A COUPLE of issues ago, I wrote about keyboard warriors – the kind of person who is quite happy start an argument or fling an insult at you for something you write or post on social media.
They also tend to use language and attitudes that they would never dare use if they were in the same room as the person they are attacking. It’s called trolling.
Having worked in media in one form or another for over three decades, I’m used to getting a bit of flack.
‘If you can’t take it, don’t dish it out’ tends to be my mantra.
I was once called a ‘bald bastard’ on Central Night Live TV (which made Davina McCall laugh) and have been accused of being a dictator on my own radio shows.
I like to think I’m a benign one, by the way. It comes with the territory.
What I won’t stand for, however, are attacks on family.
In my last column, I wrote about my beautiful and talented goddaughter, Ziggy, who had performed her first gig in Spain.
Ziggy’s mum, Tiffany, was my best friend and tragically died of cancer was she was only 29.
Ziggy was two-and-a-half. The family moved to Australia and I lost touch, until Ziggy found me on Facebook and we met in London six years ago.
As her mum’s best friend, I’ve been able to tell Ziggy about her and, because Tiffany spent a lot of time in Spain, I can take her to places that her mum and I used to hang out in.
I don’t have children, so my goddaughters – I have three – are the closest thing I get to that, and my relationship with Ziggy is an integral part of my life.
The article was all about being a proud Padrino, plus describing the outfits she wore for her Burlesque show.
Ziggy is 22, by the way. I sent it to her before it went to Press, she loved it, and I posted an abridged version on Social Media.
And that’s when the troll struck. A certain, Ceri Jones Harrison, who I have never met, wrote in the comments: “Your goddaughter? Should you really make comments such as applying nipple tassels just for you or that you didn’t look like a normal expat couple…don’t like the underlying tones in your report.
You really need to reread before posting as it appears you are either in a relationship with her or fantasise about her. Both are quite perverted.”
In case you didn’t know, I’m a Celt. My dad is Welsh and mum was born in Glasgow.
And I have to admit, at that moment, I went off the scale, as a supercharged combination of the Pontypool front row and The Black Watch coursed through veins.
I fought back the urge to go full Liam Neeson, ‘I don’t know who you are but I will find you etc.’ and replied: “Thank you for your reply. I can assure you that I am not in a relationship or fantasise about Ziggy.
In fact, I will be acting as celebrant at her wedding this year. I suggest it is you who is quite perverted.”
‘Quite a sizzling backhand down the line’, I thought to myself, somewhat smugly.
“Professional arsehole…you need to reread your article,” came the trollish reply.
‘Professional arsehole’. Well that’s certainly a new one and, let’s be honest – only one of us in this conversation was getting paid.
‘Duck it’, I thought (not my actual words) as I hit the share button and unleashed my followers on her.
The reaction sent her scurrying back under her cyber stone.
I grabbed the phone and called my long suffering Swedish/Cuban friend, who is also mother to another of my goddaughters.
She’s used to my strange requests and, having Scandinavian heritage, is well versed in all sorts of Nordic customs.
“Sorry to bother you, Bambini…do you have any Swedish Traditional troll hunting equipment over there?”
“I’ll call my mother. She’s bound to have something in the Finca,” she replied, completely unfazed. As I said, she’s known me a long time.
Well, now that Game of Thrones is over, I have to do something with my spare time, and ‘troll hunter’ does have a certain ring to it…