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This is a question Protest!

Sit-ins. Walk-outs. Smashing up the headquarters of a major political party. Chaining yourself to the railings outside your local sweet shop because they changed Marathons to Snickers. How have you stuck it to The Man?

(, Thu 11 Nov 2010, 12:24)
Pages: Popular, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1

This question is now closed.


I knew something was wrong the moment the metal hatch clattered ceilingward. Senga the dinner lady (for that may very well have been her name) looked … different. Her face had lost it's wholesome greasy patina; her hair, instead of the usual oil-slicked dirty yellow rat tails, stood proudly from her head in a glorious, hairsprayed peroxide pouf. Her habitual vinegarish expression had been swapped for one of horrified bewilderment. But for that day I wouldn't have thought it possible to look pale under a half inch of Superdrug own-brand foundation in shade no 6- blaring tangerine.

“Chips please, Senga.”

She glanced nervously down the line of 500 or so ravening youths. Her bottom lip trembled, her mouth gaping open and shut uselessly like a landed trout's before finally forming the terrible words-

“There's nae chips.”

The news hit me like a physical blow. “Nae chips?”

“Naw,” she said, shaking her head slowly “Nae chips.” She gestured to a poster on the wall. “Healthy eating initiative”

And there it was, in black and white. Comic sans*, no less. 'Healthy Eating Initiative'. With diagrams to illustrate what foods should be eaten, and in what proportion. Most of them were green. Beside the pie chart of oppression hung a menu of today's choices- baked potato with tuna, or pasta with tomato sauce. Served with salad or vegetables. Vegetables!! Not a chip in sight.

This was years before Jamie Oliver's school food shenanigans, so I could only assume the new head master had acted on his own initiative. The new head was full of progressive ideas. Unfortunately his catchment area was a patch of central Scotland where nobody had been employed for thirty years, the children played tig with hatchets, and -critically- chips were the staple food.

“Haw!” I said, elbowing the lad behind me to get his attention, “there's nae chips!”

The rumour spread like wildfire up the queue.

“Nae chips!”

“Well, whit is there?”

“Fish, just”

“Whit, battered fish?”

“Naw just fish fish”

And so on until it reached the end and a voice piped up “Well, fuck that! Ah'm no hanging around for nae fish!”

Obviously this was the popular sentiment, because 500 ravening youths, moving as one, voted with their feet and poured out of the lunchroom, past the dumbfounded head master and his deputy (a battle-hardened brute of a PE teacher, who unlike the head had cultivated the cynicism needed to wrangle wee buggers like us). Me being the first in, I was the last out. As I passed I heard the deputy say to the head

“Ah told you no to take away the chips.” And as he bulldozed his way through the departing pupils, I swear I heard him add “You daft cunt” under his breath. Chips were re-instated the next day.

Length? The queue for the chip shop stretched all the way round the corner.

*Anything printed in comic sans is bound to be bad news. If comic sans had been invented 70 years earlier it would, without a doubt, have been the official font of the Third Reich.
(, Wed 17 Nov 2010, 2:53, 23 replies)
Not exactly the loudest or the most eye-catching of subversive activities.
And yes, it'll be rather wordy just the same.

I used to give away free food to poor people. See, one big problem in America (and probably a few other developed nations) is that far too often the people with the least spare cash tend to have less access to affordable fresh fruit and veg. It isn't just a problem of city living, it's also down to things like lack of actual grocery stores within travel range, the time and expense of public transportation and many other factors. While there are government programs to help, there's still the problem of lack of accessibility - so what if the government will pay for it if the closest corner shop has none and the nearest proper grocery is two hours by bus - and sometimes people don't qualify but still have need. So where's my part in all this?

I, having both free time and personal transportation to spare, decided to volunteer with our local Food Not Bombs group despite not being of the anarcho-hippie persuasion myself. Each week, I'd drive around to the different farmer's markets in the area and the farmers would donate fruits and vegetables that were maybe a little imperfect for sale but still perfectly good, or perhaps they had too much of a certain thing one week, or perhaps they didn't want to haul the unsold perishables back home. If what we had needed to be cooked right away we'd make something out of it, set up on a street corner and give it away; if it would keep, we'd load it into a wagon and walk through neighbourhoods giving it out to whoever wanted it.

Then a few of the members decided we needed to be more 'radical'. It seemed that reducing food waste and providing people with fresh, nourishing foods at no cost to them in time or money (in a country where so many people have this mindset that if you don't have something, it's because you didn't work hard enough for it and therefore don't deserve it) just wasn't good enough for them. I'll spare you the tales of dissent and infighting and cut to the part where operations dwindled down to me and one other girl doing everything from the collecting to the distribution on our own while the rest of them argued about the most effective way to make what they considered a worthwhile stand.

