Trying to shuffle through the requisite amount of papers today, because come this evening it’s time to down tools, marshal my energies and prepare for a trip to that legendary den of iniquity, and road crossing danger: Amsterdam.
I haven’t been there for a couple of years, but on some level, memories of that dirty place still return from time to time, usually when I’m sitting round a table, somewhere between wide-awake and full on white-out, laughing about a world of psychadelics and hallucinogens that I was pretty pleased to have consigned to my ill-considered youth.
But it’s back. Brought on by Mr Lurch’s decision to do the right thing by his delightful partner of choice, we’re off for a stag weekend to the city of a thousand maroots. We’re a big crew and I approach the event with a mixture of excitement and anxiety, sure that at the very least, a bolo adventure of some proportions, is about to unfold. Just need to pack up the trusty camera, the dictaphone, drink a couple of pints of berocca for extra vitamin reserves, steel my resolve and head out to the flatlands. Resistance, and by that I probably mean sobriety, is pretty much futile.
I tend to go through spurts of writing on this fine beast of a blog due to the inconsistency of material and opinion in my little head. However, today I have been spurred into action by the news sources of the interweb.
The girl with the purity ring who has been banned from wearing it by her school is just the kind of story that gives me an indignant burst of vitriol to the irritation zone in my frontal cortex. If you haven’t already read this, it is a story about a girl who has chosen to take part in the “Silver Ring Thing” commonly associated with the american evangelical movement. It is a public display of one’s commitment to not have sex until after marriage, and is supposedly a sign of purity.
Firstly – why has the school banned it? Who really gives a shit. It is a ring. Now she has gone to the press and it will be blown up out of all proportion. I could wear a ring today if I really wanted that I could tell everyone indicated my commitment to monkey face only after I had had my balls removed – I doubt people would be offended, they’d just think I was a total knob (and that I probably wouldn’t manage to keep the promise).
Secondly – I wonder if the school banned it because of the implication that this girl is pure for doing so, i.e. kids that don’t stay or aren’t virgins are automatically branded impure or dirty? This is a serious point, as it is insulting if that is the point of the whole ring thing. SEX IS NOT IMPURE (well… perhaps monkey facing is a tad weird, but that’s another matter). I wish that religions would stop regarding all the most enjoyable and natural things that nature has given us and made us desire as dirty. Disease is bad, yes. Responsibility (family planning) is good, yes. But sex is just sex. Why demonise it? Why make people guilty for their natural (some might say God given) desires?
If having sex is dirty then so is breathing. See how long the little girl lasts abstaining from that.
One Daily Mail reader to another: “What are we going to do now Bernnard Manning’s gone?”
Other: “Dunno, but I’m sure other places will do turkey at Christmas”
(I would like to add it did NOT take me four days to think of this joke, I have not heard it before as far as I know, and I was not waiting for him to die just so I could use it. I was, however waiting for him to die.)
Ok, so maybe it wonâ€™t be a fantastically fit female, maybe it will be a big hard bastard, who would be forever in my debt for my honesty. Without those numbers he couldnâ€™t shrink his knob with steroids, talk to his bouncer mates about how tough he was and bell up his skanky dealer for more ego powder. He would be forever in my debt, and doubtless if I ever needed someone to knock about with who would make me look under muscled, he would be there for me. A gigantic, blue veined hand to hold me up and tout my inferiority to his dangerously inflated brethren.
Alright, so letâ€™s think outside the ego here. Maybe it would be an Arab lad. Weâ€™d meet, get on well over the coffee heâ€™d bought to thank me and eventually introduce ourselves. But youâ€™re Jewish heâ€™d say. â€˜Halfâ€™, Iâ€™d reply.
â€˜But, Iâ€™m an Arab, why didnâ€™t you go when you saw that the phone belonged to me?â€™
â€˜I was afraid youâ€™d already seen meâ€™ Iâ€™d say, with a wink and a broad grin.
He would smile, weâ€™d shake hands, knowing that our prejudice was buried once and for all. Eventually, our positive vibes would break down social barriers between our friends and kick off an international trend which would result in the end to the Middle East Conflict.
I was walking home along the quays in the late afternoon sun switching these various possibilities around in my mind as the phone finally did ring.
â€˜Hello?â€™ I answered, a wee bit casually it seemed to me, but then she would understand.
â€˜Hello, youâ€™ve got my phone!!!!!â€™ Screamed an adolescent male voice in comedic high to low breaking style.
â€˜Thatâ€™s very possible, I-â€˜
â€˜Give it back you cunt, or your dead! I know people see, and I know where you are right now. My brotherâ€™s mateâ€™s got this device, yeah, and it can track you, yeah, anywhere you go with that phone, you know. I know people. I need that phone back, yeah, itâ€™s like, got my numbers in and that, and itâ€™s mine. Sâ€™new as well, so donâ€™t even think about keeping it, yeah, I need that fucker, and if you donâ€™t give it back, like RIGHT NOW, youâ€™s a fucking dead man, yeah, do you get me? Iâ€™m talking real style, yeahâ€™
I found myself smiling, listening to this shit from this little turd-mouthed shyster and looking out across the water as the sun began to set. It was a moment of clarity, of sorts. A lesson. It made me feel quite surreal.
