Autobiography Of A Ufo Contactee: Volume Two
I’m spoiling my new rose. I let the old one die you see. Through neglect. I didn’t transfer it to a larger pot when it needed more room for its roots. Eventually I did. But it was too late. I guess I’m just a white trash horticulturalist. I abandoned my rose like I was abandoned by my mother. I hid the corpse of the old rose in the bin and bought a new one. I put it in the old one’s new pot. It’s doing very well. I feed and water it lots. And it’s greedy. The more you feed it, the more it seems to want. I’m worried that I’m overfeeding it to compensate for my sense of guilt. But also what worries me is that the little balcony where I have put it faces the courtyard of the servants’ quarters so it doesn’t get much sun. It would have been better to have left it in the shop and it would have gone to a better home.
Also if I can’t find a job by the end of August, I’ve got to go back to England with the remaining £10,000 of my dad’s money. What will happen to my rose then? Foolishly, last night I promised it I wouldn’t abandon it. It’s in a clay pot about 25 centimetres wide at the top. Even if I could carry it with all my other stuff, I don’t think you can take such a thing through Customs. But of course the reason why it was foolish to promise my rose that I wouldn’t abandon it is that while it may be true that plants are aware that you are talking to them, I would be very surprised if they knew exactly what you were saying.
Tory Prime Minister, David Cameron has launched a battle against benefit culture. Considering he walked into Eton, then walked into Oxford University, then walked into politics, no-one knows more about benefit culture than him
Sinn Fein's Martin McGuiness is meeting Elizabeth Windsor tomorrow. I'm not sure I'm allowed to call the Queen Elizabeth Windsor. Quakers are. But I'm just what the Quakers call an "attender". And even then, I only attended two meetings. But you know how things are these days. With a good lawyer, I might just be able to get away with it. In an interview McGuiness talked about the British soldiers "sent" by politicians to Northern Ireland, as if those soldiers were somehow lambs to the slaughter. In the early eighties I went on the Republican Easter Parade in Belfast. My friends and I were stopped by the Black Watch, a regiment famous for its Joey Barton approach to soldiering. One of them deliberately pointed his rifle at me. I don't even drop litter in the street. Maybe that's why I'm not allowed to call the Queen Elizabeth Windsor. She's their back-up.
It's interesting how language evolves. The word "impact" was a noun that meant "collision". The collision might have an "effect". Effect is a noun related to the verb "affect". But over the past few years, the words effect and affect have both been replaced by impact, used interchangeably as a noun or a verb depending on the context. The key thing seems to be that people say impact rather than affect or effect because it sounds more "chic".
I had a humiliating experience yesterday. I went for an interview for a dishwasher's job. When the interviewers saw me, they looked as if they wished the ground would open up under me. Mind you, at least it was one the very rare occasions in France over the year that I've had an authentic Gallic experience. The interviewers were dead ringers for Asterix and Obelix. The Obelix character sat silent throughout the interview, a big lump with a grey moustache only slightly less exaggerated than Obelix's. He wore a bored, pained expression on his face. I felt like I'd stopped him during the lunch hour to ask which button was which on the dishwasher. The Asterix character, showing true Asterix-like "sagesse", hid the initial disappointment in his face and proceeded to interview me. He went through my c.v. I didn't like the way he almost spat the word "ecrivain". I've put down my time at the BBC on my c.v. It was the only thing I ever did really. It was my plan for world domination. I sometimes think I should have stuck with it but of course contact with aliens was an even more tempting proposition than world domination.
It seems to be a family curse on my father's side. I had an ancestor who appeared before King Charles the Second to demonstrate his powers of "cure through touch". Apparently it didn't work in front of the King. Or maybe Charles was just being non-committal. After what happened to his dad he was probably nervous about making decisions.
Dave Baddiel has just been interviewed by James Naughtie for Radio Four. Baddiel did literature at Cambridge. It's one of those universities that can trace its lineage back to the 13th century without being a polytechnic. Apparently Baddiel believes that John Updike is the new Jane Austen. I myself went to a university that can only trace its lineage back to the Victorians so I wouldn't have a clue about that. However in 1989 I wrote a sketch about the hidden sugar in manufactured foods which was broadcast on Radio Four's "Week Ending". I'm not saying that it had any influence on the industry but I can claim that it was used instead of one written by Dave Baddiel and Rob Newman. People forget Rob Newman with the haircut like Robert Smith of The Cure. Probably just as well. They were the first comedy act to fill a stadium. I didn't see their act but to fill stadiums I guess they'd have to have material that was the comedy equivalent of Madonna or U2. They were billed as "Comedy Is The New Rock And Roll". That metaphor has since become a cliche used by hack writers from the redbrick universities to the most recent polytechnic. You'll never guess which university Newman went to. Cambridge.
I suppose my first encounter with the aliens was in the fifth form of Consett Grammar School in the seventh year of the decade between the fifties and the seventies. As I say, I'm a provincial bourgeois. It was possibly the first ever seance in Consett. There was Muriel Hull there and Anthea Redfern. Muriel was a brunette and Anthea a blonde. I can't remember who the other blokes were. We sat round the Arts storeroom table with the letters of the alphabet and the numbers arranged in a circle on the table and an upturned empty glass in the middle. We criticise the educational standards of today's youth but I have to admit that that even though we were about to do our O levels, one of us waved the glass around in the air and then put it upside down on the table to "catch a spirit".
We duly captured a "spirit". She, he , it they, whatever started to move the glass while each of us fifth formers kept our finger on the glass. Each of us must have assumed ( I know I did) one of us was moving the glass. And that's how the aliens operate. The odds are they are highly-evolved in every sense. To be able to tune into a human brain and operate it without the knowledge of the operator may be to them the equivalent of the wheel. The outcome of the seance by the way was exactly what you might expect. It frightened the girls.
It was very difficult "coming out" as a ufo contactee. It's not the same as coming out as gay. If you come out as gay, people will be shocked but they will believe you. If you come out as a contactee, they will be shocked but they won't believe you.