Here's my stand: One of the places where we took food was a day labour facility. In addition to borderline-exploitative work conditions, the place also overcharged its 'hires' for paltry meals at the jobsites. We'd take cooked food down there in the morning when the men lined up outside waiting for the place to open, or just take fruit if we didn't have anything to cook. One evening, I was walking home from work when a man on the street stopped me. I was wary at first, but he was smiling. 'I know you!' he said. 'You're one of the girls who brings us food.' He went on to say that when we came around, it was one of the only times in a day where someone made him feel like a person and not like a piece of garbage. He thanked me, asked me to thank my friend as well, and said that all the men at the facility were grateful that someone cared. I can't think of a moment when I felt more powerful against a system that made the man feel so low and gave a need for our work to fill in the first place.
(, Thu 11 Nov 2010, 15:55, 10 replies)
My ex once promised our four kids, then aged about 4-10, cake and custard after tea.
He shamefully reneged. The footy was on, or something, and he slunk off to watch TV.

The kids complained to me. I quickly made them four little protest signs, out of cardboard rectangles taped to rulers, which said 'Cake and custard NOW!' and 'Cake! Custard!' and so on.

They paraded them in front of their father, chanting 'We want cake and custard! We want cake and custard!' and totally disrupting his telly viewing.

Sighing like a true martyr, he dragged himself off into the kitchen to whip up the promised dessert. Pester power, eh!
(, Sat 13 Nov 2010, 20:14, 7 replies)
Pandas etc
I'm always getting emails from well meaning colleagues telling me that there are only 12 pandas left in the world or that the spotted sand crake in Mongolia is in danger of extinction. Accordingly, I should send a letter to the Chinese government - which will no doubt be read with great interest by the totalitarian regime that allows hundreds of thousands of its own people to die each year.

Pandas deserve to die. Look at the evidence:

1) Natural camouflage? Yup - stark black and white is great for bamboo forests.
2) Procreational activity? Yup - but only if a team of scientists spends years squeezing out a drop of panda jizz and inserting it with a turkey baster and incubating the young once they're immediately miscarried.
3) Easily accessible diet? Yup - provided they can get hold of fifty tonnes of bamboo shoots every single day in forests depleted by their own ravenous appetites.
4) Natural predators? - Yup - unless you count four billion Chinese who prize panda gonads for fertility pills.
5) Evolutionary suitability? Yup - the perfect morphology for a tree-climbing mammal is a fucking great fat bear.

Pandas are an evolutionary joke. Let 'em die.
(, Fri 12 Nov 2010, 10:38, 28 replies)
a tale of two cities
this story won't be news to anyone who's every been to the Middle East, but the 'moon on a stick' thing made me want to tell it, in the interests of perspective.

While I was in Kuwait, there were a number of protests, of greater and lesser magnitude, at polar ends of society. The working (under)class had the temerity to protest once when the water and power in their district was 'browned out', during the summer 55 degree heat and dust storms. The buses that they had to take to work were being blocked by bedouins in pickups, meaning that in order to make it out of the district they had to pay crippling fees to ride in the back of an open truck. Oh, and they hadn't been paid for something between 6-12 months, depending on the employers.

Grim. desperately, inhumanly grim.

So of course the riot police, in armoured cars, were wheeled out to show a bit of muscle, crack some heads and generally restore a degree of fear sufficient to ensure acquiescence.

Meanwhile, on the corniche, near the parliament buildings, the good Kuwaitis in their pristine dishdashas and flowing ninja suits were also protesting; chants in the streets, traffic blocked, sandals being thrown.

What outrage were they protesing?

The government, the third in 18 months, had failed to come good on a *RUMOUR* that it would wipe out all personal debts to Kuwaiti citizens.

Yes, that's right: people (I use the term out of habit, not without distaste) were protesting because they had recently gone out and bought new cars, boats and watches on credit because they thought the government would cancel their debts after the election. Crazy? No, it had happened twice before in 8 years; complete credit amnesty.

Meanwhile, indentured labourers, suicidal, desperate slaves were being beaten to death not 5 miles away demanding the right to at least *be able to get to their place of work*.

So the next time I see a hoody with an iPhone and a pair of expensive trainers throwing a brick through a window, I feel like offering him a little less moon and a little more stick.
(, Sat 13 Nov 2010, 14:18, 3 replies)
Me daughter done a protest last night
She's aged 3, but talks like a pro and comes out with some classics. Last night's one however was particularly daft and gave me a grin.