â€˜OKâ€™, I said. â€˜Iâ€™ve just finished using your phone to tell my mates in Australia about the eternal joy I felt as I viciously monkey-faced your Mum, so I do have a window of time free now. Where would you like to meet?â€™
â€˜Fuck off you CUNT! Whatâ€™s monkey face, what you dun to er? I love my Mum, if anfingâ€™s â€˜appened to er Iâ€™ll fucking git you. Please donâ€™t hurt er, I luvâ€™s er.â€™ He actually sounded quite tearful, but my sorrow was buried a little too deep.
â€˜Look it up on the internet, my man, and, perhaps you might consider revising your first impression mode while youâ€™re at it. I believe Iâ€™m going to monkey face your phone.â€™
With that, I heaved the prized piece of gleaming technology into the river and went to have a drink and think it all through. I mean, reallyâ€¦..
I signed up to my hosting provider about a year ago. They were cheap and offered a lot for the price. For a long time, I was very happy with them. Things ticked along smoothly in the background, I set up a number of websites and the pound coins slowly rolled in.
Then a couple of months back, things went wrong. Emails sent from some of my accounts started bouncing back. I received fearful warnings that the IP address connected with them was associated with some kind of spam, form mailing form of madness. Websites broke for periods of time and then in one final straw moment, suddenly trying to get some of the websites from google resulted in a horrible warning from the search giant, effectively accusing the site of being some kind of digital rapist, liable to infect you with malware, spyware, crabs and make your eyebrows fall out.
Jesus christ, I thought – This is going to totally fuck my business and it’s not even my fault. I was paying out my money so that my hosts could put in the investment to keep their tenants secure, safe and impregnable from seventeen year old pimply virgins, getting their rocks off on the sordid pleasure of hacking into other people’s servers. No-one really knows why they do it, but the answer could lie somewhere between never getting any sex and not quite being ready yet to head out for the next Columbine massacre. Either way, fuck them, it’s the job of my old host to keep me safe from these urchins and they aren’t doing it.
So, this means I need to move all of my websites over to my new shiny account based down in Docklands. I’m going to start with bolo, to act as a test case. This could mean that a) bolo moves into a new era of amazingness, on a faster connection, and much more impregnable to attack or b) that I botch something up in the process and bolo goes to the wall never to be seen again. Which would make this the final post, but then again hopefully not eh?
Sitting, contemplating the fact that tomorrow I’ve got to rise from my pit at some ungodly hour to go and do some research. Dragged back to my old time employment on a freelance basis on the promise of much needed financial gain, to keep me able to afford takeaways across the weekend and constant supply of Cafe Nero.
Feel a bit grim about it. Seems harder than ever to put the sharp suit on and go into Hugh Grant mode, shaking hands and trying to build a rapport. Trying to find out what in hell’s going on here for the inevitable report down the line and making sure I come out of the building clutching the requisite pile of excel spreadsheets.
Ahh data, the new policy gold. All does not glitter in that department, but that, at this hour of the night, is certainly a subject for another day.
Yes, so slow fear. The usual unlikely possibility of experiencing some kind of breakdown in the day, bearing down upon me. Visions of smashing digital recorder on table before throwing a table over, kicking the shit out of a small pot plant before riding an office chair down the stairs. This probably will not happen. The reality is that I will sit in an office for much of the day, occasionally glimpsing out the window and thinking about getting through, and getting on with something better. Cracking jokes and riding the elevators, keeping a lid on madness, because lets face it, who really wants to see that? Certainly not me.
The last few weeks have seen a veritable slew of long-overdue reunions with old pals, drunken nights ended with passing out listening to Keb Mo, Jamie T and upon the purchase of a digital radio – Planet Rock. An amazing unceasing barrage of tunes with guitar solos, played by dudes with massive hair and quite possibly beards. Shouted conversations in bars with strangers and ever present prospect of doom, epiphany, destruction and elation. Exactly the right stuff for this blog.
Inevitably, several times I’ve wanted to write something and never quite got round to it. Running around firing the camera off like a strobe light and caught up in a frenzy of work. Trying to read more than Johnny Five from Short circuit and getting strangely scared about putting words on a page for all my writing energy spent tapping out corporate wisdom. Surely some of this must be leaving it’s mark? Something to show other than those dark circles under my eyes and the ability to type 100 plus words per minute?
Just time to find an image for this post, roll a final creation and settle back contemplating the week ahead. Mad welsh people staying in the house, so no rest there. Just the crazed melody of the Swansea dialect (familiar to some of the bolo contingent) and the sound of vodka being downed. Best to stay round the Crimpanort’s, caught amongst the ash and the bits of crisps. Tapping out this message on a clapped out silver laptop, nodding to the beat of the tv and the fuzz of static as it lurches in and out of tune.
