the brilliantly leaping gazelle

Helmuth von Moltke the Elder

So, we’re in isolation and naturally, we’re following the governments guidelines regarding what you can and can’t do whilst in isolation. Well, we’re following them as most people are and applying to whatever seems to fit in with their lives at any given time, One of my housemates – and there’s a large caveat there – on hearing the news of LMS school closure and that we all in isolation, declared that as he hadn’t been in her company much recently, he was off for the weekend to help his ex with their childcare.

And that, in a nutshell, helps explains why we are where we are. Of course the government should impose regulations that curtail certain civil liberties on people if it will help protect the most fundamental civil liberty of all, the right to life. I mean we can all agree on that, can’t we? Can’t we? Because it seems to me that that whilst that theory works fine in theory, it is when it meets reality things go wrong. A famous Field Marshall once said ‘No plan ever survives contact with the enemy’ and what is true in war is also true in the fight against this pandemic it seems

I myself am not immune from the self-serving application of the rules. When Joe had a positive test for coronavirus a month ago, a week’s holiday suddenly vanished. Chuffed I was not. Although being fair to Joe, he did drive me to have a test and helped me complete it. But once it came back negative that was it. I was out of the house and making the most of the disappearing warm sun, thinking ‘No fucking way am I staying cooped up if I have to”

So whilst in theory we might agree with something, that agreement only applies to other people, not to us, we’re somehow exempt from the opprobrium we dole out to others. Talking about curtailing civil liberties, I’ve been summoned by LMS to inspect her den that she’s made with packing boxes.

It has windows now

Not Doris Svensonn

The last couple of days have involved me having the rather disconcerting experience of me not being someone else. And why was I not Doris Svensonn this morning? Well the sound of a harmonica being played while I’m having my first cup of tea, the first cup of tea moreover, that the person playing the harmonica knows I like to enjoy in silence. A thought has just occurred to me: why is a harmonica called a harmonica, when the sound that comes out of it is so patently not?

Anyway, LMS continued on in the vein for what was too long until Joe asked her stop, which she did. Eventually. However, the silence couldn’t last and there were no thoughts of homicide in my mind whatsoever, no idle speculation of which of the items readily to hand could best be used as a murder weapon, when Joe suggested that LMS should try to play scales on it instead in a kind of weird parental amnesia.

This ear bedevilment was soon replaced by Joe suggesting that LMS should play the bongo’s. “Quietly, he said. Yes indeed he did! I had no idea that bongo’s came with volume settings, I just thought there was only one, bloody infuriating. With of course they are, one glorious exception:

From 1:46 on its just aural perfection. It just is.

Anyway, enough about me. How was your morning? Again, another thought has just popped into my head. Mine wasn’t so much a morning as a mourning.

Not Howard Moon. Yet.

So. We are where we are. And where I am, is back in isolation again. And not in ‘The Mighty Boosh’ surrealist absurdity way either, but an isolation that is increasing feeling like a right royal pain in the gary. Oh, did I not mention the previous two-week isolation? The one I enjoyed after Joe had tested positive for coronavirus? I mean having had the test one might have presumed he had realistic cause to imagine he had it. it. No one has a test if they have no symptoms and therefore expect a negative result, do they?

Or perhaps they do. Hordes of them. Pranksters, the worried well, the bored. The lonely with no-one to talk to, who’ll do anything for some human interaction.

At least then it was just warm enough, and the days were long enough, for me to be in the garden. The nights were balmy too.

Now they’re just barmy.

“I’m radiating impatience!”

This morning started well enough.

I was woken up by LMS knocking on my bedroom and asking if I wanted a cup of tea, a question as superfluous as it was disingenuous. Because she knows full well the answer will always be ‘yes’ and I know the question is really her way of saying ‘You know that when you’ve finished the tea you’ll have to play with me.’ With a voice thick with sleep I said ‘Yes’ and then remembered it was a school day and by rights she should’ve been on her way to school and not offering my some working class champagne. I asked her why this was the case, at which point she burst into my room, did a victory dance and announced that school had been cancelled because one of her classmates had tested positive for coronavirus.

Now the correct response of any right thinking person would be one of – adopts serious tone – to express concern for the child, hoping that it wouldn’t be that serious and indicating sympathy for the parents at what must be a difficult and anxious time for them. However, seeing as how I am brain damaged demented wrongcock, I thought ‘Yes! Get in! Result’

Then it got even better.

