Unreliable and possibly off-topic


Sunday, December 28, 2008


Yes, we made it! Only Hogmanay left to get through now!

Best present this year has been immersion in post-apocalypse. Friend brought up the first BBC series of 'Survivors' on PC, and I'm up to episode 11 of the 13-parter. The opening sequence (a backstory of the accidental unleashing of plague) and the theme music of this series is wonderful. It's a rather rose-tinted, altruistic possible world; an unconsciously anarcho-syndicalist commune coalesces with the aim to re-learn self-sufficiency from the land, gathering the cognitively, psychologically and physically disabled under a benevolent leadership. There's dire scripting for the male lead (made to be a lame James Bond), but a quite radical characterisation (for its time) and portrayal of the female lead, Abby Grant, by the actor Caroline Seymour.

The first episodes are notable for showing social structures or moral values rejected by the main characters- exploitative opportunism, self-appointed vanguardist dictatorship (instituted by an ex-union organiser), paramilitary enforcement of assumed power, a polygamous harem, feudal aristocracy, commoditisation of sexual favours, racketeering. Our autonomous band instead attempt a neo-agrarian model of food production and an organic non-authoritarian social structure, which has to address means to allow collective decision-making and the enforcement of internal justice.

In between, I've been reading Cormac McCarthy's 'The Road' (2006) on the Big Wan's recommendation. BG achieved his wish to be bounced from English Higher, yet shows discernment and fortitude with this selection. It's a gruelling read- man and his son scavenging a perilous existence in nuclear winter, food sources limited to dwindling antebellum supplies or human meat. There are big questions raised about God and purpose, told in stunningly simple, pitiless and haunting language. I can't get this book out of my head.

I'm in the mood for total immersion in post-apocalypse, and a re-reading of 'Riddley Walker'. I must've read this beauty 4 or 5 times now, but it continues to deliver more with every reading. It is not approachable, being written in a transformed English, so it's best to start by reading it out loud to get the gist. Hard work, but so worth it. The vocabulary is rich with double meanings and references, with the ghost of half-remembered technological expertise and religion embedded in the language and within the myths and folk tales which enrich the text.

'Walker is my name and I am the same. Riddley Walker. Walking my riddels where ever theyve took me and walking them now on this paper the same. There aint that many sir prizes in life if you take noatis of every thing. Every time will have its happenings out and every place the same. Thats why I finely come to writing all this down. Thinking on what the idear of us myt be. Thinking on that thing whats in us lorn and loan and oansome.’


Sunday, December 21, 2008


It's coming, ready or not! Big red-dressed basturn heading for your chimney very soon. Several people have broken the no-present rule already (R.'s included in this), causing me a 'world of pain'.

I got the kiddos' pressies- portable tellies- partly as pressies for me, hoping that these will further my evil plan to reclaim my spaces (sitting room and my bedroom). That was a major coup, until we opened the boxes last night to discover they are big gay pink tellies. That's fine for the wee wan, but the Big Wan's not too impressed. His has to go back to be exchanged for a manly black or silver telly, in case he's turned gay against his will. I'm not clear if the pink telly will turn the wee wan gay too, but she's more secure in whatever sexuality it is she's been assigned.

Now that R.'s out of the country I can reveal more about the hedgehog situation, since she's not here to hit me. R. became all misty-eyed when she read about disabled, distressed Uist hedgehogs requiring homes in the 'Big Issue' and took it upon herself to 'adopt' one for her small garden.

However, her act of altruism did not extend to thinking through the implications, including that even while hibernating, hedgehogs require food and water every few days. R.'s lifestyle includes spending an average of one week in four out of town, and just as soon as she obtained the wretched, half-blind animal she's headed off for a 3.5 week trip to another hemisphere. All her sensible friends have refused to have anything to do with the beast. We had a late night phone call in which I reassured her of my unconditional love for her, and also my considerable pissed-offness at her irresponsible actions.

The Uist situation is a fucking mess of human irresponsibility. Some stupid human imported Erinaceus europaeus to Uist, an environment lacking natural hedgehog predators, so that the hedgehog population exploded to several thousand in just a few years, upsetting the natural species balance and endangering local rare birds, whose eggs represent a delicacy to the invading Erinacaidae. A cull of hedgehogs was started, then halted when bunny-huggers got upset about killing cute little Tiggywinkles to protect the avian community. Now they're exporting excess hedgehogs to the mainland for re-homing, including the lame ones who'd normally be destined for rapid natural selection out of the population.

This chain of events has left me in the unenviable position of forced checking/ feeding/ watering of an unfit hog, displaced to an unnaturally small territory, every few days for the next 3.5 weeks while sincerely wishing it dead.

Merry Xmas!


Wednesday, December 17, 2008


Very short on postings. Oh dear! There is just no time these days. I spend far too much time at work in a state of false consciousness, and good chunks of other time badly managing a search for alternative paid employment, the encroaching X-word, the Ballox' gradual decline, Hebrew inscriptions and an unfortunate hedgehog situation of which I cannot write.

There are other friends, family and duties I'm neglecting currently, but none deliberately. The mood is predominantly a light olive green colour; moderately up, moderately successful (that's the false consciousness), this light green colour dirtied by the guilt that I'm not keeping up with the non-urgent stuff. So now my two current catchphrases, 's/he's a piece of work', and 'hell mend him/her', apply to me in spades.


Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Take back the sitting room!

In sympathy with the righteous Stansted airport protesters and the Greek uprising against police violence, I've decided to occupy my own sitting room in a display of non-violent protest.

I'd barely realised it, but over the past 2 years my sitting room has been effectively squatted by the Big Wan and associated Fraggles, such that psychologically it no longer feels mine, even when they're absent. Gradually, I've retreated to a bedsitland-like existence between my bedroom and the wretched kitchen. It was a gradual retreat, partially promoted because the computer's in my bedroom and because I rarely watch TV. But when the wee wan's here, my bedroom is hers too so I truly have no private space. Christ knows what Social Services would make of a 12 yr old girl who sleeps with her mother. Presumably it'd be a case for the paedo police, who would learn I have to throw a veritable hissy-fit to have my bed to myself.

This has to stop. Both the weans have their own bedrooms, and if the Big Wan's is an uninhabitable tip that's up to him to fix. If the wee wan finds her bedroom lonely, let her get used to it. Surely one of the few privileges of paying the mortgage and bills should be to access the space!


Monday, December 08, 2008

The X-word

Is it December already? How did that come up, and how do you service the annual consumer fest with nae money? Possibly quite well-

1)Use a tenuous Jewish interest (membership of the Jewish Literary Society) to feign a religious objection
2)Strong-arm friends and family into the no-present pact
3)Have the friend who's a great cook to stay over Xmas
4)Assign and then applaud kiddos' repudiation of materialism; anything more than a lump of coal and a satsuma are ostentatious superfluous capitalist displays of wealth bled from the exploitation of alienated labour etc. ....