Tuesday, March 21, 2006

I've Earned It!

Some comments have been made insinuating that I might have mercenary reasons for wanting to look up my son Robert, following my release in 2008. I offer the following details in the hope that they will dispel this rumour and still the clucking tongues.
Eighteen years ago, during the melee surrounding my arrest, I was injured by an overzealous Constable who twisted my wrist so much that it hurt for days afterwards. My lawyer knew my rights and pressed charges for assault against the Met on my behalf. Subsequently I was awarded twenty-five thousand pounds in compensation, which money hasn't been touched in all these years, swelling with interest into a very handsome little nest egg.
So you see it's not what you were thinking. I won't need anybody . I could go to Thailand and live like a king, with that kind of money. It's more likely to be that the young dreamer expects a handout from me, than the other way round. If he does think that he can think again; I've earned that money and he can do the same. Bloody sponger!

Monday, March 20, 2006

No Weather

We have a fair number of Scotsmen among the inmates so a lot of alcohol is smuggled into the prison, to slake their legendary thirst for it.
Last night, a bottle of this firewater fell into Simon's hands and despite its poor quality, after a few glasses we were quite pleasantly drunk, swapping tales from our childhoods and so on and when the bottle was nearly finished, Simon stood up and sang his old school song, in Latin and I matched him, also standing, with a limerick about a girl from Peru.
Following this, for some reason a brown mood seemed to fall over us both and we played a desultory game of scrabble, squabbling irritably over the scoring until Simon lost his patience and pushed the board away. He picked up his pocket bible and began pacing the cell, leafing through the pages in an agitated fashion.
He was still pacing up and down, clutching his bible and muttering to himself when I fell asleep.

This man has no connection to the post at all but I liked the twinkle in his eye. I found his picture the other day in the trophy room.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

My Son the Philosopher

Only a few weeks to go until graduation day. My boy Robert is finishing his degree in philosophy at Peterhouse, Cambridge.
I was only nineteen when I got Robert's mother in the family way and before her nine months were up I had been jailed for life. I think her parents were secretly relieved ; they had never approved of their daughter hanging around with me from the beginning and my conviction for murder just added weight to their case.
So I didn't see a lot of Robert as he grew up but I followed his steps from afar. He knows where I am and I expect he'll make contact, in his own time.
In any case, I'll be out in a couple more years. I'll be able to look him up myself.

Friday, March 17, 2006

In The Spring...

This post will be given over to my friend Rasheed, who is looking for a penpal. He's going to type his own letter so without further ado, here is Rasheed Wilson...

Men who are anxious to win a female penpal nearly always follow the custom of presenting themselves with fancy words and poetry. I am not going to embellish or cram my profile with impressive words. I'm going to be honest; and my honesty comes equipped with "passion". Besides, my integrity is all I have.

Now, to the lucky female that's reading this, your curiosity got me offering you some token of my devotion, and I have not found among my belongings anything as dear to me as my penmanship is.

I have enclosed a photo with this ad, but keep in mind that it's not the picture that makes me. I am a 30 year old man, who enjoys reading, writing, exercising, and most of all spending quality time with friends and family. I like other things too!

The reason why I joined this site is because I love meeting new people. I have the utmost respect for the female species and I'm always looking to learn a thing or tow. I'm seeking a friendship where we can share likes, dislikes, experiences, goals, and if you like, even secrets which are safe with me. Whatever you feel comfortable with darling.

Anyway, all I ask for is a little adventure, a chance to plumb your psychic depths, test the oil of you soul, and touch your inner sanctum; in short terms, I just want to be there for you. I patiently await your response.

A Whiff of Onions

There's a powerful smell of onions on the landing today for some reason. Not an unpleasant smell, it always reminds me of old Fred West, the serial killer. Fred was here for a few weeks on remand, before the whole grisly story emerged and he went into solitary.
Anyway, while he was here, Fred would sometimes drop in for a chat and very often when he did, he would be holding a big raw onion. He ate them like apples, taking great noisy bites. I could never understand that about him. How could anyone eat an onion whole like that?

