I grew up in a house where we were taught freedom of speech, freedom to scream and freedom to shout. There were no boundaries between what you could or couldn't say and if you had an opinion you were free to voice it. Which I always did, at the dinner table, at breakfast, in the kitchen, bathroom and bedroom, downstairs, upstairs and halfway up the stairs, there I'd be, answering back and "mouthing off". I was the same at school. I became head of the "debate team" and my religious education teacher became so enamoured of my ability to argue my point about anything and everything that I was given the "Religious Education Prize" at the fourth year prize giving.
"Religious Education" prize? What the hell is that?"
My mother was terrified I'd turned to God and was heading for a Nuns Habit and a Hail Mary until I explained to her that R.E at my school basically meant a free for all and the classroom was a battle ground for teenage angst and opinions. She calmed down and I chose my prize wisely, a huge hardback pictorial biography of Diana Ross. The headmaster looked at me with utter disgust when he handed it to me because everybody else had chosen something educational whereas I'd chosen something with a huge weave and sequins. I loved that book and quickly took to cutting it up and putting pictures of the mid 80's (as in decade, not the bewigged ones age) incarnation of Miss Ross all over my bedroom walls. My father was impressed thinking I'd finally started to become excited by exotic, glamorous song birds, which I had, but not in the way he hoped.
He thought I was fantasising about being with her but I was only fantasising about being her. My cover was blown when my older brother caught me dancing around my bedroom to "The Boss" with a bath towel around my head and wearing my mothers fur coat.
"I'm Coming Out" never sounded the same to him again.
Anyway, I've gone off track. I was taught to always stand up for what I believed in and never be afraid to voice my opinion, and so I had an opinion on everything. Food, culture, politics, showbiz, music, how ugly your baby is and bad your haircut is, how lovely your grandmother is and what an utter fool your father is. If anyone at school needed something saying they knew I'd say it. I was like motor mouth in a school uniform and on steroids. Even my R.E teacher couldn't control me, the last time I ever saw him was when he jumped up from his deck and like Moses parting the red sea pointed a huge stick (he kept one at his desk, I went to very rough school) at me and screamed "Warner, don't you ever defy me!" To which I very calmly replied "Alright Sir, who do you think you're talking to? You don't tell me what to do."I was never allowed back in his classroom again and I think he'd have even took my Diana Ross book back if I hadn't mutilated it with a pair of scissors and a pack of Blue Tack. I wasn't so much a "problem teenager", I was a teenager with a problem. I couldn't keep my mouth shut.
I've learned as I've got older that it's not in anyone's interest to have an opinion on everything and that sometimes the best way is the quiet way and that's why I can't have an opinion on swimming with sharks because I've never done it, but I'm sure it's very dangerous. I don't have an opinion on the Republican Party apart from what I've seen of their convention and they obviously can't dance and wear man made fibres. I don't have an opinion on Kate Middleton's breasts because I've seen the photographs and she obviously doesn't have any. I wouldn't dare venture an opinion on Simon Cowell except I hate the way the controls most of Britain's Saturday night and he's obviously stolen Kate Middleton's share of breasts. I'm not sure where I stand on gay marriage except for the love of god, if two people love each other let them do what they want. I have no opinion on Tulisa Constavocunnilingus blonde hair except she looks like a blow up doll in a wig. I have no opinion on Boris Johnson becoming leader of the Conservative Party except to say he looks like Tulisa Constavocunnilingus after a heavy night on the booze and on top of a failed Eastend "rapper". I don't know what to think of Cameron & Clegg except they'd look far more comfortable together dressed as Mickey & Minnie and I have no opinion on global warming except to say "boy, someone must have used a shed load of hairspray to f**k things up that bad". World debt? You should try looking at my bank account. The Arab Spring? Haven't they heard of global warming? Broken Britain? Buy yourself some Blue Tack.
So you see, I've learned to keep quiet and not always voice my opinion. I've mellowed out, calmed down and I've "took a chill pill". I'm relaxed and I don't need to get upset or angry about anything.
I'm just going to sit back, turn off, tune out and watch the world float on by, because sometimes you need to realise your opinion is just like your arsehole, and you should really keep it to yourself.