Archive | March 2009

Central Bombardment

Central Bombardment, ballpoint pen on paper, 100X110cm

Central Bombardment (2009) - biro on paper Central Bombardment close up cnetral bombardment

18.3.09 (2)

A Bus Station to Nowhere

It’s essential make note or write about things that unsettle you. Because some things may seem very minor, but they can leave you in a state of concern for a day or two afterwards.
Bus Stations, especially in the evenings, are often very sobering places where an individual comes face to face with the realities of the people at the back of the queue of life (experiences that are forgotten about as soon as an individual learns to drive their own Car).
If you want a picture of society’s present landscape, visit a Bus Station of a post-industrial Town after 6pm. It is rarely a pretty picture, and its prophecies of the future are even less pretty.Last night a gang of young people (about 17/18yr old?) were standing outside the entrance to the Bus station drinking bottles of Lager, and they were in a conversation with a Steward, whom i presume was telling the drinkers not to enter with bottles of alcohol. I quickly entered the station, as some of the drinkers there can seem a little threatening at times.
It was about 10:20pm, my bus was a 10:45pm. 3 young people came in to catch the same bus as me, 2 young men and a young woman. one of the men was very drunk indeed, the other two were more or less carrying him. The young woman was laughing and the other man said “it’s not funny, you don’t know how much ‘this stuff’ messes you up!”. I don’t know what he had taken but it clearly had ‘messed him up’.
Over the next 10 minutes his condition got a state so that he could no longer stand up, and his friends were holding him up. I do not know whether his friends supplied him with whatever he had taken, but they were now clearly concerned about him, and were wanting to get him home on the next Bus.
When they tried to board the bus, the driver closed the bus doors, and shook his head. Another driver said “there is no way HE is getting on THAT bus!”. I can understand this as he was in such a state that it would not have been wise for the driver to put him under his responsibility. However i don’t think i would have done the same, as for a start, if there was of threat of him being sick, all that was needed to be done was to find him a plastic bag to hold, they aren’t the hardest things to find in Britain. He wasn’t a violent person and i doubt his friends were, the amount of trouble they could have caused was very limited.
I suppose you can hardly expect bus drivers to be the warmest people in society, as they do have to deal with genuinely dangerous and violent passengers quite often.
I have no doubt that he woke up in a bed and will probably be completely fine in a day or two, but that isn’t my point, and it wasn’t the fact he and so many others get like that, is more of a questions of ‘why do people get like this?.
It is only when you are sober yourself, and in a place like a bus station that you see how many people, especially at weekends in the United Kingdom (a place that is supposed to be desirable place to live) get so drunk and drugged up on weekends, to point that the term ‘annihilated’ is rightfully used. Do people get ‘annihilated’ in order to have a good time? or is it the only easy path to a transient ‘means to and end’, and a destination where an individual will forget the shiteness of their life?.
I know that when i have been as close as i could be to being ‘annihilated’ through alcohol consumption, that it was at points when i was wanting to drink for a means to end, the hope of a black blanket coming over me and smothering my view of the World. Thankfully i didn’t do this much, and hopefully never will again.
However this seems to be the way of life, and an encouraged way of life, for some at the bottom of society. They might have Mobile phones, Sky television, but these cheap commodities cannot buy hope. There is so many people without hope, which is a just one more symptom of a society that may only just be beginning to realize that it is diseased.

Respect, or the lack of it, is another symptom, and again is very evident in bus stations and more so actually on the buses. Something has changed, even more so in the past 6-8 years, and the ‘collective’ younger generation (throughout all the classes, but in different manners respectively) show a great deal less respect than the other generations, both to others and themselves.

I sound like an old person, but I am only 25 years old, and it is from a deep concern about where our society is heading.
I wouldn’t have dared play my music at speaker volume on public transport. Yet to many young people now, it seems to be even past the stage of defiance and as become ritual. No-one, not even the bus driver (unless he is cock-sure) dare say anything to them.

But yet again this makes me wonder what these people have in their lives, outside their back of bus territories. Maybe the absence of any respect for the World around them is a subconscious method of defiance against a society that gives them nothing, no jobs, no choice, no freedom, no hope, yet constantly thrusts all of these things in front of their faces on television and billboard advertisements. I suppose the only hopes for some people at the bottom, are to do what their 19Th century counterparts did, and drink to forget (but now in bus stations instead of Gin lane).

.At the weekend, in fact mostly always, my towns Bus Station is a station to nowhere. Quite literally, it has very parochial bus routes, not many leave the metropolitan district. If you are in this bus station quite often, it is likely that you feel you are going nowhere in your life.

.In the station there is an Army Recruitment centre, with a very large banner outside it saying ‘Join the Army, be the best!’. This is a very clever site for an Army recruitment centre indeed!, tell someone who is going nowhere and has no hope of ‘being somebody’ that ‘he too can be the best, he too can travel the World, he too can be an hero for his country!’. Will he join?, very likely so. The odds are against him whether he stays or goes, there is a good chance he’ll end up dead either way. At least if he is to die with the army, he will be remembered by his family for ‘being an hero!’.

.Sadly in Towns such as my own, the far right political parties are gaining more support now. Their only real policy is to blame foreign immigrants arriving into our country, for the lack of jobs, lack of opportunities and social decay that infects the ‘white’ lower class people already living there. With what i was trying to say above, i think it is so clear that it is the global web of corporations that are inflicting these wounds upon us all, from the poor in the UK, to the poor of the 3rd World, who are having to leave their homelands as globalization rapes their land too, but of vital resources rather than its hope.

.As for my home town, I can only presume that an influx of new people, could only help restore culture to the place, the town is currently dying from within. They don’t take ‘our jobs’, the web of corporate chains do that, there is no argument about it, it just takes a deeper observation to one that the far right offers us.

Culture casualty (2009)