Friday, October 29, 2010

Nitwits 'R' Us

It's official! It can't be denied! Here in the Lazy L (the fiefdom of Hoss the Boss) nobody has a clue what they are doing - and if they did they wouldn't bother to do it because nobody gives a toss anyway! So, it's official - the lunatics have taken over the asylum.

Every 13.395 seconds somebody comes up with yet another idea which effectively makes the dump even harder to manage. This has nothing to do with the Kangas or the cons - those two groups are just the poor folk who have to put up with the lunatics who are running the place. The simple fact is that we have here on the Ponderosa, the Lazy L, a grand total of thirty-nine (39!) governors. When you consider that there are only thirty-nine cons on my wing, then the figure is put into perspective - effectively we have a whole wing's worth of governors. We have governors for bins, governors for showers, governors for table-fucking-tennis balls! But can we get just one of them to do something sensible?

Don't be ridiculous. Governors are not here to 'do' things, they are here to come up with stupid ideas which serve no other purpose than making it harder to do things. It's got so bad that the Number One, Hoss the Boss, has even started asking cons to submit ideas that will assist the prison in operating better. Clearly he has given up on getting any sensible ideas from the Dirty Thirty-Nine.

So, what has happened to attract my attention? A good question, and I can answer it - which is more than any of the bleedin' governors can do.

I order the Daily Telegraph - I like to read it, and on Saturdays there is a whole slew of stuff that comes with it, such as telly magazines, several diverse sections and sometimes the odd free CD or DVD. Of course they are not free - at £1.60p I am really paying through the nose.

Yesterday, Saturday 23rd October, my Telegraph didn't even arrive in the prison - so obviously I didn't get my paper, didn't get my telly mag and didn't get any free gifts that may or may not have been included in the paper.

That's not the end of it, not by a long shot. Those who DID get their newspapers - Mirror, Times, Sun, Lesbians Weekly - all had their telly mags removed on the order of some nitwit governor because they were free! Apparently he didn't like the idea of prisoners getting anything free.

Nothing is "free"! That's why the newspapers cost what they do - the costs are taken into account! Bleedin' moron...

Obviovsly there was a fuss - many cons sort of growling and being less than polite about it - and the telly mags were finally sent over to those who owned them, but not any free CDs or DVDs.

Personally I think somebody should sue the fool. If a person buys something - newspaper, rubber doll, baseball bat - and there is a free gift with it, then nobody has any legal right to withold that free gift under any circumstances.

None of this helps me of course - I still haven't got a telly mag, so I have no idea what's on telly for the week. Not that I watch much telly really. In fact, if it wasn't for the PS2 I wouldn't want the telly at all.

So here I sit, a big, hairy-arsed, former career criminal - and I am whingeing on about a telly magazine. I need to get out more...

The Voice In The Wilderness

How I met your mother

It is the morning of Thursday the 21st October 2010 and the proletariat have all gone off to the salt mines or the stone quarries - or wherever it is they go to work these days. The point is, they've gone and left me at a bit of a loose end. However, as anyone who glances at this drivel on a regular basis will be fully aware, I can turn adversity into triumph at the drop of a hat. (That sounds a bit flash - it's not meant to be.)

Anyway, be that as it may, before the peasants buggered off leaving the idle poor to their own devices, there was a bit of a conversation and one of them asked another: 

When did you meet your wife? 
Now, this is a question asked in many ways by many people and, in particular, children often ask their fathers:
Dad! How did you and Mum first meet?
I'm taking this a step further and have decided, in my wisdom, to inform the world how I first met Boudica, and I might even put a word of truth in here and there - but I doubt it.

Everybody will be familiar with the children's name, often played at parties, of musical chairs. We all know how it works - we run around to music and when the music stops we grab a chair and sit on it. Whoever fails to get a chair is 'OUT'.

Well, grown-ups have a similar game (probably marginally less fun) that they play at parties. (I went to a party once where everyone threw their front door keys into a pile in the middle of a table - pick a key and whoever owned it, that's who you went home with that night. I ended up with an AA box on the A57. I digress...)

The grown-up version of musical chairs doesn't involve chairs at all - you just walk around with a drink and, when the music stops, you grab the nearest woman and kiss her. If you are a woman then you grab a fellow (it prevents acrimony).

