Black holes, not revelations

I was just about to email someone I vaguely know to point out that there's an amusing typo on a relatively important bit of his website. But then I thought - no one cares. I've thought this before but have usually swatted it aside as heresy or at least something unhelpful. Of course this being two hours into New Year's Eve, my sense of acceptance of the essential pointlessness of what I mostly do for a living may be false. You always look for things that point to stuff being Different in The Future at this pestilent time of year. There's probably a gene for it. A gene with a timer.

Anyway - I don't know, perhaps I should just crack down on my tendency to point out people's oopsies to them thinking they'll be grateful, and then work on the flinch I get whenever I see the twitching corpse of what could, in the right hands, have been a sentence. Especially since I am very far from perfect on that score myself. In any case, it's just not sexy. Maybe good English just needs its own Nigella, but I'd need a few years, some hair dye, some elocution lessons, bigger hips, and to sleep with several BBC Four commissioners (the ones that could still manage or appreciate it).

So there's a late night revelation. Other recent ones include:

1) It is physically impossible to tire of that Scott Matthews song with the video with all the beds.

2) 'Stranger in Moscow' is the last good song Michael Jackson will ever record, but it is still better than ooh, so much other stuff.

3) It's very handy to have Film 4+1 as well as Film 4 and a remote control handset, but it tends to result in watching the same film in an absolutely batshit order.

4) 'Spirited Away' is really very amazing but the ending is rubbish.

5) Cheese shops and delicatessens and the like have yet to reach this end of the tube line. Nearest thing is a posh sausage shop but that only sells posh sausage. However, this is bound to change. This place is going to be the new Stoke effing Newington and I'm going to be outclassed and outpriced before too long.

6) It's wonderful to really feel committed to a belief that you've wavered on and picked to bits for years before settling on one side. Even if it's ultimately depressing to hold the belief. This I realised today when I heard with some shock about Saddam's execution. No personal sympathy for the guy well obviously well of course, but you can't just have some new category of Eeeeevil that justifies officially offing someone. It's not the mark of a good democracy. At least that's one thing we no longer do here. Though you might not think so from Margaret Beckett's mealy-mouthing about him being brought to account, but er cough we still don't really kind of support that sort of thing, but then it is Iraqis' business and we don't want to interfere with their fragile emergent democracy, even if... yes. Cough.

I think justice is like freedom or perfection or any other absolute ideal - something you can and should strive for but can never completely achieve. And are a bit batshit if you genuinely believe it's possible. People tend to get very hoity-toity about justice having been done in the event of an execution - the absoluteness of it seems to appeal to that desperate need for closure that we can probably blame Oprah for creating in all of us, or possibly 'Friends'. But the equation just doesn't make sense to me. Above all, lofty as it sounds to me, I don't think it is our place to mete out death as a punishment. Ever. I don't think there is any higher power whose place it is to do it, except perhaps the ghost of Darwin. Who is a bit like Jacob Marley but maybe with, like, little bones hanging off his jacket or something. The Darwinator. That guy. But just because there isn't a higher power doesn't mean we should act in lieu of one.

Obviously many people who do believe in a higher power condone the death penalty, which is odd because you'd think they'd let God kill 'em all and let er, God sort it out. But He seems to be good at delegating when it comes to that sort of thing.

Incidentally - when the Iraqi Prime Minister said that Saddam faced his death "like all tyrants", did he mean that as some kind of backhanded compliment? Bloke went to the gallows if not defiantly, then at least with a certain obstinate demeanour from what I've seen. I suppose most tyrants don't go to their deaths blubbing for mama and begging forgiveness, but then to many people that sort of stubborn scowling thing would be taken as admirable dignity. As befits, y'know, a martyr. So... that's not really what you want from your tyrant's death, is it?

It'll be interesting to see how many people are actually sacrificed to the dead tyrant, and if it'll really be recognised as such, and how many people will insist that it's got nothing to do with Saddam's execution - or if it has any connection, well, it was worth it, because the fucker had to die. As if he actually had to. As if he hadn't already been neutralised, but like the mad Russian blond guy said in Die Hard, "I don't wan neutral, I wan dead." (He's dead too, that bloke. Ho hum.) And as if he didn't have so much more to be held to account for.

