See here for background: http://hpanwo.blogspot.com/2010/10/tam-london-2010.html
As regular HPANWO-readers will know, I’m different from many of my fellow Conspiracy and Paranormal researchers in that that I often attend Skeptic events. With the rise of Conspiratorial awareness and interest in the Supernatural, the Skeptic Movement has similarly burgeoned and organized itself as a reaction, and has become an antithesis of our own world; with conferences, groups, websites, Internet forums writers, researchers and speakers all with a surprisingly similar structure (See the background links at the top of the article). I’ve come to know a few of the people involved in this community, like Jack of Kent, see the Links column. One person who keeps dropping in at all of these conferences and events is Trystan Swale.
I first met Trystan in 2010 at the Weird 10 Conference in Warminster, see here for my report (Sorry it’s so brief): http://hpanwo-tv.blogspot.com/2010/08/weird-10.html He is an Internet radio host and had a stall for his old Righteous Indignation podcast, see: http://www.ripodcast.co.uk/ This appears to be now defunct and Trystan is between shows at the moment. Rather like a mirror of myself, Trystan the Skeptic often delves in to the “wacky” world of the “Woo-osphere”. Although I’ve not yet seen him yet at Probe or AV (qv) he does attend the Fortean, “demi-monde”-type conferences like Weird and ASSAP. I always take time out to chat with him and we get on well despite our ideological differences... then again if I disliked everybody who disagreed with me I’d be a pretty lonely person! Also throughout history we’ve often seen many examples of relationships that appear to be bonded not in spite of, but because of differing opinions. A classic example is Arthur Conan Doyle and Harry Houdini, see: http://hpanwo.blogspot.com/2009/05/houdini-code.html . I always remember that there was a boy at my school who was involved in a die-hard Marxist group called the Workers’ Socialist League and he spent most of his time hanging out with the leader of the school’s Young Conservative club (Well, he was the Young Conservative club to be honest; nobody else ever joined!) When I saw that Trystan has written an article about my recent expulsion from the Hospital Portering Service (See: http://hpanwo.blogspot.com/2012/01/how-i-became-ex-hospital-porter.html) I was worried for a moment that I was about to get a Skepti-bashing, but actually he has let me off quite lightly. He’s avoided judgmental statements and treated the incident as a misfortune. He also believes as strongly as I do in Free Speech; believe me I’d kick up like hell if I heard that a Skeptic was about to lose their job for their beliefs, which is why I supported Simon Singh in his legal case.
Here’s his article: http://www.bio.parafort.com/blog/?p=42 Trystan has not used my best photo to illustrate his post, and I hope nobody thinks I always look like that. In fact the picture comes from this article: http://hpanwo.blogspot.com/2008/10/aahh-theres-reptilian-under-my-bed.html Trystan makes an attempt to see both sides of the story, being sympathetic my own cause, yet putting himself in the shoes of the Management, as he sees it. I suppose I have to accept that in a way my own literary and cinematic style backfired on me. My lack of tact and inhibition, along with my disdain for Political Correctness, has always meant that I am vulnerable to actions like these. However this was not an oversight on my part, but a deliberate policy; I’ve always admired satirical comedy. Some of my favourite sit-coms were the serials starring the character Alf Garnett, played by Warren Mitchell. These programmes have been totally disowned by their producer, the BBC, yet I think they’re a brilliant indictment on racism and general social ignorance, and I must admit that Alf did inspire my character Butt U Doonuthin in the Microchip a Muslim Day video. I’ve always treated my viewers as intelligent intellectuals capable of more than just one-dimensional literal thinking, and the mostly positive feedback I’ve received from them seems to vindicate that. However the problem with satire is that it can always be misinterpreted, either by accident or deliberately: in other words, an attack by false misinterpretation, feigned naivete, “twisting things”. This did actually go through my head when I first published Microchip in September 2010. I wondered to myself: What if somebody gets the wrong idea? Have I made it clear through the dialogue, style and costume etc that this is a satire? I hope this won’t make people at work think I’m a racist... and so on. A couple of weeks went past and I got lots of positive comments, and no more rude ones than I normally get from the troll element. Also, I knew that within a fortnight or so all my viewers at work would probably have seen it, including many of my bosses, so if there was anything they regarded as a bit dodgy they’d probably have had a quiet word with me and asked me nicely to remove it, or at least make changes to it. My bosses and I generally got on well and if they had any criticism of me it was usually carried out in an informal and cooperative manner. I think if that had happened I’d have probably agreed to their request, either by producing it again in a toned-down remake or putting up a disclaimer of some kind. However after a week or two more I relaxed in the knowledge that my fears were unfounded. Everybody who saw the video understood that the satire was as plain and blatant as I tried to make it.
