Tag Archives: THBLegal

Christmas Day in Prison – Scrooge to be Screwed

6 Jun

After a sleep disturbed by midnight Gangsta Rap and my own snoring, I awake to a warm Christmas Day. A cooked breakfast of sorts has been arranged for the next 3 days, so I grab mine at 8 before joining in with a 10am circuit down at the gym. It’s what you do Christmas morning, yes?

The big lunch is only a mild improvement on a usual Sunday ‘Roast’ – the one parsnip making that differential leap. Definitely ALL of the trimmings. ūüôā I don’t expect Claridges and many of my gripes or comments are tongue in cheek. At the end of the Servery queue, the Chapel staff hand out a Christmas card and a mars bar on behalf of the ‘Mother’s Union’. A lovely gesture by the charity that strives to help inmates maintain family ties while inside. It promotes a cheery smile too.

I’m smiling. This is my first and hopefully only Christmas in prison and part of me has a macabre fascination to go through with it to see what it’s like for those less fortunate in decision-making in society that go through such experiences. A handful of chaps from our billet who are united by military ties and a sense of sanity, sit down together for the meal, having made the effort to wear civvy clothes and stay out of prison issues for the day. It’s nice to spend the day in a manner that reflects freedom of choice and expression, as best possible given the circumstances.

The phone in the billet is busy early in the day as prisoners call home, whisper sweet nothings or return to form and yell at their spouses. George has to deal with an inmate who feels that his own Christmas Tupac message should be able to filter through to George’s mother via the background noise on the phone. Even on days such as today, it’s alarming how many people lack self-awareness or possess a consideration for others when it comes to noise or in fact any aspect of life.

Is this education? Parenting?

Whatever it is, it strikes back to that sense of entitlement that society seems to harbour more and more in recent decades. Agitation grows over George’s riposte to the lairy adolescent with music at such volume. Our Grandparent’s queued for fruit, lost school friends in ‘Just Wars’ and were thankful for hand-me-down clothing. Our generation and it’s offspring, cannot envision a time without convenience, luxury or their opinion being heard. The cries of the few are heard over the tolerant silence of the many.

Don’t listen to angry music and delude yourself that the lyrics of a commercially minded businessman are anything other than that. He plays to an audience that thinks they’re kindred spirit, he lies for you to buy. The reality is, your fellow man is all around you and looks nothing like you imagine. Aim high but don’t tread on another to get there, the footings are weak.

Don’t daydream for a decade or double to realise you didn’t make hay while the sun shone. The wannabes in prison exist in the droves as they do on the outside. Year after year spent wishing for ¬†a life of someone else, when all the tools you needed to make your own could be had too. 20 years later you wished you’d learnt that trade, that craft, that skill, that profession. Biggie didn’t wear a boiler suit and mend central heating systems, but Biggie got shot dead and my plumber’s got pots of cash. Smell the coffee boys and come back to the real world.

The notion of knuckling down and putting up with the hand that God gave you, seems to be disappearing as fast as the faces of World War veterans on Remembrance Sundays. Life isn’t always glamorous and life isn’t always fair but if we don’t start living for what we have and making the best use of it we can, then it will pass you by and that will be your time over.

Next stop, you and I are disparate atoms lingering in the void of cold dark space after the Sun has ceased burning and the Earth has stopped living. The galaxies merge and neighbouring stars die too. Billions of years pass by and we are in the infinite nothingness of the Big Freeze. Cosmologists and Astronomers will tell you we are insignificant in all of this. Maybe we are, but I’d like to think that even if our generation’s existence can be measured as a fraction of one heartbeat of a single human lifetime, at least let it be a beat that shows signs of a cathartic, energetic and fulfilling pump of life and not a whimper or trifling whine. Life truly is too short to waste idle.

Philosophical rant over, it’s not unsurprising that if an inmate can’t think how a neighbour might be disturbed by their activity, you hear they wound up in prison after failing to spot a policeman quite overtly monitoring them.

Christmas Day over, touchwood, I’ll never need to spend another 25th of December considering the prospect of Prison.