I think they just couldn't bear the thought of another eight trials for other atrocities. There may not have been enough lawyers in Iraq to get through it. Buggers were getting assassinated as fast as they could glean the salient details of the case.

7) Power cuts like the one our street experienced earlier this evening really need to last longer than ten minutes for that full childish glee effect to descend. But I did meet my new neighbour after we both stuck our heads out of sundry apertures in our respective dwellings, waving torches around.

8) It's a uniquely awkward situation when one estranged member of your family (presumably) gives another your mobile number. Erk.

9) I know Steve Irwin did remarkable and genuine and lasting good things for animals overall, but I still can't watch footage of him poking snakes in the eye and bellowing "COR HE'S REALLY ANGRY" without throwing things at the telly. Sorry.

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Ding dong mmkay

Because it is my first time being tagged, and because it's Rachel, I'll do it now before I realise it's a rotten old racket that should be slain (by Chicken Yoghurt).

Rabbit Strike's Best Seven Stuff Of 2006 Things

1) Having a proper actual foreeen holiday for the first time in years and years.

2) That counts twice cos it was also a dead fantastic holiday.

3) Getting a nice magaziney gig and a radio gig to make up for two lost.

4) Getting finagled into doing some of a book. (It will be a good thing once I finish fretting about it.)

5) Staying actual proper friends with an ex.

6) Smashing birthday with lots of drinking and silliness.

7) Um... people, who are great. And dog.

That was actually a bit of a struggle, shamefully. I want to make a list of 14 horrible or crapulent or generally a bit lame things about this year now (why isn't Torchwood better? Why? It deserves a list of its own - and I'm afraid I shall watch the much-puffed finale but that's only because I am a glutton for punishment, and for John Barrowman) but! that's not the spirit. I am looking forward to the new year. Without too much of that glutinous optimism that never bears fruit, or if it does it's kind of bashed leaky fruit that you wouldn't really want unless you were making jam.

Yes! I should say something about the lovely warm response to my witterings here which were catapulted into some sort of blogospheric attention when I used them for good and not for annoying self-centredness, but that might be annoyingly self-centred. Oh well. Call that number 8) just to bugger things up.

Now I suppose I'm obliged to inflict this on seven others, but I'll buck the trend by only bothering Paul, Abby, Salvadore and JonnyB.

Perhaps it's easier to make a list of Seven Things That Were Good By Default.

1) Not having an actual flea infestation after all. Just a few fleas. Which have fled.

2) Not despising short hair too much and managing to disguise badness of pre-short hair with sexy hat.

3) Boiler not breaking touch wood touch wood and then thermostat also.

4) Not getting arrested in Parliament Square or anywhere else for that matter.

5) Only having to file one small claim.

6) Being ill or germy only very infrequently and not for long.

7) Only getting one Christmas present that I already had and being able to go "Gah! I already have this" and for present-giver to go "Gah! I knew that would happen" and all to roll eyes and giggle and so none of that awkwardness when you get something you've already got.

That's better.

It's lovely to look at your blog after Christmas and find what people have been typing into search engines to happen upon you. I've had 'over 50 nude women', 'pot sexy russian woman', and my personal favourite to date, 'picture of a one spot fox faced rabbit fish'.

If I'd thought about it I could have written up The Poo Bag Saga, which might have been the new Bathmatwatch, but that is for another day when I haven't got mad post-Christmas crazywork to do. Alas.


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Defying SOCPA means never having to freeze your tush off. Oh wait.

So after all that fannying about, I sallied forth to the demonstration in Parliament Square this evening. I spent the day labouring under the misapprehension I was still going to be less than legal, because I hadn't had my special Willy Wonka golden ticket yes-you-may letter from the police in the post. When I discovered from Rachel that a) it's sort of like a driving licence in that you don't have to actually physically have it on you, kind of thing and b) the police, when she phoned to ask after the progress of our permission things, were outraged by our insane interminable loiter last week, I was gratefully disabused. And a bit disappointed, obviously. Robbed of my amusing coda.