So there I was, wandering about with a drink, when the music came to a stop - so I grabbed the nearest girl and kissed her. The girl was Boudica and she followed me round all niqht after that.

Oh I know what you are all saying at this moment - you are saying:

Come off it, Frankie, you are not that good a kisser.
Well, that may be true, but what I didn't tell you was that Boudica was doing a cartwheel at the time. I'm still wondering why she had nylons on her arms and a hairy face. (Sod it, she's going to make me pay for that.)

The Voice In The Wilderness

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Are we there yet?

There is no other way to put this - the simple facts of the matter are that I am a Vulgarian. It's not to be denied! Now, for those of us who spend their time watching Star Trek , a Vulgarian is not a race from outer space - eat your popcorn and stop bothering decent folk. No, a Vulgarian is a person (no sexual preferences here, it can apply to anyone - male, female and those who can't make their minds up) who swears, uses foul language, uses profanity. Put it this way, if they gave away gold stars for not cursing I wouldn't fucking get one!

There are those (a bit up themselves in my opinion) who look askance at us lesser mortals, the swearing class, and say that we lack the ability to express ourselves in proper English, or that we are just lazy - and there may well be a bit of truth in that. BUT! There are times when being a Vulgarian helps a good deal - I know, I've been there.

Let me paint a little picture - a vignette as it were. At this point all of you girlie types can bugger off and make yourselves a cup of herbal tea, paint your fingernails, kick the dog - do what you like. This bit is strictly for the boys. (That has ensured that all the females will read it, them being naturally nosey to start with. Well, women are different to men - that can't be argued with. They are wired-up differently, they are on continental wiring. They do not play with the full deck of cards and are cheating to boot!)

Let us suppose that our car is being uncooperative and we find that it needs a simple procedure such as a new starter motor. Not much point wasting a couple of hundred quid on something we can do perfectly well ourselves, so we do.

Before we can put the new motor on (five quid from any scrapyard) we first have to remove the dysfunctional one. So we get a good, solid grip on the bolt with our trusty spanner, settle our feet for a good purchase and... HEAVE!

The spanner slips off the nut and we punch the engine block so hard that if we did it to an elephant we'd be arrested for cruelty. The skin is ripped from our knuckles in huge swathes and blood flows so copiously that if we gave that much to the Blood Transfusion Service we would get that gold star mentioned earlier.

So there we stand, sucking our torn hand, and I've got to say it, the pain is so bad that we do not look up to heaven and say in a meek sort of voice, "Oh dear!" No, we point our noses up to the sky and yell, "YOU F...... " and so on.

So, is there a case where the vernacular and ONLY the vernacular will serve? Well, now you know why I'm a dedicated Vulgarian. You ladies can continue to read this now.

So I am a Vulgarian. Well, I've got to say it, there are times when a great deal of personal satisfaction can be gained from letting it all out in no uncertain terms. Boudica does it - she has no compunction or restraints when it comes to letting someone know what she thinks, and annoying her is not the wisest career move that a fellow could make.

Apparently, two more of Boudica's pigeons have been assassinated, and the Troll is the main suspect. In fact the Troll is the only suspect. The thing is that Boudica is beginning to get annoyed, and annoying her is a bad plan. The British Army don't annoy Boudica - and they've got TANKS! No, when Boudica gets annoyed wise men find nice deep holes to hide in and pull the tops in after them.

So here is my problem, me being a humanitarian Vulgarian - should I tell the Troll to behave herself?


Should I just sit back and let the invective flow copiously?

I'm keeping out of it - fuck it.

Finally (and I suspect that everyone will have realised this by now), there is no progress or news about my impending (possibly) downgrading, or my impending (also possibly) transfer to greener pastures. I saw Blodwin during the week and all she could tell me was that the paperwork was going up to the Deputy Governor (Hoss the Boss's assistant) on Thursday just gone, that would be the 14th October. A bit early yet for a response I suppose - we will see what next week brings.

I'm a bit like a little kid sitting in the back of the car. "Are we there yet?"

The Voice In The Wilderness

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Great expectations

Jails are made of bricks and passions, broken dreams and ribald men.
And if there was ever a true statement, or a thought-provoking one, that was it.

The good news is that I have finally got the independent psychologist's report and assessment from my solicitor. The solicitor thinks it may be a bad idea to submit the report to the parole board (or any other board I should think) on the grounds that it is less than complimentary in respect of the PCL-R, the HCR20 and other engines of assessment.

