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Paddy Shannon

A Glastonbury Tale

Camping is not really meant to be enjoyable, but rather more like horror films, a sort of cathartic process from which you only really derive benefit at the end. Camping explains why you work the rest of the year to keep a bloody roof over your head. It’s to remind you of what it was really like to live in an Iron Age village and thank god you don't have to. It's the townie’s quick fix, paganism for a weekend, nature-loving all the way to Monday. And it enables every camper to think themselves rugged and outdoorsy, before returning to the ruddy indoors again. And during this ritual self-denial the last thing you expect to do is argue politics.

Work - as in holic

I am unemployed at the moment, on a small retainer from a government which begrudges it heartily and doesn't miss an opportunity to remind me of the fact. Officially I am an IT trainer and (for the benefit of those at the benefit office employed to stop my benefit) I am actively seeking work. Information Technology, if you don't already know, is for those who think there is something seriously groovy about electronic filing systems and adding machines. I certainly do. In this heady world of techno fashion toys people like me describe new clever filing systems as "sexy", which shows you how disturbed we are.

Anger

The TV licence man came today. I nearly fell down with fright. He looked grim. He could see the borrowed set on the floor behind me, no use denying it. With a two month old baby it's the only thing that has kept us sane. Now it will have to go. We can't afford the fee.

It rains a lot in the north country. Mum used to say it was the angels weeping. Eighteen miserable quid to keep your sanity. I could weep. Of course there's no work. All the mills have shut. Around here you're more or less expected to be on the dole. Around here we're all scroungers. It's a laugh really. I've told so many lies to the Supplementary Benefit office I practically have to keep records. You can't afford the truth. You'd starve. Of course I live with my wife and two kids. If they found out they'd flatten us. They don't even want us to have that. It's the system.

Democracy and the Internet

Summer School 1999 - 'Democracy'

Fircroft College, Birmingham

Recorded: 
Sunday, 11 July 1999

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