If They Steal Any Books, They Might Even Learn Something!

Good evening Bookworms! Another blog, another mix of book-related writing and a fair bit of waffle, this time with a spot of current affairs thrown in as we look at these recent moronic incidents in our towns and cities through the eyes of sane, sensible, well-brought-up bookworms who have brains in full working order, more than an ounce of decency and have much better things to do in our lives than vandalise our localities like these brainless chav lowlives are doing.

One thing I have noticed in all these riots is how book shops have, thankfully, been spared. Mind you, this is not altogether surprising. After all, as I’ve mentioned previously, your average chav is not the sort of person who reads books. Indeed they are the “Can’t Read, Won’t Read” sort of moron! Idiots who are determined to remain deliberately ignorant because they have this misplaced pride in being thick and not making any effort whatsoever at self-improvement. It is this sort of attitude towards books which prompted the manager of the Ealing branch of Waterstone’s, faced with looting and arson in the surrounding shops, to say that his branch of the bookstore chain was remaining open on the grounds that if the looters were to steal any books from them, they may even learn something! Talking of Waterstone’s, the Deansgate branch also remained untouched last night despite lamentable incidences of looting in Manchester.

Those who know my blogs will know that I tend to lean to the left. I’m a worker and I was a student, so I will always stick up for both groups. Plus, I hate elitists and fascists, so my contempt for the right-wing frequently surfaces. However, when it comes to crime, I do tend to lean more to the right because I utterly hate those who are soft on lowlife criminal scum. Being kind to crims does NOT work. It is why we are in the appalling state we are in when, as a police officer, you can’t whack a criminal tosser with your truncheon and a parent can’t even smack a badly-behaved child without getting into trouble themselves. Nothing pisses me off more than to hear people making excuses for these degenerate chav scumbags, claiming that they’re from broken homes, and they’re  poor and all that crap!

This brings me on to the main issue. They are NOT poor! These lazy, shiftless, workshy, scrounging tossers are anything but poor! Have you seen them?! These scumbags have more designer clothes and gadgets than I do and I work full time! They were also robbing desirable, luxury items as well! Look at the sort of shops that were broken into and looted… What were these neanderthals after? Money, alcohol, designer sportswear and the latest hi-tech gadgets and huge screen TV sets! There is NO EXCUSE for their crimes, so stop bloody making out that there is! There is only ONE reason why I would ever accept that someone might just have an excuse for theft and that is if they are absolutely poverty-stricken and on the verge of starving to death!

If they were starving, if they were stealing a bit of food just enough to ensure they lived to see another day, if they had distended bellies from famine and in dire need of overseas aid and Sir Bob Geldof was writing a charity record to help get them fed, THEN I would sympathise! If, like Jean Valjean in Victor Hugo’s “Les Miserables” they’d nicked a loaf of bread because a member of their family would not have survived without it, I would also have felt they had an excuse for their crime. But that is an absolute last resort. That is a case of not actually wanting to turn to crime but finding they didn’t really have any viable legitimate options open to them and thus, in desperation, half-inched a bit of grub!

Now, the average chav here in the UK is not rich. They’re not politicians or Premier League footballers, but then again, they are certainly not bloody poverty-stricken, either! Indeed, Jean Valjean or a starving Ethiopian would view these chavs as considerably minted compared to them! Compared to Valjean and all the other poor downtrodden characters in Hugo’s epic novel, our chavs are positively rolling in it! They are utterly loaded! Annoyingly, and grossly unfairly, these jammy bastards are actually more minted than many of us who bloody WORK for a living!

This misbehaviour was purely about brainless copycat criminality and sheer greed. Wanting stuff they can’t afford legitimately, so they think they’ve got some (mysterious) right to help themselves to it. Selfish, greedy, thieving scum. There’s lots of things we all want that we can’t afford. I’d quite like one of those iPads, actually! I’d quite like to get on the property ladder, too. I’d love to have a house – I’d love to have loads of bookshelves for my beloved reading material! However, being in possession of a brain and in receipt of a proper upbringing, I know I’ll just have to hope either I pull a wealthy bloke or my numbers come up on the national lottery! As the Rolling Stones rightly put it, You Can’t Always Get What You Want!

So, let’s have an end to this “poor” nonsense, shall we? Once and for all? Ta very much.

Then there’s the pathetic excuses used by the miscreants themselves, number one of which is usually boredom. I was a kid once upon a time, back in the 70s and 80s. We weren’t marvellously affluent back then, not until at least the latter end of the 80s anyway. I got bored from time to time. And when I did, I alleviated this boredom by listening to music and reading books! Worthwhile and fairly inexpensive ways of passing the time. Even now, I still end up listening to music and reading books when I get a bit bored! Nowadays, I also write this blog about books, and I have a few other worthwhile ways of alleviating boredom, but books and music still feature in a large percentage of my downtime!

As I have blogged in the past, I really cannot understand people who don’t read books. Firstly, reading is a necessary skill for getting by in this world! But, also, beyond that, beyond the sheer basics that enable people to progress, to gain qualifications and to hold down jobs, reading has the power to give you a lifetime of pleasure. There are hundreds of thousands of books out there in this world! I might even be giving some out for free in April 2012 if I end up as a Book Giver on World Book Night, so stay tuned for any further news if you’re in Greater Manchester and fancy a free book, most likely to be The Book Thief by Markus Zusak.

One of the best gifts you can ever give someone is a love of reading! My year-old baby niece Charlotte loves books and I have every confidence that she will take after me and grow up to be a bookworm just like her Auntie Jo! Charlotte particularly likes the Usborne “That’s Not My…” series of books which have parts with different textures in them! Actually, I’m on the lookout for a book that’s suitable for Charlotte. Needs to be a board book as she’s only a year old, but could do with a book with different modes of transport in it – cars, buses, planes, boats, lorries, etc… As my sister said, if she’d had a boy, someone may have already thought to have bought a book like that, but as such, a baby’s guide to transport is still lacking at present! Think, once matters have calmed down enough, I may venture to town and visit the children’s section of Waterstone’s on Deansgate to see what transport-related books they have for babies…

That’s about all we have time for. Bloody ‘ell, I sound like a continuity announcer on the BBC in the old days when tv channels used to close down for the night! That bit, just before the drum roll and national anthem, when they used to advise you to switch off your set! I’m an old git of 38 and showing my age! I don’t care. In fact I’m glad I grew up when I did, glad I’m old enough to remember when there may have been fewer tv channels in the UK, but there were far better programmes on them than the current reality tv drivel that is inflicted on us these days! And I’d better finish there for now before anyone gets me on to the drivel that passes for “music” these days…. Let’s just say that, 30 years ago in 1981, when we also had an uncaring Tory government, a Royal Wedding and rioting in our cities, the music of the time was FAR SUPERIOR to the utter shite we have now!

Take care, stay safe and Happy Reading!

Books mentioned in this blog (besides the Usborne “That’s Not My…” series)

  • Les Miserables – Victor Hugo
  • The Book Thief – Markus Zusak

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