I sometimes wonder about my role as what the Planetary Defence League call "the gentle but flaky world of the ufo contactee". (Sorry! Let's face it: there's as much chance of a reconciliation between us as there is of a Middle East peace agreement.) What I wonder is if I'm supposed to be some sort of Archaon as predicted in the Gnostic Gospels. She is supposed to tip the balance between good and evil. But I could never perform that role. I've thought through tipping the balance between good and evil and it can't be done. Anyway that wouldn't be enough would it? That's too neutral. Too "pusillanimous". You want something that would resolve all questions of good and evil but at the same time be life-enhancing: something like Kid Creole and the Cocunuts but without Kid Creole and the Coconuts. Of course such an idea is ridiculous. There's about as much chance of such a thing existing as there is of a Middle East peace agreement.
I had my first day's training as "Agent d'Accompagnement" today. The job is to assist people with disabilities who have requested assistance in boarding their flights. My French is still so bad I hardly know what's going on but it looks like the work could start proper in a couple of weeks. We're being paid for the training and as it's a private agency, I think they must actually be intending to use us.
I heard some worrying news today. It looks like the large hadron collider at CERN really may have found the Higgs boson. I think the Higgs boson supports String Theory and I don't like String Theory. I prefer Roger Penrose's Twistor Theory. Actually to be honest I don't know if the Higgs boson does support String Theory because I don't know anything about either the Higgs boson or String Theory. Certainly, if it does support String Theory I wouldn't have a clue how. But I prefer the British Theory. String Theory is really an American theory. In String Theory there are ten dimensions whereas in Twistor Theory, there are only eight. That's not because of the British Science cutbacks or because the Americans always have to make everything bigger. String Theory is all about Strings and Membranes and other stuff that makes the Universe sound like the alien in "Alien". Twistor Theory takes the four dimensions of Einstein-Minkowski spacetime and adds four complex dimensions. Simple. To quote a quote in New Scientist by Isaac Newton
natura enim simplex est
In fact it looks as if Sir Roger's theory is very close to being a good model of the Universe. There is apparently just one subtle problem that has to be solved: it doesn't work. And then comes today's news that they are very close to finding the Higgs boson. I'm hoping there's just one subtle problem that means despite all the expectations, they don't.
News Update: The CERN scientists have just announced the discovery of the Higgs boson with 99.999 something % certainty. My only hope now is that I'm wrong and the Higgs boson doesn't support String Theory.
You're right. I could ask the aliens. But I've given up on that. You have a go! Suspend a weight on a string and ask questions. I can't guarantee they will speak to you. But I can guarantee that most of the time, they'll tell you a load of ballyhooey.
I've been up since 5 a.m. 4 a.m according to my computer which is on English time. And before the Scots start complaining, while I recgnise that Manchester and Glasgow are the powerhouses of British rock music, the Scots generally sing it in English. (Unless the Fence Collective has some outreach project that I don't know about.) I state rhetorically in my head: "There are no contemporary Scottish rock bands that sing in Gallic". The alien "du jour" (if that's how it works) nods my head. The trouble is, as I've said, she could be lying. Otherwise of course, I could have a search engine that would make Google look like the Yellow Pages.
There's another Penrose theory I like. I know what you're thinking. I should read another book. Don't worry. I will. But "The Road To Reality" is over a thousand pages. Add the references and you've got the physics section of Oxford University library. It makes James Joyce's "Ulysees" look like "The Famous Five Go Boating".
The irony is of course that as I struggle with Penrose and Twistor Theory and String Theory, for the aliens who I'm in telepathic contact with, quantum gravity is probably the wheel. Possibly even literally. I reckon that saucers ride the geodesics of space-time curvature. That would allow them to travel at light speed. However, I must admit, they could travel faster than light speed. Except I don't have a theory for that.
I'm learning the classical piano. I've passed Grade One of the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music, piano. In fact it took longer to write that title than to study for the exam. I'm studying for grade two now. There's nine pieces to choose from. 3 classical, 3 romantic and 3 contemporary. For my classical piece, I've chosen a piece adapted from Haydn's "Military" symphony called "Military Minuet". In a way, it sounds like a military march but it's Waltz time. It's almost as if it's one of Haydn's famous "jokes" like in the "Surprise" symphony where there's a quiet opening that lets the people who always seem to fall asleep at the start of a classical concert fall asleep, then suddenly the whole orchestra comes in at once, fortissimo, giving the dozers a bit of a shock.
For the romantic piece, I've chosen another waltz; by Schubert. It's one of his famous tunes, from his fifth symphony. I've just discovered that when you try to play it, it's nice to imagine that you're waltzing with the Moroccan girl you met at the training day at Servair the other day.
The contemporary piece is called "Cat Being Bold At First" by a composer from Yorkshire called Timothy Salter. It's about an arrogant cat who struts self-importantly about only to suddenly get a bit spooked and finally sneak off with his tail between his legs. Obviously, it's a modern piece. It's not a waltz. It's in 4/4 time.
My writer hero at the moment is Alain Le Sage. I'm about half-way through Gil Blas de Santillane, the book recommended on a BBC Radio 3 programme "The Romantic Road" many moons ago as an introduction to French literature. It's a French version of Cervantes "Don Quixote" with a hero like Don Quixote, except because he's French, he gets a lot of leg-over. Critics might point out that also, unlike Quixote, he is young and pretty. They might also point out that the hero of Fielding's "Tom Jones" is English but young and pretty and gets a lot of leg-over. If they are feeling particularly vindictive, they may point out that Quixote is middle-aged. But I see no reason to quibble over the particulars.
Time for a review. After over a year in Paris, I have left nearly twelve thousand pounds of my dad's money. Enough to buy a motorbike and still have enough left for my parachute jump. (I'm planning to parachute back to London.)
Yes. I'm going to buy a motorbike. My excuse is that if I'm going to be working at the Airport, the shift starts at 5 a.m. and the first RER train from Paris is 5 a.m. That's an extremely difficult problem in applied relativistic mechanics and the RER is bad enough at the best of times. The aliens can probably do relativistic travel, wormholes and all that. In fact my alien du jour just did a joke I think. She tilted my head to one side as if miming sleep. Then she tilted my head to the other side and mimed sleep again. So I think the gag is that they could not only leave Gard du Nord at 5 a.m. and get to the Airport at 5 a.m. but also get in eight hours sleep.
I know what you're thinking about the motorbike. He's having the typical mid-life crisis. And you're right. It is a bit of a mad, macho impulse. But what the heck! I intend very soon to be the proud owner of a Honda 50.
I'm suffering terribly from stress. It interferes with my sleep. I can lie for hours or what seems like hours, gasping for breath. At times in fact, I feel like it could completely take over my life. Mind you, I haven't the faintest idea what the stress is about. I suffered from it just as badly in Newcastle. So at least I suppose it's cooler to suffer from it in Paris.
