that #ff thang #2 He Who Licketh the Skip

6 Sep

I’ve never had to point a firearm at someone and make the decision to pull the trigger. I hope I never will. My Granddad did. It was a decision taken, not out of anger, or fear (though he was afraid) but from duty and the instinct to live. ‘Here be man’s most monstrous’ he’d write in margins. It was horror that he could not find words to express, at first. He awoke screaming for the rest of his life and never spoke of the war if he could avoid it. Granddad died before anyone knew what Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) was. My Granddad was a hero.

I’m posting this a bit earlier than Friday to meet the real (not one of the squidgier variety) deadline for this week’s Weekly Blog Club. It’s such a great initiative aimed at encouraging people (especially in public & 3rd Sector) to write. Each week, there are suggested topics for any writers who are struggling to come up with something to write about, one of last week’s topics was Hero’s and it reminded me I should post this one. Anyway, I highly recommend checking them out on Twitter and visiting the site, they always have a lot of great content from some really brilliant writers.

My mate Skip’s a hero.

He’s seen darkness far worse than anything Granddad saw, but took the same action and lives with a similar consequence.

SkipLicker, to use his own description,  Is:

King of the Stickmen. Hardcore Troll. Carried a rifle once, then got shot at… Fuck off and be offended somewhere else

It’s the Hardcore Troll bit that gets some of my followers hot under the collar and not in the groovy, post-watershed way. To them, Skip’s just a Troll and Trolls are bad. mmkay? There is only one other person* I am warned about more for following and talking to on Twitter than Skip.

I like Skip, I have from the first time I read one of his blogs and chatted to him. I take people as I finds them and Skip has always been lovely to me. More than this though, Skip has a lot of very interesting things to say about a lot of different things. He is a fantastic writer with a voice that swings, often disarmingly, from sneering, acidic wit to warmth and empathy.

I’m most interested in his thoughts on war. You see, Skip’s writing a book about his experiences and, just as I think she’d approve of my granddad’s journals, I think Mary O’Hare would approve of Skip’s portrayal of war…

If you’re wondering what the hell I’m talking about, it probably means you haven’t read Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse Five. You should rectify that situation immediately, it truly is a brilliant book. Vonnegut was writing a War book too – an anti-war book in fact, as perfectly pointless as an ‘anti-glacier’ book – he was reminiscing with an old war buddy, when the man’s wife interrupted:

“You were just babies then!” she said.
“What?” I said.
“You were just babies in the war — like the ones upstairs!”
I nodded that this was true. We had been foolish virgins in the war, right at the end of childhood.
“But you’re not going to write it that way, are you.” This wasn’t a question. It was an accusation.
“I — I don’t know,” I said.
“Well I know,” she said. “You’ll pretend you were men instead of babies, and you’ll be portrayed in the movies by Frank Sinatra and John Wayne or some of those other glamorous, war-loving, dirty old men. And war will look just wonderful, so we’ll have a lot more of them. And they’ll be fought by babies like the babies upstairs.”
So then I understood. It was war that made her so angry. She didn’t want her babies or anybody else’s babies killed in wars. And she thought wars were partly encouraged by books and movies. – Slaughterhouse 5 – Chapter 1

I think we can be certain that wars are not even party encouraged by books or films but, just in case, Skip’s writing will have no role for Frank Sinatra or John Wayne. Read this: Words in a Skip: Hang em’ High and this: Words in a skip: Holes and Me

Quite recently, Skip has been a voice of reason in the growing cycles of online ‘outrages’  following trolling and is amongst a group of interesting folk asking important questions about Freedom of Speech. One of the few things that the Left and Right of UK politics seem to agree on is the need for freedom of speech applied to some and not others. You can threaten to blow up an airport and get away with it, but don’t dare threaten an Olympic Diver…

Skip thinks you should be able to say anything you want and he’s right, I think. That is how Freedom of Speech works? I’m asking, not telling. Either everything is okay to say, or nothing is. Read this:  Words in a Skip: Frankie Says Relax and this: Words in a Skip: Sticks and Stones.

Skip suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. That didn’t come from nowhere, it came from the things he saw and did at war and the things done to him in preparation for war. Skip is not alone, there are likely huge numbers of troops returning from war with mental scars invisible to the naked eye, but that are as debilitating as lost limbs. Read more of my thoughts on War and the armed forces

So there we have it, follow my mate Skip…but not literally, that probably won’t end well.

*The dubious honour of ‘Person I am warned most about on Twitter’ goes to Milo Yiannopoulos (@Nero), Editor-in-Chief at The Kernal. I like him too, he’s a brilliant writer with an acerbic tongue and yes, if you’re going to tell me about the horrible things he’s said…I know. He’s said a lot of things that I find pretty awful, but I suspect a lot of them he has said because he likes to shock and, besides, he’s always been sweet with me, as I said before, I takes ’em as I finds them. Also rumour has it that he is a great deal nicer in real life than how he sometimes chooses to present himself in print.

You Know the score: If you don’t like these Thoughts, stick around, I’ve got plenty of others.

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2 Responses to “that #ff thang #2 He Who Licketh the Skip”

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  1. That #ff thang #2 He Who Licketh the Skip | weeklyblogclub - September 7, 2012

    […] That #ff thang #2 He Who Licketh the Skip by Paul Coxon Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInPinterestMoreEmailRedditPrintDiggStumbleUponTumblrLike this:LikeBe the first to like this. This entry was posted in humanity and tagged heroes by Louise. Bookmark the permalink. […]

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  2. Cockerels, comms, culture and cracking blog posts | weeklyblogclub - September 9, 2012

    […] Two of the posts this week touched on the optional theme of heroes and heroines. In “A Policeman’s Prayer” Andy Wilson (AKA Police Geek) remembers colleagues that are no longer here. Paul Coxon has written about two very different types of heroes, but people that mean a lot to him all the same “That #ff thang #2 He Who Licketh the Skip”. […]

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