 

Back to Prison & Christmas Eve

5 Jun

My time away was a pleasure and I feel exhausted after it all. It might sound a little bizarre but I was ready to return when I did. I don’t want to be in prison but you learn to accept it. It’s not the hell its characterised on television and I know I don’t have a huge amount of time left, most of all its a comfort zone I’ve grown accustomed too. With friends around you and zero of life’s pressures I could handle a little more of Ford.

On my return I hear the Prison Block has been active, with a number of inmates being shipped out. The worse news was hearing that Paddy a young Irish Traveller was caught with booze and stuck on the first bus out of here. It’s tragic news as he works on the Servery and ensures all inmates get proper portions of food. 4 pieces of stuffing, two helpings of cake, double pie, extra meat, you name it he’ll serve it. When he’s working, bring Tupperware.

In other news a young lad Ali is sent packing after he’s snuck in an internet dongle and plugged it into one of the PC’s in the Chapel. He has subsequently used it to access the web and it’s world-wide hub of infinitely more fun things than there are here. Pictures are found on it of kids. HIS KIDS, rumours spread fast that he has in fact been accessing Child Porn. It’s amazing how warped chinese whispers can get. He is now in harm’s way if he remains here. He is moved possibly now for his own safety too.

My cellmate has had some bother in our absence after a set-to with a prisoner about mail issue times. My cellmate being the mail orderly, sees him pestered constantly about the prison about whether someone has received a letter. Complete strangers who have never met him, greet him with the uncomprehendingly stupid query:

“Have I had any mail today?”

Maybe, or maybe you’re one of the other 400 who haven’t. Who are you?

Jamie and I find out the identity of the protagonist and knowing him personally we have a chat to him.

As I walk around the prison today, a few guys know I’m back from my first home leave and stop to see how I am doing. One, Simon (7 years – Drugs) notices my face is a little more tanned than it should be in a December. I give him: “No Comment”. I see him mouth “Fake Tan” as I wheel away.

Christmas Eve

Short of nearly 200 inmates, the kitchen have taken the opportunity to cut down on its kitchen prep for meals. Consequentially leaving a large number of prisoners more dissatisfied than usual. A cooked breakfast of 3 battered chicken burgers and 2 hash browns struggles to form part of a healthy diet, even with a sensibly placed hard-boiled egg rolling around the plastic plate. I wonder what the heart disease NHS bill is for patients from HM Prisons.

I catch a cold on my home leave and am feeling a little groggy; finding time for 40 winks to kill the odd hour of your sentence here though is never a drama. I use some of the morning to put together a letter in spanish to my South American cousin. Based in Peru and Bolivia, formerly of Venezuela, Spain, France and Britain, his command of languages is formidable. The son of my mother’s late sister, I often think about him at important times of the year. I want to reach out to him more and see him closer to the family. Time will tell.

I glance across at a TV Guide, these are often like gold dust in prison, but we have happened upon a couple of them. As usual, there isn’t a good deal of choice. Tonight, around the world, billions of people are snuggling up with loved ones or sitting down with family preparing for Christmas Day. For those of us ‘Behind the Door’, tomorrow is another day.

 

Part 2 – His and Her’s Tale. His Tale

1 Jun

His Tale:

51/2 months down, more than 6 since I’ve seen her last. I wake up nervous, my stomach filled with butterflies, today is the day I’ve dreamed of.

I keep myself occupied with a visit to the gym, setting  a new 30 minute distance row PB, 7631m. I see myself making improvements in personal fitness, it means my time here is not entirely a waste.

I have little appetite as my mind is focused on a date with destiny. I wonder where she will be sat, will she find it okay? What will she be wearing? What will we talk about? Will she cry? Will I cry?

So many thoughts drift, well, race across my mind as the minutes tick by.

I kill the hour before the visit deciding what to wear, showering and making sure I look as good as a man can whilst being in prison. I fear she will see something less than she has in me, in visiting me today. For the first time, a sense of shame crosses me as I think about my whereabouts. She is this travelled, articulate, intelligent and unique creature. Special in so many ways. I am a prisoner, stripped of liberty and often times dignity.

