Filth, Film4, 10.40pm (Jon S Baird 2013)

I didn’t watch this film all the way through. I got to the bit where Detective Sergeant, Bruce Robertson, (James McAvoy) of Lothian Police force looks in the mirror and sees the image of a pig.  Pig, filth, black comedy. Gettit? I turned the telly over and watched the end of the Liverpool game. That was exciting. The truth is I don’t know what truth is. But I don’t really need to see the end of the film to know what happens. Writers have a tendency to write the same thing over and over and over again. Some of them get rather good at it. They win prizes, they win awards, they become rich. Irvine Welsh is I guess a rich man (compared to me most men are rich, those that aren’t tend to shop at the foodbank). This film had four different blocks of producers flashing up on screen flinging money at the same old, same old shite.

Let’s go back to Trainspotting. ‘The sweat was lashing oafay Sick Boy; he was trembling…Ah tried to keep ma attention oan the Jean-Claude Van Damme video.’

Drug taking [tick]

Violence [tick]

Sex [tick]

Black comedy, what the fuck does that mean, yah stupid radge cunt? Just fuck off out of my face [visage] or I’ll stick the heid on yeh.

There was something gallus about Trainspotting. Irvine Welsh knows his music and he knows his drugs and he knows he’s slightly dyslexic and he knows he’ll not get published because nobody publishes shite in the common argot of arsehole from the lowest place on the planet, a junkies arse.

So Mark Renton/Rentboy has got his hit, but it’s not injectable form he’d hoped, but an opium suppsitory. Anyone that had seen the film knows what happens to Ewan MacGregor next. ‘Ah whip oaf my keks and sit on the wet porcelain shunky. An empty my guts, feeling as if everything; bowel, stomach, intestines, spleen, liver, kidneys, heart, lungs and fucking brains are aw falling through my arsehole intae the bowl.’

It’s not often that the film is better than the book. Ben Hur is an epic example of that. I’d guess Trainspotting the film is better because Irvine Welsh wasn’t the screenwriter. In Filth, there’s a little in-joke the Chief Inspector doesn’t do any police work because he’s too busy in his office writing screen plays. Gettit? Shite.

Trainspotting was a phenomena and cash cow.  Ewan McGregor got to fucking play with lightsabers in Star Wars and the force was with him and to a lesser extent Robbie Carlyle is Begbie and Kelly McDonald is Kelly McDonald. Peter Mullan was a bit part player in the film but no plastic bronze medal, Hollywood for him too. Closer to home Spud, Ewen Bremmer, got to play a cop in Line of Duty. Gail, Shirley Henderson, seems to be in every Irvine Welsh production since then. In Filth, she’s not so much an object of lust, but an object of dirty phone calls from Detective Sergeant Robinson that has been called into to deal with the dirty phone calls, and dear old Shirley Henderson, who plays the same slightly deranged character in each play/film/movie is called to revel in the lust and take the sting out of it by rolling in the dirty with the dirty cunt that’s phoning her and thereby unmanning the man. Gettit. Shite. I’ve not mentioned Sick Boy yet, Jonny Lee Miller. Sick Boy in Trainspotting ‘It seemed, for women, that fucking was just something you did wi Sick Boy, like talking of drinking tea wi other punters’. Sick Boy was played by Jonny Lee Miller. And as we all know his cast off, and former spouse was Angelina Jolie. What a brilliant piece of casting by Danny Boyle. But it was Trainspotting rather than the critically acclaimed Shallow Grave that made his reputation.

Now we’re getting a Trainspotting 2. Shite. Back to Filth. No, I’ll not bother. You watch it if you want. But if you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all.

Panorama: I’m Broken Inside – Sarah’s Story, BBC 1. 7.30pm.


How many children die whilst in psychiatric care?

