So the childishly annoying platitude would have us believe. You must already know this inane, infantile protestation the mainstream media most frequently offers as defense for the increasing proliferation of invasive surveillance equipment currently being rolled out at an ever accelerating rate. Writers who thus feebly try to reassure us of the benefits of CCTV must surely be far too intelligent and well educated to honestly believe what they're trying to tell us, so what is the only logical conclusion we can draw? Yes, it would seem they've either been duped, in which case they are that stupid and naive after all, or they've been bought. If the former is true, then we can happily dismiss their argument as laughable and joyfully look forward to the day when they can no longer pull the wool over our eyes - if the latter is the case then it begs the question, by who? Who's interest is best served by knowing our every move to the extent that our behaviour can virtually be predicted?

I want to look at this without setting off any alarms by mentioning CT, thereby giving everyone the opportunity to dismiss me as a crank and therefore disregard anything I might have to say. I also want to provide food for thought for anyone else who might like to present an alternative view which doesn't depend on cliches or previously discredited suppositions. I want to do this to open peoples' eyes and minds. I wonder how many people don't believe in a Conspiracy, but all believe in Conspiracy Theorists. It's a bit like saying you don't believe in the Devil but you believe in Devil worshippers.

How about dropping the whole notion of a 'Conspiracy'? That sounds far too dramatic and has therefore become too easily ridiculed. Instead, why don't we try using the word 'Observable'? This at least shows we're taking a calm, rational objective appraisal of our current situation. Next, we can do away with this whole 'Theory' thing and replace it with 'Fact'. You know where you are with facts; they're solid, they're substantial, they're provable. Theories are built on shifting sand - facts have their feet planted firmly on the ground. So we'll talk about Observable Facts then.

Now let's think for a moment about the social implications of staring at people. If I were to stare at you long and hard, how long would you be prepared to tolerate that and how would you eventually be inclined to respond? The answer quite clearly is that you would feel challenged and threatened, all the more so if you perceived there was no way to stop me. It wouldn't matter if you'd done anything to invite my stare or not, you would justifiably feel aggrieved. If you were to react aggressively towards me, any reasonable observer would say I brought it upon myself by antagonizing you. This phenomenon is well known in the animal kingdom. Genetically we're only a couple of percent different from a silverback male gorilla and their response to direct eye contact is well documented. To put it simply, continually monitoring people has an unsettling effect on individuals and therefore a disruptive effect on social cohesion.

Strangely enough, it seems to have an even more unsettling effect when the gaze is turned the other way. Recently I decided to photograph all the cameras along a parade of shops near home. As well as the sheer number of cameras in such a short space, what really surprised me was the hysterical reaction of one of the store managers who put his hand in front of my lens as he started closing his doors and screaming that he was going to call the police. "Go on then," I told him, "you do that".

In reply to the rhetorical question "What have we got to be afraid of", I'm afraid the answer seems to be "That we might get used to being watched. That we could begin to feel vulnerable if we're not being continually looked over. That we could become dependent on the passive gaze of the all-seeing-eye reassuring us that we've not broken any rule. That in accepting this ever present supervision, we'll revert to the mental state of babes in prams." I'm afraid that future generations could so easily be persuaded that cameras are in some way benign, that they watch over us and protect us, that we are not safe without them. I'm afraid they could be deified as totemic icons. But then, what if the Camera is a jealous God?

Above all I'm afraid that in an act of capitulation we might internalize this perpetual invigilation and begin to police ourselves in accordance with what we perceive to be expected of us. In other words it becomes an add-on to our Super Ego (that part of our psyche best seen as an embodiment of parental influences), thus acting as a kind of Over Super Ego. Of course this phenomenon is nothing new - it has been the foundation stone of all religions since time immemorial. The only difference is that now it might be truly possible to understand what the Wrath of God feels like.

The day after writing these last two paragraphs I reached page 215 of "Greetings from Bury Park" by Sarfraz Manzoor. I hope Mr. Manzoor doesn't mind me quoting this and might appreciate why I consider it relevant: "The Koran that my brother and sister had read had its own section in the display cabinet. It had been brought to England by my father when he had left Pakistan in the early sixties and it had remained with him throughout the decade as he moved jobs and homes. There was a rigid code of behaviour relating to the Koran: while it was in the cabinet we could not turn our back to it, point our feet in its direction or hold it without first washing our hands. Even before I had started reading it, the Koran exerted potent power over me, continually reminding me that I was not a good Muslim. The quotations on the wall and the Koran in the cabinet gave the impression that Allah was always watching me, aware of every lapse into sinfulness." I don't see this as a criticism of any one particular religion, more an example of how aspects of religions have been used to pacify, manipulate and finally disenfranchise entire populations in less enlightened times. I also see it as a metaphor for what appears to be happening right here, right now, right under our noses.

