Random Play by Graham Reid


Hi-ho hi-ho it's off to work we go . . .

For many years -- over a decade in fact -- I would attend a gig, sprint to the newspaper straight after, write the review and it would appear in the paper the following morning. I got good at having a quick opinion between the 11.30pm “thank you, good night“ and the 12.30am “Hey, you finished that review yet?”. And good at getting up the next day to report for work as usual. It's what people do.

These days of course, with access to internet, everyone has a quick opinion -- if not always a considered one.

I don’t particularly want to mention the Veitch case because I have seen some of the most appalling, ill-considered and inconsiderate blogs out there -- and I would hope my opinion would be possible to know without me having to spell it out. But why would you care about it anyway?

However given the nature of intemperate blogging (mercifully I have no interest in twittering, a name which speaks for itself) I usually prefer to read a more considered opinion, like a seasoned columnist who has had a bit of time to think about what they want to say then articulate it within a given number of words (which usually requires self-editing).

And because I prefer to take the time these days and consider, I have waited to see if anyone would comment on Paul Holmes’ column in the Herald on Sunday last weekend.

What he wrote at the end of his Veitch piece -- which I assume to be his considered opinion -- I think worthy of note. He wrote . . .

“I will say this too. A radio breakfast guy on a Sunday night is nervous and tense, no matter how long he has been doing the job and no matter how successfully. A radio breakfast man on a Sunday night is getting ready to lose his freedom for five days.
A radio breakfast guy like Veitch, who was struggling with his breakfast job and finding it much more difficult than he had thought he would, as Veitch was at the time, is especially tense on a Sunday night. Sunday night is not a night to have a fight with a breakfast man.
I do not excuse anything in saying this. It is just the way it is.”

I’ve thought about this since I read it and it seems to me that this is more than just special pleading.

There are a lot of people -- not just those in the media -- who, on a Sunday night, get ready to lose their freedom for five days. It’s called “going to work” and this notion that people in the media are somehow different and are deserving of special treatment or consideration (by partners, spouses and so on) demeans those who have to get up at 7am and haul their arses off to the factory or wherever. Or just go to the high pressure (or boring) office, or the classroom full of boisterous kids, again.

They could equally argue that Sunday night isn’t a good time to have a fight with them.

The other thing here is the sub-text (although it ain’t that “sub”): it is that the woman concerned should have known that “Sunday night is not a night to have a fight with a breakfast man“.

So, that being the case. . .?

But sure, Mr Holmes doesn’t excuse what happened -- and he was a radio breakfast guy.

However by just saying that you don’t excuse something doesn’t make it so, it could be like saying “sorry” when you don’t really mean it.

This whole piece looked very much like someone pulling up mitigating factors for a friend, one being that the friend was under pressure and had to go to work the next day.


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