Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Big Ears

One after the other my life is currently a tapestry of new experiences. Last night the Editor and I went out for dinner - at the proprietor's invitation - and spent a happy few hours spooning each other various taste sensations. A candlelit dinner was a first for me!

At a nearby table there was what I can only describe as a LoudMan, who was content to declaim on any subject from the morality of MP's to the global economy. That he did so without once managing to reveal any insight or knowledge only added to the entertainment. I daresay we all know such people?

LoudMen exist in every corner of our world, including on the prison landings. But sitting in a public place and having to listen to this guy declaim about "holiday camp" prisons was a first for me. If anyone on the landings started down that road I would cheerfully insert myself into the conversation, especially if it was a screw.

In my new life I have to suffer overhearing the half-baked and ill-informed along with the rest of you. Social convention prevents me leaning over and whispering in his ear, "mate, you're full of it...". Decorum and all that...

Yet this is the type of person that I most need to reach, to engage with. God forbid, I do believe that I need a column in the Daily Mail....


  1. If there was a column by you in the Mail, I might even buy the rag myself.

  2. The daily mail recently posted child pornography online.

    Associating with them might be incompatible with your licence.

    1. Sorry. Being thick here Tallguy. Have read everything from your link, but still fail to connect it to this post or anything else really.
      Please elaborate.

    2. I may have the logic wrong here, so if I do, please let me know, but:

      - the mail did an article on surreptitious, sexually-charged photography of unsuspecting women and girls.
      - having apparently lost their minds, they figured a good way to ilustrate this would be to publish some of the photos in question.
      - at least two of these photos were of shoolgirls whose ages could not possibly be known
      - it is known that about 40% of the photos in their pool of possible source material are of underage girls.
      - therefor there is a good chance they published sexual photos of underage girls

      (and apparently they have since republished the images censored with black boxes)

  3. Why do you keep having a pop at the Mail when your recent article in the Guardian produced comments that were just as bad?

    1. I find it intriguing how you assume that your insight into prison life would enlighten the loud man that you refer to or even change his views about it.
      Maybe he ( like myself) was in prison in the early 80s and remembers slopping out, weekly trips to the bath house, appallingly bad food, real staff brutality, wearing prison clothing that was poorly laundered and often lice ridden and being addressed by you surname.. That was the reality of Wandsworth, scrubs and Oxford in 82-89.
      Maybe (like me) he returned to prison in recent times (2011) and found that he was called mr by staff, and could get legal aid to challenge those who didn't call him mr. He could now wear his own clothes, shower on his cell or if not in an em suite cell at least shower once a day, his weekly letter had been replaced by daily phone calls in which he could discuss which one of three options he had chosen for dinner that evening....
      Hardly surprising that someone who has such a comparitor would call prison today a holiday camp, be careful Ben; maybe taking this loud man aside to "engage" or "reach out" to might result in you having to face up to the biggest question of all .... Was it all that bad???

    2. 'Was it all that bad???'

      Perhaps, if you'd spent Thirty-Two years plus behind the door - you would know the answer.

      P.S. Onanist!

  4. Onanist???
    The man who spent 32 years inside is more likely to be an onanist than me I suggest.... Unless of course he found some other means of satisfying his needs. Situational homosexuality is rife in prisons, more common in the female estate, but non the less it does go on in the male estate too...

    Now that's out of the way , your response completely ignores the point I made. Although the pain of confinement cannot be underestimated ( read society of captives by Gresham M Sykes for a true portrayal of this pain), the point I was making was that Ben is not uniquely placed to hold an opinion on prison, nor is he uniquely placed to comment, nor is his opinion the absolute gospel on prison; it is merely his opinion which he is perfectly entitled to hold. As is " loud man" too.

    Get it?

  5. 'The man who spent 32 years inside is more likely to be an onanist than me I suggest....'

    Apologies. It seems as though 'Wanker' got lost in translation.

  6. Absolutely not, let me explain the first paragraph of my response in terms that the intellectually challenged (maybe you?) will understand....
    The man who spent 32 years inside is far more likely to be an onanist (yes I know it means wanker) or certainly have been an onanist, unless he embraced situational homosexuality, than the man who hasn't (unnecessarily) spent the last 32 years inside!!!
    Now that's cleared up why don't you have a bash at debunking the premise of my original post ie that Ben isn't uniquely placed to comment on prison life, he's just another ex-con the same as plenty of others; the difference is we adopted a grin and bear it attitude and hot on with life during and after imprisonment

    1. You needn't have bothered - I noted your (weak) riposte the *first* time. Are you telling me that you thought I was using the words onanist/wanker in the literal sense?

      *Everyone* (who has ever been) is ‘uniquely placed’ to comment on prison life by virtue of the fact that everyone’s story/experiences is/are different.

  7. But Anonymous - perhaps Ben likes rugby while you like football? Rice not pasta? Perhaps Ben wants to work in an academic and/or journalist and/or policy research role while you prefer something hands on and practical - ambulance driver? - or something with numbers - accountant? - whatever. Perhaps Ben wants to engage and discuss his life experience and impact on the society around him while so doing, while you prefer to put it behind you and forge a new and differentiated life. Why is either choice wrong?!

  8. I have been around nearly 64years, and I have never heard of the word "Onanist" before! I am a Gnostic, as well. I know what an "Onan" is though, a very good on-board generator, for the boat, and ship industry. Now, that is useful! It seems that Onanist, comes from the French, and it's not very useful at all. So lets forget the word, and get on with our Eternity, or don't you have one of those?


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