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Showing posts from May, 2011

Southbank at the Millenium: FML

It was December 31st 1999 and something was supposed to happen. It had been in the news for weeks. All the computers in the world were going to crash when midnight came because for one second it would be 00.00 hours on 01.01.00. For some reason they weren’t going to be able to cope with that, and when they couldn’t, we would be ‘hurled back into the Dark Ages’.
That night I was working. I was a carer at Southbank, a residential home in Kettering at the top of Northampton Road there. Looking out of the window in the big rear lounge, we had a tremendous view of half the town. I used to sit and look out of that window quite often when I was supposed to be working. I always imagined that I was somewhere else, or wrote poems in my head that I would transcribe in the toilet later on. But while I sat there I was sure to keep a pile of papers in my lap and a pen poised over them so anybody passing would think that I was busy. I was, after all, in charge while the manager was elsewhere; and I …

Yes, We All Love Him (Well, It's The Law): Barack Obama In London

Barack Obama’s speech to the Houses of Commons and Lords yesterday was mind-numbingly dull. Perhaps that isn’t surprising if you’ve been following him more closely than I have; my interest in politics comes and goes, usually as the tension in my own life increases or decreases as a result of forces completely unrelated to national or international affairs. The last full speech of Obama’s that I heard, actually, was the famous “Yes We Can” speech he made just before he became President. That was almost a miracle of inspirational rhetoric. Perhaps his speeches have been losing their lustre for a long time as he faces up to the grim reality of having to deliver on his promises. But yesterday he sounded flatter than a squashed carcass on the A43 road to Kettering.
The highlight of the speech, according to the radio, was the moment when he hauled out the increasingly dreary chestnut about his being the grandson of a Kenyan farmer or leather belt manufacturer or British Army van driver (wh…