March 2010

I made a blithe comment on Twitter last night and someone took, well not offense really, but made a comment, so I thought I would address it here.

Any of you who follow me on twitter will know that I spend much of my Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings moaning about my job and some of the people that I have to deal with.

You wouldn’t know it from my tweets, but taking the 999 emergency calls (which I have blogged about before), is a very small (but important) part of my job and I dislike doing it a lot, for reasons which see above re: blogged about before.

The meat of my job is to deal with those calls by despatching the relevant officers to the scene and assisting those officers in carrying out their duties, doing research, making calls, and above all being the calm steady voice on the radio when they need assistance.

Whilst I moan and complain about various aspects of the job I do, such as the people who dial 999 to complain they can’t get onto the internet or want us to break up with their girlfriend for them, I rarely mention the serious incidents that I deal with on a day to day basis. The fatal road traffic accidents, the stabbings, the rapes, the robberies, the domestic abuse, the child abuse, the list goes on. These incidents are not to be taken lightly, these incidents are not be made fun of in a public forum, and I deal with one or more of these incidents every single night.

The way to get through the night without being a casualty myself is to use humour. It is said that those who work in the emergency services, or on the front lines have the sickest sense of humour. I concur. I would never repeat some of the things we say at work to get us through the intense horror of the situations we have to deal with. They are not meant to be taken literally, but they are the only way that we can deal with these things without breaking down.

Where I can share these trivialities, is on the lighter subjects, and so I will endearingly call the general public, the great unwashed, or make sarcastic comments about the latest ‘customer’ to dial 999 for no good reason. It’s not social comment, I am not a spokesperson for the police, it’s my warped sense of humour that gets me through the night.

I am very proud of the work I do, I am very proud of the work the police do under increasingly difficult circumstances. There is at least one occasion every night when I feel I have helped someone and am actually at work for the reasons I took the job.

To be frank, those who take offense to my comments, who take them as anything but what they are, my tongue-in-cheek, offhand way of getting through the night, you are probably the people who call my husband and my friends ‘pigs’ and ‘filth’, and mean it, and quite frankly I couldn’t give a frak about your bigoted opinion. And you smell.

On a more serious note, it has raised the issue that some people may believe that I am being representative of the police, and whether I care if they do. I love the openness of Twitter, and I love the outlet that it gives me, but I now face the dilemma of either, making my account private, or letting go of that outlet altogether and becoming much more reserved in my tweeting.


I’m sitting at work and the main computer system has crashed. The one that tells us what jobs we have outstanding to do, what jobs are being dealt with and the who, what and where of our officers. Yup, we’re a little stuck.

In this world ruled by technology we suddenly find ourselves staring at a blank screen when our computers fail us. These days, there isn’t even any filing or other general pottering about to do. Fine, if you work in a bank, or a call centre, just put your feet up and mechanically repeat “Sorry, our systems are down, can you call back later” to every caller. Unfortunately, “I’m very sorry there’s an axe wielding maniac in your house, but could you call back later please?” doesn’t quite cut it.

Somehow, we have to carry on providing a service without the tools we rely on to do our job. On a Friday night. At club kicking out time. The problem is, those taking the bulk of the calls are in a completely different building to those of us who are dealing with those calls. So emails are flying from one room to the the other and supervisor are running around the room dishing jobs out on pieces of paper which we are having to use strange implements called ‘pens’ to make marks on. It’s all very Life on Mars.

It may not be obviously apparent, but I am a huge Joss Whedon fan; Buffy the Vampire Slayer in particular, as that’s how I was introduced to his world.

At a convention some years ago, a won at auction an invitation to the Buffy the Vampire Slayer 100th episode wrap party. Not to go to the actual party, you understand, I would have been been a couple of years late and I really had nothing to wear.

This isn’t nearly as sucky a it sounds, for the invitation came in the form of a wooden stake with a piece of parchment containing the party particulars bound to it with ribbon. Quite frankly, it rocks, and if anyone sent me an invitation to anything in this manner I would accept even if I knew in advance it was going to be the dullest event in all of dulldom.

The stake has pride of place in my office, as a valued piece of Buffy history, and is now adorned with the autographs of Nicholas Brendon, James Marsters and Clare Kramer.

I like to keep it near to hand, just in case that pesky Edward Cullen stops by. Angel, of course, has a standing invitation.


