Sunday, 2 November 2008

The morning after the night before

Listening to: Jens Lekman Oh you're so silent Jens

Dialect word of the day: Jag (Injection)

The weather is starting to become wintry and given my scrooge like tendencies, I have begrudgingly switched the heating on. For once my fiscal self restraint is probably warranted, two months on the dole is really starting to bite.

Talking of the dole, my bi-monthly appointment with the good folk at High Riggs Job Centre, was marginally more awful than usual. My regular signing man was absent, which is a pity as for a dole office clerk he possesses uncommon amounts of humanity and intelligence (Christ knows how he slipped through the net, perhaps he has been sent on an intensive DSS course to systematically purge him of every trace of civility.) His replacement was every bit the archetype of the dole office drone, brusque to the point of rudeness, utterly lacking in imagination and a slavish devotion to a seemingly endless list of arcane rules and regulations. Well only a few more weeks and I'll be able to kiss them goodbye (fingers crossed!)

The rest of the afternoon was spent more pleasantly in the library, doing a bit of reading on the ol' Ripper murders. I'm beginning to get some more focused ideas for a dissertation topic, looking at the hoax letters received by the press and how by writing these, the public became actors actively shaping the course of events. I begin to worry that my reading matter on such occasions makes the library assistants think I'm some sort of weirdo, borrowing book after book on Jack the Ripper; I am increasingly convinced they have me down as a Fred West waiting to happen. This worries me to such a degree that I have been trying (and largely failing) to engage them in light hearted banter, in a futile attempt them I am actually a well adjusted human being and I won't be waiting for them outside wearing a leather mask and weilding a chainsaw.

The Halloween party at Leith ex-servicemen's club was pretty cool, the building is located in a surprisingly spiffy street of Georgian Terraces although the interior was pure 70s and fabulously cheap. I had been somewhat nervous walking down Leith Walk in my Rod Stewart costume, but with my leopardskin leggings and bleach blond feather cut wig I was an absolute dead ringer for a Leith Prostitute and escaped unmolested. I think the locals appreciated my efforts to pay homage to one of their heroes and I managed to win one of the awards for best costume, which pleased and embarrassed me in equal measure. I felt a bit sorry for Jess as she had gone to a great deal more effort with her Dusty costume. Whilst the drink flowed relatively freely, there wasn't much action on the dancefloor., I did have a a half hearted go at dancing at the end, but my leggings were chaffing a bit, who knew Rod suffered so much for his art?

In amongst the booze and general merriment was the world's longest raffle which, I kid you not, lasted for nearly 45 minutes. There was such a wide selection of prizes that literally everyone in the room won at least once. I managed to scoop a set of bath soaps (which will do as a Christmas present for my Gran and a meal for two at a hotel in the Grassmarket, which should see Valentine's day taken care of.

Tightfisted? Moi?


scot in exile said...

i take it you've seen the website, it's a good repository of info on this sort of thing. i did a film on him a couple of years ago and would recommend don rumbelow''s book as a good base.

if you haven't already in which case apologies...

scot in exile said...

yeah i thought you might have checked there so apologies for teaching my granny to suck eggs etc...

if you're in london, and if you give them a good reason (having booked ahead) you can see some of the photos etc at the national archives in kew. a dissertation should be reason enough for them.

there's plenty of good stuff on the letters and their impact, though most as you know focuses on which if any may be genuine. personally i'm not sure how much it affected his actions, other than the unproveable idea that then panic then caused him to stop. but that doesn't sit comfortably with the most sociopathic behaviour which is driven by compulsion and which his murderous behaviour seems analogous with...