Part 102

Hello and welcome back to Mortgage Advisor on FIRE.  This week I discuss the decision to ban Roy “Chubby” Brown from Sheffield’s City Hall.  Also, I take a look at the recent takeover of Newcastle United by a Saudi-led consortium.  There are some developments in my financial position and a new section added to the blog.  First, the Quote of the Week:

Quote of the Week

A few weeks ago the council that runs Sheffield, my home city, decided that a comedian could not perform at our City Hall.  The comedian in question is Roy “Chubby” Brown.  This has caused a bit of a debate within the city.  Some people are saying this is infringing on free speech.  Others are saying that it’s a great move because this performer is bigoted.  

Free speech does not mean you can say anything you want without consequence.  Freedom of speech is primarily designed as a protection against being imprisoned for having different political, religious, or societal views.  Freedom of speech only extends so far, and it ceases as soon as groups become attacked, insulted, or victimised.  Freedom of speech does not give people the right to be racist, misogynist, or homophobic, to give just a few examples.  

Comedy is a strange one because it is often used to bring people to book.  Comedy can be a very effective weapon to criticise corrupt politicians, for example.  Some comedy can be dark, and it can be controversial.  Comedy will always cause debate about what is acceptable and what isn’t.  However, I don’t see how anyone can defend “Chubby”.

As the saying goes, nothing you say before “but” matters.

CONTENT WARNING – THE FOLLOWING CONTAINS QUOTES THAT ARE OFFENSIVE.  I’M QUOTING TO PROVIDE CONTEXT.  THE VIEWS STATED ARE NOT MY OWN.  I OPPOSE ALL FORMS OF LANGUAGE AND BEHAVIOUR THAT ARE RACIST, SEXIST, HOMOPHOBIC, OR JUST GENERALLY INTOLERANT OR TOXIC.  

A few years ago, a journalist from Vice attended a performance from “Chubby”.  The language that was reported was unacceptable decades ago, let alone by the standards of the 21st century.  

https://www.vice.com/en/article/jmb4k4/roy-chubby-brown-gig-133

Words like n****r, P**i, as well as insults regarding the appearance of different people of colour.  I don’t understand why or how this is supposed to be funny.

In addition to this, his acts are full of profanity.  I don’t generally mind swearing and I can get pretty creative when hurling insults at people.  Thing is, I don’t bring race, gender, sexuality or other protected characteristics into it.  Using words like “cunt”, or “twat” in almost every sentence is not creative, or humorous.  It’s just childish, shock value.  It’s the lowest-hanging fruit on the tree.  

As a people, we should be better than this.  I don’t buy the argument that he should be free to perform and it’s up to the individual to either buy tickets or not.  Where do we draw the line with this logic?  Do we permit people to run shows where they promote slavery? Genocide? What about people promoting the subjugation of women in a Handmaid’s Tale scenario?  As a society, we have to have limits on what is considered acceptable.

Weekly Update

I’m done with the antibiotics following the infection that resulted in my being transported to hospital via ambulance.  I wouldn’t wish that infection on anyone.  It was horrible.  

I’m back at work full time following my holiday.  My employer has been so supportive of my mental and physical health issues over the last few years.  Following my recent absence, we discussed what changes could be made to accommodate me.  I put forward several suggestions and every single one was granted.  I didn’t ask for anything major, but the changes have made a huge difference to my stress levels.  Before these changes I was seemingly always stressed and was getting through an average of four paracetamol a day.  This week, I think I had four paracetamol all week.  I’ve felt like a weight has been lifted.  

On Wednesday I had a nice meal with my girlfriend at Albie’s, a cafe I’ve mentioned before.  They do great food and make very nice coffee.  It’s great to see local businesses come through the pandemic alive and well.  I’m looking forward to when I can next pop in for a bagel and coffee.  

A Brief Interlude

I’ll never hide this blog behind a paywall, but it does cost money to run the site.  I spend a minimum of six hours each week writing the blog and maintaining the other parts of davidscothern.com.  It is a labour of love.  However, many of you have asked how you can show your appreciation.  I set up a Buy Me A Coffee page but the main feedback was that you couldn’t pay by card.  Well, now you can!  My page now supports card payments and Apple Pay.  So, if you want to show your support and appreciation for the content I create, please buy me a coffee.  It means a lot.

Click on the image to be directed to my supporter page.

2021 Goals – to be achieved by 31/12/2021

1 – Reduce weight to 92.8kg.  (Current weight 120.1kg).

2 – Finish 104 new books. (Current total: 95).

I’m not going to hit my weight loss goal by the end of the year.  I’ve less than three months to lose almost 30kg.  The year has just flown by and there’s always been something that has prevented me from cracking on with exercise, whether that’s been health flare ups or life just throwing up problems I’ve had to deal with.  