The tea was washed down with the news that LMS was to be off school for two weeks! Simply wonderful! Some explanation of my reaction to the news that a child had tested positive for what in some cases is a fatal disease might be in order.

We’re moving out of this house next month. The owners are taking possession, a fact which we’ve known about for some time. Joe, Marge and LMS are moving to Swanage and I’ll be moving up to North London. All very boo-hoo, for a number of reasons, but one of the main ones is that I’ll no longer see LMS as often.

As I’ve noted many times on this blog, the transformative effect she has had on my mood is incalculable. Because all the various anti-depressant medications I was prescribed were as much use as glass trampoline. What did work and forced me to get out of bed, emerge from my room and generally stop giving up was a two year old girl banging on my door most mornings and saying ‘Get up, I want play’ Repeatedly, until I did.

A few years later it was time for her to start primary – or junior – school – I’m not a parent, I don’t need to know these things – but the upshot was that LMS would be going there every day for most of her awake time. I know that both her parents were counting down the days until this millstone was lif – oops did I write millstone, so sorry I meant to write milestone – milestone was reached and more people could be permitted to share things with her. Only later did I realise quite how devastating this was for me. Whereas before there had been the sound of exuberant laughter now it was all a bit Simon and Garfunkel. Far too much of it, and not the comfortable kind either, more the kind that’s more redolent of abandoned stately homes or Dickens novels.

That was why when the lockdown was announced earlier this year I decided to come back here, rather than stay in North London. Again I’ve written extensively about this whole period but the one abiding memory, the one that sums up why I choose to return and the wisdom of so doing is the following. One morning, as Joe and Marge were discussing yet another increase in the rate of infections and bemoaning the dismal performance of the government, LMS and I were sitting a few feet away discussing ways to classify farts. The thorny issue being what types of farts made what kind of sound. The kind of silliness that kept at bay all the pernicious doom and gloom, rather like expecto patronum to the dementors!

For this and a great many other reasons I’ll miss living with her. I’ll still see her, it just won’t be the same is all. I would say she’s one of my favourite people but seeing as how nearly all of the people I knew have excused themselves from my life, that isn’t the compliment it once would’ve been. That being unfortunately so, let me write that she is one of my most favourite ever people. Top five easily. I’m reminded of the line I heard somewhere that sums up how I’ll feel perfectly: ‘the absence of her means more than the presence of others’

Which is why two weeks of her is such an unexpected joy, and coming at such a prociptious time to boot. This morning as I was drinking my tea too slowly for her liking, she sat next to me, a stern expression on her face and said, “I’m radiating impatience!” How could I not be charmed by that? I get that it might be considered something by some people to be so thrilled at me finding someone else’s ill heath fortuitous, but really! Have I ever really cared what other people think?  

A killer virus?

Yesterday the BBC carried the news that,

 

More than 500,000 people worldwide have now lost their lives as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, according to Johns Hopkins University in the US.

 Since the virus emerged in China late last year, there have been more than 10 million cases, Johns Hopkins reports.

You know what I’m going to write about that, don’t you? Of course you do, my blog has been nothing if consistent in pointing out that for a supposed killer disease, coronavirus isn’t killing that many people. I get that some people mind find this the wrong way to interpret the numbers but then those are the sort of people who move their lips when they read, but I’m working on the assumption that whoever reads my blog is a sentient adult capable of critical analysis.

10 million cases resulting in 500,000 deaths, depending on how you look at it means either a 5% chance of death, or a 95% chance of survival.

Mmm, a killer disease with a 95% of survival rate? Really?

And, of course, we know that a billion a thousand million, so therefore we know that half a million deaths equals 0.05% of a billion. Being even more brutal, given that the world population stands at around 7 billions, those 500,000 deaths become an even smaller percentage still. And it’s taken a while to get even to that. Obviously those deaths are a personal tragedy for the loved ones of the deceased but of it had taken weeks to get to this figure, not nearly six months, then I’d be taking things with the seriousness it would deserve.

But I can’t, because the numbers don’t tell me I should.

Landmines!

As I have mentioned many times before on this blog, things that appear shocking to most people are not shocking to me, but the fact that they find them shocking in the first place, now that’s what shocks me. They’re the sort of people who’d be surprised to find someone who looks exactly like them staring back at them in the bathroom mirror every morning.