She tasted foods until recently from the magical east and the Orient; I queue up for mine with a plastic bowl. I know my worries are likely ill-founded, R would love me still even if I wore orange overalls today. It’s her best quality of all. She makes Mase feel young and wanted; she get’s my humour and inspires creativity within me, when other’s have only stifled it. My feet are shuffling and my knees are bouncing. I can;t take my mind off my anxieties: “Why am I so nervous?” I tell a friend who knows about my visit.

“MASON” is called out by a screw on duty, I scamper off to the visit’s hall so I am as near to the front as possible. I don’t want to lose a minute with this girl who waits for me.

As I walk through the door to the side of the hall, I am patted down by a guard and then look ahead of me.

Slightly to my side, my eyes lock on to the most beautiful sight, I can’t believe what I can see. It has been so long and yet I see nothing but the very best of that person I said goodbye to at the airport all those months ago. More beautiful than ever, tanned, lithe and running toward me at a concerning pace. She flies into my arms and wraps herself around me. It is all I can do to keep myself on my feet. In that moment of power blessed with her affection, she crashed into me and holds me close; as I hold her the same.

I feel like I’ve been set free.

I could be acquitted.

I could have been found not guilty.

I feel every emotion that equates to happiness. Today is marked down as one of the happiest days of my life.

When you have nothing but emotion, no material obstructions and no insincerity, you can find  a piece of true beauty, true euphoria that even drugs cannot deliver. In losing my freedom, I have tasted what it is to truly feel liberty. You may never envy my location, my whereabouts, my happenings and my failings but I will never envy your lives if I could go a lifetime without an experience that I shared with her today.

I spend the next two hours, nervous, giggling and an inch from the prettiest nose on earth. Tomorrow she comes again, I’ll sleep like a child waiting for Santa.

Hump Day

12 May

It’s mid week, it’s hump day. The week is halfway done and my duties today involve handing out 20 or so movement slips (Not bowel function related) to those required in the education department. The rest of the morning is spent observing Ricky (Ex-Gangmember now education assistant) in his daily tasks. This ultimately means shadowing the habits of a human sloth. Perhaps a slow-worm would be a more accurate description.

I’m advised again to try to grab a sneaky SPL while I’m waiting until I am officially allowed day leaves. My acting isn’t up to much and I don’t fancy fretting over a nicking. I can wait.

I have a visit today from my Aunt, Uncle and cousin. I welcome the chance for intellectual debate and I know my Uncle is keen on the rumblings from the Eurozone. I get the impression he enjoys finding out about life this side of the parapet and he has a number of questions it seems are pre-prepared. I hear later that my Aunt would have enjoyed to get a word in too. Bless them all for making the long trip to see me. I hope I can return the gesture sometime in the not too distant future.

Unlike my last visit, I manage to avoid being strip searched afterwards. There are few more effective ways to kill your mood after a lovely visit, than stripping down to your birthday suit and doing an unflattering pirouette.

I get my gym kit ready for my Wednesday session and notice a Gym Screw who gives us extended sessions is on duty. George and I use this time to row and chat about home.

DUVET NEWS: The property office have slipped into my trap. They reply to my App with an answer that makes no mention of a block on inbound bedding. Checkmate. If there had been a new ruling blocking bedding being sent in, this would have been a very reasonable opportunity to note it. It just reinforces my suspicion that the level of understanding on prison rules amongst staff is so patchy, indifferent and inconsistent – what is said wrong is likely right and what is said right is possibly not. Either way, I’m getting me a duvet ūüôā

In other news, the Ford Prisoner Cricket Team loses to an external team of solicitors in a narrow run match. To an outside observer, it must look almost civilised here!

I pick up a spare menu card earlier in the day and send it home. I’ll publish it shortly. What would you eat on it?

 

Sports, Football and Mopping ‘Gangsta Style’

10 May

The football season has begun!

FINALLY! It means for a few hours and the odd day every week, time will whiz by that bit faster as I listen to Talksport (Featuring Chris Davies – Thoroughly Nice Bloke Sports Journalist – see later blogs) and Radio 5 Live. I can listen and tear my hair out as Spurs flatter to deceive once more.

