Monday, February 08, 2010
As much as I love my open fire and the wood burning cooker, it can be a pain in the arse when you don't prepare properly. I've just spent two hours doing my best to raise a fire in both. I'm pissed off and I smell like a bonfire. Ah, it's one of those days when things don't go well - tomorrow I will make sure I have dry kindling!
Friday, February 05, 2010
I sit in my car. I'm in Barter Town parked outside a centre for young people excluded from school. As I wait for Sharon, who is inside at a meeting, I scribble these notes. From the car I can see into the building. Two men with shaved heads pace up and down an office corridor; two youths, who I presume to be their progeny, also mill around in the corridor. A woman appears from an office and ushers one of the men and a youth inside. The other man continues to pace. He seems agitated. The remaining youth is now at the window in front of me and casts an occasional glance my way. The expressions on his face suggest he is puzzled by my presence. The youth has a cocky air about him and I have the feeling that he regards being at this place as some sort of accomplishment - the first step in achieving an ASBO perhaps. He sees me writing and says something to the pacing man who then comes to the window and looks straight at me.
Perhaps they think I'm a social worker or a copper, I am writing into a black note book. The tattoos on the man's neck and arms are clearly visible and give him a thuggish appearance. I dip my head and look back at him over the top of my spectacles - like judges do just before they say "take him down" - then I carry on writing. I half expect him to come out and ask me what I'm doing but he doesn't.
Having failed to intimidate me with his 'seven second stare', the thuggish man turns around and swaggers back down the corridor. His walk has that bounce that 'doing masculinity' seems to demand. I'm more concerned about taking a piss than being intimidated, the heavy rain now lashing the car windows increases my discomfort. Shortly afterward another office door opens and the man and his son disappear out of sight. About ten minutes later they re-emerge and leave the building. As they walk past my car thuggish man gives me the finger. Why, I ask myself, am I not surprised?