If all that wasn't enough, I looked up Fred's case on the internet and it turns out that the name of the policeman who finally squeezed the confession out of him, was Detective Sergeant Terence Onions. And they say there's no such thing as coincidence.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

The Lost Boys

I heard on the radio that every year about a million working hours are lost because all over the country, male drivers who can't find their way are too proud to ask for directions. They said the average time wasted by a man before he rolls down his window and asks is twenty minutes. And that's if he's got a women sitting next to him, nagging. Driving around alone, the average man might easily waste thirty to forty minutes going round in circles and retracing his turns.
In here you never ask directions of another inmate. It's considered a sign of effeminacy and an invitation to sexual advances. In the beginning many men even carry a map with them, so as to avoid getting lost in the prison's endless maze of corridors.

Monday, March 13, 2006

"Nice Tag!"

This is me this morning, testing out one of the new electronic tags they're introducing as part of their efforts to clear some space in Britain's over-crowded prisons.
There are various types of device being looked at, ranging from this unobtrusive 'wristwatch style' example, to a full 'body-belt' model, which is extremely heavy and cumbersome to wear.
In any case, I'm not eligible for a 'tagged release', myself, being a category 'A' prisoner. Instead they'll offer them to people like Rasputin, who in reality belongs in the funny farm, not in a man's jail.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Old Lags

This afternoon I was in the prison's trophy room, clearing out some old cupboards for the Governor's secretary. They keep all the memorabilia from bygone years down there, stretching back to the Victorian times. Here for example, is a faded photo of some of the runners in the 1863 Annual Inter-Wing Cross Country Finals. The fellow with the white beard looks as though he's on his last legs.
On the back of the picture, you can still see some of their names, the beautiful handwriting almost completely erased by time. From left to right, the first two names are illegible, but the fourth man's name was William Cooper and the man beside him, with the mustache, is recorded here as George. T. Hutton.

Our Lady of the Flowers

Simon's been acting strangely since his run- in with the food thief on Friday. The violence has released something in him and now he's not himself.
Just now he gave me a book to read by Jean Genet, (who also did some serious porridge) and told me to read the part he'd marked in yellow pen. I can't make head nor tail of it. I wonder if Simon isn't trying to make some point about my personal grooming. Here's the part he had marked for me:

Repudiating the virtues of your world, criminals hopelessly agree to organize a forbidden universe. They agree to live in it. The air there is nauseating: they can breathe it

What's he getting at? If anyone reading this knows, I'd appreciate it if they could tip me the wink.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Prison Justice

Things have come to a head with our unwanted cell-guest. Tension had been building since he was first dropped on us, and last night he crossed a line. Simon came back from the latrine to find the gangly, Rasputin-like 'beast*' tampering with his picnic freezer. The results are visible in this photo, taken only moments after the fracas.
I haven't mentioned it, but Simon was featherweight boxing champion for three years running at Reed's. The thieving sex-fiend didn't know what had hit him as Simon gave him a proper public school pasting. Unfortunately, in the process he managed to destroy most of our furniture.
Lucky we don't have the aquarium yet.

*sex offender, slang.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Johnny Cash &The Zeitgeist

Can you imagine any of today's singing superstars giving a performance for the convicts of a maximum security prison? Back in the day, Johnny Cash did just that. He's pictured here singing before the inmates of San Quentin, where he turned in a legendary set which became the eponymously titled ' 'Johnny Cash at San Quentin' album.
Here in the UK, you'd never see Sinaed O'Conner or Sting doing anything like this.
UK stars will sing for the Army, if they're overseas invading somebody, and they'll croon for the favour of MPs; but they would run a mile if you suggested they put on a show at Broadmoor.
Something in society has changed; there's been a shift that I can't quite define.
That's the thing about prison. It gives you too much time to brood.

