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Tony Grist

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Saturday Afternoon in the City [Aug. 8th, 2004|10:47 am]
Tony Grist
Alice and J have a flat just across from the pub where the Leicester City football hooligans assemble before a match.

There were about 30 police in front of the pub- and many more scattered up and down the street. The plan was to keep the hooligans inside the pub and within a narrow corridor in front of it. Then they were allowed out in small groups and escorted up the road with a couple of police minders.

The operation was very good natured. The police and the hooligans seemed to be chatting amicably. The Leicester hooligans are called something like "The Baby Bunch" or the "Baby Band"- presumably because the look is fat and bald.

It was the hottest day of the summer. After the hooligans had marched away, the annual Caribbean carnival came up the street. There were some lovely Rio-style costumes- great winged creatures- butterflies and birds of paradise- one with a skirt so wide it filled the street from pavement to pavement.

The trouble didn't kick off until after we left. We were on the train and Al texted us to say that there were two armies having a stand-off under her windows.

I'd like to have a city centre flat. Looking down on trouble gives me the same feeling I get from lying in bed listening to high winds or thunder. I feel safe and comforted.



Alice & Jaymz
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: michaelkeane
2004-08-08 07:36 am (UTC)
Seems you'd need to be more wary of the players causing trouble than the fans, if Leicester striker Dion Dublin's headbutt yesterday was anything to go by.

Baby Band.. how cute.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2004-08-08 09:04 am (UTC)
Dion Dublin- it's a bit like a Boy Named Sue: with a name like that you just gotta be hard.
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[User Picture]From: jackiejj
2004-08-08 02:19 pm (UTC)
I'd like to have a city centre flat. Looking down on trouble gives me the same feeling I get from lying in bed listening to high winds or thunder. I feel safe and comforted.


Exactly!

Whenever the wind rises at night, I hurry off to bed, and I always take a book of ghost stories with me. My bed is next to my window, and I have big pine trees that shelter my house; in high winds they lash against the house, and I can look up through the boughs and watch the lightning.

During the scariest lightning storms, I like to read from my favorite book, The Elements Rage, written in the forties by an English meteorologist. I can easily imagine dark skies over old farmhouses with frightened farmers within.

Here's a sample:

"Lightning causes a drop in the electrical charge in the thundercloud. It recharges in about 20 seconds and is then ready for another flash.

"People who have been in the midst of a violent thunderstorm have experienced this 'recharging' for themselves. Ann Strong, who was caught on a mountainside in British Columbia during such a storm, says of the lightning:

"'After each strike we moved in silence for a while, with only the tearing wind and slashing rain. Then the rocks would begin a shrill humming, each on a slightly different note. The humming grew louder and louder. You could feel a charge building up in your body. Our hair stood on end. The charge increased, and the humming swelled, until everything reached an unbearable climax. Then the lightning would strike again--with a crack like a gigantic rifle shot. The strike broke the tension. For a while we would grope forward in silence. Then the humming would begin again.'"

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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2004-08-08 03:14 pm (UTC)
Terrific! The humming in the rocks! Wow!

I can't remember a time when I didn't think storms were grand- or a time when I didn't love ghost stories. The difference is that the storms didn't frighten me, but the ghost stories did. Isn't it odd how one can be addicted to fear.
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From: archyena
2004-08-08 04:23 pm (UTC)
Addicted to fear, eh? Might I sell you a high rise condo in Manhattan?
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2004-08-09 01:41 am (UTC)
No dice; my friend Rosemary has warned me about people like you....
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[User Picture]From: jackiejj
2004-08-08 05:48 pm (UTC)

"A Dismal, Universal Hiss"

At the risk of boring you with another quote from my favorite book, The Elements Rage,the one below is a companion to the discussion about the hikers caught on the British Columbian mountainside. I love to read them together:

"F. F. Tucker was on a mountain near Susa, Italy, where there was a massively built chapel some 15 feet in diameter. A heavy thunderstorm came on and the summit of the mountain was electrified. [Sounds just like a good ghost story beginning, doesn't it?]

"'As the clouds swept by, every rock, every loose stone, the uprights of the rude railing outside the chapel, the ruined signal, our axes, my lorgnette and flask, and even my fingers and elbows, set up "a dismal universal hiss."

"'It was as though we were in a vast nest of excited snakes, in a battery of frying pans, or listening at a short distance to the sustained note of a band of cigali [cicada] in a chestnut wood--a mixture of comparisons which may serve sufficiently to convey the impression that the general effect was indescribable.'"
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2004-08-09 01:45 am (UTC)

Re: "A Dismal, Universal Hiss"

"my lorgnette"?

That's rather wonderful. Somewhere down the line I mean to write a medieval romance set in Italy. It's now obvious to me that I'm going to have to strand one or other of my characters on an Appenine peak in a thunderstorm.
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