You probably don’t know. If you were health secretary, you might say something to the effect, none that I know of, or you might guess the answer to be four this year, one of them Sarah Green. You might suggest that the knock on effects of broken Britain (my words) is the number of children seeking psychiatric care placement has, according to Deborah Coles, who under Freedom of Information made a request to the appropriate authorities (a mismatch of NHS Trusts and local authorities) and suggest that that number has  doubled since the nineteen eighties and quadrupled between 2010-2014.

In quantitative terms 0.7% of the NHS budget is spent on psychiatric care (mental health) of young people and gaps in services mean that young people can be shipped hundreds of miles from home, as Sarah Green was. Her final placement was in The Priory which receives eighty-five percent of its funding from NHS clients. Sarah’s family complained that at a case meeting about her care the NHS trust, and CAM’s team openly squabbled about who was to pay for her care. None of this surprised me. Nor did Sarah’s death. What shocked me, I’m sad to say, was the cost. The NHS Trust were paying £800 per day for Sarah’s care. The Priory as a private consortium does not have to disclose what happens to whom in its institutions. There’s big bucks in patient care. Economic rent. Sarah could have hired two or three full-time staff and stayed at home. Let’s put this into perspective. Justin King who has taken over the running of Four Season’s Care Homes (debts £50 million) complained that local authorities were paying as little as £400 per week for care of the elderly. He argued the break-even figure was nearer £500. My argument is quite simply we should be doing these things ourselves. Self-help. Not paying for both care and adding on profit as a justifiable cost. For me that’s unjustifiable.

Rachel’s story is the story of some many other kids. Frozen out and shipped to some far-flung institution that in the jargon has the appropriate resources. Tara Philips, for example, featured and her petition [below] from Change Org., appeared in my inbox.  Her story is Sarah’s story, but without the suicide. They deserve better. We deserve better.

I am a mum of 6 kids. My oldest, Rachael, just turned 15. Growing up she has always been a loving, thoughtful, young lady with an incredible sense of humour. But  when she was 13 she developed severe depression and was soon sectioned. At a time when she needed her family the most, she was moved to a specialist unit on the other side of the country. It costs £100 every time I travel to visit her. I can only afford to visit once every two weeks.

It has become unbearable to have my daughter so far away when I know she is suffering, that’s why I have started this petition to get her care closer to home.

Petitions have helped other families in similar situations.  When Phill Wills started his  #BringJoshHome campaign to get care for his son, his local authorities started to listen. Public pressure can do the same for us.

Young people’s mental health care has been overlooked in this country for far too long and thousands of families like mine are being neglected. In Lancashire, particularly, I know people aren’t getting the treatment they deserve. High quality local care for Rachael could be the first step to creating better care for all young people in the area

Please sign this petition and join me in calling on Lancashire NHS Trust to localise Rachael’s care and get her treatment closer to us.


Chasing Dad, BBCiPlayer, written and directed by Philip Wood.

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Chasing Dad, is of course a play on Chasing the Dragon, or in other words, heroin addiction. This is a film about father and son.

‘This is it Phil. This is my life.’

‘I don’t know who you are.’ But the filmmaker tells those watching. ‘My father’s been addicted to heroin as long as I can remember.’

Later, his dad confirms this. He tells his son, and the camera, he started using the day his son was born. But bad Dad can’t be trusted. It’s a habit, he says, telling lies. He can’t help himself. It’s an unnatural relationship. Father, son and camera. Phil Wood senior. Phil Wood junior. Who is exploiting whom and for what reason? Is everyone in the film, including the cameraman, director and editor who is making the film about his dad’s addiction also a user, but in a different sense? The narrative arc in these films usually follows a familiar thread beloved of dramas. Promises, promises. I never said that. I never done that. NO, I’m not using. Well, maybe a little. You know it’s not my fault. I can’t help it. You don’t want to know.

So early on in the film Phil asks his Dad about the silver foil that’s lying about. ‘Are you up to your old tricks?’

‘It’s hard enough getting off this shit,’ Dad tells him. This is called the guilt trip.  He’s gouching on camera. That’s a moment when an addict’s eyes go for a wee rest and a body if it’s standing, relaxes into a stupor, and butts forward before consciousness resumes and the missing seconds deleted like an advert break in the hope nobody will notice.

