Would You Rather? Part 4: Caves, Clowns and Climbing Trees

Would you rather be the best in the world at climbing trees or the best in the world at jumping rope?

I think I would go for the trees, because that’s probably something I’d enjoy more. I could be a nature photographer or something, climbing up to get pictures of the critters and whatnot.

Being able to jump rope well wouldn’t help as I’m not a Victorian schoolgirl or a boxer.

Would you rather live in a cave or a tree house?

Tree house. Aside from people terrified of the slightest height, who would pick the cave? Especially as some tree houses are pretty awesome.

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Would you rather have everything on your phone (browser history, pictures etc.) accessible to anyone who Googles you or never use a cell phone again?

The inconvenience of not having a phone would be pretty annoying, especially as I like using my phone as a distraction. But at the same time, would I rather lose that and have my personal stuff shared?

I guess I’d have to sacrifice my phone. Because while it’s highly unlikely people would be Googling me, I’d rather not run the risk of some random getting my emails and text messages.

Would you rather be accidentally responsible for the death of a child or accidentally responsible for the deaths of three adults?

If I’m picking one or the other surely the “accidental” part is out the window? Because you’re choosing one of the options to happen?

This is a really tough one, because like most normal people killing a child is utterly beyond the pale, but it’s rather hard to condemn three over one. Logically you should pick the kid, but there’s that emotional aspect that just messes with you.

This is a rough one. I guess I’d pick the kid, because I think the loss of three adults would have a much wider impact on the world, and the guilt over three lives is bound to be more intense, surely?

Would you rather all plants scream when they are cut/picked or animals beg for their lives when killed?

I imagine that animals make a lot of noise anyway, but as I’m not responsible for killing my own food I don’t have to face that. On the other hand, with plants I do cut the grass occasionally and pick blackberries so the screams would impact my life more.

So, I’d rather animals beg for their lives, simply because I don’t have to hear them.

I wonder if we did have to kill our own food more of us would be veggies?

Would you rather lose your best friend or all of your friends except your best friend?

I don’t really have a best friend, more like a circle of friends who are at the same level. So, I’d probably pick to keep that little group at the cost of everyone else than the other way round as I’ve been mates with them for years, and can probably do without the more distant friends and acquaintances better.

Would you rather have the police hunting you for a murder you didn’t commit or a psychopathic clown hunting you?

I hate clowns.

At least the cops would have to abide by certain rules and hopefully could be convinced of my innocence. But a psycho clown? Probably not open to reason.

And I’d be freaked out the whole time. So, I’d take the police option. Unless I thought there was a chance I could take the clown.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.


Would You Rather? Part 3: Singing, Solitude and Snooping

Would you rather find your true love or a suitcase with £5m inside?

Well, as I’ve already met my true love I’m set for that, so the £5m would be a lot more useful.

Would you rather be completely invisible for one day or be able to fly for one day?

If this was a long term thing I would pick flight because I just think that would be cooler, and I think being invisible would be more annoying than people think.

But for one day it might be quite fun to sneak around and see what goes on behind closed doors, and I don’t mean that in a creepy “go into the girls’ showers” way. I think it would be interesting to go snooping in the corridors of power or just see what celebrities do in their own homes.

Basically I’m a nosy bugger.

Would you rather have to read aloud every word you read or sing everything you say out loud?

It has to be the singing, doesn’t it?

As embarrassing as that would be, imagine having to read out every text message you received, or every private letter or email? Not only would you look a bit of a numpty but you’d also potentially embarrass others and create all kinds of dramas.

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So, on this one I’d rather walk around singing everything like a tone deaf Phantom.

Would you rather live a comfortable and peaceful life in a small cabin in the woods or life full of conflict in a mansion in the city? 

Small cabin in the woods. Who wants conflict all the time? Easy one, that.

Would you rather your shirts always be two sizes too big or one size too small?

As an insecure fat man, I would obviously go for the two sizes too big. I hate clothes that cling to me, as they seem to accentuate my belly and other wobbly bits.

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That being said, I was once told by a girl in a club that I’d look better in less baggy clothes. It was a while back after I’d lost some weight and the shirt was hanging off me, but it was an odd backhanded compliment to receive from a stranger.

