PTSD: The War in My Head, BBC 2, BBC 3, BBC iPlayer, narrator Iwan Rheon.

Who are you? What are you? A simple way of telling a story involves both elements. To be identified as a soldier tells who you are. Lt. General Harold G. Moore, for example, proudly claims in his New York Times Bestseller, We Were Soldiers Once…And Young.   But it doesn’t tell what you are. The moron’s moron and Chief Commanding Officer of the United States Army, for example, was not a draft dodger, or conscientious objector like Muhammed Ali, for that takes courage of conviction. When you’ve no morals or convictions it’s pretty easy to claim to have a spur in your heel that stops you from walking properly and tell other poor fools to fight in Vietnam. George Bush, Junior, who did manage to steal an election using the Supreme Court and some chads as cover, claimed he was a recovering alcoholic. There were no physical ailments to mark him out as different. After the fall of the Twin Towers and what is referred to as 9/11 it would have been very difficult for an American President not to invade a small country. The Commander in Chief convinced Tony Blair the British Prime Minister to support his dubious claims of weapons of mass destruction and invade Iraq. In comparison, in the sixties, Prime-Minister Harold Wilson body-swerved supporting Lyndon B. Johnson’s veiled threats and diplomatic request to send British troops to help with the invasion of Vietnam.

Two of the dumbest Presidents in modern history, both commanders in chiefs. Ironically, we’re back here now with war in Ukraine. Afghanistan abandoned to the Taliban. Iraq dismembered and hundreds of thousands of lives lost. For what?

Who are you? What are you? This is the story of the three of these soldiers who fought in these wars. Listen carefully. When does the army’s duty of care begin and end?

Cost cutting under the false flag of austerity means that Tobias Ellwood, a former British officer and reservist, rehashes the Minister of Defence’s rhetoric about their duty of care, while quietly shifting the responsibility onto the NHS. The same NHS which the Tory Party has been attacking and underfunding and trying to privatise, while not admitting to such, because that would be political suicide of the Truss variety. British soldiers with mental health problems and suicidal thoughts would be uninsurable under such a scheme. And if you listen closely, Kevin Williams also developed testicular cancer, which he joked about to his sister of only having one ball. But he was under thirty. He might be a statistical outlier. What remains largely invisible and neglected as mental-health care in a world of crude propaganda of good versus evil is the armour-piercing shells and bullets we use are radio-active afterwards. Cancerous. Tens of thousands of Afghani and Iraqi children born and unborn are the unread litmus tests. Kevin Williams may have been a victim of friendly fire in more than one way, if there is such a thing.

The programme chooses to finish with those that made it to the other side. End on a high note. It’s a story of hope. But I’m not buying. A story of continued neglect would be nearer the mark.     


This film tells the stories of three British soldiers who died in 2018 following lengthy battles with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). John Paul Finnigan from Liverpool, Kevin Williams from London, and Kevin Holt from Doncaster were in the same regiment, 2-Rifles, which served in Iraq and Afghanistan.

John Paul Finnigan, who died aged 34 and Kevin Williams, who was 29, took their own lives.

Through personal videos, voice notes, interviews and letters, this film reveals the private battle these men fought with their mental health.

While candid conversations with soldiers’ friends and families, document how their illnesses affected those around them.

As pressure mounts on the MOD to admit that they missed cases of PTSD in the wake of traumas experienced by soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, the film raises serious questions around the whole culture of mental health care in the army, which the Minister for Defence, People and Veterans, Tobias Ellwood says he is trying to change.

I need to unscramble my thoughts and get myself back together piece by piece.

3 soldiers who died, not the battlefield last year (2018) but in their own homes.

Commentator: These soldiers died after long battles with PTSD.

Kevin Holt 1988-2018.

Jess Holt. Kevin’s sister. He used to play outside building forts with those little green soldiers.

Kevin Holt (filmed by BBC 3 in 2012). I joined up because I wanted to get out of Lancaster. And obviously, when I were little, I watched a few Rambo film and that. Hmmmm.

Jess Holt [JH] He tried to join the first time, but they wouldn’t let im. Because he was far too skinny. He had to get those protein [drinks]. He never stopped eating.

Kevin Holt grew up in a big family. The only boy with four sisters.

JH. He was very full of himself. He always thought he was god’s gift. If you asked im about himself he’d say he was invincible.

KH: To be honest, I just wanted to be…get out there. Like get out on tour.

When Kevin joined the army, Britain was already at war in Iraq. He completed his basic training and went straight to Basra.

Kevin Williams 1988-2018.

Jennifer Williams [JW] Kevin’s sister. The family’s reaction to Kevin joining the army was not the best. Em, on the one hand, we saw it as a very honourable career choice.

Kevin Williams [KW own footage] Here we are Rifleman Williams the owner of this camera…And we have Rifleman Collison, say ‘Hello’ Rifleman Collison.

JW: I would definitely describe my brother as being not a mature 18-year-old. He’s definitely a boy. He wanted to join as soon as possible. Say, 15 and nine months, or whatever it was. So he basically, he broke my parents down until they said finally, yeh, we’ll sign the papers.

Rachel Kaden,  KW’s close friend,

Rachel Kaden met Kevin years after he left the army. She’d go on to make a documentary about him.

Rachel [looking at picture of him] I always remember him talking about meeting the Queen and serving in the army at 16. And one of the girls I worked with said I think he makes all this stuff up. You can’t join the army at 16. I remember feeling so angry. And I was never going to let Kevin know this and I searched the internet. And found a picture of him meeting the Queen. Just so I could go in the next day and say, hmm, he’s not a liar. See!

KW deployed to Basra on his 18th birthday.

John Paul Finnigan 1983-2018.


Steven Finnigan [JP’s brother]

SF. We did have a difficult upbringing. Don’t get me wrong. We never really had any real inspiration where he was going. But once we seen he was joining the army, we just seen this glow in him.

Leah Finnigan [JP’s ex-wife]

LF: Me and JP were 18 or 19 when we met. And it wasn’t a magical love story. It was just 2 friends and we fell in love. And, yeh, it was that simple.

[footage of their wedding]

LF: we decided when he got his dates for Iraq, OK, let’s get married. We got a formal wedding. Then it was straight onto the party. And drunken dance and Karaoke. We got Karaoke.  He/We just wanted to have fun.

Letter to family from JP in Iraq 20/11/2006 [read by SF his brother]

Don’t know if you’ll get this, but I’m writing it anyway. I’m missing everyone at home and the wife. I’m missing Leah much more than I thought I would, but hey things must go on. I got hit by a Chinese rocket. 25 meters away. A bit too close for comfort.

Lee Harding was one of JP’s best mates in the army. He lived near him in Liverpool and they served in Iraq, alongside Kevin Williams.

LH: It was just the ferocity of the contacts we were in. It was relentless. The minute we got there to the minute we got home. It was constant.

[Commentator] One day JP was out fixing the Bulldog fighting vehicle he drove. When they came under attack.

LH: 12 mortars from 6 different locations in the city. JP was out of the wagon and it landed no more than a couple of feet away. 

It burst JP’s eardrums. But at the time, you literally, laugh it off. Out there you have feelings. You don’t get hurt. Everything gets buried, deep down on you.

Commentator: In fact, JP was left with ringing in his ears. He later got diagnosed with an ear infection. Which left him with life-long hearing problems.

Commentator; [transition]

Keven William was in the same company as JP.

KW’s personal video.

Believe it or not I’m in a fucking place. Where most folk are being fucking killed.

Commentator: For 7 months the battalion endured daily attacks. They lost 3 young soldiers.

Jennifer Williams [JW] Kevin’s sister: When Kevin was in Iraq, he did lose one of his best friends. And that hit him really hard. Because Kevin is the type of person, when he likes you, he really likes you. And for him to call this person ‘his best friend’, it’s like more than a brother to him. 

Commentator: Aaron Lincoln was killed when out on patrol in 2007.

