Tag Archives: london

Riot on the streets of HA HA WHAT AN ORIGINAL TITLE

I’ve been sidetracked this evening watching rolling coverage of the disturbances across London and Birmingham. To be fair, it made watching the never-progressing, based-on-guesswork, often-repeating nature of 24-hour news a bit more interesting as we got to see a building burn to the ground in real, linear time.

I’m sure the footage will be repeated on a loop for the next few days though.

But as it’s progressed all we’ve seen is the usual bollocks – the voices of authority figures showing how utterly clueless they are, spouting off buzzwords repeatedly to get them into the national psyche and make us know what to think about the whole situation. “Opportunistic criminality”, mainly.

I don’t disagree with that, I just disagree with the notions of these people having to repeatedly tell us, having to beg these people who would never be listening to them in the first place to stop doing what they’re doing, because people like the figures spouting these catchphrases ignored the people in the riots in the first place.

I don’t even know if that makes sense.

And the next person to say “it’s a bad advert for the capital” or “it reflects badly on the country” needs a massive slap in the face. Underlying problems are a thing to be ashamed about. Flash in the pan disturbances are something that will be quelled and forgotten about.

I know the dumber among you will assume this is a defence of looting, violence and general directionless civil disobedience. It is not. It is simply a re-reaction to the endless, idiotic reactions I’ve been seeing and hearing on the news.

Yes, opportunistic smash and grabs are not a direct result of disenfranchisement. But to discount the effects of being brought up in a world where you have nothing to look forward to, where you’re demonised for simply being brought up in a certain area and economic bracket – that’s even more stupid than some fat idiot robbing a TK Maxx.

There is always an underlying cause; all you have to do is follow the trail far enough. The old saying is ‘follow the money’, but in this case it’s ‘follow the lack of money, opportunity or future’.

You can say ‘ask those on the street what they’re “protesting” and they won’t know what to tell you’. I agree. But if these people were brought up in an environment where they had hope, where they had a reason to belong in our big friendly society – do you think they’d be out on the streets now? If they had the upbringing you had – that I had – while we sit here commenting on Twitter and not rioting, do you think we’d be rioting? Ohnowait.

I’m sure I have more, but I’m done for now. I’m angry at the rioters, but I’m managing to be more angry at others.

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Deeds (good ones) part II: DEEDS IN SPACE

Long time listeners may remember a post I made a while back about helping people. It’s here, if you don’t remember. Or even if you do remember, and wanted to remind yourself of how simply heroic I am. Well today we have an update; an addition to the list which will surely solidify my reputation as one of the Greatest Living Humans.

Walking back from a press event with my colleague Ash, a man was stood to the side in the street, turning in circles. I think I remember him faintly saying “help me” or something to that effect, which grabbed my attention (aside from the fact that he was spinning in circles*). I asked if he was okay, to which he responded by collapsing and having a fit. It’s a reaction I’ve had before, but normally it’s after I’ve told a satirical joke and not just when I politely ask a question of someone – hence (and this is probably down to my Dad being a copper and me inheriting his instincts) I knew something was up.

I then spent the next ten minutes or so trying to cushion the man’s head as he slammed it on the pavement, giving him something to grab onto in the shape of my hand (and, at one point, my entire leg. Admittedly I wasn’t so up for that part) and generally trying to be reassuring. Those of you who know me may well know that I’m not very good at sincerity, so the point where he started grinding his teeth was met with a cry of “ahhhh, don’t do that!” by me. Ah, the ever-calming influence. I asked two local rubberneckers to ring an ambulance then kind of stood around like a lemon while this man clawed at nothing, tried to destroy his skull and (sometimes) apologised for having a fit.

It was around this point that a fat man waddled up and immediately proclaimed to us – I shit thee not – “I’m a first-aider at work, I know what to do”. He then went on to tell us we should in fact not stop the man from cracking his skull on the pavement and instead allow him to continue doing that. It’s a good job he turned up, otherwise I would have continued to not allow the fitting chap to fracture his skull like the sick bastard I clearly am.

(Seriously though – I understand that you shouldn’t restrain a fitting person as it can cause more damage, but for fuck’s sake this bloke was smashing his head on the concrete. Well, I should say ‘trying to’, as I stopped it. Call me a renegade if you will, I just don’t play by these first-aider rules.)

Anyway, the paramedics called by the folks in the shop nearby arrived and took over. Fortunately the first-aider was still there to instruct them on how they should go about their jobs, otherwise we’d have all been in a dilly of a pickle! I gathered together my things and we were on our way back to Bournemouth.