The plan was to hold a mass lone demo (as has happened every month since August), completely and humbly legally, from 6 till 7pm, then move a few yards over and have a rip-roaringly non-legal and naughty carol service. And that's what transpired. I hate to say a good time was had by all, but I think it was. It was a good thing to do so although you're supposed to be selfless, I think you're allowed to feel a bit pleased. I have limited experience of demonstrating, and so am irksomely analytical about it, but one of the distinctive things about a demonstration like this is how blooming jolly it is. Jolly and very British - peaceful but not po-faced, a bit daffy without ever losing the sense of enormous importance. This sort of humble gaggle milling about under the looming, gorgeous, other-gold-looks-like-Ferrero-Rocher-wrappers-next-to-this opulence of Parliament. Parliament is an absolutely intimidating place, representing power in one of the most effective, criticism-rebuffing ways you can imagine. You feel very small next to it, and obvious as it is to say, your voice and presence as a defiant citizen in the face of such an impassive and significance-fraught structure feel infinitesimal.

But everyone deals with that overwhelmingness and gets on with it. I love the absurdist convention of these demos - the bonkers notion that you could be arrested, if you didn't have permission, for waving a placard saying 'No more smelly cheese', and of course the silly things themselves perfectly satirising the silliness of the relevant sections of the Serious Organised Annoying Little People Who Probably All Live On Quorn And Are Malnourished And Wrong In The Brain Act. I went for the double-pronged assault of 'ASBOs for apostrophe abuse' (two people asked me if 'ASBOs' shouldn't have an apostrophe; I smote them) and 'Better grammar for placards' (at least no one questioned the spelling of 'grammar'). This was an agonising decision which meant that my favoured campaign, 'Hide Daniel Craig's clothes', had to be sacrificed. Next time, however, as it is a matter of grave import that we strive to bring about a state of perma-nude Bond.

Gathered there all giggly and shivering, we held our placards (and in one spectacular case a pink Christmas tree, decorated grotesquely with laminated images of the casualties of illegal war), circulated and chatted, unwisely went in the road, waved at passing honking cars and mopeds, and were cold. There must be laws and constants about public demonstration, many of them things you kind of don't want to admit to yourself because you're supposed to be being totally selfless and above this sort of thing, like, say

Trundle's Law: Adversity of weather conditions is directly proportional to sneaky sense of righteousness.

Beanamble's Constant: If you demonstrate and no one gets arrested or questioned or stopped or otherwise interfered with, you feel if not a sense of actual failure then certainly a sense of anti-climax.

Fossingberd's Wotnot: Beanamble's Constant is inevitably followed by a sense of horrified guilt over sense of anti-climax. Etc.

I don't know, perhaps that's just me being a git. It sounds pretty beastly when you put it like that - you don't want any martyrs in this, and I know how dedicated people are and how little they let anything like that interfere - but I suppose it's because it's just mind-boggling to break a law or breach it or circumvent it or however you put it, in front of the seat of government, and to have nothing happen at all. When you're actually doing it, it's quietly surreal, and the lack of consequence is equally surreal given everything you ever learnt about right/wrong and legal/illegal. Plus, the whole issue we were protesting was the right to freedom of speech (by extrapolation), and although that only really means the right to be heard, dammit, you want to be listened to. Even if the representatives whose attention you attract are not receptive, you want to be acknowledged, just as you are implictly when you go and vote. Seeing that you're not being acknowledged makes you feel - not personally, but really as an average example of people of your country - neglected. Which in turn makes you angry. I suppose if you protest regularly you get over that, but for a novice like me it makes for an unpleasant aftertaste.

