Thirty Thousand Streets

Wednesday, October 18, 2006


Went out to the Sun & Doves Tuesday evening, for the film night.

The screening in question was Tod Browning's 'Freaks', which a very succinct affair, clocking in at under an hour and a half.

It's quite a wierd beast, being a darkly comic tale about the members of a travelling circus troupe. Ed tells me the director is often lauded as 'the Edgar Allen Poe' of film, and it shows, as the final twist is really quite disturbing. There are definitely shades of it in The League Of Gentleman, I would say.

On a sadder note I was sorry to hear that a friend of a friend had been attacked on Sunday, and beaten quite badly on his road in Croydon – having been set upon by 15 youths. Having been attacked myself in the past (albeit by fewer thugs) I can empathise, as it's a pretty dehumanising experience.

The sad fact is that, aside from being aware of your surroundings, there's often not a right lot you can do about it. Sometimes your number gets called, you get singled out, and that's that. In this sense, aside from keeping aware of where you are, and what's going on, it's almost impossible to legislate fully for the actions of idiots, and hence hardly worth wasting your life worrying about it. Indeed, when it happens, it often occurs so quickly you hardly have time to be frightened, and the fear itself is somewhat mitigated by the adrenalin coursing through your system and blurring the edges of everything.

When I got mugged in 2003, it was about half one in the morning, just round the corner from my mum and dad's house. I was weaving my way home, quite drunk after a night out. The first I knew about it was being slammed into from behind, whereupon I tried to turn and was swept to the ground. The back of my head rang against the slabs.

I briefly remember being pinned to the pavement by two sportswear clad rats, one's knee in my kneck. "give us yer money and yer mobile" he hissed, while they rifled my pockets. Then I passed out.

I came too shortly in the street, pretty much the textbook definition of a punch drunk with empty pockets, and managed to stagger to my mum and dad's house, where I was put to bed. The next day when I awoke, the back of my head was matted with blood, and there was a footprint shaped bruise on my neck (you could practically make out the Rockport logo).

The emotional aftermath to events like this is usually a mixture of disbelief and anger: disbelief that people will do this kind of thing for chump change, anger that you were less able to stop it happening to you. In the abstract it's tempting to fantasise how these kind of scenarios might play out if you actually were as nails as fuck, and your hapless would-be attackers were soon to receive a lesson they'd never forget, delivered with bone crushing force in some brutal and esoteric martial art.

"Leave now" you'd intone, your voice cracking strangely as they slowly encircled you "we don't have to do this"

But, alas, this isn't The Bourne Identity, I was always better at drawing than fighting, and breaking off for a quick bout of sketching mid-brawl just isn't an option sometimes.

In any event, the police were extremely helpful and understanding in my case, which is something which doesn't seem to have happened in this instance. Indeed, it sound as if the interviewing officers were pretty unsympathetic, going as far to suggest that the chap in question did something to instigate the beating he received, which pretty soundly adds insult to injury. I think he's going to complain.

Anyway. Thursday night now, and tomorrow's Friday. Can't wait for the weekend. Cecilia mentioned a 'Festival of Light' which is 'gahn dahn' in Myatts fields tomorrow eve, from half six onwards. I wonder if it will be anything like the legendary 'Son et Lumieres' which we ocasionally asked directions to in GCSE french, but which along with Citron Presses I've zero empirical knowledge of, outside of vague references in the Escalier series of French textbooks (whose protagonist, Oliver Oignon, would inevitably be augmented by a crudely drawn cock and balls on every page which he appeared).*

Come to think of it, has anyone been to a Son et Lumiere, or drunk a Citron Presse, or better yet, gone to a Son et Lumiere and drunk a Citron Presse?* Are these genuinely French cultural predelictions, or the kind of useless bollocks you ocasionally get taught in school? Answers on a postcard please to the usual address.

* I googled hard for a picture of Oliver Oignon. Not a sausage.

**I guess that would count as light refreshment arf, arf.


Pentadact said...

I don't know about the Lumieres, but Citron Presse is indeed a staple of French soft drinks. I'm not sure how it differs from British lemon squash, but it's distinctly better. My mum usually brings some back because she likes it so much, and the most common brand comes in this shaped metal bottle.

My friend Felix was cornered by two 'youths' once, demanding all his money. He couldn't see any weapons, so he asked them what they were going to do. They repeated their demands, so he considered it carefully and eventually said "No." They repeatedly asserted that they would 'get him', but showed no signs of doing so and walked off.

Lord Bunty Chunk said...

15 is pretty insurmountable as far as obstacles posed by people with intent to violently rob go.

Violence is a very strange experience and I could go as far as to say that it's negative aftereffects suggest that it's something we are intrinsically averse too. Of course there's the psychopaths who like it though but the exception proves the rule, and no doubt you can get habituated to it but that don't effect the main thesis.

I recall a guy trying to mug me with a very large knife opposite the blake house and being most dissatisfied afterwards, it's genuinely upsetting to be the victime of violence, it just feels wrong, no? Anyway when it happened I just told him that I'd break his fuckin' kneck and he walked off calling over his shoulder 'big man' in a Jamaican accent which was a bit cheap I thought seeing as he was the one with the knife and had bottled out.

Zeno Cosini said...

I'm not convinced Eyechild, despite Pentadact's assertions to the contrary. I've spent a fair amount of time in France over the years, and I too have yet to experience a citron presse. Then again, my whole family really only ever drinks alcohol, except for those middle-of-the night cups of water when we wake up feeling dehydrated, and the occasional post-prandial cup of tea, so how would I know?

There is a well-known brand of soft drink called Pishhht in France, mind, pronounced pee-shit.

Anonymous said...

I saw my first and only Son et Lumieres in 1965, Dinard, France. Coming straight from the backwoods of Warwickshire I was totally baffled and underwhelmed. just wanted to get on with crepe eating - which i did understand. However I think probably Alton Towers did something vulgar with light and sound - 'A Spectacular!!!!!' within recent memory. Glad I missed it.

One other thing on that 1965 trip which was a mystery was a green peppermint flavoured drink - which looked not disimilar to Fairy Liquid. I last saw that drunk- by someone who should have known better - in 2004.

C'est la vie.

The Eyechild said...

I guess that kind of answers my question(s)..

Pentadact: Metal bottle? That sounds like some prestige, French soft drink business. Fair play on your mate for calling them out, some people are just chanchers, and a similar thing happened to me and my mate Pete when we were walking home one night and two scrawny townies tried to menace us. They didn't.

Lord B: You didn't have your sabre on you at the time did you?

Zeno: Yeah, could be the Francis clan were just shopping in the wrong aisle. Pishht sounds intriguing though..

Mountainear: Was that a grasshopper then? And who was drinking it??