Footage from RKaden: KW speaking: I lost possibly the closest friend to me that served alongside me. He wanted to leave the forces. I convinced him to stay. And no long after he was killed.

Commentator: Kevin Halt was on tour for one month in Iraq, but what he saw in that month was to shatter any illusions he had about life of the front-line soldier.

Jess Holt. Kevin’s sister

One of the things that stuck with him most in Iraq was he went on patrol, and he saw this little girl, she must only have been about 3 or 4, and she was obviously in distress, really hot and dusty. And he gave her a bottle of water. Went on his patrol. Came back the same way. And they’d hung this little girl, cause she took the water from, obviously, a soldier. And they didn’t like that. But he always blamed himself for that. It really got to him.

Commentator: After any active tour, the army gives its soldiers a few days away before coming home. They call this period: decompression.

KW’s personal video, army base, Cyprus.

Daniel Holleran was friends with JP and KW and served in Iraq with the Rifles:  They basically just left us in the camp. And they’d a container with crates of lager and cider and everything you wanted.  We’d a bit of R&R in the daytime. Where we could go jet-skiing or paragliding. That was the joke, get out of bad habits before you get home and batter your wife.

Tobias Ellwood is the defence spokesman for veterans. He’s a veteran himself, who is still a reservist in the army.

TE: the decompression period is actually very important. What we didn’t want was them going from the violent arena, where they’ve seen things. Witnessed things. Or being aware of lost colleagues or so forth. Going straight back to seeing their families. Taking them to another arena such as Cyprus, were we have military bases there. They’re still together as a unit, but it’s not an operational environment. You have psychologists. You have padres there which offers the pastoral care, which allows people to start thinking, reflecting on what they’ve just been through. And being able to vent and share concerns. And so forth. Move on. Have something else. A bit of distance between what they’ve endured, before they meet their families.

KW’s personal video, army base, Cyprus:

Totally pissed.

TE: I’m not aware of huge quantities of alcohol. If that is the case then it’s a breach of the rules. And the controlled programmes that we’re trying to…eh. Have in place.

Commentator: KW’s struggle with mental health pre-dated his first tour. Unbeknown to the army, he had attempted to take his own life before he had joined. But after Iraq, he was diagnosed with a new condition. PTSD.

Filmed for BBC 3 in 2012: KW.

Mostly anger. At one stage I smashed up my room. Turned the TV over. Everything. And I don’t even know why.

PTSD is an anxiety condition that can occur after experiencing a frightening or distressing event.

Shirley Holt (KH’s mum).

2007, he got diagnosed with the condition.

He was bad for it. An he were bad from word go. As soon as he came home. You could always tell when he were gonna have an episode cause his eye used to change. I can’t explain it, but they do. Load of change.

Commentator: In the army, KW was given mental-health treatment. Including a period of hospitalisation in late 2007. The army makes judgement about who can handle weapons and go on tour based on mental as well as physical fitness. But Kevin assured medics he was able to cope.

Official report: Rfn Holt reported that he would like to soldier on.

   2009. KH deployed to Afghanistan. Where Britain had been at war for 8 years.

Jess Holt. Kevin’s sister

JH: He wanted to go to Afghanistan. He was obviously nervous. A bit apprehensive about it. But he had this mindset where he wanted to go. Not to make things better but…it just…get it done.

KW [personal video]: The last tour were Afghan, we spent 7 months there and my role were the valour man? Obviously, it’s just you holding a metal detector (mine sweeping) and you’re detecting any metal content in the IEDs.

Commentator: IDs, improvised explosive devices were responsible for most deaths and injuries for British soldiers in Afghanistan.

On the 10th July, KH’s company was out on patrol. When a series of ID’s were triggered.

JH: I remember the day it happened. He weren’t supposed to be ringing. He were supposed to be like radio silence in the camp. But he rang my mum. I remember answering the phone. And he as just…He was crying. And I was like er, trying to get him to say what’s the matter? He were like, just put mum on. That was when we’d found out, he’d er…what had happened.

Commentator: 5 soldiers died that day. Including JH’s best friend James Backhouse.

JH: For him it wasn’t the initial explosion that kinda got to him. It was er afterwards. Picking all the bodies up. We can’t even imagine. The stuff of nightmares. He was an overthinker. It got to him. He just couldn’t shut it off. His head just couldn’t move on from that day, really.

Commentator: KH had been leading the patrol with a metal detector. Despite his feelings of guilt. The MOD recognised him as faultless in the incident. He even received a citation for his bravery. For continuing to search the area for further ID’s after the explosions. 

BBC 3 film, KH: Lot of people on the platoon, deserved it more than me. Everyone. . .

Commentator: The events of that day would cut short KH’s dreams of an army career.

KH: At first I were keen. I wanted to step up the ranks. The thing that stopped me being keen were seeing people I lived with, I worked with, that I care about, like get hurt. Or die.

Commentator: KH was discharged from the army at his own request.  But this was later converted to a medical discharge. In acknowledgement of his PTSD.


Commentator: JPF couldn’t go to Afghanistan in 2009 because of the problems with his hearing. Instead, he was given a role in a welfare unit in England. In practice, this meant ferrying the families of the dead and injured flown back from Afghanistan so they could attend the repatriation ceremonies.

Leah Finnigan [JP’s ex-wife]:He had all these people in the back of his car. Taking them to hospitals or pick up the well…the dead. He felt guilty. He should have been there. In Afghanistan. He didn’t want to be driving the families. The guilt. The injury. That would have caused the trauma if he’d never done the tour. That’s when he started to shut off his emotions, actually. When he was ill. Really ill.

Commentator: Kevin Williams did not deploy to Afghanistan. He’d been discharged from the army in 2008. The year after he got back from Iraq, the recreational drug use increased. His sister believed by that time he wanted out. When she’s visited him on base in the UK a few months earlier, it was clear things were going badly wrong in his head.

Jennifer Williams [JW] Kevin’s sister: One of his friends actually pulled me aside. Aidan said, ‘I’m worried about Kevin.’ I went…OK… I was, he was saying he’d cut himself and he’d written some message in his own blood on the walls.  And so I broached  the subject with Kevin. And he was like yer, I did do that. I just had a bit of a meltdown. And he said that he was given a card to call a number to get help. And I asked him, ‘did you call the number?’ And he said ‘No’.

Well, you really need to call the number.

Commentator: It would be years before KW was diagnosed with PTSD. After his dismissal from the army he returned to his family home. But his increasingly erratic behaviour was difficult for his family to deal with. Or understand.

JW. It was quite a scary time for us, with KH in the house, cause he would have rages. All of a sudden a fist would go through the door.  So my mum arranged for him to see the doctor to try and get help. He was very clearly depressed.

Commentator: eventually KW got a diagnosis of PTSD through a veteran charity. And his friend Rachel, started making a documentary about him.

Kevin Williams – This is Me. A film by Rachel Kaden 2016.  

KW: Returning to civilian life was a big shock. The skills I learned, especially being in the infantry regiment was all combat based. So civilian life doesn’t really have much combat. I was pretty much, you know? Useless.

Commentator: KW began communicating with Rachel through voice notes. They provide a unique insight into his battles with PTSD. And are broadcast here for the first time.

KW: 7/3/2016. For some good reason I believe the battle field will be my home?  When I’m in conflict, I’m a nicer person than when I am not. You know, when I leave the house today, I just want to hurt everyone. You know when I’m in combat, I’m like, I don’t want to hurt you. I don’t want to hurt you. You know I don’t want anyone to get hurt. And I think, this is where I’m coming from.

Commentator. John Paul Finnigan was medically discharged from the army in 2010 because of his ear injury.

Steven Finnigan [JP’s brother]

Like when JPF came back to Liverpool, we found it very hard to get him out of his rut because he was in denial of what he was and was in denial. He’d fly off the handle. Fighting all the time.  He was like a yo-yo, basically. He’d go up and down with his moods.

