Comment – Defending the indefensible…

Affection for an industry that is difficult to love.

During the Easter break, I was forced to tear myself away from the two new Boxer puppies that are patrolling Demolition News Towers to attend what was described as a dinner party but which evolved into an inter-industry conversational jousting contest.

Following the laws of “birds of a feather, flock together”, I found myself say between two fellow journalists: one who works for a computer game website; and another who writes for a car industry magazine.

Photos taken early in the even suggest that I was looking suitably smug and self-satisfied as I reminded the two of them that their job involved communicating with the emotionally stunted and endlessly immature. I dismissed computer games as “entertainment for people with no social lives that never grew out of cowboys and Indians, cops and robbers and goblins and pixies”. The lady that writes for the car magazine – I assured her – had an audience of men that were uncertain of their sexual prowess and who were just a few horsepower away from running around the garden going “vroom vroom”.

And that’s where I made my first mistake. Rather than driving home the “salt of the Earth” advantage of the demolition industry, I took pity on the pair and I eased up, giving them time to recover and regroup.

Car lady suggested that although the education of the petrol-head community was questionable, “at least most of them were educated”. I pointed out the high level of training required to prosper in the modern demolition industry but she undermined my argument, pointing out the demolition sector’s ongoing love for girlie calendars and casual racism.

I was just about to play my Jeremy Clarkson and motor show eye candy card when the computer games nerd chipped in with the suggestion that the demolition industry is built on corruption and brown envelopes stuffed with cash. In my defence, I was blind-sided and my counter that demolition was no more corrupt than construction was – with the benefit of hindsight – damning the sector with faint praise. That was my second mistake.

The killer blow was dealt by the car “lady” (and I use that term is its loosest possible sense) who pointed out that while the fruits of her industry’s labours might kill thousands of people around the world, the industry itself very rarely did. Having just reported on the latest UK demolition death and received initial reports of another fatality in the US, I had nothing left to give. I went down for the 10 count; my industry threw in the towel; I had nothing left to give.

Now, having had 24 hours in which to sleep off the beating and to reanalyse my strategy, I find my love for the demolition industry undiminished. I am just slightly less certain why.