As part of the "bedtime" routine we've got her scrubbing her teeth, to the point now where she wants to learn how to put toothpaste on the brush herself. The only problem with this is that she keeps on messing about with the taps before picking up her toothbrush which may be great fun for a 3 year old, but not to the parent standing behind her who suddenly finds alot of water soaking their crotch.

So after a few seconds of arguing I get a bit annoyed and say "Right, put the toothbrush back, the bugs can stay in your mouth, go straight to bed."

She screams and cries as if I'd just shown her a photo of Gary Glitter and starts her protest by clamping herself to the sink.

"Um...what's the matter?"
And through a hail of tears and huffing she utters "I can feel the bugs eating my teeth, it hurts!"

Hell of a protest that.
(, Tue 16 Nov 2010, 12:39, 4 replies)
I never thought I'd achieve this level of web-based fame thanks to a very hastily knocked-together placard

...but more people emailed me about this than pretty much anything else I've done. I'm the one in the red T-shirt, incidentally.
(, Mon 15 Nov 2010, 10:27, 15 replies)
Housebreaking for the homeless
QOTW has brightened my Fridays for a year or two now, but this is the first time I've posted (edit. I forgot I posted once about 4 years ago, my I'm prolific!). I've been to a fair few protests in my time, although generally of the march from A to B, shout a bit and then go home variety. It's never been a major part of my life, but feel it's the least I can do.

My grandparents on the other hand...

They lived a life of political commitment, standing outside the South African consulate every week for the best part of the 80's for Anti-Apartheid for example. My grampa, now in his 90's, recently told me about some of his antics just after the second world war. A friend of his had just arrived back in Glasgow after fighting the Germans, and was appalled to see the homelessness in the city - massive slums compounded by the actions of the Luftwaffe and little rebuilding meant people were sleeping in derelict buildings for shelter. And just think, there were so many empty houses and flats in posh North Kelviside. They agreed to act. My granny and her pal pushed their prams round the West End, looking for empty properties. Duly noted, my grampa and his pals would break in, change the locks and re-house homeless families. This developed into the post-war Glasgow squatters movement. Maybe the folk would get moved on eventually, but it created pressure on the city to improve housing, and provided a little respite in the meantime.

Granny, I miss you so much. Grampa, you're still my hero.
(, Fri 12 Nov 2010, 18:03, 3 replies)
Protesting with Gershwin
As a student I went along on a few protests against government funding cuts to Universities. Among the many inane chants was one that went thus:

"You say cutback we say fightback!
You say cutback we say fightback!

I couldn't resist adding my own final line:

"Let's call the whole thing off!"
(, Fri 12 Nov 2010, 21:18, Reply)
Fuck the students, fund apprenticeships!
Little sister is at UCL, starting medicine. she was at those student demos, and watched as masked chaps from the socialist workers party turned up and proceeded to cause violence at Millbank.
It once again made me think of one of my pet annoyances, at which point I may sound a bit old and crusty. I'm actually 21.

I'm just coming to the end of a machinist apprenticeship. I've always loved engineering, so after doing A levels I decided I'd rather do this than go to uni. I was utterly fed up of learning, and didn't fancy the debts. Probably the best decision I ever made-I have a tidy sum saved up, a few old bikes to play with and regularly sit on my balcony eating a croissant.

Being in employment, I see a fair chunk of my salary disappear in tax. When you see it on your payslip, you tend to take more interest in how it is spent. Which is where the students come in...
Our education system is geared toward putting people through uni. Problem is, a lot of people aren't really uni material. They might not know what they want to do yet, or not have the academic ability. (The latter is by no means an insult, I work with loads of people who could never learn advanced maths/another language/ancient history, but give them some metal and a lathe, a file, a welder-practical ability like you wouldn't believe). Anyway, there are now a massive amount of former polytechnics catering for such people-courses with laughably low entry requirements, silly subjects or poor job prospects (I believe media studies graduates have a dreadful time getting a job, even with a decent degree). Added to this, uni is often seen as one massive party, learning being a minor inconvenience. Such as the girl I knew from school I met a few months back. "I'm going to study blah blah blah, whatever that is!"
Do I want to fund those students? Do I fuck! I don't mind funding engineers, doctors and people who, whatever their subject, have a genuine ability and love of it. I understand that helping such people means they get better jobs, and hence pay more tax etc, which is great. Unfortunately they seem to be treated the same as those who just want 3 years of alcohol and little to worry about. Don't even try and tell me a minimum pass in english studies will help anyone do anything.
(, Thu 11 Nov 2010, 13:43, 28 replies)

(, Fri 12 Nov 2010, 21:34, 4 replies)
Ann Widdecombe
At some point last year Ann Widdecombe and some other atrociously dislikable types turned up at my University's Union to engage in a debate about the ethics of abortion and stem-cell research. I say debate because the terms "farce" and "risible apology for the death of open discussion" might be seen as partisan by some.

