This is England, respect INNIT!!


I recently had a run in with an 18 year old lad. A simple gesture and wave of a finger on my part prompted an explosion of bile and anger that was sad to witness. Within seconds I found myself on the receiving end of a barage of the ‘respect’ lecture: “Who the fuck are you anyway!” followed by, “You don’t get my respect man!” and “Why should I respect you anyway?!!” For a second there I felt like a modern secondary school teacher must feel on a daily basis and the lecture had the desired effect as I emotionally regrouped and realized that I should really listen to this young mans taunting and learn to take a long hard look at myself and how I was running my life. (He has a point Chris-who the fuck are you anyway? Who the fuck is anyone?)

Thankfully I avoided any further Jeremy Kyle Show-goading-toothless-dog-barking hysteria and as I pulled away in my car the youth was hanging from his frontroom window (his Mum had locked him in) and he was screaming and shouting that he was going to ‘fuck me up’. Indeed, I truly believe it is the wise man who walks away, and anyway, if I had reacted and politley asked him to slip out of the window and attack me, I would probably now be in trouble with the police and I would have caused a world of pain to somebody that I love more than my own life.

Odd behaviour? Sadly, I don’t actually think it is. Putting this pathetic incident aside, what I found interesting was how the use of the word ‘respect’ came flowing out of a young mans mouth as a weapon of choice designed to intimidate and humiliate. What is it about the word ‘respect’ these days? It’s becoming a bit like the word ‘gay’, which just in my lifetime has already come to mean three distinct different things. ‘Respect’ is now used by a generation of young people as a term of bravado, straight outta sum Nu Jack City dictionary of street vocab. Poor fools, used like this it is at the very least totally incongruous and highlights so much of what is wrong in modern society. Chavaloution anyone?

Respect should be like having good manners and wiping your arse after a good shit, not something you have to earn. It’s power and control that is really at stake when the word ‘respect’ is banded about like this and it’s usually the very same person who shows little or no respect for others who is the very same person demanding all the respect for themselves. So why is that? How did we get to this? How the hell is this going to do anything but create a law-of-the-jungle mentality? I’ve never demanded somebody’s respect, wrongly, I just always assumed I might get it. When we were young we were taught to respect the elderly and authority and was this wrong or did they know something us young folk didn’t? What is it now? Nike? Violence? Knives? Guns!! Chavaloution!! Lets rob Rumbellows!

We’ve all made mistakes, we’ve all done things we shouldn’t have, it’s called life and as you get older the only solace you can take is that you learned from your mistakes and you had the capacity to change. Mmmm change. It’s not hard, but it’s the hardest thing in the world. I know I’ve changed a lot throughout my life and I think that meeting my wife and having two small children played a great part in that. I’m coming up for 20 years of marriage and although I got a degree and I sold records, did 5 Peel sessions met Debbie Harry on the telly blah blah blah, I consider my greatest achievement is having always been there for my children and sticking to a commitment even when sometimes it would have been easier to fuck off. What man, at the end of his life would ever truly want to say, “Well I don’t regret having missed out on my children, it was worth it because now I have this big house and a smart car and a huge flat screen telly.” 

What is success anyway and is it linked to respect? No, we are all too busy chasing the wrong dream.

I am lucky because I have no regrets, what I gave my children was the greatest commodity of them all, time. So now I have a nice functional car that works great and a rented house and a couple of old synths and a guitar and I am happy as a pig in shit, well mostly! (I’d like to be back on the telly sharing a joke with Ronnie Spector?) (Forget it Chris, you had your chance) (Another Peel Session? – Forget it Chris, it’s not gonna happen). I don’t need to demand other peoples respect, I can do what I like now because, you know what, I’ve probably fucking earned it!

‘Respect’ along with ‘genius’ is just a bullshit term now, over used and under valued. I don’t want to live in a society were we have to duel with pistols and swords for honour. Where would that lead us? I’ll tell you where. Perhaps Julian Cope (he’s a genius you know) may have never released his latest book because I ran him through with a rapier? No new six by seven album because an old drummer shot me through the liver with a pistol on a cold wet morning in a field somewhere outside of Nottingham? When I’ve come to blows and fallen out with people it’s generally always had something to do with selfishness, ego and a lack of understanding, I’m not sure ‘respect’ has ever come into it?

