Friday, September 17, 2010

Just Another Day.

Since I began taking antidepressants (Citalopram) in an attempt to shake off the trough I've been in for months, my sleeping pattern has improved. Asleep by 1 a.m,, awake around 7:30.

Reach for my specs and make a roll-up. The first few moments of the day are crucial, setting the tone for the endless hours. If nothing hugely positive hoves into mind, it's best not to think ahead at all or the day could look quite bleak.
I hear a screw making his way along the landing, peeking through the observation slit. The day shift doing their headcount, just in case the night staff got too lazy to keep us all safely tucked away.

Decide to move. Wash, dress, choosing carefully in the knowledge that the building is now getting chilly and will grow colder from now.

Sit in my chair. Turn on the TV, flick across BBC and ITV for the weather and headlines, appreciating Christine Blakeley’s legs along the way. Turn the sound off, leaving the telly as a visual wallpaper for a while, a glowing companion of ultimate emptiness.

My jug of coffee from last night is still mostly full and I drink it. Stone cold. Waste not... Reach for my events diary and cover the last few days. Mail sent, received, conversation with manager, the casual detritus that falls upon our lives. Find a book of stamps within the pages, thanks very much!

The screws charge around and unlock us at 8:15. They are slightly late. People hit the showers, empty their bins, some head for the gym. Opening my window wide, the draught pulls the door open to air my cell. A combination of bedroom, lounge, dining room and toilet, a morning airing is always advisable no matter how cold it leaves the cell.

Stick my head out to take the piss out of the cleaner who is furiously hoovering the stairs. "Oi,you, there's unemployed trying to sleep up here!" Without a pause, "f off", and he carries on. Such is the social oil that smooths our daily interactions...

Bob passes, sees my door ajar and enters. Sits on the end of my bed and starts bemoaning the fact he doesn't have a mobile phone, he wants to see if the GP crash and death is on You Tube. I complain that it’s sad that no government ever passes a law requiring pretty women on telly to always appear naked. We talk about the offer management are making me regarding employment. Such is life. He wanders off.
At 8:45, the call goes out to move to "activities", i.e. work. The wing quickly empties, leaving the cleaners, retired, ill and the unemployed. The next few minutes is spent in a state of mild, bemused suspense. Will any screw take the effort to follow management’s diktat and shlep all the way up to my cell to bang me up? Today, yes. She had the decency to ask me if I "had everything", e.g. hot water, before locking me in.

I flick the TV to the Wright Stuff. It's one of the few programmes to give prison issues in the news a fairish going over. Nothing of interest, sound back to fill the next few hours behind my door.

There's a stack of mail to deal with, it's been festering and growing during my mental slump. There's a piece I'm working on about the balance between punishment and rehabilitation to be offered to the Guardian. Why do their commentators always savage me so? Odd bunch. A pile of books and papers to read and annotate. Or...write this blog post! It's now 10 am.


  1. Start to worry, when Guardian readers stop "savaging" you.

  2. Ben many who inhabit the Guardian web pages are trolls, (people who go on there to wind people up) it means there is rarely a decent debate on there.
    Someone with a murder conviction is like a red rag to a bull, Erwin James still gets it now!

  3. There was a woman officer at Littlehey called Miss B. When she banged up the wing at night it was done firmly and politely, with some negotiation but no liberties permitted, rather like mother when she was still in control though verging on getting quite cross. She finished the job of getting everyone behind his door in less time than the male screws who often provoked arguments and protests. I felt the inmates actually liked being banged up by Miss B. I see Ben appreciates the female style too!


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