Alternative Lies

Journal Entry, 23 Jan 2017: If you want to believe several impossible things before breakfast, then you simply need to have breakfast late enough in the day to accommodate these bewildering facts. And here are some bewildering facts. One: the newly-appointed President of the US is Donald Trump – yes, the Donald Trump, the arrogant, swaggering billionaire turned reality TV host who was put on this earth merely to prove that God shows His contempt for money by the people that he gives it to – anyway, this person is now in charge of the free world. And when his inauguration took place three days ago, the press took great pleasure in printing aerial photographs of the assembled crowds, comparing these with similar pictures taken in 2009 when Barack Obama became POTUS.

The pictures ‘appear to show’ that the crowds for Trump were much smaller than those for Obama, with a huge expanse of white ground cover visible on the National Mall and numerous empty viewing stands along the route of the parade.

When the US media published these pictures, Trump and his officials were quick to condemn: press secretary Sean Spicer claimed that ‘this is the biggest ever’, while Trump gave a broadcast interview where he announced that he could see ‘a million, maybe a million and a half people’ stretching away to the vague horizon. Kellyanne Conway from the White House cheerfully defended Spicer’s announcements as being ‘Alternative Facts’ rather than falsehoods.
All this seems remarkably petty from somebody with such a vast personal fortune, and leads me to think that Trump is the only person who could win an election and then behave like a bad loser.

Back in 2009, I had no TV set; instead I used to ride my motorbike to rallies, or listen to LP records on my EB-101 turntable, or read library books. And we had recently been faced with redundancy at work following the devastating fire at EC Pigments, so I had offered to spend a week down at our factory in Woolwich to see whether it was feasible for me to relocate to the south.
And in my hotel room (a faintly scruffy bed-and-breakfast) there was a television set, so I would put this thing on and gaze fascinated at the flickering images. And it so happened that, while I was staying in London, the Presidential inauguration was taking place, and the TV showed Obama and his family, with Aretha Franklin singing behind them, while before them a vast crowd of supporters filled the Mall.

Journal Entry, 28 Mar 2009: Yesterday we were given our letters of notice from work. My finish date is 27 March. We all went to the pub at lunchtime to bid John Croft farewell, and Andrew Foster turned up to say hi.
Then after work I went to town to meet John and Alan at the Hilton Hotel. We had white wine and white wine and then champagne in the room then off to Gio for food and more white wine.
Came back by taxi, woke with splitting headache, went to town and collected black coat from hotel reception. And in the pocket of this coat – my legendary black coat – I found a cashpoint receipt dated 28 Feb 2008. Then tonight met Andy for drinks at Taurus and Via.

Journal Entry, 6 Mar 2009: Consternation at work when it was announced that the company didn’t have enough money to pay redundancy to supervisory staff – so we are all going to have to apply for statutory government payment.

Mike, Ted and Wilf all left today – v sad.

Had phone call from the Flat Agency if their maintenance guy had permission to enter my flat without me there in order to repair boiler. (Note: I was without hot water for five months, and the agency claimed that I hadn’t given them the keys to get in. When my hot water came back on, my laptop computer mysteriously disappeared)

Journal Entry, 11 Mar 2009: Last night David from Hot City came round to fix my boiler. Bathroom tap and shower are now okay, but kitchen hot tap is dead.
Today at work spoke to CK Science – Liam and Russell – who want to put me for jobs in the North-West. Posted CV to Adshead Ratclffe in Belper.

Got photocopies of RDI and OU certificates.

Made appointment to go in and see Kelly on Weds 18 – they e-mailed me and said bring in your Passport, NI number, certificates and references.

Journal Entry, 14 Mar 2009: Apparently today’s date (14/3) represents the fraction closest to π, so in America they’ve nominated today as ‘pi-day’.
The large bare trees are swinging outside – it’s v windy. My life is a drama, with a beginning, a middle and no end. It’s 7.20 am and I’m listening to Bartok Quartet 2.

15 Mar 2009: Yesterday B and I went round Altrincham. I bought two HPL paperbacks (reissues of Dagon and Haunter) and a very nice M and S shirt, just the right colour for my OCCA tie and a copy of Eyes Open by Snow Patrol. And some cans of Merrydown Cider: ‘Practicing for when you end up on the dole?’ said B.

23 Mar 2009: Today sent Rob L a copy of my memo to Manchester Section regarding the lack of an official procedure for issuing ATSC certificates to newly-promoted members.

Brought my Open Uni folders back from work.

This afternoon Poggy came into the lab and snorted with derision as he told us about the newly-launched Tata Mini (cheapest car in the world). “It’s held together with glue!” he said.
I was outraged: ‘Do you mind? Adhesive bonding is the supreme joining method! Audi aluminium car bodies are glued, and helicopter rotor blades are glued on.’

26 Mar 2009: Rang Indestructible Paints and had a 20-minute phone interview with Brian Norton. Mentioned that his colleague had been to Manchester OCCA and that I had been down there for an interview back in 94 (actually it was Sep 95).

E-mail from Whitehall: job ref 7262/3. They sent my CV last year for this and I was rejected so can’t apply again.
And of course, when I had my phone chat with Indestructible, they asked how old I was, and if I was married, and if I had kids.

 

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