Thursday, 26 November 2009

Smoke and Noise

You’ll have to excuse me if you find typos; I’m swiggin’ Captain Morgan’s at the mo, trying to keep warm and hoping the guy running this internet cafĂ© won't notice. If only I had a St Bernard's by my side, then I could relax.

Anyway, talk about wrong place at the wrong time! Two nights ago I was at an inner-city hangout with some friends, we were minding our own business, keeping warm by a makeshift fire when a flock of coppers swooped down on us and bundled us into a van. Apparently they swore there were thieves in our group – that was news to me!

Luckily, down at the station, I avoided being swabbed; the copper that pulled back my hood recognized me and let me go – he used to be my pupil. But I digress…

That night, I avoided the inner-city and trundled over to the outskirts of Plymouth only to be reacquainted with an old enemy: Centrica’s Langage Power Station. Talk about a puss-filled eyesore. This monstrosity has been over 3 years in the making and it’s huge, more than double the size of anything else on the industrial estate! Yes, it will create hundreds of jobs and supply a million homes but do people really want this ugly silver phallus here? No! It's too close to South Devon's Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (the South Hams) and Dartmoor National Park! From a distance the chimney deforms the skyline! It has the same catastrophic effect a Hitler moustache on Jenny Agutter would have! It makes me so angry writing about it, I feel like I'm going to burst a blood vessel!

Oh and get this: a month or two ago they tested one of the two turbines without warning anyone, not even the residents who live down the road. Don't Centrica know the simple equation: fuming chimney = fuming residents!

What a sight it was: a massive cloud of smoke hanging over the edge of Plymouth. People were choking on it. It could be seen from miles away. When I saw it, it was how I imagined the airborne toxic event in Don DeLillo’s White Noise to look like! Talk about Armageddon! You see, I love Plymouth and anything that hurts it - like this power station and its prudent bloody antics - gets on my tramping moobs!

Honestly, when I see all this madness I sometimes think Plymouth's falling apart, but when I step back to look at the wider picture I realise it’s just the world falling apart, it’s ok, it’s not just me, it's all part of the process! What with climate change, tornadoes in Britain, the economy (not that that makes much of a difference to me nowadays) and what's this Swiss experiment that's costing billions? 'The Large Hardon Collider'? Can't they spend that money on something more important than a bunch of viagra-ized Swiss blokes running around an underground metal circle, bashing their erections together? I don’t know, whatever, the rum's gone to my head, but at least I'm warm.

My money's just about to run out too, so, got to go...

Incidentally, my copy of White Noise is in the charity shop nextdoor. It cost me £6.99 back in 1988, now it’s 50p – wota bargain!

Monday, 9 November 2009

The Gypsy Travellers

All too often there’s a group of gypsy travellers that come to these parts. They arrive in their droves, find a bit of land and, not caring for its upkeep nor its surroundings, plonk their caravans, cars, trash and God knows what else on the land.

It's an insult, it's unacceptable, it's polluting yet they get away with it thanks to big, gapping loopholes in the law.

The clearing up of this camp has cost about £6,500! The taxpayer pays that. And I know how frustrating that is, though I'm no taxpayer now, it still gets on my tramping moobs!

I went to the area where they'd recently moved from; a bit of land in Estover not far from Wrigley’s and Twofour. Before the gypsy travellers arrived it was just grass where dog walkers and children would throw sticks and Frisbees and kick balls. Now the grass is churned up with muddy tyre tracks.

The bins and skips provided by the council are still there too. At least they got rid of the portaloo.

But somebody - maybe the council - has created judiciously placed mud mounds to stop anybody returning. Good on whoever's responsible, but how many other places need that same treatment before it's too bloody late?

I may not pay my taxes like these gypsy traveller types might neither, but I would never disrespect the land. I’m at one with nature and Plymouth.

Sunday, 8 November 2009

The Isolated Sign

Because I have no home I'm always on the move, moving in and around Plymouth which is the place where I was born. It's a nomadic existence and that's how I like it; at once I am an insider and an outsider.

Life was normal once. I know what it's like to have money, a family, a wife, a career and I also know what it's like to lose them all in one week. But I digress...

Just look at this sign. It's there throughout the year! But there's no ice factory or ice rink around the bend. Nor is there a freak, ghostly cold-spot phenomenon occurring there, which is fortunate: the last thing I tramping want is that schizoid Derek Acorah investigating it with all his grey hair gelled back like rows of egg noodles, channelling dead scousers from his multiple personality disorder!

So why is it there? Why was money spent on it? Is it a joke? I don't find it funny. I have a sense of humour but this sign, well it gets on my tramping moobs!