Amongst many childhood memories that remain as clear as day is the image of a very content, happy and peaceful Grandfather 'fishing' during a family reunion at a place called 'The Waters Meet', or 'The Waters Edge', or something like that just outside of Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire. An old roadhouse style pub that had adapted to become a restaurant, hotel and pool fishing retreat.
Here was a man approaching his 80`s very obviously enjoying retired life. I don't remember seeing any fish in net never mind on hook. What I do remember is the silver cigarette case packed with filterless Park Drive and the smell of Scotch eminating from his breath and a very neat leather lined hip flask. This is perhaps the reason I remain a very content, happy and peaceful smoker and drinker myself (yes - I started aged 11!). It is the sort of very powerful psychology marketeers and advertisers can only dream about using thankfully.
I had a great deal of respect for my father's father. He had lived through a war that took the life of his wife, lives of family, friends and customers at his Black Country fish and chip shop. [This may, or may not be true - families can be the biggest distorters of history, but as a 10 year old it was undoubted fact].
Move on 40 years and this very content, peaceful and happy 3rd generation drinker and smoker is wondering "what's up with all this Freddie Starr business" in the Olive Press?
The Olive Press is a local English language newspaper catering for English speaking ex-pats in southern Andalucia.
We read about Freddie's fall from fame. Apparently he is living hand to mouth whilst driving his Mercedes. Perhaps he means 'pump to tank'? I am not sneering - it is not the news I want to read. We all make mistakes. Perhaps a high profile mistake and a much harder fall from a much higher high is a relative thing?
Most of my waking hours are spent on the streets and plazas in Spain (and other countries). I am not a rich man - I am an artist who spends much time socialising with fellow street people. Homeless people reliant on help from others for the most basic hand to mouth lives. Families who are effectively squatting and dependent on food banks. Many of them British ex-pats who used to enjoy relative luxury watching Freddie on TV every Saturday night from the armchair in their suburban semi-detached homes.
We all know where I am comming from here? I am not so sure I know myself!?!
Freddie is obviously a broken man. Even though I have never been a fan, I don't wish to read this anymore than I like to read about the horrors of Syria today. I feel very fortunate to be living in peaceful times in Europe. "Life could be much worse Freddie. Stop looking for sympathy. Stop running. Get your shit together. Get to work again. Find new material relevant to life in today's context. It is never too late to start again."
Many of the homeless people I speak with would actually find symapthy, or even empathy - he doesn't have to ask. However, until we see a better man today we are not going to give it.
Sell your Mercedes if you have to. Put on some unpaid benefit gigs for homeless charities. Start again and then start resolving your problems. We want to hear laughter. See smiling faces, reconciliations and the never give up 'British bulldog spirit'.
If this story continues I hope it does so happily and gracefully. If it doesn't go that way I will probably continue to follow it anyway. It is a free paper and sometimes I get very bored. Such is life. Times change. We all have to adapt out of neccesity. I would prefer to read good 'news' Freddie.
You can also read stories keeping the 'Costa del Crime' image alive and well. All in the name of investigative journalism of course.
The Olive Press - bringing the Daily Hate to sunny Spain.
To be fair, they do report very responsibly on more sensitive issues. I would like to see them continue sucessfully for that alone.
Spanish Malaga remains a very nice place for all to enjoy. Just don't go reading the ex-pat press unless your sense of humour is well lubricated.
Edited for spelling from a W0bberly keyboard and to add...
The Olive Press has changed much. Originally it had a strong environmental leaning and reported news locally from the province of Granada. I was just a bit shocked at how much it has changed. I guess agenda number One for any newspaper is to attract readers. Agenda Two would be to keep readers. If this is what people want to read fair enough. My gripe is with tabloid style ´news´all over Europe ' not simply The Olive Press. Every newspaper and editor will always have an ulterior agenda. In the case of The Olive Press I like that agenda. Environmental issues are kept in the spotlight, and the way they report on immigration issues is 100% unbiased. Good for them.