Dialect word of the day: Jakey - a hardened street drinker
I have now been living in Edinburgh a year today and in the words of the Reverend I.M. Jolly "It's been a helluva a year." What with the recession, banking crisis, recession or whatever you want to call it. All this carry on makes precious little difference to me; I was an abject failure in the boom years too. In fact if one accepts that poverty and wealth are relative, I am probably richer than I've ever been. This state of affairs won't last though as I have four -count 'em - days left and my work with social services is done, for good, hurrah! I am getting very demob happy and I'm doing rather less than the bare minimum. I will miss the riches it provided though.
Edinburgh in August is a funny time of year, with the University closed for the summer holidays, the city is appreciably quieter in June and July and then suddenly burst into life as the Military tattoo and the Fringe Festival start at roughly the same time. In the interests of anthropology and the fact I was given a free ticket, I went along to the Tattoo with Jess and some of her workmates. I have to say that it was amongst the most excruciating two hours of my life. As I may have mentioned in previous posts, the wail of the Bagpipes sounds to me like a live cat being thrown into a threshing machine and never fails to set my teeth on edge. So being trapped in an arena where 80 of the sodding things were being played in unison nearly tipped me over the edge, at one stage I was tempted to feign a fit just to escape the noise. The bagpipes were broken up with a lot of marching up and down in frankly daft uniforms, which seem to my uneducated eye quite impractical for doing killing in.
The festival is once again in full swing and the city has been taken over by floppy haired Oxbridge types, braying about their godawful shows and forcing leaflets into one's hands. I've been to see a few bits and pieces, mostly free or cheap stuff and it's been generally very enjoyable. Whilst in principle it is an amazing thing to see the city this busy and vibrant, it is also a colossal pain in the arse if you have the misfortune to want to get anywhere in a hurry. A walk up the Royal Mile with Sam and Dave (my old school friend and her boyfriend, rather than the Soul group from the 60s in case you thought I was name dropping) yielded about 35 flyers between us, by then end of it I was begining to hope for a Jehovah's Witness to thrust a copy of the Watchtower into my hands just for a bit of variety.
The Watchtower is a cracking read, I love the poorly rendered pictures of humans walking with dinosaurs and other assorted beasts in some Eden- like paradise. There's also usually a heart warming tale of how the agency of the Jehovah's witnesses have saved young people from a life of sin and depravity. I am certain these stories are largely fictitious, made up to gee up the faithful, as the Watchtower's vision of deviant youth also seems to be rooted in the 1950s and the errant young people are called things like Colin or Sandra, the sort of names young people haven't had since the sweets were still on the ration. Colin and Sandra's transgressions usually consist of smoking marijuana, drinking alcohol, getting into the fictional knickers of the opposite sex. Having been 'saved' them from these frankly rather pleasurable activities poor fictional Sandra and poor fictional Colin will get to spend the rest of their natural lives being told to fuck off by hung over and crabby fictional householders who they've summonsed from their beds at some appallingly early hour on a fictional Saturday morning.
So it seems I've been wasting my time these past few years, attempting to undertake offence focused work, sorting out employment/education opportunities, encouraging positive leisure activities, counselling fraught and feckless parents and generally running around like a blue arsed fly after the street punks has been a waste of time. All I needed to do was give them a few Watchtowers to punt door to door and instil an abhorrence of blood transfusions and they'd have been as right as rain.
Just as well I'm leaving really.