The head PE Screw arrives back at Ford off a period of leave: Kevin Allcorn. He takes the time today to pop by our billet and other’s presumably on an otherwise eventless weekend day to introduce himself and see how we are doing.

I am shocked. This gesture of ‘Giving a damn’ means a lot. This is a man earning his keep and showing his value, the type of person to get on with his job without moaning about conditions. It’s a strange irony and topical with talk of public sector strikes; that those who put in the least effort are often the most vocal about dissatisfaction. The response they give is that a better working environment would mean less gripes but having employed the workshy before (My mistake), the reality is they have consistently higher standards in their expectations than their actual output. Back to this screw Kevin; he spots my shock at seeing his head poke around our door and disarms us first by telling us he isn’t coming by to nick anyone. ¬†Thank god, he might have found that mobile hidden in my rectum.

There is no mobile hidden in my rectum. FYI

Anyway, he is a decent fella and this little investment of his time in us does not go unappreciated.

Match of the Day airs in the evening. Hearing that eponymous theme tune bring a smile to my face. I’ve purposely ignored the final results today so watching the show, it is a compendium of for me, almost live mini matches. I’m tickled to hear that Blackburn Rover’s have a player by the name of Goodwillie. It presents a range of amusing sentences. For example:

“When it comes to picking attackers, Blackburn’s manager is likely to have Goodwillie on his lips.”

Priceless and for football fans shall join the dictionary of football funnies alongside:

The Cross-Come-Shot;

Pele admires Butt; and

being a fan of ¬†Jimmy Bullard’s Crack

I could go on all night with juvenile comedy. I’ll cease for fear of alienating my more high brow blog readers.

I speak to R on the phone and am pleased to hear she will be back home in 3 months. I can’t wait to hold her in my arms. I’m visited by my good buddy Mel on the Sunday, where she fills me up with sugary treats and feeds me titbits of gossip of the goings on in her life. I miss just hanging out with my little pal as I have done frequently for the last decade.

She has spoken to my folks and lets me know they can come down next week. Another day of snacking beckons.

Gangsta Mopping? I mopped my cell and sweep it through as we do each week for a bit of self-pride. But mopping in prison, now that’s Gangsta.

 

 

I’ve done two months in Pen…Blaaad!

9 May

Besides starting my new job in the Education Department, I decide to wash my clothes. Unlike Wandsworth where we had access to washing machines here at Ford we have to use buckets or sinks… or bins. Not a lot of thought has gone into how we can keep abreast of our laundry in a sanitary manner. I’ve made it clear enough how grubby the communal washing service is. Cleaned by people with less interest than you in keeping your clobber looking good. I’m praying for a bit of sunshine to dry off my garments, or it will be crispy socks hanging over the Urinals on a dusty heating pipe. Classic.

Skipping and a gym session to cheer me up and having got into rowing courtesy of George’s encouragement, I have set myself the target of being able to do it for more than 3 minutes. Clearly technique has ¬†a lot to do with it, but fitness wise it’s hugely demanding. Rowing 2000m in a sub 7 minute time is quite some way off.

Day 62

George and I set ourself the challenge of creating a quiz team capable of winning. We have ranked fairly highly recently with a team of 2, this week…

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED – I am one part:

Current

Reigning

Soon Defending

Prison Quiz Champion

We win by 4 points, pretty much a country mile yeah?

We have been toying with team names. The aim is to create one that would at least have maximum irritation effect to make up for potentially bad performances. To be remembered for literary reasons is a credible antidote to defeat.

This week we called ourselves:

“Was 9th last week, this week 8th, hopefully, at least.”

In retrospect, this is a sh*t name, trust me time will show an improvement in team name selections. Regularly throughout the night the scores are read out, this may explain the reasoning behind sticking numbers and placings in our own group alias.

Anyway back to me winning and all… given that Ford is supposed to house the criminal white collar masterminds, I think it’s safe to say my family can hold a degree of pride over this minor achievement. Hmm ūüôā

The spoils is a twix. Doesn’t really match up with the level of grandeur I’m pushing here. But a twix is still a twix.