Would you rather have edible spaghetti hair that regrows every night or sweat maple syrup?

Sweating syrup sounds utterly revolting. You’d be sticky all the time when it got hot, have to change your sheets every day and get chased by bees all the damn time.

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Edible spaghetti hair for me, I think.

Would you rather be lost in a bad part of town or lost in the woods?

Neither seems ideal, but at least a bad part of town has streets and signposts so that I could work my way out. I’d rather that than blindly stumbling through the woods, running into who knows what.

Also, call me soft but even in “bad parts” of town most people are basically alright and if you asked for directions they’d help you out.

In the woods I’d have to try and remember things like what side of the tree moss grows on, or pray to find someone out in the woods.

Disagree? You know what to do. BETEO.


One Man’s Treasure

I worked in a pawn shop for a couple of months. It was grim. My boss was an utter wanker, the days were long and tedious, and there was a constant stream of depressed looking “customers”.

The boss would buy stuff off people who were in desperate need of some cash, and if they didn’t buy it back within a month he would sell it on, making a profit.

We took a lot of stuff and most was generic stuff that nobody could form sentimental attachments with- TVs, kitchen appliances and so on. 

Others were a bit more personal and therefore more depressing. It’s hard not to be moved by the fact someone had to pawn their kid’s bike or their engagement ring just for some quick cash.

I found musical instruments fitted into this category. An untouched, unplayed guitar or keyboard has a forlorn air about them. They hint at potential unrealised or a dreams abandoned. Someone bought that guitar with aspirations and ambition, but those were abandoned because they were short on rent or needed to buy food. 

The guitars didn’t get plucked. Nobody shredded a mind blowing solo on them. They didn’t even gently weep. They just stood there, silent and untouched until the boss nagged at us to clean them.

Of course, they would get sold on. There was always some new dreamer who’d stroll in and rescue them, giving them another chance at musical glory.

But I saw one recently that I doubt will shift. I’d strolled into a shop in Barry for a new old game to replace FIFA as my obsession. About to leave I looked at a wall of guitars.

One stood out. It was unique to say the least.

Good sticker positioning.

It was so different and individual, and delightfully tacky.

MWF disagrees, seeing it as awful whereas I think that it’s one of those occasions where some thing’s badness is the charm. 

I quickly formed an image of the previous owner. I imagined that they were into ’80s and ’70s rock in a big way. This had probably played a Scorpions song or two, or some Van Halen riffs.

I was surprised that the store had bought it, unless they thought the guy (99% sure it would be a guy) would come back for it. They can’t have expected to sell it on.

I mean, it’s so different that the chance of finding someone else who will pick this one is slim. Tastes differ and I imagine this wouldn’t be to everyone’s.

A kid wanting to be the new Ed Sheeran won’t want something like that. A guy who plays in a wedding band will pass it over. No, this is an instrument which will only appeal to a select few. 

I went back in a short while later, and it’s still there. Part of me wants to keep going in to check on it. I imagine it will be there for a while until another hair metal fan wanders in and spots it.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO. 


I don’t shave for Sherlock Holmes. Or anyone else.

“Are you going to shave for the wedding?”

This is something I’ve been asked quite a lot recently. Sometimes repeatedly by the same person, which is a little annoying. One of my friends is not a fan of the face fuzz and clearly feels that I would look better clean shaven on the big day. This is fine, but as I’ve stated that my opinion opposes this the matter should be laid to rest now, right?

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Me in the classic “look at my ring” pose

This is the first time I’ve really grown a beard properly. Prior to this I just used to occasionally let it grow for a while because I was too lazy to shave regularly. I am terrible at shaving, and would emerge smooth faced and bleeding like a character in an ’80s slasher movie.

As a student nurse I had to keep myself tidy while on placement, mainly because of the constant whining of my mentor. However, since I decided nursing wasn’t for me, I’ve not shaved in about a year and a half.

