We need to talk about people

I’m not going to spend long introducing my worry here. It’s about growth. Eternal, never-ending growth. On a finite planet with finite resources.

According to the World Population Odometer, there are 7,7 million people on earth. With a daily population growth of around 200,000.

We celebrate every little human born and mourn every human death. We battle against old age with everything we got. We punish women for wanting/needing abortions and scream “murderer!” at them (when we are crazy enough). Various religions encourage people to procreate and multiply, defending their stance with the support of old religious scriptures.

Dictators have in the past and continue today to endorse systems that exert control over women to either reproduce as much as possible, or – as in the case of China – not. Let’s have a quick look at that last sentence. Not reproduce. China and their one-child policy. An attempt at stemming the population growth.

If any religious Americans read this I am sure they will be on their way with torches to set fire to my house right now. So glad you have no idea where I live.

Yes, China is the only country that has actively attempted to control and even reverse population growth on a truly large scale. With rules, regulations, invasive control practices – and invasive procedures such as forced abortions and sterilisations. The result has been indescribable suffering for millions of women and their families, femicide in a country that values boys over girls, and entire villages with such shortage of women the men feel compelled to “import” – in whatever way they can – women from the surrounding countries.

And still the world’s population is growing, most countries still value boys over girls (not just an Asian phenomenon), and there is still no real attempt anywhere to even talk about possible ways to turn this around.

Just like the twisted logic of eternal economic growth, eternal population growth is not in any way sustainable. No matter what your belief system or culture – it is not sustainable. And we have to talk about it. We have to find humane ways to NOT continue to reproduce the way we do now. Now that we no longer kick the bucket over a common cold. Now that we have so many ways of extending our natural life span and prevent mums and babies from dying during childbirth.

And while the human population keeps growing, 150-200 species of plants, insects, fish and mammals go extinct every 24 hours.

Don’t get me wrong: I am glad of every medical advance that make our lives better and would personally like to see my dad turn at least 100 years old. I dearly love every single one of my family members and don’t want to be without any of them. I miss my mum terribly and still ask myself if only… how old would she have been now, and would we still sit together giggling about life over a cup of tea?

And yet. We need to come to terms with this idea of eternal economic growth, with extending life, with eternal youth, with not letting a single human life end for whatever reason (terminal illness, old age). I know that if I reach the stage of vegetable where nobody can communicate with me – I would rather that someone pull the plug – or let me have that overdose. Please.

Euthanasia is not a bad thing. After all, we do it for our dogs.

In my next life – please let me be my dog.

Sudden memory

In 1993, I was on my way to Ireland and had a stop-over in Brussels. A handsome young man invited me for dinner, and while eating I noticed the white tan-ring on his hand.

I pointed it out to him suggesting that it was not the most subtle approach to wanting to cheat on his wife.

Then I made him pay for dinner and sent him home.

There is not really a moral to this story.

First day over, and I am knackered. Having spent most of the day with two of my new colleagues, getting more or less non-stop input, information, sitting in on a conference call, sitting in on another conference call – and did I sit in on a third conference call? not sure anymore – then some more information, and then some information, come 1.30pm and my head was screaming for a break.

So I begged for a little time to read through some of the other information that had been printed out for me and handed over in a jolly, yellow folder.

One hour went by and then – then the words started running around on the page and I felt a twitch in my left cheek. I looked up. I looked around. I saw – very little. And then. That familiar feeling of total drainage.


Hate them.

Could just see enough to send a message to colleague 1 – then out of the side of my remaining vision I could see him walk in so I did a slow dash in his direction telling him that – uh, I have bad news – I’m getting a migraine… to which he (to my huge relief) replied not to worry! it was probably the weather, and sent me home.

I packed up my stuff as best I could while rapidly going extremely tunnel visioned and dragged myself outside. The heat hit me. Not kidding – it was like mid-summer in Norway, just without the refreshingly cool breeze.

The weather. It’s amazing, when I was young I would get migraines as a result of hormones combined with overwork and general stress and depression. For the past 20 years I’ve had one or at most two per year, but only here in Vienna has the weather been a factor. And that is no joke. These sudden changes to hot weather with “der Föhn” – the warm winds from the East, are a total killer.