A demonstration was organised by the socialists, feminists, and those other rare student types who believe in something, to protest against what were seen as the unacceptable views of a pompous, prejudiced out-of-touch crone. I was part of this as I have no problem admitting I'm a feminist (a man who believes equality is right, not one of those weedy, self-castrating male feminists who grovel apologetically for having a Y-chromosome, assume any women are right in all matters, hang around girls with dreadlocks all day being sensitive and angry at men, and remain inexplicably single) and as such think women should probably have a say in whether they go through the life-changing experience of dropping a sprog.

Anyway, it became obvious from as soon as the proceedings started that no-one's mind was going to be changed that day. If you were there for Ann Widdecombe you were there to get a congratulatory pat on the back and rim job for holding Christian values dear and opposing the evils of science. If you were there with the protest you were there to have your rage justified, knowing that people who disagreed with you still infuriatingly drew breath.

The evening took the form of a quartet of speeches from "experts" (Ann herself, a doctor and two loudmouths) about how abortion was eugenics by the back door, and how stem cell research was essentially taking the edge of a shovel to sweet little newborns. These were interrupted every few minutes by some of the smellier protesters chanting pointless slogans from the back of the room e.g. "No uterus - no say!" (way to alienate all your male supporters) or "Women's bodies - women's rights!", as if people in the audience would say "wow, I was against abortion before, but these people are REALLY loud!".

The panel argued against abortion with a speech that appeared to assume the pro-abortionists were arguing for enforced termination of pregnancies by way of booting each woman in the belly every three months, and finished with a Questions and Answers session. I had a couple of questions prepared, like "if abortion was criminalised, what would be done to prevent desperate women from seeking unsafe backstreet abortions?", but it turned out they had some questions prepared which they drew randomly from a box. I scarcely need to tell you that the questions were along the lines of "why are your ideas so sensible?" and "aren't women who get abortions just worthless working-class sluts anyway?".

Eventually most the protesters left in disgust, and the only debate of the night was immediately afterwards when a young mother approached one of the girls I was with and pointed out that women almost universally grew to love their children and that abortion is often regretted in the long run, which led to an actual exchange of statistics and philosophies, but still changed no-one's mind.

I'm still pro-choice, but I left that room deeply disillusioned, realising that rational debate was not a reality as long as anger and ignorance take a front seat, which they always will.
(, Thu 11 Nov 2010, 14:10, 11 replies)
On the receiving end
My fiancé has a guide dog. On account of the fact that he is blind.
Walking in town one day, a real looney toons animal rights twat shouts at him that guide dogs are all suffering and miserable and grabs the dog's harness and attempts to take the dog from him. My fiancé responded by grabbing the bloke's hand and twisting it round sharply at the thumb joint. The bloke let go and yelled like a girl, then beat a hasty retreat, followed by passers by who objected to someone assaulting a blind man and his guide dog. So indeed, he was correct, there was suffering, but it wasn't the dog.

What makes it amusing is that a) my fiancé has been instrumental in changing some of guide dogs for the blind's attitudes to certain training and health matters when he felt they were not in the animals best interests and b) both he and I have been quite active in the animal rights department over the years, but never ever through violence or man handling people going about their business or to the detriment or safety of either animals or humans.

However, no matter what you do for the causes you believe in, there will always be some genuinely mental dick head who will do shit like that and make you, by mere association, look like a lunatic. But being on the receiving end was surreal for him under the circumstances to say the least.
(, Tue 16 Nov 2010, 15:13, 9 replies)
Not mine but it made me chuckle on my way to work t'other day.....
Probably should have been in the vandalism qotw also, but I have had no control over the creative talent in this instance

(, Thu 11 Nov 2010, 23:56, Reply)
Scientologists - my own small protest
I don't do organized religion or theism in general, and have an irrational and perhaps occasionally unhealthy dislike of the "church" of scientology. It always struck me as a bit bizarre, Xenu and the Thetans always seemed like a science fiction story waiting to be made into a movie. When I read Heinlein's comment that it was the result of a bet, I put them in the charlatan column.

Two summers ago, at the local summer festival held in town, I happened to walk past a scientology recruitment booth, staffed by folk resplendent in red polo shirts. At the booth, earnest members of the "church" were in various stages of their slick recruitment, some using the E-meter "galvanometer of divine inspiration and test of personal happiness" on their slack-brained and feeble-minded prey.

