This morning I experienced a thing I like to call the cycle of crime. It is derived from the way in which crime and the subsequent fear of it has changed our society into such unfriendly and hostile ways that everyone must now be wholly independent and fear those who appear not to be. Anybody that wants something from someone else is now treated like a criminal.
I helped laura outside with her bike this morning and unfortunately she had closed the inside door to the flat, leaving me trapped outside without keys, wallet, phone, oyster card or anti-perspirant. First of all, I shouted down the street - she didn't hear me. I looked down at my feet ready to run after her cycling away and realised i was wearing slippers, so that idea was exhausted before I had a chance to be. I ran back into the house thinking that my hand would reach the latch of the inside door if I stuck it through the letter box and although I was surprised how far I could reach, I failed again.
I walked back downstairs and tried the buzzers of all the other flats to see if I could use someones phone to call Laura. No one answered, but I realised quite a few people walking down the street past our house. I decided to plead with some of these people to ask if I could borrow their phone to make a call. This is where I hit the most surprising brick wall so far...
I can accept that some people might just be rude, some might also have a genuine fear of other people. But I certainly didn't expect just ONE person out of 7 to say that I could use their phone. One pretended they couldn't hear me like I was a tramp begging for change, a few said they had ran out of credit and one actually said 'no, you're going to run off with it'. Shittest thing is, the one phone I could use was from a russian person that didn't seem to like english numbers and gave me weird tones when i tried to make a call.
I relented in the end and realised the best and quickest way for me to get back into the flat was to walk up to Lauras work and get the keys off her. Luckily we leave some of our shoes just outside our flat door and so I managed to retain some dignity by not having to walk into her work (a previous workplace of mine) with my slippers on. After an hour of walking briskly, sweaty armpits and a few strange looks I was back at the flat, reunited with my essentials and off to work.
The reason why I call this a cycle of crime is so.
A few months ago my bike was stolen, along with Laura's from outside our flat in the lovely village of Hampton Wick, just outside of Kingston. We have since replaced the bikes and are now keeping them attached to a better object - as last time it wasn't the locks which the thief broke.
Yesterday I noticed my bike had been vandalised in a futile attempt to break all three locks which were locking our bikes to the stands at the station. As an obvious precaution, knowing the thieves will only come back with more tools, we took the bikes up into the flat... The reason why I left the flat this morning.
Not only are the thieves the cause for our stolen and damaged bikes, but they are also the reason why today I was offered such a unwelcoming response from the public of Hampton Wick. Everyone today is so paranoid they are about to be mugged - even in our lovely village, that they wont listen, talk to or help the people around them.
Despite the welcomed reaction from the public to help the clear up from the London Riots, it is clear people nowadays are only willing to empathise with those who share a similar misfortune. Its a sad world to be living in where strangers only talk when something bad has happened to all of them.... When a tube is delayed. When a train is stuck in snow. When there is a riot outside. Or when it is too late and someone has lost their home, family or a friend.
Sort it out Britain.
Tuesday, 15 January 2008
This is a photograph I took late one November afternoon, unfortunately I did not violate any immediate copyright laws, however I did take the photo from private land and also in the photo are a number of People's cars and a motorbike.
If I was not within the relatively 'safe' realms of educational copyright protection, and I was perhaps making millions from this one photograph some people may kick up a fuss and try to prosecute to get a slice of my money, however the only people who could maybe attempt this would be the land owners from which I took the photo, and maybe the council might have a policy about taking photos of their street furniture. The drivers who own the cars in the photo will not be able to prosecute mainly because it is impossible to identify a single person, however as they did contribute to the photo... they may well be entitled to a portion of any profits. It is impossible to work out exactly where to stop though... do the makers of my camera get attributed? the people who put the roadsigns up? how about Thomas Eddison - the creator of the incandescent light bulb?
In a truly anal world, everyone would get a penny