September 30, 2014
On Sunday I did some walking. And I was sort of paid for it. Crazy. You know that sponsoring thing, where people give money to a charity in return for you doing something arduous or stupid (like sitting in a bath full of lobsters or skipping up Ben Nevis)… well, I got away with raising a load of money for Alzheimer’s Society just by walking. Walking. Something I have to do anyway.
If it’s any consolation, I am a reluctant walker; I’m no fan. I look forward to the future when we all wear hover shoes, or have ball bearings for feet. Walking is overrated. Unless there’s a pub at the end of the walk.
So, me walking 10km, around a park! (I think parks are overrated too… well, not all parks. There’s some nice car parks around. Like this one:
Poor old Alf Roberts).
Back to the business. The walk I did was the Memory Walk. 10km around Victoria Park – I give in – it’s a lovely park. It’s about a mile from (appropriately) Mile End Road tube. So that’s another 2 miles I had to walk! Unsponsored too!
Once there, around the park we went. And it was a moving sight, to see all the folk with memory cards pinned to their backs; all the nans and grans and grandpas and mums and dads and friends who had been affected by this awful illness. I walked in memory of my wife’s Nan, May, and my friend Trev’s dad, Tudor.
And a huge thank you to all who supported me and so kindly and generously donated to Alzheimer’s Society. The final total raised, including the donations to the World Cup Tweepstake this July, is an incredible £2016.90. I hope I’ve managed to thank the Tweepstakers throughout the Tweepstake blog posts. And some of you Tweepstakers have been incredibly generous, donating again and again. To those who donated for the Memory Walk thank you thank you thank you. Thank you to:
Andy and Sarah, Beccy, Mel, Kevin, Allison, Louise, Debbie, Ivan, Gillian, Tim, Jason, Mary, Jane, Jenny, Jason, Andrea and Frank, Dave, Stuart, Elspeth, Jaq, Tom, Richard, Paul and Charlotte, Samantha, Tiggy, Rebecca, Angela, Mike, John, Sarah, Pete, Beth, Rachel, Jenny, Cecilia, Darren, Christian, Mo, Sam, Mark, Peter, Glenn, Lisa, James, Sarah, Trev, Dave, Richard, Sophie, and Paul.
A huge thank you. I take back all the cheap ‘jokes’ at the start of this post. x
Before the walk started I met Carrie Dunn, who walked on behalf of her Grandma. You can read her blog post about the event here.
And now, because I have finally found a way of getting the photos from my phone onto my computer, here’s a few snaps from the day.
September 27, 2014
Let’s start with a song:
Ok, I’m not going to walk 500 miles. Or 500 miles more. (Let’s be honest, we don’t even know if Craig and Charlie Reid ever did; they’ve only ever said they would. Saying’s one thing, doing is another).
But I will do the 10km London Memory Walk to raise money for Alzheimer’s Society.
Yes! You heard right (read right?) I am gonna walk… 6 miles. About.
Yes yes yes. I know. 10km. Walking too. I’m hardly Izzard, or Walliams, or Bishop, or any of those idiots who really put themselves out. But… running’s tiring! And swimming’s hard! And my Peak Flow is down to 400 at the mo when really it should be all the way up at 600. It’ll be a wheeze!
Earlier in the year, during the World Cup, I organised a Tweepstake to raise money for Alzheimer’s Society (you can find out about that elsewhere on my blog- if you wish). The generosity of the folk who took part was astonishing. A handful of folk donated almost £1500 to the charity. Some of them are donating again, now, sponsoring me on the walk. Part of the reason (beyond the obvious reason of kindness and generosity) is to help me reach my target of £1966. We are now 84% of the way there; just under £300 to go.
And now, here’s my most unusual plea: Please tweepstakers, please don’t donate anymore. You have gone above and beyond the call of duty.
But… to the people reading this now who haven’t donated as yet, here is my simple plea: Please sponsor me 30p a km. Please donate £3 to Alzheimer’s Society. If all the people reading this now, who haven’t already donated, donate just £3 we will reach the target by the end of today.
Here’s something: Craig and Charlie Reid, Scottish, The Proclaimers. William and Jim Reid, Scottish, The Jesus and Mary Chain. Four brothers? Two singing about walking, the other two singing about tripping? That’s some sibling rivalry.
March 2, 2013
Last Wednesday I did Specialist Subject at The Black Heart in Camden. Specialist Subject is the brainchild of @NoJokeTooNiche (itself the brainchild of Steve Cross and Marc Burrows). It’s the chance for comedians to come along and do ten minutes on their specialist subject.
