Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Nostradamus never picked the lottery numbers, did he?

Practically every time I sit down to the typewriter to write the weekly offering of unmitigated tripe, I rarely have any set plan or theme in mind - this week is no different.The mind is both a desert and a seething mass of disjointed thoughts. So, I'm just going to meander through and jot down a couple of disjointed ideas as they occur to me. One thing I'm not going to bother with is the coming parole hearing, which is in just a few days - Thursday the 26th in fact. I'm sure enough will be said about that next week - this week I am concentrating on tripe.

What about this "prophet" in America? He pronounced that the world was to end at 6 p.m. on Saturday the 21st - which was yesterday, as I write. Apparently we could expect massive earthquakes and other disasters which would destroy civilisation as we knew it. The "good" would be taken up to heaven - of course - whilst the rest of us would be condemned to suffer on the devastated world until such time as it all came to an end.

That didn't happen then.

Whatever you may say, you have to give these conmen the credit they deserve. They utter such shite and STILL manage to get a lot of people to believe them AND to cough up their dosh while they are doing it. Well, they won't need it in heaven and, let's be fair, the conmen need it to live the life they want to live. So, one rip-off merchant bites the dust, but have no fear - there will be another one coming along any second.

Nostradamus said:

The world as we know it will come to an end with a dart from the east.
Mind, he said a lot of things, all obscurely too - him and a lot of others. Why do these harbingers of doom never speak clearly? It's always wrapped up in jargon and ambiguity. Let's have it right - if they could see into the future, the first thing they would do is pick the right lottery numbers. They haven't oet a clue, none of them. Fortune telling, predicting the future - it's all gammon.

I saw the nurse the other day - my yearly "Well Man" check-up. Weight: 96.3 kilos; heart: still working well; lungs: ticking over fine - and the pulse of a teenager.

"So!" said he after he had finished messing about with me, "How are you in yourself?"

"Fine," said I.

"Where do you see yourself in a couple of years?"

I looked at him in (I suppose) an old-fashioned way. "What sort of idiot question is that?" I asked "How can anyone answer such a stupid question? You yourself haven't got a clue where you'll be this time tomorrow. Anything could happen! How the fuck do you expect me to predict where I'll be in two years' time? I might be dead! Who knows?"

He nodded. "You are right."

I went on. "These silly young girls who are training to annoy prisoners and calling it psychology ask the same questions. It's downright lunacy! Talk about crystal ball gazing - fucking insanity. Why not ask me what is going to win the Grand National in two years' time? You've got as much chance of getting a sensible sort of answer. I don't know!"

"Well," he had the grace to grin. "There is one thing you can be accused of, and that's honesty."

"Well," said I, the armchair philosopher, "when you get older, you realise that honesty is the best way. Life is too short for any other attitude. You realise that you don't really care, and you have to care to lie to people. I'm too old to worry about silly things that I once saw as important. It's all bollocks at the best of times."

Boudica is right - she told me weeks ago, "When you go in front of the parole board, keep your mouth shut."

As my auld grandfather would have said:

Whatever you say, say nothing.
The Voice In The Wilderness

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Ramblings of a sick mind

When I was a child I not only knew but was thoroughly convinced that soap and water was not (as my betters informed me) good for me but was in fact positively harmful and probably toxic. On the rare occasions that my grandmother Nellie managed to corner me, soap in one hand and scrubbing brush in the other, she would scrub away at my filthy skin, ranting and raving about disgusting children and, in my opinion, she should have been arrested and taken away by the Cruelty Man.

However, I managed to get to my teens relatively clean - and then discovered girls. Girls were very strange indeed, they thought belng clean was a great idea and were even known to get washed without first being beaten senseless by their elders. They did it because they wanted to! As I say - very strange creatures indeed. For some reason girls found gut-wrenching odours offensive and quite obnoxious, and insisted on their boyfriends having at least one wash a week and smelling reasonably acceptable.

Girls smelled nice, but I didn't relate smelling nice with soap and water. I thought girls smelled nice automatically because of the sugar and spice sort of thing. So, much against my better judgement, I began to wash on a regular basis and before I knew where I was I quite liked it - liked feeling clean and liked smelling quite nice. I was thirty-six at the time.