Trystan has guessed correctly that my film David Icke’s New Book is a parody of the cover of one of that author’s previous titles, I am Me- I am Free. Also, as I explained, it is not indecent really and if it were YouTube would have removed it and possibly banned my account on the site. The same goes for I’m Thinking about Sex, in which you see nothing of me below my chest. It is there to make a serious point and, as I say, I like to do this in my own way and have no concern for potential oversensitive viewers who take things too literally. Actually if we pursue this line of analysis then almost anything could be seen as offensive when presented in that way. The Big Issue recently published an article about how some Americans are complaining about British childrens’ TV shows, they are supposed to be indoctrinating their youth with subversive radical liberal themes. Teletubbies is said to contain anarcho-syndicalist undertones because Tinky-Winky, Dipsy, Laa-laa and Po live in a state of communal economic and social equilibrium inspired by the conclusion of Marx and Engels’ The Communist Manifesto. Noddy and Big Ears are clearly a homosexual couple because they live in the same house and every time they meet Mr Plod there are hints in the dialogue that they would like a civil partnership. To apply that to HPANWO TV: My Che Gue-Veitch films insult both the Scots and French people because I talk with a fake Scottish accent and wear a beret (See: http://hpanwo-tv.blogspot.com/2011/10/see-hello-its-charlie-che-guevara.html) Also Charles doing the Washing-Up is male chauvinistic and is encoded with extreme anti-feminist propaganda, because it attacks housewives (See: http://hpanwo-tv.blogspot.com/2011/03/charles-doing-washing-up.html) You see where this mindset could lead? If I comply with it I will spend my whole life tip-toeing around with my shoulders hunched and my arms pressed to my sides, vetting every move I make and word I say just in case one of the billions of people who use the Internet decides to complain about it. I will never do that!
Trystan tried to see it from the Management’s point of view, and I think in my report linked above I made an attempt to relate their case to the reader too; you’ll notice that I quote them several times when they explained their position to me at the hearing. Actually in the above cases the only reason I didn’t cooperate with them was not so much the accusation itself, but the suspicious way that it suddenly arose and the violence with which Management reacted agianst me. I explain in my report, that is not how they normally operate and it’s a huge coincidence that this complaint arose at that moment in time and in the form that it did. If I had hurled racial abuse at somebody while on duty then I would have been suspended on the spot in that fashion, and would have richly deserved it! All accusations of gross misconduct are acted upon in that way; so, as I said in my report, I have ask myself if my suspension had another motive.
Being instantly suspended in that way was effectively a declaration of war, as was the most serious and hurtful allegation made against me, and also the most outrageous and grotesque, which Trystan does not address in his article: The accusation that I bullied another member of staff. The idea that I would ever do such a thing strikes right at the heart of my persona and self-esteem... and perhaps it’s meant to. It becomes yet more curious when you understand that the “complaint" against me must have been fast-tracked. The Trust receives far more complaints and adverse incident reports than you might think; in fact a figure quoted to me by my union was 30,000 a month. That’s a thousand a day! I can well believe it because I’ve received training in Health and Safety. I was a manual-handling officer and trainer for many years and I’ve had to submit quite a few of these reports myself. I found that the average processing time is about two to three months and this seems to be acceptable. Priority is given to cases of severe clinical hazards that pose severe danger to the wellbeing of patients and personnel. However this complaint against me was dealt with in eight days, maybe sooner because there was a weekend and one day of my leave in between. So my situation was regarded as being of the highest possible importance to Management and it was processed and acted on immediately.
The other night I called a friend in the Truth Movement to tell them what had happened, somebody who used to present an online TV show. They had already found out about my dismissal, but said very forthrightly that they thought there was nothing suspicious about it; they dismissed my concerns and thought that I'd made a mistake. I was dismayed at their attitude, but I didn't get angry with them. I have to accept that not everybody is going to believe me. I can sympathize in a way, especially if one is not familiar with hospitals and how they work. And it is true that I have no direct evidence at all, only overwhelming circumstantial evidence. I still think I did the right thing. I was put on the spot and had to make a decision on what my line of defence would be and I choose that one. I could have ignored all the suspicious coincidences and breaches of normal practice and fought the case on Management's turf, but I chose not to. Whatever the rights and wrongs, it’s over now, for better or worse.
Latest HPANWO Voice articles: http://hpanwo-voice.blogspot.com/2012/01/wittgensteins-poker.html
Latest HPANWO TV films: http://hpanwo-tv.blogspot.com/2012/01/ben-civilian.html