Monday, July 25, 2005

Of late I've found myself...

watching morning tv in people's houses, snatching ten minutes viewing here, five minutes viewing there. On the tv most mornings as I understand it are programmes of such blanditude (a magnitude of bland) that the will to live or any sense of purpose simply drains away. Two presenters, a woman and a man generally recline on a sofa and speak to guests on another sofa, or a chef/cook who stands in an adjoining kitchen section. It is tv without edge, smooth, warm, uncritical and presented by two human beings whom you forget the moment your gaze wanders from the screen. It set me wondering if utter forgetability is a known human condition and maybe criterion for the job, I then wondered how such a condition might influence the lives of those affected, in restaurants for instance after a waiter has taken their order and turned from the table does that same waiter then forget the order, forget the table or even forget themselves? I presume that it's only through the most intensive personal training, probably done in Nepal, do these presenters manage to retain any shape to their sense of self. If this is true an explanation might exist for the phenomenon of people being found who've lost their identity. Might they be the ones who failed the course? Or more worryingly for the rest of us might these hollow people have in some unguarded way been exposed to a day time tv presenter outside a studio. Clearly they are safe within a studio because guests seem unaffected as do the camera people and other staff.

Currently there's a chap is some hospital in Kent whom doctors and police are trying to identify, he was found wandering and even the labels from his clothes were gone. Imagine wielding such power that even the labels in a person's clothing are no longer safe. Two applications immediately become possible, a military application and a blackmailing application. The battlefield application would be against marching troops, as chaos mounts artillery is laid down, explosions and shrapnel make the air sing with death and as a last resort, just as positions are about to be overrun word comes down 'Deploy the Presenter.' There's a hush, some worry, maybe a question of war crimes, is this really necessary? Suddenly someone in a casual jacket and fake tan is glimpsed through the smoke, wandering in a forward manner. Trained for the whites of the eyes the oncoming soldiers are defenceless before the white of the teeth. Many flee in panic but many more declare a sudden interest in troublesome stains. The military battle is over, the battle for the perfect sheen is about to begin.

Warfare is a messy business but with so many now geared to tidying up a new programme called Battlefield Makeover is only a power breakfast away.

The blackmail application could only apply if the criminal fraternity gained possession of a daytime tv presenter. All the fashion houses would be at risk through the simple but effective threat to unveil a presenter at the next big show unless huge amounts of dosh were forthcoming. A year's work, colours, textures, textiles, design, new cuts, make-up, coiffure, shoes, everything gone in the flash of a mauve blazer. Thy name is Bland, the diffuser of things.

I caught a glimpse of some daytime tv this morning and have been tired ever since, there must be a connection. I'm warning the world now, rather like that guy at the end of Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Many won't believe me but they're the fools. Ha ha! Ha ha ha! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha...

Thursday, July 21, 2005

It was all...

