Six Strings Down

*

Last night, I was stewarding at an Eric Clapton concert, which mostly involves watching an Eric Clapton concert and getting paid for it (A+ job tbh). Because I’m ungrateful, I got to hoping Clapton would announce a special guest was sitting in with him on the next song, and out would come B.B. King. Much like every other time I’ve hoped this at a gig, of course, it was not to be.

I used to be quite bad for performative social media grief when a celebrity died, so have tried to pipe down a bit this morning, but I’ve long known B.B. King’s passing would hit hard. And hit hard it did.

Still, King lived to the age of 89 and had an incredible life. There are people far better placed than me to write tributes and obituaries to the man, his life, and, of course, his music, so I’m just going to share a few nice songs, a little anecdote about how B.B. King legit changed my life and then I’m going to go and listen to the 50-song anthology I just found on Spotify while seeking said better writers out.

 

So in 2005 or 2006, Mum was working at the Montreux Jazz Festival and she brought a friend and I along with her to wander about the festival and soak it all in. Of course, this meant our lift back wasn’t until three in the morning, as far as I remember. So we wandered, we soaked, Montreux is a pretty incredible place even if you’re not going for a concert*, but there are limits. The last couple of hours of the night, we spent slumped on one of the sofas, flicking through the old concert clips they have there. That was where we discovered B.B. King. Reckon it was this clip.

 

I’m not gonna lie, dear reader, it was mostly the faces that caught our attention at first. Those faces. There aren’t many guitar players who are easily as fun to watch as they are to listen to, but B.B. King was one of them. But then the voice and the actual playing got to me – I think I must have made Daniel watch that video three or four times that night.

I had just bought my first guitar, mostly inspired off the back of discovering Muse, but the guitar was well on its way to becoming another expensive abandoned hobby when I heard The Thrill is Gone for the first time. Ten years on I’m still not really even fit to try and imitate B.B. King, but pretending I could got me properly interested in guitar, and also set me off on the path to… well, to becoming a tedious blues-rock bore for most of my teens, but there you go. Can genuinely see my life having taken a mildly different turn had I not come across that clip all those years ago, and it was all because of old Riley.

So that’s my anecdote. I’ll leave you with this lovely duet between B.B. King and Buddy Guy – stick around for the little chat at the end.

 

*livid that this doesn’t have video anymore

**the other activity for the day is working out whether I should have spent £100-200 to see B.B. King there on the couple of occasions he played while I was living in the area

“Refuser d’être avec le fléau” (Review: La Peste ~ Camus)

Albert Camus reading a newspaper

Add a trilby and a double of bourbon and it could be Draper himself.

I think watching Mad Men vastly improved my second reading of Albert Camus’ La Peste, not for its commentaries on 60s sexism or corporate America (it’s set in 1940s Algeria), but for its style. One of my favourite aspects of the book is the idea of the central characters being a group of stoic men doing their best against the plague and not really achieving much but just doing their best. That was already cool, but when every single one of those men is Don Draper? Perfect.

La Peste is a very powerful novel. The descriptions of the plague and its ravages are harsh, and in a couple of scenes, Camus describes the sufferings of victims in drawn-out detail as the Don Drapers look on, powerless. The prose isn’t overly lyrical, and the characters aren’t prone to wailing and beating their chests in frustration, which makes the whole thing more moving – it’s understated.

Interspersed with the plot, the narrator discusses at length the effect the plague has on the city and its inhabitants, not just on its victims, but as the city is quarantined, on all those who are cut off from their loved ones. The reflections on separation and exile are brilliant, which I hadn’t noticed before.

On the other hand, what I had always remembered about La Peste, however, was this quote:

“Dans la vie, il y a des bourreaux et des victimes, et tous ce qu’on peut faire, c’est d’être à côté des victimes.”

(“In life there are executioners and victims, and all one can do is be on the side of the victims”)

It’s actually better than that.

“Je dis seulement qu’il y a sur cette terre des fléaux et des victimes et qu’il faut, autant qu’il est possible, refuser d’être avec le fléau. Cela vous paraitra peut-être un peu simple, et je ne sais si cela est simple, mais je sais que cela est vrai.”

(“All I am saying is that there are on this earth plagues/scourges and there are victims, and one must, whenever possible, refuse to be on the side of the plague/scourge. It may seem simple to you, and I don’t know if it is simple, but I know it’s true.”)

