Tuesday, May 19, 2009

No Pors Here

I am in an Internet café and the keys are sticky. There is a sign above by head that reads:


It is duly signed:


I voluntarily removed myself from Ben's house today, as he is busy applying for jobs and things, and so does not need me hanging around putting the cat on his head. All three of us tire of that quite quickly. We also tire quickly of me diving onto the computer as soon as he so much as lifts his hands from the keyboard. So I have left him in peace. Although I strongly suspect that as soon as I shut the front door he was frantically searching for some illicit porographs.

I like Internet cafés. I find the proximity of strangers makes it easier for me to blog, and write in general. Perhaps because, over the years, most of my blogging has taken place whilst avoiding work in busy offices. This is better, though, because I don't have to constant threat of senior members of staff asking awkward questions that force me to lie badly about a report that is "nearly done" or fabricate some kind of "problem with the photocopier".

Guerrilla busking was cool. I found it very nerve-wracking, what with all the daylight and in-the-middle-of-the-street-ness, but I'm so glad we did it. We were without a loop pedal in the end, but it didn't seem to matter. It was a bizarre feeling, singing to people in anoraks, leaning against bicycles or pointing cameras through the light drizzle. Some people stopped and put money in the hat, others just looked away quickly, as if somehow making a spectacle of oneself in the street might be catching. I loved the whole atmosphere of it, though. It felt so naughty. Although later on I was told that at no point did anyone try to stop any of the acts. It might have been more fun if we'd had the chance to stand up to some angry policemen, but that, I have been assured, was not the point of the day. There was some music played and money raised for an excellent cause.

The following day (Saturday) I went to work. To get to the café I walk through Piccadilly Gardens, and there I saw something that made me feel quite shouty. A big P.A. system, a huge red banner, and about thirty people wearing red t-shirts. Emblazoned across the t-shirts and the banner were the words "JESUS SAVES! (Manchester)." People were whooping their applause as one man finished speaking into the microphone by saying "If Jesus wasn't alive, I wouldn't be either!" He passed the mic on to someone else and he began in a similar vein. "I love Jesus! Who here loves Jesus?" More applause, and a bit of hugging.

Shoppers were crowding around, clutching bulging Primark bags and looking baffled. Probably about one hundred people had gathered so see what all the fuss was about.

Now, Piccadilly Gardens can't be an easy place to set up a camp like that without council permission. There is no chance that this demonstration, the message booming and echoing around the busiest part of Manchester on the busiest day of the week, was not sanctioned. Somebody looked at this proposal and thought it would be appropriate for a Saturday afternoon in one of the UK's most ethnically and religiously diverse cities, to allow people to spout their particular brand of propaganda into microphones turned up to eleven.

Jesus Saves! Fine, I thought, speak your beliefs. Fine, if the council thinks it's acceptable to have this group speak, then that's alright. (Although it isn't.) But, in the name of equality, surely they must offer the same opportunities to everyone else with a belief system. The Muslims, can they have a go? How about the Buddhists? And, pray tell, are you extending your microphones to the Scientologists?

I am all, as they say, for freedom of speech. But get a sandwich board and a megaphone, like the rest of the fucking crazies. If the council is allowing one group to take over a city centre on a busy shopping day, but not another, that is discriminatory and wrong.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how I came to spend my Saturday night writing strongly-worded emails to the council. I wonder, have I got this wrong? Is it no worse than a big advertising campaign, coming down to who has the money to buy their way into people hearts and therefore wallets? I couldn't find anything about who it was, or why that particular day, so if anyone knows or can tell me anything about it I would be very interested.

So this Saturday I am singing at a wedding for someone in Coronation Street, in Salford Catherdral. Yikes. My solo is "We've Only Just Begun." I am quite scared.

But my fear will have to wait, as I have been here now for over an hour and I've got a hankering for some hardcore porography, so I'll have to go home.


Anonymous Rage Against The Dying of the Light said...

T...two posts? I...in a week...wow.

"Although I strongly suspect that as soon as I shut the front door he was frantically searching for some illicit porographs."You girls are so suspicious. Do you think that's all boys do when left alone with a computer? Anyway, he'd hardly (sorry) have had to search frantically.

"there I saw something that made me feel quite shouty"I like the adverb, but (as I was saying before I caught grammar) it would have been especially entertaining if you'd shouted your rant at them at the time. Now that would have been naughty and probably required you to stand up to some policemen.

"But get a sandwich board and a megaphone, like the rest of the fucking crazies." Particularly this bit.

4:26 pm

Blogger Ellie said...

I think it's discriminatory that Jesus Saves (Manchester). What about London, Liverpool, Leeds? What has He got against the denizens of non-Manchester variety?

Maybe if you believed in Jesus strongly enough, you wouldn't be afraid and you wouldn't have that hankering for that there porography.

8:36 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey mr.léonie head..

i don't reckon the council does anything to make this kind of protest/jesus fest more possible than others- it would surprise me anyway. But then I do live in France.

I have a new blog, have you seen it?

and also, are you singing on coronation street or am i only dreaming (+eternal love etc)

ps. impish

11:20 pm

Blogger online again said...

I just popped by to say I am glad you are still blogging! (I used to read your blog a lot).

You still write fabulously.

9:16 pm

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Leonie

I am trying to contact you. I am pleased you are well. Please call
x Katerina

11:48 am

Blogger Miss Devylish said...

Oh isn't that normal for Christianity? I find the one man's sense of logic odd that if Jesus wasn't alive, he wouldn't be either. Um.. does he think he's a direct descendent? I'm just curious. I'm pretty sure whether Jesus lived or not, and I'm sure he might've, I'm just not sure he's the Son of God.. or if God exists.. or whatever. MY POINT is that REGARDLESS.. ahem.. 2 other people created him. And I wouldn't get shouty about it.. but I've got a dire need to tap that man on the shoulder and ask him.. like, genuinely. That's all I'm saying.

7:59 pm


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