Leah Finnigan [JP’s ex-wife] I told him, he needed help. And he went to the doctors and got CBT

Commentator: CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) is the key treatment for PTSD. It requires the sufferer identifying the emotions driving their behaviour. In JP’s case he was asked to start writing this down.

JP (read by SF] I’ve been diagnosed with PTSD, depression and anxiety which leaves me low and at a loss. Tight, on edge, unsettled. When things happen my heart races. My chest feels tight. My muscles tense and I go stiff. I usually lash out at walls and doors. But this still has affected my relationship with my wife and child. 

Commentator: But JP found it hard to keep following the therapist’s instructions at home.

LF: He wasn’t doing the techniques. They teach you techniques to do at home. But he just wasn’t doing them. And that’s not the way it works. In the end, it killed our marriage. It was the PTSD that done it.

Kevin Holt

To be honest, after I got out the army, that’s when like all the help stopped. An I were just like going down. From there.


Commentor: After Kevin Holt was discharged from the army he moved back to Doncaster.

KH’s mum: He got a job in a kitchen place. He told them he had PTSD. They said they understood that and they’d have a quiet word. But it only lasted a week. Thought everybody were talking about im. So he got paranoid and he went on er sick.

Commentator: Kevin was given every available treatment for sufferers on the NHS. Including CBT and counselling. But his inability to talk about his problems was a barrier to the treatment working.

KH 2012: Everything I’ve been to, I feel it hasn’t really helped…I don’t really like talking about things…  That’s probably why.

Commentator: Tobias Ellwood agrees they struggled to get the right support, when they leave the army.

TE: We must make sure they get the right support. Nobody is left out. They must be slid across to the civilian operation. And given the support they needed. And it’s taken a little time, because this whole mental-support mechanism has grown and evolved. I go back to the fact, we’re dealing with a very macho environment. And sometimes there’s a reluctance to admit that there’s an issue. And that’s part of what the NHS now needs to do. Make sure they ask the right questions so they can provide the right support.

Commentator: The solution he says lies in specialist training for GPs. And new NHS units tailored specifically to veteran care. For KH help came in another form.

KH Mum: He just wanted to settle down and have somebody. And kids. He always wanted kids. Whatever girlfriends he had couldn’t cope with his PTSD. So we got him a dog. The veteran charity helped train Kevin with his PTSD.

KH sister, JH: The thing that helped him most was Dash. That dog was like his kid. It was trained to lick him and wake him up when he was having a nightmare. I think having the responsibility of having to get up and look after something else. And having that routine back. Was important for im.  

Commentator: To add to his struggles, Kevin was diagnosed with testicular cancer. During his treatment, he moved into a caravan next door to his mum.

JH: He used to allow his paranoia and phases when he wanted to be on his own and shut the world out. But I think focussing on thinking about getting himself better from the cancer distracted him a little bit.

A few weeks before he passed away, he was…he’d come around for a drink. He was joking about losing one of his balls. That was just the sort of person he was. He didn’t let anything like that sorta bother im. It was the big stuff that got to him most.

KH Mum: He told me the day before he wanted to be by himself. And [I said] I’m still goin to make sure you’re alright. But he waved to me through the kitchen window. And he smiled at me. So I seen im the day before.    

Commentator: On 13th July 2018, KH was found dead in his caravan. The coroner ruled his death was by misadventure. KH accidentally overdosed on the morphine he’d been prescribed for his cancer. He was 30-years-old when he died.

JH: It feels like a massive blur. But I don’t think it’ll hurt properly. It looked like I said I lost my brother. But when he came back from Iraq, as much as I loved him and he was my big brother, he never really came home from there.


Commentator: Kevin Williams also struggled to find the right treatment for his PTSD. For him, Thai boxing seemed to relieve some of the strain. But in January 2018, things started to get on top of him.

KW voice note: 15/1/2018. I’ve been feeling very weird lately. My head playing games and everything else. It all plummeted at once. It was like I was supporting the bridge and all the suspension cables decided to fucking go off. One by one. Right after the other. It’s like I need to take a big step back from everything. And unscramble all my thoughts and my mind. And just get myself back together piece by piece.

Kevin Williams – This is Me. A film by Rachel Kaden 2016. 

RK: Well, he said it about the suspensions and the bridge. Just completely go. All I wish is I said, Let it all go. Come ere. I’ve got a spare room. Let it all go. Just come. Be still ere. So…hindsight is very easy to, er, make you think, isn’t it?

Commentator: Kevin’s final voice note was sent a week before his death. And he sounded back on track.

KW: 6/3/2018. 11/3/2018. Rachel, Rachel, Rachel, what are you doing today? It’s the tattoo artist again. I need your help. I’m going to look to book…

Commentator: On the 18th March 2018, KW took his own life at his own home in Basildon. He was 29-years-old.

Jennifer Williams [JW] Kevin’s sister: When people talk about PTSD in particular they talk about walking the black dog. And…I just think that is just a really lame way of putting it. And the reason I’m saying it is anyone can walk a black dog down the park. These are soldiers. They can walk in the park. It’s more like being chained to a dark wolf. That it trying to eat you, constantly. And you have to fight it every day, every minute, every hour. And sometimes you get a lucky punch. That wolf goes down for… a few hours. Maybe a day. Maybe two days. But eventually that wolf comes round. And that wolf is always there. You’re chained to it. So you can’t get away from it.  

Steven Finnigan [JP’s brother]

JP was just talking to me. And I knew something was up, just by his voice. And he said he was goin for a walk. Now, I knew where, he’d walk, you know. Know what I mean?

So I jumped in my car and shot down there. And he was standing out at the bridge and I beeped me horn and that startled im. And he was out of that vision of what he were goin to do. Instead, he was thinking what were that? You know what I mean? Where I’d that time to drag him back over and throw him back into me car. And don’t get me wrong, he was fighting me all the way. To do it, but…

Yer, he was fightin me all the way to do it, but… No. That’s not the way he was going. In my eyes, yeh, know what I mean? He deserved better than that.

Commentator: After JP’s marriage ended he met and moved in with Danielle Miller fiancee.

DM: JP’s sister said to get in touch, she was worried and to get in touch with her. He had been having kinda suicidal thoughts. To me it was a shock.

Commentator: Danielle’s mother had taken her own life. So she knew how it felt to lose someone to suicide.

DM: I did say to JP, you know how much I don’t  agree with suicide. And JP promised me, he did, er think about it. But he wouldn’t do it. It was kinda spur of the moment talk. And promised me he couldn’t live without me. His children. His family.

Commentator: But it was a promise he was unable to keep. On 27th May 2018, Danielle found JP’s body in the garden of the home they shared.

DM: I still don’t understand why JP done it. It’ll never leave. 

Steven Finnigan [JP’s brother]

Well, I felt hopeless. Because I was in a completely different country. An, I felt that he knew, I’d stopped im before. So with me out of the way, I’d no stop im, you know what I mean?

Leah Finnigan [JP’s ex-wife]

All day, every day, he suffered so much. And I…My heart breaks that he wasn’t able to get the help he needed. He shoulda got help. He shoulda. He shouldn’t have been up to im to ask for it.  It shouldn’t ave. That should have been given to him… It should be an automatic thing… It’s men and women… it’s so sad.

Commentator: After Afghanistan the army attempted to screen soldiers [eg video Expressing my Emotions – This is Belonging: Army Jobs 2018] for mental-health problems. But it wasn’t effective.

Instead the MOD is trying to change the whole culture in the armed forces. As this recruitment video shows.

Tobias Ellwood:

When I was in the armed forces, you were reluctant to say anything, you were intimidated. You were told to grab a mansuit and sort yourself out. Em, certainly, there was no recognition that there was perhaps that there was something there that might need attention. And if you dealt with it right away it wouldn’t incubate into something…worse. And eh, that’s what we’re trying to change now.

Commentator: But any change will come too late for combat, front-line soldiers of Iraq and Afghanistan.