If the number cameras on show seems alarming, then look for the ones you can't see. Next time you're waiting at the counter of your favourite take away, look at their CCTV monitor and try to work out where each of the frames is being viewed from. I did this recently. There was one view along the road that intrigued me. The next few times I walked past there I looked all over the shop front but couldn't see a lens facing anywhere near that direction. The only place this frame could have been viewed from was a small dark hidden recess in the fascia, so that is obviously where the camera had been concealed. All this surveillance equipment doesn't come cheap - who pays for it? This place is on a busy road junction, but since a competitor opened on the opposite corner, they have virtually no customers. Sometime I must drop in on the opposition and check out their multiplex. Maybe they're better connected.

It seems like we're being taught to be afraid. This could work one of two ways. Either the ever increasing number of cameras is meant as a sign that something really bad could happen to us and therefore we need protection. Or, as their very presence can seem so threatening, maybe their function is as much to act as the manifestation of a malevolent authoritarian state which we are powerless to challenge. It doesn't really matter if all of them are 'live' or not; it's the message that counts, and the message quite clearly is "We have the right to watch everything you do: we intend to know everything there is to know about all of you: we own you."

Overkill. In a short service road between a night club and a car park I counted 8 cameras all covering the same space and covering each other like a well choreographed paranoid SWAT team. If these are supposed to in some way reassure us, they're doing a damn bad job of it. What are they telling us? "It's a really dangerous place out there but don't worry; we'll have a blow by blow account on video as they ship you off to A&E. Sorry we couldn't afford to put any officers on the street to protect you but hey, lighten up, now your famous." I even saw cameras in matching casings side by side up against the same wall - get a room!

Earlier I raised the question "Who's interest is best served by knowing our every move?" The simple answer would seem to be 'The State'. Any State, or just one in particular? This isn't as facile a question as it at first sounds. What does the term 'National Debt' mean? In order for a country to be in debt, someone must have lent it money (which was probably borrowed in the first place). This means that every Sovereign State on this planet owes money to one of a handful of extremely rich, and therefore proportionally powerful organizations. These organizations see the loans they make as an investment in their futures and so naturally want to protect their interests. That means taking control of the affairs of their customers in order to manage them in a way that best secures a good return (we're all familiar with the term 'Working for the Bank'). Where do you think the peoples' will comes into any of this? How do you think these organization are going to see calls for decent living conditions, democracy, socialism and an end to mass exploitation? Let's get real; would they see an informal unarmed mob as a serious threat to their long term business plan, or merely a minor inconvenience?

So far I have put together a picture of our current situation without further reference to either Conspiracy Theories in particular, or The Illuminati, New World Order, World Governance, Googlement, Bilderberg, Tabula Rasa, Secret 'Black' Agencies or Aliens in general. I don't need to. The facts tell us all we need to know about the state of play so far and therefore what the game plan is likely to be. We don't need to demonize those in power; their actions speak louder than anything we can say about them. The question we need to ask is "What else can we do to change the endgame?"

I sometimes feel one option could be to give them more information than they could ever have dreamed of. Our current economic mess has been hastened by flooding the market with worthless stock, then attempting to compensate by printing worthless money. Would it be possible to devalue information by providing too much information; false information, contradictory information, useless information? What if it turned out that about fifty percent of people on all databases were really virtual? Merely bogus duplicates replicating a few salient details of genuine identities, but falsifying the rest in order to muddy the waters. Sure, they could sift through the smoke eventually and find out what's real and what isn't, but think of all the time and effort it would cost them and what other important things they might miss in the mean time. We could make information so worthless that it would be too costly to attempt to evaluate its validity. In short, we could make the machine sick on a surfeit of information.

Everything cameras record goes into a database. All movements of people and behavioural patterns are catalogued and then categorized as those which fall within the realms of normative and those which are unusual enough to be considered suspect. The suspect category is the one scrutinized in close detail. This all takes time, their time - so get random! Facial recognition software is supposed to be their secret weapon - make it their Achilles heel. Make them waste their time trying to find out who you are. Draw attention to yourself simply by being out of the ordinary. Make yourself a walking decoy, after all "If you're doing nothing wrong, then what have you got to be afraid of?" As we have given away our right to privacy, we can also give up any hope of ever getting it back. Our best hope is to make much of the information held about us meaningless and therefore virtually useless.