I was going to talk about the England team and tie it into all this bullshit about respect but I’ve digressed. (Stop ranting Dad!)

So now just briefly: The problems our national team is facing, some of it goes down to grass-roots. We can sack managers and hound specific players and generally beef about everything except the real problems when it all goes wrong, time after time. Grass-roots football is suffering because there are too many ‘respect’ fearing16-18 year old lads saying “I’ll shank yar man” to parents, referees and each other. It’s not just the kids, it’s the parents on the touchlines too. Yeah, like I really wanted to take my young son down onto the park to inflict that shit on him and myself. I don’t think so.

Remember when 11 year old Rhyss Jones was shot dead in Liverpool after walking home from footie training? The manager of the football team that Rhyss was in walked away from football and coaching because one day he went onto the pitch to stop an assault on one of his players and he and his wife stood in the way of oppsition players who were giving them all manner of insults and abuse. One lad went over to him and said: ‘I’ve just phoned my brother and he and his mates are going to come down here and shoot you’. He called his team off the pitch, he couldn’t take such a threat lightly in the light of what had already happened to Rhyss Jones. Their team, Fir Tree, has now disbanded.

I’m sure the England teams constant underachieving has many causes but grass-roots seems a good place to start. Why can’t we educate the kids, through football, to show each other and their parents and their referees what true respect is? Why can’t we use football as an opportunity and turn it into a sort of sporting national service for kids to enjoy and learn from? Why can’t we get managers and sponsors and rule-makers to do something to stamp out this screaming into the referees faces, simulating being fouled, cheating by diving at the slightest touch, falling about screaming and using dirty tricks to win at all costs? Bring back some real respect. If we can win loads of gold medals at the olympics in sports we’re not even traditionally good at then we can win the World Cup, easy! When we do, then maybe The Sun won’t have to bang on about how we gave the world the jet engine and penicillin and maybe the foul-mouthed-screaming-touchline-soccer-Dad will shut his gob.

I fear it won’t happen, it’s probably too late and I still live in a world of Bobby Moore and Trevor Brooking but we can at least try can’t we?

England are (most likely) out and I wonder if The Sun newspaper is now reflecting on the fact that any vestige of hope we have of staying in Brazil could hinge on a black Italian called Mario Balotelli? No it can’t be? Hilarious! And, like they said: ‘The best thing about being English is not to have to wake up as a Frenchmen or Belgian’, what, progressing to the next round?

My motto now is simple: Life ain’t black and white, it’s grey and it’s sad and it ends in death. Once you realize that you can perhaps step out of line and do what you want to do. Respect ain’t respect anymore and you ain’t gonna get any respect anyway, from no one bro, whatever you do innit. Might as well do it your own way, and if you don’t woefully underachive they might even call you a maverick. (If you make some dosh you’ll be a genius for sure)




  1. Dare I say “respect” to the above…
    I get all of the above verbal grief in my daily work…
    Sounds of nails being hit on head in what you day … Times they are a changing, standards have slipped beyond the point of no return sadly I fear.

    1. No truer words spoken. Just look at protests. Idiots join in to have a ruck to prove a point and even spoilt rich kids dangle off senotaphs (that’s disrespectful and also ignorant). But to show the true downfall of our society is how an innocent guy got killed for defending his girlfriend at a festival in Manchester recently. Music is supposed to unite us not cause friction or certainly not intent on killing another human being. We’ll always have differences, but the more inherently selfish we become the less likely we are of achieving the signing off message bill hicks preached at us about exploring inner and outer together. Keep voting Tory and ukip and let’s divide Pilage and conquer innocents and each other like the good old days and regress to the dark ages (not!) There’s always hope Chris with people like us out there. The footballers defo need to set better examples and also stop being wimps. Look at the rugby boys!! (Didn’t one play with a broken arm a couple of weeks back?)

