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Archive for August 24th, 2007

Bank holiday

I won’t be going to the Notting Hill Carnival. I lived in Notting Hill for three years and enjoyed carnival … but The River Styx is waiting for us all, and our lives are draining away. Repetition dulls the spirit. For my part – it is time to find something else to do on Bank Holiday Monday… I may well improve my mind and search Google to see if they have any news on David Cameron’s policies for the governance of our sceptred isle. I suspect a ‘404’ or ‘file not found’ may come up, in which case, I may have to do something else.

I went off to The Swan at 5.30 tonight, to write, to drink a few cups of their excellent espresso and relax with a glass of Rioja or two. I picked up a copy of The Spectator.

Columnist, Theodore Dalrymple, was venting spleen; painting a picture of subtle violence, designed to arouse loathing for the yobs who are out of control and who cannot control their children. Dalrymple seemed to be putting forward the proposition – if children learn a bad example from parents we cannot really be surprised that Britain plc has bred a group of youths / yobs / hoodies etc who have ‘lost respect for the law, the courts and the police’ – the tragic shooting of eleven year old Rhys Jones the most sickening example yet of the violent yob culture of some young people.

I quote, just in case you do not happen to be a regular reader of The Spectator: (Dalrymple writing about a man left in a car, in a French car park, to look after a young boy of eight while his parents went shopping.)

“His vulgarity was aggressive, vehement, and triumphal, from his flower patterned beer-belly-bulging shorts to his Rottweiler face. No one can help being ugly, of course, but no one need look like an attack dog. His was the kind of vulgarity that is not merely the absence of refinement, but a positive contempt for refinement. Indeed, it was a principled, ideological vulgarity; and, as its bearer, he was a true modern representative of his country.”

Theodore Dalrymple then paints a picture of “Mr Vulgarly Ugly’ eating a sweet, almost dislocating his jaw toconsume the sweet, and then chucking the wrapper onto the ground ‘as if trying to bomb it.’

Dalrymple, possibly not content that his readers had got the vivid image of vulgarity, then relates that ‘Mr Vulgarly Ugly ‘ took a packet of crisps…stuffed the crisps into his mouth with what can only be described as ferocity…. and then…. poured the rest of the contents (of the packet) into his mouth, disposing of the packet immediately afterwards (out of the window one presumes, although this is not stated).

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Apparently, the child was watching ‘all the while.’ The message, of course, is obvious and Dalrymple ends with the statement: “What have we become? Alas, it is my generation that is responsible for it, and I have done little or nothing to stop it.”

And so… to other matters…

A man in Chiswick is going up before the beak for sitting on a wall using his laptop and taking advantage of someone else’s non-password protected broadband connection. Guardian report. Another triumph for the Police Community Support Officers who seem to be loitering with intent in many Chiswick streets these days. On my way to The Swan tonight, I saw three of them chatting away to some locals outside a newsagent. I did not stop to find out why they were there. I know that Chiswick has had a few murders in recent years but, in general terms, the area is quiet, if over infested with F*xton liveried minis, and one cannot help thinking that these successors to Eliot Ness and his Untouchables would be better deployed in rather more difficult areas of London.

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7.31 pm: It is nearly six days since I have seen the sun… but, just a few moments ago, the clouds parted and a shaft of light bathed Evershed Walk W4 and the lush garden at the back of The Swan. I could see blue sky. I use an Apple laptop with a wide screen. It is my pen and paper. The keys are a bit battered and it is remarkably resistant to the odd drop of ash or spatter of red wine. Espresso has just been delievered to my B&Q wooden slatted table (No 46), one of many of such renewable resource products beloved of outdoor pub gardens. The wine is on the way…

22. 41 pm : I have just returned from The Swan to learn that India squared the One Day International cricket by beating England by 10 runs. I just can’t be bothered to look at the commentary, the highlights, the post-match interviews…. I did, however, read, this morning, in my tabloid of choice, that half the Indian cricket team were on anti-biotics after being laid low by the English equivalent of ‘delhi belly’. I don’t know if I have the will to watch any more cricket…

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