Saturday, July 26, 2008

The last refuge of the rebel

There is a lot of talk of talk of political renewal in the air - Obamania, Scottish nationalists, Crewe and Nantwitch (what happened to Alexandria, by the way?), with everyone wetting themselves over how a 48% turnout is something to get excited about. It occurs to me that political theorists really should look more closely at the behaviour of commuters, because it is surely the only working model of anarchy in the UK (see what I did there?).

I've been thinking about this and it seems to me that the only way to explain how perfectly respectable, law-abiding people can descend to such debased levels of behaviour, is that it is a desperate attempt by disenfranchised citizens to assert some kind of independence from the law-givers of the state. We may be one nation under CCTV, meaning that we all have to mind our Ps and Qs out and about in towns and cities, but on the train, no one can hear you scream (with frustration, obviously) as some fellow commuter plants an elbow in your face as you both rush for the same seat, or cranks the Ipod up to maximum and forces the whole train to share the joy of rocking along to Aerosmith's latest release.

It isn't just a lack of courtesy, however. It is something much deeper than that, some subconscious yearning (that lurks in us all, no doubt) to break the rules, to scorn the iron fist of authority. Consider this - an (over)crowded platform shudders under the weight of the morning rush hour as a train approaches. A disembodied voice from the ether reminds everyone to stand behind the yellow line "for your own safety". Before the voice has finished speaking, half of the front rank have purposefully stepped forward, over said line. Minutes later, as the packed locomotive pulls away from the station, the driver implores all passengers to familiarise themsleves with the safety instructions. No one even glances at them, pointedly devouring every detail of the poster alongside advertising a download service for the the latest funky ringtone instead. And so it proceeds until the train reaches its final destination, when everyobdy ignores the pleas to "have your tickets ready for inspection, and heads the wrong way down a one-way staircase, or crosses the road a hundred yards from the nearest crossing, just to show that they don't always have to do what they're told.

It just goes to show that there the flame of activism still burns.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

The Definitive Lists

For no other reason than that I've always fancied doing this, even before High Fidelity, and it came up in another book I was reading recently as a popular male pass-time, here's a couple of personal top 5 lists.

Top 5 Nottingham Forest players (not neccessarily the best, just my personal faves):

1. Stuart Pearce - nuff said.
2. Bryan Roy - I saw him play twice, both against Tottenham, and both times he scored two goals
3. Scott Gemmill - fantastic in the 93/94 promotion year, extensively disappointing thereafter. But I'll never forget that goal against Leicester.
4. Ian Woan - scored a few fantastic goals, and did little else.
5. Andy Reid - for about twenty minutes, I really thought he'd got Forest back in the premiership. Subsequently got over-hyped by the press.
6. Lars Bohinen - I know I said 5, but I couldn't leave him out, not after he chipped Ian Walker from 25 yards.

Top 5 Star Wars characters:

1. Yoda - small, wise, and mighty - reminds me of someone . . .
2. R2D2 - small, inventive, feisty - hmm, now who does that remind me of?
3 Wicket W. Warwick - okay, you can probably see where I'm going with this now. Just kidding around, I don't just like the small characters because I project something of myself on to them. That would be a bit pathetic.
4. Boba Fett - his fame is completely disproportionate to his screentime in any of the films. I mean, what does he actually do? Sees his Dad get killed in one film, and then flies into the Sarlaac to his apparent death (and I know that according tp the books he actually survives) because he's got a dodgy rocket pack. And yet we're supposed to believe he's the greatest bounty hunter ever.
5. Aunt Beru - no, seriously. That blender thing she uses in the first film is one of the most underrated props ever.

Right. Actually, doing top 5 lists isn't such a diverting pass-time after all. Maybe I'm just too old.