Yes that’s right, two thin shafts of pleasure.

Actually we win 5 twix…

Twixi?

Twixus?

Unsure of the appropriate terminology here; let’s go with Twixes.

A Twix is a Twix, but what is two Twix?

I take the extra one and give it to Spence, me bringing home the spoils to thank him for all the times he has brought back to the cell a truckload of chocolate.

I was a bit quiet around Spence first as I felt we were chalk and cheese. I couldn’t be more wrong, we have a lot of shared values and I really enjoy his company. He’s a decent little cheeky chappy, real humble and noticeably conscientious. Having never met a traveller in the way I’ve known Spence, it’s changed the preconceived ideas, the media portrays. I learn a lot about his way of life and enjoy helping him with his writing home where I can. Spence isn’t his real name, but if he reads this he will know who he is. It tickles him that I write a detailed diary every evening, I’d like him to know he shows up well in it. Look after yourself NS.

 

Day 29 – HMP Ford

4 Apr

I start a carpentry course today. It’s a level 1 City and Guilds, as one inmate politely refers to this standard training, its:

“Not fit to clean your arse with”

It is true, a level 1 qualification is little above the basic of human existence.

1. This is a saw

2. Don’t cut yourself with it

3. Please form an orderly queue to collect your certificate

This may all be so, however as I trundle over to the worksheds I walk past others potting soil in rabbit holes. An endless, futile task, that I am glad to have avoided. It is a laidback course run by a decent chap and skilled craftsman, ‘Mick’. His hobby is building boats, I only imagine he has crafted himself a fine wooden ark. Courses are run at a slow pace in prison to ensure that they are inclusive. Admirable but ¬†tiresome for those with an active mind. I am beginning to get used to the slow pace of life here, so much so that it may be necessary to pop to a cemetary just to re-energise myself on release.

While they keep courses at a slow pace for their inclusivity; it is equally likely that those here, with the ability to learn quickly, could rapidly decimate the education department’s budget. I stand back and admire my new surroundings, the lads present and wonder if this is what everyone had in mind when I got sentenced to prison.

At 10am I meet with a prison career’s advisor then a little after, it is lunch. I send out letters to R, her mother and my family; I return with a haul of 5 emails sent in to me.

The afternoon is as lazy as the day began and in between being interrogated (In a friendly manner) by my course mates, I learn about carpentry hand tools, champfers and rebate edges. I know my Dad will be keen to know what I’ve learnt, so I make sure I note such minute detail in my diary! After tea and a power walk with a book in hand, I promise myself to call home. It does ache your shoulders after a while, but without an Ipod, I’ve taken to doing walking laps reading a book. A cursory glance up every so often to ensure I don’t walk out past the perimeter signage. I’m likely to be shot by a stormtrooper in a guard tower otherwise.

After dinner, I jog for 6 laps and do a brief circuit each km, in front of the setting sun. It’s 8pm, I call home and speak to mum. She gives me an update on the items she is bringing at the weekend ¬†for me to take into my personal property; and I hear my boxing coach James from Essex’s Premier Boxing/Fighting Gym – The Locker Room : http://www.thelocker-room.biz¬†has given her a skipping rope for me to use inside. In the years surrounding my humbling I took up a sport I’ve always loved to watch. I needed to lose weight and found boxing gave me a sense of purpose where otherwise I wandered bereft of a clue. I lost two and a half stone and satisfied a boyhood dream. I walked into a boxing ring to my own music, gloves donned ready to face an equal contender. Of the character statements I submitted to court, James’ meant a lot to me. Over the years I’ve seen the work he has done with rehabilitation and young offender groups and here’s me, yet another cause helped by this top fella.

My mum reports back that she has spoken with my solicitor in recent days who is pleased yet surprised that I had reached an open prison so soon. He didn’t count on my tenacity to see it done, not has he spent the last two years researching the specifics of such details. I think I have become a minor expert in some of the most trivial prison law matters. Trivial to others, but not to me.

