08/07/2007

The fiercest number

Some actual bona fide good news last week - Alan Johnston, kidnapped journalist, freed after 114 days. I think this should be marked in some way. How often do you get actual good news in the true sense? Usually it's sporting victories, which aren't really news, or things about calves born with extra legs, which aren't really good.

Meanwhile, one of the new brooms says the terror fight could take 15 years. I would like to see how he's worked this out. Maybe people are just demanding specifics; they're easier to deal with than vague hand-flaps of uncertainty when lives are at stake. I suppose the people responsible for the impossible job of sorting out terrorism can't just hold up pieces of string at press conferences and shout "HOW FUCKING LONG IS THIS? A? WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME?"

Still, I'm finding it hard to stifle my sense of absurdity when it comes to the recent non-attacks. (I'm sure there are better links than these to cite but dammit, if you are here it means you are an intelligent bean with ability to use internet, and there are many more splendidly comprehensive bloggers in my blogroll to whom you may refer on such matters of import. So!) It's not that these things shouldn't be taken seriously (ish) because it shows that the intent is still there, even if the ability isn't (and there were doctors behind these things? I fear for the quality of our healthcare all the more. Perhaps years of listening to people complain about their knees drives one to jihad. My GPs are thoroughly sociopathic fucks in any case. So!). And terrorists are just as able as anyone else to learn from their own and each others' mistakes, especially if the media helpfully point those out.

But the fact is that this - two non-bombs in central London and one semi-bomb in Glasgow complete with flaming terrorist determined to at least take out one person even if it was only his silly, on-fire self - was a giant laughable arse-up all the way. I was very pleased by the sensible reaction of Brown's lot (since I last wrote he has finally ascended - I did ask him to wait till I was ready, but he was busting), a far cry from what would have been another set of ominous showboating pronouncements from that flouncing ringmaster of a Blair swine - but! the media have overwhelmingly taken the line that we were only saved from being bombed to molecules by "a combination of luck and public vigilance". Not that the Scottish bloke doesn't deserve much kudos and his internet celebrity - in fact that just makes me grin a lot, really. He did good. But in both London and Glasgow, the attacks were thoroughly buggered up before they even didn't happen, and it was less to do with luck and vigilance than the kind of blithering incompetence rarely seen outside of rubbish 70s sitcoms whose plots revolve solely around thin men being unable to operate bicycles.

So the rhetoric baffles and bothers me somewhat. Of course any number of other, more efficient attacks might have been ready to go, so I understand the raise in threat level etc etc etc (what a whimsical notion that is - I like to find out the weather, the travel and how scared I need to be of a morning) bUT I wish these attacks had been put in better perspective by the Feral Beasts. Considering the failure of a non-viable bomb to go off an 'attack' is like considering a foetus a toddler. Saying "if these bombs had gone off thousands would have been killed", when the bombs couldn't have gone off (they were missing a vital component, apparently - that one is a good link, btw), is taking the fine art of rabid speculation to glorious new levels. If all the news were treated in the same manner, we'd have so much hysteria-based fun.

Supermarket knife rampage man thwarted

...The weapon was later found to be a small plastic spork. "If it had been a large machete, the carnage would have been unimaginable," said Inspector Dollop...

Yars.

Meanwhile I've had an interesting week at the Website. I've been doing holiday cover there for a year, and now the job's come up. I have concluded, for a variety of reasons, that I would step over my own mother to get it. I would also step over an acquaintance who is also apparently applying. Only, the first time I tried to step over her, I would deliberately miss.

Yeah, s'like that, homes.

It was a week unusually full of interesting men, which is always a good week. I don't know where the interesting women are, but - oh, it might have something to do with the fact that I've always worked in ever so slightly gender-wonky situations. These were men I worked with or have worked with, or men I met backstage at Reading and ended up living with who I haven't seen in four years and who look so completely different with their weight loss and tattoos and coloured contact lenses and lack of facial hair that it was rather a surreal experience. Media-ish and/or music-related men, to a man. These are the circles I've always moved in. I've probably absorbed an unhealthy amount of testosterone over the years, and get mistaken for a man all the time without realising it.

Actually, I did get mistaken for a man rather a bit when I wrote for the satire sheet that is no more. We had credits, not bylines, and everyone else there had a Y chromosome which was plain to see in their names. So it wasn't surprising that people would write in about something I'd written and refer to me in the register of bloke. It was curiously gratifying, though, especially as it meant I never had to take any criticism, because it all went to this male alter-ego the readership inadvertently created. I named him Ted.

The week's menfolk were mostly curmudgeonly and cynical, in a mostly pleasant way, although one was properly wise and one maintained the same infectious enthusiasm for things that I remember appreciating before. One of them gave me a new drug experience, although he didn't necessarily mean to - but I have discovered the secret of joy, and her name is CODEINE. How it is legal, even if it requires a degree of cajoling and fibbing, is beyond me. I spent the last hour of work stoned out of my gourd, then ran home from Baker Street to Walthamstow on winged feet, wrote a 300-page high-concept novel and showed it to God. God gave me this wicked quote to use on the cover of the paperback.

(I'm pretty sure I also saw some E scattered on the steps at King's Cross, but if you think I picked any of them up to check, you're sorely mistaken. I simply bent down to lick one. It was inconclusive. Thinking about it, I should have gathered them up and sold them outside regardless. Curses.)

Yesterday I did a stint as a steward for an art event in a pretty wood in a place I thought for years was made up by the BBC so Mark from EastEnders could get his first break. I wasn't too impressed with the fluro-jacket, but was thrilled with the walkie-talkie. There's nothing like strolling past some innocent event-goers with your hip occasionally bursting into a snatch of semi-comprehensible monologue. I was bitten by something on the neck, but it didn't matter because it was the first July-like day of July and I would gladly have given a vein's worth to the starving insects of Essex for that.

Oh, and Shedvixen has apparently given over the shed to Shedfox. I saw them together, looking like a single fox with four ears, but since it's just been himself. Neither today, though. Keine foxen. I no longer appear able to get decent pictures, which is an ass. But if I got this Website job, I may be able to borrow some gobsmackingly brilliant camera that digitally compensates for all lack of talent and wobbly arms, and run away with it.




Two new additions to the 'loll - Piqued and Evidence of a Struggle. You will laugh, you will curl your lip, you will vomit uncontrollably but not notice until you wake up three hours hence.

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