Well, I don't agree. If a document is critical of the PCL-R, or any other assessment engine being used by the prison service, then surely that must be seen as a reflection on the engine rather than on the individual being assessed. If something isn't quite as efficient as everyone thinks it is, then that should be stated. After all, it's all about personal opinions at the best of times really, and we all know that two people can see the same incident entirely differently.

Wasn't it Frederick Langbridge who wrote:

Two men look out through the same bars;
One sees the mud, and one the stars.
There we have it! The prison service (though not everyone in it) not only sees the mud generally but wallows in it.

The psychologist writes a long and interesting report, and where I could offer argument about one or two points, generally he strikes me as extremely sensible as well as entirely academic in his approach to matters - he researches things thoroughly, something that young trainees simply don't do.

Whatever he may have said about me, and very little of it could be objected to by me. The bottom line seems to be that my risk of reoffending would seem to be more or less zero. It doesn't come any lower than that really. He also feels that I should be sent to an open prison. Blodwyn, in her wisdom, also thinks I should be downgraded - in her case to a Category C. Then, of course, we have The Wallace saying the same thing - send him to a Cat C at least, and all other report writers are nodding in agreement.

Oddly enough, the Smiling Assassin has been conspicuous by both her physical absence and her lack of input. I say no more there.

I have sent a copy of the psychologist's report to Blodwyn - she may want to use it when she sees the Deputy Governor to ask him to sign the papers for my downgrading and transfer. Besides, she expressed a desire to see it - I promised she would and I always keep my word.

So, where does that leave me now?

For while the tired waves, vainly breaking ,
Seem here no painful inch to gain,
Far back, through creeks and inlets making,
Comes silent, flooding in, the Main.
Oh yes, Arthur Clough knew what he was talking ahout all right. In this case the tide is certainly coming in, flooding the creeks and inlets. I am sure that there is bound to be someone, somewhere in the system, who will try to stop the tide, but King Canute tried that - all he got was wet feet.

Watch this space carefully, I'm expecting a bit of good news sooner or later - I feel a bit like Pip in Great Expectations.

Finally, a word about Boudica. She hasn't managed to get a letter to me yet this week - it seems that the mail is a good week behind. I've approached the right authorities on the matter, but somebody is lying to them.

Oh yes, we assure you, Sir, the mail is being delivered.
Oh well, we will see.

Consequently I can't give my weekly report on Boudica, her pigeons and her ongoing war with The Troll.

In all of this, one important protagonist has been completely overlooked and that is that nasty ould tart, Lady Luck. I think she's been away on holiday or something recently (or her attention is on some other poor bugger) but she hasn't been kicking me. I almost miss her. I was starting to like her periodic kicks in the cobblers - my only real contact with another person. Who am I trying to k1d? She's not real and there is no contact, it's all metaphorical - but you know what I mean.

The Voice In The Wilderness

Friday, October 08, 2010

RAM day

This morning at 10 o'clock, one of the Kangas came to ask me if I would go down to the visits area where the Risk Assessment Management board were sitting because they were ready to see me. I wasn't scheduled until 10:30 but I wasn't exactly busy, unless playing Resident Evil 4 can be considered as busy.

"Certainly!" cried I. "I'm on my way."

Of course it took me half an hour to get there - it is almost impossible to get from A to B in this place at the best of times. I finally got there and then had to hurry up and wait. So from 10:30 until almost eleven I just sat outside twiddling my thumbs.

Just as well they were ready for me at ten, or I'd have been sitting there still. But that's just me being churlish.

I went in just before 11 o'clock and there were four females sitting there and, as we all know, I get on with the female of the species - it's the males that I am sick of the sight, sound and smell of. I like women - I think I must be a secret lesbian. Sorry - a secret lady in sensible shoes.

What was I talkng about? Oh yes.

In I went.

"Sit anywhere you like," says the chairperson - a pleasant woman with a smile. "We don't want this to seem like a tribunal, so sit wherever you care to, wherever makes you feel comfortable."

I just sat on the chair at the end of the table, obviously where the accused should be sitting.

Blodwyn was there, along with another woman whose name I have forgotten but whom I have had one or two funny chats with. There was a youngish woman taking the minutes and whose name I didn't catch because she spoke quietly - and, of course, the chairwoman.

