Thursday, March 27th, 2003, (3:16 pm)
MISSING IN ACTION
Right now in Iraq if you throw a rock in the air you’ll stand a pretty good chance of it hitting either a solider or a journalist. Or at least you might be forgiven for thinking that if news coverage of the US lead War in that country is to be believed.
The war, now into its second week, dominates almost every minute of TV news and seemingly every column of newspaper and magazine print. With thousands of journalists in Iraq covering this war, as well as many more back in their respective countries doing the same, this conflict has become completely inescapable. We have become media cannon fodder for the clamoring networks desperately trying to be the first to break the latest stories and get us as close to the war as it’s possible to be while sitting in front of a TV thousands of miles away.
Within hours of this conflict starting the media began to bombard us with facts and figures, diagrams and charts, live footage and library material, as well as special reports and ‘expert analysis’ of the war as it progressed, minute by minute. We’re fed with more information than we could ever hope to absorb let alone comprehend. But almost overnight we can use seemingly technical military terms as if with knowledge while we idly chat about the war going on so far away, so close.
Already there have been victims on both sides. None more expensive though surely, than the wars earliest casualty, truth.
Former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill once said “In wartime, truth is so important that it must be accompanied by a bodyguard of lies.” And in more recent times, just after the terrorist acts of September the 11th… [Click here to continue reading this article at 'Meanwhile']
Friday, March 14th, 2003, (9:17 am)
Imagine the scene. You’re not feeling too good, in fact you feel pretty sick, and you’ve been feeling this way for quite a few weeks now. But you’re one of those kind of people who just tends to ‘tough it out’ and work on through whatever it is.
This time however, you can’t seem to shake it off. In fact you’re getting worse. The coughing and the tiredness is getting you down. You know something isn’t right and so you make an appointment to see your Doctor, albeit begrudgingly.
The Doctor does what Doctors do. He pokes and prods you, asks you loads of questions then makes appointments for a whole series of tests that are surely going to inconvenience you. But you’ll go for the tests, after all, you just want to be better because this sickness thing just isn’t your scene.
A few weeks later you have another appointment to see your Doctor and get the test results. You go to the appointment alone. It’s the usual thing, you wait in the waiting room scanning through the slightly beaten up magazines on the coffee table.
Eventually it’s your turn to see the Doctor and now for some reason you’ve become nervous. Tests are essential to learn what the problem is right? These results will enable the Doctor to make you better, to get you back in the game. You’ll be fine, it’ll all be fine… won’t it?
You’re Doctor asks you the usual stuff. How have you been feeling, etc etc. You answer, it’s all routine stuff. But what about those test results, what’s the score Doctor?
“I’m afraid there is no easy way to say this.”
The opening line sends a shiver down your spine. Whatever comes next isn’t going to be good. In fact if a Doctor is saying that there is no easy way to say this, then the chances are this is actually going to be very bad.
“You have cancer.”
Right at that moment the world stops. The air in the room seems to turn to ice in an instant and your insides feel like they are about to bust. The Doctor keeps talking but…[Click here to continue reading this article at 'Meanwhile']
Wednesday, March 12th, 2003, (6:21 pm)
I wonder why it is that I always feel inspired to write when I’m on a plane, train or some other form of public transport? I suppose it could be due to the lack of anything else to do with my time. Having said that though I can actually do all manner of things on this laptop (a 12″ PowerBook G4 for those who might be interested) from watching a movie to creating one!
Actually I quite like watching movies on my laptop because the show off part of me thinks that’s cool. I plug in some headphones and viola! I have my very own ‘in-flight’ entertainment. All things considered though, it’s probably better not to be flash.
Unlike those people with polymorphic mobile phone ring tones or whatever they are called! How annoying are they! I mean at what point does it seem like a good idea to a have a full on CD quality second hand rendition of some music as a ring tone? Those are probably more annoying than the ‘usual’ chirpy tunes annoying remastered into ring tones.
So anyway, I am on a train.
Okay, let me see. What shall I say. What shall I comment on? Hmm, I could say that I feel there is a better class of trolley dolly on a plane, but that wouldn’t be very ‘PC’ now would it? I shouldn’t be so shallow should I? I’m sure this balding guy is a real catch in his own unique way! And after all, he isn’t really a ‘trolley dolly’ anyway. He’s the guy who clips tickets and… err… well, I think that is all he does?
So where am I? Nuneaton apparently. We just passed a house that looked like the kind of place that attracts dawn raids by the Police. “Welcome home Gordo!” was scrawled in paint above the front door presumably by a decorator friend who perhaps found himself without a pen and paper? My first impressions of Nuneaton have now been somewhat tarnished. I’m not sure that I’d want to run into ‘Gordo’ or his friend for that matter. I’m sure there is a lot more to Nuneaton than ‘Gordo’ and his mates though.
There goes our ticket inspector. I’ve re-titled him now. Calling him a trolley dolly was a little unfair and completely inaccurate. He’s once again wandering though the train inspecting tickets. And I was wrong, he’s not clipping them. No, our friendly balding ticket inspector has a thingy whatsit with flashing lights and stuff that allows him to give each ticket a very official looking rubber stamp. There is clearly more to his job than I gave him credit for.
I hope we don’t crash! My Mom would say “Simon, don’t say that.” As if saying it somehow heightens our chances of disaster. But…[Click here to continue reading this article at 'Meanwhile']
Monday, March 3rd, 2003, (3:03 pm)
THE ROYAL TREATMENT
“So, are you going out tonight?” “Booked your holiday yet?”
Standard hairdresser questions in England and for all I know the standard questions of all hairdressers the world over.
Years ago I used to have a kind of fear of hairdressers. Why? Well I don’t know. Much the same reason why some people won’t go visit the dentist I suppose. Though it wasn’t so much a fear with me, more like an irrational aversion. [As an aside, I would say that as far as dentists are concerned I don't fear them as much as I fear their bill!]
When I moved ‘up North’ I chose a Barbers shop in Liverpool City Centre. It was situated in a place called ‘The Palace’ which was a kind of den of capitalist iniquity, full of shops selling incense sticks, body piercings, posters of bands with guys looking angry or miserable, clothes that you thought looked cool until you saw someone else wearing them a couple of years or so later, and loud music thumping and thudding from every shop causing the inside of the building to throb and vibrate with no particular rhythm at all.
You didn’t need an appointment at the Barbers in the Palace, you simply turned up and took a seat while you waited for one of the two guys who worked there to call you over and give you the royal treatment, so to speak. I’d leaf through the battle worn selection of magazines deemed suitable for the clientele. Loaded, FHM, MaxPower, and various other glossy magazines packed with page after page of barely clothed women, fast cars, cool computers and various other boy toys. After a while I would eventually realize that the magazine I was reading was in actual fact the same one I read last time I was there and the only reason it looked different is because it was simply more beaten up than before.
Eventually it would be my turn. The guy would say “Do you want to come over?” as if maybe I had just been sitting there all that time for no reason and would say “No, it’s alright, I’m just sitting here.” [Click here to continue reading this article at 'Meanwhile']