As I keep saying, there would be no point asking the aliens what it is. Despite what they say in their crop circles, they do NOT "oppose deception". Anyway, when I think about it, it's probably them.
There are complaints from some people who live in the area of East London where the Olympics are happening that the security services are over-reacting to potential security threats with such things as rocket-propelled missiles on council estate roofs.
Scene: East London Housing Estate. Helicopter flying overhead.
NEIGHBOUR ONE: Look what they are doing! Helicopters. Snipers on the roofs. Rocket-propelled missiles. Soldiers everywhere.
NEIGHBOUR TWO: I know. But what can you do if the Olympics decide to make it an official sport?
It was my second day of training as Agent d’Accompagnment today. I’ve heard of people writing blogs about their work and getting into trouble so let’s just say it’s at a big airport near Paris.
I live next to the Pont Mirabeau, on the other side of which is the RER C station, Javel and the metro, Andre Javel Citroen. The bridge has an excellent view of the Eiffel Tower and as I crossed early this morning it was particularly spectacular, with a background of red and gold-tinted clouds. It gave me an interesting problem in critical path analysis. Critical path analysis was introduced to me by my dad when I was about twelve. He brought a book home from work which I had a go at reading but he had already given me a succinct explanation. When you make a cup of tea, you first put the kettle on and then while waiting for the water to boil, you get a cup, put a teabag in it etc. If you got a cup, put a teabag in it etc, then put the kettle on, you’re wasting time. Critical Path Analysis was developed by The Manhattan Project, the West’s project to build a nuclear weapon before the Germans or the Soviets.
However my problem was I wanted to admire the view of the Eiffel Tower but I couldn’t stop because I had to make sure I wasn’t late for work. So I walked across but slowly. I was still heading for work but I was walking slowly enough to admire the view.
I didn't like the media coverage of the last General Election. There seemed to be a bias against my party, the Labour Party. The BBC said as it always says that is just our biased perception. I think the point where I could no longer accept this was when a BBC radio interviewer accused Labour of missing one of their targets by 50%. The Labour spokesperson replied that the correct figure was 5%. If that was not media bias then Lord Haw Haw is George Washington.
A few years previously, BBC TV had made a programme, "Test The Nation's IQ". At the time I joined in. We all did the test. I submitted mine, online. Then afterwards, there was the obligatory tour round the country: a sort of "Britain's got IQ" as a cheering crowd in each town held up its IQ, written on a piece of paper in felt-tip pen to the camera. Knowing the nation's IQ would have been valuable information if say you'd been planning to brainwash Britain into voting Conservative at the next election.
In twelve years, Labour had kept economic growth at about 3% a year. At the end of the "recession" Britain's economy was still 30% bigger than in 1997. We had introduced the minimum wage. We had cut hospital operation waiting times from eighteen months to eighteen weeks. We had banned cluster bombs. Then all of a sudden, along comes Cameron. I was going to say "a man called Cameron" then I remembered Michelle's joke on Marc Riley's show on BBC Sixmusic last night. She's the producer of the show. Marc, as one of the leaders of the old punk movement hates "hippy" music but there's higher rule of punk that is the true rule of punk that only the great bands like the Fall know. Marc's show is like his music. So don't be surprised that he was playing Black Sabbath's "Iron Man" A bit embarrassingly, I started playing air guitar to it. I thought I'd gone beyond all that now that I'm studying for Grade Two ABRSM piano.
Anyway, Michelle's joke came at the end. Marc revealed to us that she had said to him: "Did you know when Iron Man started he was just Iron Bloke?"
So then this bloke Cameron came along. He'd been educated at Eton and obviously knows a thing or two about "Eton Mess". Somehow, from Eton, he managed to scramble his way into Oxford. Finally came his breakthrough into politics when he met some people at parties. Yet the "Britain's Got IQ" population voted for him in the last election.
Now that all the hype about the Higgs boson has died down, what I want to know is where CERN got the money. Did they tell the military it would be a good weapon?
Again, I could ask the aliens. But they of course are implicated, according to some members of the ufological "scene", in Satanic activities. Well, co-operating with the American military anyway.
I got a picture of a new crop circle sent to me on Facebook today. All I can say is if it's just farmers' boys with ropes and planks of wood, we get the joke. You can give it a rest now.
Some climbers just died in an avalanche in Chamonix. I climbed Mont Blanc myself once. How do I justify it? Well for one thing, I was in the cable car. Mind you, I remember when we got to the top there was a platform you had to step onto. There was a gap between the platform and the cable car and we were about 4000 metres above the ground. True the gap was only about 2 centimetres but even so it was pretty scary.
When I lived in Bangor, the social scene I socialised in included members of Bangor's Mountaineering Society. It was at times a humiliating experience. You would say join a group having a drink in the Union bar and they'd say: "Hi Mick! Where've you been?" and you'd say you'd been to buy a meat pie. Then someone from the Mountaineering Society would turn up and they'd say "Hi John! Where've you been?" and he'd say he'd been climbing the north face of the Eiger.
Perhaps therefore you can undestand if I feel slightly bitter about the aliens at times. When they contacted me I was getting stuff on the BBC. I felt I was beginning to fulfill my mission as a writer which was to test the theory that being a writer has the same effect on the chicks as being a mountain climber but with considerably less personal risk. Then I became a contactee which turned out to be even more humiliating than not being a mountain climber.
According to someone on today's Today programme on BBC Radio Four 40% of the British population make up what cultural critic Melvyn Bragg calls a "mass intelligentsia". That can't be right. 70% of the British population are car drivers.
Caroline Daniel, former worker for ex-U.K. Prime Minister Gordon Brown was on BBC Radio Four's "Broadcasting House" this morning. She once described Gordon Brown as "rude". So it was interesting to hear her on the programme describe French President Francois Hollande as "short".
Possibly what confirmed me as New Labour was working as an Agency social worker in the 1980s. If ever I felt the urge at work to be unprofessional, what Jesus called "the still, small voice" would whisper to me: "It's an Agency. They can sack you simply by not offering you any more temporary jobs".
This is very difficult. A few days ago I decided I was going to try and bring the aliens into my blog more often. After all, I call it "Autobiography Of A Ufo Contactee". However my relationship with the aliens is strange. Based on my experience of working with all sorts of clients as a social worker, I can only say that my relationship with them seems to be like that of the social worker and client, with me as the client.