Well, there is little purpose served in going into what was said, all that matters is the final outcome and that was this:

They want me sending to a Category C prison, but Portsmouth isn't accepting cons at the minute, it being in a transitional stage. So both the chairwoman and Blodwyn are going to speak to the Deputy Governor personally, in addition to filling in the correct paperwork, and they are advising him that I should he made into a Cat C and transferred to Channings Wood, which is in Devon, or in that direction somewhere - the West Country anyway. However, should the Dep decline to downgrade me, then I will have to go to a Cat B prison and then wait to be downgraded and go to a Cat C from there.

What I'm wondering now is, will the Dep sign the papers? I know that I am to be given the strongest recommendations, but, as was mentioned on the board, I have only been a Cat B for just over a year. The Dep may baulk at committing an act of decency - they often do.

Howsomever (that's a great word - it makes me smile), as we all know, I am the world's most optimistic pessimist and we can only hope for the best but expect the worst. It will be a couple of weeks (probably) before the Dep decides but, with the support I've got from all the right people and quarters, I remain hopeful.

So one day, in the not too distant future, the weekly Voice may suddenly come under the heading of Channings Wood, or some other low joint. I can only say, "Watch this space".

Finally, what will Boudica say about it?

"Channings Wood? Where is Channings Wood? Why didn't you ask them to send you to Botany Bay while you were at it? Portsmouth was far enough but at least we knew where that was on the map! Channings bleedin' Wood! It sounds like a spot for tourists and picnics!"

Not my idea - I just report the facts. So don't shoot me, I'm only the piano player.

The Voice In The Wilderness


It's Sunday - the third day of October to be precise.

Sunday - that day in the week when all over the planet things come to a halt in Christian countries and everyone takes it nice and easy for the day. People lie in bed later (apart from those who have to get out of bed to cater for the lazy buggers who stay in because it's Sunday.)

Sunday means all sorts of things to all sorts of people and here at the Lazy L it is no different, I suppose, apart from one minor fact - here at Hoss the Boss's ranch it means,  quite simply, a day of utter, mind-destroying boredom. It gets so bad here that sometimes I seriously consider thrusting a fork into my leg just to make things interesting.

Still, we mustn't complain, eh? After all, it could be worse - we could have been born Welsh.

Speaking of the leek killers, I see that Druidism can now put itself down for a slice of the charity cake because it is an officially accepted religion. Well, I've got to be honest about this and say that men running round in long white robes with big beards and wearing myrtle wreaths on their heads wouldn't exactly inspire me much. Waving sickles around would merely serve to encourage me to keep away from them - you could have somebody's eye out with one of those things.

Sunday - the weekly day of atonement.

"Forgive me Father for I have sinned, it is a week since my last confession."

"And what is the hature of this sin? My child."

"I've had the impure thoughts, Father."

"lmpure thoughts, ye say! Away and say three decades for yer sins, yer bowsie."

Of course, sometimes the sins are so horrendous - lustful thoughts spring to mind - that a few decades simply won't do. Our sins - for what they are in this world of murder and mayhem - are so wicked that we feel the guilt right down to our little tootsies - we wanted to see the postman hung, drawn and quartered - that we have to come up with our own, self-imposed penances. I once tied barbed wire around my underpants and flagellated myself on the floor.

"Have you any impure thoughts my son?"

The fucking barbed wire was killing me - and that's something ELSE I've got to be sorry for!

Sunday - do the pagans have to suffer it? Somehow I doubt it. All they do is dance around in the moonlight and chase scantily-clad girls through the woods yelling, "I'll cure yer sins!"

"Have you any impure thoughts my son?"

Boudica has - she has them every Sunday and they are all to do with the Troll. More of Boudica's pigeons have been assassinated apparently - at least two more. It's a good job she's got dozens of the feathered pests really. Every time she opens the back door of the house there is a concerted rush by a gang of commando pigeons to get inside. I've told her, it's only a matter of time before they are sitting on the settee, watching the Pigeon Channel on Sky and demanding cups of tea. She's got one called Scruffy who actually stands all day on the back step and fights off the others.

What I want to know is this - why has David Attenborough not been to make a documentary about the Mad Pigeon Woman of Hartlepool?

Sunday - I'm thinking about getting done up in fancy dress, just for the fun of it. I might shove a sweeping brush up my bum, pour treacle on my head and pretend I'm a toffee apple.

