Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Fall out

At the risk of turning this into an obituary column...

I've just received a text message from Price drummer Paul; it reads-

'Number 6 has escaped the village R.I.P. Be seeing you'

This can only mean one thing- Patrick McGoohan has died.

Back in the bad old days of the early 1980's your humble narrator was not a happy bunny. If you think I'm miserable now you should have seen me then! Part of the reason for my unfortunate condition was that I was working at the E.M.I. factory in Ruislip and hating pretty much every second of it. One of the very few people there that I had any sort of meaningful conversation with was an engineer called Barry Byford; he wasn't over-popular among his peers for what was seen as a rebellious attitude, so I of course liked him immensely. During the course of our many ranting sessions he mentioned that a T.V. show called 'The Prisoner' was about to be repeated on the then-new Channel 4 and that I should tune in. When I asked him why I'd like it he just smiled and said 'you'll see...'
So I did- and I did. For the next 4-and-a-bit months there didn't seem to be a better way to spend an hour a week of T.V. time. Highlights were many and varied but the overall effect was (and remains) devastating- I loved the fact that people said that it was 'weird', that they 'couldn't understand it', and, best of all, that they 'hated it then and hate it now'... this was just what I was looking for! As I stomped around the corridors of power mumbling 'be seeing you' under my breath and screaming 'WHY?' in my mind I had finally found a metaphor that helped me explain to those around me (and indeed to myself) how I felt about being forced to spend my daylight hours in the godforsaken hell on Earth that was, and no doubt still is, the E.M.I. factory in Ruislip. The human chess game from 'Checkmate' was going on all around me and I was one of the pawns. I had to escape...

Those days seem a long way behind me now but, incredibly, they still come back to haunt me from time to time- there are events and circumstances that I've tried to wipe from my mind but that I still find upsetting over 25 years later. 'The Prisoner' was part of my escape from that particular prison- but if I really did 'escape' why have I just written the last couple of lines? Is this blog really just a journal of my time in a different village?

In the meantime I'm listening to Dr. Feelgood's fifth album and smiling at the thought of Rover looking for me somewhere in a rundown factory. Don't knock yourself out young man, best of luck with the exams- and a half a dozen of the other to you all. Be seeing you...

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