11 comedians did their thing. They were all excellent (well, at least 10). Here’s a Twitter list of them – “Tonight’s niche geniuses include
@20thcenturymarc @simonmhickson @JozNorris @HeyJackDeAth @Angela_Barnesy @IvoGraham @helenarney @natluurtsema @IChrisBoyd @PhilNWang @steve_x”
I’d like to tell you more about them but my memory has gone. Before I went on I was not myself and after I went on I needed a drink.
Yes, I’ve done comedy before, but almost always in a double act, almost almost always on TV, and, when live, almost always to people who have paid to come and see Trev and Simon.
Stand up comedy is a different beast (most definitely a beast) and I had no reason to think I could deal with it, but hey, 40 quid is 40 quid and a man has to eat.
So, preparing for my (effectively) first ever stand up gig, I picked my specialist subject and wrote my 10 minute routine. I went over it a few times in my head in the bath but that was tricky:
In the guardian’s G2 a week or so ago there was an interview with Dinos Chapman (one half of Jake and Dinos Chapman). He’s done a solo project, an LP, Luftbobler, and in the interview he says “I can’t figure out why people don’t work with other people – because on your own, you have this kind of weird conversation with this person in your head who agrees with everything you say.”:
I wish! On my own the person in my head disagrees with me constantly. In the bath, I was heckled from the opening. And the heckles would be harsh. And the responses in my head stretched from getting involved in a long-winded argument over the meaning of the word synecdoche, to punching members of the audience, to giving them Chupa Chups to shut them up.
In absolute truth, I never got to the end of my routine in the bath, and, before performing it on stage that night, not a word of it was said out loud.
Here’s the routine. This is the written version. On the night I forgot bits, I added bits, I rushed bits, I messed up bits. But I got through it and I wasn’t heckled.
Hello. My specialist subject was going to be “The catchphrases of Trev and Simon from Going Live! and Live and Kicking, 1987 to 1997” but Trev… (a pause and a sigh)… sorry, the artist formerly known as Trev, has taken out an injunction against me. And so I am not allowed to come within 100 words of one of our catchphrases.
So, no swinging of my pants… Oh shit.
My specialist subject is mugging.
Sorry, no, not mugging, not the act of mugging someone, which is… well… that would be a horrible specialist subject wouldn’t it? Physically assaulting people and robbing them?
And I’d be no good at it… I wish I could be good at it. (to audience member) Give me your money. (audience member says no) See?
No. My specialist subject isn’t mugging. My speciality is being mugged. Being a muggee.
It’s a double act, you’ve got to work together to have a successful mugging. A mugger without a muggee is like Robson without Jerome. Or cigarettes without alcohol. Or Seth McFarlane without hate.
I’ve been mugged five times in my life. For a 50 year old that’s, on average, once every ten years. The last time was in 2010 so… I’m pretty relaxed at the moment. i should get home safely tonight.
I’ve been mugged through the decades too. in the 70’s, 80’s, 90’s, noughties, and whatever this is called.
The first type of mugging, and the most pedestrian, the most boring, the most mundane of mugging styles, is the rush and push mug. You feel the gust of a teenager behind you (ideally, as in my case, from Crumpsall in Manchester… Crumpsall… the only suburb of Manchester that, like Michelle Pfeiffer, has a silent P)… you feel, you sense, the gust of a teenager behind you and the next thing is your hands bleeding from crashing into the asphalt as some child, some opalescent ghost boy, fades into the distance with your bag, or your hat, or your sweets.
It’s a feeble mugging. It lacks flair. It lacks style. it lacks innovation. It’s the Daniel O’Donnell of mugging. If there was an X factor for muggers they just about manage to wheeze a Snow Patrol ‘B’ side before Louis Walsh would say ‘you remind of a young Daniel O’Donnell’.
That’s just how feeble they are; that I’ve had to resort to comparing them to Daniel O’Donnell, twice.
You can’t even go to the police. They laugh at you. “Ooh, I was pushed over. I hurt my hands. He took my Curly Wurly.”
Don’t become a muggee to a rush and pusher. You can do better than that.
Guns and knives. That’s what’s needed to gain kudos as a muggee.
I was mugged at knifepoint in 1981, Manchester, again. It’s fun up North. I was a useless 19 year old drama student. My mugger got away with a one pound note and a copy of The Uses of Enchantment by Bruno Bettelheim. Well done mugger. Good work. I like to think that now, 30 odd years on, he’s comfortable with the symbolism of a glass slipper.
