I have been asked why I have a section of this blog devoted to griping.
Quite simply, I believe griping is a perfectly healthy activity. Indeed there should be more of it, not less. Griping is a natural reaction to a society in which people are alienated, disillusioned and ignored. Which most of us are. Did you agree with the war in Iraq? Did you ask for the introduction of Oyster Cards in London? Do you think its right that you have to pay a months rent in advance, yet you get your salary a month in arrears? I suspect the answer to each of those questions, and indeed thousands of others just like them, is no.
What is unnatural are some of the cliches that try to prevent us from griping. "What's the use of complaining" or "Don't worry be happy" we are told. Whilst the latter is an example of creeping Americanisation (and is nearly as offensive as "Have A Nice Day") that complaining is useless is an not an argument against complaining in any way, shape or form. If life is not what it should be, we should and indeed must say so.
One of my favourite historical gripers was the Yorkshire writer J B Priestley. Indeed his griping once got him into trouble:
"Once, years ago, at a large party, when I was grumbling as usual, a young woman who was a stranger to me turned on me fiercely and told me I had better go home instead of trying to spoil other people's pleasure. I was taken aback, and may be said to have stayed aback ever since."
Priestley justified his griping as not just in his nature, but his duty as a writer. Put simply, he wanted to grumble and gripe on behalf of those who could not, or would not easily do so. And there is nothing wrong with that.