On the other hand, my reading challenge is going very well.  I’ll probably hit my target by the end of October, possibly early November.  Audible is a fantastic service.  I don’t know what I’d do without it.  Through listening to books I’ve started interacting with authors and narrators on social media, some of whom I’m now friends with.  It’s great to finish a book and then be able to talk through it with the people who wrote it.  

Monthly Goals – October

1 – Reach 100 completed books.

2 – 200,000 steps in October.

3 – Reduce weight to 117kg.

I’ve decided to start tracking monthly goals as it allows for more immediate feedback.  Although I may hit the target of 104 completed books this month, I don’t want it to feel like something I have to do.  100 books is a very achievable target for the end of October.

I love walking but sometimes I don’t have the motivation to get up and go.  200,000 steps over the month average out at around 6,500 steps per day.  This will be tough, but achievable.  

Seeing as though I’m not going to hit my original 2021 weight loss goal, I need to amend my targets.  Losing 3kg in a month should be doable.  I need to regain control over my eating habits, and I need to start lifting weights again.  Structured exercise at the gym always helps my mental health, which is something that has impacted me for much of 2020 and 2021.

Financial Update

Assets

Premium Bonds: £6,550.00 (no change from last update).

Stocks and Shares ISA: £41,951.97 (up £760.37 from last update).

Fuck It Fund: £1,350.00 (up £350.00 from last update). 

Crypto: £851.80 (up £93.48 from last update). 

Pensions: £48,864.80 (down £714.90 from last update).

Residential Property Value: £210,058.00 (up £2,251.00 from last update).

Buy-to-Let Property Value: £135,550.00 (up £1,452.00 from last update).

Total Assets: £445,176.57 (up £4,191.95 from last update).

Debts

Credit Card: £57.11 (down £193.98 from last update).

Residential Mortgage: £157,555.15 (no change from last update).

Buy-to-Let Mortgage: £93,019.03 (no change from last update). 

Total Debts: £250,631.29 (down £193.98 from last update).

Total Wealth: £194,545.28 (up £4,385.93 from last update).

Investment Income in 2021: £3,014.46 (target £5,000).

The quarterly house price index has been updated and both of my properties have seen increases in their estimated value.  In real terms, it doesn’t mean too much as something is only really worth what someone is willing to pay for it.  The one thing that the valuations do impact is our ability to borrow more money on our mortgages.  There is not quite enough equity in the BTL to release funds, as the minimum amount we can apply for is £10,000 and the maximum loan-to-value is 75%.  Another increase in line with the latest increase should free up enough equity for a further advance on the BTL, but for now, we’ve got to be patient.  

Our main residence has increased in value which means we should be able to complete a further advance in the near future.  We are limited to one application every six months, and we last completed additional borrowing in June this year.  We are going to wait until early 2022 and then see how much we can release.  

This week saw some gains in my ISA and crypto, but some losses in my pension.  I don’t think it’s anything to worry about though, and it’s just part of the normal fluctuations in the market.

Money and Football

Newcastle United has been taken over by a Saudi consortium that is backed by the country’s Public Investment Fund, which in turn sees Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in a leading role.  Some critics are claiming this is a way for the Saudi leadership to gain control of a football club to improve their image.  

Saudi Arabia is a country that has a fair few detractors.  I’m not going to embark on an in-depth investigation of the controversies that surround it, but I’ll highlight a few recent events that should give people pause for thought.

In 2019, the Saudi government executed someone by crucifixion.  This was part of a series of 37 executions which are usually carried out through beheading.  

Until 2018 women were not allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia.  

Also in 2018, the Saudi government lured Jamal Khashoggi, a vocal critic of the ruling regime, to their embassy in Turkey.  Jamal was murdered and dismembered.

In recent years the Saudi military has launched several airstrikes against civilian targets in Yemen.  

The treatment of non-Muslims, or those who renounce the Muslim faith, is barbaric.  Also, the treatment of LGBT people is horrific and includes many forms of torture.

What is disappointing, but not surprising, is that many fans are being fooled by a slick PR campaign.  These fans see the potential riches that will be poured into the club, and whilst they dream of signing world-class players, they don’t question where the money is coming from.  The Newcastle fans are not alone in this.  When you peek behind the curtain, you find that many football clubs are owned by people or companies that have questionable reputations and histories.  The takeover of Newcastle is just another reason why I’m losing interest in football.

Biolink

You can now find all my social media pages by checking out my Biolink at bio.link/davidscothern.

Please show your support

I spend several hours each week writing this blog and make it freely available to all readers.  I do not hide my content behind a paywall.  However, maintaining a website incurs costs.  If you can afford a small donation, it would be gratefully accepted.  Click on the Buy Me A Coffee image to be taken to my supporter page.  You can either make a one off donation, or sign up to a monthly subscription.  If you can’t make a donation, please share my blog on your social media.

You can still see Sweep’s Instagram @sweep_the_kelham_island_cat.  

Finally, have a look at Darren Scothern’s fantastic blog at darrenscothern.com. 

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