Guns are better. I became a gun muggee in San Francisco in 1994. having a gun, some kind of semi-automatic handgun, pushed into your belly is fun. It’s good for the adrenaline. I remember looking down and going “oh”.
He did well. He was a good mugger and I was a good muggee. He got my sunglasses, my passport, my wallet. As he and his partner… a mugger’s apprentice? The Andrew Ridgeley of the mugging world?… as they ran away I shouted after him to chuck my passport away. That’s the word I used; chuck. Something that meant no more to him than the last Chuck Norris film he didn’t watch. Chuck my passport away. Charles my passport away young man.
He was a kind mugger. We worked together. I gave him my things, and, in return, he didn’t shoot me.
There is though, a form of mugging that transcends the rush and push, that makes the knife, and the gun, redundant.
Has anyone ever been mugged by the piccolo nomadi?
Rome, 1991. I’m a well-travelled muggee at least.
Piccollo nomadi. It’s Italian. Nomadi as in no fixed abode, and piccolo as in a small flute. Or as in child. The piccolo nomadi are small street urchins, about this high. They work in gangs of about five or six. Maybe seven. I didn’t count.
They don’t have guns. They don’t have knives. They don’t rush and push.
Their weapon of choice is newspapers. Or rather, crumpled up pages from the newspapers. They run up to you proffering sheets from La Repubblica, and they’re crying, weeping, sobbing. And the first thing you think is; they’ve lost their chips.*
I search for my phrase book to look up “have you lost your chips?” but before you know it, they’re gone. And so is your wallet. Your passport. Your camera.
The piccolo nomadi.
They sound sweet. They’re not. they’re just weeping little fuckers.
No wonder the Catholic Church hates children. No sorry, I’ve got that wrong haven’t I? the Catholic Church loves children, just not in the right way. **
I hope my experiences can help you to become a better, more proficient, muggee. Just remember, give it all you’ve got. Or rather, give the mugger all you’ve got. Who knows, perhaps we can make it from this Black Heart tonight without being stabbed in Camden. Or down in the tube.
I’d like to end on a piece of poetry. This comes from someone whom I’m sure must have been influenced by my all true stories of being a muggee.
I say all true… I told one lie. The lad in Manchester didn’t take my copy of Bruno Bettelheim’s The Uses of Enchantment. I just wish he had. ***
A poem to end:
The last thing that I saw As I lay there on the floor
Was “Jesus Saves” painted by an atheist nutter
And a British Rail poster read “Have an Awayday – a cheap holiday –
Do it today!”
I glanced back on my life
And thought about my wife
’cause they took the keys and she’ll think it’s me
And I’m down in the tube station at midnight
The wine will be flat and the curry’s gone cold
Yes. I am Paul Weller’s muse.
What was he thinking?… Sparkling wine with curry?
Take care. Goodnight.
* Thanks to Ben Norris for the chips joke.
** I forgot to say this bit. And thanks to Ben again for pointing out the mistake in saying that the Catholic Church hates children (hence the extra loves ‘joke’). This was also the point, in my inner head rehearsals in the bath, where I would get heckled by an imagined Catholic in the audience. They would, quite rightly and properly, make the point that it’s not everyone in the Catholic Church that abuses children. And I would get all arsey pointing out that the phrase is a synedcdoche, where the whole is used to represent a part (or vice versa). Then I’d give them a Chupa Chup.
*** I forgot to say this too. For those who went away thinking the lad took the book, I’m sorry for misleading you. I just wanted to make sure I mentioned the symbolism of a glass slipper in my first ever stand up routine. He did take a pound though. And my mate, Joe, who ran, returned about a minute too late, armed with a baseball bat.
October 21, 2012
A few weeks back we went to the Brockwell Country Show. The choir I’m in, Note-orious, were singing there. After singing (but no dancing from me; I was still on crutches, recovering from a fractured pelvis- convenient indeed) I hobbled around and took a few pics of dogs, sheep, a llama, and some people.
I hope the people featured don’t mind. I still feel a little uncomfortable photographing strangers. Not so much with the animals. They like it.
October 12, 2012
My crutches have gone. I’ve handed them back. Though, living close to Catford, perhaps I should have kept one.