For example, I've lost count of the number of times I've said to them over the years: "Oh! Go on! Fix the Lottery numbers for me!" And I can tell you that as a social worker my clients pretty much expected the same from me. Anyway as I say I want to bring the aliens into my blog but today the subject was public-private partnership and I really can't think of a way to bring the aliens into a discussion on public-private partnership.
The Germans have banned circumcision. I was told I was circumcised. I couldn't verify that. I don't know how my penis doesn't resemble a non-circumcised penis. I haven't looked at a lot of penises. Not that I'm not gay. But you don't go round staring at penises (in the male showers for example) because if you do, someone might think you're gay. I think though that the essential difference between my penis and a non-circumcised one is I have less foreskin. I am told it was common medical practice and was for hygiene reasons. I also had my tonsils removed. However, the Jews practice religious circumcision, so in protecting the rights of the child, the Germans are denying the religious rights of Jews. It's a really difficult dilemma. Mind you, religious circumcision is just a meaningless shamenistic ritual, as probably is removing the tonsils so maybe the Jews could just remove their children's tonsils.
Apparently there's an exhibition on in the UK about the "golden age" of the motorway and everyone is waxing lyrically about the romance of "a different era". Maybe. But lead plumbing was a different era too. And we got rid of that.
As I've said, I can't talk about my job. For one thing, I haven't got it yet. I've done the training but I guess it's like some people say that it is in the ufology business: many are called but few are chosen. Part of the job training is disability awareness. One of the things our tutor did was sit us all one by one in wheelchairs and drive us at top speed towards a parked car. The other day I found myself inspired by his example. In the comfort of Francois' kitchen, I closed my eyes and pretended I was blind while I was making a cup of filter coffee. You put a filter holder in a cup, put a filter in the filter holder, put a spoon of coffee in the the filter, then add boiling water in several doses. Finally, you add milk and sugar and usually have to re-heat it for a few seconds in a microwave. I only kept my eyes closed for the re-heating it in the microwave bit.
Yesterday afternoon I had further thoughts on this theme as I was walking to the Bois de Boulogne. At a particularly busy road junction I thought to myself, maybe I should try crossing the road with my eyes closed. Sure it would be scary but if I was blind I would have to do that sort of thing. I took a raincheck. The image in my mind made the opening of "Les Petits Mouchoirs", in which a 40 ton truck hits a motorcyclist side-on, look like a little bump at the Dodgems.
I got into trouble with Francois yesterday. Ange's friend Bashir visited. I had not known we locataires were not allowed to invite people into the apartment. I'm in a "chambre de bonne" so there's a sort of Iron Curtain that divides the apartment into his zone, everywhere and our zone, certain specified areas. Francois was worried that my friend might spy valuables to steal. He made me more or less escort Bashir off the premises. Bashir was quite offended but luckily he was only there to see me for a financial transaction in his favour. I felt torn between the two recipients of my (dad's) money. Luckily capitalism does have a just moral solution at this point: retreat to a safe position.
Francois ex-wife lives next door and the apartment seems to be pretty much the way it was when she left. At the moment, for a couple of days, I am in the old dining room while the painters are painting our rooms. The centre piece of the dining room is an old dining table for ten where, Francois tells me, when his wife was still there, they would have about three dinners a year. An old carpet covers an old polished wood floor. There's old furniture, old ornaments, old paintings. There are old curtains at the windows and under them, faded net curtains. The curtains are closed. A little light comes in through a chink in one pair of curtains. It's like the jilted Miss Haversham's dining room in Charles Dickens' "Great Expectations". The only things that are missing are the wedding cake and the cobwebs. It's a good job that Francois has a twelve year old daughter with his ex-wife and an adopted daughter with another woman or I could legitimately compare him to Miss Haversham.
I think I might have met the girl of my dreams. The reason I think this is that it looks like there's a good chance I'll never see her again. So as I sit here by the chink of light through Francois' old dining room curtains, I realise of course that it is me who is Miss Haversham.
I don't really know if I'm love of course. I've often told myself I was in love with a girl only later to find out I wasn't. However I bet I am this time because that's the only thing that could really make me regret leaving Paris.
Apparently, the UMP, defeated in the general election, wolf-whistled new French minister, Cecile Duflot, the other day in the National Assembly when she stood up wearing a dress. The fightback begins here?
I saw Ange, the street clown, yesterday in Strasbourg St. Denis. I hadn't heard from him for months. A couple of days previously, I had gone to St Michel to see him but he hadn't been there. I was worried he had fallen on hard times. But things are looking good for him. He had a new clown hat. He did his usual thing of telling he was just going to be a minute then disappearing. I then usually find myself waiting for him and following him for a couple of hours so I disappeared this time and got the last metro home.
They were talking about domestic abuse of women on the Today programme on BBC Radio Four via the internet. I very much identify with the problem of a woman who is living in an abusive relationship. As a contactee, I live in an abusive relationship with the whole human race. Rock critic, Pat Kane, talked about "the gentle but flaky world of the ufo contactee". And without wishing to pick on him, his views seemed to be pretty representative. The solution for a woman who is living in an abusive relationship is to leave her abuser. The problem is she lacks self-esteem. At first I almost believed their lies myself. They often seem so plausible, these types. Projecting an image is easy. The search for self-realisation is more painful.
A physics journal has just published a report that explains the best strategem for avoiding getting wet in a rain shower. Do you run into the rain or do you walk and spend more time getting to shelter? Let's be honest: the best thing to do is get wet and not worry.
The U.K. Independence Party is getting more popular in the opinion polls. They don't just represent pulling out of Europe though. They occupy that territory on the political spectrum between the Conservatives and the English Defence League. They hate Europe, benefits claimants, mass immigration from the colonies and the media, all of which they see as a conspiracy to destroy society. My dad occupied that same part of the political spectrum. But I don't know what he would make of the current popularity of UKIP. He thought they were part of the conspiracy to destroy society too.
As I say, at Bangor University, I used to sit in the students' union cafe, "The Curved Lounge" and watch enviously, through the curved windows, the Arts students wending their way heavenward to Top College. Maybe you think I'm over-romanticising Top College. Well one of the students who wended their way heavenward to Top College at that time was director of Friday's Olympic Opening Ceremony, Danny Boyle.
