Monday, August 08, 2011

Where Only The Graves Are Real

I recently read “Slipping Into Darkness” by Peter Blauner. I think I paid a pound for it from an Amazon seller. It’s a great book, as all of his are. He recognises that life is generally lived in a grey moral area, he acknowledges that when faced with difficult choices, sometimes wrong choices are made, he recognises that sometimes, we are faced with impossible choices, and he does not shirk from exploring the consequences of them. He recognises that people may do bad things for good reasons, but does not then excuse them from the consequences of their actions. Most of all though, he writes brilliant prose. I’m surprised he is not better known. His writings at his website are well worth a look
I mention it because the first book of his that I read, many years ago, was “Slow Motion Riot”, and, certain parts of our capital city have been subject to some rioting over the weekend. The point Blauner makes in his book, is that when the actuall riot occurs, it is the culmination of series of much smaller events.The particular community had been enduring a slow motion riot, that had gone unnoticed, because no one cared. A community had been steadily brutalised by the indifference of big government, by the actions of the police and by the actions of some of its own members. No one noticed, no one cared, until the headline event.
Like a fool, I listen to 5live and I read football message boards and I see and hear the debate that goes on. It seems that there can only be two viewpoints, either: big government demonstrates a cruel indifference to those on the lower rungs of the ladder and the police are nothing more than oppressors, or, every rioter is nothing more than a thug and a thief, just out enjoying himself.  I don’t think it as simple or as black and white as that. I do think that if the people that rioted felt that they had a chance in life they would be less inclined to burn the place down, but I’m not daft, I realise that there are people who love a good tear will see ‘em at football matches every week. 
What is lacking in this piecemeal national debate is any recognition that all these different acts, by all these different actors, are perpetrated by individuals, with different moral and economic viewpoints, different standards. These riots didn’t just happen, they evolved, over time, as result of all those small actions, good and bad that have happened over time. Injustices visited upon the yoof, real or percieved, economic or otherwise, have, over time, contributed to the explosion of anger that occurred over the weekend. This shit needs to be dealt with. Big government and little government should pay more attention to what the fuck is going on outside its own rarified atmosphere, and someone, somewhere, needs to penetrate the skulls of the seriously disaffected and teach them that, however downtrodden they are, they can make their own choices, and they need to exercise some responsibility for themselves.
The good news is that the football season has started. Blues lost, but the important thing is not the result, the important thing is that the bastard close season is over. Football is back.

There’s little point worrying about Blues. I don’t trust our owners to tell us the truth, but then, what’s new? It is now obvious that we cannot afford to buy anyone to replace all the stars journeymen that have left and will leave, and we are back to giving trials to jobbing Brazilians who seem to make a good living travelling around Europe, making no impression at all. The fact that neither the parachute payment, nor the fees and savings accruing from sales is helping, indicates that we are in some deep shit.
It’s a bit of a shame because Chris Hughton seems to be a manager who isn’t afraid of getting the ball and men forward, and, if he had been in a position to get some quality in, we might have been looking forward to a good season, full of goals and entertainment. It will still be fun, and, by the look of it we will still at least try to create chances, but it looks like it could be a bit of slog. 
Judgement, is of course reserved. I remember Eck coming in with fine talk of changing our style to a passing game, and then, after his first game saying,"they passed it too much". Early indications are that Hughton has a commitment to passing and getting players forward in practice, as well as theory though. He seems to be inclined to change things around early enough to give the subs a chance to make a difference. I have accepted that we aren’t likely to make much of an impression this season, and, on that basis, I’m really looking forward to it

That video up there, it's worth a look, Otis Gibbs is a serious talent. He is touring the UK soon and you would be mad not to go see him. I urge a visit to his website too, it's full of good stuff, including a free stream of his latest, wonderful album.
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