Harry Potter last Friday night. I was channel flicking around midnight and suddenly it's Edinburgh Castle suffering what looked like a severe damp problem or as we in the trade say, blotchy walls. I was thinking about the scrubbing contract when it became obvious they were projections of Harry Potter's image. Bloody odd I thought, Harry Potter in Edinburgh. I'll admit being drunk and a tad befuddled but a hundred foot Harry Potter at midnight on a castle wall, in Scotland, was puzzling. Closing an eye did not help one bit. The camera then cut to JK Rowling who walked onto a stage sat down and began to read. At her feet where an unknown number of children cross legged on cushions. AND IT WAS MIDNIGHT! Of course there were the usual one's who couldn't stand the pace, sleeping ones, dozing ones, ones with dribble, ones sucking thumbs, ones with teddies, ones on mother's laps, ones on father's laps, ones in police custody (don't ask, I've really no idea) ones in cots, ones with dogs (vicious dogs with scars and spikey collars), ones in flat caps covered in soot (those bastard fucking Royals!), ones with their lawyers, ones flicking things at the front row ones, ones with chewing gum in their hair, ones with snot, ones with snot in their hair (just in front of the ones with snot, incidentally), ones with crossbows, ones dressed like angels (aaahhhhhhhhh), ones with ones in their hair, jaunty ones, ones using their fingers to draw shapes in pools of sick, cuddling ones, big eyed ones, little chubby ones that were so beautiful you could nip them, ones called Razor, ones with dreams, ones with items in their ears, ones with an unhealthy interest in poo, and towards the back calculating ones, dow jones ones, suspenders and red tie ones, slick haired ones, pin striped ones, piggy eyed ones, Gordon Gecko ones, greed is good ones, fuck you all ones, Wake up at the front! ones, childhood's wasted on the ones ones, in the office first thing ones, at the desk ones, impress Sir ones, lose loads of money ones, caught for fraud ones, four years inside ones, find God ones, new job in Far East ones, hush hush ones, Karl Rove ones, name in the open ones, oh bugger that's not so good ones, I'll stand by him says Bush ones, Grand Jury ones, ha ha says the rest of us ones, tired little ones, fidgeting ones, curly haired ones, droopy eyed ones, rubbing eyes ones, yawwwwwwwwwwning ones, looking around ones, "High mum!" ones, where's dad ones, I'm soooooo soooo tired ones, take me home ones, who is that woman at the front ones, what is she saying ones, where's my bed ones, time to go ones, this bloody soot's everywhere ones, zzzzzzzzzzzz ones, the lights go out ones. Click.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Traffic wardens in Manchester wear...

red. I noticed it again today and though I've not really taken much notice they do seem to carry with them a fair amount of equipment. Portentous machines with buttons and screens and knobs in brushed aluminium or veneer of ochre. It's obvious even to the lay observer that all this kit must be a radiation hazard, bit of a giveaway given sterility is promoted as a perk of the job. How bold is that?

Like many I've seen publicity photographs of fully equipped fighter aircraft where the extra weaponry is spread out on the ground, guns, missiles, ammunition, flares, fuel tanks, assorted pods, nipple clamps, things of that ilk. The layout in such photos is generally of a sleek looking jet parked within a 100 foot diameter of death dealing instrumentation manufactured by the Daggerkill Corp of Arteryrupture, Illinois. A recent brochure advertising Manchester Traffic Wardens produced by the Daggerkill Corp of Little Embolism, Greater Manchester displayed a traffic warden in a similar manner. A solitary figure adjacent to over four hundred different gadgets. It was an cool photograph because the warden had been cleverly positioned to represent an exclamation mark next to equipment arranged to form the words FUCK YOU! A neat touch I thought, both menacing and not easily forgotten.

The question of weight was addressed inside the booklet through one of those diagrams that show the inner workings of things. Via a hidden staircase the uniform could be entered unseen. Beneath the red all weather gear was a structure not unlike the Caterpillar Loader used by Sigourney Weaver's Ripley to fight that mother Alien in film two of the series. The main seating cabin was approached down a long corridor lined with magnificent bay windows and no expense was spared on the sumptuous curtains.

From a coffee house today in central Manchester I saw two wardens and curious I went to ask some questions.

"Heyup," I said. "is all that equipment necessary?"
"Not all of it," They said.
"What bits don't you need then," I shouted up to them.

"Well...lets see, obviously we need the taser for your reluctant driver see, this model's called the Pacifier, kind of speaks for itself. And the cattle prods keep pigeons from shitting on the equipment, pure ochre this, just look at the craftsmanship. Err we've got yer phasers, lasers, dazers, gazers, amazers, hazers, razors, vases, just for flowers like. Out back's where we keep the coal, nothing like coal for a nice fire in winter, then there's that curious hole where beer gets delivered. Oh and the cyber cafe but that's only open at weekends though the Weslyan Chapel uses the next room every second Thursday, nice folk the Weslyans, always making cakes."

"Where's the power come from?" I asked.
"From the Lord of course, ha ha, no, only joking. Have you read of those redundant Russian nuclear submarines?"
"I've read that removing their power plants is a dangerous business." I say.
Both rosy cheeked wardens chuckled, "No removal's were necessary, bought up the whole fleet, one sub for each uniform. Crew and all. Even weaponry, ICBM's, launch codes the lot. Seemed cheaper that way. Turned out to be a real boon."
"Got to be off," Said the more quiet of the two. "The city never sleeps."

