Monday, June 20, 2005


Suspicious Incident

The first day after we got back from holiday, Tracy had a crappy day at the office and wanted nothing more than to get back home, eat some comfort food and tell me about her crappy day at the office.

Unfortunately, there was the small wee issue that our street had been cordoned off by the police.

A pair of auxiliary constables had chased a mugger into the street. He whipped out a gun and forced his way into a neighbour’s house.


The auxiliary police cordoned-off the street until the real police came. With body armour. And dogs. And guns of their own. Big Ones.

Tapping away on my PC I was blissfully unaware of all of this until Tracy telephoned me to say that she standing at the end of the street surrounded by police and that she couldn’t come home. She also warned me that if I left the house I would be escorted to the cordon and wouldn’t be allowed to return home either.

She was allowed home much later in the evening, after a three or four-hour wait, and with a police escort.

It wasn’t a complete washout for herself though, as she was entertained by all sorts of street theatre. Including…

Conversation #1

Kid: Let me past. I want to buy some chips

Policeman: There’s a man with a gun hiding in the street

Kid: I’ll walk on the other side of the road

Policeman: Aren’t there some other chip shops you can go to?

Kid: It’s only a gun

Policeman: Go away. Now

Conversation #2

Woman: Let me past. I want to buy a pint of milk

Policeman: There’s a man with a gun hiding in the street

Woman: I don’t care. I want some milk

Policeman: No. Go away. Now.

Similar conversations occurred literally dozens of times that night. On top of all sorts of other daft public behaviour; seemingly designed to simultaneously piss the police off and maybe catch a bullet in the process.

God Bless the common sense of the London Public.

After her rebuttal from the constabulary, the woman in conversation #2 proceeded to moan loudly to those fellow civilians who rated milk purchases below their personal safety…

Woman: I’ve been here for 66 years and I’ve seen everything. I’ve seen worse than this

Grizzled Man looking like an aged roadie: I bet I've seen worse than you

Woman: Like what?

Man: One time I was playing Long Tall Sally in a band in Germany and a bloke was stabbed eight times in front of me. My manager told me to keep playing so I did

Woman (looking confused): I would have stopped playing

Man: No point. He died almost instantly

Woman: Oh

Man: Another time this bloke held a revolver to my head and pulled the trigger. It misfired

Woman: Oh

Woman walks off. Quieter than before.

The guy was patently talking sh*t, which makes him even more of a hero in my book. I know he was talking sh*t because, after Tracy engaged him in conversation, he told her how the Oval Cricket ground was built on the site of the original Roman London Colosseum. Nice one.

He then told her a little of the history of nearby Kennington Park and how it has long been a traditional gathering point for people fighting for working people’s rights, stretching back hundreds of years. Unlike the Colosseum story, this is true which marks the man as a Bullshit Jedi, capable of blending fact and fiction seamlessly and with no visible effort. Sadly, Tracy didn’t find out where he lived which is a shame as we’re short of neighbours who are both interesting and yet non-threatening.

Strange days here in the UK, and especially London. The statistics for burglary are now so low that the average person will be burgled only once every 50 years and the average value of goods stolen is just under £500. By that measure crime has fallen.

However, at the same time, record numbers of people are trotting around parts of London, mine included, brandishing knives and firearms and re-enacting scenes from their favourite spaghetti westerns.

And it’s getting worse by the month. It’s all very confusing. I know governments and newspapers like to play up fear of crime and other fears as a means of manipulation and control. But I can also see that there are genuine issues to be really scared of – spending the better part of the day behind some yellow tape, watching armed men march up and down your street will do that to a person

Bottom line? Property Crime is probably falling here in London but Vice and Organised Crime are growing from strength to strength. Organisations demand territory and territory must be protected, with guns…

Another though just came to mind … one burglary every 50 years. £500 of goods stolen … so how come house contents insurance isn’t something like £10 a year rather than £200-600 a year? Just a thought ...


David said...

Hold on- isn't the desire for milk over personal safety a possible evloutionary move to thin out the population, starting with the morons? Just an idea...

Stef said...

and chips. Some of the people wanting to break the police cordon were looking for chips .