Friday, 10 December 2010

Not With A Bang

I've more or less given up now. Ben Carruthers - number 4 in the Back Six - played Glenn Gilpin, who was sentenced to 30 years' hard labour. He died of liver failure at the age of 47, and his son played drums briefly with Megadeth. That is all.

I spent much of my formative years (defined for me as between 16-35ish. Challenge this if you like) angrily railing against the current set-up of the Capitalist military-industrial complex and yearning for some kind of anarchist state.  (Apart from an early, brief, and – as I look back on it now – rather bizarre fixation with Nazism. Please don’t judge me. I was young and foolish, had grown up in a very provincial town where even now the BNP poll double the votes [3.2% against 1.6%] of the Green Party, and knew less than nothing about the world. I discovered socialism at about the same time as I discovered pot and patchouli. In any case, if you read this regularly, you’ll know that I’m as left leaning as they come, so I really don’t need to explain away my spotty 15 year-old self) This I suppose was never explored in any great detail, but rather grew out of the sense of anger and sadness at the inequalities in our world. Things just weren’t (and aren’t – let’s face it) right, and something had to be done. However, what that something was did not take shape, and did not seem in any way imminent. Now, after watching the hundreds of police queue for their free breakfast in the staff canteen this morning, as I listen to yet more helicopters hovering above, and as I keep an eye on the Guardian website for updates on the latest student protest, it all seems just that little bit more tangible.

The other night, while I was uploading a YouTube video, Twitter was keeping me up to date with the anonymous DDoS attacks on VISA, and for a moment I was very conflicted. Here was the potential for real progress at last – a sophisticated attack on one of the very pillars of the establishment in response to government efforts to stem the tide of transparency oozing out through the Wikileaks gash. The power of anonymous seemed quite stunning. Out of the blue, a major financial institution was temporarily brought to a standstill by a group of internet users. And this was a good thing. Something which I could applaud as a demonstration of activism and the ability of ordinary people (who know a fair bit about computers) to strike back.

But then a nagging doubt began to claw at the back of my mind. My cash card carries the VISA marque. I remembered the original financial meltdown as Alastair Darling announced the cash injections to save the banking system, and the genuine fear I felt at the time that it really could go tits up. I was on the verge of withdrawing the paltry sum which resided in my bank account at that time, because it all seemed terrifyingly close. Those DDoSs reminded me of that time. I began to think of those things involving VISA on which I – and those close to me – depend, and it all seemed so terribly inconvenient, so bloody scary if you like. This is obviously related to my advancing years and the fact that I have realised just how vulnerable I am, just how potentially close to a life on the street. All my youthful exuberance evaporated.

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