And that was that, as they say. I ordered my next coffee in a recycled paper cup and felt that like those wardens I was doing my bit for the environment. Recycling Russian Sub Reactors, whatever next? As a citizen of Manchester it made me walk just that little bit taller, though not too tall mind for what comes through that thinning ozone layer will flay the skin off your average skull in no time.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Pt IV. The Manchester Approaches.

We were encamped above the high water mark just north of Carnforth and it was pleasant to be brought back to wakefulness on that summer's morn. Wavelets looking every inch like lines of tiny Can Can dancers rolled up the beach, arms crossed and whooping but not loud because of their size, "Heeeeeeeeeeeere wego" before bowing and swishing back down, "Heeeeeeeeeeeeeeere wego!" bowing and swishing back down. "Heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeere wego." bowing and swishing back down. Little rouged faces grinning above fishnet stockings and frilly underwear they kicked up the incline before making a deep bow and shuffled retreat. We were enchanted but swiftly made plans to move once the cattle started to go insane.

Ahead of us was dense forest and there seemed no way forward. Women cowpokes who chewed tobacco and communicated through spit began gobbing at the largest tree nearby. Astonishingly it moved, sort of jerked itself to oneside and just as suddenly was back where it began. The women slapped each other laughed and began taking running spits to achieve better momentum.

Gilly their leader, looking remarkably like Doris Day in Calamity Jane except she had red hair was big boned and astride a gazelle kicked her heels as the animal sprang forward.

"Yeehah!" She shouted and few of us would forgot her terror but fortunately the bonds held so she didn't fall off. To everyone's surprise the forest parted like a curtain to make room for her. Many rushed forward and our final view was of this figure on a lithe African beast springing and jumping, gaining speed, the knotted cords holding her tightly. Like at a rodeo she went forth gripping a broad brimmed Sunday hat, it was something with a net, and from her quickly fading voice came the words "You fucking bastards you've not heard the last of me." Of course about that she was completely wrong.

We stood in a crowd staring at the gap that remained open when a number of voices started up.
"Come on then, don't be all day!"
"For fuck's sake get a move on will you!"
"Move up move up, stop pushing."
"Oooh, you cheeky beggar keep those branches to yourself. The nerve!"
"Can anyone see what's happening?"
"Oi Oi Oi, watch what you're doing will yer, I can't see a bleeding thing now.'

If you've ever seen one of those windswept trees where all the branches are on the leeside this is how the forest suddenly appeared to us and we quickly realised that from the beach all the trees had their backs to us. Never ones to miss a trick we loaded up and began to push our way through. It was not easy, there was not much room so we sent ahead those passengers who were best at forcing their way to the front of things. You know the type, ignorant, rude, surly, broad shouldered, insensitive. With the cowpokes tinging spit off their heads they had an added incentive to make good progress. Sometimes revenge for past ill deeds has a funny way of coming back to bite us on the bum, or neck as it was in this case.

A cacophony of impoliteness rose up from the forest.

"Hey, what the fuck!"
"Do you mind!"
"Watch that rail will you!"
"Oh, I say does your mother know you've got that?"
"Mind me bruise, oh, what is that disgusting brown stuff?"
"I say Archie, it's a train. With a dining car and serviettes and wood veneer, hang on a minute, didn't that tray used to be your Colin? Wow, Colin finally making something of himself. Mind you I suppose it's more a case of something being made of Colin. Still, who'd have thought."

East of us we heard a faint cry, "Ice cream, come and get your ice cream,"

We heaved on in this manner for five hours until forced by the parched cowpokes to stop for water. Behind us there remained no evidence of our passage.

From the top of a nearby oak where three teenagers had snuck for a cigarette but were stopped by a cry of 'Dad!' when an adjoining pine caught sight of their matches, came the shout.

