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Oh Poland

Yet again, Polish women have had to take to the streets to fight for their right not to be treated as incubators. It saddens me to see that the situation has gone full circle. The bigoted, misogynistic, little grey men have, once more, tried to outlaw abortion and now find themselves facing mass protests. If there is one thing I have learned in my years on this Earth, it is this – you cannot break the spirit of the Polish people. Many have tried, and nobody has ever succeeded.

In solidarity with the rational Poles, I have written something I wish to share with you.

Oh Poland

In every church,

And every book,

In every corner,

And every nook,

In every painting,

And every prayer,

In every psalm,

And every stare,

In every sermon,

And every mass,

In every song,

And this is a fact,

It doesn’t say a single word,

About a woman’s right to choose.

#StrajkKobiet

Gone to the Dogs

I have a confession to make. My name is Scott Andrews and I am a canine addict.

Since I was a child I have found dogs to be almost mystical. The hours I have spent, staring in wonderment at an animal whose sole reason to exist appears to be to satisfy us, is beyond compare. As a teenager I was as awkward as they come. I often hid myself behind a straggly beard in a bid to become invisible. That all changed the day Bracken walked into my life. From that moment on, everywhere I went people wanted to talk to me because of this beautiful Border Collie that accompanied me everywhere. Suddenly that ethereal, improbable species – the human girl – wanted to talk to me, wanted to go for walks with me, and mostly just wanted to spend time with my dog. This Border Collie, an extraordinary black and white beast, led me from my social anxiety and showed me that there was a different way to live.

As the years passed by and I crossed continents that longing for another dog to fill the hole that Bracken left never disappeared. It was not until some years later that I found myself sitting on the floor of a house in the middle of nowhere, in a Polish village with a name entirely made of consonants, when a stout-looking Scottish Terrier climbed onto my lap. It was a behaviour he only repeated twice to date, and it was a moment when I knew my life was set to change. Unsurprisingly, a Border Collie was no preparation for a Scottish Terrier. They were chalk and cheese. The sense of responsibility overwhelmed me. I had adopted a dog that had never left his house, never met a strange dog, had never been for a walk and was properly suffering from agoraphobia. I felt completely insufficient and utterly terrified and fell back to the only thing that I knew: I read. I read like I had never read before. I devoured book after book after book about dogs. I searched the internet in a desperate bid to find the answer, the key which would help my dog better understand the world he was living in.

Much like every addict, soon enough the books weren’t enough. I started studying course, course after course after course. I collected certificates like a Premier League footballer collects STDs. I became a qualified instructor and dog handler. And I read more books. I got certificates in canine aggression and more instructor skills. And read more. And then I got more dogs. I studied canine evolution and canine cognition. I can now say that I have a qualification from Duke University in the Grand ole’ USA. And then I gained more dogs. And I read even more books, and more studies and filled my brain to the point that I now needed to let out some of the pressure from time to time to prevent my head from exploding.

Did I find the answer? Of course not. What I did learn is the golden truth of dog ownership: we will never feel sufficient. It is an impossible deal. Dogs offer us unconditional love, judgement free companionship and a miraculous, quite improbable sense of joy. We offer belly rubs, walks in the rain, and on occasion, a lovely treat. They are getting the bum deal and always will. Quite frankly, we have no chance of ever being able to pay it back.

I have learned one other thing. I am now every dog owner’s living nightmare. I am the stranger in the dirty anorak and unshaven chin that comes over to stroke your dog and gives you a three hour lecture about canine studies into developmental delay in adolescence, and what it means to left handed dog owners teaching their right pawed dogs to fetch. I am a professional dog bore and I cannot get enough. I have this enormous love of dogs that drives me to keep learning in the hope that I can be the best canine care giver that I can and until recently I haven’t had an outlet for it.

When the opportunity to embrace my inner canine nerd and record a podcast came up I felt it was too good to turn down. Normally when I talk to people about dogs they say ‘leave me alone, I’m going to call the police’. I am able to trap someone in a room and they voluntarily talk to me about dogs. They don’t try to run away. They don’t even scream. They actually ask questions and seem interested.

