Friday, 31 May 2013

My Personal Revolution Against 'The Man.' This Is Just The Beginning.

I am not a man to worry about what others think of me. I consider myself a decent sort, approachable and honest of intent. I don't want to deftly remove cash from your account whilst selling you crap, nor beat you to within an inch of your life because you happen to disagree with me on a few issues.

I get through life pretty easily with minimal fuss and avoidance of confrontation. Until that is, confrontation comes my way. You only have to turn on the news to discover the vast array of confrontation that is currently ongoing around the world due to religion, politics, shady business deals and common thievery of resources on an epic scale. I am but one man with one vote, therefore small fry in the minds of those that seek to control.

As I say, I avoid confrontation but it sometimes has a nasty habit of seeking me out. Take yesterday for example. All I wanted was to stop for a coffee, rest a while and then move on. It would seem however that now you have to pay for the privilege of spending your own money. Everywhere you stop the car, you have to pay 'the man.' Well I don't want to pay 'the man.' Not any more.

Why should I pay 'the man' 80p for 30 minutes parking so that I can go and spend £2.65p for a coffee that takes me five minutes to get, therefore costing me a grand total of £3.45p for the whole experience? Lets say I wanted to buy a 50p newspaper a little later on in a different high street. 60p to park, for local councils are nothing if not inconsistent in pricing, plus 50p for the paper, £1.10p in total. That means I have to spend £1.40p to spend £3.15p.

Now I could, if I were the sort, not pay the parking charges in the hope of getting away with it. Nip in, nip out and drive away with the maniacal laughter of a seasoned super criminal, and no one is any the wiser. I am however, not the sort to get away with it. I never am. Trust me, the moment I walked out of sight would be the moment the parking attendant would discover my illegal transgression and hit me with a £60.00 charge for my impertinence against the system of 'the man.' (£30.00 if paid within 14 days.)

I don't want to pay £63.45p for a cup of coffee, (£33.45 if paid within 14 days) not even one where the coffee bean has passed through the digestive system of the lesser African jungle stoat. So I poke my coins into the slot of misery and pay 'the man.'

Well no more. Not only do I resent paying global business £2.65p for a coffee, I also resent paying 'the man' his slice of the pie. I have devised an ingenious plan to get my own back, thereby saving me a not inconsiderable sum of money in the process, and contributing to the demise of the high street.

I've bought a flask. 3 mugs of lovely hot java, made to my own recipe and without the corporate bollocks of sustainable, forest friendly, fair price marketing so beloved of the corporate suit. No more the comfortable seats, the choccy-Mocha-capo with hazelnut syrup and people watching on the local tree lined boulevards. No more.

I can now park in a condom, dog shit and litter strewn, council controlled roadside layby of my own choice, whilst at the same time, lifting two fingers to the parking charges of town centres. That my friends, is the sweet sweet smell of success, and of getting one over on 'the man.'

That'll show 'em.

Paul Martin is @ukcameraman on Twitter.

Thursday, 23 May 2013

I've Just Slowed Down A Little, That's All.

So here I sit in my car, looking out to sea. Southsea, Portsmouth in the late spring is breezy with a washed out sun and the threat of rain. I sip at my just purchased hot chocolate and nibble on a sandwich. I feel relaxed.

Watching the Isle Of Wight ferries slip lazily over the Solent, eying the passers by in their wind cheaters whilst trying to enjoy ice cream, made for an enjoyable afternoon of people watching and general fulfilment in my life.

I looked into the car parked next to mine. An elderly couple, sipping hot chocolate, stared out from their own windscreen. The tiny old lady was frail looking. She removed a limp sandwich from her sandwich box and gave it a gummy mangling. I looked over to my passenger seat to where my own sandwich box lay and as I did so, noticed the old man in the car to my left. He was sipping a hot drink and eating his sandwich.

I returned my gaze to the waves of the Solent. Instead of me watching the passers by, the passers by seemed to be looking at me and my elderly companions, lined up in our cars on the seafront, sipping hot chocolate and gumming our sandwiches to pass the time of old age... Waiting for death.

I'm only 46 years old. I'm not ready to go yet. I only came here to eat my lunch and have a hot drink whilst watching the world go by. I switched on the radio. BBC Radio 4, that's good, there is some interesting debates on in a while.

So here I sat in row of car bound, elderly people waiting for the inevitability of the cold clutch of death as we ate our sandwiches and sipped our hot chocolate. I wanted to run from the car and leap, bollock naked into the sea shouting "How's this for being middle aged?" But then remembered my bad back and decided against it.

I could sit on the sea wall, bare chested, drink a can of Special Brew and whistle at the passing babes. No, maybe not, there's a chill in the air and a threat of showers later in the afternoon. Summers aren't what they used to be when I was a lad. Anyway, I'm not as buff as I used to be. Moobs are not de-riguer.

I took out a sandwich and bit manly into it. Mayo slipped down onto my chest staining my newest fleece jacket. The Missus is going to kill me. I noticed that the little old lady in the car next to me had nodded off. In the car to my left, the old man was looking through a pair of vintage binoculars at the passing ferries. It started to rain.

Has my life really got to the stage where I would happily sit in my car, listening to Radio 4 and drinking hot chocolate? Hell no. I'm still youngish, I have all my own grey hair and most of my teeth. I might even go down the pub tonight, have a few large ones with the boys... Ah, hang on, it's the last in the series if Midsummer Murders, I can't miss that.

No. I'm not old yet. I've just slowed down a little. That's all. That's what I tell myself as I feel my eyes getting heavier, and I nod off the tunes of Jamie Cullum on Radio 4.

Paul Martin is @ukcameraman on Twitter.