Thursday, September 29, 2011

Is there anybody out there?

I've got a little black book with my poems in,
I've got a bag with a toothbrush and comb in;
When I'm a good dog they sometimes throw me a bone in.

I've got elastic bands keeping my shoes on,
I've got those 'swollen-hand' blues;
I've got thirteen channels of shit on the T.V. to choose from.
I've got electric light,
And I've got second sight,
I've got amazing powers of observation.

And that is why I know, when I try to get through
On the telephone to you,
There'll be nobody home.
(Pink Floyd)

Well, as any regular reader will be fully aware by now, I've got no news and nothing to tell anyone because, as usual here at the Lazy L, bugger all has happened.

I'm on the waiting list!

Often I sit here in my committee-designed and government-owned kennel-cum-toilet, surrounded by my solitude, and wonder if there is anyone actually out there at all!

Am I alone?

All around me in their own kennels there are so many sad tales and you can be absolutely certain that they too feel alone and abandoned. It's not true of course - we all (well, most of us) have friends and family who care about us - but it's hard to believe at night. In the cells of the Lazy L, nobody hears you screaming because the screaming is just inside your own head. I've said this before, of course, but it's worth repeating - Nicolas Sarkozy once said:

Life is the same for everyone when you are alone at night in an empty room.
I'm tired of being alone in empty rooms, but there's very little I can do about it apart from wait, like a good little patient, for the waiting list to reduce slowly. Sooner or later they will come to my cell door in the dead of night and tell me to pack up my goods and chattels and prepare for a road-trip the following day. It will happen - nothing lasts forever - but after all of the years with very little hope of any real progress, to finally have my lips within touching distance of drinking from the cup at last and yet my neck muscles can't quite manage that final millimetre, it's exasperating. Of course I stretch the tongue to try to cover that final distance but even a lizard would strutggle against the Prison Service, and I'm no lizard - I'm the wrong colour.

Boudica is finding it probably marginally more difficult than I am because, way back in May when we first found out that I had been recommended for open conditions by the Parole Board, she was delighted - full of plans and ideas and expectations. Now, over four months later and not an inch of progress, she is becoming a little disillusioned - and who can blame her? Well, all I can tell her is that they can break the clock but they can't stop the time. It will happen, it will come to pass, as they put it in the bible.

Until it does, all I can do of course is sit here like a good little convict and patient. Well, let's face it, these places are just like big loony-bins anyway - and if it wasn't for the uniforms, it would be difficult to decide who the inmates were. I have come to the conclusion that waiting for this place to get off its collective is much like being homosexual - a pain in the arse.

The Voice In The Wilderness

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Confused again

It's official! Once again I have become thoroughly confused hy the mixed signals and messages which this place seems to thrive on - it's the only thing they DO do well, confusion.

Now (I've got to stop doing that), regular insomniacs, and others with little better to do other than read this drivel, will be fully cognisant of the fact that, for over four months now, I have been patiently waiting a move to open conditions.

Well (I've got to stop doing that too), it gives me absolutely no pleasure whatsoever to say that in those four months I have not (apparently) taken one step forward toward the goal of fresh air at the Home for Gay Sailor - not an inch.

One minute I'm going, then I'm not.

The latest message from those responsible makes about as much sense as sliding down a razor blade and using my bollocks for a brake - a good idea to some, I'm sure.

On the 24th of last month I made a simple application asking about my transfer. I got the answer back yesterday, three weeks late and just as many weeks out of date. In that time I have received a letter personally from North Sea Camp - clearly this place has either lost their copy or sold it on E-Bay.

The TACMAN here has finally said:

Mr Wilkinson,
I was informed on 03/08/2011 that decisions at North Sea Camp have been put on hold for the next fortnight until there (sic) Governor 1 has spoken to area about there (sic) situation regarding Lifers/IPPs. A decision is required and until it has been made everything is on hold.
This is pure gammon - nothing more. What does it mean? This is nothing more than another example of "Let's fill him full of crap and hope he goes away". If I could, I WOULD go away - I'll even pay for the bleedin' taxi if it helps!

So, the bottom line is, "We are doing nothing" - as usual.

My parole reports start soon and, once they do start, then I am not allowed to be moved to another prison. I will then have to appear before the Parole Board next year in THIS prison and, of course, the first question asked will be, "Why has our last recommendation not been implemented?" Of course this place will then look for someone to blame, because they take the blame for nothing. Who will get the blame?

Go on, take a wild guess. Oh! There's a surprise! It's all my fault... AGAIN!

To move on, it will also be remembered that a few weeks ago I made the life-changing decision, after great deliberation, to grow a mustache. Well, the plan was to see which came first, the tash or a transfer - a bit like the chicken and the egg only slightly more interesting.