As expected, there were no police - no journalists to speak of either. There was a Liberal MEP, though, which was very something. The only police visible were the ones usually propping up the Parliament gates, looking cold and bored in their fluorescent jackets. Brian Haw had a little passive-aggressive pop through his megaphone at one point, and people laughed nervously, but no one came over and demanded to see papers or anything. It's another layer of surreality - before SOCPA people would protest all the time there and be ignored by politicians, but now we have to apply for permission to be ignored. It's like being not there at all, being negated on some official level. (I went to the rally in Hyde Park in early 2003, remember the excited hollers of a million on the streets and felt so roused, and then so furious and impotent when those million marchers were eaten up in a soundbite and swallowed away like a bad taste. It sticks.) Like hanging around a police station, shouting "ooooo-ooooo" at distant officers who register nothing of your presence. Anyone who's ever given or received the silent treatment from a lover, or opted not to respond to criticism, knows the immensity of the power of silence, and now I suppose the government have figured it out too.

Rachel gave a properly rousing speech, reminded us that "it is the duty of all citizens who give a stuff" to be here, to acknowledge what's going on and challenge it. I watched the cars going past (Parliament Square is a very daunting and almost inaccessible island, you feel like a rabbit dashing across the lanes to get there, and it's another thing that gives you this sense of 'you are not supposed to be here', but I digress), observed the gawping or mildly interested or blank or smiling faces of passing drivers, and wondered how many of them actually know about SOCPA. The form of a small demonstration is pretty standard, and in London people can easily tune it out like they tune out a hundred other elements a day - it seems far enough removed from usual life, aberrant and irrelevant enough to not pay attention to. But this is the sort of issue that attracts people who do give a stuff, but don't often feel the need to actively go and stand in the cold about something - like me. This is something that really affects everyone, however much it may seem to affect only a small pocket of placardy people. So I stood there and hoped that some of the people going past were thinking about what was going on.

At 7 some of us shuffled to the corner for the illicit carol service. It's such a perfect concept - it was held last year and will probably be on next year, and the police are never going to interfere because imagine the front covers if they went in and arrested the bejesus out of a lot of rosy-cheeked warblers in the middle of 'Silent Night'. They dismiss it for this reason, and I had to pause for a moment to get my head around the idea that it was breaking the law, but it is. It's an organised demonstration. I went last year and wrote about it in typically one-foot-out fashion (I know, I annoy myself) - this year it was a smaller gathering, and colder, and altogether less political. There was a gallant, slightly wobbly saxophonist in lieu of missing solo trumpeter, and there was giggling and competitive caterwauling during 'The Ten Days Of Christmas', and swigs of hip flasks and mulled wine (did I mention it was really very bastard cold indeed because if I didn't that would be a grievous error and would imply that we did not suffer for our noble cause). We didn't do 'Little Drummer Boy' because that was a terrible heap of bewildered pa-rum-pum-pums last time. We learn. And we missed out all the juicy Satan stuff from 'God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen'.

We held a minute's silence as the traffic rushed by oblivious. Nothing does the same thing as silence, as I said - maybe next time we should stand in silence for an hour in the square. One protestor covered her mouth

and there's not really any substitute for that either if you want to declare your outrage that your right to say things is being curtailed. People tune out milling, chatting, politely whooping protestors. If we're being silenced, and being met with silence, maybe silence is the way to strike back. It would certainly signal disgust. (There's always mooning for that, of course, but let's put that on the back burner, or the back of a bus full of drunk rugby players.)

Brian Haw said some brief, typically passionate words, but he was more subdued than I've seen him. He tends to be a human foghorn, but not this evening. Last year we made much out of the fact that we were defying the law - this year Brian did an amusing little "I'm breaking the law right now, la la la" into the megaphone, and Tim gave us a round of applause and we all joined in, but we were quieter about it. The positive spin on this is that we all knew why we were there, in the effing cold and friz, and we simply defied rather than banging on about our defiance - it's no big deal, we could do this every day, and maybe we should. The negative is more along the lines of - we are tired and weary and helpless and we do not know if this is doing any good at all.

