The Weekend After

How quickly life returns to normal.

I've got into the habit of not staying up until four in the morning, but sleeping at midnight and waking at eight - meaning I'm now out of step with pretty much everyone I know, including my parents.

There was a Stop The War conference on Saturday - and seeing as (a) I was in London anyway and (b) a comrade had phoned to tell me I was going, I went.

It was mostly about Iran, with, shall we say, a variety of viewpoints expressed from the platform and floor. There was "Iran is a dictatorship but not a bad one so it doesn't really deserve to be bombed", "We've got to make the soldiers mutiny, comrades", "We want the resistance to win and British soldiers to come home in bodybags", "The neocons want to bring about the nuclear Armageddon by bombing Iranian nuclear power stations", and the old favourite "Iran has a lot of Jews so anyone who isn't antiwar is antisemitic".

Fortunately, the majority were quite sensible - "You don't change a regime by bombing its victims, and if you do want to give the Iranian people freedom you help them get it in their way for their own purposes" and "the war is about oil and control, not punishing people for living under a dictatorship".

Galloway spoke, and (this time) managed to avoid telling half the audience to "piss off, go on get out, the lot of you". There was also a painfully portentous speech from a man who couldn't have been over 25 - " is you, you who give us the strength to endure the struggle...yet how strange the worm turns...for these are the times that try men's souls...". Hmmm, yes, worms do indeed turn strangely.

So, STW may not be what it was, but it's still significant and still broadly on a reasonable track.

On Sunday a dusky sixteen year old boy begged me to taste his mayonnaise. It was rich and creamy and he made far too much for me to swallow. Okay, he is a trainee chef looking for taste-testers, and I was fixing his mum's computer at the time, but...well, anyway.

It somehow wouldn't have been fitting to return home in trains that ran on time, that weren't replace by crawlingly slow busses because the tracks were still being repaired, and didn't finally deposit me home with a half hour trudge in the rain carrying three rucksacks. So I didn't.

And it's somehow comforting to get three calls before you're even home, asking you to babysit a daughter, record some music and, yes, repair a computer ASAP please.

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