One hot, genuinely steamy June night, in 1976, the early hours of the morning found me outside a take-away ‘hole in the wall’ type place, in the middle of Boscombe, Bournemouth.
My motorcycle was parked (as ever) sideways-on, back wheel to the gutter, side-stand out – and as for all of us those days, your bike was so individual – it would serve as an early marker as to your presence anywhere, inside or out.
It must have been around 2.30am, I was the only customer – no other traffic.
A single vehicle approached along the otherwise deserted Christchurch Road and as it neared the takeaway it started to slow.
The windows of the car were all down (hot night) –and as the car drew level with the takeaway the driver leaned out.
A single word rang-out across the deserted scene, echoing back and forth between the shop fronts.
The vehicle never stopped, and soon was out of sight, and out of ear-shot.
Dave Shead was on his way home, and thought he’d hurl good-natured abuse at me.
In excess of 800km driven across four countries, three days.
European roads: clear, lane discipline – faultless, litter free verges, signs that inform, but only when necessary, clean loos, and services that serve (instead of just pummeling you senseless with junk, and then ripping you off for anything and everything).
My God! you had to adjust every inch of your thinking back in the UK! Almost immediately we had emergency braking for turn-offs (signed-up miles ago), swerving around, lane-hopping and hard braking for signs warning of speed restrictions obviously not turned-off as no hazard existed, lane jumpers, tail-gaters (a criminal offence in Germany) fast-lane hoggers, snappily front-LED’d fashion wagons pelting along beyond their or their driver’s capabilities (it’s shiney – the TV advert was cool – surely this was the life promised to me?)
I swear, in Germany – at 180kph you can calculate a driver’s need to change lane, 1/4 of a mile ahead, calculate what your action might do to the black dot in your mirror, a 1/4 of mile behind you – and smooth yours, and everyone else’s way ahead, without changing speed, or stressing at all, whilst everyone else on the same Autobahn does the identical thing for you, all without thinking. Back on a UK road you’re working 10 times as hard, just to keep from having some utter Gibbon cause mayhem for you and everyone else.
Watching the Eurovision last night, Mel Giedroyc and Scott Mills started out with the usual (and plentiful) sarcastic remarks about anything vaguely ‘European’ .
Getting hot under the collar at home, I dialled-up the Eurovision 2015 semi-final Facebook riot and was thoroughly heartened to see many, many similar thoughts aired. “Shut them up! it’s embarrassing!” stormed one, “For god’s sake stop those two with their stupid remarks” was another – good stuff. Favourites of mine: Rumania (Voltaj – De La Capat/ All Over Again) and Hungary (Boggie – Wars For Nothing).
The big leaguers still don’t GET IT, do they?
I’m not sure anyone seriously wants a deal on Eggs or Milk for christsakes (TV adverts this week), if only they gave it a little thought.
And because they don’t get it, I don’t give a jot about Tesco’s 6.4 BILLION LOSS – though the numbers are incredible aren’t they?
Especially since it seems to have been such an astoundingly speedy decline, from what seemed an unassailable dominance until now.
Just HOW do you lose that amount of money so quickly? Foodstuffs need to be the cheapest they absolutely can be, having paid growers, suppliers, transport, and staffing.
If I can’t buy a flat-screen coffee machine at the same shop I chose apples, then so be it.
Maybe I’ve never given the average shopper as much credit as they deserved? Maybe “Every little helps” paraded across our TV screens for so long, as the company charged us TWICE as MUCH for some goods as their competitors was a step too far – or, more likely, real Britain needed to look to their wallets – discovered a couple of German supermarkets, and walked.
I moved a few weeks ago – I can see the sea now, if I stand on a stool, and the stool itself is balanced on a stack n’ store box – with the lid on – coz the lid adds that critical 2cm you understand.
Thing is . . . . I have no internet, which at first seemed horrible.
Disconnected, unable to converse, comment, catch-up.
After 10 days or so, I had lost that ‘must check the ‘phone ‘pull‘ that sits continuously in an already over-cluttered mind; then I noticed that the Nokia was starting to be left in my work coat pocket, along with the car keys, and anything else that wouldn’t be needed for evening life.
The next day I go to work – allegedly there is WiFi there – (actually the WiFi is stunningly speedy out on the pavement – and next-to-useless in the building, where I teach just about everything ‘tech’ – a surreal dichotomy.)
At some point in the day I’ll see if I’ve missed anything . . . . . . you know what? I haven’t – I really, seriously haven’t.
I might become connected at home in the next 2 weeks, so doubtless I’ll revert back to the drudgery – but feeling the move from ‘must‘ to ‘it doesn’t matter, really‘ was so, so interesting.
It was the same with Sony and kim jong un – the chattering wotnots up-in-arms, social mediocrites (my term) hurling themselves brain-first onto the latest wagon of crap to trundle past their bloated monitors.
This is free speech is it? Make some godawful mess of a movie portraying a country’s leader as some some sort of half-wit (even if he is) or worse, dig and dig and dig and twist and twist at a whole religion’s prophet? Sheer obvious bloody common-sense has to tell you this is plainly wrong.
Can you imagine if some unfriendly state had a magazine with cartoon imagery about Jesus Christ? What do you reckon eh? Street riots? Questions in Parliament, F15’s screeching their hell-fire across the desert as the President deplores this disgusting propaganda?
Because that’s what the Sony is doing, that’s what Charlie Hebdo is doing – pure Propaganda, and it’s “OK” because it’s “our side” doing it.
No-one can defend the violence of course, but equally no-one can defend the West’s right to keep pedaling this muck at the expense of other people’s religions.