London

Apr. 30th, 2013 07:46 pm
peterbirks: (Default)
London was particularly unpleasant today. I am beginning to wonder/worry that my fear of crowds might be re-emerging, although it's equally possible that all I have is a rational dislike of large groups of people moving randomly.

The walk back up Hatton Garden after the gym was particularly unpleasant. If people were in pairs or threes they were talking to each other and not paying attention to anyone else. If they were on their own then they were texting on their phone and not paying attention to anyone else. It being Hatton Garden there were groups of undesirables hanging around outside shops (these people have ill-defined jobs within the jewellery world and seem to spend most of their days either outside various stores talking to each other, or sitting outside the Costa Coffee talking to each other -- they remind me of some of the clients of the Mecca Bookmakers in Denmark St and North Row, in that they clearly have some kind of job involved with the area, but I'm never quite sure what) and there were couples walking in odd diagonal zig-zags, suddenly stopping to look in a window at a ring.

As I was walking up the street a woman about four feet behind me suddenly started a loud phone conversation with her boyfriend. I actually had to stop, step aside, and let her pass. I then carried on walking four feet behind her. I think that she thought I was some kind of weirdo, because she quickly cross the road, which was fine by me. But I find it very off-putting to be walking up the street with someone close behind you indulging in a loud conversation. I do the same when it's a pair of people talking to each other. And I don't care what they think when I stop suddenly and step to one side to let them pass. For me its the pedestrian equivalent of some lorry tailgating you on a B-Road.

So, basically the walk from Holborn Circus was one long sequence of avoiding walking into people, having people nearly walking into you, having traffic moving at you from any direction at any moment, and generally just trying to keep sane until you get back to the office -- which isn't, TBH, all that much better.

And people wonder why it's a relief to get back home, shut the door, and bid farewell to the outside world for another 14 hours. Why on earth people want to voluntarily GO OUT into central London again OF AN EVENING is something that escapes me.

The weather was to blame, I reckon. It was far too pleasant, and that just attracts the masses out of their offices and into the street -- never mind the fact that the street is remarkably unpleasant. There seems to be some kind of duty to be "outside" at lunchtime if the weather is nice.

Meanwhile, back in the inside that is civilization, I can have the pleasure of reading books and watching movies, of which I've been doing a fair bit. Nothing that I've got the energy to review. I've given up most of my commenting on Facebook because it's becoming increasingly clear that only a few people have anything worthwhile to say and that most people are likely to react aggressively to logical argument. I see poor Tony Dobson argue patiently and logically time and time again, only to come up against a brick wall of irrationality and personalization. Hazel Nicholson posted a marvellous Richard Dawkins strip cartoon that mocked many of the sillinesses of "alternative" treatments. What was interesting was reading the comments of those who cannot, will not, and damnity-damnation never will, accepot that their own particular piece of lunacy is anything but true. - Crystals, Raike, "energy forces", magnetism, you name it, there will always be one indisputable proof as far as they are concerned, that "proof" being "I've seen it work". Well, d'uh, sorry, but that ain't good enough. It's up there with the "online poker is rigged" argument. But once you start talking about proper testing, control groups, double-blind experiments and so on, you might as well be talking to the palm. You just can't win, so I've given up trying.

It's the same with economics, of course. David Graeber's "Debt, The First 5,000 Years" should be mandatory reading for everyone who is still tied up with the morality of debt rather than the reality of what is going to happen. But they won't read it, so why should I bother trying to explain it? Let's just wait 30 years and see what happens. I'll be proved right; I won't take any pleasure in being proved right (if I am still alive) and all of those people whose savings will have been taken away from them by one means or another will be bemoaning the immorality of it all until they breathe their last, instead of realizing now (as they should) that history has seen sequence after sequence of unsustainable debts being built up and then being summarily cancelled wither through revolution or royal edict. Morality doesn't come into it; practicality is all. It's not much use taking the moral high ground if a larger group is cancelling its debt and the police are part of that larger group cancelling the debt.

In other words, it's wearying. It all seems so obvious, but people are tied up in knots of logic than can easily be cut through if you throw away Protestant teaching and concepts of fairness. Wealth is not savings -- Power is wealth. You can work hard and save all your life, but if I have a gun and the law on my side, and I want your savings, then that is that.

This, roughly, is what we shall see in the next 30 years. Unless the older generation voluntarily give up their savings (or they have been clever enough to make sure they spent it all first) it will be taken from them by the younger generation. You will not see a balancing of the global books through austerity, or through the Americans suddenly being savers and the Chinese suddenly becoming consumers. You will see a balancing of the global books either through default or through war. So stop moaning about how this isn't "right" and start working out what you are going to do about it so that you don't get royally fucked when it happens.

Actually, don't start thinking about what you are going to do about it. because the fewer people who have worked it out, the easier it will be not to get fucked when it happens.

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