When prison is on the cards and you have access to Google (Other search engines are available), there is very little else within your search history. ūüôā

 

 

 

 

Quoting another Inmate : Welcome to HMP Ford

22 Mar

Short Article for ‘UK Holiday Breaks’ Magazine¬†

With the UK holiday season still some months off, we thought our readers might be interested in a new destination which provides a real alternative holiday break at a very reasonable cost and can be enjoyed at any time of the year.

Holidays should always equate to relaxation, indulgence, indolence whilst also having the ability to re-charge the personal batteries! It is important therefore that your holiday choice ticks all the boxes and Ford Resort does just that.

Situated in West Sussex and a stone’s throw from the beach and sea, the resort enjoys a mild year round climate.

From the moment you arrive at the florally adorned reception, you appreciate the friendly staff who are there to do everything for you. They initially take care of your luggage and provide you with a specially designed cool, chic clothes for your stay at Ford. Escorting you to your room, you will be delighted to find you will be sharing with someone usually of a different age, different religious persuasion and probably different nationality. Wow! A new enlightened experience ensuring you start your holidays by dismissing boring old English prejudices about ‘foreigners’… and privacy.

The bathroom facilities are deliberately not en-suite thereby enabling the room sizes to be designed with a new intimacy. The clever overall layout of the rooms in ‘mini-clusters’ ensures you are able to enjoy the rapacious holiday mood created by rapper Jay Z, whilst also listening to three or four TV channels, ensuring you keep abreast of the ‘soaps’. What a great idea that is!

The leisure facilities deliberately exclude a swimming pool to avoid aggressive ‘towel-bagging’ but the gardens are extensive and varied . The resort has also attracted a raft of varied and friendly sea gulls and a colourful selection of budgerigars (STOP PRESS – Now Dead) and a special breed of myopic rabbits; all appropriate to increase the naturalistic nature of your holiday.

The range of activities and sports is extensive and includes football, cricket, volleyball and jogging. There is also a full manned magnificent Gymnasium. (Editor Update: Burnt down) Management have deliberately not built spa facilities inline with their ‘leisure philosophy’ in which they do not agree with any form of self-indulgence!

An unusual feature of this low-cost break is the opportunity for guests to undertake charity work such as poppy-making for the Royal British Legion, flower propagation and old-fashioned crafts such as carpentry and painting. The facilities also include an extensive library with many ‘large print’ titles for the older guests.

The resort is priced on a full board basis although guests are allowed to order their own food from the Resort Shop, cleverly called ‘The Canteen’. The restaurant facility is huge and the choice of food – if not always the taste – is varied. Vegan, halal and special needs are all available. Breakfast is continental and can be had in the room but a full English Breakfast – low-fat, naturally – is available at weekends.

Our researchers could not recommend highly enough the experience at Ford Resort. They all found it energising and recommended you choose the extended stay option. The owners of Ford Resorts boldly claim: A stay at Ford will change your life forever!

Forget Malmaison, this is the real ‘bad house’!

SP 2011 РFord Prison. 

ME

I’ve got my own take on this place but this had to be published first.

A grandfather to some, a lovely fella inside, he has a cracking wit and penned this in a writing class, we attended together. As for me, I’m on the motorway, staring out at scenes of freedom, fields, countryside, sunshine and a million journeys that take a million people in every direction but mine. I’m in the white van bombing down the M27, with the blacked out windows. Give me a wave sometime, distract me from Nausea.

Travel sickness with my knees in tight, recycled air and an empty tummy.

I don’t do mayo and the crisps, ¬†long ago polished off. I’d love a bag of buttons, coke zero and the internet. Funny what we miss…

 

Letters from India

18 Mar

It’s day 22 and true to promise, I have 22 letters from R. She has written everyday, then emailed the letter to her sister. Her sister is gradually getting acquainted to the postal collection times in her locale as a letter or two arrives to my cell. With yesterday’s letter I receive a pleasant surprise of some of her pals who have padded out the content with words of their own.