I’m not sure I should share that as it highlights just how patchy and crap my facial hair growth is. Seriously, look at the above photo. There’s enough hair there for me to rock a decent moustache and chin beard, but it’s all spread out across my face, meaning that my beard isn’t the best. I wish it was like one of those old magnet and iron filings things where I could just move the hairs around my face until I had a decent full beard.

I’d love to boast a full on Grizzly Adams beard, but alas, my hair grows in a stupid pattern. At least it now looks like an intentional beard, for a while it just looked like laziness.

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Brian Blessed- Beard goals.

This is a downside of having a beard at the moment. I get the sense that people see it as me following the current trend for hirsute men. This isn’t true, it’s just a coincidence that beards are “in” while I’ve grown mine.

The reasons for my beard? Simple really;

  1. My hatred of shaving
  2. Laziness. It’s one less thing to do during my early morning zombie state.
  3. MWF likes the hairy look, so making her happy is an additional perk.
  4. The last time I did shave, for a job interview, I looked really young. And stupid. So, I’ll stick with mature and stupid for the foreseeable future.

I’ll give the beard a trim before the wedding, so that I look a little smarter than normal, but I don’t think shaving it off would do much.

Besides, it doesn’t matter how tidy I look at the start of the day, sooner or later I’ll spill food or drink down myself and shatter the illusion of being a smartly dressed grown up.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.


Chrises on Infinite Earths 

“What if…?”

Those two words can drag you right down the rabbit hole. You think about how things might have played out differently, chances missed and roads not taken. 

Of course, it’s all pointless. Any science fiction fan knows that one slight change can create a whole parallel world. 

Given a time machine and the chance to do things over would I, knowing it risked what I have now?

My life isn’t perfect, and there are things I’d change but for the most part I’m happy. I’m marrying a fantastic woman later this year and am relatively healthy. Who knows what altering something I did might do?

Let’s say I went back and worked harder in uni the first time, actively pursued a writing career and became a writer for real. Read by thousands, not just whatever schmucks stumble across my blog. In some alternate world I might be their version of Hunter S. Thompson or Norman Mailer.

But without the winding, unplanned path I’ve taken the past decade I wouldn’t have wound up trying to be a nurse. I wouldn’t have met MWF and wouldn’t be sat in our house, our cat dozing on my lap, writing this. I might be sat lonely in some flash flat, or dating someone I don’t love. I could be divorced. I could be dead.

That’s the scary thing about the whole alternate reality thing. Sure, there are infinite possibilities of where your life has taken you but there are millions of universes where your story already finished. Or never even began. 

Worlds where your mum and dad never met because some minor event went a different way earlier on. And the whole thing just expands to mind bending proportions. The fact that it’s you reading this is a result of thousands of years of things going a certain way, and that one tiny bump might have meant it didn’t happen.

Hell, a chromosome either way and you’d be a different gender.

It’s the kind of thing that starts to mess you up when you think about it. When you realise just how close you’ve come to having a different life. The whole thing is an exercise in wishful thinking, you wonder about how you could have done stuff right and been better off, but the fact is at a certain point you’d have stopped being you. 

Our experiences are what shapes us, I am who I am because of the mistakes and failures along the way as much as my wins. I’ve learnt and grown because of things which have hurt me or been difficult, and if I had a smoother road I might have developed in a different way. And the fact is, while I know there are parts I could improve, for the most part, I like who I am today.

I may not have the job I want, but in the world where I played for Wales or became a superhero I might have lost out on the stuff I do have.

So why torture myself with what if questions? I should just appreciate the good that I have in my life, and work to change the parts I don’t like. 

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.


Scribbles

I need a new winter coat. I have been saying this for some time and yet every month I find better ways to spend my money. But every time I wait for a bus or shiver on a walk to the shop I remind myself that I need a new coat. Of course, once back in the warm this is forgotten.

While shivering at the bus and unable to work out how long the next bus would be (Cardiff Bus don’t have a board up and their website isn’t the best) I looked for a way to distract myself.

Twitter was all innuendo about the next US President and Facebook had already been exhausted before leaving the house. I needed something to distract from the fact that the cold 

Thank the gods for the slack work of Barry Council. The bus stop down the road is used by a lot of school kids and as a result the lamppost there is like a time capsule of teenage expression through Tippex and marker pens.

