A TRUE STORY ABOUT MODERN POLITICS
I have never told anyone about this, but as I am a brave man I think I should share it with you. I feel so lucky to be able to do so via this blog of mine.
A little while ago somebody I knew was a personal assistant to a guy who wished to become a councillor. I was kind of cajoled into attending a local political party meeting, where this guy was to make his first big speech to the local party members. I’d attend on the basis of not having any affiliations for the Party but with a view on possibly getting involved with ideas on how to promote and raise this potential politician’s profile. “Why did they ask you? What could you possibly do?” I hear you ask. Well, indeed. At the time I was asking myself the very same questions. I went along anyway as the meeting was in a social club and I enjoy these places with their wide open spaces and cheap beer.
As it was a bit far out for me to travel, my PA lady friend organised to pick me up and take me home in a taxi. As my street had quite a lot of extensive road works going on at the time, I arranged to meet the car at a bus stop on the main road. When I arrived, the car was already there and the PA lady could be seen in the back seat window on her mobile phone, waving at me to hurry up.
“I think you and Nigel will get on really well” she said, still on her phone but putting her hand lightly over where the microphone might be as if it is a tried and tested method of making sure the person on the other end of the phone can’t hear a word you are saying. “Not the Nigel?” I asked. “Not the Farage bloke?” “No.”
Not that I knew it then but that was to be the last two way conversation I ever had with this lady. She was quite a nice frumpy young 20-something with curly hair, and carried a little satchel full of pieces of paper with business type stuff printed on them. She spent the rest of the 20 minute journey on the telephone. I gazed longingly out of the rain soaked window pretending to be Neil Hannon on the cover of The Divine Comedy’s ‘A Short Album About Love’.
When we arrived at the venue we got out of the car and went inside. My PA lady friend told me she had heard enough of the spiel from this bloke and she’d rather do ‘a bit of organising’. The meeting was upstairs and she was to meet me here afterwards. I walked upstairs and through 2 sets of double doors into a room which contained what appeared to be a great number of rows of seating provided for very few people. I took a seat near enough the back to ensure I didn’t feel self-conscious but not far enough so to appear I wasn’t in any way interested. I sat in the second from last populated row as it was just about empty. However the row behind was almost full. I took out my phone to switch it off and considered it may be a good idea to record the speech in case I needed to familiarise myself with it at some point and I could back reference to it. Even though the second though that was running through my head was that the real and possibly more accurate reason for my being here was to make the numbers up. I popped my phone into airplane mode and pressed record on the voice recorder anyway.
Shortly afterwards the big event started up and a man in his early 50s, dressed in a slick grey pin-striped suit began to deliver his talk. It was a pretty much generic Politian talk. Lots of ideas with very little depth or explanation. Very standard stuff I thought and nothing much there to sway anyone to be either inspired by or to get riled about. That is apart from the blokes behind me who appeared to be in some way… I wouldn’t say opposed to the speaker’s views but perhaps more questioning ofhis methods. It started with some whispers and quickly ascended until the distraction led me to not really being able to focus on anything that the guy up front was saying. In hindsight it’s very possible that this annoyance could not really be felt beyond the radius of my ears.
I gave a quick but sharp version of my ‘How Rude ™’ look to the man immediately behind me. He was wearing a red rock band branded T-shirt and a black leather jacket. As I turned back I just caught him beginning to scowl in my general direction. The conversation behind me quickly focused upon me and my apparent political views. Kind of ‘he obviously thinks…’ and ‘I bet he would want…’. I attempted to shush them and finally turned around to address them and they all stopped talking and just stared back at me awaiting my response as if I was somehow the actual reason they had come to this thing, whatever it was. I couldn’t really tell now as the bloke who was at the front talking though an inadequate cheap red plastic hand held microphone was now just a murmur in the background. I looked at the ramshackle middle-aged men behind me and decided there was no point in saying anything to them and simply shook my head and turned back to face the front. At that point they let out some stifled sniggers and laughs and the feeling of pointlessness that now possessed me was overwhelming. I really didn’t want to get into any possibility of a scenario of an exchange with these blokes afterwards and so I decided it might be a good plan to save face and make a cool sharp exit from this meeting now. I quickly plotted my route back to the double doors I’d entered through earlier and stood up, pushing my chair to one side much more vigorously than I had intended and it ended up crashing down onto the hard floor in a massive clatter that echoed around the almost empty room.
Now everyone in the room focused on me. I said out loud and with what was supposed to be defensive but may have come out a little too aggressive as I wanted everyone to know I was not the bad guy here now so shouted “What?!...Look it’s them; I don’t even know why they are here. It’s them you need to be sorting out!” I gestured towards the men behind me, who I now suddenly realised appeared to be of a slightly foreign looking decent. Paranoid I may have made a massive faux pas, in amongst the outburst and uproar of protest that then erupted from the back row of the room my defence declined to stabbing shouts of, “No!, No!, No!”. I very quickly retraced my steps towards the exit.