So it gives me great pleasure to introduce the pilot episode of the podcast ‘Talk2ThePaw’ featuring me as the canine nerd, and the magnificent Caroline Bartley on broadcasting duties. By all means have a listen and let me know what you think.

Episode 6 Talk2ThePaw

In this episode, we discuss a recent spate of dog poisonings in the UK, a new study that questions whether a canine's character changes with age, the practicality of doorbells for dogs, and we celebrate the tiniest Wagtastic Woof so far.Just how likely is it that your dog is going to be poisoned? In The Twilight Bark, we take a look at some of the dangers that can be found in the great outdoors. Is your garden puppy-proofed or will you be in for a big surprise?In the Doggler Effect, we examine the ways in which your dog's character changes as it ages.  A new study from a university in Budapest has shown that a dog continues to mentally develop well into its mid-life.  Is your dog a middle-aged Einstein, or is he still full of the joys of spring?This time in Gadgets, Gizmos, and Gastronomy, we examine the practicality of doorbells for dogs.  Our presenter and dog nerd go head-to-head over whether it is a gimmick or an act of genius.  Would your dog use a doorbell, or would it turn you into a canine concierge?And our Episode 6 Wagtastic Woof is an epic heroine in the tiniest possible body.  Tune in to hear how this awesome little animal has broken down barriers and made the impossible possible.
  1. Episode 6
  2. Episode 5
  3. Season 1 Trailer
  4. Episode 4
  5. Episode 3

The Self-Isolation Blues

We have reached an awkward time in our great nation’s history where the vast majority of us are trapped at home desperately trying to find a way to avoid all of those jobs we have promised our spouses and ourselves that we were going to complete whilst knowing deep down that we had more intention of riding downhill sitting on a cactus in a shopping trolley with a wonky wheel over speed humps.

I, like the rest of you, have a list of things I should be getting on with which are not procrastination, and like you I am completely failing.  Therefore in the name of doing as little as possible, I have made all the wonderful stories I have published free on Smashwords as part of the author gives back sale.  The aim of the sale is as it says in the title, to give back.  If our stories offer a sense of distraction, maybe the odd snicker, or provoke some form of cognitive function then we will be doing our bit to fight the self-isolation blues and hopefully offer some comfort in the darkest of times.

Thus all that is left to say is go forth my friends, stay indoors and take care of everyone that you love.  To download the 47th best collection of stories written by someone named Scott Andrews, click here.

Till next time.

An Anthem for Coronavirus

As coronavirus sweeps the world and people run out panic buying toilet paper for an illness that will make them cough and not shit, I have largely been watching on with some bemusement.  The widescale paranoia and the complete selfishness makes me wonder if we do not actually deserve it.  I am old enough to remember a different world.  My Grandparents, only two generations removed from me, survived a war by coming together and helping their neighbors, and here we are 75 years on, in an age when grown adults have fistfights over toilet rolls.  Something somewhere has gone badly wrong in the evolution of humanity, and what made us great and unique has fallen away and left behind a more primitive way of thinking.  The truth is that if people genuinely did care about each other they would be looking out for the vulnerable members of our society rather than themselves.

After eight years, Existence Is Futile has finally gone out of print circulation.  It is a decision I have not taken lightly.  It will continue to be available as an ebook.  In the meantime, I am considering a second edition in the future, for the simple reason that I love the story and it would give me an opportunity to honor it in the way Professor Henry Tomlinson deserves.

I hope to be publishing a concept book later in the year.  I know that normally someone should write at least five books before they disappear far enough up their own arseholes before trying to share some self-indulgent nonsense, however, I have decided to jump ahead and do something that pleases me for the simple reason that life is short and we will all be dead soon.

My former band YU recently released a new music video entitled ‘Bang Bang’.  By all means, take a look here,

Speaking of YU, the singer Kuba was recently on a television show in Poland.  As always, he was delightfully eccentric and made quite an unexpected choice of song…

Just the other day I was idling between the news on television with its constant sense of impending death whilst scrolling through Twitter and reading about the forthcoming apocalypse when it occurred to me that I had likely written the perfect anthem for the coronavirus epidemic some years ago.  It is poignant, accurate, and holds a poetic truth.  Enjoy.

Until next time.