Monday, 13 October 2014

All manner of life lurks inside my clippings folder!

Yep, rip it out.

My hands twist and move with the skill of familiarity, as I tear the newspaper story out neatly.

Well, there’s a smudged Marmitey thumbprint on the top left corner but this is not a museum piece. It’s just another cutting heading for my clippings folder.

One of the security blankets of a columnist, having a mixture of tiny stories tucked away helps you sleep at night. Plundered from random newspapers, in the regions of pages 14-21, they offer either underreported horrors or perplexing and astonishing truths.

Off to the office, armed with Bernie Ni Fhlatharta’s piece from this noble rag last week about Galway’s inestimable writer Walter Macken, along with the article by Charlie Brooker in The Guardian’s G2 that I’ve just ripped out.

Brooker was splattering his particular own brand of disdain toward Apple software updates and U2.

“Then Apple comes along and slings them under your nose like a bowl of bum soup you didn’t order.”

Like so much in this ancient and wielding clippings folder, it’ll never be used.

Mind you, I just wrote about it, so hang on in there, you other little stories of old. There may be hope for you yet. These cuttings don’t tend to be used because with the wondrous human race, there’s no shortage of material. Yet it’s good to know all those embryos are in that file, desperate to be reborn in column inches.

Some of them are outdated, others unattributed, but each has for some reason caught my eye, raised an eyebrow -

- oh, okay, that was a mistake. Big mistake. I dared to look; to go into the folder and dig out some of those stories. That was hours ago. The day is nearly gone and my mind is spinning with madness, tragedy and hilarity.

Don’t know which paper or when, but a story by Miriam Elder reveals that Russia is going back to paper. Elder explains that the Federal Guard Service (FSO), a “...powerful body tasked with protecting Russia’s highest-ranking officials...” have decided that they can no longer trust either digital or electronic communications.

Ever since Dmitry Medvedev was ‘listened to’ while attending the G20 Summit in London, the Russians have been on their most paranoiac post-Soviet tippy-toes. Even though Edward Snowden and the Wikileaks affair did plenty to harm their enemies, the Russians’ eyes have been opened to the vulnerability of microchip culture.

Never backward in coming forward in matters of security and confidentiality (read ‘KGB intimidation’) the Russians are now distrustful of progress. The FSO, like Putin himself, now yearns for yesteryear, doubtless to a time when the Soviet Empire was a mighty beast.

Ah, those were the days.

“Sergei, order in 20 Triumph Adler typewriters. Enough of these blasted Capitalist computers! With these Triumph typewriters each key has a signature, every letter can be traced. We know these ways well.”

Yes, it’s easy to lose oneself in fancy Back to the Future fantasies, but the
typewriters have been ordered, and according to a source inside the FSO:

“...the practice of creating paper documents will expand.”
Equally weird and just as far from morally wonderful comes a story from the Daily Mirror’s David Anderson.

Have to admit a vested interest here. When I were t’lad I’d pay my £2.50 at the Stamford Bridge turnstiles and watch Chelsea play live and almost direct. The men in that team ate the same, drank the same and pretty much lived the same lives as me, save for the fact that they beat up 11 other men for 90 minutes in front of a crowd each week, and had the honour of wearing Chelsea Blue.

So it’s pretty hard for me to feel sorry for Mame Biram Diouf, who Anderson reports had to fly with his Senegal national team in “cattle class.”

Apparently he suffered a “gruelling journey” to Africa and his Stoke City manager, tough guy Mark ‘Sparky’ Hughes, was furious.

“He was in with the medical guys on Friday and we will make a decision on Mame in the morning.”

Alongside the fact that the last half of that sentence sounds like the opening line of a Broadway song, there is little scent of reality here. Sparky was a blood and guts player, yet now he’s whimpering because his man had to fly with other people.

I’m making the massive assumption that the Premiership footballer didn’t actually fly in a cattle truck with cows and pooh and straw. Yet somehow all those other people on that ‘gruelling’ journey walked off the plane, straight into the rest of their lives.

My god but today’s Premiership footballer is pampered. Just here on the same pile of torn sheets of newspaper is the Daily Mirror’s Simon Bird, reporting on Newcastle United’s £12 million signing, Remy Cabella.

He’s 24, an athlete and I’m fairly sure he’s earning a wad of green folding. Yet how does he describe his efforts?

“It has been a bit tiring to go out there and play so many minutes.”

Oy. Lordelpus.

Or rather, help me. I am drowning, sucked into the vortex of my cuttings: a piece on suicide prevention; the word omnishambles; Dubliner Tony Mangan, who ran 25,143 km across the world; why our TV heroes have become our TV anti-heroes, and does that make us decadent?

There’s too much. I have to put it away now.
But what’s that about ‘Global Swarming’? That sounds good!

Walk away from the folder, Charlie.

But here’s a piece on Mick Rock, the photographer who defined a musical generation.

And here’s the truth of the cost of the post-war Afghanistan rebuild, which will be on a par with the aftermath of World War Two.

Another snippet explains why being left-handed makes me a genius, and another delves into how supermarkets spy on us through our loyalty cards.

From mundane to mendacious, through military to Walter Macken, it’s all fascinating to me.

Walk away now Charlie.

©Charlie Adley

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