Sunday, 3 December 2006
If you’ve been in London for the past six months you’ll probably be aware that the coming of the 2012 Olympics is being heralded by greedy property developers and over-optimistic government officials as an event akin to the second coming of Christ. The XXX Olympiad, so we are told, will lead to an unprecedented renaissance in east london, transforming the deprived boroughs of Hackney, Newham, Stratford and Tower Hamlets into an urban utophia of smart new flats, hard working yuppies and wholesome young familes. Of course anyone who had the misfortune to travel past Canning Town on the DLR will know that these areas barely qualify as habitable; the architect who designed most of this bleak concrete wilderness clearly took his inspiration from the surface of the Death Star. Both are despicably ugly, but East London’s sci-fi doppleganger has one overwhelming advantage, the lack of a breathable atmosphere which prevents crowds of happy-slapping, workshy youths from concregating and causing trouble. These areas of London would benefit more from a well delivered A-bomb than a glorified school sports day which lasts less than a month but costs 4 billion.
It appears that, much like Scott of the Antarctic, I have miserably failed to keep up a diary. Yet while Captain Scott had the excuse of having frozen to death in the middle of the Antarctic circle in a flimsy tent, my reasons for failing to write up the day to day discourses of my life are far more tenuous. So what was the cause of this long silence, did Nottingham City Council finally catch up with me and force me to eat my own words?. This is a terrifying prospect for me since my words are in digital format and therefore infinitely re-printable. Interestingly enough, there is a historical precedent for this. In the seventeenth century a Swedish author rashly decided to write a particularly scathing thesis on the subject of the Danish occupation. The authorities caught up with him and he was offered the choice between the death penalty and eating his own book. It’s a fate I would very much like to see meted out to Jeffrey Archer, Andy Mcnab and in particular Chris Ryan, author of such masterpieces as ‘Alpha Force One’, ‘Zero Force One’ and ‘The Ultimate Weapon’. In the old days war heroes manfully accepted their medals and settled into a quiet retirement; their deeds only coming to light many years later in the Obituary column. Now they get leapt on by publishers who sign them up to extensive book deals and have them produce volume after volume of literary crap for infantile young men with too much testosterone.
In fact there were numerous mitigating circumstances. Katie accidentally spilt gin and tonic over my keyboard causing my long-suffering machine to emit dada-esque rubbish every time I tried to type something. The struggle of attempting to live in two cities at the same time made contributing to my little corner of cyberspace tremendously difficult. But really the main reason for the demise of my blog has been sheer laziness; I still have plenty of things to moan about.
Life is full of what I like to term ‘delicious little ironies’. For example, on a daily basis I am continually bombarded by enviro-guilt literature informing me that I need to be conscious of my desecration of the environment and must religiously recycle every product I use. I am willing to do so, but where are the recycling bins?; at Brent Cross, conveniently located across a murderous mass of dual carriageways. So to be a good citizen of the earth and recycle I need to own a car, a vehicle which emits around 4.3 tonnes of CO2 a year. Not that this bothers me too much. This idea of every human being having some sort of ‘carbon footprint’ sounds spookily similar to the Calvinist idea that we are all born with original sin of which I am similarly sceptical. I must say it is good to see that the government is now tackling green issues with the stunningly original idea of putting more taxes on us. Unsurprising really since taxation has been the government’s response to every problem since the sixteenth century. I used to look back on the likes of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson as a bunch of self righteous tax dodging so and sos but in the light of the taxation fetish in this country they look remarkably far sighted.
In my business we talk about ‘life events’; those seminal moments in someone’s existence where major changes occur such as getting married, buying a house or having your first child. For me seeing how much tax comes out of your first meaningful payslip has to be up there with them. When the state first begins to whisk vast quantities of your income out of your bank account, a sea change occurs in your outlook. Suddenly the society at large becomes an endless source of annoyance. The country transforms itself into a vast caricature of dole scroungers, idle public sector bureaucrats and illegal immigrants and your political beliefs slide alarmingly from the left wing to somewhere to the right of General Pinochet.
Now as my eyes flit from article to article in the morning’s metro I find it hard to keep my anger hidden as I see the myriad of ways in which my tax money is being idly squandered; everything from Welsh devolution to bumper compensation payouts for prisoners who experience stress when their drugs are taken away from them in jail. I do miss the comfy leftie notions of student life but right wing irritation is somewhat invigorating.