Not a bad weekend by any means. No big scares and no harrowing drama. Sometimes that’s what you need. A chance to summon up a bit of reserve energy and go lurching off home, swigging lucozade for energy, oranges for health, weetabix for intestinal fortitude and cheese for encouraging incoherent dreams.
I know that this will prove unpopular, especially to anyone who may not be a regular visitor to this site, but in the interests of objectivity somebody has to say it. God knows the media probably wouldn’t dare, not even the good people at the Sun or NOTW.
A lot was made in the 1st week after the poor girl’s disappearance of the parent’s terribly irresponsible behaviour in leaving their 3 very young children completely unsupervised in a foreign country while they fucked off to the pub. Quite rightly, common sense prevailed and people came together to do all they could to try and find her, leaving the recriminations well alone so they could focus on the task at hand.
I was mildly surprised when, just a few days after her disappearance, her parents were shown on the news casually strolling down a Portugese street, appearing to be quite at ease with themselves and the media circus that surrounded them. Still I thought, ‘I’m not even a parent, what the fuck do I know?’, which remains a valid point, but this event with others since has steadily taken on a growing significance in my somewhat naturally paranoid brain.
When I saw that they were off to Rome to see the Pope I couldn’t help thinking that this was bullshit, I mean what’s he going to do? I can just imagine him saying ‘Father Sanchez, get the Vatmobile, I shan’t say another mass until we’ve found her.’
Then I discovered that they weren’t taking the other 2 kids with them. Now I’m pretty sure that you don’t actually have to be a parent to realise that if you’ve had 1 kid pinched you wouldn’t let the others out of your fucking sight, not even for an instant, and you sure as hell wouldn’t leave them under someone else’s care for a day or two in the same country where you had the last one nicked while you toddled across to the other side of Western Europe for ‘spritual enlightenment’ or whatever the fuck they found there. Also, what if she’d have been found while they were gone? A poor, frightened, half dead, distraught little girl that’s just been pulled out of a 45 year old virgin’s basement and wants to see her mummy and daddy – ‘Er..yeah..sorry love, your mummy and daddy aren’t here right now, they had something more important to do.’
So let’s return to this issue of them leaving their 3 kids alone in a room in a foreign country. The more I think about it, the more I realise that I don’t see it as irresponsible at all. I see it as downright unbelievable. At least 1 of the parents, or maybe both I’m not sure, is a doctor – a consultant no less. That means he’s earning more than Â£100k p/y. They’re on what must be a pretty cheap holiday in Portugal and they want to go out for dinner or a drink and leave the kids – I don’t have a problem with that. The complex they were staying on, like nearly all of its type, understands this and offers an in-house baby-sitting service. Now even if you’re paying some extortionate amount for a couple of hours, say Â£50, is this too much to ask for the peace of mind of leaving 3 children under the age of 5 alone, especially for someone who earns more in a year than I probably do in 4??
The police say that there was no sign of forced entry – so they didn’t lock the door perhaps? How did that conversation go?
Dad: ‘Shall we lock the door?’
Mum: ‘No, if there’s a fire they won’t be able to get out.’
Dad: ‘I suppose you’re right. Shall we just ignore the fact that our kids are probably too small to cope with a fire and get out safely on their own anyway?’
Mum: ‘Well, we wouldn’t want to spoil a nice evening with such negative thoughts would we?’
Dad: ‘Excellent point dear. What about burglars? If we leave the door open surely anyone could get in.’
Mum: ‘Yeah, perhaps, but I’m sure there’s even less chance of that happening than a fire.’
Dad: ‘You don’t think that the local chavs would see British tourists as an easy target?
Mum: ‘No, especially not in the evening when our national stereotype suggests that we’ll all be out getting too pissed to realise we’ve been robbed until we arrive back at Gatwick.’
I also read somewhere that her parents wer ‘disappointed’ that she had not been found. Disappointed? No, no, no. I’m disappointed when Hull City lose, when I don’t win the lottery, or when my girlfriend catches me having a crafty one. If my own flesh and blood was missing I’d be suicidal.
A close friend of mine said to me that his first reaction was that it was the parents, as 80% of all serious crime involving small children is committed by the parents. That’s a staggering statistic if true.
However, what I’m not saying is that they definitely did it or had something to do with it, whatever ‘it’ may be. What I am saying is that their behaviour at the time she was kidnapped and afterwards doesn’t appear to make sense. It’s almost as if they’re playing through a sequence of events whilst already fully aware that there will be no positive outcome. The media and public kneejerk reaction when something like this happens always begins from the point that the parent’s grief is an issue that is so sensitive that it is beyond reproach, and therein lies the problem.
All I’m saying is that an open mind doesn’t rule anything out without good reason, and just assuming that the parents definitely don’t have anything to do with it because they’re her parents isn’t a particularly good reason.