Which could be my motto. While obviously, it’s one of those things that does feel a bit self-evident – I’d be surprised if there was anyone who chose to side with the plague/scourge –it comes in the context of one of the characters talking about the death penalty, and it becomes clear that while not many people would set out to be with the plague/scourge*, there are plenty who don’t take side of the victims, which comes to the same thing. All very black-and-white, and I love it.

Also, not that I tend to try and ‘justify’ my  atheism, seeing as it just is, but upon being told by the (brilliant) priest character that in such trying times, one either has to lose faith entirely, or love every part of God’s creation – even the death of a child, the main character snaps, “je refuserai jusqu’à la mort d’aimer cette création ou les enfants sont torturés.” (“I will refuse till the day I die to love this creation where children are tortured”). Which, again, is just all kinds of fantastic.

It’s like that all the way through. Almost every other page there’s a killer observation, a heartbreaking scene, an inspiring idea. It’s just consistently bloody brilliant. Oh, and that dovetail with Candide I mentioned yesterday?

The character’s determination to fight the plague – the narrator makes it clear it’s no more heroic to fight evil than a schoolteacher teaching that 2+2=4 (Hello Orwell), it’s just what needs to be done. Since evil* is, it must be fought.

*I’m quite annoyed that I’ve struggled to translate these words, since they’re kind of key. Fleau is often used in reference to the plague. Google gives me scourge, which seems alright. Mal apparently is evil, but evil seems a) necessarily human in source in a way that a plague, for instance, isn’t it, and b) kind of cartoonish. Make of them what you will.

Review: Candide ~ Voltaire

While I think everyone should read everything I ever review (I rarely read books I don’t like, set texts aside, and I only really feel the need to review very interesting or very good books), I especially think no-one should not have read Candide. That’s partly because fucker is less than a hundred pages long, and written with all the dense prose and complex imagery of a picture book. It’s not one of those must-reads like Ulysses or Capital. And it is an absolute blast. People tell me ‘bimble’ isn’t a word (dictionary aside, they’re wrong). From now on, I think I’ll just point them at Candide. It is very much the tale of characters bimbling around the world. I remember our teacher drew us a map of the adventure – it goes from Westphalia to Bulgaria to Holland to Portugal to South America to France to Venice to Turkey at a rapid pace. Characters return to life more often than the Daleks. But the cheerful absurdity of it all is laced with venom, and it’s the irony that makes this book. Voltaire seems to lash into everything he saw, and every other chapter, something new is getting it in the neck.

I should probably declare an interest – the town I lived in for six years, Ferney-Voltaire, was almost a product of Voltaire. After he was [ejected?] from Geneva in ?, Voltaire took up residence in the commune of Fernex, and set about improving it, building homes, draining swamps, starting workshops to provide employment, etc. He also changed that hideous name, reasoning that there were too many –ex’s in the region (I feel much the same way). This is important beyond it simply being a cool thing he did. While there are a variety of nice little insights and quotes throughout the book (the main character’s dismissal of optimism is a favourite of mine*), the conclusion is what really bears taking away.

“Cela est bien dit, mais il faut cultiver son jardin.”  “Well said, but one must tend one’s garden.”

I’ve left the original quote there not out of a desire to show off (although I think that was a lost cause once I set about reviewing two French books), but because I have no idea how to translate it. It’s often quoted without the “Well said” part at the start, which seems to me to utterly miss the point. At the end of the tale, Candide’s friends are discussing their situation and providing elaborate justifications and reasonings for it, much as they have done throughout the story. The main character, having travelled the world and put his childhood teachings to test and found them wanting, does not disagree with their speeches – “well said”, but sets them aside, because (and I have never known quite how to translate “il faut” – something along the lines of “it is necessary to”, I suspect) there is a garden to be tended.

I take a lot away from that. If I had only written that on the first philosophy paper I had to write last year, I could have saved myself a lot of hassle. To me, the garden to be tended is a life to be lived. But it’s not just a Theses on Feuerbach “the philosophers have interpreted the world” idea – not only is it more important to act then to speak, but unlike Marx, the point is not to aim to change the world. No one individual can realistically hope to change the world. Perhaps the best we can hope for is to change our own little gardens, our little spheres.  Maybe it’s in a “be the change you want to see in the world” vibe, but I don’t much like that saying, because it can end up a bit “RECYCLE IF YOU WANT THE MAJOR INDUSTRIAL POWERS TO STOP DESTROYING THE ENVIRONMENT”. Which, seriously. Die.