Some prisons conduct an email system managed via EmailaPrisoner.com, a useful affordable service where loved ones can send their message online to be collected by the prisoner the following morning. Not Wandsworth, moving with the times is not something it puts at the forefront of it’s management strategy. It’s a shame really as the email system is easier than having to print/write out letters, popping them in an envelope and grabbing stamps.¬†

It’s nice to have new people to speak to in my letter writing, so I sit down to write back straight away. As I do when it comes to replying to all the letters I receive; I annotate it first to pick out the questions and then get writing while hanging onto the note in my spare mitt.

Writing to my lady love as the primary means of communication is not without its anxieties. I’m writing but am I thinking and writing? Is it dull to read, is my romantic intent wrapped in verbiage? I dread to think that she’s boring already. Her letters keep on coming, so I’m guessing it’s going okay.

…………………………………

Word Count

I asked my mother how many words I’ve written home so far. I’m told its likely many tens of thousands. I do a quick back of the beermat swapped for loo roll calculation and put it near 75,000 words in the diary alone. That is a lot of text for 22 days. I bet people on the outside will remark how quick time flies and all that other nonsense.

Time is relative, I’ve learnt that fast.

22 Days in heaven or a life of expansive opportunity will tick on pretty well. I’d imagine 22 days in Guantanamo Bay Prison, held without charge; would feel like a lifetime. I’m not in either camp but somewhere in the middle. Time drags, but event filled it is.

What have you done in the time I’ve written this?

What have you seen that has fundamentally changed your outlook on wholesale stretches of your life?

Are you happy, are you sad? What do you do each day to bring yourself closer to your own perfect Nirvana?

I want to be content…. so I write.

Poetic discourse

As a teenager growing up in middle England, middle class and right-wing suburbia; your world’s a sheltered place. As I got older, my views softened, with a sense of rationality. To those same neighbourhoods, I grew up around (Not my friends mind), I’m spoilt goods with a liberal, PC agenda.

I tell you…. I’m neither. I’ve just seen a lot more of the world than you have and I got caught for my mistakes. I’ve owned up, but what about you?

Your skeletons in the closet,

your shams, your scams, your anger boils like a flash in the pan.

Fisticuffs at dawn, punch ups and club rucks at 3 in the morn.

Bent Inspectors, ignore Subsidence – for a payout

Professional tax evasion

And treat you’re wife like shit,

But she’ robbing your pocket

until it runs out OR you kick the bucket

Then life insurance pays out.

Subtle form of murder

Mid-life crisis

Only the mid wife spies this

Baby didn’t save it

Bankruptcy brought on by drug prices

Marriage dead.

More scams, more shams

Car crash, what about whiplash?

Then our insurance pays out.

Holiday

Hotel’s robbed

No bother babe

like a shop window

and those bits you fully well know…. weren’t there

down with the bits that were,

loss adjustor’s then hampered.

Travel journey scamsters

Pay him off or play it safe,

cautious then it’s flawless

Money, to the blind alone its gorgeous

To me,

My Mince pies are working well now,¬†I’m wealthy with nothing but my girlfriend.

 

 

 

 

Mike

14 Feb

A new cellmate arrives, I’d heard Ian had requested he be moved in with me but my hopes were dashed. Fortunately, in arrives another ‘trouble-free’ companion.

Mike’s an old boy, he’s been up and he’s gone¬†down, more times than the knickers on a tart. His problem is drinking and gambling. Sober he seems a right ‘bloke’. But the ways of wrong are beginning to take their toll on him and his liver is shot,¬†walkings a pickle for him too. We get on famously, fast. He loves the horses and he doesn’t kill – perfect.

For the first time, I have the balance of cell power, I’m a kindly Emperor though, more Victoria than Nero. I make him a brew and I pick his brain for prison titbits.

The Prison Officer Key Chain

“That sound, beyond the banging, is the single distinguishable sound above all others. A linked chain, housing Dickensian style keys, rattling; mimicking coins in the pocket of the wealthy in front of the poor. Literally mocking you with every movement and strike of metal upon same. How I feel poorer than the man with that chain.”

