Fear not

Go on, I dare you.

Cock a snook. Flick the V. Slap a stern look on. Cross your arms firmly over your chest, plant your feet and jut your chin out. Then round it all off by refusing to budge.

There now, doesn’t that solid defiance stance feel good? Bloody good, I’d say, if a bit hard to maintain in the long term. Fear not, you don’t keep up the physical demands of the defiance pose forever and a day, but how about the mental equivalent, used on a more permanent basis? Strikes me that psychological chin jutting makes complete psychosense in these fractured, challenging times.

Anyone who’s visited these musings before will know that there’s a strong streak of defiance in my own DNA. It’s all part of the package. And it’s not pointless prevaricating, no way. It’s all about rebellion with a cause. Not for me all that clueless, misdirected angst and anger. That’s the preserve of the teenager, or the social media skulker, holding forth from the safety of the digital shadows. At least the former has the excuse of youth. The rest of you angry wee people, do us all a favour, eh? Gonnae grow up? Go and get some perspective. And a life.

Too right I count myself amongst the snook cockers – it’s a trait I bear proudly and never more than over recent days. So I hope you’ll forgive me as I join the digital cacophony with a personal reaction to the hideous events which unfolded in Manchester earlier this week.

For me, there’s simply no question of holding your ground in the face of adversity, but boy, it ain’t always easy. As someone who spent four marvellous years as an honorary Manc in the city’s cultural heyday of the mid-80s, believe me, I’m sore to my core. I’ve got a teenager too, so yes, I’ll confess to real anger, and despair. My hardwired belief and faith in people of all shapes, sizes, colours and creeds has taken a fresh battering over the last few days, and there’s been bewilderment alongside the tears.

Having said that, I’ll continue to do my bit for community cohesion and no, I’m not getting into the blame game. I’d much rather take a defiantly determined approach to getting this shit sorted. ‘Cos that’s what I’m like. I’m fired up and single-minded, and I definitely, definitely do want answers, solutions and justice, but I refuse to be hate-filled or vengeful.

It’s good, then, to have friends in the north. Those fellow chin jutters, those folks who demonstrated that unique and marvellous Mancunian grit, those people with the balls to stand tall and take on all comers with rock solid determination, and hope for the future. For me, those clarion calls deliver the most powerful message of all for aching hearts and minds. They don’t do defeat, they just keep feet planted solid.

Flat caps off then to Longfella, and his paean to Manchester This Is The Place . Cheers, our kid, your wonderful words are keeping us strong, and facing forward. In total and utter defiance.