      Oh and Chris, your time is never over with music. Arts are a very strange beast. Look at seasick Steve. Think about Arthur lee.

  2. I agree with some, and disagree with some, of your points here, Chris, Young people of every generation have been scowled at by those who have passed through that time themselves and maybe forgotten the parts they don’t like to remember. It is an easy trap as now we can take solace in seeing the young of today as a lot worse than we were, which raises up ones own done deeds of youth and makes them more comfortable to live with. It will never change. That young lad, angry at the world and disrupting it in every way he can, may well write a blog just like this one day and lament times past when he thought he and his peers had more respect.

    It is strange when a word is made to have another use, but respect is one that does remain the same whether used as an angry weapon or as a threat. That young man didn’t have any respect for what he saw and has most likely been badly let down by – a father figure. A man who cared enough to correct him – It may not be the case, but it is odds on that a father figure has been missing from his life and has come to be a symbol of hate to him. And that is the true sadness behind the disrespect – where are the fathers? or, the mothers?

    And this is where I do agree. Whole heartedly and proudly. Commitment is needed. Children need it as much as they need food. It brings stability to them and a sense of being wanted. That alone can instil a natural respect that doesn’t have to be taught. Because it is missing in so many cases, there is pain and that pain manifests itself in violence, and crime and disrespect, because, why should a child care if no one cared for them?

    But, there is a change in the air. I see it in many young men and women who have come through the pain. It is a generation thing. Always we are going to be different to our parents, and so many let-down young people are becoming determined not to let down their own children. That is a good light breeze at the moment and hopefully will gather pace and become a hurricane of change.

    Another point I cannot see is that life is grey and sad. Life holds so much beauty and happiness and light and colour. I saw this in your own beautiful family recently. I saw love expressed in cuddles between father and son, father and daughter, husband and wife. I saw love expressed in eyes of a woman to her husband and in her conspiracy with her daughter, a little giggle shared over the homework. . . and love shown for her son, in her pride of his achievements. I saw pride in a man and a woman for their children, and in the children for their parents – what you have achieved in the music world has set the seal for your son who has inherited your talents, and what you have achieved as a father has set the seal for both of your children to go forward as loving, caring adults with an abundance of talent the world is open to receive. Love, Pride, cuddles, talent in abundance, achievements? Are they grey and sad? No. Your life is rich in colour and happiness. And you are worthy of the greatest respect.

    From a loving aunty x

    1. Brilliant comment, thanks and I agree with everything you say and it throws up some interesting conundrums too, mainly, when do we take responsibility for our actions and change and, if we never take responsibility or change, what are the consequences and how should we deal with them in society?

      You are right about the lad not showing any respect because he’s misguided in his upbringing and hates all Father figures and figures of authority and probably can’t accept any form of criticsm. Him and others like him use the word respect-in a different way-because for them it’s been twisted, they are not sure about what it is and why they should give it.

      So do we adopt a laissez faire attitude and let him do what he wants? He will only change if it’s in his interest to do so (a good thing) or he will continue until he steps out of line and the authorities deal with him in the best way they can. Perhaps this is the right thing to do. Perhaps not?

      In my first term of college I befriended a fellow student who I remained friends with to this day and he lived in my house for three years after Annie was born. He had come up to Nottingham from Cambridge and in the first week he was using the college facilities to print some colour photographs of a wedding of a couple he new in Cambridge. The groom in the photograph was a troubled young man who probably had similar problems with this and that and ended up murdering the bride in the photograph with multiple stab wounds in a jealous rage within the year.

      My friend Joe updated me about the whole court process and everything that went on after he was convicted. After the murderer was given a ‘life’ sentence, the family and parents of the murdered wife had to be put into police protection and in the end moved away to live in Wales in secret because the family of the murderer decided it was their fault that he was in prison and they should pay for this with attacks on the house with bricks, paint, molotov cocktails and petrol through the letter box. The police found it easier to move the family than convict the perpetrators because they were cunning and they also wore masks so when the police set up cameras it didn’t help.

