Monday, July 25, 2005

We are all Brazilian now


Oval station on a busy Sunday afternoon

I travelled on the underground yesterday for the first time since the ‘attacks’ on Thursday and the shooting on Friday.

That was a little weird

…and quiet

Even though it was chucking down with rain I decided not to wear a ‘thick, heavy coat’. I also toyed with the idea of leaving my photographic backpack at home but we were going to a family barbecue and I wanted to take pictures.

My camera backpack is quite chunky and black.

It looks the part.

Then I had to decide whether to bring my mp3 player along. Did I want to run the risk of being seen with ‘wires running out of my top’? In the end I decide ‘fuck it’ and did take it.

There wasn’t much I could have done about my complexion or the fact that I’ve caught a little sun over the last few weeks.

I suppose I could have shaved though.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen Oval station so quiet during the daytime. Somewhat childishly I walked down the full length of the platform crying out ‘Echo! Echo!’

The train itself was pretty empty too. It filled up a little in the very centre of town but emptied again quite quickly after a couple of stops.

I have to stay people’s ‘spacing’ along the carriage was immaculate. I had a small bank of empty seats all to myself. I’m guessing the rucksack helped. People were casting the occasional furtive, admiring glance in its direction

Well, it’s a proven fact isn’t it? Suicide bombs can only be fitted into backpacks.

Personally, I was suspicious of that dark skinned couple who came onto the train with a cake box. I could swear I smelled marzipan. Semtex smells like marzipan. Fucking suicide cake bombers – where is someone to empty an automatic into their heads when you need them?

Avoid any brown people on board – ranging from holiday tan thru to full-on Nubian? TICK

Avoid anyone wearing a 'thick, heavy coat' (the Brazilian guy was wearing a denim jacket actually but what the fuck)? TICK

Avoid anyone carrying a backpack? TICK

Spend entire journey looking uptight and glancing at other people’s luggage TICK

And so the journey carried on. It was shit and giggles all round. People scoping each other out, the occasional person tugging on an asthma inhaler. A right old train load of joy.

It’s so easy to imagine though isn’t it? At one point I sat there and fantasised about a slow mo detonation to the right of me – the outline of the cake wielding couple dissolving into a shower of white sparks, the thumping impact on the side of my head, the broken glass whirring around the carriage.

Yeah, really easy

It’s just a damned shame I hadn’t the forethought to print up a few ‘We are not afraid T shirts’. I probably wouldn’t have sold any but I would of have a bit of a laugh trying to.

We cadged a lift home off my uncle at the end of the day. There is such a thing as too much fun after all


Throughout the journey I kept thinking to myself how my greatest concern before getting on the train was not the risk of a terror attack it was the thought of just how easy it would be for someone to shoot me and claim necessity as a justification afterwards. How about this blinding quote

Britain's most senior policeman, Ian Blair, defended the shoot-to-kill policy for dealing with suspected suicide bombers and said police were in a race against time to find those behind last Thursday's attempted bombings of three underground trains and a bus, the second attack on the capital in two weeks.

"This is a terrifying set of circumstances for individuals to make decisions," Blair told Sky News television. "Somebody else could be shot."

That would be the Head of the Met telling everyone quite unambiguously to be shit scared and, as a consequence, be cool with the idea that innocent people can be held face down and executed like cattle in public if the police feel like it.

I’ve also noticed that the police and politicians have started to use the phrase ‘shoot-to-kill in order to protect’ today. ‘Shoot-to-kill’ just sounds so, umm, scary.

That’s soooooo Tony Blair/ New Labour – same bullets, same shattered face covered in flecks of bone and grey matter, same vomiting on the floor after witnessing it – totally different PR profile.

and we tolerate word-twisting crap like that, some of us even lap it up

1 comment:

rahid said...

Cheers Stef - Your prep for going out that day was so close to what ran thru my head over the weekend. Today spent a goodly amount of time wondering if i should invest in some form of ID - these badges look nice. Seriously, sooner be beaten up for having no sensitivity than for being taken for a "T'ist".