Remembrance Sunday


I’m working today. Start at nine so up at seven for breakfast and a shower. Walk the longer way into town. It’s greener, and the rising autumn sun makes the autumn leaves glow and sparkle. I arrive at work early, and play the augmented reality game Ingress, a virtual war that never ends and never has casualties, wandering around the Princesshay shopping centre. An old guy stops me, to ask where he can by a newspaper. For a second, I think of Queen Street News, then remember that it closed, and is now some kind of posh toiletries shop. I advise him to head for the Coop on queen street, they sell papers. He tells me he has a problem with his phone, and that “the U2 shop doesn’t open until 10:30,”. It’s like talking to a real life Count Arthur Strong.

In work, I set up equipment for a workshop, and manage to avoid having to present it. Lots of people arrive, some not booked in. A couple have brought in their dog, it’s very friendly and I spend lots of time fussing it.

Then I have to teach. A half hour session. At the end of this, we are planning to observe a two minute silence for Remembrance Sunday. My colleague reminds me, and my customer . The customer I’m with completely ignores it, and carries on asking questions. Two old ladies chat away across the store. We probably should’ve made more of an announcement.

It feels somehow compulsory to observe the two minutes silence, as though in defeating the nazis we have absorbed some of their ideologies and beliefs. I don’t believe my father and grandfather fought so that I would feel obliged to observe a silence. They fought that I may be free. Still a long way to go on that one.

I’ve not wore my poppies today. I have a red one and a white one. I’m worried that the whole thing glorifies war, and death, and destruction. It’s like an annual sacrifice to the War Gods, as Robert Rankin suggests in one of his books. I am also aware that right wing extremists like the BNP, EDL, Britain First and UKIP, try to hijack these times of remembrance to peddle their evil racist ideology, the same ideology that my father fought against.

Leaving work, I see lots of individuals in military uniform. Although my dad fought in the Second World War, and my Grandad in the First World War, I still find uniforms disturbing. That it is considered normal to have an entire section of society as state sanctioned murderers seems very worrying, and very wrong, to me.

I eat lunch at the Boston Tea Party, an overpriced pulled pork bap. There’s a nice dog sat near me, a whippet/Bridlington terrier cross. I say hello, he’s very friendly. I walk home along the high street, the low setting sun casting long shadows ahead of me.

At home, I sit down, and an alarm goes off on my iPad, reminding me to write this.

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