Thursday, 13 October 2016

We badges three

It was the early 1960s. We were 15 years old.
Albert, Glyn and I went to a youth CND (Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament) meeting in Herne Hill. In some rich girl’s house.
What a waste of time. Lots of vague hypothesizing.
There were some nauseating Trots (Trotskyists) there as well. They do go on and on. Terrible bores
This aimless chit chat was too soft for us grammar school solidarity-with-the-working-class kids from Brixton. We, who used to fight and heckle Mosley’s fascists when they started coming out onto our streets again, were looking for some real action.
So we decided to wear CND badges, the ones with the “peace” sign, to school. Does not sound much, but for us it was a courageous act of rebellion. Our school had strict clothing rules and badges were not allowed.

We three were the vanguard of a new movement, or so we thought. 
There were other CND supporters in our year. A plot was hatched. We decided that everybody would wear their badges to school on a badge-day of our choice. 
And as agreed, it came to pass.
However, unknown to us, our plans had been betrayed to the gym teacher who was a fascist and a racist.
On our badge-day he went from class to class telling our group of revolutionaries to either take off their badges or go down to the headmaster’s office and face the consequences.
Those of the miserable petite bourgeoisie with no honour complied with his command and removed their badges.
Only Albert, Glyn and I ended up in the headmaster's office. We badges three were Narodnik shepherds without a flock.
We were suspended and sent home.
We got into the national newspapers. The Daily Mail was on our side. Something about the new intellectual elite. I liked that.
My parents sent me to the doctor. Just to make sure there was nothing clinically wrong with me.
As we were now notorious, we were invited to visit youth CND headquarters. We went but I did not feel at home there, had the feeling I was in the wrong place. These la-di-da, wishy-washy armchair socialists were not part of my political world.
I remember one specific occurrence. A delegation of youth peace activists from Leningrad came in. They looked quite old to me. I noticed that they were all stocky, well-built men with close-cropped hair. In any other situation I would have said they were soldiers.
The vision of those "peace" activists stayed with me. After all, I reasoned, the Soviet Union would be very pleased if the UK renounced nuclear weapons. I came to the conclusion that CND was one of the pawns the Russians were using to weaken the West in the Cold War.
As I shared George Orwell's intense dislike of the Soviet Union, I threw out my badge. Away with you, "o viper vile".
The old CND was basically an elitist fringe group of misguided, naive dreamers who peacefully protested a lot. It has morphed into the Stop the War Coalition.
StW is different. It is hard-left, violent and bigoted. The stooge of any organisation or country that is anti-West. The Trots/Lenninists are no longer just a boring minority. They are running the show.
They want power and will use any means necessary to get it.
According to the Telegraph, they are taking over the Labour party.
File image of the 2003 Stop the War Coalition's protest against Iraq War 

Tuesday, 4 October 2016


Our peaceful, empty hotel has been invaded by hordes of small people. Their coaches are in the car park.
When we went for dinner, I asked the manager if they were new Russians. 
He said no, lowered his voice and hissed, Kosovo. Then he changed the subject. 
The Greeks do not seem to like them. 

They are wearing clothes that we gave to the Salvation Army 30 years ago.
They pile as much food as they can onto their plates. Just like Israelis. 
My wife, who is a better person than me, says they must be starving. They do not look underfed.
Quite the opposite. They are all chunky. They look like the bad guys in a Hollywood movie.
For the Kosovarians it may be the holiday of a lifetime. We are slumming.

I prefer to be one of the haves.

Friday, 30 September 2016

I almost forgot

It started with the exposure of the killing fields in Cambodia. After the Vietnamese invasion, the world saw the magnitude of the mass slaughter committed by the Khmer Rouge.

Then I looked around at my acquaintances, my peer group, my subsection of society. Most had marched in support of the Khmer Rouge.
What was their reaction? Were they remorseful? Upset? Disillusioned? The answer was no, no and no. They were just not interested, it was yesterday’s news.
That was when I left this political scene. There was no individual responsibility.
Demonstrations were exhilarating and exciting. You could bleat in unison with the other sheep. Fighting the good fight with thousands of other screeching yobs.
That also made you horny and you had a good fuck afterwards. The best way to get inside a girl’s panties was to take her on a demonstration first.
It was all a game for spoilt, bored children of the welfare state.

Then you start your adult life: a job and children. New bikes for your kids are more important than the imperialist, colonial machinations in darkest Africa.

Then one day you look around and find that you are now on the wrong side. You have become the target of the bleating sheep. They are screeching at you.

Then you say to yourself, I almost forgot, I am a Jew.
And you are not just any Jew. You are the first generation after the Holocaust.

That “never again” starts with you.

Thursday, 25 August 2016

Mr. Not Nice

I have nurtured my image of not being a nice person.

It is not that I throw stones at drowning people.
It is just that I am not socialized.
It is not that I think everybody else is stupid and that is why I do not converse with people.
It is just that when I talk to myself I am sure that I will have a good conversation.

Being a bad role model for decent people does have its advantages. Nobody bothers me with requests for money. They know it is a waste of time.
I never have to refuse an invitation as I never get any invitations.

I suppose it happens to most people. You are walking to the shops and a neighbor or acquaintance stops you and starts a conversation. Actually, you are in a hurry and the last thing you want is to talk to this person. 
However, you do not want to hurt his/her feelings. So you stand there smiling and making the right noises.
Never happens to me. People cross the road if they see me coming.