I love stuff like this. I love that Beth’s scrawl from 2000 is still there, over sixteen years later. 

But don’t condemn Barry too much, in the late ’00s a wall in Briton Ferry was still calling for Thatcher to be removed. Perhaps it’s deliberate? A way of preserving history, and not idleness. Either way, I like this glimpse into who lived there and what was going on with them.

 I love the nostalgia of seeing phrases I scrawled myself again- Y2K and the other years similarly abbreviated, the deliberately poorly spelled “woz ‘ere” and the acronyms under the declarations of love. 

I haven’t seen it or thought about it in years but I instantly remembered that IDT meant “if destroyed true”, a sort of insurance policy should your vandalism be vandalised. Otherwise your love would die as soon as someone came along with a compass or their own Tippex.

I read the lamppost, the insults and slander, the marking of territories and the announcement of relationships. I always wonder what happened to these couples. Are any still together or have these all fallen by the wayside, living on only as faint memories and scruffy graffiti?

Michelle and Flowers saw fit to declare their love twice, were they more serious than the others? Or more insecure? Does either even pass the lampost and feel a tinge of regret, or the soft glow of nostalgia?

I know there’s graffiti carved on the walls of Pompeii and the Tower of London. This need to leave a mark on the places we go seems to run deep, and it makes you wonder if in a few centuries time whether “Buck Rogers woz ‘ere 24K19” will be scratched into some distant moon.

Personally I think keeping old graffiti up is quite interesting and a good thing, and not just because it distracted me from the fact my nipples were threatening to pierce my t-shirt.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.


Underground

Inspired by a Daily Post prompt.

And I should warn you right here, this is a bit of a grim blog. So consider yourself warned.

I’m not a very brave guy. I have a lot of fears. Off the top of my head- clowns, spiders, zombies, heights and that I’m actually allergic to nuts but have been brainwashed into forgetting this and am one Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup away from death.

But high on the list? 

Being buried alive.

A few years ago I went and saw Ryan Reynolds in Buried and left the cinema shaking, and I can’t think of a film that has left me so shaken. if you haven’t seen it, it’s a cracking thriller from what I remember.

Shout out to the “groundbreaking” pun

I can’t remember when I first heard about people being buried alive, I think it came from being told people used to get bricked into walls back in medieval times or something. But it chilled me then.

I’m claustrophobic and as a kid had problems with the dark, so it makes sense that this would mess with me, but unlike a lot of fears this one gets worse the older you get. 

And knowledge is not power here.

As a kid I thought it would suck. As an adult I realised that was a massive understatement.

Not just the enclosed space but the just knowing it was all over. That would be the worst part. If you have a terminal illness you can say goodbye to your loved ones, but just knowing you were trapped?

Forget Kill Bill in the real world you ain’t getting out. And that’s what terrifies me. You hear those “they thought they were dead” stories and they usually have a happy ending, I mean the person was alive after all, and probably headed for a big pay out from the doctor who dropped the ball.

But I can’t be alone in thinking what about the folks who woke up after the burial? How many coffins have scratch marks on the inside?

This has to be the most morbid entry I’ve ever written. Blame bingeing on The Walking Dead and being tired, I guess. Although I suppose it is kinda reassuring that if there ever are zombies a lot of them will be trapped six feet under.

I am painfully aware that should I ever become a masked crime fighter I have just told my enemies how to get rid of me in the worst way.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.


Stop Sticking Giant Bows on Babies

The bow is too big. If you changed the scale no adult would wear a bow that big. Not by choice. Look at this poor model, look how unhappy she looks because of that stupid bow that some designer thought was a good idea. She knows it looks ridiculous.

But despite this I see them all the time. Babies forced to wear gigantic bows because of their mother’s insecurity and fear someone will misgender their daughter.

You’ve probably seen them too. A baby with a giant bow. The only purpose to say “This is a baby GIRL! Don’t you even dare think about saying that she’s a ‘handsome little fella'”

Is it really that annoying? Most babies kinda look alike, bald and with big eyes. Cute but dress ten babies in white and I bet the successful gender guess rate would be quite low. 

