November 27: two cakes and a plant

We made a cake and gave a piece to Number 5. Normally we only give a piece to Number 2 but we opened it up. The first cake was a honey cake. I shuffled across the courtyard and knocked on Number 5. I gave him the cake on a little plate. Amazing! he said. And when I saw him again he said it was amazing. To be fair, he calls most things amazing. The other day I was taking the rubbish out. He said what are you doing? I said taking the bins out. He said Amazing. So I take it with a pinch of salt. A couple of weeks later we made another cake. Pear Upsidedown cake. I shuffled across and gave him the cake on a plate. He said it was amazing. The thing is, we weren’t getting our plates back, so we bought Number 5 a little lavender plant from Columbia Road Market. The idea was to give him that and mention the plates. My friend shuffled across to do the deed but she forgot to mention the plates. She said, you just go round and ask him. I said, you can’t do that because you’re putting him on the spot. The plates are probably all mixed up with his plates. We have never been inside Numbher 5. I suspect it might be ancient chaos in there. No, I said, what I’ll do is when I bump into Number 5 next in the courtyard I’ll say: Hi Number 5. We’ve got another cake coming up soon (Amazing) but this time I’ll give it you on a piece of tissue because we’re running out of plates. I’ll deliver this as a kind of joke. We’ll have those plates back in our possession in next to no time. I am confident this will work.

November 13: the belgrano

After the Falklands war a British civil servant was put on trial in the UK for leaking information to the press about the sinking of the Belgrano, the Argentinian war ship by British forces. It had been given out by the governmnet that the Belgrano was imperiling British ships, whereas it appears that the Argentinian war ship was in fact sailing away from the exclusion zone at the time. The civil servant, Clive Ponting, was put on trial for an offence against the official secrets act. At the end of the trial the judge directed the jury to find Ponting guilty. In fact, the jury chose to ignore the advice and find him innocent.

It’s a nice story of an anti-establishment verdict being given by a random group pf twelve individuals seeing through a self-serving establishment. It was nice to read about this the other day.

November 14: triage

In my recently revamped Tesco there is usually only one till open. This is the large Tesco between Vauxhall and Kennington in Central London. The queue stretches out to the crack of doom. I, being as you know an infamous complainer especially in Tesco, try to collar a member of staff and make my views known. The week before two tills were open but only one took cash and all the automatic payment machines now only take cards. The cash till stretched beyond the crack of doom. Baudrillard would call this social triage, a queue where you are chosen, not one that you choose. It reminds me of the days when I used to take the night ferry on the channel crossing before the channel tunnel was built. In the middle of the December 23rd night in the snow and cold you were made to assemble outside for the passport and customes control. It was willful parading of people who couldn’t afford to take the plane and was normal in those days. That was the British and French state in action, each as bad as the other. It looks like the private sector is returning us to this kind of social bullying for its own social engineering scheme..