I would go with the positive, though, with only the usual little niggly doubts and cynicism around the edges. There will be at the least a steady trickle of people prepared to defy SOCPA in this way for as long as it's in place, and although it's hard to cling onto the belief that it will do good, it's of symbolic importance to keep doing it, to counterbalance what is an insidious, craven and terrible symbolic gesture on the part of the government.

I suppose this now means I'm obliged to go and get frostbite again sometime soon. Thank you, Tony, because of you I will have to buy stupid thermals. Ooh, I could get a onesie, like the ones in old Westerns where the sheriff is rousted out of bed at night by the posse and he comes out in his hat and boots and a onesie with buttons up the middle and his gun. That'll do nicely.

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And now, some politics

This was work.


Thursday 14th December, 2006

Meet companion for coffee to fill in SOCPA forms. The Application for Demonstration forms (3175A, retention period 7 years), will enable us to demonstrate outside Parliament in celebration of democracy, provided we hand them into a police station six days in advance of the demonstration. Our intention is to join a 'mass lone demo' on the 20th December in which many people obtain individual permission to protest simultaneously. Faffing about with bits of paper as is now required for us to carry out this most basic civil right is something we’re happy to do, in order to essentially give the entire oppressive rigmarole two fingers in public. Swig drink, feel warm glow of righteousness.

Arrive at police station in north London. Find young trendily-dressed couple, a single woman and a bloke or two waiting. Plonk down on fixed metal seats. Have a bit of a natter. Check forms correctly filled in. Observe bleakness of waiting room, out-of-order phone and scribbled-on walls.

Become aware of friction between couple queueing. She seems to be trying to reassure her fraught boyfriend – he is irritated and harsh. “Just back off, Gisella. Don’t touch me again. You’ve wasted four hours of my day.” Female officer is dealing with a bloke at the window. Gisella slinks away in her heels, then wanders back. One or two more people come in and ask if this is the queue. It is. They shrug and sit down.

A gaggle of teenage boys in hoodies slouch in and occupy some of the remaining seats. One of them slips off his pristine Fila hi-tops. The others complain loudly about the “cheese”.

Gisella continues to stroke her boyfriend’s leather-jacketed arm, cuddle up to his back and put her arms around his waist. “You touch me again and you’ll see what’ll happen. I will hit you in the face.” Exchange worried glances with companion. Gisella murmurs something sullen in unidentifiable European accent and hovers near boyfriend’s elbow. Boyfriend sets jaw and glares about him. We seethe quietly at his beastliness.

Read graffiti. ‘Bacon sarnie die’. ‘Jihad’. Someone’s MySpace URL in fetching blue felt tip under the hood for the knackered phone. The single girl gets out a laptop. Samuel Beckett is mentioned.

Gisella draws near boyfriend, puts fingers on his sleeve. He flinches violently to shake her off, throwing his arms up and out and turning away. Heart drops at the movement. More worried glances. Is he really going to start beating the crap out of his woman in a police station? Officer has disappeared from behind window. Gisella traipses off again. After making a call on her mobile and having a fag outside she circles back around. Begin to question her state of mind. Shortly, there is a revelation.

“Look, Gisella – this has got to stop. You come to my building, the porter puts you out, you come back in again. You have been following me around all day. You need to stop. There is no ‘us’. You need to get in a cab, now, and go home. Just… delete me from your memory. And everything will be okay.”

Wish for television, and perhaps a hot chocolate. Gripe softly about absurdity of bureaucracy intended to prevent people criticising the government. Consider going out for a paper. Think about horrendousness of the news and mendacity of Tony Blair. Reconsider. Shuffle feet about. Teenage AsBoy fires up 50 Cent on his mobile and slumps down in seat.

Man we now understand to be harrassment victim occupies a seat, leaning forward to prop chin in hands. Gisella hunkers down to look into his face, unmindful of the fact that she is hunkering almost between the previously unfettered knees of companion. Companion scrunches up in seat. Frowns exchanged, and some of those stifle-it-or-there-will-be-bad-things sort of nervous smirks.