      Finally, a few years later my friend Joe and me graduated and Joe moved up to Yorkshire to start a job. He came back down to Nottingham a year later and stayed with me and got a job in Derby. We then got this house we are living in now and Joe moved in upstairs and became a lodger. During this time me and Joe went out one evening to the local pub and we sat down with our pints and Joe looked into the distance and said, “That guy who killed ‘*******’ he came out of prison today you know.” It was then that we were struck by how quickly the years can go by and because the killer had behaved himself in prison and said he was ‘sorry’ for what he had done he was a free man. No doubt he had lots of problems and he was rehabilitated and he probably would not do it again. Great! The other family are without their daughter, she’s not coming back from the dead, and they have had to start a new life still in perpetual hidding.

      Is this an isolated extreme case? I dunno, when I watch the local news cases like this seem to be not that infrequent.

      What we need to realize is, should this happen to us, all we can really do is rely on the authorities to do the best job they can and regard the death of our daughter as more or less the same as a traffic accident, it’s just bad luck, she met the wrong guy, she was hit by a drunk driver. Life is beautiful and colourful it’s true but that seems pretty grey to me.

      So that family, what do they think?

      “I wish we would have done something to stop her being with him?”
      “I wish we wouldn’t have let her…”
      You can’t stop someone doing anything, especially if they are young. That’s what being a parent is all about, you protect and nurture until it’s time to leave, they change but you never do. The thing that makes young people so irresistable and brilliant is that they know so much, they know so much more than we do.

      So when do we act and when do we take responsibility for our actions? Sadly, often when it’s only too late. Yes life is colourful and fun but that seems pretty grey to me as well.

      When does a Father own up to his mistakes and bite the bullet and apologise? When do we stop Hitler with a punch on the nose cause he won’t understand anything else? When do we finally get rid of the people running the Football Assosiation and do the right thing? Usually when it’s too late. It’s too late for little Rhyss Jones. ‘It’s too late for General Custer it’s too late for Robert E Lee!’ – Neil Young

      It’s too late, it’s always gonna be too late and you know it because you said yourself the boy will be probably writing a blog in 40 years time spouting the same crap as me, christ, by then the world might be so shit that we can only be thankful we are safely wrapped up with alzheimers in a nursing home (probably having the shit kicked out of us by a careworker who has no respect).

      I agree with everything you say and I did try and make life colourful for my children but now I fear I must unleash them into a rather grey world. I agree with everything you say because it’s true and therefore my motto still remains the same; do it your own way, nothing is black and white. I’m sad about my own life being so grey but it’s always been that way (It must be the Cold War Chris!).

      As far as Talent goes I’d like to lump that one in with genius and respect.

      Xfactor anyone? (I wanna be famous Simon! – at what?- I dunno, I just wanna be famous! How about zees?!! Good eh?)

      I’m sure I have some talent for music, there was always a grain of something there which enabled me to do something others couldn’t but 95% of my ‘talent’ was achieved through hours upon hours of practice and 80% of what I achieved commercially, was through knowing somebody else in the right place at the right time who could help me. The rest was luck.

      The music industry is a bit like football, it expects results, it has nothing to do with art. Sure, Messi and Maradonna are talented-genius-artists but if they stop hitting the back of the net they are gonners. So many of my friends who had record deals have now thrown the towel in and grumble about it being the proverbial ‘shit business’.

      We can’t give up. You have a great talent for storytelling, but my guess is you also have something bigger inside you that is like a calling and you feel compelled to do it because you believe you can, even when you believe you can’t. I think that is probably what talent is. If you marry that unwavering internal belief with sheer persistence you get results and results bring about a chance for commercial success and then you get respect, from all the wrong people!

      You’ve got my utmost respect for what you do because of the persistence and the unwavering belief. I’m also really glad you are selling books, because people like them!X

      My motto is still the same. The way forward is through acceptence of responsibility and the capacity for change. Those that can’t do that fall by the wayside and in turn cause more chaos. Everything turns black in the end.XXXX

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