Every now and then my idyllic state of libertarian solitude is encroached upon. My family organizes an event. That means lots of people milling around my house, dirtying my floors and sanitary spaces.
They drink immense amounts of alcohol that I have paid for. It is not that I begrudge them the booze.
It is just that I would prefer to drink it all myself.

Even though nobody is coming for me, I still have to be sociable. So, I have been practicing.
Firstly, I have had to change my smile. It usually looks like a sneer or a leer.
A mirror comes in handy. 
The smile must not be too broad with an open mouth. Then it could be a laugh. It must be a bit wider closed mouth expression. The head should be slightly tilted as if you are listening. A few nods every now and then help as well.
Secondly, I have been watching talk programmes on tv. Great examples of smiling and talking for long periods of time without saying anything.

I am getting to be quite good at this empty interaction thing. I may now decide to enter politics.

Thursday, 18 August 2016

The man and the girl

It was unusual for foreigners to study at Dutch universities in the 1970s. There was no official procedure. I sent a copy of my A levels to the University of Amsterdam and they accepted me. I received no grant or loan.

The UK was not in the Common Market so I had to go back to the Aliens police. I was allowed to keep my residence permit.
They rescinded my work permit. Their argument was, if you are studying you cannot work the minimum number of hours necessary for a work permit.  This meant I could not legally work anymore.

I found work in the Red Light district.
I started as the cleaner for a sex museum and five sex shops, live shows and small sex cinemas.  My employer was mean, there was only one vacuum cleaner. I used to walk along the canals from sex this to sex that, dragging my Nilfisk behind me.

I was a rising star in the sex business. I moved on from cleaner to projectionist/bouncer/ticket seller in sex cinemas.
You cannot keep a good man down and I was promoted to do the same kind of work in a private cinema outside the Red Light district.

That was the introduction. This blog is about a man and a girl I met at the private cinema. I do not remember their names, so I will call them the man and the girl.
He was mid-thirties, married with a young child.
She was Eurasian, looked about seventeen but sounded younger. The girl was the man’s girl-friend, his trophy.

He used to do some evening shifts at the cinema. I saw them when he took over after my afternoon shift. They were always together. I did not like him and she was constantly giggling.
Then all of a sudden they did not come any more.

I read about it in the local newspaper. The girl had found somebody else and she went to live with him.
The man found out where they were living and went to their flat. When her new boyfriend opened the door, he shot him. Then the man kidnapped the girl. After a few days he let her go and gave himself up.

The local newspaper called it a “crime passionnel”. The new boyfriend did not die from his wounds.
The man received a sentence of 18 months. In practice this is 12 months.

A couple of years later I was doing some shopping in the local supermarket and there she was, the girl. She looked older and not very happy.
She smiled sadly at me and said that she was back with the man. I found this surprising. She explained that after he was sent to prison, she had fled to Germany. That did not work out and she came back to the Netherlands. She found a small town where she hoped she could hide.

He found her. He told her that if she did not come back to him he would kill her.
I asked why she did not go to the police. She said that the police had said they could not do anything because she had no real proof that would stand up in court. Anyway, she added, he was not scared of the police.
I suggested she kill him first. She did not appreciate the idea and said she did not want to go to prison.

I did not have any other ideas. It was not my problem. We said our goodbyes and went our different ways.

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Piet Snot

It was a long time ago.
Homos could still walk hand in hand in all the neighbourhoods of the city. Treating women like second class citizens was not considered a shining example of cultural diversity. Anti-Semitism had not yet reached the level it was before the Nazis made it unpopular. The left was still progressive.
It was the old Amsterdam
The winter was very cold. I did not cycle any more, I took the tram. It was early evening at the beginning of December. A few days before the Dutch "Sinterklaas" (Santa Claus) festival. That is the festival for giving each other presents.
I got off the tram a few stops before my house. There was a shop window that I wanted to see. A friend had told me about a new product they were advertising. It was called a cassette recorder.
While I was standing there looking into the shop window, a dishevelled old man came and stood next to me. He was wearing a thick old coat and a piece of frozen snot was hanging from the tip of his nose.
He turned towards me and said, “Sir, you do know that women are mean”.
“No,” I replied. “I do not think that meanness is dependent on gender.”
“You are wrong, “ he continued. “If you have a big argument with a man, you have a fight. When it is over the argument is finished. You go and drink a beer together.
Women are different. They never let go. They gang up on you. Constantly nagging and baiting you. It is happening to me. I can’t take in any more. I have run away from the old age home. They were making my life a misery”.
The he started to sob quietly.
We stood there together. Him crying, me looking at the goodies in the shop window. 
After a few minutes I wished him good luck with his problem and left. I wanted to get home quickly to make dinner for my partner. If the food was not on the table on time, she used to get upset. Then she would make my life a misery.

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

I have a reason to like Marks & Spencer

This month, August 2016, Marks & Spencer are celebrating 90 years of glamorous lingerie advertising since they created their first bra.
That brings back some childhood memories.
My parents had a clothes shop in the Elephant and Castle, a neighbourhood south of the Thames. We lived behind and on top of the shop.
It was a slum neighbourhood. They later knocked it all down and built a new slum of ugly flats.
When I was 6 my parents sent me to a boarding school in Hove. Before that, I spent a lot of my time playing alone in our parlour, that was behind the shop.
My mother used to bring women back into the parlour to try on clothes. As a young child I saw lots of bras and corsets. At the same time I saw my mother again. The women in their underwear often gave me a cuddle and a kiss.

I have always appreciated lingerie.