Saturday, 1 February 2020

The Saturday List #250 - 250th List celebration list!

Back on the sixth of September 2012, when I published list #1, I never expected to manage to make 250 lists. I didn't think there would be 250 things that you could make interesting lists about. How wrong I was. Of all the blogs I do each week, this is the one I most look forward to as I can have some fun. For this special list, I will start by reminding everyone of my first list. That was ten things that don't live up to their promise

1. Every England football team world cup and euro campaign since 1966.
2. Everything the Rolling Stones have done since they released "Start Me Up".
3. Every film Sequel, apart from Godfather II.
4. The remake of the Producers.
5. Flying home business class from Washington on US airlines.
6. Barnet's Jubilee Beacon, which failed to light.
7. Every dodgy establishment I've ever staggered into in Soho when drunk on a stag night.
8. Every recording ever made by Annie Lennox.
9. Chinese eat as much as you like buffets
10. Audley Harrison.

It is quite interesting to note that some of these things had completely slipped my mind, such as the Barnet Jubilee beacon. I don't think my opinion of sequels, Englands football team performance, chinese buffets and Annie Lennox has changed. As for Audley Harrison.....

Perhaps the most amusing of the early lists was list #16, the ten most bonkers things I've seen in Barnet

1. A double bed being driven down Mill Hill Broadway (for a film sequence).

2. A man fishing under the M1 flyover in Mill Hill Broadway (after a flash flood)

3. A naked man beating another fully clothed man with a baseball bat outside my house

4. Cows grazing on Mill Hill Circus Roundabout (they had escaped from St Josephs College farm).

5. An 8 ft high etheral ghost in a long coat walking down St Josephs College footpath in the mist at 2am.

6. Edgware High St under 9 ft of water

7. Armed hunters in search of hamsters in allotments in Burnt Oak

8. A zombie cucumber plant growing in Bunns Lane, Mill Hill

9. A man having sex with a goat in a field next to Mill Hill Broadway Station

10. A deranged vicar removing chairs from a Cafe in Finchley without the owners permission

As the lists progressed, I tackled more bizarre, diverse and unusual subjects.  Perhaps the most bizarre of all was list #134, ten questions from a very disturbing dream. I had completely forgotten this blog. I must have had a very disturbed night. If you want to find out more click here, but here are the questions.

1.  Are the victims "Martyrs fallen at the feet of the forces of greed and division". Martyrdom has got a bad name of late. But suicidal killers are not martyrs at all. A martyr is someone who has no choice in the matter, other than to give up their beliefs of way of life. The victims had no choice. It is pretty clear that greed played a roll in the tragedy.

2. My father said "That's it really, all that is left is love". We've seen a huge outpouring of love and compassion in London. Can that ever, in some small way, compensate for such a terrible tragedy. Can it give those suffering loss a degree of solace? I really don't know.

3. If I am having terrible dreams at the periphery of the tragedy, what on earth are those in the epicentre feeling. Theresa May has said £5 million will be set aside for victims. How much is being set aside for counselling of victims? It seems to me that this will be a very long term issue.

4. I am an adult, if my dreams about the subject are disturbing, what on earth are the children who have been touched by this issue dreaming about? Is there anyone for them to talk to? Is there anyone they can open up to.

5. One aspect of my dream, which I couldn't really get my head round was the Lenin like figure haranguing the gatekeepers. As I analysed it, the disturbing thought occurred to me that this really seems very like what is actually happening. The ordinary people are asking questions and they are getting no answers at all.

6. As I've listened to the coverage, it is clear that churches and places of worship have been key in the relief effort. They've thrown their doors open and acted as centres for people to get together. This is commendable. I think churches have a central role in communities. As religion is seemingly on the decline, what will happen if we lose these centres? We need community spaces. In disasters, we need places to gather and coordinate. Events such as this challenge any faith one may have (that is a central theme of my dream, I think), but the need for such space is beyond doubt.

7. Another thing which struck me was the sheer joy at the end of the dream of people being reunited with people they've lost. There may be people in hospitals, who have loved ones thinking they are dead. This is always a problem in a disaster, especially one like this where people may have no id. Disaster planning needs to address such things. I don't know how, but there must be a way.