‘I’m only drinking,’ says Dad. And the silver paper was to fix the aerial on the telly. Course it was. He promises that he’ll soon be ‘six feet under’. Sclerosis of the liver. Sure to do him. He’s got a hospital appointment. And an appointment at Romford Police station. And an appointment at court. But it’s for nothing. Just stealing electricity. He’s got a notice in from Romford Council telling him that they’re going to evict him. But he’s not worried. Course not.

‘Are you lonely Dad?’

‘yer- very.’

The camera pans into his face and you sense this is the truth. You see this is the truth, because he’s allowing his son to follow him with a camera. And even when his son threatens to quit filming or does quit filming, his son tells the camera that his Dad has been texting and phoning him. His dad is lonely. That is a truth.

But Dad has got Maria.

‘Maria, who’s she?’

‘Not a girlfriend, girlfriend, just somebody.’

Maria on camera explains. ‘We met in the Jobcentre…just sort of clicked.’ [There’s a joke here somewhere]

‘What happened to your eye?’ asks young Phil.

Phil is in his thirties, his dad in his fifties and Maria, I’d guess, in her twenties. For not a girlfriend, girlfriend she is much younger and she has a black eye. She explains there was a bit of a mix up, ‘and she got blamed for something she didn’t do’.

Maria speaks the same language as Phil’s dad.

‘Why do you drink?’ Phil asks her.

‘Boredom. I should be doing a lot more with myself.’

Jump shot to Phil’s sister, Emma, talking about her dad, their dad. She hated him. They hated him. Hated that he beat them. Beat his mum. Stole whatever he could and sold it. She used to go home and smell the drugs. Find all kinds of shit and paraphernalia. Or her dad would be on a cleaning spree, cleaning everything in the house at one-hundred miles per hour. Home was not a happy place, or a happy space.

Later Phil admits he used to tell his mates his Dad was an alky, that was better than being a druggy. That he used to tell his mum he was staying with friends, walk about all night, sleep in the park. Drink before going to school.

There’s an interlude where Dad admits he was a shit, but didn’t want to hurt anybody, didn’t want to hurt their mum, but at least he never hit them.

‘Yes, you used to hit us?’

‘What really?’ Dad seems flummoxed.

Phil junior confirms it.

‘Beat Emma.’

‘Beat Mum.’

‘Beat me.’

‘I don’t remember that,’ Dad says.

Outtake of Dad going for a hospital appointment. The nurse can’t find a vein. He explains that’s because he was a heroin addict. He’s brought a leaflet back. He wants his son to see it. Want his son to know, that he talked to someone about his alcohol addiction and it’s all there in the First-Stop leaflet.  ‘I’ve had enough.’

But there are some things that even Dad can’t explain. Who, for example, are the people that moved into his room and are staying in his house. Then when he gets some visitors there’s a confrontation. The son recognises one of the older men, one of his dad’s knockabout mates.

‘You stole off my dad!’ he accuses him.

The man isn’t happy about that. He makes some noises, but with a camera pointing at him, and Phil senior ushering him out the door, and into the back garden it’s obvious the men are here for drink or drugs, perhaps both. The camera picks up what they are saying and we hear them discussing drugs.

‘He’s come to do a bit of gardening,’ explains Dad.

‘He’s just there, chopping the grass.’

Phil’s sister Emma explains although she’d ‘absolutely hated him,’ why she no longer hates Dad. And that Phil had never really got involved unless Dad was hitting mum. How she’d been broken when Mum packed a bag and left. Sent Dad a letter. Left him. Left them.  ‘Dad was broken. He really was. Really, hard hit’. After twenty years he’d never expected that.  But now Emma understood it was an addiction.

