Sunday 8 July 2012

A butterfly flaps it's wings in China,
A 21 year old gets arrested in Chicago, do I care?
For once I kind of do.

I fucking hate watching the news.

It's always really fucking depressing.
With the obvious exception of enjoying the always lovely and professional Polly Evans, there really isn't much point to the news whatsoever.
Where do you want to start? The cost of living is going up as the average wage is going down. But don't worry! There are now far less jobs than ever, if you have to sign on you've got less chance of getting employed! It's great because if you are one of the lucky few to gain employment, you're going to earn less than you would have in the same role five years ago. The world is running out of food and air yet people are spitting out more kids today than in the eighties! Some would suggest this is in order to claim compensation off of the already flat broke and utterly useless government. Depending on the day, time and whether or not I've skipped a meal I'm one of those people... Unless it's three o'clock on a Saturday and I've just had a pub lunch in which case I care much, much less about the topic. I mean, I really don't like kids and there are just too many people in the world. Less of that please! There's always some fucking disaster somewhere. If it's not some cunt in a canoe in Cornwall watching all of his worldly possessions float down the road then it's the cheery heart warming headline: "Hundreds dead due to tidal wave... err, we think. It could be thousands. We're still finding more bodies."
Talking of which, you know the third world yeah? The one Geldof and Lenny Henry have spent decades encouraging us to help out? That third world right? It's still there! Also, just In case you weren’t aware, that's the go to back up story for most news networks these days!
I know two guys that both work for polar opposite news networks. On the two separate occasions that I've mentioned to each of them that I don't watch the news they've looked at me like I've just confessed to anally raping them in their sleep on a regular basis with a Terry Christian shaped dildo and a healthy supply of chloroform. Then, after they'd scratched their head for a second they both eventually agreed that A) "Actually yeah, the news is really fucking depressing isn't it." and B) When there's a lull in 'Actual News' there's always some sort of natural disaster, public militant uprising, economic doom, poverty or despair to fall back on.

Pat on the back everybody! It's not a perfect world!
Therefore we don't have rolling twenty four hour 
dead air on our news channels! Hooray!

Hundreds of (News) channels and nothing good is ever on!
It's rare that I ever see anything in the news that stirs up any sort of reaction in me. Even when you look at something like last years riots. I fucking knew that would happen. I knew it! It was hot, lots of people were outraged, other people wanted to smash up stuff, lather, rinse, repeat.
Was I shocked and appalled? No, not really.
Even if you spent, like I did during that week, three hours watching the news, spread out over five days.
Not much in the way of anything is going to shock you.

So here's the thing. During Session 119 - Philipisms myself and old Brommers discussed a news story that for myself, really hit close to home. I didn't read the story on a reputable news site. I saw it on Facebook of all places!
At the end of last month there was a massive Anti-NATO protest in Chicago which, if the mainstream media is to be believed at all is a terrible idea with the current midwife shortage at the moment... erm, anyway...
So a bunch of like minded citizens get together to voice their collective outrage towards NATO and NATO related activities.
What better way of getting the attention of the chap in charge of your country than to stand outside of the building he's in and shout at him when he's got company?
It's the larger more obvious equivalent of banging on your lounge ceiling with a broom handle to let your fancy landlord know that even though he owns the building and you just rent the flat downstairs, four in the morning is a fantastic time for the sound of many Prada heeled dinner guests playing tipsy Pictionary upstairs with him to either shut the fuck up or fuck the fuck off.
I get it. I completely understand the thought process that every protestor had going into that protest. I just find it very hard to care. It's just not my thing... caring I mean. I'm just not in the business of caring, more so after I read up on this story at various news sites. In fact the local CBS news site was one of the few that didn't seem to contain some kind of hidden negative agenda towards the protestors, to the extent I was half expecting to see the phrase "FUCKING COMMUNISTS!" watermarked across the middle of the pictures taken of masked sign holders on most of the online news outlets that covered it. Again, I hate the news. I can't watch it. It bums me out and leaves me totally unable to care. But in this case something really resonated with me.


Eight or so years ago I was living on the cusp of north London. A guy I knew had tickets to a gig at the end of the week and nobody else wanted to go with him. So he offered the ticket to me for nothing. On the night of the gig the guy tells me that something came up and now he can't go. Everyone else I knew was either working late or had plans. So I thought "Fuck it! I've taken the night off especially to go to this, it's only a half hour train ride, he gave me both tickets, I'll flog his ticket (To a fan not a tout!) outside the venue and that will pay for my drinks... or at least three of my drinks! Fuck it! I'm going to go!*"
So I went... The band didn't show... and shit kicked off! After waiting for what seemed like forever the venue dropped the curtain and people started to invade the stage and break basically everything in sight. The security staff started pushing people out to the street. (To this day this is one of the primary reasons I never wear a jacket to gigs and always refuse to check my bag in at the coat room. What am I going to do now? It's not like I can pop back to the Astoria and tell them they owe me a scruffy black leather jacket that won't have a hope in hell of fitting me by now!)
By the time I had made it to the street outside there were only two police cars and a police Transit van** parked near the front doors. To my knowledge that was the sum total of police that turned up to deal with what the press later called a vicious and violent riot. No sooner had I gathered my bearings in the cold winter air outside, I was shocked and stunned to see a police officer... what's the nicest way of saying this... thumping a kid half his age, weight and height repeatedly in the chest.
All I could see from inside the scramble of the few hundred people outside that the press would later call nearly a few thousand people, was a kid grinning at a cop. The copper then smacked him one punch in the chest then another just below his shoulder. I swear to this day that he looked like he was winding up for a third. I squeezed past the few people between myself and the trained professional beating on the thin, pale teenager and simply stuck my arm between the two of them. I remember clearly saying:
"Hey! What on earth are you doing?! Come on!".
I remember that this was what I had said simply because even though this copper was clearly letting his emotions control his actions, my default reactions in any unusual, stress fuelled situation always includes one golden rule: Never shout or swear at a police officer. They'll only use it as an excuse to detain you. I remember this so clearly! I was so fucking impressed with myself that I didn't swear!
Now picture the scene, I have my back to the cop, I'm talking loudly over my left shoulder with this poor bastard's face pressed up against my right pit. I haven't laid a finger on the cop, but I'm trying to stop this kid getting more of a beating by smothering him with my cold, sweaty pit.
He grabs both of my hands and pulls them down behind my back, then up hard so that my face was looking down at my greasy jeans and sticky beer covered black Converse.