"We can see the outskirts of Manchester from up here!" And they excitedly pointed in the direction all trees were facing.

The forest's many voices once more rose up.

"Course you can see Manchester. What the fuck do you think we're doing?"
The children replied, "We thought you were a forest."
The trees said, "We like to think of ourselves as an audience."
A spotty fifteen year old with greasy hair asked "What you looking at then?"
"Manchester of course. Better than the telly. You humans, you make us laugh, ha ha."
The spotty kid said "Ha, ha, you trees, you make us furniture."
A gruff voice boomed "Hey kid, that's not fucking funny, capiche! And besides you should get that spot seen to, oh sorry that's your face." This final was said to howls of laughter including from us. The kid scowled and tried carving his name into a branch but through poor schooling could only spell one word. We left him, tongue stuck out in concentration asking if Prick was spelt with a P.

Shortly afterwards we broke free of the canopy and before us lay our city, our home.

Behind us trees were saying things like, "Thank fuck for that!..." "They were so impolite, and those women who were spitting!..." "Wait till I tell me mam about our Colin."

As the last rail was laid by platform 14 in Manchester's Piccadilly Station we disembarked and in a stunned silence looked around. We were exhausted, we were bronzed, we had learned things about one another that we perhaps shouldn't, we had stuck together, we had made it, we had returned. The journey finally over. I watched the cowpokes head for the nearest bar laughing and competing with each other to spit the hats off small children. From the rear coach Irish nuns many of whom now had the word DISCIPLINE tatood in mirror form on their foreheads opened a last case of communion wine, drank and began fights. It was a warming sight not marred at all by the later arrests.

And me? I hitched my canvas leggings and strode from the station a changed man, not looking back, only ever now looking forward. And as they took my ticket that one last time the faint words of Colin the tray followed me out.

"Hello, hello, can anyone hear me? I am not a tray, I'm a wooden salver. Fuck!"

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Busy, busy, busy, busy...

phew! I've become a shadow of my former self, a whisper, a zephyr, a fallen leaf. I am a leaf! No I am an acorn, a seed, a genesis, I am on my knees, looking up, getting up, springing forth, leaping high, arms stretched, reaching out, a cry of joy! Bugger. I am a leaf, on the floor, exhausted, breathe in, breathe out, breathe in, breathe out... There, that's better.

Now, where was I? It is my intention to finish the story of our return from Edinburgh to Manchester as soon as I can. Let me just say it entails a journey through dense forest. I'll say no more, that leaf thing is coming over me again.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

The journey home from Edinburgh Pt III....

are you sitting comfortably? Then I'll begin.

Having decided we could not stomach a return to Manchester via the standard rail network a collective decision was made to find a more direct means. Thus with joy we broke free from the surly bonds and parallel lines of the standard steel track and instead began lifting and laying our own route. It was labour intensive work but with sweaty and bloodied hands we toiled to tear up what we passed over re-using the burnished steel again and again and again. Small flies and the boiling sun scorched us raw and tiny dust devils spun in trying to cause maximum embarrassment by touching us in intimate places. It was no use striking out for a flailing arm only encouraged their gleeful little voices to make personal comments about what shit lovers we were. Some of it was very close to the bone and many men went impotent or developed the 'Shrivel' a mind disease that flattered the stricken with feelings of immense loss. Particularly wearisome was when one devil commandeered the train intercom calling out false lottery numbers in a bold attempt to break us. None believed that freedom would be without cost so we made camp, broke out the grand pianos and sang excerpts from The Barber of Seville.