Even better, it dovetails nicely with my takeaways from La Peste.

* “Qu’est-ce que l’optimisme? C’est la rage de croire que tout va bien quand on est mal!” “What is optimism? The madness of believing everything is fine when you’re not!”

Boom.

Retreat and Rebuild

In the WW2 strategy game Company of Heroes, there’s a “retreat” button. Upon sending your infantry right into the sights of a German machine-gun nest, you can bang the “retreat” button and send them scrambling back to HQ to regroup and fight another day.

Hayek’s Road to Serfdom was, as I said here, my German machine-gun nest. Faced with a pretty depressing dismantling of what vague political certainties I had, I did the only thing I could think of – I scrambled back to 2008-10, back when I was sure of things. When I was sixteen and had all the answers. These were the days were I was a proper anarcho-communist type, when I bought myself Capital for my birthday, and my friends bought me Lenin almost unbidden. Deluded and arrogant I may have been, but I knew what I stood for.

Most of that is gone, probably for the better. I’d rather have no beliefs than a bunch of flimsy ones. However, the “insecurity period” has lasted far too long, and it’s time to rebuild.

I’m pretty sure that the foundations were all right. As far as those foundations have any form to them, I think it can be found in Voltaire’s Candide and Albert Camus’ La Peste. They were set texts in my Première Literature class, and the only one that hadn’t been a bloody chore to study. I’ll be posting reviews over the next couple of days.

From those books, I’m starting to feel a plan for a life well lived developing.

What always brought me up short with politics was change. Change is almost always the point. Even ‘conservatives’ are trying to change something, though generally for the worse and for evil, evil purposes, obviously. Yet given the enormous complexity of modern societies, and the intractability of the problems facing them, far-reaching systemic change just seems hopelessly unattainable. I can’t even imagine a different society, let alone tell you how we’d get there. When you add to that the fact that it’s an uphill struggle to protect the most vulnerable from the worst of capitalism’s side-effects, let alone remove the source of those effects, talk of the revolution and the better tomorrow just gets irritatingly meaningless. I’m sick and tired of wandering down to Westminster and shouting the same stupid chants and wandering around central London in the weird loneliness of a crowd to fuck-all effect. I’ve stopped believing in big change, especially my capacity to effect it. And it’s had nothing to do with Obama.

But this isn’t making my peace with the system. I’m still far too young for resignation. The system is fucking stupid. Making peace with a system that promises environmental catastrophe, deprivation for the majority and never-ending war would be unconscionable.

Nor is it a fatalistic thing. I, personally, don’t think I can do much to achieve systemic and far-reaching change. In the past, this has led me to just give up. Much like realising I probably wasn’t going to reach Slash-esque levels of guitar heroism gradually bled away whatever passion I had for guitar, I’m pretty sure I won’t be the Mandela of my generation, and the attention seeker in me doesn’t like that.

Now though, thanks to my main men Voltaire and Albert [Camus], I’m just reducing the scale of the change I’m after. I reckon if, when I die, I know that everything I did, I did to make people’s lives better, I think that’ll be all right. I’m ever more decided to pursue some sort of international development career, which, hopefully, would provide the means to change the world for the better, regardless of overarching despair and cynicism. In essence,

“Je dis seulement qu’il y a sur cette terre des fléaux et des victimes et qu’il faut, autant qu’il est possible, refuser d’être avec le fléau. Cela vous paraitra peut-être un peu simple, et je ne sais si cela est simple, mais je sais que cela est vrai.”

(“All I am saying is that there are on this earth plagues and there are victims, and one must, whenever possible, refuse to be on the side of the plague. It may seem simple to you, and I don’t know if it is simple, but I know it’s true.”)

-La Peste, Camus (who else?)

Words to live by, I reckon.

Sorry for the [worse than usual] navel-gazing, I’m trying to work out how to not blog self-indulgently and will get to that soon!

Perspective

As I blobbed on the sofa today, melting slightly and flicking through channels on my mum’s telly, I came across the end of an episode of the brilliant World at War series. We had watched several episodes of a boxset of this in high school history classes, and I’ve been meaning to get hold of a copy of my own for a long time now.  The part I watched was recounting the fall of Singapore, the largest ever surrender of British forces – some 80,000 men. At the same time, I had been following @RealTimeWWII on Twitter, and received the following tweets:

@RealTimeWWII U-boat has torpedoed HMS Wakeful, returning from Dunkirk. 650 soldiers were jammed below decks. 1 of them has survived.

