ITTTTS Ground Hog Day

7 May

Tucked away this morning in the carpentry workshop, I sit there and read my mega novel: ‘Shantaram’. This isn’t me dossing, this is me having completed all of the 5 minute task I’d been set for the day. A slow-paced training regime is fine for inclusivity, however in a prison filled with white-collar guys and drug dealing entrepreneurs, we’re in danger of losing interest.

Idle minds are the devil’s workshop. It’s still true.

A letter flies in from my sister with a Telegraph Fantasy XI Selection form for the start of the new Premiership season. I fancy Robin Van Persie’s chances this season, providing he stays injury free. It pains me to say it as a Spurs fan but I think he is different class.

Lunch today is a baked potato and beans, but true to the inconsistency of yesterday’s Stuffing conspiracy, there is no Food Stazi (Secret Police) on the dining hall door to prevent the exit of warm food. I wonder if screws spot their own inconsistency and question them? Answers on a postcard. I can conclude here, that food served on a weekday lunchtime is immune to foodborne bacteria.


I’m in the education department using my afternoon to do some studying and writing. A dumpy white inmate walks in with an afro-comb jutting out of his hair. Seriously?

I’m liking this ‘Education’ slot, it gives me some quiet ‘Me’ time, where I can sit at a desk properly. George has been working at knocking up a spreadsheet to count down his days, I’ve crumbled myself and ask him to run a separate sheet for me.


Back in the billet, I have done a DIY job on some prison canteen purchased flip-flops to make into Boxing pads. We can’t have focus pads, as boxing pads are properly called, sent in; so we have to improvise. Apparently boxing encourages violence, this is the mantra touted by those with no experience of the good, boxing clubs have done over the last century. Nor are they familiar with the musty insides of Amateur Boxing Clubs in our city slums and how such humble environments have helped turn the lives around of those who live on the fringes of criminality.

My own boxing club, ‘The Locker Room’ in Essex, does a tremendous amount of work with young offenders in the local area. A sport that requires great discipline to compete in, offers structure to those who lead lives without it.

Spence has an Unlicensed boxing bout on his release, so he has asked me to give him some time preparing for it. A bit of light sparring in the bathroom where there’s plenty of space and the glass is frosted, as well as some laps around the nick should keep him ticking over.

They call it unlicensed fighting as it’s not endorsed by the British Boxing Board or the Amateur Boxing Association of Great Britain; it doesn’t mean pitbulls, empty factories and ‘Snatch’ the movie. These days unlicensed boxing just as likely down your local conference centre and aired on Bravo.


Spence’s pretty well hooked into the underbelly of this place and for the price of a 50p Chocolate bar lands us a handful of Playstation games for a console we’d bought for a fiver apiece. I’m reckoning we can flog just one of these games, thus making the rest free.

Buying items on the black market is a bit of a no-no, officially speaking. Some lad got slung in the block last month after a cell spin saw him with a games console that wasn’t on his property card. However this was screws cracking down in any way possible against an inmate who they had obviously targeted. The screws don’t walk around with a dozen arch lever folders listing the present crop of prisoner’s listed property. I’m reckoning we can play this one fairly safely. Still it’s a bit of a worry, so a carefully placed copy of ‘Inside Times’ covers the little black box. 🙂

That inmate in the end was docked two weeks pay and put on final notice for shipping out. Fortunately for us, our last occupant was an escapee and a regular trouble maker. Screws simply don’t run an inventory of cells when one leaves, this means we can lay the roots of its whereabouts on a now departed person. The perfect crime.

Day 58

Three things happen today.

1. I acquire some coats hooks from an education room that doesn’t need them and we put them up in the bathroom of the billet. Our showers have none at the moment, nor does they have any surfaces or benches to plonk your gear on while using the showers. Spence is put on look-out as we could be nicked for criminal damage here. Using your initiative can be dangerous.

2. I land the job of education orderly.

3. I write my diary in a more italic handwriting.

This is the sum total of purposeful activity that prison provided me today.



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