According to my Twitter feed, the two lead actors from Supernatural are both now happily married to much wailing and crying and general heartbreak of their fans. This is an attitude I have never, ever understood. What, you think if they didn’t marry the person they have met and fallen in love with, they would somehow meet, fall in love with, and marry you? I hate to shatter any illusions here, but, never gonna happen. Why can’t people just be happy that their hero is happy?

I see this happening in pretty much every fandom, the wives and girlfriends of actors and pop stars get abused, hate mail, death threats, in one case they actually tried to get someone deported when they discovered she was Australian (wtf?).

Now don’t get me wrong, I understand what it is like to feel like you are in love with a celebrity. I was a teenager once too. I obsessed over this one singer, I really did believe I was in love with him. His face adorned my walls and my school books, I lived and breathed his music, doodled his name, dreamt about him sweeping me off my feet, the works. I followed him the length and breadth of the country when he was on tour and hung around backstage afterwards for an autograph. But did I ever believe for one moment that somehow he would ever really feel the same way about me? A world of no.

During this time he met and married a model that appeared in one of his videos. I was happy for him. I clearly remember one time, when she was pregnant, hearing him speak of her and their forthcoming child with such pride and love that I just fell for him all over again. When they eventually split up I was upset for him, and felt his hurt and betrayal in the lyrics of his next album.

Funny thing is, I did actually get that opportunity that many groupies long for (and lots actually do experience). I was working by this point and had money of my own, so the next tour I was able to get tickets to every single UK gig. My appearance at the stage door every night finally got me noticed and we managed to get hold of backstage passes for the next night. Whilst back stage we got invited to join the party in the hotel; whilst at the hotel, I got invited back to his room, on several occasions. I declined. Or more accurately, I was so busy going ‘OMFG I’m at a private party with HIM and a shit-ton of famous people. OMG OMG OMG’ that I was completely oblivious to what was going on and had to have it pointed out to me. Oh. Darn.

What would have happened if I had taken him up on his offer? Would we have lived happily ever after surrounded by fat grandchildren? Doubtful. I would most likely have just been another notch on his groupie bedpost and lost all respect for him and myself. I had no regrets then and certainly have none now.

A short time after this he met his current wife, and you know who she is? Someone who had absolutely no idea who he was. Because that’s what celebrities look for, someone they can just relax and be themselves with, someone they can have a private life with. So instead of being gutted that X or Y is happily leading a personal life without you, be happy for them. It’s never going to be you, no matter what happens.

And no, I’m not going to tell you who he is, I have my exclusive deal with the News of the World to think about.

Since I no longer work there, I very rarely go into the town centre anymore, but I found myself there today, waiting in the bus station to meet someone. Amongst the many things I encountered whilst there was Bradford’s Mad Monk, which made the horridness of all the other sights dissolve.

Bradford’s Mad Monk or Jesus Man is legendary around these parts. Sporting a habit and sandals he walks the streets in all weathers and all times of the year smiling, waving, dancing and occasionally chastising (and possibly damning to an eternity of fire and brimstone) those he deems unworthy.

Rumour and mystery surround him and he is everything from a hermit living in a cave to an eccentric millionaire. Stick his name in google and you’ll find websites and forums dedicated to sightings of him, a Facebook Group (well who doesn’t?) and plenty to watch on YouTube. There is, however, one constant in all the stories which anyone will tell you, they have known of him all their lives, and so have their parents, and these days probably even grandparents; he has always worn the same clothes and never appears to age.

My personal experience of him goes back to the late 1970’s and at that time I remember him to already be solidly stamped into the history of Bradford. The earliest sighting of him I could find in a quick peruse of the internet is 1952. He has certainly always worn the same outfit, habit, sandals and some kind of bag around his neck. As for his aging, he really doesn’t appear to have aged as much as he naturally should have in the time I have been seeing him, he has always appeared to me as an ‘older man’, however, what an ‘older man’ is to you changes as you become older yourself.

There is one thing that’s certain, if he’s been walking the streets of Bradford as a man since 1952, he’s at least 80 years of age. He sure doesn’t look, walk or dance like an 80 year old man. It’ll be a sad day in Bradford when he no longer roams the streets, I hope he lives forever.

Go on, google him, you know you want to.