I did 20 hours of paid training for the job of "Agent d'Accompagnement" for Charles de Gaulle airport with the Agency "Start People". The job is assisting people with disabilities get on their flight. As an ex-support worker with people with disabilities, I'm pretty well qualified. I was told my English would be a particular advantage. The last training was a week last Friday so I phoned the Agency today ten days later and was told by the guy at the Agency that although I had done my training at the airport, he was the recruiter and I didn't fit the profile for the job because my French wasn't good enough. And I only found that out because I phoned him. When I asked him how long I would have had to wait if I hadn't phoned, he said "15 to 20 weeks". I told him I was going to make a complaint to the airport. After all, they were wasting everyone's time and money. He told me to go ahead but half an hour later, his boss phoned me to "explain the procedure". I'm definitely going to make that complaint to the airport now
Through the Pole Emploi, I applied for a job with Start People. I didn't get the job but the Agency told me me there were vacancies for Agent d'Accompagnement, (helping people with disabilities who have asked for assistance in boarding a flight) at the airport Paris, Charles de Gaulle. They said my English would be an advantage. I did 20 hours of training at the airport. I was paid for the training by the Agency (and therefore the airport). Disability awareness, health and safety, and airport security. I could tell you for example tell you how to get on board a plane without a ticket and passport,etc but I won't because I still feel a sense of responsibility despite the irresponsibility of Start People.
After doing the training and given that I have seven years experience of working as a support worker for people with disabilities, I was hopeful of getting the job. But after ten days, I had heard nothing from the Agency so I rang them. Their recruiter told me I did not fit the profile for the job because my French was not good enough. I asked him how long I would have had to wait to hear that if I had not phoned him? He told me "fifteen to twenty weeks".
None of the tutors at the airport had complained to me about my French. I passed all the courses. Anyway, Start People had already interviewed me once. If my spoken French was so bad, why send me on training? They were just wasting everyone's time and money. Also, as I say, I worked as a support worker for people with disabilities for seven years and it was more important to be attentive than fluent. For example, being fluent might not be very useful if the client had a hearing disability. It seems to me that it's less the case that I don't conform to the role of Aide d'Accompagnment" than that the recruiter for Start People doesn't understand the role of Aide d'Accompagnent. In any case, I'm going to write to Airports de Paris to complain.
The rule that was drummed into my head from an early age is that what women want from men is "consistency". This of course is laughable, given that a woman can change from thinking you're her most to her least favourite man quicker than the retro-message between two entangled photons.
I sent a letter to Airports De Paris. I trained for twenty hours for a job they (Start People) were never going to give me. If you include the commuting time, that's sixty hours. When their Napoleon of recruiters told me on the phone that my French wasn't good enough, I could hear at least one person laughing. I have a suspicion they're Nazis. Still, that isn't a problem. I'm English.
Last night, at the Olympic Opening Ceremony, in the village cricket tableau vivante, there was, according to the BBC website, an unsuccessful leg-before-wicket appeal. I would like to think it was from a leg-spinner tricking a batsman with a googly but the UK doesn’t do leg-spin, as the “ball of the century” demonstrates.
The so-called ball of the century is, I’m afraid, embarrassingly for the U.K., the first delivery you think of as a leg-spinner. You “pitch” the ball, i.e. bowl it to land outside the batter’s leg stump. The ball, because it has been spun by a leg-spinner who uses practically every muscle in her body to spin the ball, rather than by an off-spinner, who merely flicks it with her finger, turns nearly at right angles and hits the surprised batter’s stumps. I took quite a few wickets with that one. In fact, I hoped to get into Consett Grammar School Cricket team.
My dad had taught me leg-spin. He’d been an opening batter for Wirksworth Grammar School. All the wickets I took were essentially in the field at the bottom of the street where at weekends we would have impromptu cricket matches. There was Dad, me, my younger sister, my much younger brother, one or two of the children of our street, an adult friend of the family, Aidan, and our dog, Judy. Judy was a stray dog my mum and dad had adopted. So was Aidan. A shy, lonely bachelor. It didn’t help that he had what I suppose might have been a rare genetic condition which caused him to walk with the arm on the same side as his leg moving forward at the same time as the leg, rather than the normal thing which is the opposite arm swinging forward. I don’t know how he kept his balance. Nevertheless, he would take part in the match and turned out to be a surprisingly effective English-style medium pace bowler.
My sister, as a girl, was mostly confined to the outfield. She couldn’t catch and she couldn’t throw either. Frequently, if she fielded a ball, we would have to wait while she threw it a little bit forward, ran after it again, threw it a little nearer and so on till it got back to us. She couldn’t bowl either. She would try to bowl the bowl but would end up throwing it which I believe is how baseball evolved.
My dad had also told me about some old Australian player called Charlie Something Or Other who was a leg-spinner and who had used to practice his leg-spinning walking to school spinning an orange and catching it. So, when I started the Grammar School, before the cricket trials, I started doing the same thing. Then the day of the trials arrived. I bowled an over. Two or three balls I bowled landed nearer to the adjacent cricket pitches than the one we were on. I think one of them might have been an attempted googly where you seem to be spinning the ball from right to left but it's actually spinning from left-to-right. But two or three balls landed near to the batter and his stumps and he missed all three. One was a ball of the century. It pitched outside the leg stump, spun in and just missed the stumps. The coach, actually the P.E. teacher, had been watching all the way through and must have seen those deliveries that had beaten the batter
Anyway, so I didn’t get into the cricket team. Mind you, it’s not just me. There hasn’t been a successful England leg-spinner in my lifetime. Either coaches are stupid or leg-spin doesn’t work. The words Shane and Warne spring to mind
I rarely buy a newspaper or magazine but I still like to look at the kiosks here in Paris One of my favourite magazines on display over the years was "Science et Vie" which would feature the latest scientific theories in a way which seemed dramatic. The front cover of "Science et Vie" for August is "Five reasons why scientists are convinced we are not alone". I've just been reading French Wikipedia on Science et Vie. Apparently the magazine is the source of the term "blurg" which an acronym for "baliverne lamentable a l'usage reserve des gogos". "Baliverne" is "nonsense" and "gogos" are "suckers" so I guess it's roughly the same thing as "the gentle but flaky world of the ufo contactee".
