It has been a log slow day really, but, I’m pleased to report, a productive one. I knuckled down and did three hours solid work on my thesis, going through the entire first chapter. Before that, however, I had the idea of creating a new group on Facebook: the Woolwich defence league was created as a reaction to the fact that fascists like the BNP an EDL are trying to capitalise on the murder of Lee Rigby. They must be stopped – they are planing a march in woolwich deliberately to stir up trouble. Frankly, I would prefer to keep south London fascist free, so I created that group as a form of resistance to such thuggishness. How successful it will be I have no idea, but I just felt I had to do something to show my disgust at he usurpation of this soldiers death. If you’re on Facebook, please join.
It has been a bit of a nonentity of a day: a day of chilling out, sorting things out and not going out. Truthfully I don’t have much to write about, but I’d like to flag up this outstanding filmed conversation between the artist taxi driver and Mo Ansar, in which they discuss how prejudice and devision is currently being whipped up by the government and ukip etc. I know t is lazy blogging on my part simply to yet again direct you to a Youtube video, but this one really is a corker, and the participants are to be applauded. It i reassuring to see someone still talking sense.
A little musical treat today: this is simply too cool (and by cool I mean absolutely sub-zero) for me not to flag up. Sir Christopher Lee, one of my favourite actors and all-round top guy, has apparently recorded a heavy metal album. I never expected him to do such a thing, but if you think about it, his deep baritone voice makes a great juxtaposition with an electric guitar, and his smooth, dark demeanour goes well with the general mise-en-scene of metal. That’s why I thought this awesome news: the image of saruman atop Isenguard with an electric guitar in his hand keeps popping into my conscious; now, how rock ‘n’ roll would that be?
Perhaps I was too quick to wax lyrical about the local mood. John and I were out today, just getting the groceries up at Asda, and I am pleased to report I detected none of the tension I probably imagined I felt a couple of days ago. Greenwich is the same as it ever was. And yet I was worried to see on the news today that several monuments and war memorials in the capital have been daubed with the word ‘Islam’.
I must admit this both worries and interests me. It is crude, even patronising: it was obviously done my some half-brained member of the EDL, BNP or perhaps UKIP, hoping to stir up Islamophobia. Why would any Muslim spray the name of his own religion in such places? If they were that way inclined, wouldn’t they be more likely to spray some pro-Islamic slogan? Thus it is surely blindingly obvious that this graffiti was done by some Islamophobe. But what does that mean? It implies an eagerness on the right to stir up trouble, to create tension; this is an attempt to manipulate us all that the xenophobes have a point. The irony is, it is so crude and obvious that it should backfire: it lays bare the depths to which these far right thugs will stoop, and the simplicity of their thinking. Hopefully nobody will be taken in by this laughable ploy. The problem is, it reveals an absolute hatred, a willingness to defile one’s own national monuments (things which, to nationalists like those in the EDL, will have great significance) in order to stir up inter comunity tension, and the profundity of that hatred scares me.
It is already shaping up to be quite a nice day. The sun is out, and rather strong. My parents were just here, paying us a visit: funnily enough, John and I were en route to the shop in order to get supplies when they came round the corner. We were expecting them, of course, but the coincidence meant we could go to the shop together. Now that I come to think about it, it was probably the first time I had been shopping with mum in well nigh a decade. Anyway, once we got back, we spent a happy, and I daresay fruitful, two hours talking: two of the results were my chair will soon be sorted and I have a clear plan of action for my Master’s thesis. God I love my parents.
Now though it’s me and Lyn again. She is back at work in her studio, and I’ll probably rea a bit after posting this, but this afternoon we plan a barbecue. We got the supplies for it this morning, including probably too much beer, so between a great visit from my parents, a good read and the prospect of a few burgers later, this really is turning into a good bank holiday.
I like sundays – well, sundays like this, mostly spent reading on the sofa or out in the garden. Quiet days upon which Lyn and I just enjoy each others company, under a clear blue sky. They remind me of sundays back up north, of spending hours in the conservatory reading the sunday times. It was on sundays, too, that my favorite programmes were on t.v, like Michael Palin’s travelogues; and indeed tonight there is a show about Australia I’m looking forward too. Yes, there is something about sundays I like – something homely and wholesome, like the feel of mum’s roast lamb in your stomach: I just felt it, out in the garden with Lyn, so that, for a moment, I was the most content man in the world.
Something odd is afoot on the streets down here. You can almost feel an evil near an ill intent in the labyrinthine lanes
Where fractured communities play separate games
Eying each other with growing suspicion
But resist! This must not be the condition:
The moment we let such fear take hold
Those who spread hate are made bold
So do not allow such devision to reign
For then, those who hate have won the game.
Part of me is relieved it is raining so hard. If it wasn’t I would have been feeling enormously frustrated about now: the urge to just pop to Woolwich would probably be quite unbearable, but given my chair is out of action I’m stuck home. Truth be told I’ve been feeling it all week – I just want to go look around, experience the atmosphere for myself. I don’t know what I expect to find down there, and yet I am very curious.
You see, people in these parts seem to be different. People have unusual attitudes in this part of London, anti-establishment attitude which won’t come across in the news bulletins. Thus I want to go out, wheel about a bit, and listen to what people on the street are saying. I daresay there will be things we are not being told on the beeb, things about the soldier, or the alleged perpetrators. I want to go into pubs, to hear what the men are saying. Gossip will be rampant, but I’m curious about the mentality locally. Is islamophobia increasing? Are people feeling scared or angry? There is probably a wealth of material out there for me to blog about — as a writer I’m just itching to go out there to find stuff to post on here.
But I suppose a broken chair means that urge must be resisted. It’s probably a good thing – I should, I know, keep my nose out of things that are not my concern. Yet, as when the media circus came to Crewe, having such an event so close brings out the journalist in me, and the part of me which wants a piece of the action. The best I can do right now is ask Monika to push me in my manual chair to the co-op and back, but even there I’ll warrant tongues will be wagging.
I feel that I have a duty to note that I heard this morning that my friend Lee Mayer’s dad, Alan, die today. I hard it this morning. You will recall that Lee himself died in January. Lee was a good friend, and I met his father a couple of times: he obviously cared deeply for his son. I was in two mind about noting it – what could I say, after all? – but I have a duty to my school friend to honour his dad, or something. It just seems awful: between that and events in woolwich, things seem a little dark right now.
Just after lunch today I returned to my computer, intending to simply potter about a bit on facebook before returning to the sofa to read. I was browsing casually before I noticed my neighbour harrison’s status: he mentioned a shooing in Woolwich. At first I thought little of it: woolwich is the sort of area where trouble is not infrequent. But then the concern was echoed by his mum, Paula, so I decided to investigate.
Thus I have watched the story grow throughout the afternoon, with increasing concern. It seen became clear that this was anything but a minor incident and at about five I turned on bbc news. I was greeted with shots of Woolwich, swarming with police. It’s strange to see a place one knows quite well, and indeed so close, the site of such national concern: helicopters were – and are – beaming back arial shots of roads I know well. There is currently a car embedded into a two-legged lamp-post which, simply out of fun, I always take care to go under than around. That is a minor point, of course, but one I can’t help but reflect on.
Lyn and I have spent the day at home. My chair is still broken but had it not been, and had the nationwide branch in woolwich still been open, there is a good chance that on a day like today, I could have been driving down that very road at the time this attack – now said to be an act of terrorism – happened. That is a very sobering thought indeed.