If ever there was a time to selfie I think it’s to document this crop and this weirdly shallow feeling of freedom.

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Above is what my friends think are my top posts of 2017.

Below is a photo from this year that warms me through.

All plans for 2018 involve a cat named Peter, a dog named Bernadette and some fresh air.

“You belong among the wildflowers

You belong somewhere close to me

Far away from your trouble and worry

You belong somewhere you feel free

You belong somewhere you feel free”

Thinking about cutting a lot of hair off and wearing more dresses.

I heard something interesting a few months ago on Radio 4 comparing this to the other (alternate?!) future of Orwell’s 1984 so I’m a bit excited to start it.

I might try to read some slim quick books after this. My last month of 2017 will be spent tucked under a blanket trying to make it as close as I can to that silly goal of 20.

Young woman share your fire with me

My heart is cold, my soul is free

I am a stranger in your land

A wandering man, call me sand

Oh sir my fire is very small

It will not warm thy heart at all

But thee may take me by the hand

Hold me and I’ll call thee sand

This new world of a higher proportion of men being held accountable for their damaging actions towards women or young men or any other human being they’ve taken advantage of is refreshing.

(I will write another time about the effects of recent events on women and their potential opportunities as I perceive it, in relation to a particular article my friend cut out from The Times for me to read. I’m not being reductionist I’m just not talking about all of that here.)

Right now I just wanted to record a stimulating conversation I had with my friend and tattooer Harriet last night. Since the above has been known, Harriet has planned a proactive day of covering up tattoos which include Brand New lyrics and having the money she would have earned donated to a rape crisis charity. 💪🏼 She also noted that this might be an even harder time for those who have suffered a similar kind of abuse to that alleged against Jesse who also unfortunately happen to have his words tattooed on them.

There was one negative comment I saw about this which was from a man and appeared to see it that Harriet was Judging people for having lyrics conjured by a sexual predator on their skin. Granted in her post about this she said IF it makes people feel sick then she can help them. She didn’t say if you like that band there’s something wrong with you but that she’s there to help if you do. For her she can be quiet objective about these things and takes a moral stand for her own knowledge etc and I know she was quite affected by allegations made against some of her most admired musicians in the past. (Conor Oberst) I cant speak for her I’m just going by conversations we’ve had and her online presence.

Some people can’t separate someone’s negative and hurtful behaviour from their output as an artist. I think that’s okay. For those that CAN separate it I think that’s okay too, as long as it is actually separated and it’s not coming from a place of rape apology, for example.

I understand the former when the lyrics are one of the main draws to Brand New and they are not the fruit of the rest of the band but that they are directly from Jesse’s brain which is also where the idea to abuse young women and take advantage of 14 year old girls has come from. It also gives a whole new angle on a lot of his lyrics which means that I probably can’t listen to them without thinking about his actions, so I won’t be. But I have spent hours listening, singing along in the past and Seventy Times Seven won’t stop being a masterpiece, it’ll be a masterpiece by a sexual predator.

I think this is another time that just needs a little understanding between human beings. There’s no one to blame but Jesse. Not the people who buy his records or those who have his words tattooed on their skin. Not Harriet for suggesting those people might want them covered up.

I’m not keen on the “I apologise but…” trend which we’ve seen since people stared to feel they could speak up about people in elevated positions. “I’m sorry but… I need help like a lost sheep”, “I’m sorry but… I’m gay” or “I’m sorry but… I’m a sex addict and Brand New gave me loads of opportunity“. I’m paraphrasing but FFS, I’d rather they said “I’m sorry I’m an awful human being”.

Some tool brought up the old Nazi argument and said he’d buy Hitlers artwork because his art is not about genocide. I see it that it’s whatever works for people as long as it’s not harmful to anybody else (I listen to Michael Jackson, I may be a hypocrite) but I’m not sure that guy would get words from Mein Kampf tattooed on his fucking body, and if he did, he shouldn’t be called stupid by an apologist for hitler for wanting it removed once he realised he was an evil thing.

But ultimately the people who think Jesse should still be respected and have outwardly written about this on a thread of women who have obviously suffered harassment and / or gendered abuse of some kind in their life, are men. There’s a minimising and dismissive tone to their comments and it seems that to them it’s just ‘not that bad’.

That’s something that worries me. A lot of men (and women) still don’t see anything wrong with so many actions. Specifically murky areas to a lot of people seem to be: manipulation, social and personal pressure and abuses of positions of responsibility or power. Jesse having some element of power over his fans is clear. I worry that the people commenting that what Harriet is doing is stupid and that Jesse shouldn’t be blacklisted because of his actions do similar things, think it’s okay and would do it again.

A man also commented on how an allegation isn’t a reason to boycott and dismiss someone. (Here, Jesse has admitted the allegations are true though 🤔) and this brought me back to a report by Sir Henriques (a retired judge) who looked into Op Midland (a case where one person made lots of, now known to be false, allegations against public figures). I’m not commenting on Op Midland – or the handling of suspects at the moment but I feel it would be wrong not to acknowledge that there were some unfortunate and sad events relating to that investigation and (having not read the full report) apparently some shortcomings in the way it was handled.

I know not everyone will agree but I think I’d rather have a few unfounded allegations in the mix if it meant ensuring I was supporting and encouraging and comforting the real victims effectively. There’s a problem with rates of reporting anyway and I wouldn’t want to put victims off further by saying we’re not going to investigate this unless or until we believe you or there’s some corroborative evidence that you’re telling the truth. Sometimes all a victim has is their word and experience.

This is a mixed bag of thoughts that came up while talking to Harriet. The thought I’m left with is how impressionable I was as a 14 year old and how I probably wouldn’t have known if someone was taking advantage of my naivety because I didn’t think I was naive, I was just 14.

“We should live in alignment with the planet we happen to be sitting on. Not thinking of it as something which serves us. Like this ego mania we have as Humans beings is a problem. I’m not sure what the answer is but that’s a problem.”