in flames by countless trolls, making some of the most depressingly offensive statements I've read since the Daily Mail published a piece about our wedding and someone felt the need to write that, in the 1930s in Germany, the Nazis would have had the decency to send Nathan and me to a concentration camp.
And yet millions of American women voted for him. What the hell?
I checked my emails this morning to discover that someone had very generously (and glowingly) reviewed my Pepys Motet album on their blog. The review starts with some fascinating information about Samuel Pepys' wife, Elizabeth, before developing into a review the album. If you still haven't bought your copy (highly likely based on present sales!) perhaps reading the review will inspire you to head over to my website, www.benjamintill.com and order a copy. You can download the album as well, at all the usual places.
I'm pleased to see that the government has lost its High Court challenge regarding article 50. It sets a precedent which will temper the behaviour of future potential despotic leaders - particularly those, like May, with a phone line to God. Of course, the ghastly Brexiteers are accusing Labour of attempting to thwart the will of the people, but, let's be honest, Mrs May could have accepted the result of the first court hearing some 70 days ago, so if anyone's stalling for time, it's that lump of kitten-healed viscousness. Instead of knuckling down to debate in the commons, she decided to waste huge sums of tax payers' money.
I suppose I'm feeling a little more chipper today, health-wise, but I'm by no means out of the woods. I felt like death this morning (no doubt whilst my body tried to get used to antibiotics) and, this afternoon, I felt gloriously light-headed for a lengthy period of time. I had to leave the house and travel the length of the Northern Line for a meeting at the Musicians' Union. I'm back on their writers' committee after a four-year hiatus. It was lovely to return to the fold, even though we ended up discussing one of the very issues we'd been discussing when I was last on the committee! The wooziness kept coming over me in waves. On some instances, I was unable to process information properly. One poor lad was trying to discuss working "with an artist from the Netherlands." I'm hoping he was mumbling, because I heard him saying, "I was working with an artist, Linda Nolan." "Linda Nolan?" I asked. He looked at me blankly, "no, from the Netherlands." To which I responded, "yes, I know she's from the Nolans." The two people sitting between us were literally wetting themselves with laughter. And then I spilt my tea, and that was it for the next five minutes!