Saturday, April 24, 2010

Busy doing nothing

I may have got mail
My solicitor, the one handling my appeal as opposed to the one who deals with internal prison matters, is to go into some form of semi-retirement. He is to sort of keep his hand in and will retake the reins in any crisis - but, to all intents and purposes, my case will be handled in future by his replacement. I don't know her, of course, but am assured that she is an extremely capable and experienced practitioner in serious criminal matters so I feel quite happy about that.

I had a letter from her yesterday (Saturday 17th April) in which she informs me that she has been in contact with the CCRC about my case and that they inform her that they only need to review the forensic material in the case and that they have ten large boxes of paperwork to sift through, or words to that effect. Well, I hope they are examining more than just the forensic stuff! She also tells me that there will be some sort of review ready to start in four to six weeks time. I'm not sure that means very much but as always with me I use the words of that great philosopher who said, "We will see." Considering the fact that we seem to go for long periods where we are told absolutely nothing, this bit of information from the CCRC could well be seen as a major move forward. But, to misquote the bible:

The mills of justice grind exceeding slow.
Now to this place - Hoss the Boss's Ponderosa. Over a period of time (and by now, therefore, according to custom) the kangaroos have taken to, and become quite used to, sitting on easy chairs quite near the office and basically not bothering anyone. However, it seems that a couple of weeks ago some con or other got his knickers in a twist about something and complained that kangas were sitting on their fat arses instead of doing what they are paid to do - their jobs.

Now me, I'm a man of the people, and I see absolutely nothing wrong with sitting down when I get the chance, and I see kangas in the same way as I see myself - sit down when you get the chance, take the weight off the pins, so to speak.

Because the con complained, the chairs were taken away from the kangas - a mistake in my opinion, but nobody asked me. Since then - and this demonstrates the pettiness of prison - the situation has gradually escalated bit by bit until yesterday the kangas were basically refusing to hand out the incoming mail. Of course, me being a person who only deals with the world via the mail, this kind of saddened me and generally irritated me a bit. So I asked a couple of kangas about it, kangas who were merely leaning on the rail doing nothing apart from killing time. One said, "We used to have chairs to sit on to sort the mail out..." etcetera.

Prior to that remark I had kept out of the chair debate but such a crack, using mail as a sanction, annoyed the shit out of me. so I have now sent a confidential complaint to Hoss the Boss. Not that it is all that confidential after this of course, but it's the sentiment that counts.

I don't give a rat's fart whether kangas sit on chairs all day, in fact I would prefer them sitting on chairs all day - that way we would know where they were. They can bring sleeping bags to work and sleep on the chairs all day for all I care. Life is too short to bother about such childish things - but I do not think that buggering about with the mail is justified. I have got to the stage where I am wondering whether Hoss the Boss even knows what is going on in his jail. Or, more to the point, does he care?

Prison can be awfully petty at times. I expect it from the cons - men with empty lives will attempt to fill them and that leads to pettiness. But I would expect more from the kangas. They go home every night, they have real lives to lead and live, and they get good money for the job they do. As for this business with the chairs - who cares? Give them chairs if it makes them feel any better - give them comfy camp beds, parasols, sunblock, free vouchers for the local lido, I DON'T CARE! Just give me my mail when it arrives. Is that too much to ask?

Name calling

And yet another week comes to an end in the limbo of Long Lartin prison - the 'Lazy L', the fiefdom of Hoss the Boss, that elusive character who seems to be as hard to find as a truffle and is as popular as anthrax. However, that may just be my jaundiced look at the world around me. He may well be doing a good job for all I know. (Pause for belly laughter.)

The question is simple, as it is every week - has anything interesting happened?

The answer is even easier - no.

As usual, I seem to be invisible as far as the prison is concerned and I am wondering if I should change my name just to see if anyone actually notices. Mind, considering the confusion with names and my record (none of it my doing) I suppose it would be wiser of me not to play games and to leave well alone.

I sit here in the opulence of my penthouse bedsitter, saying nothing and yet every so often along comes another nitwit who (without bothering to speak to me at all) writes a report and gives me yet another name! The latest is Anthony. (Do I look like a sodding Anthony? But then, what does an Anthony look like?) Another one is Colin - they just add names when they feel like it.