If someone does make a mistake just correct them and go on with your day. It’s no big deal. Just be glad they didn’t say something like “why the hell have you got a dog in your pram? And what the hell happened to it?”

People want to say something nice about your baby and if they’re not sure they’ll guess if it’s a boy or a girl, and they might be wrong but they know that they can’t just call the little nipper “it” as that’s just plain rude.
Just accept the compliment, politely inform them that he is a she, or vice versa and everything is sorted. Don’t dress your girl like a damn birthday present!

The old fashioned “pink for girls, blue for boys” is silly enough, but the bow trend is frankly ridiculous.

It’s silly to get worked up over. So what if a stranger thinks Glenda is Glen? Does it effect them at all? Didn’t think so.

I find it weird there’s no male equivalent. Or are that what those knitted beard hats are for?

Not gonna lie. That is cuter than a whole box of buttons.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.


Building a time machine so I can go slap Past Me

A man who views the world the same at fifty as he did at twenty has wasted thirty years of his life.
               – Muhammad Ali

I both hate and love Facebook’s “On This Day” feature, mainly because how it makes me feel about my past self. At it’s best it can remind me of good times I’ve had, places I went and things I did. At it’s worst it can make me realise that Past Chris was kind of an idiot.

Luckily I haven’t found anything too bad, although there are a few statuses which have prompted some cringes of embarrassment. Either because they show how dull my life was (I doubt people cared that I was watching daytime TV) or because they are laddish or stupid.

We don’t really think about ourselves changing, because it happens gradually over time, but this is like being confronted with how you used to be. At the time I don’t remember thinking I was being a bellend, but reading them back that’s the word that springs to mind.

Worst are some of the answers I gave on quizzes I used to do. I think I had this idea that being blunt and honest about sex and stuff was mature but it just comes across as crass and there are a few which have me despairing for Past Chris.

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Picard listening to his early Captain's logs.

Take my 2008 answer to the question of whether there was someone of the other gender on my mind:

Vaguely, I was just thinking about a friend of mine because she’d posted some new photos to a group which are cleavagetastic

Oh. My. God.

I sound like an utter arse. I mean firstly, why share that much? Especially as my friend, whoever she was,would probably guess it was about her and might not like the idea of a friend perving on her. Also “cleavagetastic”?!?! What the hell was I thinking. I just wish I could apologise to the girl for what is quite a sleazy response.

Urghh.

It gets worse. Also from 2008 I was asked “if you could cheat on a loved one and there was no chance of getting caught would you do it?”. My answer seems so alien to me now:

If the person was hot, and I couldn’t get caught, then sure.

What makes it worse is that when I wrote this I was in a relationship! I can only imagine how thrilled my the girlfriend was when she saw that.

I suspect that if 2016 Chris met 2008 Chris he wouldn’t like him that much, and be a bit disappointed in himself.

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I've come back because I've been rereading our old updates. And we were being an arse. Sort it out, dude.

I’ve only been on FB since 2007, so none of the things I’ve seen are a decade old and even they seem an age ago. I think despite having joined as an adult I’ve definitely grown up a lot since then, and now I can’t recognise some things about the person I was. My views on things have changed, what I say and how I say them is different and I definitely think I’m more mature now.

I wonder what the 2008 version if me was thinking when he typed these answers, how he thought these answers were okay. Whether he considered how some of the stuff he wrote might effect others?

It doesn’t seem so. It seems like I was self involved and unthinking. I wonder how many people I upset with things I wrote, and am actually grateful my old blogs are gone now, because I dread to imagine what i wrote on them.

I’m far from perfect now. I make mistakes, but I try to think before I post and if I do upset someone I feel bad, but am I doing well enough? Or will 2024 Chris be sitting reading over old blogs and status updates and groaning, cursing the current me as a fool? Who knows, what I do know is that I feel glad I have changed, that I am more thoughtful and sensible, and hope that I keep moving in that direction.

I think this is why people in time travel movies are always warned not to interact with their former selves, not because of insanity or tearing away the fabric of time and space, it’s just because seeing your old safe will be an embarrassing and frustrating experience.