The kid's head had now moved from being face first in my
clammy right pit to looking over my right shoulder.
"Thanks mate" He wheezed into my ear.
I thought my wrists were broken at this point so the decision to not reply was made for me by a mix bag of a low pain threshold and a trained professional putting all of his weight into his work... I thought I'd never wank again.

To this day I can't even say if I was cuffed or zip-tied or what. The shooting pain was such that nearly all feeling had gone from my arms. In fact two hours afterwards I still had trouble lighting a cigarette. Another policeman then grabbed my shoulder and both of my hands and hoiked me chest first into the Police Ford Transit Van.***
I remember eyeballing some people inside the van that I didn't recall seeing inside or even outside the venue, all of which, like me, were skinny, sweaty and getting colder by the second. I also remember thinking: "Shit. I'm going to prison. Do not pass go, do not collect £200. For helping some random fucking kid... Fucking great."
They drove us all of 3 minutes away from the venue. Parked, opened the back doors and without explanation kicked us all out of the van, freed my wrists and then told everyone that we were to go home immediately. They then got back in the van and left.

Shortly after the whole debacle, on the train home, I remember musing over the previous Monopoly analogy and thinking that it was fairly fucking childish and stupid. But, when you get told off by any kind of authority figure your brain, if it's anything like my feeble mind, will revert to a kind of naughty boy state (Sorry ladies, I don't know what else to call it!) where you know you've done something that the totalitarian rulers in your life**** don't like, but you can't for the life of you figure out what! It is in this state where my uncomplicated grey matter reverts to making simplistic observations and creating monolithic, go-to fantasy opening court statements: "Ladies and gentlemen of the jury. I didn't do anything wrong, that guy was hurting the other smaller guy and THAT was wrong. I did good. Go ahead and vote not guilty!" As if a drunk Ironside had wheeled in and saved my bacon with a complete non fucking argument.*****
Although it is an argument isn't it? Looking out for those that can't defend themselves! Right?!
I sympathise with Chris French for two simple reasons:

1) When there's nothing much on, those that claim to report just the news and only the news will report fucking anything!
Even a distorted half truth version of whatever events have occurred just to fill a slot in their programming schedule.


2) If what I believe to have happened in his situation is accurate. Then it quite easily could have been me in his situation all that time ago.

I don't ever tell many people this story. I've only ever mentioned it to a few close friends when it has come up in casual conversation obviously. The thing is, that when faced with that sort of scenario, only you know what happens right in front of you in those rare, terrifyingly bizarre situations. Either way, I'd really like to have a chat with the guy, even just to see if he is ok... and to teach him how to use a step ladder quietly in a newsagents. After all, that's the best way to really wreck your wrists.******


C.J "Clean as a whistle! No sick in there!" Hixon

*Note: He did ask me to try and get something for his ticket but I figured that I was going to the trouble and expense of going into town and trying to hock it, I wanted something for my troubles! Plus He wasn't really a mate more of a friend of a friend and I haven't even spoken to him for the last eight years anyway... So don't judge me ok?!

**I hate the term "Meat Wagon". It's always sounded like some kind of kinky hot dog cart whenever I've heard it used. Let's face it; nobody should ever have to ask a guy in a gimp suit for extra mustard.

***As I'm typing this I am even more certain that it was A Ford Transit as I saw the Ford badge on the back door... Strange the things you remember isn't it?

****I.E Parents, Teachers, the Lollypop lady or bloke, Mr Edwards from the newsagent that shouts at you for reading a comic for more than three pages before you've purchased it... and Razzle. I learned how to use a step ladder like a ninja from an early age.

*****Of course with, as the French say "L'esprit de l'escalier" If I had known that I would later on in life meet the world's finest legal mind I wouldn't have paid any mind about the whole situation from the second I saw the first Policeman. Fact.

****** I seem to have made a call back before the call back here. I always presume that people read these notes as they go along but as I have discovered time and time again they seldom do. If you got the joke I made at this point well done you! You are a careful reader and if I may say, the kind of person I would like to discuss this whole confusing episode of my life with over a few cold pints sometime. If, however, you did not get the call back then read the post again and email your thoughts after a careful second study right at me at: LiquidInspirationPodcast[at]googlemail[dot]com
and await further, even more confusing instructions.