I have started going around calling people by funny names too, just to keep up. I call people Neville, Albert, Shirley and, my favourite, Griselda. The funny part is that people answer to these names! Men and women! However, it gets better because some people have taken to calling me Albert too! It's only a matter of time in that case until I get yet another written report made about me, this time bearing the name of Albert. Is it any wonder that prisoners can become schizophrenic? I am fucking quadrophenic!

A propos that last sentence - some people say that swearing is a demonstration of the lack of vocabulary, and that could be true in some cases, but not with me. I have an excellent vocabulary. However, the environment I live in (and which I have lived in for getting on for a quarter of a century) has turned me into a vulgarian - and no, that's not a race of aliens from Star Wars!

Swearing is also seen as a sign of laziness (or lazyness, depending on which side of the Atlantic we come from). That's got a bit of truth in it too, of course, but I say that there are times when a good word simply does not measure up to a good curse. Let me put it this way - go and trap your finger in a door and when you are sucking it better see if you say, "Golly!"

Oh yes indeed, there are times when only a good curse fits the bill and we must never be afraid to use one. Let's face it, even rude words are part of a rich and varied language - they may be offensive but they are legitimate!

Finally, I wrote to Lesley last week (or the week before) and mentioned that I would like her to have a look on the internet for typewriter ribbons for a manual machine. Now, Lesley being Lesley and like all women, has a mind of her own, which I applaud wholeheartedly. However, she also has the habit of doing things her own way. In the world of Lesley there are rules that Lesley alone understands. She not only went onto the internet and found a ribbon for me, she ordered it and had it delivered to the prison. We are not allowed to have things sent in but I took this up with the prison months ago and they couldn't find a supplier, so they said I could find one myself and have them sent to me, typewriter ribbons that is. So, I've now got the ribbon.

I wonder if I should change Lesley's name? No, better not, she has a temper and the bravery of being out of range is all very well but I won't be out of range forever. Of course, me being a devout coward also helps me to make my mind up. I shall not be changing her name because she may get annoyed and I quite like my head where it is.

Oh well, I'd better get back to doing nothing. I'm getting to be a bit of a dab hand at doing sweet bugger all.

Empty rooms

It is very late at night, just after 11.00 pm on Sunday 11th April 2010, and I am sitting writing this by pen because it is far too late at night to be tapping away on the typewriter - I would be rolling around the floor with some loon if I did that, as soon as we were unlocked in the morning. I shall type it out tomorrow at some point.

So, here I am, sitting in the silence of my cell surrounded by the silence of a prison and for all I know the silence of an even wider world out there. The words of Nicolas Sarkozy come to mind, as they often do in the dead of night:

Life is the same for everyone when you are alone at night in an empty room.
All around me there are people, alone in empty rooms. I shouldn't imagine that very many are actually sleeping and some will be watching the television but not really concentrating on what they are seeing. Most will be living inside their own minds as they remember, consider the present, and hope for the future. The whole gamut of human emotions will be playing out around me - the regrets, the hatreds, the desires, the blames, the emotional desires for family, lusts and passions and much much more. They will all be played out in the lonely heads of those around me, and I find myself wondering how many of these tough guys, these fearsome and fearless fellows who practically hold the prison service in thrall and in awe of them, not to mention fear - how many of them will lie on their beds in the dark, put their sad little heads on their pillows and cry like babies?

Oh yes indeed, the full range of emotions will be spent and the most widespread will be sorrow and self-pity.

Of course with the morning will come their false faces and the bravado and bravura that goes with the faces. They will emerge from their little cells full of aggression and devil-may-care - because they couldn't give a shit about twenty, or thirty, or forty years or more. Why should they care? After all, they are tough guys, they have street cred, they wear their trousers below the cheeks of their arses to show that they can now afford underpants! They yell bravely at their friends, carrying out conversations over a thirty yard distance. They sneer at the kangas and anyone they feel may be a lesser man than they think and project themselves to be.

They will spend the day pretending to keep fit and demonstrating their lack of concern for others. But the day will wear on slowly, unstoppably, heading for yet another night alone. As the poet once said:

We can break the clock,
But we can't hold back time.
And the time will inexorably move toward that period of darkness when the night closes in and once again we will all be alone with our thoughts in an empty room. Oh yes!
Life is the same for everyone when you are alone at night in an empty room.
The Voice In The Wilderness

1 comment:

lesley said...

so now i have furniture holding my letters back.its a pity we couldnt hold their wages back theyd soon get the mail sorted then chairs or no bloody chairs.