Social Minefield

Conversation is a test. Always. An exam which you can fail at any moment. The key, I find, is to get into the mindset of not really giving a shit about any of the stuff you say; just fling every thought you have into the ether and see what happens. Weighing the consequences will only weigh you down – and your chances of chatting in an entertaining fashion will sink like a stone.

‘Think before you speak’? That spells disaster for any budding conversationalist. A moment’s pause to consider the right words can turn into an awkward silence with alarming alacrity. That agonising quiet, wherein you slowly die a thousands deaths while desperately searching for anything to air, is to us what Raid is to wasps – poison to be avoided at all costs.

‘Choose your words carefully’? This is the mantra of the strong, silent type. Don’t be that type – most people just deem him a weirdo. Those of us desperate to keep the back and forth flowing, we prefer to talk loudly and incessantly. It doesn’t matter what you say – just say SOMETHING.

In the words Robert Frost, “Have nothing to say and keep on saying it”.

I don’t know…but I haven’t posted anything in a while so… Enjoy!

Solidarity, brothers & sisters…

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La Tormenta en un Teacup

Their faces showed confusion, bafflement and uncertainty. So he put down the prop and explained.

“This cup…what does it contain? Tea. Brought here by the British, from their trades in the sub-continent. The East India Company, indeed. The cup itself also comes from one of their old outposts, does it not? Made of china, made in China… Is there anything more British than a tea cup?”

A few heads nodded here and there, though most still failed to grasp exactly what their union official was getting at. They had gathered in the hall, these paid-up members of the Unión Cívica Radical, to debate the recent Roca-Runciman Treaty, not listen to bizarre tangents on the national identity of inanimate objects. Their jobs, their livelihoods, their very existence was at stake, and here was UCR shop steward Miguel Alcácer waffling on about cups of tea! The frustration was almost unbearable.

Miguel felt it too. Nevertheless, he pressed on. He had to make them see!

“This cup…it and what it contains, what it represents…has doomed us. It has damned our country. Did you hear what Roca said, after the Treaty was signed? ‘By its economic importance, Argentina resembled just a large British dominion.’ A mere dominion, brothers and sisters!”

Pandemonium broke out. The trade unionists present still could not fully grasp the damage wrought by the Treaty, nor Alcácer’s efforts to illuminate the issues, but they knew how they felt about being subservient to the interests of an imperial power. A few of the more politically savvy activists were aware of the global situation though; they recognised that they were living through a tempestuous period in world history, with fascism on the rise in Europe, communism establishing itself in Russia, and the Great Depression still crushing the people of North America.

Miguel waved his hands, trying to get the assembled mass to settle down somewhat so that he could proceed. It took several minutes, but eventually he could be heard once more.

“Lisandro had it right. He was right to mock this, this…this vicious parody of diplomacy! He said, my fellow workers, that ‘In these conditions we wouldn’t be able to say that Argentina had been converted into a British dominion…because England does not take the liberty to impose similar humiliations upon its dominions’!”

Outraged noise again erupted, with some silent individuals shaking their head at the ignominy of it all. So this Treaty left Argentina in a worse position than the British dominions?! It could scarcely be credited, yet Roca’s opponent Lisandro de la Torre had put it as crudely as that, and clearly Alcácer concurred. What a scandal! What outright villainy!

As Miguel yet again tried to bring the horde under control, he felt no joy at the fact that his words finally seemed to be making an impression on the comrades around him. Like the other far-sighted members of the Union, he could tell that this was the beginning of something dark, something dreadful… It was mere months since the conservative General Justo has been elected – everyone knew that it had been a sham, a fraudulent ballot – and already the upper class were benefiting at the expense of the nation, with corruption rife. The UCR was being suppressed like never before, and senior officials like Ortiz now sincerely feared that they would be lucky to see 1940.

Miguel swallowed the lump in his throat before he continued.

“Comrades…It is my honest belief that we are sinking into a ‘Decade of Infamy’… Look at what has already happened this year! Justo seizing power, harassing us, robbing from the poor to pay the rich, and now handing over our nation’s wealth to that inglorious empire. This cup, my friends, symbolises what we are beginning to be crushed beneath; international capitalism and imperialist global trade. We must stand strong! We must ride out the storm in the tea cup!”

So began la Década Infame.

Solidarity, brothers and sisters…

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As is widely known, Freud was big on dream analysis. Me, I reckon most dreams can be written off as the purging of unwanted or unneeded data by the brain, or as some sort of random cycling of imagery during the process of sleep. However, recurring dreams are another thing entirely; these clearly have some sort of significance, as they represent a pattern of thought. Any pattern of thought has to be examined, as it likely indicates the individual’s deeply-held beliefs, fears or hopes.

I was compelled to write this by one particular recurring dream, the most recent of which I had last night. In this dream, for whatever reason, I am back at the King’s Hospital as a student. Rather than being transported back in time though, I am my current age – as are all my old peers. At first, everything seems normal, as if it is a perfectly ordinary occurrence for a bunch of 30 year olds to be back in secondary school! Nonetheless, as the dream progresses the sense of displacement and schism grows, and with it a feeling of latent terror.