I don’t know what it is about Catford, but most of its people have a crutch. This isn’t the lazy observation of a Catford call-througher, passing from Forest Hill to Lewisham, depositing his crutches back at the hospital, now he has, at last, been discharged: been declared officially fixed after fracturing his pelvis some yonks ago.
This observation; that most people in Catford have one crutch; is 100% true. And it’s no exaggeration. At least 76% of Catfordians have a crutch. Or, put another way, about 1 in every 54.
Why this is the case nobody knows. Do they – Catfordians – regularly fall over? Breaking bones willy-nilly? Do they get the standard two crutches and then, when better, think “I’ll keep one, just in case?” Do they pass one on to a friend? For emergencies?
It’s an odd thing. Only see in Catford. And only seen by lazy wannabe McIntyre’s.
But it is true!
And here’s another thing. You never- NEVER- see anyone with crutches in Dulwich Village.
I guess it’s just the way things are. Here’s my fractured pelvis.
When the Olympics opened and Danny Boyle made us all feel happy to be alive- in those heady, crazy, joyous days; before Savile, before Armstrong- I danced around the lounge. A newly-wed full of non-jingoistic, patriotic pleasure. I trooped up and down, on the rug, mimicking nations never heard of before, entertaining my wife with my tomfoolery, terrifying Archie, the dog.
Then, two days later, still full of hope and awe, I jumped up at Charing Cross station to rescue a caught balloon. I never reached the balloon. But I did fall hard onto the stone station floor. And I did, thanks to a drink or two, shrug it off, putting on a brave face for my new in-laws.
But when me and Zoe came to change trains at London Bridge it became clear all was not well. Something to do with my colour I believe. And the fact that I wanted to just lie down on the floor.
I enjoyed the Olympics. The Paralympics too. All from my bed. All on Tramadol.
Now, I’m better. And I’ve written this. A blog post. My first in… I can’t use yonks again… It’s been a while though. I’ll try harder. One a week. At least.
Now the crutches have gone it is time to slowly build up those blog muscles once more.
March 6, 2012
A couple of blog posts ago I wrote about a certain pastor’s/prophet’s/wizard’s watch. look! Here it is again if you missed it, and you can read about it here.
It’s a poster in one of those electric light hoardings, somewhere between Morley’s chicken hut and Babur’s tiger palace, in a place that could be Honor Oak Park, or, perhaps, Forest Hill. Maybe, but not quite, Crofton Park? Bromley? Brockley? Narnia anyone?
I don’t know. All I know, it’s not a place to advertise. It’s doomed to failure. It’s a cursed electric light advert zone. First it was the watch. Now, it’s the glasses. What gives, Paddick?
This man wants to be mayor. Of London. Of course, he won’t be. That’s not me being mean. It’s just the truth. And look! He knows it! He’s taken an advert out in the ‘This Watch’ zone. And he’s swapped the watch for glasses. Let’s look closer at those glasses.
What, on Earth, does he want this poster to say to us? Other than, ‘I’ve given up’? Is he hoping, somewhere in a dark place where he hasn’t even realised it yet, for a ‘we all love our patios, don’t we’ John Stalker style ad campaign? For glasses? One day, when he is still not mayor, will he drive a saloon, with a personalised number plate? SPEC5AVERS?
And what of the slogan, You break it. You fix it? It’s a bit much, isn’t it. For someone who’s naturally clumsy like me. I’m always breaking things. I do my best, for sure, but really Brian ‘Specsavers’ Paddick, I can do without further pressure.
I know. I’m being silly. He’s talking about the criminals. As the poster says; ‘I will make criminals repair the damage they’ve done’.
It doesn’t really comfort me. When I was 15 I was attacked by some lads. I had my nose badly broken and spent five days in hospital. I’m still grateful that a qualified surgeon operated on me and not some crack-crazed scobber out for watch related kicks (‘ave yer got the time mate? Looks at my watch. That’s not the time. Whomp! Blackout. I come round, three lads hovering over me. That’s not ‘im, that’s not ‘im. They run and I swim home in a pool of blood.)
I’m glad someone who’s reshaped noses before sawed and hacked and pushed back into place my gristly conk. Brian ‘Specsavers’ Paddick may mean well. This mayor hopeless may well say to the anti- semitic thug; come on lad, you broke it, you fix it. But honestly, no thanks. You’ve done enough damage. Please keep away from me. Please, don’t even enter the operating theatre.
(The attack was anti-semitic, though I am not Jewish. I was mistaken for being Jewish as I walked through the grounds of King David School in Crumpsall whistling the current no.1, I Will Survive).