@RealTimeWWII  2nd destroyer, HMS Grafton, has gone to try & find survivors from Wakeful- & been torpedoed by same U-boat, lying in wait for rescue ships.

Which stopped me cold for a second. The cruelty and horror of the whole thing struck me. I mean, I’ve been studying WW2 in various capacities since I was about 8, so that it was bad was no news to me, but regardless, it struck me. World War Two was really bad. As stupid as it seems, I quite like to remind myself of it, lest it get forgotten under the really cool video-games based around it, and all the really incredible stuff that happened during it. It was terrible.

Last week, a friend of mine castigated me for being utterly cynical and defeatist. It’s something that’s been getting worse and worse. I had my revolutionary phase at about 16/17, got disaffected with that, and moved into a sort of limbo of political dissatisfaction.  This grew ever more all-encompassing, moving from me just not being sure I believed in the prospects of a Marxist revolution or even liked the idea, to me not even being sure I believed we could get a semi-cuddly Keynesian-lite neo-liberal government instead of an evil one. For what it’s worth, I still don’t see where change is meant to come from.

A couple of weeks ago, not sure why, I had a bit of a Heroic BSOD. I realised that I was getting only anger and grief out of reading the news, and decided to pull back a bit. I also realised that, I was quite happy to sell out. I still feel like, insofar as there’s no chance of (amorphously defined) real, profound, systemic change of the kind that is needed, I don’t feel I have the integrity to pull a George Monbiot* and be noble. I realised I would probably take a job from Goldman Sachs upon graduation if it meant I could have my well-stocked liquor cabinet, my apartment in the city centre, etc.

The BSOD came from the fact that I realised that, unlike my parent’s generation, me selling out has fuck-all meaning. Instead of being unemployed and noble, I’ll be unemployed and craven. Big deal. The absolute lack of any green shoots in the future is what has been really crushing me, I think. The system doesn’t seem to be able to adapt to the necessities of climate change, and at the pace it moves, I struggle to see how we won’t reach the tipping point that sets off the chain reaction of apocalyptic warming. More leftishly, there are some terrifying articles floating around about how the capitalist system is breaking down entirely and there can be no return to growth [the site appears to be down, but look up Aaron John Peters on opendemocracy.net. Terrifying]. Everywhere I turn, I see some new reason to despair. The Eurozone collapses, and Europe looks darker. The absolute depths of human barbarity in Syria. It is fucking bleak.

Then I thought of something. This moment.Image

This isn’t some sort of trite “we have nothing to complain about” post, because I hate them. Nor is it an enjoinder to summon up that Blitz spirit and soldier on through, because god knows we get enough jingoistic bollocks rammed down our throats these days in Britain as it is.

It’s just something that, on some level, makes me a bit more optimistic. If I had been writing this blog 70 years ago, Stalingrad would be under siege, the Japanese Navy would be steaming across the Pacific and, I daresay, things would look pretty fucking bleak, even if, as would be likely, I wasn’t actually on a troopship somewhere. By the end of the year, the Japanese offensive would have been blunted and reversed at Midway, the German one at Stalingrad. By the end of the decade, rationing would be over, and a period of sustained prosperity and increasing living standards was about to begin.

If I had been blogging 70 years ago, I daresay I would have been as pessimistic as I usually am. Possibly with more justification. But what a tit I would have looked fifteen years down the line. All the more so today. If, as a species, we can come back swinging from World War fucking Two, maybe the GfC isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be.

Which just puts some welcome perspective on things, really.

*Cynicism aside, that post is an incredible one, and well worth the read.

Ten Hours in Middle-Earth

So I’ve finally completed a long-held ambition and watched all three Lord of the Rings films in one sitting. Moreover, that one sitting was in an IMAX cinema. Not 3D, thank God, but still, big screen, big sound. I was more destabilised than I had expected by it being the theatrical edition and not the extended – having been watching the EEs for close to ten years now, it’s perhaps no surprise that I didn’t recognise the film I was shown last night. However, I found some of the ways they sidestepped scenes interesting. Definitely prefer the extended editions, but last night, to be honest, I was quite relieved that it was the slimlined version – any more Treebeard scenes would have killed me.