Gisella and her man get to the window. Fiddy is in full effect and drowns most other things out, but the man is evidently explaining to the officer that this woman will not leave him alone. She strokes his arm reassuringly. AsBoy flicks through to find The Game. “I slept with her a few times last year,” says the man. Imposing Irishman comes in, asks where the queue starts, shrugs, sits down and opens a paper.

Officer takes man away to take a statement. Gisella leans, like a forlorn cat out in the cold, against the door to the inner station where her beloved is telling the police about her. She paws at the door. Then, in hypnotic state, wanders out for a fag. Get a glimpse of her face and see her glazed eyes.

That bit from ‘8-Mile’ where Rabbit finally trounces everyone in the battle on the mobile. AsBoys rap along with considerable skill, but also with touchingly-deferential hushedness. Blair’s noble ‘Respect’ project can wind up in the knowledge it has done what it set out to do, and more.

Want drink.

No one at the desk. Decide to stand up and get in the queue proper.

No one at the desk. Single girl quietly tapping on laptop. AsBoys getting fractious. Lead AsBoy, in tall woolly hat, presents himself at the desk and spies officers of the law photocopying in back room. “Scuse me,” he enquires. “Ooo-oooo.” Rest of gang sniggers. AsBoy whistles as if to errant Staffy. Photocopier continues important photocopying. AsBoy swaggers back to seat. Speculate as to the possibility that we’ve been run over by a bus, and are in hell. Note there is no clock. No clocks in hell.

Low-level grumbling swells, like a growing storm of pissed-off people who want to be in the pub.

Really want drink.

A man and a woman with a clipboard appear. “Is this the queue?” “Yes.” “Sigh.” He approaches the still-bare, lonely window. A woman materialises on the other side, her back to the desk, doing something with some paper. “Excuse me,” says the man. Her back shows no recognition. “Scuse me.” Nothing. “Excuse me.” She turns with a blank face. “I need to somethingsomething.” “I don’t work here.” She vanishes. Man retreats in defeat. Man and clipboard-woman loiter beside queue. Gisella circles restlessly, silently.

A woman and two men come in and go straight to the window. We watch them warily. This is Britain. A nation of dignity and honour, where people queue. We are renowned worldwide for the orderly and humble nature of our queues. Some of our queues can be seen from space. This is how things are done. Commence muttering about having proper system and avoiding fights. In the distance, past the glass, Gisella’s man is still giving his statement, his leather jacket hung on the back of his chair. More people come in, see the queue, look a bit aghast. No one at the window. Photocopying.

Bit of Justin Timberlake. Excellent.

Companion gets on phone and calls the police station we are standing in to enquire brusquely as to why there is no one on the desk. People smile. Talk to Irishman and other man behind in queue. “I’ve never waited so long to sign my name,” says Other Man. We say we’re just here to hand in some forms. Explain SOCPA. Ponder the subtle genius of the red tape involved. It’s almost as if they want people to get put off demonstrating.

Companion goes out for a fag. Officer comes out to talk to Gisella. “Look, he doesn’t want to see you, he doesn’t like you. I know it’s hard, but you just have to accept it.” Gisella says nothing. Young man talks to mate on his mobile. “I been here an hour. Got hunger for the desk, bro.” Check as requested companion’s head for fresh grey hairs.

Another officer comes to window and sees the woman and two men. Companion points out not unreasonably that we have been queueing for an hour and a half. Woman blasts with authority that she is there to pick up the belongings of someone who’s been found dead. “My brother,” says one of the men. Companion is silenced. Atmosphere balloons and subsides like fitfully-snoozing sea-creature. Officer emerges from a side door and is almost rushed by loitering man and clipboard-woman. They are accepted and vanish into the belly of the station.

Group leave with dead man’s effects. AsBoys rock up to the desk again and recommence Operation Copper-Attention-Get. Operetta of moans and gripes is now into its thrilling second act. AsBoy tilts head to the gap at the bottom of the window and is gallantly insistent. “Hey. Hey! There’s some ladies here that need to hand in some forms!” Resist urge to pat him on his woolly-hatted, uncertain-futured head.

