Thursday 14 October 2021

A few tips on how to not upset me

I got an email from a friend today alerting me to the to the fact that my friendly neighbourhood troll seems to have disappeared off the face of the earth.  For most of the last two years, a rather strange individual, who lives locally has been trolling me to the very best of his ability. For some reason, it seems to have stopped and many of his rather silly twitter accounts have disappeared. The vast majority of the trolling was name calling. It seemed he'd sit up all night, reading my blogs and trying to identify weaknesses in my character that he could exploit with his razor sharp tongue, incisive wit and vicuous barbs. Sadly, he wasn't quite up to the level of Oscar Wilde when it came to put downs and they tended just to come over as the rantings of an oddball. Anyone who endured Finchley Catholic High School as a dyslexic in the mid 1970's has far too thick a skin to be bothered by someone sneering "The King of Mill Hill" at him. The staff at my business found this all rather hilarious. I'd block the accounts, but on occasion, they'd bring something to my attention that concerned them. On one occasion, the silly fellow started posting on Twitter that people should come and throw stones at my business. This would be a silly thing to do, as our site is fully covered by CCTV. The only consequence was that we picked up a couple of new customers, who'd not heard of us before. One guy nipped down, bought a set of guitar strings and then enquired "Have you seen what some nutter is posting about you on Twitter?". Once it became clear that we weren't going to be burned to the ground by an angry mob, I just found it rather amusing. Our friend posting the noncense set up three dozen different accounts and even bought followers in Africa and India to make the accounts seem important. Personally, if I had spare cash, I'd rather spend it in the pub, but at least it kept him off the streets and in his bedroom.

What was even more bizarre was that he'd take high offence at the most random of blogs. Regular readers will know that a friend of mine contributes guest blogs about Mill Hill in the 1940's/50's/60's under the pseudonym of Richard Wilkinson. When he wrote the first blog it was at the height of the campaign of harrassment, before the Police became involved. He wanted to add a guest blog, but I advised him to use a nom de jour to avoid hassle. Our friend went bonkers over this, posting ever wilder accusations. As Richard doesn't do Twitter, he missed it all, but it was truly bonkers. Every new guest blog by Richard was greeted with a tirade of insults, claiming Richard didn't exist and he was part of some evil scheme to enslave Mill Hill. If you read any of Richards Mill Hill quizes, blogs etc, you would find it hard to understand why someone would post this on Twitter (but if you search Richard Wilkinson Mill Hill on Twitter you will find it).

We can't believe that Barnet Eye are continuing to lie about Richard Wilkinson. He does not exist.This article is historically wrong. It is based in n the 70s. Face with tears of joyFace with tears of joyFace with tears of joy Barnet Eye are liars, cheats and scumbags.

All in all rather strange. The one thing it did confirm was that Richard was right to use a nom de jour for blogging as some of these posts were quite threatening

Even the local political site are getting involved in the search for the great Richard Wilkinson. This guy is wanted by everyone in Mill Hill. If you know him email us ****@**************** so we can interview him first. Grinning face with smiling eyesThumbs up

What did concern me was that this was clearly part of a wider plan to discourage people from writing guest blogs for the Barnet Eye. Happily it didn't work, but to this day I advise guest writers to use a nom de jour unless it is important to have their name in the public domain. 

The individual also went through a phase of setting up dodgy Twitter accounts to follow me, for reasons I am not sure. All of these had giveaways to the identity of the owner, so I'd block them. I have no doubt he has a few accounts following me that I've not blocked, but it was all a bit strange. Although I had no interest in what he was posting, several friends would send me screenshots when particularly offensive things were posted. No matter how many times I'd say "I don't want to see it", they'd still send them out of concern. My friendly Troll also started trolling friends, one had to get a solicitor to take action when personal details were posted online and threats were made. The Troll  also harassed my nephew, who was 14 years old, obtaining photo's from my sisters private Twitter account. My sister, who is a barrister by trade, went nuts. When I explained the nature of the Troll we were dealing with, she realised it was actually a good excuse to cleanse her Facebook friends list and tighten up her privacy settings.

Our friendly troll also sent threatening emails. Some of the threats were truly bizarre. One stated that he was "friends with the people who run the Green Party". If he'd said the Sicilian Mafia, maybe I'd have been quaking at the boots, but I can't say that I'd really be overly worried if Sian Berry dropped me off a dozen mackerel. He also told me that he knew all my customers and would destroy my business. Unless he was the bloke who invented Covid, which has had a bit of an effect, these threats proved hollow. For the first year of his harrassment, business actually went up by 20%, although I'm sure this was coincidental.

Many of the insults centred on the fact that I was fat, old, an alcoholic, uneducated, a rubbish guitarist, stuck in the past and a failed politician. Yep, I'm fat and old and quite comfortable with it. Yes, I do drink a bit too much at weekend sometimes, but I don't feel this interferes with anything other than my ability to do crosswords on a Saturday morning. I'm relatively uneducated, but I have no chip on my shoulder, as I've got the best job in the world running a studio and my education serves this purpose perfectly. Am I a rubbish guitarist, that's for others to judge, but I enjoy the music I make and the band has people who enjoy the music. In some ways I'm stuck in the past. I love a bit of nostalgia, I appreciate the legacy the past has bestowed, but I also look to the future. Developments like the new link from Luton station to Luton Airport, the Battersea branch on the Northern Line and all manner of technological developments fascinate me. I love new music and am always looking for new musical inspiration. As for being a failed politician. It's true. I've stood for the Lib Dems in Mill Hill twice and Edgware once and lost. If being a councillor was a priority then yes, it would be a huge blow, but each time the result was revealed, I was secretly relieved. If I had been elected I would do the best for my community, which needs effective councillors, but I have things I'd rather spend my time on than Council meetings. I stood to raise issues. Maybe I failed to win, but I've always made my opponents address the issues to some degree. 

I entitled this blog "A few tips on how not to upset me".   If you want to upset me, then it is pointless lying about me or making things up. I just find such things funny. If you want to make personal threats, then unless there is some credibility in them don't bother, I've heard it all before. Calling me names is pointless, because I've been called so many, as the youngest of six, as  the victim of a Catholic education and as someone with a bunch of highly sarcastic friends. By all means insult my education if you want. I couldn't care less, but if it makes you feel better then fine.

If you want to know what worries me, I fear the future of this wonderful country. If you want to piss me off, then campaign and work for the people who have put us in this mess and defend the indefensible. But as I'll probably block you once I see you are a numpty, it will be futile.

I've wanted to write this blog for a very long time. I sat on it until our friendly numpty disappeared. It seems he has so now is the time. If he decides to come back, at least he now knows how to get my goat, but then again I'll probably never see the fruits of his labours.

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