On the face of it, "If you're doing nothing wrong, you've got nothing to be afraid of", could sound quite reasonable. But what if the rules change? What if actions in keeping with some of the most basic tenets of a free and open democratic society are no longer deemed reasonable. Actions such as having an independent opinion contrary to the Party line and claiming the right to openly express it. Actions such as raising awareness of the possibility of a hidden agenda. Actions such as expressing doubts and presenting evidence to cause others to question the honesty and integrity of our Government. We currently enjoy all these privileges because our predecessors considered them worth dying for and were prepared to pay the ultimate price. How many of us would be selfless enough to make that same sacrifice? I have always felt that if you wouldn't be prepared to kill and clean an animal with your own hands, you don't have the right to eat its flesh. By the same token, if you roll over in submission, don't come crying to me when you get your throat ripped out.

I've never been particularly happy with the Christian notion of the Good Shepherd. There are only two reasons why we keep sheep - to repeatedly fleece them, then eat them. Neither seem like good career moves. For a less charitable view of the situation, consider the role of the Morlocks and the Eloi in The Time Machine by H.G. Wells. Herbert George was no fool, he saw what was coming a mile off. He just extended the time scale thereby putting the dreadful future beyond the realm of imminent possibility to be seen, for the time being at least, only as a cautionary metaphor or a veiled revelation. But then the Twenty First Century turned a zoom lens on conventional notions of time and social change with the apparent ease of fast forwarding a film. And now here we are - living in an overlaid plethora of different Dystopias dreamed by a handful of visionaries in their collective worst nightmare. The one thing we have in our favour is our number - in fact, that's probably our only card worth playing at this late stage of the game. Do we accept the way things look like going or do we pool our collective resources and find ways to change our future for the better? We need to play our card now, before it gets trumped.

© Chris Klein August 2013



on guard


observation post


the channel

another big bang

road to nowhere

crap heap

glances & asides

Thoughts and ramblings that eventually became fully formed in the lyrics of some of the albums. Comments on the irrationality of a society heading towards its demise. As a crack of thunder briefly wakes us from a dream we find ourselves in a nightmare. Falling to earth and living for the moment. Fiddling with ourselves while Rome burns, gassing about our emissions. Knowing we can't do right for doing wrong we slip back into a torpid stupor and do nothing. Far easier, keep warm, head down, keep quiet, sleepy, warm, sleepy, calm, sleep. I'm no better than anyone else. Death isn't an illness, it's a cure.


sale away

Seasonally picking over the Christmas carcass, I wandered into town one afternoon in search of any juicy scraps. It seemed like a good way of keeping warm for a couple of hours at someone else's expense. The media was full of stories about the ensuing price war between major retailers in the hope that if we could be encouraged to spend enough it might avert the impending recession.

Everything was the same price it had been a week before Christmas, but now there were 'sale' signs everywhere. Nobody either noticed or cared that a month before Christmas everything had been cheaper by approximately the same margin that it was now being reduced. I was reminded of a character in 1984 celebrating the increase in chocolate rations, oblivious to the fact they were actually being reduced. When I first read that book as a young adolescent I couldn't quite believe people were so stupid. Sadly, it appears they are.

In their eagerness to be conned they came in sufficient numbers to reduce the town's roads to absolute grid lock. Buses were stuck half way across the four lane ring road, fire engines were screaming blue murder in the hope that somebody might get out of their way. It was four o'clock in the afternoon and still they kept coming, wave after wave. The poor bloody infantry did their patriotic duty. Gritting their teeth, hunting down bargains, blazing forth by all accounts glowing red. Fighting a rear guard action to consolidate their position, throwing everything they've got into defending this once proud Imperial power. Shit or bust. One last big push for Christmas. Bugger the consequences.

Rule Britannia, long may it rain on us. Rally round the flag and three cheers for that emergent service conglomerate, UK Ltd. Britain used to be a great maritime nation. How ironic that it's new populace of shoppers now only cares about sales.


big bang

Walking on the High Street I felt a gust of hot air from a department store's large automatic doors stuck permanently open because people were milling about near the sensor. The situation seemed no more or less surprising than the time my local supermarket ran the heating on a summer morning to offset cold air pouring out of their open freezers.