Something clicked in me. Muttering a loud "well that's just a load of old bollocks" I wandered in and took a look at the instrument. "Measures skin resistance - needle will go all over the place if you're stressed out," I said to one of the hapless public. "Same principle as a lie detector - it doesn't do anything they're telling you, and the results are inconclusive and sometimes downright misleading." I became aware of being surrounded by red shirts. "Frankly, they're yanking your chain," I added.

One of the minions put his hand on my arm, attempting to move me. "You've got until I count three to remove your hand, or I will take action, and you won't be touching anything anytime soon." Wisely, he did, before attempting to wheedle me out of the booth. "I'm not going anywhere," I said, "this is public property, and I have as much right as you have to be here." They tried to engage me in conversation, "Well, no, I don't believe any of this frankly ludicrous nonsense. And yet you claim your principles are scientific. Show me the science, or even any evidence, that Xenu brought immortal humans to earth 75 millions years ago. Show me the evidence that they dropped atom bombs into volcanos. Show me one piece of evidence." Of course they couldn't.

They continued to try and surround me, but I just walked around, generally making an arse of myself, mumbling "utter bilge water" or "complete and utter arse wank" when I heard something particularly specious (and there was a lot of it.)

Finally, after about 2 hours, I tired of the game and wandered off. Walked through a couple of crowded stores, sneaking out of the back way. Hung out in a coffee shop for an hour. And then took a very circuitous route back to my car.

It was probably a waste of time, but frankly if I got one person to think a second time before being suckered into that cult, I consider it well spent.
(, Mon 15 Nov 2010, 20:06, 19 replies)
Smash the system
August 2004, Stornoway, Isle of Lewis.

Traveling through the area with friends we stopped at The Heb in Stornoway.

It's going to be a good night, according to the friendly locals. A band who used to play in the mid-1990s have reformed and are gigging here tonight.

And we weren't disappointed.

A truly ripping set, one which lasted well beyond the 2am licence agreement of the bar.

This was brought to an end in IN THE MIDDLE of a song, Rage Against The Machine to be precise.

2.10am, the police coming striding in the back door and signal to the band to stop playing.

The band oblige instantly, cutting the song short, which is fine, but the timing couldn't have been better:

"Fuck you I won't do what you tell me . . . .Fuck you I won't do what you tell me . . . . oh, yes, sorry officer."

Smash the system!
(, Fri 12 Nov 2010, 15:11, 21 replies)
Boycott shampoo!
Demand REAL poo.
(, Fri 12 Nov 2010, 6:06, 10 replies)
March 4th, 1992. The launch of HMS Vanguard, first of a fleet of unlimited range nuclear powered ballistic missile submarines. Five hundred feet long and fifteen thousands tonnes. A seriously awesome piece of engineering.

The student branch of CND were laying on coaches to Barrow to protest the launch. So of course quite a lot of students went. Were quite of lot of those students engineering students? Yes. Were they there because they held a deep, sincere ideological objection to the concept of nuclear war? Maybe. Were they mainly there because it was a chance to see one of these beauties up close, and be awestruck? You bet your ass. Let's just say not everyone was "protesting" as enthusiastically as some of the hippies were. The ones who actually CHEERED got some funny looks on the coach home...
(, Fri 12 Nov 2010, 13:47, 8 replies)
Broadband ????
Pah, fuck that. I still use dial-up and i find it just as fast as...

(, Fri 12 Nov 2010, 11:31, 6 replies)
As some of you may know....
I founded the Consumer Action Group.

Way back when it was still the Bank Action Group, we decided we would protest about the lack of, well, anything from the OFT - the people supposedly in place to ensure we get fair trade in our country, and to stop big, bad businesses from ripping us off from their monopolistic positions.
We told a few people about it, engaged other, similar websites, and generally figured we'd get a load of people up in London protesting about OFT inactivity.
After a few weeks, it was quite apparent that despite starting out disturbing a hornet's nest, people were as nonchalant as ever.
We quietly decided to drop the idea through lack of interest.
However, we'd already informed newspapers and TV news networks and as the planned date approached they started to report on it.
Word got about, and obviously we had to go through with it or we'd look like a bunch of amateurs - which, in fact, was exactly what we were.
The police got hold of it, and unknown to us, arranged a large police presence in the area, on horseback. With batons.
A few weeks later, the day arrived, so i get up early, get on a train and get to the meeting place outside the OFT.
There was, I think, around 12 of us.
12 of us, and about 70 coppers on horseback, and about 30 reporters.
We walked up to the doors of the OFT. About 10 massive bouncers (who presumably had been hired for the day) wouldn't let us in.
We went home.
We couldn't have looked sillier if we'd tried.
Well, apart from the one bloke who dressed up as Robin Hood. Looked more like the green goblin.
(, Thu 11 Nov 2010, 18:08, 22 replies)
decided to foist their new overdraft charges onto us. Rather than pay interest on the overdraft balance, they changed it to the 'easier to understand' £1 a day whilst you're in your OD. And if you go over your OD limit, that becomes £5 per day. Being well into an OD and being too fiscally challenged to pay it off before the new charges came into effect (if we wanted to eat, pay bills and keep a roof over our head that is) meant that we were now going to be charged double what we were paying before. FUck that I thought. So I wrote to them and told them that although they are entitled to change their T&Cs, I am not going to agree to them and asked to them to freeze the account or at least carry on charging the old interest rate whilst we pay it off.
Did they listen? Did they bunnies. So we jumped ship and went to another bank, leaving that one in limbo. I wrote again four more times telling them they can't force us to accept their charges and each time they said 'tough shit'.
I got FOS involved, but they were as much use as a plastic frying pan.

