Friday, March 11, 2005

Column, March 8, 2005

FOR those not content to wear their hearts on their sleeves there is always the option of wearing a wristband.
It is no longer enough simply to support a cause by dropping your loose change in a charity box, or quietly making a donation by direct debit.
Oh no, now you’ve got to really show your support for a cause, if you’re not wearing the wristband, you don’t really care.
Which is a bit of a presumption really isn’t it. Because I’m not wearing a yellow plastic band on my arm, does that mean I’m in favour of cancer?
If you are incapable of articulating your opposition to something, or support or, heaven help us, ‘solidarity’ with some oppressed, deprived or outcast group, then it’s a sad state of affairs if you have to resort to a wristband to do your talking for you.
They are a continuation of the ribbons that started off with a good idea – red ribbons for AIDS awareness – which then multiplied so rapidly and so colourfully that they soon lost all meaning and there were no longer enough days in the year to wear all the ribbons that were out there.
So I’m right behind Denbigh High School’s ban of theses fatuous wristbands. The school says they’re not in keeping with uniform and they’re a health and safety risk. I just think they’re an affront to the intellect and are just another fad to be foisted upon our youth.
But you need to know your enemy, after all, if your sullen teenager comes home with a lump of plastic attached to his wrist you might want to know just what he is ‘against’ this week. This will avoid dinnertime arguments, after all it’s only too easy to go and put your foot in it by saying you’re all in favour of bullying and that, on reflection, prostate cancer isn’t an entirely bad thing.
If junior is wearing a blue wristband (anti-bullying, anti-prostate cancer) then an unseemly row can be avoided.
Likewise, pink means he’s against breast cancer, whereas red means he’s against tobacco, not at all keen on HIV, he’s got a downer on heart disease, but he wants George Bush to get elected.
If he’s adorned with a green armband then he’s for the environment, but against leukaemia, and he might be an organ donor.
If it’s yellow, he’s ‘living strong’ whatever that platitude may mean, or he’s supporting our troops, which must come as a great comfort to them as they dodge bullets in Iraq.
If he’s got a white one then he’s sure Jesus loves him, or else he believes in the right to life. Black and white and he’s against racism in football – black and white, geddit?
If it’s black then he’s raising awareness of melanoma, or else he’s in mourning.
As well as the above there are also wristbands in purple, orange, grey and gold and I won’t burden you with the simplistic statements they make about various diseases, afflictions or those afflicted by them.
As you can see, should you choose to support all of these causes – and who wouldn’t, it’s like asking who wants to show solidarity with Santa Claus – then you would need extendable arms to cope with the rainbow of plastic hanging from them.
And let’s not even start on all the ribbons that you can wear to show that you are aware of all sorts of things that everyone else if perfectly well aware of without getting dressed up like a demented Morris dancer.
And what of the kids sensible enough not to wear these things, what happens to them? I have visions of the one boy in school not wearing a blue band (anti-bullying, anti-prostate cancer) being pursued around the schoolyard by a gang of kids all wearing their, bullying him because he’s not wearing his anti-bully wristband.
But of course if you deprive these children of the right to wear their wristbands then they become yet another victim group don’t they?
Isn’t it time we showed solidarity with the poor oppressed wee lambs? And what better way to do that than by wearing a wristband? Any suggestions as to which colour?

THE decision of some teachers to tuck into fish and chips while their pupils endured rice and water to raise cash for tsunami victims will have taught the youngsters a valuable lesson.
Far from being shameful that the teachers at Lyndon prep school in Colwyn Bay were guzzling while the kids were fasting, in fact it will have taught them much about the way of the world.
While the rich developed nations grow fatter by plundering natural resources (cod stocks, dwindling already and now three less thanks to the teachers who tucked in) the poorer nations have to make do on starvation rations.
As a lesson in inequality and the misery caused by world poverty, it couldn’t have been better planned.

SO Charlotte Church and Gavin Henson are the Welsh answer to Posh ‘n’ Becks are they?
Sweeping aside the, frankly quite cruel, inquiry as to which is the posh one, I wonder if this is entirely wise?
Beckham is a footballer, an altogether less demanding game then rugby, and so he can afford to indulge his wife in the hedonistic lifestyle they pursue. Attending fashion shows, movie premieres and then getting your hair cut in yet another ridiculous style does not take its toll when you earn a living from the occasional free kick.
Rugby is different and Mr Henson should remember the dire warning of so many a rugby coach to his team as matchday approached – women weaken legs.
I’m not sure we want to go into the mechanics of it in a family newspaper, and it’s probably a myth perpetuated by grizzled old rugby coaches jealous of their young players’ female fans.
But with an historic Grand Slam so tantalisingly close, can we afford to take chances? I would suggest not.
There’s plenty of time afterwards, Gavin, to let her persuade you to wear a skirt, get tattooed top to toe and have fashion makeovers to Charlotte’s heart’s content. But let’s give it a fortnight or so eh?
Ms Church, perversely, is held high in the affections of large sections of the Welsh public, but should any shenanigans with Gavin give rise to a poor performance on the pitch, then the wrath of Wales will descend upon her.
So an appeal, just in case there were any thoughts in that direction Charlotte – don’t do it for Wales.

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