A Gilded Cage

Here's an illicit snapshot of my friend Mel, our prison's only Jewish inmate, lighting a cigar as he takes his post- prandial walk in the prison gardens. Mel has been here long enough to have established good relations with the guards and authorities. Nobody gives him any bother. He is on particularly friendly terms with the Governor, who buys cigars for himself through Mel's cousin on the outside.
In all the years I've known him, Mel has never talked about the crime he was convicted of, although rumours swirl that Government Ministers were involved and that Mel took the fall for bigger fish.

I am not an animal!

The whole of G-Wing has been commandeered to take part in a Bank Holiday reenactment of the Battle of Edgehill. It's that damned Sealed Knot Society again.
The Governor is a keen member and whenever they're in the area he volunteers the men. He always takes part himself, as Prince Rupert, leading the Royalist cavalry on his grey stallion, while the rest of us are yeomanry, running after him across the wet, muddy fields, wearing ridiculous costumes and trying to hide our cigarettes because they're not 'authentic'.
You'd think prisoners would welcome the chance to get out for the day but in this case, you'd be wrong. We're not performing seals.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Old Friends, Bookends....

A mutual friend sent me a clipping this morning, from the Pattaya City News, Thailand, telling of the death of old Ray Cordinor. That's him, stretched out dead in his shorts and that's his girlfriend/wife, Phok, keening over his remains. He was 58.
Apparently, a rash of unpaid hotel bills plagued Ray's last years and he was finally reduced to a 'hand to mouth' existence among the local Thais.
The final straw came when local police confiscated his passport, sending Ray ever deeper into despair until he turned to drink, which is what killed him in the end.
Ray died with nothing but the clothes he's wearing in this picture and Phok will inherit his nearly new training shoes and his debt to the hotel he died in.
He'll be sadly missed.

Monday, March 06, 2006

'Care In The Community' My Arse!

A man looking just like this was put in our cell last night. He's staying for a week and they've given him a folding bed, between mine and Simon's.
His resemblance to Rasputin alone is enough to give us both the willies, though what really makes us wary of him is the crime he's accused of. He was arrested inside the grounds of a mental institution, wherein he had climbed in search of easy sexual prey and where his bad luck was to accost and violate the retarded neice of a prominent UK MP.
Ordinarily his sort would receive a good kicking by the arresting officers and be sent on their way. The girl's family, however, wanted the book thrown at him, and so here he is, glowering up at us from his camp-bed.
Neither Simon nor I got a wink of sleep last night.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

The Quick & The Dead

Here's G-Wing's bathroom after a good mopping. Not a place to loiter if you have no business. They encourage us to nip about when we use the bathroom, rattling their batons under the stall doors and so on, to hurry us up.
You may notice at the lower left-hand side of the picture, that our so-called 'bidet' is right out in the open. The Governor frowns on things like bidets and hair-dryers as being effeminate. Regulations forced him to include what he considers an abomination in his prison's bathroom. But they didn't stipulate where it should go. This legal loophole enabled him to place the 'bidet' where nobody but the bravest of men would dare use it.

Friday, March 03, 2006

The Human Factor

Nowadays of course, we don't have the option of taking our meals in the privacy of our own cells. We are forced today to dine en-masse, with all the attendant squabbles, thefts and abuses. And this is before we actually get any food in our hands; after that, it's every man for himself.
The old system was in many ways more humane, giving the warder a chance to look each man in the eye, as he ladled out the gruel. Today we may be eating Coq au Vin but nobody's really looking out for us, anymore.

Gulliver's Travails

I was talking with 'Gulliver', the prison dwarf the other day. He was very worried because some of the younger fellows from up the hallway are insisting he let them use him in a 'dwarf throwing' competition they're organizing.
Although worldwide there are over six million dwarves, in our inmate population of six hundred, Gulliver's the only one.
Anyway, his persecutors gave him to understand that if he refuses, they'll entertain themselves with him in some other, less pleasant manner.
So it seems that one way or another, Gulliver is facing the complete loss of his dignity.
He asked me to have a word with the men but I'm not keen to get involved in the affair. If I go out to bat for Gulliver, it'd be me, next.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Trousers Indeed!