I watched a play at the Lucernaire. "Les Bonnes" by Jean Genet. Then I went to my favourite bar, "Le Marie" in Strasbourg St. Denis. I got drunk and said absolutely the wrong thing to a girl who was standing next to me. Although I don't know what it was I said. Anyway, the next thing I know, she hits me in the side of the face. Later, when I left the bar, she was waiting for me and started attacking me again. I held her off and went down into the metro. It was shut. I re-surfaced and she was still there. I decided to make a run for it. Unfortunately, I was drunk and fell after about twenty metres and was suddenly surrounded by a crowd of girls who were keen on arresting me. At that moment, the police arrived. They made me stay still while they checked my ID and asked the women what was going on. My attacker then gave an account in which she appeared to be suggesting I was a serial rapist. The police then made me get in the back of their car. As we drove, I asked if I was under arrest. "Yes. The girl accused you of touching her" said the officer in the front passenger seat. I quickly denied it. We drove a kilometre or so then they let me get out at a place where I could get a taxi. Although I walked home.
Danny Boyle's cv is catholic. Everything from third world poverty in "Slumdog Millionaire" to the triumphant march of the British Empire.in the Olympics Opening Ceremony.
A film was broadcast on Indian television last week showing a Indian woman being attacked in public by a gang of men as passers-by ignored what was happening. It was just like what happened to me in Paris the other day except I'm male and my attackers were female.
On BBC Radio Four this morning it was revealed that mental illness shortens life. Am I mentally ill? Well I have an "England leg-spinner" complex but apart from that I'm quite well-balanced. Being a ufo contactee doesn't count. You might think it does but I know I am a contactee so I don't worry about my mental health on that count. However I do have the asymmetry in the basal ganglia of my brain that is characteristic of schizophrenia. I remember that Lucy, who gave me the crystal, seemed to be frightened of its Apocalyptic implications. (Such as the arrival of the "Pleidean Shapeshifters" as depicted in the Danny Boyle Olympic Opening Tableau.) So if you're worried about the changes that the arrival of the aliens will bring, just tell yourself it's all a delusion caused by an imbalance in my basal ganglia.
On YouTube there's film of what looks like a flying saucer, flying over the Olympic Ceremony during the fireworks.
I was abused by an employent agency and attacked by a girl and fell over being chased by her. I could hardly move for days. I have been depreseed about my Paris experience for some time now. But today, finally, something good happened. My left leg and my knees had improved enough for me to do my yoga.
The racist Party of France is that of Marine Le Pen, who was unable to escape the baleful glare of her father’s countenance. I know because my sister was just the same. I saw it the last time I visited my father with my sister and brother (and a couple of fresh-air introducing disrespectful nephews). I saw the look in my father’s eyes as he treated her like a little girl. The little girl he had once known as a little girl. As I say, I had no problems with my dad. He’s role model number one for me. Then it’s Captain Beefheart, Patrick Moore etc. My sister didn’t marry. She had a breathless year in London. I visited her from Bangor. Or as we called it, Bognor. She was in the best position possible. Lots of friends. There were two pretty Greek girls I remember. I was 19. I’d never seen Greek girls before. I’d never realised that you could be called Demetra and actually look like a goddess. I mean I suppose they thought the same about me. I have a romantic name too. (“Mick”’s a “nom de plume”). But I suffer from dysreflexia. But after a year, my sister went back to Consett. Fine, no offence, Consett. (I don’t want to annoy anyone in Consett. I know what happens. They make the girls in Strasbourg St Denis look like..well..girls. And that’s just the girls.) But it wasn’t just Consett. It was back to looking after my mum and my mum wasn’t really ill. She made Le Malade Malgre Lui look like The English Patient. And anyway, she had just married again. To Billy Waugh, one of the hard men of Consett. He was still working as a miner, I think. Mum referred to him as her Adonis. Like Marilyn Monroe she had married an intellectual and a “bit of rough”. So there was a bit of a contradiction between my mother being married to Billy and my sister going home to look after her. It was resolved by my sister looking after both of them. I guess maybe my sister had been scared off sexual relations or whatever and had given up the holy London ghost and retreated to some sort of imagined rural idyll. Or maybe that’s just my metropolitan prejudice.
But actually, I think that the majority of the racists in Paris are not the whites but the blacks, the Arabs, the Chinese, the Latin Americans, every single one of the “minorities”. Just look at Ange, the street clown. The gag where he falls over with a death cry and grabs a passing girl’s ankle is a piece of athleticism and philosophical declamation that would have won a gold medal in the old Olympic Games. For a moment, a corner of a Paris street is illuminated by a moment of unity amongst we the spectators as we laugh at the girl’s surprise. Yet Ange is a racist. He hates the French whites. He only associates with arabs and other “minorities”. Also he has an irrational hatred of another race. Which one? The clue is, Ange is an Arab.
My wi-fi is down. So I can only post intermittently at the moment.
My wi-fi’s still down. I’m completely cut off from new technology. So I put on my ghettoblaster and play a CD. It’s “Culture”. “Two Sevens Clash” First track “Black Star Liner”. Also on the album is “Natty Dread Taking Over”. To a scientific “whitey” like me, the idea of Natty Dread taking over sounds ridiculous. Just to give one example: it’s a whitey, Peter Higgs who has discovered a completely new sub-atomic particle. Maybe the rastas have discovered some sort of metaphysical equivalent of the Higgs boson.
According to Penrose and Hameroff, they have. Hameroff points out that psychotropic substances preferentially align along brain cell microtubules. Microtubules are made of a very light molecular-weight protein that Penrose and Hameroff argue would be capable of being put into quantum superposition for a period of the order of a second or so. They say that consciousness is the moment when the quantum wave collapses. You get what is called an eigenvalue. Hameroff refers to the idea of the English philosopher, A. N. Whitehead who described consciousness as “a moment of experience”. The human brain has about ten trillion microtubules. Each collapse of each superposed microtubule would represent a molecular occasion of experience. Add ten trillion together and you get the picture. Add the randomness inherent in quantum collapse and that gives you creative learning. Trial and error. Till eventually, you find the Higgs boson. According to Hameroff, we’ve been conscious since we were worms. To quote the wise quote of Culture’s Joseph Hill
There was a girl at the training for the job at the airport. A Moroccan girl. She had grown her dark hair ridiculously long all the way down her back. I suppose you may think I’m going to compare her to Rapunzel, the girl in the fairy tale. But I’m not. I’m actually going to compare her to a girl I saw with Dave Baddiel one time. Exactly the same thing. Outrageously pretty face but over-ostentatious with the hair. To be fair to Baddiel, the girl at the training reminded me of my mother so I fell hopelessly in love with her.