So, 9 months later with best part of a grand added on in unlawful charges and debt collection agencies writing to me and calling and sending texts, I wrote to the bank demanding the signed copy of the agreement between us that showed that I had agreed to their new charges. The agreement that doesn't exist. Nothing showed up so I wrote again quoting various credit agreement regulations and so on.
A few weeks later, we received a reply saying that they've refunded all the new charges (£1060), frozen all new charges and asked if I'd phone them up to arrange a payment plan.


Especially considering that I was happy to carry on paying the interest which would've probably added several pounds to the total.

I now need to check if they've added any blemishes to my credit record.
(, Mon 15 Nov 2010, 15:03, 3 replies)
I don't know if this is even real, but it makes me chuckle

(, Sat 13 Nov 2010, 16:38, 1 reply)
I like the irony
in pictures of protests by the English Defence League where they carry placards with (and I'm paraphrasing here) "boo to Muslims"

And yet half of them have their face covered leaving only the eyes showing.
(, Sat 13 Nov 2010, 15:33, 7 replies)
Sticking it to the man
During my GCSEs, my graphics teacher really didn't like me, and he wasn't shy about showing it. Any thing that went wrong was my fault, despite me being well behaved.

My mates saw this and used it to wind me up. If I left my seat somthing would be missing when I got back, pen, paper, bag, coat, it was all hidden. Eventualy I stopped finding it funny, so carted everything with me. I had beat them, i could finaly do the work I needed to catch up on.

I got back to my desk, where nothing could be missing, except my desk was missing. Obviouly this caused fits of giggles and me doffing my cap to the lads. At this point, the teacher noticed somthing was wrong. "Why arnt you working mong?" He asked.
"Because my desk has been stolen sir." I explained.
"Get to work!" he demanded, angered by my valid point.
"Sir, I havn't got a desk!"
"If your not sat at a desk working in 5 seconds your in detention all week!" he shouted.
"FINE!" was my reply.
I walked up to his desk and began to work. He quickly decided to take charge and find my desk.
(, Mon 15 Nov 2010, 18:41, Reply)
A Very British Protest
Tony Blair, erstwhile Prime Mover in this here country of ours, did a big pamphlet all by himself. And some other people. But mainly him. His macabre, gormless look of repressed sexual longing is staring out at everyone from the cover and so we can assume he put most of the work in. And it's about the job he had before he wrote the book about the job.

People started hiding it. These were the twee-er types of protester, who presumably had to fill the void left in the lives by the cancellation of Last of the Summer Wine by coming up with other attempts at almost offensively gentle comedy. Some people wanted it banned, because apparently Freedom of Speech doesn't apply to people that you really don't like. Hiding it is also a form of censorship of course, though not a very good one. But it was done en masse as an act of protest, accelerated by a Facebook group.

Now, I'm not massively keen on Tony Blair. I think he's convinced himself of the benevolence of his actions, but then I think that anyone who wants the job of Prime Minister is dangerously insane anyway. Who wants to have all those deaths on their hands? Because being an MP is likely enough to give you direct responsibility for having to lie, and cheat, and occasionally cause a death. You have to OD on idealism to get anywhere near Number 10 or else you'd have a breakdown. However I think that the idea to move his book, far from being a 'wonderfully British protest' (which must be why we're such a dominant world power these days) is a pathetic indication of how little ability the average citizen has to influence anything. Some people seemed to acknowledge this, and said 'At least it'll be a bit of fun for us!' Which seems to be paraphrasing Nietzsche to saying 'I stared into the Abyss, and the Abyss stared back...so I mooned the Abyss, and people were like "Yeah, you totally pwned that Abyss!" and the Abyss was like "Dude, I have literally no idea who you are."'