Under a dawn sky the final notes of Mozart's piano concerto No21 'Elvira Madigan' faded to be replaced by the striking of metal upon metal as we again began to move. The under sixteen's many of whom had been been driven out by the classics returned with tales of enormous burgers who lived in Spatterland directly south. We edged further west. By late morning our progress again was halted as the only evidence of the station listed on our map was a closed wine bar situated beneath a neon sign that intermittently declared 'SHIT' though it might have been 'SHUT' as half the 'U' looked burned through. Many were meant to leave the train at this point and bags were indeed unloaded. From the roof of the forward car a small child pointed to dust that was approaching at speed. Expecting a devil attack we again unloaded the pianos and prepared the overture for La Boheme however it turned out to be the border rushing north to meet us. Oh how we danced at such a turn of events, only ninety miles to Manchester. A medium sized party bound for Glasgow decided to stay with the bags believing the station was due any moment and waving babies they shouted their farewells. I wasn't the only one to weep however the tears may have had more to do with a groin devil than anything sentimental.

Morecombe Bay is a shallow west coast inlet ten miles or so across and in Grange over Sands we hired someone to guide us. These are treacherous waters where tides sweep in very quickly and everyone was wary. For greater efficiency we passed the rails via those from first class who were lined along the roof, waiting at midpoint only for some fool who'd bought an hour ticket for the deckchairs rather than the half hour we had all previously agreed. Jacob our guide told us of a train last year that was completely sucked in by quicksand losing all hands and also shared that his own father had led the fated journey. With typical country humour he laughed and said he was sure it was his father but it might have been his brother, then becoming grave he declared "Oyve suddenly forgotten moy name!" Once landed at Carnforth we sent him on his way but not before tying a parcel of food to the puma that had never left his side. It was a lithe and beautiful animal remarkably well fed and some made links to the many missing elderly whom we previously assumed had wandered off. As an argument brewed between the zoologists and geriatricians we hunkered down, took stock and tried to relax. In fact it became so relaxed we released the castanet players. ARIBA! *

PtIV The Manchester Approaches will follow when I get a moment.

(* to my Spanish speaking friends I've no idea if that's a word or even if I've spelled it correctly. Nevertheless it's a cheery cry.))

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Pt II, the return from

Edinburgh. There is a British novelist called China Mieville who writes fantasy fiction in which he he has built an awesome world of towering imagination. In this world is the city New Crobuzon, a brutal place wherein live races of fantastic beings, insect people called Khepri; Remade who are the punished, literally remade part flesh and blood, part machine, slave people, the lowest order; garuda who are bird people; cactus people called hotchi and many more wondrous races. In the dark and brooding New Crobuzon are footpads, robbers, stealers of children, mystics, spell binders, even other dimensional folk who are both good and bad at the same time. New Crobuzon is described like Victorian London, sewers, stench, darkness, but with modern power sources, overhead railways, slow moving rivers, The Tar and Gross Tar. In China Mieville's book New Crobuzon is Rome, an Imperial City. In the first novel, Perdido Street Station the protagonists are a tiny group of citizens who are thrown into battle against the powerful Mayor on the one hand and terrifying creatures called Slake-moths (of which there are only four) on the other. To fight in such a treacherous and divided city requires stealth, cunning and great bravery, none of which is held in high amount by the heroes.

The second novel is called The Scar and describes a sea journey through fantastical times and places.

The third novel is called Iron Council. New Crobuzon is threatened with destruction in a developing war with another ethereal imperial power. People leave the city, some to travel hundreds maybe thousands of miles through landscapes touched with magic, and bandits, and renegade gangs. Many of these people are chasing a myth, a symbol of freedom that is talked about only in whisper, after dark. This place of liberty, free from New Crobuzon, a threat to New Crobuzon represents the hopes and dreams of so many, but does it really exist this Iron Council? Rumour has it, some claim even to have seen it, that a train rides over the land, forever on the move, taking up rails behind, laying rails before. Going wherever it so wishes, owned only by those who are aboard. Iron Council is an affront to New Crobuzon, to regular order, to Imperial power. Iron Council makes its own decisions, goes where it pleases. It is a symbol of liberty, a thought, a glimpse of what might be, what could be. Iron Council cannot be bound by normal rules, it makes it's own history. Iron Council has broken out.

And so did we. Desperate to avoid a disastrous return journey through drab stations, eating grey food we took control and began to lay our own rails, over platform six, across the main car park. Cutting, heaving, laying down, collecting up, wrenching ourselves free. We sang timetable songs, with choruses of hope where nothing was ever late and everyone had a seat. Glorious songs of fresh bread and bountiful fillings, with butter, and tea that had tea in it...