I’ve started picking at the scab on my knee. I haven’t done that since I was a kid. I’m wearing shorts. Actually, it’s my old long trousers that I have cut off at the knees or thereabouts. A man in my bourgeois seizieme arrondissement the other day had noticed that and had loudly commented to his neighbour so that I could hear. But I refuse to wear neat shorts. It’s like wearing jeans and having neat haircut. Although, admittedly, I’ve not been wearing the shorts so much outside since he said that. At the moment, he is one up in the psychological battle. What he doesn’t know is that my diet is working and my stomach is now nearly flat so I’m confident that sometime within the next couple of weeks, I’m going to be able to strip off on Paris Plages. Sous les Paves et les Pates ,les Plages!
The scab is from where I fell over trying to dodge those girls. I was the victim of course, running from my attacker but I knew from previous experience of women that they would assume I was the guilty one and indeed, as I got nearer to them, a cry of triumphant accusation went out from one of them the like of which perhaps had not been heard in Paris since the days of the Guillotine.
My four day “job club” with the Pole Emploi started this morning. It was my last chance to find a job but I left after half an hour. It was hard enough finding the place. Half the streets in Paris don’t seem to have names. And if you look at those maps outside the Metro station, half of the streets on them are not named either. But what makes it particularly difficult is that the streets with the names on the Metro map are the ones that don’t have names on on the street. And vice versa.
Eventually I found Rue Jean Baptiste Pigalle. Or at least I thought I had until after I had walked along it a bit I noticed that the plaque on the wall said Rue Pigalle. I cursed and tried to re-trace my steps and in the end, in desperation, carried along this Rue Pigalle. A few yards later, it became Rue Jean Baptiste Pigalle again. (The street that was so good, they named it twice.)
I arrived just before the appointed time of 9.a.m. The door was locked. I waited with another person for a few minutes and eventually, through the glass door, I saw an old man approaching. He was walking slowly. He was very obese. His knees were bad and of course his obesity would just exacerbate that. It turned out he was our tutor.
By twenty-five past nine, the tutor had given everyone half a piece of paper on which to write our names and pin them to the front of our desks. Then he dropped his folder with his notes all over the back of a chair he’d propped them on. But he quickly recovered them and then introduced us to the arrangements the previous group had had for coffee. You might wonder why he still had anyone’s attention by then. This was because right at the start, he explained that anyone who dropped out early would be “irradiated”. I should perhaps explain that this does not mean you actually get subjected to radioactive rays. It just means you will be struck off the Pole Emploi.
At about twenty to ten, I got up and left, explaining I’d opted for voluntary “irradiation”.
I’ve been living in Paris for a while and like in Woody Allen’s “Minuit A Paris”, I sometimes experience nostalgia for the Paris of a previous era. But it’s a completely different place since the British put pressure on the French to close Sangatte.
Religious people believe that God created the Universe but as a socialist I like to believe that it was created by a workers' collective;
The older I get, the more unfathomable I find women. However one thing is sure: they are almost exactly the same as us.
"Start People"'s excuse for not employing me as an Aide d'Accompagnement at Paris Charles de Gaulle airport was that my spoken French was not good enough. The job is to assist disabled independent travellers transit through the airport. I hardly need to be able to tell my life story. Ironically, because of the training at the airport I now know how to get on board a plane at the airport without documentation. It's a good job I'm a Labour supporter and not al-Qaida.
I suppose the biography of our times is the africanisation of white anglo saxon protestant culture, primarily through rock music.. Cliff Richard imitated Elvis Presley and the English teenage girls went wild. So many members of the old Establishment were outraged at what they saw as child abuse, that Cliff Richard became a Christian. (Just as many years later did Mandy whatshername after her alleged affair with Bill Wyman.) And so on, right up to Pavement’s “Westing By Musket and Sextant”.
I’m still a big fan of consciousness. If Penrose and Hameroff are right, consciousness is the collapse of the quantum function. Hameroff says we’ve been “westing by musket and sextant” since the “Cambrian explosion” when, allegedly, there was a sudden mushrooming of animal life-forms on “Earth”. These early worms may have had enough microtubules in their front end to form a quantum computer. (In fact I think it’s possible they had enough microtubules in their back end to form a British Prime Minister.) The difference between a quantum computer and a silicon chip computer is two-fold. A chip is either on or off. A microtubule can collapse to one of eight different quantum-superposed positions. And quantum chips are conscious. Penrose has argued for decades that the artificial intelligence people can shuffle silicon chips around forever as in the Turing machine and never obtain consciousness. It would require a quantum computer. Thus the still disputed acceleration of animal evolution in the Cambrian explosion was down to the arrival of consciousness and therefore decision-making.
I don’t think I’ll be going back to my favourite bar tonight. That girl who attacked me might be there. It’s a shame. It’s probably one of the coolest bars in Paris. And very much like The Head Of Steam at the Cluny in Newcastle-on-Tyne. Last Saturday, one of the barmen was wearing his Kurt Cobain t-shirt. I saw Nirvana at Reading in 1992. I was right at the front in the “moshpit”. Alright, I was one row behind the moshpit. I was already old in 1992.
I went to Paris Plages finally. I went into the tent for Aide d’Action. This is the French branch of Action Aid. An educational charity. Education as the way out of poverty. They work in the developed world too with school “refuseniks”. I remember the ones I talked too at a bus stop in Ryton, Northumberland when I was living on a housing association housing estate there. There were two kinds of people in Ryton. The rich people who lived in the posh houses because they wanted to live in the countryside and the poor people who didn’t have much choice. The kids at the bus stop were the progeny of this latter category. I didn’t know then that one day they’d be the cool political issue at Paris Plages.
I used to put women on a pedestal. Now I see them as variations on an algorithm. Either way it doesn’t help.
Do you suppose the aliens hit each other? I mean I suppose they might transmit nasty thoughts to each other from time to time but would they actually inflicting physical pain? It seems more appropriate to the Cambrian when through savage struggle, we evolved from worms to four-legged creatures that eventually learned to climb trees. Indeed on some planets, before they had evolved any further they were capable of interstellar travel, according to the writers of sci-fi movie “Attack The Block!”