There was also the argument that satire and humour are the best weapons to bring down the political classes. Except that this seemed to presume that the message was going to filter through to Tony Blair, and also to people visiting the bookshop.

NO-ONE, absolutely NO-ONE is going to go into a bookshop looking for the new Mark Billingham and say 'Why, but this is Tony Blair's book! In the Crime Section! Surely some mistake? But wait, NO! I see it all now! This means he's a criminal! Oh the wool has been pulled from my eyes and no mistake! Thank heavens that some responsible citizen has taken the book and put it here so that I can see that, rather than being the Prime Minister whose decisions I wasn't entirely comfortable with but I kept voting in anyway, the man is a mass murdering zealot! I shall now go forth and devote my life to putting him behind bars!'

But on the other hand, Tony Blair came into the bookshop I work at the other day. He was skipping merrily, as is his wont. 'Hullo boys and girls, ladies and germs! Isn't it a wunnerful day! he cried, beaming his mesmeric smile across the entire bookshop despite this being a physical and mental impossibility. He radiated sunbeams from his anal cleft, and came Factor 50 Suntan Lotion into the face of a small child so he would not burn his soft body by farting UV rays on him. 'Thank you Tony Blair!' chirruped the small child, who ran straight to the embrace of his adoring mother's hip. Tony saluted the mother, who waves her lace handkerchief at him in celebration at this people's champion. But then the smile disappeared from Tony's face, and disappeared forever.

There was a copy of his book in the Crime section.


Tony Blair's upper lip was not stiff. His eyes lost their lustre.

'But...unless I wrote a Crime Fiction book starring myself as the main character hunting down the terrible Sadsama B'Insania and his Cudgels of Massively Traumatising A Series of Prostitutes About the Head and Arms...unless all of that...then that means...'

At this point Tony Blair let out a terrible bellow. No words. Just the raw and horrible sounds of a wounded animal. He bellowed so loud that he woke up Keir Hardie. He bellowed so terribly that God shed a single tear. Looking down from Heaven, Diana immediately cried out in empathy.

Tony Blair bellowed. He continued bellowing for around seven to eight minutes.

Then, when he had finally stopped, bloody saliva flecking the floor around him, he curled up into the foetal position around the Non-Fiction 3 for 2 browser, and never got up.

Security Camera footage showed his body turning into ash at around 3.47 am.

Strangely enough, this happened in every single shop people moved his book in.

Actually I'm lying. It happened in none of them. If someone told Tony Blair that several thousand people moved his book, I doubt it'd peturb him more than the many thousands more who went on anti-war protests. Anyone who saw the book in the Crime section and agreed with the sentiment laughed once, possibly saying 'LOL' out loud, and then got on with their lives. The end result was some severely irked booksellers and people who may have been neutral coming to Tony Blair's defence. No-one who was meant to be annoyed was even slightly bothered by this protest. Not that it was much of a protest, just a load of people sharing an in-joke that wasn't sufficiently funny to bear repeating. At best it was a political statement that would entertain people who did not need to be convinced of the sentiment it represented. At worst it was a colossal waste of fucking time and effort that could have been better spent coming up with an actual protest that didn't compromise anyone's values.

But then I am biased. I work in a bookshop. We sell Mein Kampf. Twilight. Harry Potter. The Chopper books. A 'Painful Lives' section. A whole section devoted to religion and Mind, Body and Soul books. I don't think a bookshop's job is to pick what people should read, but to stock what people want to read, even if it's controversial and even if it's utter crap.

So if 25% of the population think that Tony Blair is a war criminal, perhaps it is time for one of them to write a book about it? There's a market after all, and compiling a list of the evidence could hardly hurt. And hey, it'd give you a chance to show how tolerant you are when Cherie hires people to go around and put it in the Conspiracy Theories section.

Which is, oddly, shelved in between Mind, Body and Spirit and Religion as the filling in some sort of bullshit sandwich.
(, Sun 14 Nov 2010, 19:18, 3 replies)
The Geneva situation...
The Geneva Demo - aka I thought the Swiss were peaceful!?

About 2002 I was having a short break in Geneva, it was cold and frosty and out for a walk one morning I noticed there was a lot more activity on the streets than previous days....

As I walked along every few minutes another police van would pull up and a dozen police officers jump out and put on their riot gear. I began to get that sinking feeling that trouble was brewing and I was inclined to try and avoid it.

Slowly I noticed more and more people walking along with me, now in the road as well as the pavement, they were all going in the same direction as me. So I nipped down a side street thinking I'll get away from this lot. That's when I noticed the tank.