Anyway, as a callow youth, I began to get the message concerning personal cleanliness and general self care. My salad days then improved no end because girls were suddenly not averse to cuddling - and even going so far as to kiss me now and then. I would sit with a girl, kissing all night, and on the walk home my face would be soaking wet, my lips would be frayed at the edges and my whole mouth numb - I felt like I had been to the dentist's! Howsomever, let's get back to the original theme - washing.

As the years passed of course, like all nasty, grubby little boys, I became a normal, self-washing cove - and by the time I was about sixteen I was the epitome of cleanliness, just like all the rest of my contemporaries.

Now, in prison, we meet all sorts, and we meet quite a few late starters - you know the sort, not quite up to the speed of the rest of the convoy of life. Some are a bit shy with ladies and have no idea how to talk to them - and some have no idea how to talk to ANYone without being rude and offensive. That's my category. There are a few who still haven't worked out the value of soap and water - they quite simply don't wash or shower. Needless to say, these fellows are a bit short of friends, never mind female friends.

Now, this all came to me when I was in the shower this morning, merrily scrubbing away at any dead skin which may have developed on my feet since yesterday. Don't worry, there will be no guided tour, I just mentioned it.

I know three fellows who never go near the shower.

Having said that, years ago, when I first came to prison, I read a booklet thing which warned me to be careful in the shower. It was "Elf and Safety" of course, nothing to do with any sort of suggestion of molestation, but I chose to twist it because that's what I do to keep myself amused.

Then, the other day someone mentioned the fact that a certain fellow on this wing had never been seen in the shower. I said, "When I came to jail twenty-five years ago, I was told to be vigilant in the shower in case I was molested. I've had a shower every day and not once have I been molested - I feel like I've been robbed!"

The Voice In The Wilderness

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

A letter from the Invisible Man

Well, it's more of an address than a letter really, so let's start again:

An address from the Invisible Man

Ladies and Gentlemen (and anybody else who hasn't got the sense not to read this drivel), greetings. (I've always wanted to say that. I've also always wanted to say, "Run out the guns Mister Bush! Run our colours up the yard-arm and stand by to fire!")

Where was I?

Ladies and Gentlemen, it would seem that things are on the verge of coming to a head (whatever that means). In fact, they seem to be reaching a conclusion on several fronts. I suppose it's a bit like Corporation buses (busses? buses?) - you wait all day and they all come along at once.

My prison solicitor, Manchester's answer to Ironsides, has finally got fed up with the prison telling lies, being misleading and generally less than cooperative. He has given them until 4pm on the 24th of May to reassess my categorisation or he will institute a Judicial Review into their intransigence and unreasonableness - sounds fair to me. They have been blatantly misleading and often downright lying for over six months now. The trouble with the Prison Service is that they lie to prisoners with impunity on a daily basis and the prisoner has little or no recourse. They have become so used to lying and fobbing people off that they think they can lie to anyone they like. 

Wrong. Lying to solicitors serves several purposes: 
  • It gives grounds for a Judicial Review. 
  • It exposes them as being less than truthful. 
  • It pisses people off.
Now, prisoners can't do much about it - as I say, they have little or no recourse - but solicitors can, and do.

I've been dealing with this intransigence for over twenty-five years now, and kept calm. That fact in itself should adequately demonstrate my personal control, not that the Prison Service will recognise that fact of course; that would be reasonable - they don't do reasonable.

So, that's the 24th May. On Thursday 26th May I am finally in front of the Parole Board starting at half-past ten in the morning. Knowing the solicitor who will be representing me, she will ask for two things: either release into the community or, failing that, open conditions. We've got the ammunition and the justification so there are great expectations.

All of the protagonists involved will be present, although no one from the Prison Service as such. There will be no dissenting voices as far as we can tell, which means that an open prison will be the most likely outcome. I think personally that it is unrealistic to expect release - this ain't Hollywood. However, the downgrading recommendation would make a complete nonsense of the prison's refusal to downgrade me. (See above.)

Finally, a story:
A drunk sits down next to a Catholic priest in the departure hall of Heathrow Airport and starts to read a newspaper. After a few minutes the drunk leans against the priest and says, "Hey! Hey! Father! What causes arthritis?"

