September 21st, 2021

False Alarm

W rang yesterday afternoon and said all the petrol stations were running out of petrol and we needed to fill up immediately if we didn't want to be stranded. "Here it comes," I thought, "The end of civilisation as we know it. Stay calm, stay calm, stay calm." I checked with the online news sites but there was nothing there and when six o'clock came round I did something I haven't done in months and switched on the TV News- first the national news from the BBC and then the local news from ITV- and they had nothing either. Shortly afterwards my mother's carer showed up and said she'd had the same call and had gone to fill up just in case and there was no queue at the pumps and no sign of anything being wrong.

Ailz suggests that someone who watches too many American movies had heard there was a shortage of gas (which is indeed the case), had taken this to mean petrol- and had sent out an alarm- and the misinformation had gathered colourful increments as it rolled from phone to phone.

So civilisation (if you can call it that) staggers on for one day longer...

Alice In The Cities

I never latched onto Wim Wenders. He came on the scene at a time when I was busy getting my career and first marriage under way and was less open to new experiences than before. We'd had the French New Wave and a British New Wave (sort of) and the New Hollywood of Scorsese et al- and a German New Wave seemed like a stretch too far. Too much to take in. And German's are dour and humourless, right?

But the BFI channel has a lot of Wenders on offer right now and I'm going to play catch up. Last night I took in Alice in the Cities- which is a cool road movie, with charm and not a lot of plot- and when the cop catches up with the man and the runaway kid he makes a joke of their going awol- which I hadn't expected at all- and nobody gets into any kind of serious trouble. There's some portentous talkiness near the beginning- which we really don't need- but afterwards it's mainly just the man and the kid eating up the miles- and they're not going to be talking philosophy are they? We move from America to Amsterdam to West Germany. There are streets and cheap cafes and motels and hotels. And hire cars and trains and planes. And rock and roll music- which is par for the course these days but- as Chris Petit points out- was still pretty fresh in 1974- with an unexpected appearance by Chuck Berry (decolourised from footage shot and owned by D.A Pennebaker because Pennebaker wanted less money for his stuff than Berry did) thrown in for good measure. The man is happier at the end of the movie than he was at the beginning and maybe the kid is happier too and they've experienced some tedium and had some fun and- though there's now a firm destination in sight- the film chooses to leave them in transit- leaning out of the window of a train- with the camera zooming up into the sky and taking in a vast expanse of a world that's still to explore...

Re False Alarm

The local online newsletter confirms that there have been fuel shortages in the Tunbridge Wells area- and some filling stations are out of juice.

And what's to blame is a shortage of HGV drivers. And what's to blame for that is Brexit. And what's to blame for Brexit is...

So, anyway, the warning we got yesterday wasn't baseless after all.

Call it a shot across the bows.

The shortage of HGV drivers isn't going to be rectified any time soon. We've already seen supermarkets failing to fill their shelves and farm animals going unslaughtered because there's no CO2 for the stun guns they use in abattoirs- and we've been hearing that gas supplies are threatened- which we know to be the case because government spokespeople have been saying they aren't. The supply chains are breaking down- and we can expect random and localised shortages of anything that has to be transported a distance.