I think I have just encountered an example of third world corruption. My first example was four years ago in Egypt when the police lieutenant ordered his subordinate to break out the guns when I complained about the bus not arriving at Hurghada. This latest one is the agency “Start People” in Paris, that recruits workers for Paris airport. They were looking for “Agents d’Accompagnement”. Admittedly there’s an “Agent” for everything in France now. In fact, those people of East-European appearance who seem to find a gold ring just in front of you as you pass through the tourist areas are officially known as “Agents de Deception”. But Agent d’Accompagnement is a good job. It was created because of European legislation which now requires all airports under Europe’s control to pay, out of airport taxes, employees to assist independent disabled travellers getting on and off planes and making their way through the airport.
The recruiter for “Start People”, who was from Guadaloupe ( and who later confided that in France it was “chaqu’un pour soi”) had already interviewed me for another job and told me I should apply for this job as my English would be an advantage. As a result, “Start People” sent me for 17 hours paid training at Paris Charles de Gaulle airport. I did training, taught in French, in disability awareness together with the other candidates for the post. I discovered I was the only candidate who had any experience of work with people with disabilities. I was also the only white candidate. The others were either black or arab. I also did training, again, taught in French, in airport health and safety and security. I passed these exams too. One of the ironies is that I now know how to get on board a plane at Paris airport without documentation. It’s a good job I’m Labour and not al-Qaida.
I did not hear from the Agency after the training. So I phoned them. A recruiter told me I did not fit the profile for the job because my French was not good enough. He said I had a 3 (sic) % chance of getting a job as an Agent d’Accompagnement and then I heard laughter in the background.
In my opinion, this is not an agency. It’s an example of third world corruption. Aeroports de Paris should take action against Start People and if they do not, someone should take action against Aeroports de Paris.
Today is the first day I have updated my blog in nine days. I could put you off with some story about my wi-fi being down but the truth is, I have found another lover. I have started writing a play.
So I'm back in London. I'm staying in the Generator hostel while I look for more permanent accommodation. The biggest problem so far was when the girls in our dormitory this morning had spread themselves out across the entire room such that there was no path to the door. It made the 1980s Greenham Common women's peace camp look like a point particle.
I'm not sure how often I will be updating this blog. I have a new lover: a play I'm starting to write and I'm beginning to look at this blog the way I used to look at my wife when, while I was trying to write, she came in to do the hoovering
I'm staying at the Generator and am hopefully going to be able to find accommodation through Gumtree. I know about Gumtree because a smart guy I met in Egypt told me about it. So I've bought a new mobile phone. It's not a "smart" phone, like the latest i-phone or Blackberry but it's not a "stupid phone" as I heard BBC DJ Stuart Maconie describe his. Mine's sort of half-way between a stupid phone and a smart phone. I suppose you could call it a polytechnic phone.
I've paid a deposit on a bedsit. It's a pity it's not in Paris. I would be able to call it a "studio". In fact it is in Hackney, London. The current tenant moves out on the 15th of September so I'm hoping to be able to stay here in the Generator till then.
Talking about the proposed statue of writer, George Orwell, BBC "Today" radio programme presenter, James Naughtie said that it should be somewhere near the BBC. Actually it doesn't matter what distance it is from the BBC. The BBC could always say when they refer to the statue, "the George Orwell statue near the BBC". As Orwell pointed out, if they say it often enough, people will believe them.
I must write this quickly. I have only 52 minutes left before the end of my free wi-fi. I have my M and S bag with what's left of my jar of coffee, a quarter of a bottle of skimmed milk which is turning sour. The nightmare I feared in Paris of becoming trapped as a "sans domicile fixe" almost seems to be happening to me.
To be fair, I've put down a deposit on a bedsit in Hackney. It's a pity it's not Paris. I'd be able to call it a studio. But in Hackney they're called bedsits. I'm unemployed. I guess I'll get incapacity benefit again. I should be entitled to housing benefit. I signed a six month tenancy with Sam in his car. I think Sam is Jewish. He has those long ringlets that devout Jews often have. Maybe I'll tell him of the recent chapter in Gil Blas where the bandits disguise themselves as members of the Spanish Inquisition and visit a rich Jew to investigate allegations of impiety towards Christianity.
I saw the Town Hall out of the bus window when I went to view my Hackney "studio". So I went back to look at it again at my first possible excuse. I have been admiring the architecture of Paris for the past year but I never saw a single building more beautiful than Hackney Town Hall. It looks like a church: except one whose mission is to preach socialism. In the reception area there is a an old clock, just like you see in any bourgeois Town Hall. It was obviously cheaper than the grand clocks you normally see but it leaves them for dead because even though bits have worn off it, it looks as if it was determined to stick around to see the 2012 Paralympics.
I met Ulle this morning. I’d been hoping to speak to him, seeing him around the Generator hostel. He’s on his own. Then I had a lucky break. When I came into the cafeteria, there were no more seats left so I had an excuse to sit down next to him. Soon we were talking although I found it difficult because he has cerebral palsy and so cannot articulate his voice well. Interestingly, as the scientists in G.B. Shaw’s “The Doctor’s Dilemma” might say, Ulle’s condition is relatively mild. His disablility has, as it were, a disability. So although his body is in that permanently reduced condition, he can run, including up steps and can hold a glass of orange juice in his hands, raise it to his lips and drink it without looking like spilling a drop.
He made his excuses and left . He’s going to the Olympic stadium today to see the Paralympics. I may go too. Another chap I just met here was a Swiss guy whose son is playing tennis in the Paralympics. He’s called Veloche. That’s his nickname. His father called him it because when he was little he moved very quickly. Like his compatriot Roger Federer I guess.
I left the Generator the other day and am back in Consett. I have to see the Department of Work and Pensions over my situation. It was my intention to spend the last year in Paris but as I'm sure you've realised, I made all that up. After all, I'm a mad man. I believe extraterrestrials are in telepathic contact with me. That's why I get incapacity benefit. The only excuse the DWP could have for stopping my incapacity benefit would be if the aliens landed.
"Gil Blas" is in twelve volumes. I don't know why it's in twelve volumes but my Hubpages online editor is slowing down as once again it approaches the event horizon of some sort of Boolean black hole: so here endeth the second volume of "Autobiography Of A Ufo Contactee". Let's just hope the aliens land before I get to Volume Twelve.