It was at this point a man in a knitted jumper stepped up to usher me out of the room. He grabbed me by the wrist and placed his hand on my back and began to force me in the direction of the door. I was going that way anyway, so he really need not have bothered but I was intent on at least leaving of my own accord so I kept shrugging him away and asking him quietly to get off me. In the to-and-fro of this kerfuffle we ended up stumbling diagonally away from the doors and into the path of the speaker who was now headed confidently toward us. “This is exactly the attitude we need to stamp out of this party and you and your views are not welcome here” the speaker stated as he paced towards me. Was I being expelled from something I was not part of? Is that possible? It appears so. “You’re right wing; prejudiced views and violence are not welcome here.” He then, somewhat contradicting his last statement, got the scruff of my shirt and forcefully pushed me backwards and I stumbled through the double doors to rapturous applause.
Downstairs, my PA lady friend greeted me. She seemed to appear from nowhere and took me straight to an awaiting taxi. I didn’t really have time to consider whether or not I should get in it. She sat on the back seat of the car alongside me, “thanks very much for coming, Martin” she says just as her telephone begins to ring. “Sorry, excuse me…” I take out my own phone. “Riiiiiiight?” the fat PA woman says, “Ah-haaa… yes I am in the car with him now you know.” I looked up at her and she was examining my face with a puzzled expression on her own. She looks at the screen on my phone and her puzzled expression turns to surprise and then very quickly anger. I look down at my phone. The screen displays a big red flashing light with the word, ‘RECORDING’ directly above. The car pulled up at a junction, I looked at her… she scowled at me, I opened the door and bolted out of the car, across the road and down a narrow alleyway. As I ran, I glanced behind me and to my surprise and horror, she was actually chasing me down the alley! Her face red with fury, she may have had the physique of a slightly overweight lady but she was coming at me like a ten ton monster truck intent on destruction. I leap over a garden fence, jump down onto a compost heap and clatter aside some metal dustbins, I ran through some laundry hanging out in the fresh sunny interval and down a garden path towards a gate. I glanced behind me again and could not believe the sight of the frumpy woman, still with satchel and still, somehow, hot on my tail. I turned a sharp right and saw a small alcove just before the alley came to a dead end. I shimmied myself into the alcove with my back pressed hard against the cold wet brick wall. Like an overweight animated cartoon character, the personal assistant woman ran straight past me towards the moderately tall brick wall at the end of the path. I stood with my face pointing to the sky as it began to rain torrentially. I swallowed a big gulp of air and felt my heart pounding against my moist cold shirt. I could hear her panting like a hungry wolf not 10 metres to my right. I took a glimpse in her direction and pegged it back up the alley. “Arrrrgh!!!” I heard her scream, bellowing and echoing around the brick alleyway. I took a sharp left and then right, I ran around a thick privet hedge and dived underneath and held my breath. As I lay there , dying to breathe, her knee high boots came to a stand inches away from my face. I wondered if she knew I was here and was just enjoying the satisfying moment before she began kicking me in the face. Surely she was aware… surely she could hear my heart thumping against the thick air that was pressing down heavily onto my sore chest?
Her phone rang…”YES YES, I’VE FUCKING … I… I FUCKING DON’T KNOW… I TRIED TO CHASE HIM…. I DON’T KNOW WHERE HE FUCKING IS….BUT … FUCKING HEEEELLLLL!! RIGHT, right, right … OK. I’m going back to the car. I’ll be there soon. There is something you need to know.” Her fat legs turned and walked themselves back in the direction they came. I lay there for what may have been 20 minutes before I had the courage to stand up, get my bearings and negotiate my long journey home via back roads and fields to the safety of my home. The sun came out again. My head hurt and my neck ached from looking constantly in all directions. I got home and I got drunk, very very drunk.
3 weeks later I was sitting in an Irish themed pub in town one afternoon waiting for a friend to arrive. To pass some time I was reading an informative article regarding equality published in The Guardian Online on my phone which was lying flat in front of my wonderfully crisp and fresh pint of Guinness that I was gently supping on at 15 second intervals. The pub was empty apart from one gentleman in a long trench coat at the table to my left who was preparing to leave. ‘Great’, I thought. There are few things I like better on a spring afternoon than being in an empty pub, with good stout, am informative article to read and the promise of some good company on its way.
The gentleman in the trench coat appeared by my side and asked very politely if I had the time and as I lift my arm to look at my watch, took out of his inside pocket a small steel hammer and with 2 gentle taps completely destroyed my mobile phone.
Then I woke up and it was all a dream.
Although having all been a dream this has taught me more about modern politics than any informative article I have ever read.
That was a true story.
Martin Thompson's music, podcasts, videos blogs are available at http://www.musicbymeiosis.com
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