Before I start, I just want to clarify one thing. That whilst I in no way regret yesterdays post, it was nonetheless an indication of how much that this whole lockdown thing is getting to me. I’m going to use the Chris Lowe defence here, yes Chris Lowe, the musical brains behind the Pet Shop Boys, that Chris Lowe, not the Chris Lowe who does the music on BBC1’s ‘Countryfile’. Leastways I hope it isn’t the same person. I’d have to seriously rethink things if it were the case, my late teenage years for one. I’d always eschewed music with lyrics, believing that lyrics almost always ruined a good tune. Then one lunchtime, when we’d all given school dinners the bum’s rush and instead head headed to the ‘Swan and Pyramids’ for a liquid lunch, someone put on the b-side of ‘Opportunities – Lets Make Lots of Money’, ‘Was that what it was?’ and I thought ’This is really quite good’.
Every school had a pub within walking distance, well actually ours had three, where 6th formers could dash up at lunch break, have some food, play some pool, have a have a pint and pretend to be the dashing young blades we all hoped we’d soon become. Indeed, so hasty were some of us to be at that happy place that they’d put what they imagined were impressive books in their blazer pockets with just enough of the title showing to impress the girls from the local convent school. Virginia Wolf. Sylvia Plath. And absolutely anything by F Scott Fitzgerald! Apart from ‘The Great Gatsby’. That was on our ‘A’ level syllabus and even if hadn’t of been, it was too far too obvious an F Scott Fitzgerald choice. What was needed was something obscure, to indicate that you weren’t like the other boys, you were deeper than most and if it were a battered looking, well thumbed book so much the better. Clearly you were the sort of sensitive young man who…how did I get onto this? Ah! Chris Lowe, back on track.
The reason I mentioned him is because he maintains that if you are displeased by something he says or does in relation to something, blame not him but the person that did that something. Phew! That took a while!
This morning I made my tea, as per yesterday, and as per yesterday, my neighbour had his sprinkler on. He does know that watering your plants in the morning makes about as much sense as trying to teach a dog Latin, doesn’t he? That Thames Water loses enough water – 8 million litres – to burst pipes every day without him pitching in. Mind you, if you think of how much water we waste nationally every day – about 96 million litres – and then think about how much it amounts to a year. Then think of globally. And then think it won’t be a pandemic, that’ll make humanity extinct, it’ll be our carelessness, our inability to think beyond our own needs, basically our stupidity that’ll do us.
I thought back to yesterday morning, when I escaped the madhouse for some much need succor. Turns out the sucker was me, thinking I could find any. The cut-through to the churchyard near me has a pub on the corner of it, and despite it having been closed since March, despite it being early in the morning and despite it being in full sun, its hanging basket’s were dripping obscenely. This made me mad, but not as mad though as the two dog walkers in the churchyard clearly were, when some perceived transgression by one of them necessitated an immediate and shouty response. What they were arguing about, I don’t know, I couldn’t hear exactly, but breeze carried the sound if their angry shouting to my bench and there was no mistaking their body language.
Perhaps they were arguing about whose dog was the silliest, the most ridiculously small, the most unworthy to be even called a dog, so pathetic looking it was hard to tell who was most pathetic, and which end of the lead they were on. Perhaps it wasn’t about that at all, actually probably not given that someone wholly unconnected with the whole affair, thought that she too could join in proceedings.
Always the way. An argument is winding down, the heat gone out of it and someone just has to say something to re-ignite the whole thing. I think she did it purpose, had seen the arguing, seen it burn bright and then begin to fade and thought ‘Well I’m not having that!’ and marched over and threw her oar in. I think she cruises around local parks, like a bizarre cottager, hiding in bushes so she can leap out unexpectedly when an argument begins to flag, giving advice on tactics, suggesting insults, possible tangents to go down when your losing – the handy ‘But you do this-‘ we’ve all employed in times of need – and assorted red herrings, distractions and conversational knots to tie them up in. She’d be fair though, and help both parties equally because it’d be in her interests to do so, to prolong it, ideally to the point of police intervention. Although in this weather, under these lockdown conditions, with everyone being at the end of their tether, it wouldn’t take much. My primary school headmaster was called Mr. Tether. I wonder if he ever said that to his wife, did she want to touch the end of his Tethers?
Anyway things are like a powder keg and in a high population density urban environment, it wouldn’t take much for it all to kick off big time in London. Or Birmingham. Or Manchester, Liverpool or Bristol. We’ve seen the rioting in the US and whilst the initial causative factor may well be different, the same tensions, the same sense of inequality – Grenfell, anyone? – the same feeling that we’re not all in it together, is. The sense that what postcode you were born in, where you went to school, who your parents know, how rich you are, those are the determining factors that govern your life-chances. The government must be shitting themselves at the prospect of things turning very violent, very quickly.
Not least because they don’t have the manpower to cope with it. Police numbers have been cut and even if they hadn’t, remember Extinction Rebellion (XR) blocking London’s bridges last year? Remember how when the police finally made arrests, cells in London became swamped and prisoners has to be detained outside London. XR knew what would happen, were counting on it happening in fact, so much so that they were actively encouraging people to get arrested to cause system collapse.
Now imagine that on a much wider scale, remember Toxteth, remember Broadwater Farm and Keith Blakelock? Makes Boris’s Johnson decision to buy two water cannon’s when Mayor of London not the terrible idea it was widely derided as being.
It’s just occurred to me that if this government pursued a policy of herd immunity, knowing full well that it in so doing it would effectively write off a minority of the population – the old, the poor, those with underlying health conditions, people living in care homes – basically anyone who wasn’t like them and couldn’t buy their way out of death, is it so far fetched that they might similarly just write off areas if things kick off? Peckham, for one, although seeing as how it is within walking distance of my house, let’s hope it wouldn’t be their first choice. Of course they throw everything into defending Chelsea, Westminster, and the City of London, they’re Conservatives after all, they look after their own.
*I made up those figures for water wastage. But they seem true, don’t they?