Bullies

“You can’t beat a bit of bully!” said Jim Bowen on the much-missed ‘Bullseye’ which I still associate with the Sunday teatime aroma of beetroot, cheese, boiled eggs, cucumber, ham and tomatoes. My gran never did  know how to make Welsh stew (cawl)!

And it seems we really can’t beat bullies because they’re everywhere.

Cyber-bullies, playground bullies, work-place bullies, gay-bashing bullies- even celebrity bullies.

When the fragrant, immaculately-coiffed Cheryl Fernandez-Versini (aka ‘Biffer’ Cole the famous mime artiste) starts getting wobbly-chinned and weepy over a singer strangling a power ballad on “X Factor”, she’s hoping you’ve forgotten her well-reported encounter with a female nightclub toilet attendant.

It was the attendant who was female, not the nightclub. Being a building, it was gender-free. I just wanted to clear that up. Which may well have been what the toilet attendant said to Biffer at the time.

When Biffer, who trained at ‘Putting-In-The-Boot-Camp’, replied “You’re going through”, she meant a window.

We’ve all read in the newspapers about children who’ve been bullied so relentlessly by their wicked classmates that they saw suicide as the only way to escape it. Can you imagine what hell those children must have gone through day after day to reach a state where they decided the only way to stop the violence and humiliation was to end their young lives?

Tragic doesn’t begin to describe it.  I only hope that those responsible for the needless deaths of their class mates have their dreams haunted forever by what they did.

When I read these stories and then hear head teachers say “We have no bullying in my school’ I feel like saying, “Take off those rose tinted spectacles!” because, just like when I was in school, if you happen to be slight of build or look or behave ‘different’, the likelihood is you’ll get picked on at some point.

I had no fear of school bullies and stood up for myself and the weaker kids who’d been the victims of bullying.

Sometimes a bully would back down after I’d had a few well-chosen words with him, but invariably there were times when the real hard cases thought they could take me on . . . which led to me getting into many scrapes.

So many, in fact, that when I’m asked what qualifications I left school with, my answer is “Just the one; a Black Belt” (to hold my trousers up, of course)!

Since the days of the court jester, it’s been the job of the comedian to prick the balloon of pomposity and to put in their place those in high office who lord it over us a little too smugly. If a well-aimed spear of truth, in the shape of a clever gag, can persuade these people to start treating the rest of us with more respect, I’m continuing the work I did back when I was a lad, standing-up to the school bullies.

Except that, today, I stand-up in front of an audience and (sometimes) get paid for it!