There are certain truisms in sport: women jockeys hardly ever ride the winner; grey horses never even place. It makes you wonder why people waste their time training girl jockeys or rearing grey thoroughbreds. Better to shoot them at birth, realistically.
Another sporting truism seems to have escaped the German Olympic ice-skating team. What on earth were they thinking, fielding the beautiful Aljona Savchenko in trousers? There is a long tradition in ice-skating which demands that female skaters wear short flaring skirts and display plenty of knickers and thigh. By flauting this convention, Savchenko bought ruin to Germany's chances in the event.
And then the cover up began, with all the accusations that Ingo Steuer, the German ice-skating coach, worked as an informant for the STASI.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Goodbye to the 1980s

This is how we all dressed when I was last at large, back in the eighties. It was a very shiny decade.
I suppose my old clothes will all have to go, when I do eventually step back into society. I haven't seen them, or it, since I was aged twenty, and I don't suppose they'd flatter a forty year old anyway.
That's one good thing about being inside, all the choices you don't have to make. In here we all share the same tailor and eat at the same restaurant.
One of the few ways a man can maintain his sense of individuality in prison is through his choice of toiletries.

Quid Pro Quo at Reed's

Nearby Reed's public school has been canvassing among the inmates in case anyone has children of enrollment age. Over the years a symbiotic relationship has evolved between the two establishments, with the families of white-collar criminals finding Reed's very flexible about accepting large sums of cash and the inmates enjoying their annual trip to the school, where they help erect the marquee and presentation stand on Sports Day.
My cell-mate Simon is actually an old Reedonian himself, which may explain his calm reserve when faced with the petty bureaucracy of the prison system.

Room to Swing a Cat

Here's our cell, with lovely spring Sunlight pouring in. You can see Simon's picnic freezer-box there. He never let's it out of his sight, for fear of thieves.
Our cell is actually a lot larger than this picture makes it look. There's plenty of space for the two of us and we're even thinking about asking permission to install an aquarium. We're not officially allowed to keep pets in our cells but there's some debate as to whether fish can be called 'pets'. The whole thing hinges on emotion. In an emergency, you'd make an effort to save a dog, whereas you wouldn't hesitate to flush a fish down the toilet.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Hobson's Choice

This week I have a tough decision to make. I'm the secretary of G.Wing's Social Events Calendar Committee and this year, we've been offered the choice between two American guest speakers.
On the one hand, we could have Deborah Lipstadt over, giving a talk about the horrors of the Nazi death camps, which is the kind of thing that would be raptly received by a lot of the fellows in here. The other option is to accept the very generous offer Mariana Trump has made, to visit some of the U.K's prisons giving inspirational workshops and sharing gossipy anecdotes about her glamorous jet-setting life with her husband Donald.
Do I choose what would be good for the men? Or simply what they would enjoy most?

Tempus Fugit

This morning I was visited by this little hen sparrow. She came and rested near my window and I was able to feed her with some crumbs from Simon's lunch. I'm not going to let myself get too attached to her or it'll just be all the harder to say goodbye. Two more years and I'm back on the street. Sparrows are just vermin anyway.

little bird, please don't wait for me

A Captive Audience

This young man's name is Julian Thomlinson. He's a film student and writer. He also happens to be our Governor's nephew, which is why all this week we've been forced to endure his atrocious experimental films. Each evening, usually right in the middle of something we're all watching, the screen would suddenly change and we'd be confronted with something different altogether. Even the screws have been sympathetic to our plight, though they've also been ordered to keep us in our seats, so as not to upset the sneering little poser. His films even have rubbish titles. 'All Pixies Must Die' my arse! Why don't these
people just get proper jobs and stop wasting everyone's time?

A Slippery Fish

This is my cell-mate, Simon 'the fish' Johnson. We're not allowed to post actual photos of ourselves, so this is the best I could do. It's the original police photofit of him and I must say it does him no favours. It's a miracle they caught him at all, based on this.