The beaches on the Dorset coast are crowded. And? In what universe is this in any way shocking? It would be shocking if no one had gone at all, if the beaches were as clear as the waterways in Venice were a couple of months ago. But people flocking to the coast after a prolonged period of lockdown, coupled with increasing hot weather, a perception the worst is finally over and a self-serving attitude that it’s everyone else that is behaving recklessly, but they’re being reasonable? Not shocking or any word conveying a degree of surprise, no.

My first thought on seeing the images of a packed Bournemouth beach was ‘What kind of mental pigmy takes one look at the beach, heaves his bags of beach stuff onto his shoulder and ploughs on through the throng? Might not a helicopter fly overhead and drop sewage on them instead? That’d clear the beaches quick-sharp. Why bother cleaning the beaches of all the rubbish. Don’t encourage them, leave it there’

Better yet, turn the beach into a minefield. That could play to Johnsons desire to appear Churchillian, you know, “fight them on the beaches” and all that.

My second thought was that this kind of idiocy only reaffirms my fear that a second wave of Coronavirus is imminent and also that human beings are complicit in their own eventual extinction. People know the risks, they know that gathering in large groups isn’t advisable, but yet because of their own sense of entitlement, their bloody-mindedness, their arrogantly selfish desire to do whatever they want to do, they do it. Were most of those gathered on the beaches at Bournemouth to get the virus and for some of them to die from it, would that be such a great loss? Or just of natural selection?

Again, as I have repeatedly maintained on this blog, the extinction of the human race would be to the massive benefit of this planet. Because for the brief time that humanity has existed, it has brought nothing but wanton destruction in its wake. Indeed the actions of the people on the beach at Bournemouth all but guaranteed it So it seems highly proper that humanity should experience the same fate as the one we inflicted on the dodo.

I don’t like Wednesdays.

When I wrote the three Wednesday’s ago that, ‘today isn’t a good day. Not at all’, I meant it.

I just didn’t realise exactly how not good it was going to be.

I knew, as indeed I posted, that I needed music therapy, ideally fucking loud music therapy. But one of the challenges of being in a shared house is the problem of other people, and in this instance what is loud to me often summons the ambience police who turn it right down, on the grounds that they can’t think. Which is exactly what I didn’t want to do.

So it ‘Orbital – Live at Glastonbury’ it wasn’t. Instead some John Barry, some Ryuici Sakamoto, some Ennio Morricone. And John Williams’s epic ‘Adventure on Earth’ from the soundtrack of ‘E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial’. That bought LMS racing downstairs and bursting into the sitting room and acting out bits from the film, which in the normal scheme of things I’d find charmingly cute, but this so wasn’t the normal scheme of things at all. Time to act all nice again.

Could we watch it later, she asked? What, watch my all time favourite film, one that makes me cry, and always has done, that one? The one that LMS and have watched countless times, so she knows she’s pushing at an open door, that one? The one that when I start watching it, there’s no way it’s going to be turned off until it’s over, that one?

Of course the answer was going to be yes. I knew it’d make me cry, but in truth I knew I needed to. In the past, when I’ve known I needed a good cry, I’d either watch ‘E.T’ or ‘The Natural’, a criminally overlooked Robert Redford film, with another epic soundtrack from Randy Newman.

So later we watched it, and as I knew it would, because it happens at same point in the film every time, I started crying. The bit where Elliot thinks E.T is dead, that bit. And makes a speech. That got only muffled sobs because I knew what was next, when we realise that E.T is alive, that always sets me off, although not as bad though as the first time I saw it, in a packed cinema and it sounded like everyone had lost it. My partner – Nosferatu – had always pooh-poohed the veneration with which I regard this film, until a few years ago now I dragged her to a screening of it at the National Film Theatre and by the end of it she had a few splinters in her eye.

Anyway, back to three weeks ago. When the film had ended, I correctly figured that LMS would have her supper and as I needed to be on my own and that to get my bedroom I have to pass through the dining room and the kitchen, I instead headed upstairs to the bathroom and locked the door. A wise move, as it turned out. Not locking the door, that was just what I what I always do, but going upstairs. For about five minutes I just sat there and then it happened.