Of whom 17% are suffering from probable PTSD. (source: KMCHR, October 2018 and refers to ex-serving personnel).

Commentator: Those sufferers include friends of JP. Men who fought alongside him. Daniel and Lee have both been diagnosed with PTSD. But it wasn’t until JP’s death, they faced up to their own thoughts to suicide.

Daniel: speaking about JP. I’d say he was one of the strongest soldiers. One of the strongest men I knew. Took his own life. But I understood why. I didn’t blame him. I didn’t judge him. To my shame, the first thought in my mind was he’s out of the pain now. And er, he hasn’t got all these things going round in his head. It was just complete and utter jealousy.

Lee: I didn’t know I was suicidal until you battle these demons and you feel numb.

Commentator: In the years since JP’s death, both have sought help.

Daniel: I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, JP’s death gave me life. Something changed in me. From that day I put the drugs down and I went into treatment and I got better. It was all down to JP’s death. Give me my life.   

Lee: Just getting over that line to say I needed help was probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done. [Pictures of him with his wife and family, toddlers and baby]. Going back to therapy. That first session, was hard, really hard.

Commentator: The family and friends in this film had done so in the hope more veterans would have the courage to seek help.

JH:It was hard, the first week, I couldn’t even say his name, but it’s what he wanted. Baby Kevin Holt III. Now I’ve got a little mini Kev. I hope he’s not as naughty as Uncle Kev.

Livingston 0—3 Celtic

Kyogo’s super strike inside ten minutes did little to change the home team’s game-plan (and that of the other teams in the Scottish League, including Rangers), which was to defend deep and hope to win something from corners, free-kicks and long throws into the box from Livingston full-back Devlin. Celtic with on average eighty-five percent possession limited Livingston’s chances to one Shinnie shot on goal, which was easily saved by Joe Hart.  

A year ago, Georgios Giakoumakis brought the world to a halt (or at least that’s what it felt like) when he missed an injury-time penalty that would have given us three points. We were chasing Rangers in the League. And even that early in the season it felt like league over.

The Greek striker also missed an 83rd minute penalty today, which was given after substitute Jota’s cross was given as hand ball after a VAR intervention. It wasn’t as clear cut as the non-penalty not given by VAR in Tynecastle last week.  But it was a chance for Giakoumakis to add to his goal-a-game status after he came on to replace Kyogo. He hit the outside of the post. But it was a game in which it didn’t affect the result or league position.

It’s difficult to imagine saying goal-a-game Greg Taylor, but in the 53rd minute he was at it again. His shot from outside a crowded box went through goalkeeper Hamiliton’s legs. The keeper should have done better. But it was equally difficult to imagine Taylor doing better. His performances this season have had me eating my words. He’s first pick on merit. And make the memory of Bolingoli seem like a distant nightmare.

Jota’s injury meant he’s missed the last five games. He returned to score an 83rd minute goal that better reflected Celtic’s superiority. Substitute David Turnbull, also back from injury, put it on the plate for him.  

Livingston have bullied us in the past (remember Lyndon Dykes against Julien, I wonder what happened to the Scottish international?) But without the ball the success of back-to-front football never looked like happening today. We remain four points clear of that other Glasgow team and will go into the transition with the World Cup looming at top of the league. I can’t see us getting eighty-five-percent possession when we play Real Madrid on Wednesday. They picked us apart at Parkhead under the lights.  I was at the game in 1980 when we beat them 2—0 at Parkhead. Johnny Doyle, the diminutive Celtic die-hard, scoring two goals, in a game in which we were totally outplayed, with Laurie Cunnigham, in particular, standing out. I’ll take a two nil win on Wednesday and a similar win against Dundee United next week before our Australian tour. Georgios Giakoumakis should also be taken off the list on penalty takers.

The Witch Farm, BBC 4, BBC Sounds, written and presented by Danny Robbins, Directed by Simon Barnard

I listened and was intrigued by The Battersea Poltergeist. Danny Robbins has assembled the same team to tackle another caseload, he terms ‘the most haunted house in Britain’. He’s repeating himself. But I wouldn’t want to stay within spitting distance. Or to put it another way, no way would I stay anywhere near that place. I’m not sure if I believe in ghosts. And yes I am a scaredy-cat. I used to read all those kinds of books when I was younger, Colin Wilson and The Occult, Outsiders and all that stuff. I guess we grow out of it.

Like most people I’ve had that hairs-on-the-back-of-your head feeling of something being there. That’s when I scarper. You’ll not get me investigating strange noises in the basement or attic. I’m curious, but I’ll let someone else do the legwork. Danny Robins does a great job. Empiricism is based on the null-hypothesis. Not proving something right. But attacking and nullifying that belief. Last man, or ghostly presence, standing.

I was about twenty when I stayed in an old church hall overnight. There was about four of us. We slept upstairs and before we went to sleep we heard the unmistakable sound of somebody clomping up the stairs. I pulled open the door. And, you’ve probably guessed, nobody there. This happened a few times. I heard it and the people with me also heard it. We were scared, but we were also tired. I fell asleep. I guess they did too. We got used to the idea. We moved on the next morning.


Dare you visit Britain’s most haunted house? Joseph Fiennes and Alexandra Roach star in a new paranormal cold case from Danny Robins, creator of The Battersea Poltergeist.

Episode 1 & 2.

It’s 1989, rural Wales, a lonely old farmhouse in the shadow of the imposing Brecon Beacons mountains. Young, pregnant Liz Rich and her artist husband Bill rent an isolated farmhouse in the Welsh countryside, with Bill’s teenage son Laurence. They’re hoping for a fresh start, but the house holds dark secrets, and the family’s new life becomes a terrifying ordeal that will change them forever.

Their dream home has become a haunted nightmare – but what is real and what is in their minds?

Written and presented by Danny Robins, creator of The Battersea Poltergeist, Uncanny and West End hit 2:22 – A Ghost Story, The Witch Farm stars Joseph Fiennes (The Handmaid’s Tale) and Alexandra Roach (No Offence), with original theme music by Mercury Prize-nominated Gwenno. This 8-part series interweaves a terrifying supernatural thriller set in the wild Welsh countryside with a fascinating modern-day investigation into the real-life mystery behind what has been called Britain’s most haunted house.


Bill Rich ….. Joseph Fiennes

Liz Rich ….. Alexandra Roach

Wyn Thomas ….. Owen Teale

Lawrence Rich ….. Jonathan Case

Electrician ….. Delme Thomas

Written and presented by Danny Robins

Experts: Ciaran O’Keeffe and Evelyn Hollow

Sound design by Charlie Brandon-King and Richard Fox

Music by Evelyn Sykes

Theme Music by Gwenno

Researcher: Nancy Bottomley

Produced by Danny Robins and Simon Barnard

Directed by Simon Barnard

Consultant was Mark Chadbourn, author of the book on the case, Testimony

Road to the peaks.

Bill artist. Liz, Welsh, 3 months pregnant. Bill’ s son, Lawrence 14 from his first marriage.

Man behind the trees, watching.

Thomas, I Wind. I own the next farm along.  I wouldn’t

Highest of Brecon Becons.

Exoricism, No one works out what’s going on. Early phenomenon. Autumn 1989. Birth of Ben. November 1989.

Someone was here, Liz. I heard it.

First electric bill. £750 for quarter. It should be £100?

Ben asleep.

We heard the door slam, but it never moved.

Paranormal experts. Experts: Ciaran O’Keeffe and Evelyn Hollow

The house feels like a Rubic’s cube. History and mythology so dense. Witchcraft.

Kieran, skeptic. Appertions to possession.

Bill, only one to hear. Routine. Dream state.

Next day, Liz. Phantom door banging.

Electrical >not unusual. Haunted environment not unusual.

Entire family hear footsteps. Another sound. Sulfur smell. Manifest regularly. Another smell. Incense. Something links?

Electricity whizzing. Marker.

Checked by electricity board.  You’re going to have to pay bill?

