Friday, 5 September 2014

A voice…

‘Be a voice and not an echo.’ I don’t know where I read this but it’s stuck with me pretty much all of my life and having my say has become something of a necessity for my well-being. Perhaps that’s why I don’t really do politics or religion; I don’t want to simply echo somebody else’s view without thinking it through from my own unique and, at least to me, precious perspective.

As I child it seems that I was always being told to be quiet, to shut up, to be seen and not heard, and for a while fear kept me quiet. Not for long though, I soon realised that if I didn’t have a voice I’d be nothing more that an echo and echoes fade away quite quickly. So instead I took the blows, as Sinatra would say, and since that time I’ve made it a principle to tell people what I think even though it can be uncomfortable and risky at times. Over the years I’ve lost count of the number of times I have sat in meetings unable to bite my tongue.

These days I mainly voice my thoughts through my blog and Facebook, which can also be a little dangerous. Sometimes I know I appear to be completely off my trolley and I also know that I’ve upset people occasionally with my posts. Whatever I say though I try to make sure that it’s contains some clarity, reflects my beliefs and opinions, and is honest. I even try to include a little humour where I can.

Of course one man’s honesty is another’s insult and truth, as we all know, can be a bitter pill to swallow. But it has become very important to me to be able to say what I feel, believe, and (most importantly) want to say, without someone telling me to be quiet, shut up, stop talking rubbish, or that I’m being insensitive or offensive. Humour is another matter; my funny can be pretty dry, and I can easily understand how a lot of people don’t get it. Although it doesn’t stop Eddie Izzard do it? Maybe I should put a little (h) as a warning when I’m being funny for the humourously challenged out there.

You see one man’s rubbish is another’s wisdom and like truth that can be another bitter pill to accept. Similarly it takes quite a lot for me to take offence and I really don’t believe that you have to say nothing in order to be sensitive. I say what I think, write what I want based around my experience of my world (my real world no less), and won’t shut up when I’m told to. Why should I? I have the right to my voice whether you approve or not, just as you have yours if you care to use it.

Over the years this has got me quite a lot of trouble but at the same time I believe that it has been key to whatever small achievements I may have made. Expressing myself, regardless of what people think, is something I am driven to do. I’d be no good at all in Iraq or North Korea (or alive); even America was a little bit of a struggle. I have to have my say; it’s a kind Tourettes, except I’m controlling it and not the other way around – at least sometimes.

Thank God I live in a country where freedom of speech is still given at least a passing nod, although I worry that increasingly the government and police try to dumb us all down and make our views as vanilla as possible. Or is that simply paranoia?

Well, it does run in the family.

Without wishing to offend anybody in particular: at least I’ve had my say and you can lump it or like it, I really don’t care. If you don’t like what I say then feel free not to read or unfriend me if you want, I’ll survive. You see you can only change my mind by presenting me with new information that I agree with – and if you can’t do that, then I really don’t need you to listen and I don’t have to fucking listen to you (h).

Oh dear, call the police, I swore again. See, I told you that I had a form of Tourettes.


  1. Andrew Height on FB
    If there is anybody you'd like to tell about this, please feel free to use your voice.

  2. Lindsey Messenger on FB
    ....I like it x

  3. Andrew Height
    Well, I'm pleased that you do Lindsey after the threats I've had today.

  4. Lindsey Messenger on FB
    Really??!!!...not a good day then?..

  5. Andrew Height
    Let's just say a couple of people didn't like one of my blog posts and had a pop at me for daring to say what I felt. Doesn't matter, those people really aren't important. Not a bad day, just an annoying one.

  6. David Searle on FB
    Great post, there is definitely a pernicious culture of claiming offence to shut down free speech. There is also a lot of obfuscation and avoidance from the establishment...

  7. Andrew Height
    Thanks David, that means a lot to me as I know that you are well informed about these things. I worry that in a few years from now the establishment will be burning books and taking words out of the dictionary.

  8. Kevin Parrott on FB
    There are a lot of people & organisations now, attempting to shut down free speech. I have a feeling that the BBC is one of those organisations.
    I shall say no more about that.
    Whatever happened to, 'I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it,' .........? (Evelyn Beatrice Hall).

  9. Andrew Height
    I agree with you Kevin about the right to speak and I'm concerned about the media generally. There does seem to be an agenda in what we are told and how we are being directed. Unfortunately it seems to be working, although it is nothing very new.

  10. Kevin Parrott on FB
    It is working, and it's because people are scared to say what they think.

  11. Andrew Height
    Fear is a powerful gag Kevin. I speak from experience in this as do many others.

  12. John Hatton on FB
    I agree with you Andy, (h) to anyone who doesn't!

  13. Maggie Patzuk on FB
    Anders - your honesty, observations and insights are a much needed breath of fresh air amongst the drivel that make up most other blogs and posts. And as for having a bit of a struggle in America . . . you caused many of us to look at things a different way and our lives have been enriched knowing you. Keep at it my friend - you have many who admire you. And for those who don't like what you have to say - well, they can go read something else!

  14. Andrew Height
    Thanks John.

  15. Andrew Height
    Maggie, it was more of a steep learning curve than a struggle. Thanks for your support it looks like it could be a bumpy ride.

  16. Today I shall be mainly thinking if it benefits me to hold to my principles when there are many around me who want to stop me having them.

    Tarana Jed Roberts, Maxine Noble, Tim Preston and 2 others like this.

    Kingsley Roberts
    It's all a matter of...

    Andrew Height
    Not letting the bastards grind you down?

    Kingsley Roberts
    Never let them win

    Neil Barrett
    Who are they? The thought Police.

    Andrew Height
    Feels like it sometimes. Hey ho.

    Tim Preston
    Be still and happy and don't offer any resistance to those persecuted by hate and indignation. Let them rage themselves into madness while you sit and laugh

    Lindsey Messenger
    Hold on tight to them!!!!