Dad gets evicted from his council house. It’s not his fault really. People were using it as a gaffe to deal drugs and play loud music when he wasn’t there, he explains. Then there were the arrears in rent. Earlier he’d said it would be unthinkable if he was evicted, because he’s have nowhere to go. Now, he’s not that bothered. He’s selling everything in the house for £150.

His son asks if that’s a good deal. The answer is it’s the best he’ll get. He’s got somewhere to stay.

Maria explains that his dad had been lying to him. That he’d people selling and dealing drugs in his flat. Homeless people had stayed with him and a few people that were on the run from the cops. She too was on heroin, but now she’d a methadone script and she was kicking it.

Dad gets money from a relative and gets into rehab. ‘I’ve just had enough,’ he tells the camera. ‘Same old. Same old.’

Dad is discharged after six months in rehab. And he’s found a place in a half-way house. Things are looking up. Happy ending.

The cynic in me asks for how long?

Dodgy Dave and his chums

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This is a difficult script to write. You could go with the no suggestion of impropriety, criminality or wrongdoing, and following good business practice [fill in any name here, for example, David Cameron, Pablo Escobar, Vladimir Putin]

You could go all jokey and imply  we’re all in it together and we’ve all done it, signing on, or someone else signing on for you, for example, Bahama residents including a part-time bishop, because you’re too busy that day, creating wealth. Perhaps fling in a bit of alliteration, Dodgy Dave the Downing Street landlord coining it in, and mention the Panama Papers.

But then you’d probably have to mention not just Panama, but London itself as a tax bolt-hole where rich people congregate and get fitted for a bespoke tax avoidance suit, tailored to their needs, by an army of experts, such as David Cameron’s dear departed father.

In the European Union there – this week discounted offers- of convenient parking spots in Luxembourg, Lichtenstein and Monaco. And if sir and his capital wants to take a break from all that onerous paperwork there are hotspots in Guernsey, Jersey, Sark, Gibraltar, Anguilla,  The Virgin Isles, Montserrat, Bermuda, Turks & Calicos Islands,   Cayman Islands and any other British Territories and Crown Dependencies you can think of and that can be expected to keep stuhm about how much loot you’ve looted and don’t really give a flying fuck where you got it from. As long as you’re filthy rich you are master of all you survey. Only mugs and poor people pay tax. Thomas Piketty on Capital showed an interesting anomaly, there is more money in circulation than can be accounted for. It doesn’t take a genius to suggest that turn over any of these stones and you’ll find lots of interesting facts about wealth squirming under the light of transparency.

We could go for the moral angle and the exposure of pious untruths. A biblical quote would be good here to set off the script. Perhaps something from Proverbs 22:16: Whoever oppresses the poor to increase his own wealth, and gives to the rich will surely come to poverty.

But the problem with that is we are a nation built on that great lie of trickle-down economics that the poor might eat –eventually- from the scraps of the table of the rich man. The poor are always with us and it’s their fault for being poor is a stick. We have our masters grandstanding, telling us to work harder and dig deeper and stop being such a whinger and whiner, while quietly, money flows in one direction from the poorest to the richest at an increasing rate.  Paul Mason shows that before Lehman Brother’s collapse 40 percent of corporate profits in the United States were in the financial sector, four out of ten dollars. London, the most subsidized city in the United Kingdom, offers its own model of excess equalling success with everything for sale including the government. When Napoleon invaded Russia in 1812 he took artillery and about one million men of different nationalities, the finest fighting force on the planet, but he was no mug, somebody would have to pay for the invasion. Napoleon had roubles printed. Whoever paid the full cost to the bearer of such a note would not be Napoleon, nor will it be Cameron and his ilk paying for the NHS or road, or school or take your pick and mix .  Who’s paying for failure if it’s not the rich?

As a morality play it doesn’t work and as an economic template it works even less well, but ironically it offers the greatest chance of electoral success. Beat the drum.  Come clean and admit your faults. David Cameron is a good man. As is George Osborne and Boris Johnson. They are just doing what they have been brought up to do, which is to help the select few. What’s the problem with that?