Power surges when intense.

5 times the amount.

Baseline: 1 hour of his washing machine. 31 200 hours. How do you generate that much electricity?

£750 around £8000 today.

Paranormal interfere with electromagnetic field.

November to December.

Bill goes for walk with baby Ben. Gravestone. Used them to build. Your house. Your house is built with gravestones.

Liz. I was terrified.

It was the most disgusting thing I ever came across. It was evil.

Danny meets our star witness – the real-life Liz Rich, to learn more about the frightening reality of living inside what has been called Britain’s most haunted house. Back in 1989, we hear how the haunting intensifies, as Bill and Liz feel a sinister presence that appears to be taking over their lives, but is it real, or is it in their heads?

Episode 2. The Watcher.

The Witch Farm reinvestigates a real-life haunting – a paranormal cold case that has been unsolved for nearly 30 years – until now. Set in in the beautiful, remote Welsh countryside, this terrifying true story is told through a thrilling blend of drama and documentary.

I’m watching you, you feel scared.

People often say, I want to live in a haunted house. You bloody well, wouldn’t.

Timeline. One big development. Something that happened in the wake of the first phenomena, the footsteps and smells. Bill and Liz hardly dared talk about.

December 1989, kitchen.

I feel it. You’re being watched.

A (brooding) presence in the house.

Footsteps (i) hard boots (ii) slipper? Shuffling along landing and down the stairs.

Significant temperature changes. Unbearable heat. Brutal cold. Localised. This room. The area around the electricity meter.

Focal point. Power surges coinciding with phenomena.

Electricity supplier: Numerous tests. We are quite satisfied and have never experienced anything like this before.

Desecrated gravestones?

Liz, now in her sixties. You’ve got photos? This was the happier stuff. Something missing. No photos of  Heol Fanog.

I burnt them. I bloody burnt them all. I wanted no memory of that bloody place. I wasn’t bringing it with me.

Before you met Bill? What was young Liz like?

Bloody hell, you wouldn’t have wanted to know me. I was wild. I went to live in Ibiza,  Morocco. Took a motorbike through the Sahara. I’ve got a wild streak and I adore things that are new and exciting.

Did Bill fall into that category?

He was stunning looking. Very gentle. Very kind and very intelligent. I was attracted to him because he was quite weird, I think. Artists are interesting. They’re just different.

So you want to build this life together?

You and Bill and your son Lawrence and this baby and you find this place? It feels as if you fall in love with the house as well?

It was so bloody gorgeous. All in its own grounds. Stuck at the foot of the mountain.

Nearest neighbours half a mile down the hill.

I always wanted to get animals as well. So it was perfect. Even with a barn (and pig?)

But then Liz, there’s a point where it stops being fun?


So we’ve heard how the phenomenon starts. This becomes pretty much a daily occurrence?

Oh, this became normal. And they’re not gentle footsteps. No one’s creeping around. They are loud. They want to be heard. It kept getting braver, whatever it was.  

It wasn’t tangible. That’s the scary bit.

Paradise is quite a different place. How does it feel now?

Frightened. It was as if it was playing. Playing with us. Like cat with a mouse.

Experts: Ciaran O’Keeffe and Evelyn Hollow

Evelyn: I found her such an interesting character. Originally, I was concerned she was a person who was just predisposed to being afraid. She had so much stress in her life. But when you actually dig into Liz and her background, I couldn’t believe a woman who had…was readily afraid of some noises in the house.

I’ve spent a lot of time with Liz. And one thing she is not is a scaredy-cat.

She has lived through a level of fear most of us have never experienced?

Ciaran: Absolutely, thing of the environment. Where they are. Brecon Beacons and so isolated. But they are also what they perceive to be a dangerous situation. They are having this experience, while almost being trapped by the environment. I think it would be difficult for almost anybody to be in that situation and not show some level of fear.

Let’s discuss our new phenomena? This sense of presence is so interesting. But as Liz said, that is ‘intangible’.

What’s tangible is these new temperature swings and those smells. Sulphur and incense.    

Evelyn: Yeh, it’s fairly common in most hauntings, people would report sudden plunges in temperature. But the intense heat it interesting. It feeds into the idea there are polar opposites at play in the house, because we’ve had sulphur and incense…It starts to feel that there are more than one personality at play within the house.

That’s fascinating, because we also have two sets of footsteps: the booted ones and the ones in slippers.

Evelyn is suggesting there are almost two personalities, but there are also to human personalities, Bill and Liz? Do you feel we need to look at how their responses are affecting each other?

Ciaran: Yeh. There’s the psychological concept called contagion. And contagion is where somebody has an experience and you have an empathetic experience just because you are close to them. Going back to human evolution, if somebody next to you is feeling fear for a genuine reason, it’s no surprise that you too experience that fear. Because ultimately that could be lifesaving.

So you’re still saying that they could be imagining this? But, surely, they can’t imagine a smell?

Ciaran: Well, there’s this lovely term, one of my favourite words in parapsychology, ‘phantasmial’, (?) It basically means, smelling things that aren’t there. We know there are particular triggers in the brain. It could be brain injury. But also if you are somebody that’s going through absolute extremes. So you’re going through extreme stress. Extreme sleep deprivation. You can also be affected by phantomial.

A detective story? This isolated house and its cast of suspects. One thing we know for sure, is not imagined is that enormous electricity bill. We did our experiment. How impossible that seemed to be and yet…? The electricity board are insisting that Bill and Liz pay it.

Bill had been an artist. Then his work dries up, seemingly overnight?

Liz: Oh, god, it was a nightmare. He was just going down to a darker hole by the minute. It just seemed that whatever way he went. No, no, nothing.

Suddenly you find yourself in a pretty dramatic financial situation?

Liz: It was bleak. Bloody bleak.

And as you all know, just when you think things can’t get any worse. They normally do.

Liz: Lucinda, the pig went mad. She became crazed. Crazy. You get to the point where you think this thing is going to break into the house and go for you. And I was very frightened of her…It went on for five or six weeks.

But she’d been an almost gentle pet?

Liz: Yeh, you could have lain on the floor with her. Tickle its tummy. And to go from that to this…creature that was very dangerous. We had to call for help.

…within a few weeks, all our animals had gone crazy or died. A pig died. Two cats died. A guinea pig died.  A dog died. And a herd of goats, which I actually had six. Died.

This bizarre plague of madness spread to all the animals we had.

Liz, this is not normal. If this was an illness, you wouldn’t normally see it spread species to species? This weird?


Suddenly your paradise, your private little farm feels like something else, entirely.

Liz: There was no happiness in there anymore. It was a hellhole. Absolute hellhole.

Evelyn, we can see the impact this is having on Liz and Bill, but do we really think this thing in the house, the watcher, could be impacting on Bill’s work and the animals?

Evelyn: Here’s the thing. When you are afraid, and things start to mount up, it can feel like you are cursed. And we readily explain that away it is stress. It is tiredness. It is fear. But just because you are paranoid doesn’t mean things aren’t out to get you.

And there’s something else we need to talk about. An  elephant in this room when we use that word, cursed, what we know about the history of this area, where Heol Fanog is.  

Evelyn: One of the things that jumps out is the whole area is densely populated by stories of witchcraft. And when we do start delving into it we do find stories of witchcraft and famine and animals being born deformed. Horrible things happening to livestock. Your also seeing the area around Brecon has almost 40 planes coming down over it. I think basically it’s been described as a plane graveyard. And you’ve also had things like soldiers dying bizarrely in training exercises. The are around Brecon itself has this reputation for feeling cursed. There is this ongoing believe that all of the causes for this bad luck and range of events is because it was such a hotbed for witchcraft. Is it the case that Bill and Liz have inherited these phenomena?  House and land they are on is cursed?

Ciaran: I think this is a classical case of cognitive dissonance. Where if you believe something is happening, anything that supports that theory you listen to or take on board. Anything that refutes or goes against that belief you completely ignore.