In this latest dream, Nanette and a few of her friends were chatting near the front entrance, outside the bursar’s office, and she enthusiastically greeted me, pointing out that an old friend of ours had become a prefect. This ‘old friend’ was called Mel or Kim in the dream (we never had a fellow student of that name), but she resembled a girl from our year called Susan so I wasn’t too thrown. I caught a glimpse of a lad we knew, Luke, in the front entrance so I quickly went over to say hello, but in the few strides I realised how weird the whole situation was; my age, the fact that I shouldn’t be in school etc. That was when I instead decided to walk out the front door, and once outside began to run.

Then I woke up.

There’s more to it than that, but I always have the problem upon waking of not being able to adequately sort and communicate all the detritus of the unconscious experience. It’s incredibly frustrating. Anyway, if you have any theories of explanations as to why I keep having these dreams of being back at school, please throw them my way!

Solidarity, brothers & sisters… -.-

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Dear Great-Grandchild,

First things first; I very much doubt that you exist. All that you’ve known is existence, so that doubtless sounds weird. What I mean is, my whole life always appeared to me to be destined to result in childlessness, so the very notion that someday a descendant of mine will be reading these words tickles me greatly. Congratulations on being born, future relative!

I chose this little thing because of its importance. Not only to me, but to the entire human race. That is why you are not currently fondling a small cannon, or a console controller, or a DVD! The item you now hold means more to us all than any personal possession. It has a power, an attraction, a force, that can invigorate all who come into contact with it. This object symbolises an idea unparalleled through the annals of history; one of emancipation, liberation and solidarity.

The totem comes with one caveat; you must carry on the struggle begun many years before I was born, a struggle that will probably continue for many years after you die. This struggle is what the gift represents.

Death to fascism, freedom to all!
Russeus Nova

Solidarity, brothers & sisters…

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Time’s ‘Person of the Year’ for 2038

Sierra Mañana, author and revolutionary, was unheard of a mere eighteen months ago. Then, her book A People’s Planet; You are the Saviour of Earth was published, and has since been translated into almost fifty languages on its way to becoming one of the most influential texts of our time.

Sierra exploded onto the scene with a fiery brand of social justice rhetoric allied with cool-headed political acumen, and this blend saw her whip up a frenzy of support across indigenous America and aboriginal Australasia. Soon, she was co-ordinating paramilitary operations of breathtaking audacity against governments everywhere on the Latin American continent.

Nobody knows what Mañana looks like – hence our cover image of a question mark sewn onto a balaclava – but it is abundantly clear by this stage that she is a capable, determined, irrepressible force to be reckoned with. Her supporters refer to her as ‘el Ángel de la Libertad’ – the Angel of Liberty. Conversely, those who oppose her describe her as ‘la Puta del Infierno’ – the Whore from Hell. Despite the dichotomy, both groups share one thing in common; they all are in awe of her abilities.

Only time – and Time – will tell if she can maintain her impressive momentum.

Solidarity, brothers & sisters…

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What His Desk Thinks About At Night

He and his missus have lived in this room over a year, and he still hasn’t cleaned me. Just dumps all his crap on my head, like I’m some sort of shelf. Hey, bozo, I’m here to be worked on! Not once has he cleared any stuff off, not once. He could use his laptop on me – the guy is on the computer, like, all the time – or use me for his writing, or use me for anything productive…but no, he just lies on his ass in bed and does all his business in a reclined state. Lazy bastard.

There is so much extraneous rubbish on me, I’m not exaggerating; spray cans, tights, flags, a microphone his mot got him for Christmas – still in its box, natch – and a board just covered with detritus from his incredibly boring life. That’s just the crud on top; there’s a massive heap of clothes underneath! What have I done to deserve this cruel fate? The layer of dust I have accumulated at this point is so thick that you’d need a chainsaw to cut through it. I feel so, so, so…filthy.

Please. Somebody. Anybody. Get this asshole to give me a once over, for the love of God!

My desperation is truly…indeskcribable.


Solidarity, brothers & sisters…

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Knock Knock

“Who’s there?”


“Revel who?”

“Revel-who-shun, baby!”

It had been my idea to make the password a joke, but when I pitched it I didn’t realise how childish it would really be. Still, the comrades seemed to get a kick out of it, with even the grouchiest old radical occasionally grinning – albeit reluctantly – at the immature humour of it all. Brothers and sisters newly accepted would often be perplexed when first introduced, thinking that this was some sort of prank we played on the rookies. Being able to have a laugh at something so stupid was a good way to settle any tension between the experienced and young insurrectionists, and it helped get the whole bonding process going.

This comradely amusement rapidly dissipated when some fucker – an anarcho-capitalist libertarian type, or so we speculated – began blackmailing us, using the handle ‘Rev. Ilyushin’. His first message to our collective made it clear that he would go to the authorities unless we did his or her bidding. From then on, the cowardly extortionist forced us to perform increasingly dangerous tasks in return for his silence; robberies, muggings, assassinations… A whole slew of criminal activities.

The joke wasn’t funny any more.

Solidarity, brothers & sisters…

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