Oh, did I mention? It was an all-nighter – midnight to eleven in the morning, what with the clock-change. To my eternal shame, I didn’t stay awake. It’s difficult to tell, since I “missed” scenes that just weren’t there, but I think I stayed awake through all of Fellowship, only had a few micro-sleeps in Towers, and slept through basically all of Dunharrow and the parting of Sam and Frodo in Return. Which, on balance, I can cope with.

Something that I don’t think becomes really clear without the massive cinema sound system is how much the film relies on the “swelling orchestral music-drop music-crunchy battle noises” pattern – to fantastic effect. I was looking forward to the Ride of the Rohirrim more than anything and I was not disappointed.

The other thing I was half-looking forward to was hearing the soundtrack on loud speakers. Only half because so much of it can make me cry and I wasn’t keen on that. In the event, I was a tad disappointed – having gotten used to hearing it on its own, I had slightly forgotten how low it was in the mix sometimes. But I didn’t cry, so there’s that.

I also ingested about 1.375L of Blue Bolt (so like, all of the energy, and, for whatever reason, Vitamin B) and copious amounts of black coffee, which didn’t stop me falling asleep then but has kept me awake most of the day.

That’s cool, right? Spending a Saturday night in a cinema watching Lord of the Rings?

As if I cared.

A lifetime in six months: looking back

But not really. I still haven’t decided whether the past six months have flown by, or if it’s been a lifetime. But lifetime sounds cooler. And a lot has happened.

Six months ago, you see, I got on a plane. I kissed my girlfriend goodbye for the last time, looked out at the mountains on the horizon, and said goodbye to Geneva. A couple of hours later, standing on the Gatwick Express, I blinked back the tears for a moment, and it hit me. I wasn’t on holiday, in a train full of almost-foreigners. This was home.

Not in the way London has always kind of been home. I spent seven years living in France, and loved it there, but I was always a sort-of Londoner,  far more up-to-date on UK politics and culture (through the liberal London lens of the Guardian, and later, Twitter) than French. I visited London at least twice a year, usually closer to four times, making me the only person in the world, probably, to take holidays in Sutton. Still, saying goodbye to my actual home, the one on the ground floor of an apartment block in Ferney-Voltaire, kind of dispelled any illusions I had about feeling like any sort of exile. London, like Brasil, was a place I identified with, was a part of me, my roots, but it wasn’t home.

On that train, I realised that like it or not, it was now.

It wasn’t exactly a homecoming. I wasn’t going back to Zone 3, back to Sutton and the suburbs. I mean, I was temporarily, going to Dad’s in Catford and all, but now I was going to be living in Camden. NW1. A place I had only ever visited. To me, Central London.

This isn’t going to be a retrospective diary of a Fresher though. This is just a record of something I’ve been doing almost daily for the past six months. At Freshers’ we got given a wall calendar of the year. At first, I thought I’d use it to be super-organised for work and stuff. Then I started pinning things to it. And it was the best decision I’ve ever made. I’ve got a poor memory, and it’s easy to forget how incredibly lucky I am to be in this fantastic city with all these opportunities just waiting there for me to grab them.

This year, I’ve met David Harvey and Caitlin Moran.

I’ve seen David Harvey, Tariq Ali, Tony Benn, Richard Seymour and Ken Livingstone (more times than is healthy) speak.

I’ve been to several stand-up performances, from UCLU nights, to comedy clubs, to seeing Stewart Lee at the Leicester Square theatre.

I’ve seen a Guns guitarist and Ben L’Oncle Soul play within twenty minutes’ walk of my home.

I’ve performed a ten-minute stand-up set in front of upwards of fifty strangers and about a dozen friends, without completely failing.

I’ve gone to a greyhound race.

I’ve been inside the Houses of Parliament twice, and not just the public galleries. I’ve drunk the House of Lords’ special wine.

I’ve been elected to society committees

I’ve been on marches, demos, I’ve been canvassing. I’ve stayed up to the late hours debating feminism and class politics with a friend, I’ve spent hours in the kitchen discussing the state of the UK and the world with my flatmates.

I drink white wine and whisky. Not together, natch, but I never would have touched them before. Indeed, I generally drink far more than I had ever thought I would. I can think of three nights this year that I don’t remember bits of. I’ve woken up in hospital. I’ve learnt what it is to be truly, devastatingly hungover, and I’ve gone to class and a family lunch in that state. I’ve been served free Grey Goose vodka at a Westminster nightclub, and downed £1.50 “Don’t Want to Know” vodka in Soho. I’ve walked home in the early hours of the morning like a badass motherfucker. I’ve narrowly avoided getting into a fight in a club by virtue of somehow bluffing the other guy into walking away.