We’re focussing on animal deaths. There are animals were nothing happens to them. We’re focussing on this loss of income. But there’s one really important thing that we mustn’t forget. And that’ s what happened in the early 90s. There was a recession. People were watching what they were buying. And businesses were going under. And people would not have been spending money on luxury objects like works of art.   

Liz: The toilet. It actually came up from the floor. And the tiles beneath it rose up. It was almost as if there was something underneath it. Shoving it upward.

So you call a plumber?

[re-enactment drama] Plumber. It’s all fine. Everything in working order.

You think we’ve all  imagined this?

Liz: Yeh, but after the plumber left, give or take half an hour. The tiles had pushed itself up from the toilet again. So I called the plumber back. But as soon as he goes over and goes in, it’s fine.

Plumber: I’ve been here before and something happened. 20 odd years ago, the owner booked me to install a central heating system here. Big job. Radiators in every room. I had this boy with me, apprentice. One day I had to nip down to Brecon to get something. Said I’d have to leave the kid on his own. He refused, point blank. Said he’d rather lose the job, than stay alone.

I asked him why?

He said he felt someone was always watching him.

Normally, I’d tell him to get a grip. But he was bloody scared. I could see it on his face. And I recognised that look—today. On your faces. So is something here?

Liz: I don’t know.

Hang on, I haven’t finished. After I done the job, I got a phone call from the owner, Mrs Holborn. I rush up in the van and she shows me. All the radiators had come off the wall. Every single one. Now, I’m a professional. Make sure I do a good job. I have no idea how it happened. But I go around and check them all. Double check. Triple check. Every room. Next day she calls me. It’s happened again.


Now, my first thought was is she doing it? But why would she? And even if she was, I’m not sure she’d have the strength. Anyway, I put them back on and I’m thinking about my apprentice. And I’m starting to feel a bit funny. Thinking, if there is something here, watching. Did it do this?

Did it ever happen again?

Night after night, she’d find the radiators wrenched off the wall. I still don’t know if I believe in ghosts. But you’re not imagining things. There is something here.

Liz, this is the corroboration we were looking for. Other people have been experiencing these things here too. On one level this is reassuring, you are not going mad. But it also means something else too. This is real.

Liz: Yeh, if you have reality in front of you. You have to face it. You think of everything it’s done so far and you think, what’s next? Are we safe? Are our kids, safe?

[postscript] Evelyn: Apparitions are incredibly rare. There is no longer something in the house, but some one.  

Celtic 1—1 Shakhtar Donestk.

No European football after Christmas. Two 1—1  draws against Shakhtar the only points we’ve taken in the group. But no disgrace.

 Mykhailo Mudryk tore our defence to shreds any time he ran at it. He scored the equaliser after Georgios Giakoumakis gave us a first-half lead. Reo Hatate and Josip Juranovich tried to get in his way, but his shot from outside the box had the power to beat Hart in a second-half performance that the Ukrainian team had begun to dominate.

But it could and should have been much worse. Mudryk’s personal battle against our defence didn’t end in a draw, but capitulation. With fifteen minutes remaining, Carter-Vickers we often hear is no slouch. He couldn’t catch Mudryk in a fifty-fifty ball, even to foul him. Hart came out to block, Murdryk squared the ball and that was it we were a goal down. Sikan, who scored a hat-trick in his last game, took a heavy touch, but even then it’s an empty net and open goal. The ball trickled past the post for a bye-kick. Ex-Rangers player, Van Vossen’s miss at the back post was mentioned by commentator Chris Sutton, but he said this was much worse.

Celtic players have been wasteful in front of goal. Kyogo played a bit deeper here. He was being played in by Giakoumakis, just before he was taken off in a triple substituion. With just the keeper to beat, he scuffed his shot. Wasteful.  

Giakoumakis showed how it is done. He gave us the lead after 34 minutes and his goal to game ratio is better. Haksabanovic was the creator. He took most of the early free kicks and corners and didn’t get them beyond the first defender. A problem that continued even with O’Riley, Mooy and Turnbull taking the free kicks. But here Haksabanovic’s ball into the box was played by Abada who got in front of the defender. His shot was blocked. Time slowed down and the ball sat just outside the six-yard box. The Greek striker doesn’t miss from there. He powered it into the corner of the net and the stadium erupted.

Matt O’Riley had a few shots from outside the box, but just before half-time we had a let off.  Mudryk for the first time got beyond the Celtic defence. He tried to lift his shot over Hart, but the Celtic keeper stayed tall and the shot was blocked.

With the game at 1—1 and 15 minutes to go, Celtic had more of the ball and created a few half-chances. Matt O’Riley just before full time, for example, bent the ball the wrong side of the post. Giakoumakis also slid in to another pass. He hit the post, but the referee had already blown for a foul. It wouldn’t have counted.

Celtic should have won in Poland. With that extraordinary miss, they should have lost here. Honours even. Mykhaylo Mudryk was better than anybody else on the park. Sometimes it’s that simple. We go to the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium bottom of the group with nothing to lose but our pride. Where have I heard that before?   

Deepfake Porn: Could You Be Next? BBC 1 Scotland, BBC 3, BBC iPlayer, presented by Jess Davies.

Deepfake Porn: Could You Be Next? BBC 1 Scotland, BBC 3, BBC iPlayer, presented by Jess Davies.

Mariam-Webster [online] dictionary.

deepfake noun

plural deepfakes

Definition of deepfake

: an image or recording that has been convincingly altered and manipulated to misrepresent someone as doing or saying something that was not actually done or said

Two artists and an advertising company created a deepfake of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg saying things he never said, and uploaded it to Instagram.

— Samantha Cole

No law regulates deepfakes, though some legal and technical experts have recommended adapting current laws covering libel, defamation, identity fraud or impersonating a government official. But concerns of overregulation abound: The dividing line between a parody protected by the First Amendment and deepfake political propaganda may not always be clear-cut.

— Drew Harwell

With Mueller warning of future election meddling, [Representative Adam] Schiff said that one of his biggest concerns for future campaigns was the development of deepfake technology—the ability to manipulate videos or audio to change what a person appears to have said. ‘How do we prepare against the late distribution of a fraudulent video?’ Schiff said.

— Elias Groll and Amy Mackinnon

I watched this late last night. I had to look up what deepfake meant. Obviously, I knew what fake meant. The moron’s moron as President, who also was (I need to say alleged here) a rapist, is probably the prime example. And I knew what porn was or is. I have looked, but it’s not my thing. I’ll not be adding my two cents to Porn Hub’s billions of dollars annual sales.  

I kind of understand why someone gets off on videos of stars having sex, because usually they are very beautiful. I’m curious, which is often a gateway. But using words like ‘video’ shows how old I am. I don’t have or need a smartphone. And if there is such a thing as being objective,  I don’t have the time.

Deepfake Porn is another chapter in the Silicon Valley dictum of break things and move. The law won’t catch up, and is run by useless bureaucrats that don’t understand creativity is the usual crap sold to us as self-evident truth. And by the time it does, they’ll be entrenched with their pirate flags and cool vibes and have made billions.

The get-out-of-jail card is section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, introduced by Congress Representative Chris Cox from California and Senator Roy Wyden from Oregon in 1996, when most people thought porn was something you got from the top shelf of a shady shop in Soho, and the internet was something to do with geeks and creeps.

Section 230 does not mention decency or indecency. It does not mention morals or the trillions of dollars companies like Google, Facebook (now called Meta) or Twitter have a vested interest in maintaining as a baseline in what they term freedom.

‘No provider or user of an interactive computer service will be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.’

In other words, content is yours. Profits are mine. Alex Jones, for example, was fined almost $1 billion for repeatedly lying that the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School was a hoax. That figure for damages was based not only on the hurt to the victim’s families but also the profit he’d made by spreading these kinds of lies. He supported the moron’s moron who disparaged mainstream media by calling it ‘fake news.’