Yep, a f*cking tank! The Swiss police choose to deal with protestors by using a tank! Ok, so it didn't fire projectile weapons, evidently it had one of those water cannon things instead, but none the less a tank! I was face to face with it. I just stopped in awe and looked at it, the fella sat on the top looked up from whatever pre-fight checks he was making and looked at me. It was an awkward exchange as we summed oneanother up. I chose to wave and made a hasty exit.

One street over and I looked to my left to see the road blocked by a wall of police with riot shields... to my right, the protestors were a sea of people 50m up the road. I crossed the street and carried on, street after street the same was seen and I realised I was stuck in the hinterland between the police and the protestors. Eventually I ran out of roads when I reached a T-junction instead of a cross roads.

I stood on the corner weighing up my options, the roar of the crowd was deafening... that's why I didn't hear the projectiles until the first near miss. A few stones began to rain down on the road in front of me, then a firework rocket flew past just inches from my face, hitting the wall a few feet away. Fuck this I thought!

I hastily walked toward the police line. My way was blocked, I said to the officers "I need to get through, my hotel is over there!" but their cold dead stare looked right through me. Starting to panic I had a sudden brainwave. I reached into my pocket and pulled out.... my passport. I waved the golden coat of arms in front of them gesturing wildly that I clearly wanted to get away from here. That's when a senior officer behind the riot line tapped the officers in front on the shoulder and like an automatic door they slid out of my way and smiled??? Free to walk through like nothing was wrong.

I went back to my hotel and turned on the news, there I could see the protestors going nuts smashing up shop windows and hurling things at the police. I could hear the roar outside the windows, nevermind on the tv! My mind flicked back to the tank and I wondered how bad it would have to get before they use it.

In many ways I've a lot of admiration for those police, standing their ground in the face of a huge angry crowd, but at the same time they're pretty scary and I have to wonder where the protestors got the balls to square up to them.

All I know is that it put me off the idea of protesting. Sure many will have the right idea for a peaceful demonstration of their views, but it only takes a small minority to turn it into a rampage...
(, Fri 12 Nov 2010, 10:19, 1 reply)
i protested against a protest
when i was a more idealistic teenage smash, there was a new rule passed in my school: no girl was to wear trousers, only skirts. as you can imagine, many of the girls were annoyed about this. "boys can wear trousers, why can't we?" they asked.
a perfectly reasonable question, i'm sure you'll agree.
the girls decided to protest outside the gym hall, as they were pissed off the most about having to wear gym skirts instead of shorts. as they were busy shouting their anti-sexist slogans, i asked sarah(the ringleader) if boys should be allowed to wear skirts if they wanted.
"don't be fucking stupid," she sneered, "of course they can't wear skirts, they're boys!"
she truly couldn't understand why i laughed in her face.
(, Thu 11 Nov 2010, 19:11, 9 replies)
Ethelred's inspired me to re-post this - I'd never considered it a protest
Nekkid Woman:

My ex-stepmother is far too worthy, self-righteous and power-happy to do anything other than make an utter fool of herself in absolutely everything she does. She is also so egotistical she is prone to create rather disturbing, bordering on the abusive, but ultimately in hindsight terrifically funny scenes like that detailed below, as a result:

When I was about 14, I'd got to the stage that I was decorating my room and generally turning into a bit of a punk/goth, so there were a lot of drapes and "arty" pictures in my room.

My wardrobe door was a bit tatty, so one day when I passed a shop selling long, thin posters, I decided to get one to cover it.

The one I chose was of a topless woman standing by a deep red velvet curtain, holding a black rose, by a white marble plinth thing (I make no apology - I was 14 - full of poetry and wobbly-voiced sincerity).

I put it up and that was that.

That evening my stepmother knocked on my door, opened it a crack, and told me "Vagabond - I don't like your poster. It's demeaning to women so I want you to take it down and throw it away."

She'd obviously planned this, as I played straight into her hands.

"It's only a naked woman - it's nothing to be ashamed of."

"Oh YEAH?!" she replied "Well if you want to see what a naked woman looks like, HERE IT IS!" and she burst in, in her birthday suit.

She danced around the room several times, tore down my poster, tore it into little pieces, threw the little pieces all over the room, and ran out.
(, Wed 17 Nov 2010, 11:29, 7 replies)
story reminds me of how i fought against facism just the other day, when the BNP were outside the Royal Courts of Justice (all 5 of them). A fat lady offered me a leaflet, but I said no thank you and gave her a right look.
(, Mon 15 Nov 2010, 22:24, 1 reply)
My Grandad
He had to have his out when he turned 70.

Said it had started burning when he went for a piss.
(, Thu 11 Nov 2010, 19:29, 2 replies)

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