The priest eays sanctimoniously, "Too much drinking, cavorting with loose women and drug-taking."

"Oh!" says the drunk. "Right." And goes back to reading.

After a while the priest feels remorse and says, "Excuse me, I spoke a little hastily there. Drink and drugs and women do not cause arthritis."

"Oh!" says the drunk. "I wondered about that. I was just reading about the Pope having arthritis see!"
Boudica isn't happy with the warm weather - she doesn't care for it at all. It comes from living so close to the cold winds coming in off the North Sea - straight from the Urals, apparently. I'll probably get the blame for the hot weather - I get the blame for everything else.
The Voice In The Wilderness

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Questions of morality

It's been a big week this last seven days or so, what with one thing or another. There's no news from a personal point of view, but that's merely normal for me - I am just marking time, like a good little soldier, waiting for the whistle to blow to send me over the top into the dangerous zone of "No Man's Land" where the Parole Board will snipe at me. So, nothing to be added there then - it's only a few days away too! It's the 8th today - I go over the top on the 26th. No, the interesting stuff this week is all external, so to speak.

We've had the death of Osama Bin Liner and the utter defeat of good old Nick Clegg in various elections. Now, as any regular reader will be fully aware, I don't generally make anything out of any news stories and I don't intend to do so here - sighs of relief from all of those people who are sick of hearing about both subjects - but my mind did turn to questions of morality.

"HA!" the cry goes up. "He's a nice one to talk ahout morality! He's been accused of every crime in the book just about!" and that's quite true - I even committed some of them. Give a dog a bad name, all that sort of thing. However, that does not exclude me from the question and contemplation of morality.

What about the morality of it all?

I'm not talking about the rights or wrongs of killing Bin Liner, or the justification come to that, just the morality of it. When did it come about that two wrongs make a right? I know all the arguments about how keeping him alive would have caused all manner of reprisals attempting to get him released etcetera, and how a land-based grave would have given fanatics a point of pilgrimage. I know all that. I'm just wondering, where is the morality of it? Why aren't we sending in groups of assassins to get rid of Mugabe and all of the other abusers of humanity? Why the Janus impressions?

And this naturally brings me to Nick Clegg, because if there was ever an example of total, unmitigated, two-faced backstabbing it was Clegg. This is a man who has betrayed his party, friends, fellow Lib Dems and even the caretaker's cat. He will do and say anything to keep a grip on that false power he thinks he has. Well, he has to understand that the country is disgusted, even the die-hards are sickened by his duplicity.

The country has resoundingly kicked him and his party right in the proverbials. Only right too. He has now managed to get his party into the position where they are totally beyond repair. He can't withdraw from the coalition because that would cause a general election and he would lose the majority of the few seats he has in parliament. Therefore he has to stay where he is and put up with everything the Tories do because he has no choice. Personal ambition and lack of morality - he is exposed.

If he had any backbone he would say, "Okay! I made a terrible mistake to begin with. I can only apologise and withdraw from this cruel coalition."

But he won't do that, and the longer it goes on the more he will stand to lose when be does finally have to withdraw, as he surely will sooner or later. The fool hasn't even worked it out yet that all the True Blues want him for is to utter the bad news and take the flak. The man is an egocentric moron.

(I quite liked writing that bit - my vitriolic pen hasn't lost any of its bite.)

What did the Lazy L do about the death of Bin Liner? Well, they put us on "Lock-Down" for operational reasons - a great get-out, that - and searched us all. Really, they only wanted to search the Moslem fundamentalists but had to search us all. To do otherwise would have left them open to accusations of racism. Oh yes, they are very aware of accusations of racism at the Lazy L. So, they kept us locked up for a couple of days and we are still not back to normal.

Finally, Boudica told me that her mother sat and watched the Royal Wedding on telly for five hours and that mummy drove Boudica mad by asking the same questions over and over.

"Who's getting married?"

"What's her name?"

"Is that the King?"

And so on. I wish I had been there - I'd have enjoyed giving silly answers and laughing at Boudica's frustration.

Old folk are great - I know, I am one of them.