Suffice it to say I had no choice but to walk home while holding on to my pushbike for support actually trying to avoid walking in the sun. I hate winter so much, but this sudden change to summer came as a bit of a shock to the system.

So. Wish me luck for my next few days trying to cover two jobs, as I’m still working part-time for Berlitz. I really know how to have fun, I do.


Am about to start a new job. Wish me luck!

There we were. Sunday evening. Watching TV.

Fast and Furious number whatever.

I try to go along with my gorgeous husband’s wishes for something simple and entertaining to watch at the end of the week, something to wind down to, something not too taxing, as I know, we know, that we have pretty busy and complex weekdays.

And so, there we were. Sunday evening. Fast and Furious number whatever.

They all look the same to me, the characters are all the same, the absence of a story identical.

This is where Thomas and I diverge. To him, this is just about the perfect stuff to zone out to. To me, it is the perfect stuff to melt my brain and make me want to tear my hair and gauge my eyes out and pour molten lead into my ears to.

I am completely baffled about why one would want to watch something like that – and why on earth one would want to make something like that in the first place. It’s – vacuous, to say the least. There is simply NOTHING there. To me, the stuff looks like a soulless computer game where every single “character” (the word is actually way too good for the action figures featured in this stuff) looks the same bar the colour of the eyes and possibly the tone of their skin. Even the few females are like male computer figures, more male than the men – they hit harder, fight more furiously, are even tougher and more soulless than the males, with scowls that could outdo the joint scowl of every GI Joe on the entire planet. In some misunderstood attempt at including more women in action movies, they have turned the females into even more one-dimensional versions of the male figures – just with cleavages strategically displayed to claim them as female.

AND – there is NO STORY! NONE. The dialogue, for want of a more approriate word, is as enticing as the conversations of pubescent teenage boys. Are action movies perhaps “written” by such? Because, if these scripts are produced by adult males there is just no hope.

It is so DROSS. So dumb.

So infuriating.

Now the pressing question is – how can I avoid watching another of those in the future? How can I avoid telling Thomas that I would rather poke myself in the eye with a blunt fork for two hours than watch another action movie ever again? After all, he has sat through quite a few of my “intellectual” movies (admittedly checking Facebook continuously on his mobile) for my sake.

Married life is sometimes so complicated.

Dear Death, we need to talk

Just to let you know: You did a fine job last year! Really. Very fine work – souls harvested with precision and skill – just like you do every year! Well done! But. I would like to make one request for this year.

Now, don’t take this as criticism. It’s only meant as a small request from one concerned World Citizen. Could you, perhaps, shift your focus a little? Please don’t be offended, but I really am worried about the state of our planet. And your focus seems to have been particularly set on artists. Though admittedly this group of people are by no means harmless, they actually make the world a better place.

Now, I understand that you are a busy man with a lot on your bony hands. Perhaps you even have a quota to fill and not quite enough time to get your targets sorted out in the process. So if you need a little hint as to the area where your special talents might be better employed, please feel free to PM me. I’d be honoured to lend a hand. In the meantime I’ll provide you with a few hints:

People who encourage misogyny, xenophobia and racism; religious fanatics (this would also likely help cut down on your workload in the Middle East, Asia, Africa and the US) – oh, and orange is the new black.

Let me know if you get that last one! I thought it was pretty clever myself!


Paul Kidby’s Death for Terry Pratchett’s Discworld-series


This blog has gone from being quite a fun, silly blog about this and that and nothing special, to one long moan. Since that happened, I’m sad to say I’ve been struggling to apply my usual sarcasm and sense of irony to what I write. It seems that with my divorce, my sense of humour took a nosedive too.

I can’t promise to rectify that. I am presently searching for a new perspective for my writing, perhaps even a new style. In the meantime there is a lot of soulsearching going on here, horrified observations of a press-image of a world gone crazy: war and torture and refugees reaching a new level of horrible; feminism and equal rights reaching another low; the people of USA allowing the lowest of the low to be their new leader.

If it wasn’t so awful, it would be perfect material for a Monthy Pyton sketch.

So bear with me while I rediscover my writing skills and find myself again. In the meantime I can report that Vienna is beautiful, the Christmas markets are putting in their last desperate bids to get people to spend money they don’t have, I have wonderful friends, and I can hardly wait for spring to come and warm my bones again!

Happy Christmas to all!