A howling, the like of which I haven’t had in years just started to erupt from deep within me. A guttural, animalistic kind of wailing, as unstoppable as it was desperate. Possibly it was the strain of the lockdown. Possibly it was the sense of loneliness and isolation that enforced self-isolation had only compounded. Possibly it was feeling frustrated pretty much all of the time. More likely it was the years of pent up anger I feel at my current situation. More likelier still is that it was the overwhelming sense of anger I feel towards myself that I woke up from the coma in the first place. It’s not that I want to be dead so much as hate the fact that I woke up from the coma in the first place. It’s a distinction that makes complete sense to me and if it doesn’t to anyone else, well frankly, who gives?

But on and on it burst forth, like an emotional river, that has seen it’s levels steadily rise, because of my life being sidetracked, potential unfulfilled, the unknown ambitions remaining unknown, independence gone resulting in tongues bitten, observations just observed and slights not forcefully refuted with swearing, all of that and more too numerous and nebulous to mention just gushed, an unstoppable torrent of raw emotion.

Well that’s not entirely true. As it engulfed me, I was aware that if I was left alone with it for the evening, then bad things would happen. Not that I considered myself to pose any immediate danger to myself, you understand, but at 3 or 4am I might’ve taken myself down a particularly twisted labyrinth and it could easily be a different story.

And as I’m always saying, anyone can be wise after the event; the trick is to be wise before the event. So I called Nosferatu and asked her to come and get me and then returned to my howling. The sounds I was making were as disturbing to me inside the bathroom as they were ultimately pointless. Remember how I wrote earlier that I hadn’t experienced a howling like that for years? It’s true. After waking up from the coma and realising the full extent of the wretchedness my life had suddenly become, I would do all manner of things to vent the feelings inside of me, until I realised that all I was doing was making myself feel worse and ending up at the same starting point. My situation hadn’t changed. So I stopped doing it, until all the feelings that had lain dormant could be contained no longer, which is how I ended up in a locked bathroom making sounds better suited to a horror movie.

I think that’s what shocked me more than anything else, the suddenness of it and my utter defenceless against its onslaught, because as a child I’d learnt to compartmentalise feelings, the kind that were not helpful when I was having them, I mean, and making a split-second decision just to deal with whatever the fresh hell it was that confronted me. The problem with that strategy was that it became so ingrained, so automatic, that by my teenage years, that was my default setting and it was only in my early thirties it slowly dawned on me that the years of not dealing with things wasn’t perhaps the wisest strategy now. I’d grown used to bottling things up, to deal with them later I’d kid myself, only I never actually dealt with them.

Eventually, Nosferatu picked me up and drove me back to her place in Stoke Newington, technically in breach lockdown guidelines on staying overnight somewhere, but after the fine example set by Going’s and realising that guidelines are just that, guidelines and as such, open to interpretation based on individual need, decided that my need to be somewhere else was more important.

In the way of these things, we stayed up until 4am talking. When I write talking I don’t mean talking solely about my depression, because that would depress me. I mean talking about everything and nothing, occasionally talking about what had happened earlier on. So when one added up all those snippets of conversation came to a grand total of nearly 3 hours. That’s my problem with therapists, because they work to a schedule, and if as is likely I rarely talk for an hour solidly about my depression, their timetable doesn’t work for me.

Nosferatu drove me back to Insanity Villa’s on Saturday morning, and only then because not only had I a Sainsbury’s delivery booked and but because also the circus had gone down to Dorset, meaning the garden was able to be enjoyed in silence. Well that was my plan anyway. The weather had other ideas and being the weather, was able to implement them. These included a drop in temperature, overcast skies, occasional showers and one humungous downpour that turned my rear bedroom wall into something out of ‘The House of Blood’ So no relaxation in the garden for me then and because I’m never sure if Paul is in or out, loud music at 1am wasn’t really a go-er. Anyway, I stuck it out until Wednesday fortnight last, when the silence became deafening and if the previous outburst had been an earthquake, these were the aftershocks.

As with last time, I called Nosferatu, and as with last time she jumped in my car and drove over. L’Oreal. I’m worth it. The aftershocks came in waves, feelings of hopelessness, emptiness, and pointlessness, basically all the ness’s you can think of. Apart from her off ‘Gavin and Stacey’. There were quite a few times when Nosferatu intuitively gauged my mood as one best described as ‘make him some tea and leave him to it’, which is always a great idea, but in this instance, was especially so. When I would just sit there, utterly impervious to everything, completely wrapped up in my own thoughts, sometimes for hours, mainly when I should’ve been sleeping. As I say to Nosferatu, no matter how bad things are for me, they’d be immeasurably worse if it wasn’t for her.