I feed myself competently, reasonably healthily, and at times, downright opulently. I have dinner parties.

I’ve been to the gym and stopped going to the gym.

I’ve stayed up until the birds start singing with regularity, including one night where I only managed half an hour of sleep.

I’ve written two fifteen hundred word literature essays in Spanish and been praised on both for the clarity and lucidity of my writing, which, coming after a year in which my Spanish felt like the biggest obstacle to me getting to UCL, was a big boost.

I’ve gotten a job, gone to a job, gotten paycheques, paid taxes, and lost that job.

I’ve spent literally days playing various videogames – seriously, I’m talking 200+ hours here.

I’ve spent an afternoon watching Batman cartoons over Skype with my best friend.

I’ve been to Manchester and Bristol for the first time.

They say university is a place where you grow up, where you become an adult. This close to the fact, I don’t know if I have grown up, per se. What I do know, is that I’ve lived. In these six months, despite a low-intensity struggle with what has felt a lot like depression at times, I’ve lived more intensely, and more actively, than I have my entire life. For the past three weeks, I haven’t even had an evening off.

Ultimately, that’s enough for me. I look around me, I look at popular culture, I look at certain people in my life (or, really, out of it at this point) that I envy, I see a life that isn’t my own, and get myself into a feedback loop of depression. And to get out of it? I look at my wall-planner. I look at my wall-planner and the forest of flyers and tickets pinned to it, and I remember that though these six months haven’t been what I expected, though they don’t really resonate with what I read about university life elsewhere, they’ve been my six months. And for the most part?

It’s been fucking awesome.

Camden’s White Knight

So I got home last night, and played a bit of Batman: Arkham City, as I tend to do. And while I soared over Gotham, randomly diving to the streets below and battering some petty criminals to a pulp, I got to thinking about the speech at the end of The Dark Knight:

Because he’s the hero Gotham deserves, but not the one it needs right now. So we’ll hunt him. Because he can take it. Because he’s not our hero. He’s a silent guardian, a watchful protector. A dark knight. 

NB: This is a framing device – I didn’t really begin quoting Batman in a nightclub.

I don’t know if it’s a widely used term outside the internet, but the accusation is often levelled that people are being “white knights” – leaping to the defence of female posters as if they are damsels in distress. It comes with undertones of benevolent sexism and also Entitled Nice Guyism. I do my best to avoid it online. But when I’m out on the town, I realise I have a creeping tendency to White Knight. When I see a creepy bloke rubbing up against a woman like some oversized feline, my instinct is to somehow provide her with a way out. Sometimes it’s female friends – I’ve developed codes with some as to when I intervene. Last night, however, it was with a girl that I still don’t know by name, just from having been in a group with a friend of mine. Some middle aged bloke on his own approached her not once, not twice, but three times, despite the clear no signals she was blasting his way. After that, I tapped her on the shoulder and asked if she’d like to swap places, which would leave her across the group from creepy. She smiled, said thank you, and moved, simples. And I grappled up into the rafters before gliding off over Camden Lock to find more damsels to rescue and creeps to thwart.

This made me think on a few levels.

  1. Just because it is in the real world, it doesn’t take away any of the problematic features of the White Knight. On some level, it is still as if I’m the big strong hero intervening to protect the helpless wimmenz. Which just isn’t the case. In fact, I’m sure most of my female friends can handle themselves way better than I can.
  2. While not necessarily with the older man, because fuck, if that’s me in twenty years, something went seriously wrong, but generally, I do feel some affinity with the guys throwing themselves at my friends. I’m single, I do go out vaguely hoping to attract female attention, and on some level, seeing that rejection does elicit sympathy. But, the advantage of going out with women is that you instantly see it from the point of view of the victim of that stupid non-consensual grinding that seems to happen and just… understand, I guess. Nonetheless, I feel like I’m somehow letting the team down, slightly.
  3. I had been interested in that girl myself. Linked to point 2), however, is its converse – while I refuse to do the non-consensual dancing, equally, I know that, personally, at least, if I start using White Knightery as a way ‘in’, I’ll be the worse for it. Because then that really does dive into Entitled Nice Guy territory – “I just saved you from that bloke, because really, I want you for myself, and as I did you a favour, you owe me your attention.” So that was frustrating.

So yeah, being a real life white knight. At least it enables me to find pictures like this one and share it.