Saturday, 27 November 2010

I predict a riot

Presently, the UK is in chaos. Hazardous snowy weather, jobless millions and a shaky coalition government trying to clean the mess its predecessor left behind.

After years of poor governing and escalating debts, the UK was in obvious need of an overhaul. Drastic cuts, increased taxes and political reform. It was on the cards and yet there was always going to be some who didn't like the hand they were dealt...

A few days ago, thousands stormed the Liberal Democrat headquarters to protest against one such increase -University tuition fees- and the anger of a broken promise. A promise from the Lib Dem leader, Nick Clegg, to scrap those fees completely.

But a seemingly peaceful protest descended into violence. Youths smashed windows with metal implements. A Police Van vandalised, people injured and, eventually, the protest bought to an abrupt end by hundreds of Officers.

Still, they wanted to shout for their cause. One sixth-form student said, '£9,000 a year fees are a joke. For three years, that's £21,000. It's ridiculous.' She's correct. It is ridiculous that after 18 years of education she still doesn't know her times tables.

Reader, I do understand their innumerate frustration. I was a student. I remember the struggle to find the £3,000 per year tuition fees, not to mention the thousands for accommodation and living expenses. University life adds up to one very expensive equation.

And sadly, for most young protesters there, University is not worth the math. They do not want an education. They want an easy ride; 4 lectures per week, booze-filled nights and 40% to pass the year. A three year gap before having to look for work.

But in that crowd, on shards of broken glass, there are those few. Those who articulate their peaceful protest, who have the common sense to know violence is never the answer. They are fuelled by a desire to be more. They want to learn and grow as human beings and show the world their potential.

What happens to them? Amidst the screams of pointless violence, who will hear their voices?

Reader, what say you?

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Farmyard Animals

Last Saturday was my sister's Hen night. One of the rare occasions where women willingly dress like idiots, with a flashing garter, fluffy handcuffs and a giant sash proclaiming 'Bride to Be' in bright pink letters. The white veil didn't give that one away.

The Hen, some chicks- and a few guys I'd never met- assembled in a local bar, where we doused ourselves in glitter because, apparently, nothing says P-A-R-T-Y more than a generous dose of glitter spray. With escalating noise we morphed into a bunch of farmyard animals, annoying bemused drinkers just wanting a quiet pint on a Saturday afternoon. Boo moo.

The train to central London was ten minutes of dirty jokes and laughter, quizzical stares and stupid queries to my sister: 'Are you getting married?' No. She dresses like that every weekend.

On the Party Bus we boogied to music piped through the ceiling, throwing streamers and balloons at each other like five year olds. From club to club, boobs were flashed, pints were drunk, and some danced in heels too ridiculous for real life. I don't think my feet will ever recover.

At 4am I stumbled from a taxi, purse empty, tools of torture in hand (evil evil shoes), litres of coconut rum swished against an empty skull. I remembered how to walk but keys and locks required a brain I'd left on Bond Street.

Ten minutes later I was inside. Forgetting that I was twenty-five years old, my mum had waited for my return; cold tea perched on one knee, face slopped in sleep against the sofa. She made three rounds of ham sandwiches and, ravenous, I ate whilst recounting the night's events at a decibel my Dad made sure I knew about later.

And just like that, it was over. A night- planned for months, expected for years, anticipated for days- done. A flash of booze and pinched feet, the over-zealous hands of strangers who groped as you danced by, the buzz of music too loud still ringing in ears. And while I still find glitter in places you wouldn't expect, I realise there is something bigger looming on the horizon. Not quite a speck anymore, not so distant. A wedding.

And so it goes...

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Rear Window

From my rear window
Smudged with the greasy print of fingers
And the smeared corpse of an unwanted spider,
The children play.
Fields lush with green beneath spiked boots
And padded shins.
A whistle blows.

Beyond this glass screen,
Leaves like orange lemons,
Sharp sheets of fire
Burn crisp from starched branches;
A season of weakened spirit,
So it seems.

Past the broken fence and compost heap
At garden's end, to the next street,
The woman, the Adulteress, lies in wait;
Pinching the stub of a cancer stick
To calm nerves before her Lover arrives.
It's exercise.

Birds of black wing and eye
Burst forth from the old Oak next door,
Where neighbours burn tyres and wood
At all hours;
Their garden filled with the carcasses
Of cars and trucks,
And beer bottle lids glint in sunbeams
Like a thousand golden raindrops.

Through the barren hedge where ivy spills
Outwards like green entrails,
The Stranger known for twenty years
Pegs grey whites on a frosted line
With a disheartened sigh;
She retreats inside with an empty basket
Of forgotten dreams.

From my rear window
This play of string-less puppets
Act for me in their Acts
First or final,
Who knows?
A whistle blows.