Tomorrow PtIII

In the meantime for all you out there who've never come across it, Perdido Street Station remains one of most astonishing novels I have ever read.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Travelling by train is a nightmare in this country...

and I got a dose of it yesterday. Using rail in the UK means plunging oneself into a strange nether world not in syc with the real. The other week a train on the east coast lost it's power and ipso facto it's air conditioning. It was a scorching day and people were hermetically sealed in a box with windows that do not open. After an hour under a boiling sun passengers had to smash those windows to escape oven the like temperatures. This experience is only possible if you manage to board a train in the first place. The shitbag Tories privatised the railways in the early 90's, sold it for a song to their rich friends and since then things have gone from bad to worse. Blair states that any solutions to this national disaster must come from the private sector, the railways will not be re-nationalised, despite the fact that this private sector now receives a bigger government subsidy than the previous publically owned railway. Some of these companies are making yearly profits in double figures. Astonishing given that in most sectors of the general economy a profit margin of 2% to 4% is considered robust.

Prior to its sale the national rail network was fragmented and divided into bits. The two biggest bits, rolling stock on the one hand and actual rail and infrastructure on the other were sold as separate items but involving more than 20 companies. So we have a completely mad system where different parts compete with each other, hide information from each other, even lie to each other. For instance rail maintainence companies lie about the quality of their work and this has led to a number of notable disasters that have killed and injured many passengers. On a more mundane level trains will no longer wait for other trains that may have been delayed because companies buy and sell platform slots so that if your train is at the platform longer than the slot paid for they incur a penalty. Honest. Everyday there are horror stories of commuters trying to get onto trains that have not enough carriages because it's cheaper to pack em in like sardines. Sometimes the train simply fails to arrive. Sometimes it doesn't stop where it is supposed to. All in all going anywhere by train is a pretty frought business.

So yesterday I got the train to Edinburgh.

The first train from Manchester to Lancaster was ok, just lulling us into a false sense of security as we later found out. Boarding the second train was a totally different experience because there were only five carriages and it was packed. Two of my agile friends found seats by simply pushing aside an elderly couple and telling two ten year olds they had guns. Actually my mates don't carry guns but 10 year olds are suckers for any old story. Eventually I followed on but only after helping the elderly couple onto a luggage rack where they spent the rest of the journey drinking tea from a flask and reminiscing with the train chaplain. And children learn so quickly, the ten year olds simply moved down the carriage and gained seats by persuading two six year olds the buffet was giving free sweets to those who were good. Suckers! Ah, their little rosy cheeks and eyes full of hope. I later learned they raked in tons of cash by working the loo queue with renditions of Mary Magdalene's song from Jesus Christ Superstar and that sleazy number from Chicago.

My mates were comfortably ensconced in an air conditioned carriage, the elderly were singing old war songs about the Blitz and how having your family wiped out by an air mine was the best thing that had ever happened to them. Brought people together you see though it seemed to me that proximity to any exploding device is more likely to take people apart, but I wasn't there so what do I know. And so we travelled, in a new train that might have worked perfectly had there been a little more of it. Still there were some some nice features, above each seat was a tiny window across which scrolled helpful phrases such as, 'My oh my you're a big fellow.' or 'Whiffy underarm? Have you tried a wash?' and my favourite, 'Interesting that your friends got seats but you're still standing. Confidence problems? Doctor Thimpell from Vienna in carriage F may have the answer. 'Thimpell Therapies for Tired Travellers. Try Them Thoon.' The good Doctor it turns out was alliterate and had a lisp.

Every now and then the guard took to harrangueing us over the tannoy. I think he was annoyed to find passengers aboard. 'When this train left Milton Keynes only five seats were unreserved so I've no idea how the rest of you got on. However, now you're here I suppose I'm stuck with you but I'll hear no whinging about seats and ticket prices, this is a business not a charity and you should have booked. I would remind passengers who might cause trouble that their families who are currently being held in custody by us will not be released until the train reaches Edinburgh and in its currently undamaged state. And yes hostage is a dirty word but get over it.'