I remember a time when we had to use our arms or our charm to open doors. Doors that sense our approach and politely move out of the way were the stuff of science fiction. Partly because the technology was too costly to be considered worthwhile and also because it signified the utopian ideal of a perfect well ordered affluent society. Don't kid yourself, that's not us. We are just a pale imitation, a parody. We
value illusion over substance.

Certainly our technology has improved over the years. We can make automatic sliding doors easily and comparatively cheaply. What's more, because we can do it, we do it. Inevitably, the deed precedes the heed. No-one stops to think, "do we actually need this - does it provide any real benefit using electrical power to open and close doors for everyone?" Did anyone even consider that it's ecologically and economically unsound to use energy this way?

Think of any High Street and all adjoining streets in a town centre, all lined with shops, all artificially lit. The superstores, shopping malls, retail complexes, garages, traffic lights, street lights, illuminated road signs, CCTV and other utilities. Our towns are positively buzzing. A local sub station regularly handles more than twice its intended maximum load, surprisingly with far fewer failures than would be expected. It's no wonder we have a problem. And yet somehow amid all this wanton use of energy, governments claim to be reducing our CO2 emissions. How?

We as individuals are constantly being told to improve insulation, reduce our energy consumption and emissions for the good of the environment, but why? To offset corporate waste? Are we the poor children who have to eat dry bread for tea because Daddy has a drink problem? Or are we culpable through our support of the system? Let's face it, if we weren't gullible enough to be drawn in to overheated over-lit stores to buy a whole host of unnecessary junk, then they wouldn't sell it, they'd make less profit and would therefore be less inclined to waste money on heating and lighting.

But that would be unthinkable. If one word could describe the ethos of our society it would have to be "more". More wants more, more needs more. "Light the lights, throw open the doors. Roll up, roll up, join the party! Who will buy? Hang out the banners, pump up the balloons, pump them till they're fit to burst then pump them up some more."



tail lights

I was sitting in the passenger's seat one night looking through half closed eyes at the twisting snake of red lights that stretched out in front of me. Then I noticed the bright silver snake which danced in unison with it and the ethereal orange snake dancing above them.
I wondered - how many light bulbs must there be in the world? Every car seemed to be showing more lights than is necessary. How many lights do we need for night time driving anyway? Lights are there for a purpose, to see where we're going and to show others we're there. One on each corner ought to do it. Say something once, why say it again?

That was before overstatement became the norm. Brake lights were a good idea, such a good idea that we now need an extra set of them in the back window to tell people that we're not just slowing down, we're really really really slowing down. Two would get the message across, but that doesn't somehow convey how important or vulnerable that person in front thinks they are. There was a truck up ahead showing so many lights it looked like a fairground ride as it slowed down and changed lanes. For who's benefit? Needs seem to be a country mile away from wants.

I used to drive a delightful old banger that didn't have the kind of on board computer a sixties NASA engineer would have given his eye teeth for. To make it run smoothly and efficiently required some co-operation and understanding from the driver. The body looked like it was made out of brown lace but what the hell, it never let me down or failed to start.
When the engine was cold I pulled the choke out, when it warmed up I pushed it back in. It wasn't rocket science. I developed a feel for how the car was running. It was a relationship.
I also became aware of the way the engine tick-over slowed down when I turned the headlights on. It did this because any electrical device draws current from the alternator which then puts load on the engine. I was aware of all this because the only brain in the car was behind the steering wheel, not under the bonnet.

I drive a newer car now and I'm oblivious to all these processes. I'm not a driver any more, I'm not even a passenger, I'm a member of the audience. I'm there to be entertained. I'm not supposed to know about what goes on backstage. So, as the pilot of this spaceship I sit comfortably cocooned, surrounded by an array of lights keeping me amused and giving me the opportunity to fine tune my environment should my driving experience become in any way disagreeable. As comfortable in my climate controlled pram as every other pampered child. Oblivious to the small amounts of energy that my air conditioning, heating fan, heated rear window, power steering and countless other gadgets are drawing from my engine, and therefore my fuel tank, as I obediently keep the revs in the green zone. We create the problem as we go along therefore, though we may be loath to admit it, we are the problem. Our fascination with novelty and a desire for constant improvement has become the snake eating its own tail.


nothing so fashionable

A few years ago there was a fad for anonymity. The less a person could say about themselves,the greater statement they were making about their humanity through an act of self denial.

At the time it seemed an appropriate reaction to a society that increasingly assumed the right to know everything about everyone. Relinquishing control of all personal information was becoming an unquestionable requirement for participation and inclusion. We were reaching the defining moment beyond which society's right to know would finally supersede the individuals' right to privacy. The point at which we as individuals ceased to exist by right and our freedom became conditional upon us abandoning any claim to it.