This whole ‘giving a shit about other people’ thing is a horrible affliction, and I can only apologise to the city of London for breaking their cardinal rule of ‘Never Help Anyone’.

*Come to think of it, maybe he was just dizzy. Really dizzy.

(As a second bracketed-off section, I would like to offer my utmost disgust to the monumental cunts out there who ignored this man as he was clearly in distress and to those who just kept on walking by as I was trying to help. You are terrible, terrible human beings. How anyone – anyone – can simply stand by as others suffer is absolutely beyond me and just thinking about it now has genuinely upset me. So great, thanks world. You win again. Fuck you.)

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Virgin Atlantic: an apology

I would like to offer my sincerest apologies to Virgin Atlantic, after they put me in my place yesterday/today on our flight from LA to Heathrow. You see, I was under the impression that they were a capable, functional carrier, offering an efficient, modern service. As such, it is my duty as a man of (supposed) integrity to offer a full, frank and complete apology to the company, as my 11-hour-plus experience with them taught me they are very much nothing of the sort.

After a flight out with Air Canada – on which I assumed we would be flying with moose-skin suits and all the flight attendants would be mounties – I had already been surprised by how really bloody good it all was. I am quite tall – about 6′ 3″ – and yet I fit in the economy-class seats rather comfortably. The food was decent if not special, they gave us ice cream randomly at one point and service was constantly going up and down the aisles, making sure we were well-catered for. Oh, and the movie/TV selection was quite good.

So when your colleagues say they are “looking forward” to flying Virgin as by all accounts they are a “great” service, you can understand my dismay on boarding the fucking shanty plane they had sent out to fly us over. Apparently it was an Airbus A340, which was 10 better than Air Canada’s effort. But apparently-also, the A340 Virgin operates doesn’t bother with any kind of modernisation. Or basic, human comfort, for that matter. I’m not small, but I’m not an American-fatty. As such, I really shouldn’t have to squeeze into my seat. I understand leg room is a bit of a complaint on a lot of flights, but I had not encountered a problem in any of the four prior journeys – including one on a plane smaller than my thumb – until boarding the Virgin flight. Being cramped is something I am willing to put up with – it’s punishment for me being so tall (and awesome). But on an 11-hour flight it’s just a piss-take.

I could go on. And I will.

See, it’s one thing to be cramped owing to a plane design that doesn’t offer adequate space for customers with less money than the others. It’s a whole other thing to have that combined with a fat, stinking woman next to you who falls asleep completely underneath a blanket (face and all) and then ends up taking up half of your seat. I can only apologise to the little Mexican/American girl next to me who had to endure my leaning away and growling at the fat piece of crap. I think I still have the delicious tang of mustiness on my breath, actually. A genuine cattle carriage, it was.

But hey, you can always amuse yourself on a plane by looking out of the window and seeing sights the human eye was never meant to see. Except for the fact that my view only stretched so far as the toilets on either side. Why not try looking forward and watching the world (on a plane) go by? Ah, view blocked by a bulkhead. See, in stadium situations, seats like this are cheaper than the norm. In Virgin Atlantic situations, they are the same price as any other Economy-class ticket. Make them cheaper, point out to people you can only see the embarrassed look on a girl’s face after she’s clearly been for a massive dump and left a huge queue of people waiting outside (instead of the Rockies, for example) and you would get people happily snapping them up and avoiding all complaints. But hey, they’re here to make money, right?

So instead I could just watch a film on the headrest TV unit – a selection of a few dozen recent releases, some classics and a few dozen TV shows on top of that means the hours should fly by. Except for one minor drawback: every single movie and TV show I tried to watch would not work, and it would instead show me a random clip of the Sandra Bullock film The Blind Side. I wanted to watch The Simpsons, or Peep Show, or even sodding Family Guy. I did not want to watch Sandra Bullock in The Blind Side, Oscar or no. I would have watched something on my laptop, but it had ran out of battery. Though this wasn’t a problem on Air Canada, as their seats have plug sockets in them. But hey – we’re British, we don’t conform to fucking common sense, right?

Even the food was stereotypically shite, again being put to shame by the Canucks. And there was no ice cream.

So, just to reiterate: I am sorry Virgin Atlantic. Sorry for thinking you could be anything other than an utter, complete and total failure. Next time try crashing – put me out of my fucking misery.

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