But again, I’m being silly. He doesn’t mean that, does he? He means he’ll make them mend doors and locks and glasses (the drinking types) and jewelry and fences and bites from vicious dogs and… Oh, Lord alone knows what he means.
He won’t get to mayor. Look! There’s Red Ken peeking over his shoulder, thanks to some crafty framing by me. And look! Here’s ‘Blue Cock’ Boris giving you a chicken run for your money.
He hasn’t got a hope.
Though all is not lost. The money for this useless campaign with its truly rubbishy slogan may not have been spent in vain. The hundreds, maybe thousands, of pounds will have been used wisely if Brian carries the slogan forward for when he gets his Specsavers job. It’s a cheap insurance policy isn’t it; you sit on your glasses and hey… You break it. You fix it. And if you can’t, just use your second BOGOF pair.
Who will be mayor? You decide:
February 23, 2012
Passing though town I happened upon the newly erected fourth plinth statue in Trafalgar Square. No doubt some dignitaries had been there earlier in the morning, but by 1pm there was just a podium, some bouncers and a golden boy on a golden rocking horse high up on the plinth. Here it is.
It’s called Powerless Structures, Fig.101, but I’m going to call it the Golden Rocking Horse and Boy. That’s the best way to approach public art. For me.
I’ve seen the Ship in a Bottle, the People, the Little Jesus, the Airman, the Pregnant Armless Lady, the Upside-Down Plinth, and the Bird Hotel.
Here’s another picture. This time more of a Shadow Rocking Horse and Boy.
Here’s the blurb:
Let the mayor know what you think. If you want.
Here’s what I think; it’s ok.
Here’s what it’s up against:
The Golden Rocking Horse Boy thing is ok. It’s not bad. But I’ll be happier when the Big Blue Cock’s up there.
What’s your favourite? Please vote.
February 22, 2012
On my mid afternoon walk with Archie (Archie’s a Miniature Schnauzer by the way- though what do I know? I constantly forget. The other day someone asked his breed and I said Miniature Dachshund). So. On my mid afternoon walk with Archie I passed this poster, and it took my fancy.
It’s not that Prophet Oscar Diomande is speaking just down the road in Catford… I say Prophet, but looking online he seems to switch between Pastor and Bishop… It’s not that the Prophet/Pastor/Bishop is in the vicinity. That’s not what got me. That’s not what took my fancy.
It’s that damned watch!
Look at it! He’s showing it off like he’s on a shopping channel.
Is that appropriate? Is it right? It’s a little flash isn’t it? For a man of God? Surely a Timex would do. At a push a Sekonda. That looks scarily Christin Lars to me.
He’s even pushing his jacket back to give us a cheeky glimpse. To make us envy his golden wealth. It’s surely not on.
Perhaps it’s something to do with his role as a man of God anointed for the last days.
Perhaps. Though, frankly, I doubt it. A man of God anointed for the last days would surely be doing us all more of a favour if her bore a calendar. A watch is far too abstract. Unless we’re in the last day. Now. In which case, goodbye all. Hope you’ve had a good one.
It started as something that took my fancy, but now it’s just unsettling. Particularly since I’ve started to think of Christopher Walken in Pulp Fiction.
Some of you will be with me by now. Some not. If you don’t know of the dark depths I am stooping to, watch this; this watch.
You’ll never look at a pastor’s gold covered wrist in the same way again.
April 5, 2011
This is what Crumpsall means. So Wikipedia says. Wikipedia also informs me that Don Estelle, Jason Orange, and Myra Hindley were all born in Crumpsall. I lived in Crumpsall as a boy, moving there when I was 11 and staying until I left home to go to university. In Manchester. I moved from Manchester to Manchester.
I never missed Crumpsall.
I don’t really know where Crumpsall is. If you were to say to someone, “I’ll meet you in Crumpsall” you’d be hard pressed to pick a landmark. There’s no centre. It’s just streets and emptiness, bordered by the more lively Cheetham Hill and the comparatively swanky Prestwich.
My defining Crumpsall moment came when I was 15 years old. I was off to the shops at Cheetham Hill for my mum. I was walking along, possibly skipping (it was the kind of thing I did, still do). I was certainly whistling. Whistling the latest big hit, I Will Survive. Three lads surrounded me. One of them asked me the time. I told him. He said “let me see”. I held up my wrist and he said “that’s not the time”. Then he hit me. Hard. Hard enough to knock me out.