Yesterday one of my contemporaries, a Turkish fellow, said to me that I now look like a PKK Separatist - a Kurd. It looks like the tash is winning.

Having said all that, it won't last much longer because it is irritating the very Divvil out of my top lip. How people can grow facial hair is a puzzle to me. It's annoying and, to be quite honest, looks scruffy.

I am reminded of something my grandma Nell was fond of saying and that was:

Nivver trust a feller who cultivates on his face what grows wild on his arse.
The Voice In The Wilderness

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Call me a Mackem

Here we are again, the end of yet another week where there is very little to relate from this end in respect of my transfer to somewhere else, beyond the fact that we should be informed officially whether I am accepted by North Sea Camp and where I am on the waiting list. What that actually means in pounds, shillings and pence is that I have nothing in my immediate future other than more waiting. Well, I'm quite good at waiting - I've had enough practice.

The other thing this week is that today, Sunday the 11th September, is the tenth anniversary of what has now become known world-wide as "Nine Eleven". Don't panic, I'm not going to say anything about it - enough has been and is being said by people far more qualified than me.

I remember where I was at the time. I was in Full Sutton prison and was on basic, so I didn't have a telly - I had to go running to the telly room to watch it.

I suppose it takes a powerful hatred to contemplate such an act. This got me thinking about hatred, and we can't really condemn anyone for it because our nation is the leader in hatred - we don't even like each other. For instance, let's consider the hatred between seperate sets of people who live in each other's back gardens, so to speak. Liverpool hate Everton, Manchester United hate Manchester City and so on. Of course they don't go round blowing up each other's stadiums and killing each other, but that's only because
they wouldn't get away with it. If they thought they COULD get away with it, they would be wiping each other out with the best of them.

Let us consider the situation between the denizens of Newcastle and those of Sunderland. There is maybe fifteen miles between the two cities, but there is a continent between them socially.

Now (and pay attention here - I'll be asking questions later), there is a great deal of misconception in that everyone thinks that a Geordie has to come from Newcastle. That's not so. A Geordie is someone born between the river Tees and the river Tyne. People from north of the Tyne are actually Tynesiders, while people from Sunderland and Middlesboro are Wearsiders and Tees-siders respectively. However, bigots never allow a fact to come between their pet hates and reality, so the Tynesiders call themselves Geordies and call the Wearsiders Mackems. (South Shields folk are Sand-Dancers and Hartlepool folk are Monkey­Hangers - but that's a different story.)

Wearsiders are called Mackems because when the shipyards were in operation it was said that they "Mak the ships and tak them te sea". That became "Mackems and Tackems" which is now merely abridged to "Mackems".

There is a story that there was once a doctor from the south of England travelling to the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle where he was to perform a very delicate operation on a patient. He drove up the A1 and M1 and finally turned off into Newcastle itself. However, being a stranger to the area, he was forced to ask directions. So he stopped his car at the side of the road and approached a group of young men who were coming away from St James' Park after a game between Newcastle and Sunderland, which Sunderland had managed to draw after a disputed penalty kick.

"Excuse me," said the doctor politely, "But could you tell me the quickest way to get to the Freeman Hospital please?"

"Aye!" growled a disgruntled fan. "Call me a fucking Mackem."

The Voice In The Wilderness

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

So what's new?

There we have it - yet another week passes with nothing at all actually happening, locked in the passionate arms of inertia or, as the literary world refers to it, The Lazy L. However, I think I can be a bit more up-beat than that - after all, I'm supposed to have an education and an imagination (two things most severely frowned on here at the Lazy L, incidentally). So let me tell a little story here.

When (after a great deal of pointless argument by this place) it was finally agreed that Yes, I would be transferred to an open prison and that Yes, I was a Category D prisoner, I was sitting here cogitating (as is a regular practice with me) and it occurred to me that owing to the fact that I am a Cat D and on my way (via the scenic route obviously) to open conditions, why can't I make a start on my programmes here at the Lazy L?

So I applied to go home for a week or so while I am waiting for them to get their collective arses into gear and get on with it. To be quite frank (Ha! Ha! That's great that one), to be quite frank about it I had absolutely no expectations whatsoever - I only asked because I wanted to see what bollix reason they would give for refusing to let me go home on Temporary Release On Licence or, as they refer to it in the acronym TROL... or ROTL. (They love acronyms - they confuse the prisoner you see!)