Still - look on the bright side - it's Monday tomorrow. I've got the Risk Assessment Management board on Tuesday and everyone wants me moving to greener pastures. Blodwyn wants me into a Cat C prison at least.

I wonder if they will let me feed the pigeons.

The Voice In The Wilderness

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

A grumpy old goat

In my capacity as a miserable, grumpy old goat I often find myself at odds with so many things in life for no other reason than that I am a miserable, grumpy old goat. I've said it before, and no doubt I will say it again at fairly regular intervals, it's not easy being me.

The simple fact is that I am grumpy at the best of times. Just about everything gets on my wick, irritates me, annoys and just generally pisses me off. However, it is not a malicious sort of "pissed off" - not a bit of it. No, it's just a general sort of thing such as being annoyed at the drivel politicians spout when it is blatantly obvious they don't believe a word of what they are saying themselves, they are merely adhering to the party line.

Esoteric - esoterically pissed off, that's what I am - me and millions like me. But it doesn't make me or them a bad person or bad people, it just makes us pissed off.

However (and with me there is always an however), every now and then, from time to time, there is a genuine cause for my state of irritation and this time it is that wonderful person whom we have all come to know and love well - the Smiling Assassin. Once again she has raised her ugly head above the parapet to take a couple of shots at me. Personally I think she must be in league with that other fickle ould tart, Lady Luck.

As we all know, I have been undergoing a good deal of assessment and other interviews to ascertain whether I am suitable to be treated like a human bean or whether I am actually  - as the Smiling Assassin would like us all to believe - as mad as a March hare.

I now have in my possession reports from various sources such as Blodwyn, The Wallace, my personal officer and his line manager. Without exception, and without any form of caveat, they all say the same thing - it is time to give the miserable, grumpy old bastard a break and let him go off to greener pastures. All I am waiting for now is two more finished and final reports - one from Blodwyn and one from the independent psychologist. I fully expect that these will also support me in the strongest terms. I hope to have them in my gruby little mitts before Tuesday 5th October when I go before the Risk Assessment Board.

Da da! Enter,stage left, the Smiling Assassin. It is completely matterless what anyone may say to this woman, she will twist and distort it to suit her own ends, and if those ends are not vicious enough then she will quite simply lie. There is not a prisoner in the place who has a good word for her and she was once heard to say that if she had her way then all cons would be kept in their cells for twenty-four hours a day - no telly, no radio, chained to the wall and fed on bread and water. Oh no, the Smiling Assassin doesn't like prisoners. It makes me wonder why she is even in the job, unless of course she gets her thrills this way.

Anyway, be that as it may, she wanted me to go and talk to her about the upcoming RAM board. Why? She makes no reports! She merely collates from the reports that are submitted by the authorised areas and departments. I wouldn't go to see her yesterday - she can rip my heart out without any assistance from me, thank you very much.

Was that good enough for her? Was it hell. She came to my cell door and, while I cannot remember her exact words verbatim (only policemen can do that), I can give the gist of her comments and veiled threats.

You need to speak to me... It is for your own good.. The only person you will harm is yourself... You promised Blodwyn...
And so on.

In the end I made one comment. I said, "You can stand there talking all afternoon, it won't do you any good. I've got nothing else to say to you," and ignored her as I went for a drive on my PS2.

She stood there for a minute or two, made a couple of other cracks but finally buggered off.

So, what is she going to put into the document which she is going to prepare for the board? The same document incidentally which she threatened to use against me weeks ago and which has now been superceded by factual stuff from the various report writers. She was going to submit the document KNOWING it to be false, wrong and all the rest of it, if I didn't speak to her. She intended to do it anyway of course, but now she can't - she knows all about the new reports, the support I have and all the rest of it. However, she will still try to slide the metaphorical knife into my poor, aching ribs because she knows no other way of life.

As I said earlier, it's not easy being me.

I am doing myself a big service by not speaking to her because I know that in my honesty I would be offensively rude, and I have no desire or intention of putting myself in such a position - far better not to speak at all, not even with witnesses.

And that, my friends is called spotting a problem before it can develop and taking the appropriate action to avoid it. I might be a miserable, grumpy old goat, but I'm not a stupid miserable, grumpy old goat.

The Voice In The Wilderness