Of course there were murmurings, cabals, conspiracies but nothing concrete, nothing we could join. I began a petition but the teenage hoodies in carriage C smoked it. Some tried lifting our spirits with communal songs until stopped by a lawyer sent by the six year olds who'd grown hideously rich from the sale of singing franchises. We finally rolled into Edinburgh stronger as human beings because a storm had been weathered. Of course half the train was reduced to penury through a combination of ticket costs and the tiny tots' business acumen. Some left weeping and clutching photo's of their own children many of whom now belonged to the six year old's.

One thing was certain, that train was a true microcosm with winners (the tots, their lawyers, the train company) and many many losers. Which incidentally was also the word shouted from two tiny figures standing on the back seat of a Rolls that swished by.

Tomorrow I may mention the return journey.

Went to Edinburgh for the Make Poverty History Demo...

and it was huge. The police with their usual underestimating said there were only three people present of which one was an anarchist with a dog on a piece of string. The media said 100-150,000 talk on the demo was of 250,000 and upwards. The demonstration followed a 2.5 mile route around the city centre and back to the park. I was queuing with tens of thousands of others for two and a half hours before I got out of the park and onto the march. Behind me there were still tens of thousands. So huge was the demo that the front of the march re-entered the park before half of us had left. It was a stunning display of anger and concern about world poverty. All the people I spoke to said that they wanted things to change, they could stomach no longer the death of any child from starvation, they wanted an end to war, they wanted a fairer distribution of the world's wealth. End the debt, where there is need meet that need. It was gripping stuff and the G8 ignore this at their peril. For my part I think the G8 are a bunch of ruthless crooks who will do as little as they can get away with, but the demonstrators I think and will not be so easily fobbed off. The next demonstrations will be bigger. Watch this space, as they say!

Yesterday heard a great joke...

on the demo.

Man goes to his Dr and says I've got a rash down below, in the pubic region. Dr has a look and says some cream will sort that out and here's two viagra as well. Man asks what's the viagra for, I've got no problems in that area. Dr replies they'll help keep the sheets off your rash.

Friday, July 01, 2005

In work first thing...

yesterday morning to find a large fly at my desk calling itelf "Norm." He was gambling online and I expressed some concern, especially as it was 8:30 in the morning. Norm said "Baby, after spending all day eating shit a little recreation helps takes your mind off the fact. Pass me that ashtray will you?" I said, "This is about the fridge isn't it?" And he gave me a long cool look.

In my old workplace the fridge was clean, sterile, it was a barren place of no hope ruled by the lactose intolerant and heaving with neatly folded notes and instructions. Everything was squared off, each shelf indexed and coded. Just under the little light sat a row of desks where the minerally deficient listened to lectures about allergies and wheat flora. I even listened once to a talk called "Why taste gives you syphilis.". Plainly not a place to store food or anything nice. It had door hinges that prayed. That fridge was so straight it took communion at mass on Sunday mornings and last summer saved two small children from drowning in a local park. It was a sanctimonious little fucker.

This new office fridge is of a completely different water. For a start we can't close the door because the seal is twisted and it's only got two shelves, well one shelf and the bottom. It's hinges are rusted and will pull any unbraced shoulder right from that socket. And when opened it makes a "Fuck, not again." noise like its really bothered. We love it.

So Norm fixes me with his multi faceted eye and says. "Those fridges are unsafe." So I say, "In what way." And he says, "A few of us have received obscene texts from the mould that's taken up in there." "What mould." I say and he says, "The one who does racing tips." I say, "I don't gamble so haven't noticed." He says "Go and have a look." So I go to the fridge and there it is chalking up the odds on some race or other that's about to start. I come away quickly when a small glaring crowd shout "DOOR!"

I gave Norm's multi whatsit a good glare and said. "Fucking top fridge Norm. Live with it." And he says, "I've left the petition on your desk"