Imagine my surprise, then, when someone arrived at my kennel door with a set of papers for me to fill in applying for home leave! I filled the application document in gleefully and handed it back then sat back waiting for the refusal to arrive so that I could have a good snigger at the refusal reasons (not that they are ever reasoned about any decisions - more arbitrary really). I didn't think it would take long - surely the Smiling Assassin would do her best to put a stop to my shenanigans!

Not a bit of it! The weeks went by and... nothing!

So, a couple of weeks ago, I put a couple of applications in to ask about the current position in respect of my transfer and one to ask about the position in respect of my request for home leave.

I got an answer at last. I have no idea what to make of it, of course, this is all new ground to me - I am a lost soul wandering through the maze of life - and that's funny on lots of levels. Perhaps the best thing to do is actually to reproduce the answer here in full and everyone can see for themselves.

Mr Wilkinson... I am awaiting recommendations from the Police and Probation Service regarding ROTL at the address given.
Your transfer to Category D open conditions is being processed by TACMAN.
I will contact the Probation and Police again today.
I would draw your attention to PSO 6300 Chapter 4.3.1 regarding eligibility, regarding closed conditions.
However your application is being proceeded with in preparation for your transfer to open conditions.
Signed and dated 31/8/11
So, what do we make of THAT? Is it good news?

Well... it's not BAD news. In fact, it's hardly any sort of news because in reality it says nothing, merely a sop to keep me quiet probably. "Well, if he thinks we are doing something he might stop bothering us and leave us alone!" That's not going to happen - I've got nothing else to do with my time but think up difficult questions to ask, reasonable but difficult to ignore.

Is it just me, or has anyone else noticed that there appear to be all manner of promises but nothing actually happens - not a bleedin' thing! Nowt, zilch, zero, nada. I'm still sitting here picking my nose and watching my new tash grow. (Incidentally, it's coming along nicely - I look a bit like an ancient hippy, or maybe an armchair bandido.)

Oh well, another week of no news - so what's new?

The Voice In The Wilderness

Friday, September 02, 2011

Waiting is such sweet sorrow

Every week I write that there is nothing to report and no change whatsoever on the horizon, not a thing. This week it gives me the greatest of pleasure to write that absolutely bugger all has changed so this week will be no exception. I'm still sitting here, like a tin of condensed milk on a diabetic's larder shelf, tapping away at my retro typewriter like a demented woodpecker.

I did put an application in some four or five days ago to ask what the position is in respect of my transfer to greener pastures or, as Boudica calls it, the Home for Gay Sailors, but of course there has been no response to that application. Having said that, I'm not surprised there has been no answer - what can they tell me? "Mr Wilkinson, we are waiting for a place for you." Well, I know that - so does everyone else.

I put another application in to ask what the position is in respect of my application for a week's home leave while I am waiting to be sent to the home for queer matelots and the only reaction THAT got was somebody came to see me to ask me who he was supposed to send it to for an answer - how am I supposed to know THAT? I'm not running the dump - and if I was, things would get done a lot sooner than they do now THAT'S for sure.

Big Brian (or, as I call him, Herman the Big Mug) wrote to tell me that he wants to come and see me as soon as I get to the bit of the Wash reclaimed from the sea, so it will be nice to see him - and a lot of other folk I haven't seen for so long. I don't have visits in this place, they are like everything else about the joint - nasty.

Boudica is getting a bit stressed about it all, although she will deny it under questioning. But who can blame her? I'm getting a bit stressed myself - poor sleep patterns, all that kind of thing.

I know she is getting stressed because normally, when I am rude to or about her, she would just snigger and be rude back, but she sounded a bit offended in her last letter because she said, "That's right, when you've got nothing to write about, pick on me!" I told her that it's the menopause, but that's like showing a bull
the proverbial red flag. To be fair, there are other factors that need to be taken into account, but I think this lack of progress in my situation is probaly the catalyst and magnet for all other things that are going a little bit wrong here and there. Things that would normally be "laffed" at and ignored are starting to earn comments from her that she wouldn't make as a rule. Things must be getting to her a little bit.

Anyway, now that I've mentioned Herman the Big Mug, I suppose it behoves me to mention him further. I've known Big Brian for donkey's years - longer than I've known Boudica (she's just prettier). Brian is what is commonly called a big lad. He must be six four or five and from a distance he looks little and stocky - he's built like a brick shithouse in fact. He lives in Hartlepool and, years ago, he fell asleep one afternoon on the beach there. When he woke up Greenpeace were trying to shove him back in the water.

So, that's ANOTHER one who will be annoyed at me now. In the meantime, I'm just going to continue sitting here like a pustule on a camel's bum and wait patiently - in fact, much more of it and I'll BE a patient, although Boudica will say that I've been a patient for years.

The Voice In The Wilderness