8. "The forces of greed and division". The wanting of a bigger slice of the cake than we need or even deserve. Five years ago, I made a film called  "A Tale of Two Barnets" about such division, with Charles Honderick". It was a play on "A Tale of Two Cities", Dickens tale of inequality. It is a theme which has got worse, in the five years of Conservative austerity for the masses since. There has been no austerity for the top 1% in our society.

9. "You are all safe now". But what about all of the people left in Tower blocks in London and the rest of the UK. There are a hell of a lot of people who really don't feel safe. This isn't an issue that can be put off at all. There should be a state of emergency declared for everyone who may be at risk. We cannot have children living in tower blocks that can burn like roman candles.

10.  "There are no answers". Maybe for those that have gone, there are none, but there must be for the rest of us. More pertinant though, is what is the questions we should be answering. The first of these is "What are we doing today, to ensure that this does not happen again?".

I was quite surprised that it took me until list #173 to list my top ten football managers of  all time. This sparked much debate.

1. Brian Clough (Derby, Nottingham Forest)
2.  Sir Alex Ferguson (Manchester United)
3. Bill Shankly (Liverpool)
4. Bob Paisley (Liverpool)
5. Sir Matt Busby (Manchester United)
6. Herbert Chapman (Huddersfield,Arsenal)
7.. Arsene Wenger (Arsenal)
8. Bill Nicholson (Spurs)
9. Joe Mercer (Manchester City)
10.  Don Revie (Leeds)

I suspect that this would be a different list today. I would replace Arsene Wenger with Pep Guardiola and Don Revie with Jurgen Klopp. I may change the order as well. I may well put Pep at the top. His techniques have transformed football in a way that none of the others have. Before his arrival at Manchester City, the concept of playing out from the back was seen as suicidal. If, as seems likely, Klopp wins the league, he will easily have surpassed Revie and Wenger, who never won the European Cup. The achievements of both City and Liverpool last season are without peer. To get that many points, and for City to win two domestic cups and Liverpool to win the Champions League is really way beyond anything any other manager in the UK has achieved.

List #225 is a favourite, my top ten pictures of Mill Hill that are a bit different. Check them out. That list got a great response.

You may wonder which of these lists was the most popular? The answer, and it's not perhaps too surprising, is list #159, the complete list of pubs in the London Borough of Barnet. It had a huge number of hits.

In my lists  I try and share useful information, usually humourous, but occasionally deadly serious. List #232 was perhaps the most serious of all. How to spot a psychopath on Twitter. I really urge everyone to read this and share it. These are the tell tale signs. I urge you to read this blog, it may save you a hell of a lot of grief.

1. Glib and superficial charm

Key markers to look out for are grown up adults posting rather adolescent looking gifs of kittens, etc and liberally sprinkling all sorts of happy emoji's into tweets, to create an aura of friendliness. If these posts are interspersed with tweets of a vaguely menacing nature, it is a clear indicator.

2. Grandiose (exaggeratedly high) estimation of self

For psychopaths, it is essential to control situations. Posts from anonymous accounts, bragging of fantastic academic qualifications and top jobs that cannot be verified are typical behaviour. Often psychopaths are quite intelligent but can't work with other people, so will have had decent jobs at some point, but these were very short lived. They invariable end up 'working for themselves' bashing away on a keyboard into the early hours. Often to make up for the lack of real friends, they invent other Twitter persona's to chat with. If you notice an account where tweets are always liked by a subset of linked accounts, this is a sure sign of bogus self affirmation.

3. Need for stimulation

Often psychopaths are driven by paranoia. They tend to think everyone thinks like they do, so are constantly on the look out for new sources of stimulation to feed their delusions. They are very prone to fall for conspiracy theories, as they believe they provide a cover and an excuse for their poor behaviour. They will obsessively hunt out ever more bizarre information sources, the more absurd the better.

4. Pathological lying

As previously mentioned, the need for control is a pivotal feature of a psychopathic personality. When events and facts don't fit a narrative, they will invent one. They believe that if a lie is continually repeated, it will become a truth. Often on Twitter, a psychopath will get rumbled and then take on a campaign of harassment and intimidation of those they see as a threat. They will then construct a whole parallel reality of untruths about those they are targeting. This will involve inventing all manner of claims about what a person has done or said, none of which are ever substantiated with evidence.