Our only hope of reclaiming our birthright was to cease to exist in society, to become untraceable, unaccountable, invisible. It was the only appropriate reaction to a regime with an obsessive desire for information. If knowledge about us was power then our strength lie in our ability to withhold any information we could. This was the beginning of a split in society. Many were happy to give as much information about themselves as they could in the belief that the more people knew about them, the more important or interesting it made them seem and the more privilege they would have. Ironically, they were oblivious to all the ways it proved the contrary. There were others, however, who found the whole idea abhorrent.

"The mask" became their symbol of defiance, denying society the ability to monitor them and thereby refusing to become state property. This was not to be confused with other masks that were prevalent at the time such as those worn by terrorists or hoodies to avoid detection and prosecution for criminal acts or mischief. Neither had it anything in common with the social pressures or proprietorial notions of modesty associated with Moslem yashmaks.
Unlike the reactions of hatred, loathing or fear that these other guises evoked, "the mask" went almost unnoticed. In its appearance it resembled a shroud or veil, a virginal death mask, the Reaper's apprentice or the bland countenance of a pale haunting. The reaction of those who noticed it was one of unconscious disquiet. In a way it's wearers had achieved their objective and virtually ceased to exist.

I haven't seen "the mask" for a couple of years now so I suppose it's gone the way of all fads, but I could be wrong.


please constable

Have you ever noticed how refreshing it is when someone says what they're really thinking and to hell with the consequences? By contrast, how sickening it is to hear someone grovelingly attempt to justify having once said, done or believed something that is now deemed unacceptable. Values change with the times, certainly, but where did we get the idea that our past belongs in the confessional? When we read something that might be considered non PC what do we find most disconcerting, the fact that the writer has broken the rules or the dreadful acknowledgement that we might have done the same?

Does anyone ever stop to think what we're doing when we apologetically utter that enfeebling expression "Oops, we're not allowed to say that now"? I recently heard a journalist on the radio describe how he survived rolling his classic sports car many years ago. His story shocked me, not because he also admitted to being rolling drunk at the time (we've all done that), but because he knew it wasn't politically correct to admit that what saved his life was not wearing a seat belt. As he spoke I sensed him genuflecting to the nursery God, "forgive me Nanny for I didn't know any better at the time".

It's a fallacy to believe that forbidding the expression will inhibit the thought. I've noticed an increasing tendency amongst kids to use "immigrant" as an insult. Not just casually, but spat with the same venom as words like paki and nigger. So how long will it be before the "i" word becomes taboo and takes its place in the naughty corner? The proliferation of the politically correct mind-set is a naive attempt to avoid confronting the inconvenient truths about human nature by painting life baby pink. It's telling people they won't be invited to the party if they don't at least pretend to play nicely.

Having grown up in an era that valued freedom of thought I can't understand how we could possibly have reached the situation where we now feel obliged to apologise for contradicting the latest approved version of contemporary wisdom. Even as I write this I find myself briefly wondering if I'm allowed to criticise the established principal of self censorship. Allowed by who, for Christ's sake? It was understandable that everyone was expected to sing from the same infernal song sheet when there was a war on, but there isn't one now. Not a real one anyway. And yet the inadvertent release of an unfashionable notion seems to be more shameful than a good fart at the dinner table.

Between them 1984 and Brave New World were accurate predictions of the future because they documented the logical progression of a process that had been well known for centuries. If you beat a dog for long enough it thinks it deserves it. After years of suffering the restrictive regimen of the stick in the hope of jam tomorrow, we were finally offered the carrot which, in gratitude, we accepted. Then sadly, we chose to beat ourselves with it.


pleasant children

Pleasant children, pretty children, very pretty children. Oops sorry, I'm not allowed to say that now am I? I'm not supposed to notice how children are increasingly encouraged to emulate the overtly sexual fashions of adulthood or how adult fashions continually idealise the adolescent form. Even though the boundaries are becoming blurred we're still supposed to know where to draw the line.

Children develop an awareness of sexual behaviour at an increasingly early age as a by product of adults' persistent exposure to it. Through recurrent innuendo it's there on the front pages every day, on the television, radio, magazines and songs. It's unnecessarily implied in all manner of superficial entertainment because we're so inundated with sexual inference that life would seem bland without it. Like taking tea without sugar or chips without salt.

