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Now is the winter of discontent

LATE AGAIN: As the clocks go back, there will more excuses for being late for work

THE WORST time of the year, if you’re black, is when the clocks go back, as they do this weekend. Who doesn’t feel miserable as we are unceremoniously thrust from summer time into the bitter cold and darkness of GMT (Greenwich Mean Time)?

GMT. Not to be confused with BMT (Black Man Time) which would, no doubt, guarantee an unending ray of sunshine 24/7-365. Why’s it got to be the worst time of the year ‘if you’re black’ I hear you say. Surely white folk feel it too? Well, yes, they do. But not like us. It’s because the clocks go BACK. Like a time machine. And that means invariably that we are going to be TWO hours late for everything, as opposed to the normal one hour late – BMT.

An hour late for important meetings such as job interviews and A-level exams and, of course, the birth of your first child, is just about acceptable because, after all, we are black men and we are naturally on a different time zone and space than everyone else. By now everybody knows how we do this. By now everybody knows we’re not going to be on time, so our lateness just confirms the stereotype. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy: If you give a man a minute, he will take an hour.

That is why they call it Black Man Time. But TWO hours is, well, pushing it. I am sure everybody would agree.

When you’re two hours late you’ve got no excuse. You can’t say: Well, sorry, I’m running on AMT (Africa Mean Time); or: you should see the state of the traffic out there; or: It took me two hours to park, can you Adam and Eve it. 

When you’re two hours late, the world has moved on. Tottenham Hotspur have won the Premier League, there’s a new Volvo model and your wife has filed for divorce and decided that the baby she gave birth to two hours ago isn’t yours anyway. It’s all hers. She did all the hard work. You weren’t even there to hold her hand and let the midwives know that this baby has a daddy. As far as mummy is concerned, YOU are the ghetto b*st*rd.  


When you’re two hours late, the job has gone. You only need to ask Philip Green and thousands of BHS workers. The job has gone and in your place is a robot, doing the job better than you and laughing its head off that in the year of our Lord 2016, bruvvas are still acting like the late bird catches the worm.

Nah, bruv. It ain’t like that. Because when you calculate just one hour of lateness and multiply it across the 300 million or so black men in the world, at an average of £10 an hour, we are leaking £3 billion a day on lateness. And during the winter months you can double that figure.

You see what I’m getting at, people? Is it any wonder that we black guys are scraping our bottoms on the economic scale, especially when the clocks go back. Some of us arrive so late to funerals that we miss our own. It’s like that with weddings and bar mitzvahs too.

Have we not learned anything from Usain Bolt? That it’s better to arrive 10 minutes early than one second late. Especially in the winter months.

And, whereas BWT is a full eight hours (to get their hair done) behind any reputable and recognised form of time keeping, sistas deserve better than BMT. Like Bob Marley, women don’t want to wait for TWO hours for your love this winter, fellas. And, ladies, like Bob Marley, most men wanna know if (and when) you’re gonna come. (Listen tune!) Eight hours? Make love not weave.

Of course, none of this would matter if it really was Black Man Time. We could be as late as we wanna be. Because it would be OUR time. But, unfortunately, it is not OUR time. And it probably won’t be OUR time again in our lifetime. It’s somebody else’s time and whilst we are busy acting like it is BMT, we’re wasting time, especially in the winter months.

Having said that, it’s remarkable that nobody has bothered to research the obvious: why are black folk generally late for everything and what goes on in the winter months particularly that makes black men specifically even later than normal? We cannot simply go on being late regardless. It’s either nature or nurture. It’s either genetic or it’s cultural. But we have to get to the bottom of it if we are to do something positively about it and lift ourselves up.

I have scratched my head and, for the life of me, I cannot come up with an answer as to why we are so often late. It is no more a laughing matter. It gets to the point where I feel like I’m a sellout if I do not get to a meeting as late as what is expected of me as a black man.

Especially when it is a meeting with white folk. Because if I get there late, they accept it. But if I get there on time, they make some snarky comment about how I am practically European in my time keeping. I don’t know about you but a comment like that does not sit well with me. It is virtually racist as far as I am concerned.

And yet… they have a point, don’t they? White people are NEVER late. Are they? At least not white people who don’t want to be regarded as the slightest bit blackish.

Now, when it comes to the dark winter months and why we are more likely to be sluggish during GMT, well, I think we can conclude that our bodies need a lot more Vitamin D than our white counterparts to stay alive. And we just don’t get enough of it in the winter.

No, seriously, hear me out. When folk (black or white) go off for a winter break in the sunshine, do they not come back refreshed? Do black
Brits who jet off to the sunshine over Christmas not return with a spring in their step, springy enough to see them through to British Summer Time? In which case, should every black Brit not be given a trip to the Caribbean on the NHS every winter? If for no other reason than to get black men to the church on time.

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