Gisella hangs around the automatic doors, gazing out into the night. The doors stay expectantly open. There is a draught. Want to slap Gisella.

Officer comes out and asks Gisella to go with her. Gisella accompanies her eagerly to inner door, then seems to finally gather that perhaps she should get in a cab and go home. She takes a faltering step back. The officer takes her by the elbow and gently but firmly moves her inside. The door closes on “I am arresting you for -” and they are swallowed up. AsBoys erupt in cackles.

Companion gets call back from the station we are standing in with bollocks explanation of why there is no one on the desk, despite the fact that any normal office would make sure reception was covered at all times. Muse on the possibility of the police, like the Post Office, being opened up to competition from other companies. Dream of lovely Duluxed waiting rooms with fish tanks and water coolers, and a better world for all.

AsBoy, who more closely resembles the Artful Dodger (the 60s film version) by the minute, hangs around the inner door. “If you kick it, they will come out,” he explains to us in matter-of-fact voice of experience. “But they *will* arrest you.” Start to weigh up pros and cons of this option.

AsBoys finally succeed in attracting attention and hunch over in deep discussion of forms. They are jumping ahead of the single girl but she is unperturbed. And it is only supposed to take them a minute, after all. But we are on police-minutes.

Single girl has got to window and is attempting to get back her missing handbag. Two other women come in and stand at the other window. We tense and glower, having by now returned almost entirely to the wild. Officer disappears with reference numbers.

Officer apparently despatched into wardrobe and currently negotiating with Narnia officials to obtain location of handbag. Other Man is now into his stride and starts complaining bitterly about how long it can possibly take to find it. Go up and ask single girl what’s going on. “They’re not going to find it,” she shrugs. “I’m going to lose it twice.” Someone emerges and takes the two women inside. Irishman and Other Man go through initial phases of bonding process. Hover behind single girl waiting to pounce before officer can flee. Irishman insists the yellow line must be stood behind. We all smirk at each other.


Officer returns empty-handed. Single girl takes her reference numbers and departs. We lunge forward like jaguars and push our limp forms through the gap. Officer apologises for wait.

Companion finishes explaining to officer what to do with the forms. Officer duly takes forms to cursed photocopier.

Tumble through automatic doors into street clutching validated photocopies of silly forms. Cheer lustily. Skip down road full of glee. Decide to just quickly check second page of form marked ‘Police use only’, crucial to validate our presence at the station today and protect us from possible detention under the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act of 2005. Find it blank.

Back in queue. Irishman and Other Man and two others very understanding.

Point out error of officer’s ways. Officer stamps forms upside-down.


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Fists with your toes

A new year approaches, and it may or may not see me making something of this wretched thing. There will probably be some brow-creasing over what should be excised according to who might be looking. I will never learn. Never ever. Also, I hate people who blog about blogging even more than I hate people who say "I blogged this" or "I blogged about this" all the damn time. So I'll try and cut that out. Along with biscuits. Oh biscuits.

So, yes, this is the score, as succinctly as you like.

* This is a work of procrastination, since I have an actual book to actually write, for an actual deadline. The deadline is very silly. It makes me laugh. In the meantime I have to hand in some of it the day after tomorrow. This makes me laugh also.

* A fox just strolled through the garden. I love foxes.

* I have Skype now. It is the shizzay, except when it doesn't work and freaks people out because they think someone has phoned them and is just listening.

* I did an awful lot of karaoke the other night at a work Christmas party which was satisfyingly non-glam without being a skanky depressing mess. 'Fairytale of New York', performed with another writer (too many teeth but a fair MacGowan impression), was most successful. The rest I don't want to talk about.

* I don't have enough hair and too much of it is going grey.

* I did all my Christmas shopping in an hour in Camden and was disgustingly pleased with myself. Of course now I dare not look in the bags in case all I bought was crap.

* The other day I went to hand in a form in order to demonstrate in Parliament Square, and found myself involved in an episode of 'Shameless' scripted by Samuel Beckett. This deserves its own post.

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