bored of excitement – the griefjunkie blog 

Walking Through Town Is Quite Scary

Dear Rachel,

In future, whenever I have bad news to impart – redundancy, death of a parent, the unhappy results of a smear test, and so forth – I’m going to ask the recipient to whip their shoes off and boing about on a bouncy castle at a children’s party while I do so, because nothing seems so bad when you’re airbourne among all that red and yellow vinyl in the company of five year olds.  I discovered this last Monday when I was informed, in a voice shouted over the happy yelling and squealing, that Croydon had burned down, Clapham had gone up, and the whole of London had gone off.

I was eating toothpaste in the bath when I learned that John Lennon had been shot.   Thirty one years later, and being roughly thirty one years older than my bouncy castle companions, I have a much more immediate grasp of cultural events.    Therefore,  it only took a couple of hours  for the  implications of the London riots to become clear.   By three o’clock the following morning, with my bouncing shenanighans seeming to belong to an entirely different world, I was drinking tea, watching rolling news footage and finding myself unable to say anything other than the names of parts of London whose streets and inhabitants are familiar to me, as they drifted across the bottom of the screen accompanied by words such as ‘riot’, ‘looting’, ‘arson’ and ‘widespread’.

The only difference between the political parties in Britain is that if you vote Conservative, you go into the little booth at the polling station, draw the curtain behind you, put your ‘X’ in the box opposite the word ‘Conservative’, and go home.  If you vote Labour, you go into the little booth at the polling station, draw the curtain behind you, put your ‘X’ in the box opposite the word ‘Labour’, then come out, go into a second booth, draw the curtain behind you, and give yourself a little hug for being so fucking nice.   While this may mean the impending end of democracy, the events of last week do not signal the end of society, as has been frequently touted among the aroma of burning haberdashery and the splintering of cellphone shops.   When the elephant in the room suddenly decides to leave the room and start angle grinding the shutters off Footlocker, it’s the start of a society – or more accurately, of one society expressing itself among the consumer goods of another.   There are so many reasons that those riots happened – and they were pretty crazy in Manchester, Liverpool and Birmingham too, let’s not forget – that anyone can string together even the sketchiest sequence of causes and effects and then look pleased with themselves for having done so.

Following the remarkable events as they unfolded on Twitter, it was apparent that there were many hidden victims, too.   Anyone who, like myself, is an adherent of slightly raucous British popular music will be mourning I Predict A Riot, Panic, Anarchy In The UK and London’s Burning, the lyrics of which suffered a merciless looting of their own by hilarious Twitter users, who fortunately went very quickly back to their usual habits of telling us what to think and who to blame and how much to agree with them.    I enjoyed the pictures of the various clean up operations very much, although I’d like to know upon what factual information the tweets stating that more people cleaned up the damage than took part in the riots are based, as I think it’s something that Sounds Nice But Isn’t True.

Perhaps the only positive that has thus far come out of the whole sad mess is that I was able to clip a sign saying ‘Loot Me’ on Keith’s stall, where it remained for most of Sunday.   No one did.   Looters, it seems, are like the old bill – never around when you need one.



Photards.  This week’s fondle in the photobooth has produced:

Top: Honey, who belongs to a nice bloke at Greenwich Market, who is something to do with something, except that I don’t know what it is.    He certainly knows who I am – we have a nice chat about footie every Sunday morning by the little coffee van – and it’s been going on for so long that I’d feel foolish admitting that actually I have no idea who he is or what he does.   I know he’s got two small children, as he showed me a picture of them in the back of his car with Honey.   He might own the juice bar outside the antiques shop run by a Millwall fan.   I just don’t know.

Middle: Borough Market, between London Bridge and Southwark.  It has a reputation as being a bit poncy, what with all the top end foodstuffs and what have you, but I’ve had some lovely bits from there.   I get my hair cut at Hobbs, which is just the other side of the market from this sign, opposite a butcher’s intriguingly also named Hobbs.

Lower: Dustbin lorry reversing into Greenwich Market.   Danny regularly throws articles of Keith’s merchandise into it for a larf.


  1. Dinky

    Aug 17th, 2011
    8:39 pm

    Loved the comment
    “their usual habits of telling us what to think and who to blame and how much to agree with them.”
    So true

  2. Paul

    Aug 17th, 2011
    10:48 pm

    It’s a shame, though, really. It could be awesome, but somewhat predictably isn’t.

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