By over indulging in a prurient diet of sex, titillation and gossip we are weaving a schizophrenogenic web for the unwary to get caught in. It appears to be acceptable on the one hand to encourage a moral climate which fosters a precocious awareness of sexuality amongst children whilst at the same time vilifying anyone who is unfortunate enough to find them attractive? Have children hooked the fish out of season or been hooked themselves?

Blaming the fish for getting caught is a great way of ignoring our own culpability. We know things aren't quite right but as we can't bring ourselves to consider that our own fascinations might be at fault, we have to look elsewhere to find a cause. It's unthinkable that we're responsible for this situation so there must be someone among us, some hidden element of our society that is taking our pretty little innocent children and corrupting them. "It's nothing to do with us, they're nothing to do with us. We'll prove they're nothing to do with us, not like us, not liked by us, then that will prove it's not our fault."


what, no tea?

The British don't do tea anymore. We seem to have developed a fear of putting the tongue to the teeth. Whereas once a word like "subtle" would have a nice sharp crisp "t" in between the syllables, now they are separated by a nondescript guttural sound hanging somewhere near the epiglottis like an inconvenient piece of phlegm. It was a futile exercise trying to raise standards so as part of our desire to appear more egalitarian we've chosen to lower ourselves. It's no longer smart to be smart.

Where did this affectation come from, this home grown copy of Hollywood Cockney? It first came to my notice when our erstwhile esteemed leader made me cringe with embarrassment using it as part of a shallow popularist attempt to widen his dwindling appeal. Unfortunately it only served to highlight his insincerity. But it must have been around for a while before that for him to consider it's use to be of political value. "Education, education, education" - how ironic that such a privileged man should then choose to emulate the illiterate?

So perhaps this refusal to speak the words as written is a defiant show of working class heroics? A rejection of our privilege and fortune for the camaraderie of inverted snobbery. We are all in the gutter so we must be stars, or at least reflections of them. In deference to those who climbed out of the mire to reveal brilliance we pretend to share their disadvantage, maybe in the hope that we will be similarly blessed. An indicator to all concerned that we too are playing on the bass clef of the social stave with an appropriate aversion to the dizzy heights. The salt of the earth are we, revelling in our beauty as burnished turds.

Or do we think we're making English more accessible, glossing over the inaccuracies different tongues might be prone to through their own particular linguistic heritage? Are we turning a deaf ear in a patronising attempt to seem more inclusive? And yet if this were so why would so many Scots, Irish, Germans, French, Dutch, Italians and the rest have a cleaner grasp of it than us? Why have we chosen to be the grunting pigs of Europe? As always, the British seem determined to lose at their own game.

I don't wish to seem hypocritical, my diction is far from perfect, but when English is spoken properly it fills me with delight. When I hear words pronounced with sufficient subtlety to reveal their grammatical construction and history I aspire to do the same. I'm not being pompous or sniffy. I just wonder why at a time when the rest of the world is making such an effort to speak our language properly, we have given up trying. "Oh dear", I hear them say,"you appear to have dropped your tea!"


day of hope

There were tears in peoples' eyes as they watched the President's speech. Everyone had waited so long for the moment when a change of heart would seem like a real possibility. The clouds dispersed to let sunlight fill a cold crisp January day. The time had come.

We watched the whole speech on a large screen, streamed from the web. The sound occasionally cut out or the picture froze so they often seemed out of sync, but that didn't matter. It didn't spoil the effect. The tone of voice still had the same resonance, the same fatherly concern, the same imploring reconciliatory quality to it. And with it the head still reasoned and appeased as it swayed from left to right to left. Though we might have missed some of the finer details, nothing of the moment was lost.

If nothing else, it gave us a day of hope.


gob log

running off at the mouth...

This is the nearest thing I'm going to get to blogging. I'm using the space at the end of this site to shoot off little day to day observations about the world as I see it. Little things like:-

The other day I remembered a strange thing that happened around the turn of the millennium which went largely unnoticed. If it had been widely observed and reported it would have further fuelled the apocalyptic flirtation that was so prevalent at the time. I'm not one for religious myth but it made me ponder the notion that there may be signs all around us of the battle between good and evil, portents of our fate being sealed. As the colour blue had been chosen to herald the birth of the next thousand years, blue flowers were turning black. Our previously blue delphiniums, for reason best known to themselves, God and the Devil, decided to display black flowers with a flash of white. Other blue flowers in the garden also turned a much darker shade than before - pansies, centaurea, ceanothus, all took on a more sinister hue. In successive years they reverted to their former selves leaving us to wonder why as a birthday present the new millennium gave us black delphiniums....