Algorithms, as we know, rule the world. Trump spent most of his budget on Facebook messages helped by bots from Russian sponsored hacks that alleged Hillary Clinton was corrupt and should be locked up, from other things, eating children and drinking their blood.

An Apple algorithm or App from their store can also take an image of a face and copy and paste it to pornography. It takes around eight seconds. But like anything else in technology it will get faster with better visuals and audio.  Mr Deepfakes, for example, gets 13 million hits a month. Usually those involved are in the public eye. But, for a few dollars, there was also a side-line in making fakes of someone you might know.

Kate Issacs #NotYourPorn, for example, supports women’s rights. Women should be allowed to say no. But they should also be consulted when and where their images are used. We’re talking consent. Of course her home address was shown online as was her workplace and phone number. Anonymous males felt free to threaten to rape and murder her, and encouraged each other to do so. In Alex Jones’s world freedom has no limits. But they had a new took in their armoury. Deepfake Porn images of Kate Issacs were used to discredit her, to shut her up, to terrorise her.

There was nothing illegal about that aspect of their campaign.  Research showed around 96% of deepfakes were pornographic. All of them (100% excluding statistical anomalies) involved non-consenting women.

Dina, a games geek, and typical girl next door, was surprised when someone showed her images of her having sex. Some of them were obviously not her. Her deepfake breasts, for example, were porn-sized big. She found out the faker was a work colleague. He agreed to take down the images, but wasn’t charged with any offence. He hadn’t broken the law.

 Florida state senator, Lauren Book, is trying to change the law in America as she has in her home county. She too has been a repeated victim of deepfake porn. It seems a no-brainer. But she’s got some of the biggest tech companies in the world lobbying for the status-quo, and self-regulation. You can’t take away their freedom, or you’ll lose your liberty. The meme usually hits those kinds of buttons. Not that we have buttons any more.

Deepfake Porn: Could You Be Next? Na, I’m sixty and an old guy nobody wants to look at or listen to. But I can’t say any of this surprised me. When truth is another commodity that can be bought or sold, everyone has a price. Women are seen as fair game.    

Angie Thomas (2017) The Hate U Give.

A remarkable debut novel. Often we conflate the narrator with the writer. Starr is sixteen. A black girl that goes to a school outside her district and ghetto. A coming-of-age drama. A love story. Inside and outside. Stories told in black and white. Class and entitlement, the embodiment of The American Dream and its flipside in the hood.

The Hate U Give seemed familiar. Biblical. The Hate You Give is the Hate You Get. Eye for an eye. Old Testament lore. A calling to account. The best books curl up inside you, because they resonate with your truth. Angie Thomas’s book doesn’t quite do that for me. But it may for you.

(Tu)Pac THUG LIFE (acronym) The Hate U Give Little Infants Fucks Everybody.

The inciting incident as jargon. What happened? Pow-Pow Plot. What happened next? Starr goes to a party with her half-sister. There’s a fight. Shots are fired. She flees with her childhood sweetheart, Khalil whom she’s not seen in a while.

‘When I was twelve, my parents had two talks with me.

One was the usual birds and bees. Well, I didn’t really get the usual version. My mom, Lisa, is a registered nurse…

The other talk was about what to do if a cop stopped me.’  

Officer’s badge number: 115. Officer Cruise. Three gangs in the hood, but only one occupying army with tanks and the power of US law at their back. Officer 115 shoots unarmed Khallil. White on black violence. White on black murder. Emmett Louis Till. His mom allowed his mutilated body be shown and photographed in his casket. His murderers boasted how they beat and tortured the little boy, and then drowned him. Why? Because he disrespected them. He dared to talk to a white girl in Mississippi. They were acquitted.

That was then. This is now. Black Lives Matter. Starr needs to find herself. Speak out for Khallil and demand justice. Her life is just beginning, his is ended.

Sometimes successful books, international bestsellers, are about timing. We know what happened next. But some of us have lived it. Shed your skin. This is a book that resonates beyond its porous borders. Read on.   

Hearts 3—4 Celtic

This was a twelve can game. Four cans before half-time. Six in the second-half (when my can counting gets muddled). Ange Posecoglou makes changes to the team that started against Motherwell. He usually does. He calls it having a squad. During an interview when a reporter asked him about his best team, he replied, ‘maybe, you’ll let me know’.

His best team for today includes Ralston, Bernabei, Maeda, Forrest and Giakoumakis. All of them have a case for being in our starting eleven. They have to prove their point on the park.

And it was Forrest yet again who scored the first goal in 14 minutes. The ball popped up in front of him after a Ralston cross from the bye-line was whipped up into the air by a defender and took out ex-Celtic keeper Craig Gordon.

Celtic had dominated possession and continued to do so. Hearts fed on scraps and loose balls. Ironically, a minute before Forrest had put us ahead, Robert Snodgrass rode a challenge and came in at the near post and toe poked it, but Hart came out to make a save. He’d also to make a save from an early Barry McKay shot.

Postecoglou said he wasn’t a fan of VAR. The Hearts fans certainly were after they were awarded a penalty just before half-time. Carter-Vickers was late in the tackle on Devlin. Referee Walsh allowed the game to go on, before calling it back. There was just enough time for another few renditions of the Billy Boys, before Shankland scored from the spot.

What is VAR is for?Anthony Ralston had also scored a goal from ball into the box which would have made it 2—0, midway through the first-half, which was chopped off for some infringement, who or what wasn’t clear, but the game went on.

In VAR added time of the first-half, Celtic should have had a penalty. Postecoglou, who isn’t given to be overly dramatic couldn’t believe it. Forrest put a ball into the box and Smith clearly handled. No penalty.

At the start of the second half, Hearts took the lead. Lawrence Shankland scored his second goal of the game, but his only goal not from the penalty spot. Bernabei failed to stop Ginnelli from putting a cross into the six-yard box. The Argentine defender struggled at Tynecastle to do the basics and defend. I thought Ginnelli got the better of him. He was replaced by Greg Taylor, who went on to score the winner. And I never thought I’d be saying that.

Carter-Vickers held his hand up for offside. Shankland got in front of him to bundle the ball home. VAR showed he was onside.

Five minutes later Mooy missed a sitter. Played in by Hatate. Open goal. But he put it wide of the post.

In a crazy five-minute spell, we scored another two goals to take the lead and gave away another penalty.

Giakoumakis hadn’t been in the game, but he’s a goal-a-game man, and he always scores against Hearts. One chance, one goal, like all good strikers he got away from his marker at a corner and powered a header into the net.

Level and then ahead, two minutes later. Mooy’s shot from the edge of the box was parried by Craig Gordon. Poor goalkeeping. Maeda was first to react. Bundling it into the net.

Celtic ahead for two minutes and then Hearts leveller. Like Carter-Vickers, Jenz was late and caught Devlin in the box. Penalty.

Joe Hart saved Shankland’s  penalty, but like Maeda’s goal, Ginnelli followed up to score. VAR showed he’d encroached. Penalty retake and Shankland sent Hart the wrong way to level the game at 3—3 with twenty minutes of normal time remaining.

Postecoglou made the changes that won us the game. Maeda, Bernabei and Forrest substituted, Abada, Giakoumakis and Taylor come on.

Abada’s shot it deflected into the path of an onward rushing Taylor in the six-yard box. He makes it 4—3 with 76 minutes gone.

There was time for a Abada goal to be ruled offside by the referee and VAR on injury time, but it was close. Hearts almost snatched a draw. Their fans chanted VAR before half-time as if it was an onfield player. I think overall it will help Celtic get more decisions. Today an obvious penalty was overlooked and what I thought was a good goal also chopped off. That old saying, it’s only as good as those watching and analysing. But there are no longer any hiding places. Chris Sutton’s prophecy that VAR is run by amateurs proved true. But transparency favours the attacking rather than defending teams. And we are by far the most attacking team in Scotland.  