If anyone feels like sharing their own embarrassing social media past feel free to share in the comments, let me know I’m not alone.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.


Louis Tomlinson and the Baby Drama

I don’t like the term “guilty pleasure”, it often seems to be a cop out for people who don’t want to admit liking something which is considered to be naff (a cheesy movie or uncool band). The closest I have to one is reading the tweets of One Direction fans on Twitter.

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Whenever there is a One Direction related news story I always check Twitter because it’s guaranteed to be trending as the Directioners are legion and tweet happy. Seriously, all the criticisms of social media of making it too easy and immediate to put your foot in your mouth are proven with Directioners who tweet with a visceral, purely emotional style.

It’s fascinating to read because it’s so gloriously raw and unfiltered. When you’re a teenager, as most 1D fans are, everything takes on more resonance and your emotions are far more intense and varying. I blame the hormones. And the result is manic tweets which can express hatred, love and seeming madness. A lot of fans are normal, even witty, but it’s the nutbars who are so fascinating.

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A shrine where Harry threw up. What the hell?

It can get ugly and the Directioners issue death threats with the frequency of a comic book villain. But of late it’s taken a weird, surreal turn.

This is because there is a One Direction conspiracy theory. And it is utterly crazy.

The theory seems to be the work of the “Larry Shippers” a subgroup of Direction fans who “ship” (mentally pairing two people together romantically, can be fictional or real people) two of the band members together, Harry and Louis, hence “Larry”.

This is despite both men having had relationships with women and commented that it’s weird and not true, there is still a branch of the One Direction fandom which believes it is a thing and that the boys are being forced to hide their love.

Firstly, I just want to say, and I know I sound old here, but this shipping two boy band members together seems a new thing. I can’t remember girls at school discussing whether Ronan and Keith were secretly dating or fantasising over them together. Maybe they did, but the  fledgling internet didn’t give them an outlet yet.

It seems odd, but allow me to play amateur psychiatrist for a moment.

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While they may be daydreaming of being with one of the band on some level the fan has realised this is unlikely. However, they want their idol to be happy. But the idea of them with another woman is hard to deal with.

By pairing them together they can have their idols be happy but there’s no woman to be jealous of. It’s a sort of coping mechanism.

Anyway, last year Louis got a girl pregnant and Twitter was awash with Directioners losing it. There was anger and disbelief, and the woman involved, Brianna Jungwirth, got a lot of flak, which wasn’t cool.

The conspiracy theory was that the pregnancy was bogus. Then the baby was born. Then they changed it to that the baby was a fake. And now it’s that Louis isn’t the father of the baby.

The idea is that the band’s management has orchestrated a fake pregnancy in order to cover up the fact that Larry is real. Brianna is, I guess, an actress? And the baby is someone else’s, and all of this is done to cover up the homosexual relationship.

Now, most conspiracy theories are a little nuts, but this one falls down early on because it just doesn’t make sense. Think of all the effort this would take to set up and all the people who might blab. And the reason for it doesn’t work either.

It’s 2016, and 1D are making serious bank. I doubt that if two came out as gay it would hurt their rep that much. Sure, they might take a hit as the anto-gay parents stop their kids listening, and maybe a few fans themselves would bail, but One Direction’s core audience is younger and you’d expect them to be more accepting. Hell, it might even win them a bigger gay audience.

The risk to gain ratio is all off. Faking a pregnancy is tough, and the potential gain from it doesn’t justify it.

The theory has apparently been bubbling away online for a while but it’s blown up recently with Brianna herself commenting on how upsetting reading all the analysis and accusations is (here’s a more detailed look at the theory). I can only imagine how awful it must be to know people are scrutinising your uploads and accusing you of lying.

It even made the front page of a national paper, admittedly The Star but still, it’s bizarre that it got this far.

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Like all conspiracy theories it holds an odd fascination for me as I can’t quite get my head around why people feel like this and am unconvinced by their “evidence”. Like UFO nuts or flat earthers it’s a glimpse into a subsection of society who have some out there ideas.

But it’s important to remember the real people involved, and this might be hurtful for them. Also, I don’t envy Louis having to sit his son down at some point and explain all this.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.