I spent four days in hospital. I effectively had plastic surgery. A nose job. I went around for the next few weeks with a plaster cast on my nose held in place with a big ‘X’ of sticking plaster.
Perhaps the most shocking thing was the police. They asked if they could have a word with me, alone, away from my parents. When my mum and dad had left the living room they asked me: “We know what you’ve told your mum and dad, but what did you do to provoke them?”
I was a very young 15 year old. An innocent in the world. Could whistling “I Will Survive” be seen as provocative?
I’m back in Manchester now. Prestwich. Birthplace of 10cc, Victoria Wood, and home of local hero Mark E. Smith. Just for a short while. Looking after my mum as she gets better from an operation. She’s out of hospital now and doing well but she spent just under two weeks in North Manchester General Hospital.
It used to be called Crumpsall Hospital. It’s in Crumpsall.
I’d been visiting twice a day but last Tuesday Janice and Kath went to see my mum in the afternoon, giving me a little break. So I went into town, saw The Adjustment Bureau, and then got the Metro to Crumpsall for the evening visiting session. Leaving the hospital at 8.20pm I headed back to the station. The first and only time I didn’t drive.
It’s a lonely old place, between the hospital and the Metro station. Where is Crumpsall? Even when you’re in it you are nowhere and there’s no one around.
Walking along Crumpsall Lane (where we lived over 30 years ago), past Hermitage Road (where I used to go for piano lessons from Miss Musgrave until I became old enough to tell my mum and dad I didn’t like playing the piano, I didn’t want piano lessons)… thinking these things… possibly inwardly whistling I Will Survive… not considering a skip this time.
Then something – that sense – moments before it happens. Maybe it makes you tense up in preparation… what is it? An instinct?
The lads must have crept along. In the shadows. Following and biding their time. And then an explosion behind me. A whack on the head. A rush and a push.
I go flying to the ground and my bag races ahead of me as they try to run away with it. But no, this cannot stand. I manage to keep hold and after a silly little struggle they run off. It could have been worse I suppose. They could have got my bag if they’d really wanted.
The two lads run, turn left down Station Road. Alone again. I don’t know what to do and I don’t know where to go. There is no one around. What if they come back? There is a shop just past Station Road. The Canny Scot, an off licence. I could head there, phone a taxi…
But I’m not going to let this get to me. I’m going home. on the Metro.
I turn down Station Road. Quiet. Empty. But well lit. And there are two lads. But these two are with a girl, coming from the Metro.
I stop and wait a moment, unsure what to do. One of the lads calls to me: “You alright?” I hesitate. “Something happened?”
I keep my distance but call to them: “Two lads just attacked me.”
One of the lads says he saw them run off up Station Road. He leaves a beat before adding: “Why not go after them, fight them?”
The other lad chips in; perfect Mancy sarcasm: “aww, got mugged did ya?”
I step further away, back towards the (maybe) safety of The Canny Scot. They head off back down Crumpsall Lane, away from me.
I go to the Metro. It’s empty apart from one lad sitting there, smoking, hood up. (When something happens; for a while, until normality returns; everyone is a threat).
I stand in the middle of a brightly lit platform, alone, waiting, imagining them coming back. Imagining myself dying on CCTV.
After 8 minutes that could have been 80, the Metro arrives. It’s packed and I get on, shaking.
Two stops later I get off at Heaton Park, head into The Ostrich, and get drunk.
The next day, a little more collected, I realise I should tell the police. Nothing can be done for me, and I’m fine, but the police should know to keep an eye out. Many people may visit the hospital, many older than me. And many may have to rely on public transport.
I call in at the police station on Cheetham Hill. I tell the… I don’t know what? Was it an officer? Or just someone employed to speak to the public? They didn’t seem very, well, policey. The first thing she says is: “Why didn’t you call 999?” It’s a good question and I don’t have a good answer. I mutter something about having been ok, and having come from seeing my mum in hospital, maybe my head not being in the right place, maybe other things mattering more.
I give her some details which she jots down on a piece of blank paper. She says she will pass it on to an officer. She tells me again, in quite some kind of a tone, that I should have called 999. I guess so. I leave, heading straight on to the hospital. Visiting time again.
And later I’m thinking; Shouldn’t some kind of statement have been taken? Shouldn’t she have asked my name? or noted my phone number? was I not reporting a crime? Should I not at least be a statistic?
A crooked piece of land beside a river… sounds romantic, doesn’t it?