5. Cunning and manipulativeness

Psychopaths are very cunning and manipulative. They will devise all manner of cunning ruses to ingratiate themselves with people they see as useful. Once they have dragged someone into their sordid world of fantasy, they make it very hard for those snared to escape. Fortunately on Twitter, it is quite easy to block such characters. The best thing is to block all of their persona's and ignore all of their nonsense. Eventually they will get bored and find someone else to pick on. If threats are made, report them to the Police.

6. Lack of remorse or guilt

This is the classic sign of a psychopath. However badly they behave, there is always an excuse. They seek out cases of other people who have been victims of injustice and convince themselves that they too have been unfairly treated.

7. Shallow affect (superficial emotional responsiveness)

This can be quite hard to spot on Twitter. Something bad happens and whilst normal people seek to offer support and solace, a psychopath will see it as opening a door to exploit a vulnerability. They will seek out people who display vulnerability and  offer support, but the purpose is purely to gain trust and confidence. Such individuals rarely create content of genuine interest, as they do not see the need to actually engage intelligently with other people.

8. Callousness and lack of empathy

This is far easier to spot. A psychopathic tweeter will seek out opportunity to undermine and make other people feel badly about themselves. They will see a tweet where someone is genuinely upset and will try and inflict a devastating knock out response to it to ensure the person feels awful. They lack empathy, so will have no qualms about saying things that upset people. There is never the slightest effort to see the other persons point of view or to find common ground. It is dominate or destroy.

9. Parasitic lifestyle

Twitter psychopaths are generally rather unemployable. They often have self defined non jobs, claiming all manner of business interests. Often they will see themselves as 'social media experts' and imagine that they are in charge of huge organisations with multiple employees, but are simply bashing away at a keyboard in their bedroom. They make inflated claims about their social media reach, they actively seek spam follows as validation, so that they can con people into supporting their non productive lifestyle. If they have websites, you will see no evidence of anything to back up these claims. No large offices, no names, no official partners.  And yet they seek your cash, don't be fooled.

10. Poor behavioral controls

Indiscipline on their accounts is another telling sign. They will often set up an account for one purpose, but when they need to 'dominate a debate', the account will be re-purposed to another, role. The typical modus operandi is to set up an account that will generate interest from the wider Twitter community, then when a following has been gained, the account will suddenly start posting all manner of bonkers nonsense, unrelated to the original purpose of the account. If you spot this, then I'd recommend unfollowing. Twitter psychopaths always have an agenda and it is never your health and well being.

Do I have another 250 lists in me? I have no idea. The lists will stop when I stop enjoying wring them

And I promised a special 250th celebration list. As readers will know, I don't like to disappoint.

So here it is. Ten things you never knew about the number 250!

1. The 250 bus route runs from Brixton to West Croydon. I didn't know this as this is the other side of the great divide (AKA The Thames)

2. Sergio Aguero scored his 250th goal for Manchester City against Crystal Palace on the 18th January 2020.

3. 250 Years ago, in 1770, Captain Cook was circumnavigating the world.

4. There is a book about Eric Cantona's Kung Fu attack on a Crystal Palace fan called "250 Days"

5. April 2020 will see the 250th anniversary of the poet Wordsworth

6.  The British Rail Class 91 train was the first to travel faster than 250KM/H in the UK back in 1998

7. The Isle of Man is 250 miles from Mill Hill, where I live. I've never been there.

8.  Pope Fabian died in the year 250.

9. Wikipedia states that the graves of more than 250 servicemen from the Netherlands are in Mill Hill cemetery.

10. Sly and The Family Stone's song "Hot Fun in the Summertime" is no 250 in the Rolling Stone all time Top 500 tracks.  It is a great  track, check it out. Probably the most inappropriate song ever for a cold February morning.

Sly and the Family Stone, ‘Hot Fun in the Summertime’
Writer: Sly Stone
 Aug. '69, Epic
16 weeks; No. 2
Summer was already under way when Stone handed in this heavenly soul ballad to Epic, which was wary of releasing a summer song in August – but it was a smash anyway. The single came out just before the Family Stone performed at Woodstock – they were the first band to sign up for the historic festival. Michael Jackson later bought the rights to the song.
Appears on: Greatest Hits (Epic)

Enjoy! And here's to the next 250 lists.

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