I start to know what a dog feels waiting for it’s owner by a window. As you while away the hours in your cell, with one ear on the noise of the external landing, every jangle of those chains puts you on edge, expecting your door to swing open at any time. You know when you should expect routine interference and yet you still prick your ears up with a muted hope on the sound of every bang, click and jangle…… this is a sound I’ll never forget.

…………………………………………………….

My new cellmate pops off to the nurse which gives me time to enjoy some quiet moments again – rephrased, I get to use the loo¬†in peace, then I do a little writing. We don’t have a toilet seat on the loo here, no one does, nor do we have any cleaning products. The bacteria that found its way here many years ago is probably continuing to breed comfortably. Lush ūüôā

I’ve begun hoarding the thin plastic bags our breakfast packs come in, goodness knows why, they might be useful? Alex left a fresh tomato behind, I’ve stuck it on the desk, it adds a bit of colour, it’s an¬†organic ornament I guess. I haven’t drawn a face on it and I don’t speak to it at night-time. This ain’t Castaway!

Another task* I’ve found myself doing, is building a tv listings from scratch. You can’t have a tv guide sent in, I don’t understand that. So I found an old copy of ‘Heat’ with the weekly listings from a year ago. Its well-thumbed¬†and well palmed, in exactly that order I expect.¬†I am literally flicking through the channels and writing over the old programming schedule. Channel 5’s ‘Cowboy Builders’ becomes an American Pawnbroking¬†shop docu-soap; while Channel 4’s “Pick”: “Will my crash diet kill me?” moved for an equally bizarre – “Diagnosis Live – The Clinic”. The latter, an impressive shock fest of leaky nipples, ‘Moobs’ and dysfunctional rectums.

*Replace with: ‘Pastime’

The Peephole closes always with a finality

Not an anatomical reference from my tv choice but the spyhole the guards check us through.

You know your life is on pause when ‘Kung-Fu Panda’ takes on a prime time slot in your day. I’m sure there are many who will disagree with me. ūüôā But it gets a mention¬†in my diary and on a to-do list.

When Alex moved cells, he left behind his flip-flops, towel and some clothing. I want to get them to him but it seems a request to pass them on falls on deaf ears; now his immigration induction paperwork¬† comes under the door. He’s gone and missing this will only hurt him. Here I am, the danger to society, locked up and it’s me not the¬†guards who’s trying to help him out.

Dinner is Chicken Kiev, Mash and Green Beans. There is an ice cream pot, but the warm weather means its more like milk. Nice milk though. My days been filled with 8 hours of writing, I don’t know whether it will improve me ability or not, but I’m not exactly showered with opportunities for distraction. I like writing, poetry mostly, I do it for fun on the out, this is my punishment, I’m doing something I enjoy. Day 3 and the smile’s beginning to return.

After dinner¬†our cells are locked. While bang-up can be tedious, I am sure there are many¬†who feel a sense of security behind the door. An open door can mean unwelcome visitors. I think of Ian, he told me about his cellmate earlier. He’s a proper gang-banger. That means he’s one of those new breed of¬†feral¬†inner city youth ‘Gangsta’s’. He got shipped here from Brixton for slashing another inmate. Banged up together, he’s had his cell spun twice already. Cell spinning is prison-speak for searching and Ian has to experience the same heavy measures his ‘Buddy’ gets.

Prison officers control cell movement but then treat you as party to a crime if your arbitrarily chosen cellmate is up to no good. This unwarranted suspicion from the prison staff does untold damage to prisoner/staff relations: it drives a road-train straight through the rift.

Meanwhile Ian lay awake asleep tonight, he fears for his safety.

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Another day down

I start induction tomorrow, I’ll talk to Ian then. I never thought I’d spend my own sentence worrying for other’s safety.

I penned¬† a lot of letters to friends, It’s nice to hear from my mother that so many people have been supportive, by writing I show my gratitude as best I can.

I don’t stop thinking of Rachel, I would love to hear her voice. I don’t know when that time will be, so I guard my 3 photos of her with a vengeance. Secreted within a book on British Art. She to me is my masterpiece.

The one above my head I touch.