One last thought on morality - Herbert Spencer said:

No one can be perfectly free until all are free;
No one can be perfectly moral until all are moral;
No one can be perfectly happy until all are happy.
Macaulay said:
We know of no spectacle so ridiculous as the British public in one of its periodical fits of morality.
Oh yes, and British politicians:
The morals of a whore and the manners of a dancing master.
I think Johnson said that. Come to think on it, Johnson said a lot of things - he had an opinion on everything. I wonder what HE would have said about the Bin Liner thing!
The Voice In The Wilderness

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

An old dog, tired out

I've come to the conclusion that, of the several aspects and dynamics of prison, one thing is absolutely clear - those doing the job mostly don't know what they are actually doing! It goes beyond that - they don't seem to know what they are SUPPOSED to be doing! The simple fact seems to be that they don't actually understand their own jobs. Just because someone HAS a job does not automatically mean that they are able to DO the job.

So, what has brought this little rant on? Well I can help there - I know the answer.

For some time now, Andrew has been trying to get some sense out of Hoss the Boss here at the Lazy L on the subject of why, given that everybody (apart from the Smiling Assassin) wants me downgraded and moved to a less secure environment (and this includes outside experts AND the prison's own experts), why I have not been downgraded and transferred. This has been Andrew's question. Not a difficult one you may think.

Ah! But then we have to take into account certain factors such as that those responsible not only seem to be ignoring the experts but do not seem even to begin to grasp what the experts have all recommended - but they are also outside of their comfort zone. You see, they genuinely believe that their purpose is to do prisoners down at every opportunity.

If you throw in the total inability to regard matters with a certain amount of pure pragmatism, and the fact that they take matters personally, then it will come as no surprise that Hoss the Boss has written a letter back to Andrew which is difficult to understand in that he says that the Smiling Assassin has flown in the face of all other evidence and wants me kept as a Cat B prisoner.

Hoss the Boss can't be blamed. He is only as good as the information fed to him hy his minions - if he had anything to do with the letter at all other than a signature at the end of it.

The Smiling Assassin says that I have to provide more "evidence" - although of what isn't clear. I have not been in any sort of trouble for ten or eleven years - never a nicking, not a second spent in the punishment block and not so much as a warning as to any untoward behaviour. Nothing! How then do I produce any "evidence" of some esoteric idea that only exists in the twisted and vindictive mind of the Smiling Assassin?

If they simply didn't want to make a decision, then all they had to say was that they were waiting to see what the Parole Board offers on the 26th May - not much more than three weeks away! That would have been the easy answer, rubbing no one up the wrong way and certainly not giving grounds for a Judicial Review of unreasonableness. But as I say, Hoss the Boss can only work with the poor advice he is given.

I have an idea that perhaps the Smiling Assassin isn't quite as vindictive as her lies and backstabbing suggest. I think she simply does not understand cons in general - and me in particular. Let's face it - she isn't very bright to begin with, and she has the qualifications of a discarded aubergine. How can a person like her be expected to understand a complex fellow like me? Come to that, how can she be expected even to begin to understand an idiot in a hurry?

In "Pilgrim's Progress", Christiana asks Christian:

But some there be that say he laughs too loud;
And some do say his head is in a cloud.
Some say his words and stories are too dark
They know not how by them to find his mark.
That's the Smiling Assassin all over. She quite simply does not - cannot - understand a complex person like me. There is nothing in her head. She is incapable of rational and logical thought - which means she cannot understand rational and logical thoughts. Do we expect a pigeon to understand quantum physics? (I don't understand quantum physics myself, but I've got the common sense to realise that I don't understand and so make no suggestions or recommendations to NASA.)

So we move to the coming parole hearing,  and when they (in their wisdom) disagree with the prison's lack of understanding, who will get the blame? Me! It will all be my fault - everything is the fault of the prisoner. It's my fault for having the temerity to think.

Finally, Boudica's dog Barney died. He was an old dog, tired out, and he simply sighed his last and went off to enjoy that long sleep that we all enjoy sooner or later. I know how he felt - I'm an old dog, tired out.

I've said it before, I'll say it again - I'm too old for this shite.

The Voice In The Wilderness