Still feeling a bit shit, I decided to return to Insanity Villa’s last Tuesday afternoon, whereupon LMS, hearing the key in the door, nearly knocked me off my feet so powerful was the hug she gave me.  That made me feel better

The therapy session via Zoom last Wednesday, where in the space of an hour I condensed everything that had gone on whilst my therapist had been on staycation, didn’t.

It’s like nothing has changed, mainly because nothing has. I’m still brain damaged and I still wish I hadn’t woken up from the coma.

I wonder what delights today has in store for me?

Swing Out Sister

Today isn’t a good day. Not at all. Been having bad thoughts.

Just to be clear here, when I write bad thoughts, I don’t mean of the ‘I wonder what would happen if we got a woman to try and mate with an alligator’ variety.

More of the ‘And I woke up from a coma for this?’ kind. The kind that can easily lead me somewhere I don’t want to go. The kind that needs music therapy to stop that from happening.

Fucking loud music therapy, in fact.

Such as this,

A slippery slope.

 

You’re all Dominic Cummings now! I’m not. I’m nothing like you.

One of the unfortunate truisms of modern life is that whilst everything you do you think reasonable, proportionate and speak volumes about what a decent person you are, other people, well other people are a whole different story. Frequently they behave in a way that you wouldn’t and therefore find annoying, sometimes they do things you wouldn’t do a million years and sometimes they do things that make you think ‘And these people are allowed to breed, because that’s what we desperately need more of, fucking idiots’

Actually, thinking about it, if they were trying to have a baby, I suppose they’d be fucking fucking idiots.

I though of this moments after opening a link my partner sent me, with the engaging titled headline,

Durdle Door: Three seriously hurt ‘jumping off cliff into sea’

 and a story that

Dorset Police responded to reports of concern for the safety of people who were jumping off the cliff at Durdle Door into the sea at about 15:45 BST.

Two helicopters landed on the beach and those injured were taken to hospital. The extent of their injuries is not yet known.

The beach and cliffs were evacuated. People have been advised to avoid the area.

Ch Insp Claire Phillips, of Dorset Police, said: “We have had to close the beach at Durdle Door to allow air ambulances to land.

And my first thought was ‘Why not just leave them screaming in pain? Let them deal with the consequences of their foolishness. Why go to all this trouble when we could simply treat them the same way we sometimes see crashed cars on the side of the road near an accident black-spot, to act as a warning to others? Sure they’d die, but is it really a loss? They’d be more use dead than alive anyway. Their rotting corpses would be a smelly deterrent to others, in much the same way that the heads of people beheaded were hung on spikes or the bodies of the hanged were put in giblets in olden times. Be more effective than a warning sign’

My second was ‘It’s not as if the hospitals haven’t got much on, is it?’

My third was ‘What are all the other people doing there?’ All of them probably though that whilst other people were flouting lockdown guidelines on travel and social distancing were behaving deeply irresponsibly, what they were doing was somehow exempt from the condemnation they bestowed on others. Because when others break lockdown, well that’s stupid, selfish and making a second wave all but inevitable. But when they do it, by the power of Castle Greyskull a curious transformation takes place which means there are suddenly compelling reasons that not only justify their actions but also make it seem the obvious thing to do.

The fourth thing I thought was after seeing this headline,

George Floyd death: Trump threatens to send in army to end unrest

was that people are no longer rioting for the poor man who died. Instead they’re rioting because they’re sick of lockdown, sick of a whole host of social problems that as a white heterosexual male in Britain I don’t have to deal with.

As I wrote yesterday, the government must be shitting themselves that a similar outbreak of lawlessness doesn’t happen here. But then again, it’s already started. If people can decide what they do is reasonable, that they can justify their actions to themselves, that they feel no guilt about doing what they’d condemn others for,then were already at the top of a slippery slope.

You all interpret the easing of the lockdown measures to suit your own needs. You cherry-pick the ones that allow you to do the things that you’d wanted to do anyway.

You’re all Dominic Cummings now! I’m not. I’m nothing like you.

Chris Lowe

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?