Harriet, BBC 4, BBC iPlayer, Writers Gregory Allen Howard and Kasi Lemmons, Directed by Kasi Lemmons.

There’s an old trick for a director to add a few lines of text and also claim credit as a writer. Harriet is about slavery. Black people were bought and sold like slaves (and still are). You’ve probably had a mental blip, because it’s clichéd. From Prince claiming he was a slave and changing his name to a squiggle during a contractual dispute with his record company. In contrast, Liz Truss being a slave to the market. Black Lives Matter means the opposite. Abraham Lincoln theoretically freed the slaves (apart from his own), but we’ve had Jim Crow laws, Emmit Till, the Vietnam War and the return of the Republican racist righteous Proud Boys to the Presidency.

Harriet Tubman (Cynthia Erivo) takes us back to her roots. The use of her first name singular suggests we are already familiar with the outline of her story. I wasn’t.

She is portrayed as a black Joan of Arc. A God-given strength to her mission. To free herself from slavery. Die or try. For most other blacks it was try and die. She reached freedom. One hundred miles of unforgiving territory stalked by slave catchers and dogs. Even blacks that sold their own kind and sent them back to their white masters. They’d probably vote for the moron’s moron, Trump.  Later it was 400 miles to Canada, even with The Underground Railroad, too far and too few.  But the small still voice in her head tells her where to go and when. She has fits. They are portrayed here as playbacks or play forwards of scenes from her life. These are linked to a blow she took on her head. For those of a scientific mind, the aura before epilepsy. For others, quite simply, miraculous. With God on her side, Harriet showed no fear. Slavery was against God’s law. It was all there in black and white played out in the American Civil War. Harriet, a black woman, who also led black troops into battle. It’s to step out of time. Two steps forward and two step back. Worth a look.  

Motherwell 0—4 Celtic.

Motherwell ran us close recently at Paradise. But at Fir Park, in a cup-tie, Liel Abada popped up just before half-time to score—yet again—from inside the six-yard box to put us ahead from a Greg Taylor pass. It wasn’t game over, but game over.

Greg Taylor had been guilty of passing when he’s been in good positions to shoot. But that’s being picky in a free-flowing Celtic attacking team in which Benjamin Seigrist didn’t have to make a decent save. Mooy who, dictated much of the game from his advanced role, played it back in. Juranovich had another shot. Kelly palmed it into Abada’s path. He found the corner of the net.

The Israeli put the game beyond Motherwell at the start of a second-half in which the home team saw more of the ball, but left spaces at the back for Celtic’s pace to exploit. Ping-pong in the box. O’Riley shot was pushed out by Kelly.

His compatriot Hatate, showed him how is should be done with the third goal of the night. Juranovich got to the touchline. His pass was inside the six-yard box. Hatate rolled the defender and as the keeper came out he dribbled past him. A moment of brilliance.   

Abada had what’s called an assist in the fourth goal. In other words, he’s looking for his hat trick from inside the box. His shot hits the inside of the post and rolls across the six-yard box. Kyogo pounces. He’s missed chance after chance. And his goals have been as rare as a Celtic clean sheet. The first in eight games.

Siegrist, our back-up keeper, takes that bit longer than Hart to play it out. While that makes for better possession, it also means when Celtic get caught losing a goal is a distinct possibility. Jenz, for example, tried to play the ball up the line and his pass was blocked. Shields played the ball to the penalty spot. McKinstry ballooned it over.

Kyogo had a hat-trick of first-half chances, missing from inside the six-yard box, from outside the area, but hitting the bar and the ball dropping down from Abada, who also failed to score. The Japanese forward was also played in by Mooy, who’d an excellent first-half, but he failed to go around or past Kelly. Kyogo started the second-half with another fluffed shot.  

Slick Celtic in such form it seems the only team that can beat them are themselves. Haksabanovic makes you forget Jota is injured. What another brilliant buy. The Montenegrin international can play anywhere and he’s a joy to watch. Giakoumakis came on with ten minutes to go and went down injured. That’s a worry in a game that went to plan.  

Carter-Vickers played a shocking pass inside our box, but the game was over by then and we were 4—0 up.  As we’ve seen in Europe, better teams will punish you. But our European adventure looks over barring upsets to the equivalent of  the shock value of St Mirren beating Celtic. If we play like this against Hearts we’ll be too good, but Kyogo really needs to start scoring more than he misses. Here’s hoping.

Celtic 6—1 Hibs.

Back to league business after our disappointing defeat to Leipzig on Tuesday. We didn’t hit seven, but we did hit the woodwork three times and James Forrest hit a hat trick to win man of the match. Giorgos Giakoumakis hit a double. And Daizen Maeda ended his goal drought to hit the sixth with two minutes of normal time remaining. Substitute, Kyogo, had time to miss another chance and his relative goal drought continues. He did hit the post and also managed to get in the way of a Mooy shot that looked goal bound. That’s the sort of luck he’s having and until today, Celtic were having, creating lots of chance.

  I only watch Rangers when they’re playing us or they’re going to get beat, which I hope is much the same thing. Most of their balls in the game against Liverpool went back to McGregor. He lumped it forward. Route-1 fitba. It worked against us last year when they bullied us and it worked to a certain extent against Liverpool in the first half. This is the pattern teams on Scotland adopt. It worked for St Mirren. You could see it today with Hibs looking for something from long throws and free kicks. But it didn’t work. They were three goals down, and despite four half-time substitutions lost six goals by full time. For Celtic to lose to opposition using these tactics usually they need to score first.

 Giakoumakis could have put us ahead in the first four minutes with one of his trademark headers. But it was easy for former Celtic keeper. Sead Haksabanovic picked him out with a lovely pass. Two minutes later he pulled a ball out of the air and played in Reo Hatate, who put a ball across the box. Alexandros Bernabei added to the trio of attacking threat, with most of the space being found of the left, but most of the goals coming from the right.

Forrest’s ninth minute goal settled the nerves. Haksabanovich again played a lovely ball in. Forrest lurking at the back post found space to put it away as he’d did in a Celtic shirt for the 98th time in over 400 appearances. He needed a hat-trick to join the 100 club, like Celtic legend Frank McGarvey.

Bernabei’s cutback to Giakoumakis was met perfectly for a first-time finish. The game looked beyond Hibs. After thirty minutes it looked more like how many Celtic would score.

David Marshal had a hand in Celtic’s third and Forrest’s second. Matt O’Riley’s shot was blocked but it fell to Forrest just inside the Hib’s box. His shot was powerful but straight at the keeper. Marshall flung the shot he’d blocked out of the net, but we didn’t need VAR to see it was in.

Ryan Porteous has been linked with Celtic. I can see no good reason why this would be the case, although he did have a good game while playing for Scotland. Here he spent a lot of time falling over. A tug on Giakoumakis just before half-time wasn’t give as a penalty, but it was clumsy.

Saed Haksabanovic was replaced by Maeda at half time. The Montenegrin who can play on either wing or through the middle as number 10 was the pick of the bunch in the first half.  Alexandro Bernabei played the full ninety minutes and he wasn’t that far behind him.

Hibs started the second half better than the first. Their closing down pushed Celtic backwards, but their high line was almost punished when James Forrest missed a good chance, only for substitute Thody Elie Youan to run onto a pass from Celtic fan Martin Boyle and beat Joe Hart at the near post. 3—1 down, they’d thirty-five minutes to make a game of it.

Two minutes later and it was game over, again. Nohan Kenneh miskicked in his own half. Aaron Mooy played Forrest galloping in from the right. A deflection helped it into the corner of the net. 4—1.

Giakoumakis had went down injured. He signalled to the bench he wanted off, but found time to spring up and hit his second and Celtic’s fifth with 17 minutes to go. Let’s hope it’s not another injury.

Kyogo hit the post when he came on and got in the way of Maeda, but not enough to stop the Japanese forward scoring. Celtic were still hunting for that seventh goal in the 92nd minute. When we score early against Scottish teams, we score big.