On this Pre-Election special, we’ll have Derek Stewart Macpherson with the first part of his Spin Cycle series, John McHarg talking about voter choice, Richie Venton on the choices socialists are facing in this election, and we’ll be hearing from Nick Durie about how this election proves the YES parties have failed to integrate movementism into their political practice.
We’ll have a magical poem called Invocation from Steve McAuliffe,Debra Torrance will be talking politics and football, Fuad Alakbarov will be talking about the election and ex Derry British Army Commander Eric Joyce will be talking about Corbyn, the IRA, Martin Mcguiness, Trident and Iraq.
I didn’t want to go, this was a fairly common reaction when Gary suggested going anywhere. Through frequent bad judgement being anywhere with Gary was a bad idea and as was to prove more than accurate, this time was no different. “Let’s go down to San Felipe”
This was Thursday, payday was tomorrow which in the car dealing trade in Barstow was every two weeks so inevitably every two weeks I’d hear ‘let’s go somewhere’ from this guy, he just couldn’t handle booze although he loved drinking it, it would almost always end up in him starting a fight. “No I can’t, remember Linda is flying in from Glasgow for a week” I replied with acknowledged futility. “Bring her too!” It wasn’t a suggestion it was a statement of fact. Next day I drove down to L.A.X. to get Linda, through the arrival gate she walked with the biggest suitcase I had ever seen along with her sister whose suitcase matched perfectly, I wasn’t expecting the sister.
Formalities and greeting dispensed with we got into my hired car and drove back up to Hesperia where I was staying.
The next day we all got together in Victorville and inevitably ended up in the Mall, the company consisted of Gary, Andrea and her friend, myself, Linda and her sister Sandra, needless to say the first day of the girls holiday amounted to nothing ,in a Shopping mall, in Victorville California.
“I’ve booked us huts on the beach at San Felipe, we drive down tomorrow” that was that as far as he was concerned. Next morning after getting destination details, the sisters, their suitcases and I made our way down to Mexico via Palm Springs and through the Border at Mexicali. It’s a beautiful journey through the Mojave Desert, San Bernardino Forest back into the desert and down to the border, I’d recommend it just for the boost it gives to your spirit and the girls were excited to be going to Mexico, they really shouldn’t have been as it turns out, however the journey and the Smiths CD I forced them to listen to was the start of what I hoped would be a nice trip, “from the ice age to the stone age, there is but one concern, some girls are bigger than others, some girls are bigger than others, some girls mothers are bigger than other girls mothers”.
Down the 5 and into San Felipe was quite a long trip and we were happy to arrive and pleasantly surprised, the beach was amazing and the accommodation really nice ‘nice one Gary’ I though, this might be ok. We all slept sound and spent the day on the beach together, that night, well that was to change everything in my life.
“Right! Let’s go out!” The girls were still a bit jet lagged and tired so wanted an early night “ok” I answered “where?” “There’s a bar in town, bottles of beer are only 50 cents here” “FUCK!” I thought.
We strolled into town and found the 50 cent beer bar (they all where) in which Gary eagerly started purchasing. To be honest, the night went pleasantly although I was on full red alert for indications of normal state of affairs behaviour and remarkably enough we even managed to leave the bar without trouble ensuing, a first for my socialising experiences with this guy. ‘Phew’ I thought as we were leaving, it was a ‘Phew’ far too soon….
As we strolled our way, happily I may admit, back to the accommodation we walked past a guy standing at the door of a real estate store, even to this day I am amazed at the speed into which Gary started a fight with the guy, it was so quick that I had walked a few meters on before I had even heard or realised what was going on, my instincts kicked in and I automatically jumped into trying to separate them, before I knew it I felt the searing pain of a baseball bat on my left arm……from that point to the re-emergence of my conscience in the back of a Mexican Police car with a gun pressed firmly into my temple all I can say is the red mist had set in.
“Gringo, you’re in trouble now”
The clarity of which I can remember almost every detail of the next 18 hours is a blessing and a curse as I can recount this story faithfully but I can still smell the shit, blood and piss in my nose and on my clothes when I do think about it. I got dragged into the police station by 3 officers, two male one female and deposited to the desk sergeant who instantly started screaming Spanish at me. “Gringo! NOMBRE” I didn’t have a clue what they were screaming at me but I did know that a Mexican cop screaming Gringo at you was BAD NEWS. They hate ‘Gringos’ it’s their hate term for Americans. “No Gringo, Scotland!! No Gringo!” I pathetically pleaded. This went on for a while until, and I’m shitting you not, this was said
“Scotland? Celtic? Whisky?”
“Yes!!! Yes! Celtic! Whisky! Yes…”
This changed everything and I mean everything! They calmed down and started asking me questions , I wasn’t American I was Scottish, they couldn’t believe it and I couldn’t believe my luck.
For some reason that I will never be able to explain the fairly pleasant line of questions led to this. “What does your mother work as?”
Now at that point my mother was working as an assistant, nursing elderly catholic nuns in the North of Glasgow, I could have spent a week trying to come up with a lie to impress and it wouldn’t have had the impact that this truth had.
“Your mother is good woman.”
Mexico is a VERY VERY VERY Catholic Country and the mere suggestion of fellow Catholics from other Countries had a remarkable effect on these officers, they went from utter fury to total genuinely interested inquisition (no one expected the Mexican inquisition!)
One peculiar thing I remember is that even though this was 1998 they processed my details on an old manual singer typewriter.
All the erm, pleasantries and formalities aside they told me I was heading to the cells.
When I use the term shithole it normally relates to a messy dirty rundown place, but in this respect it really was a hole in the fabric of space and time filled with actual shit and a lot of pish.
The bar cell door was about 600mm wide which led into a room of about 4mx6m in almost complete darkness. To say I was scared is accurate, to say I was shitting myself isn’t as the environment had done that for me. The smell was brutal as was the sensation of the body fluids and near fluids squelching between my toes. I made my way with my hands along the wall on the right to the end of the cell and stood with my back against the wall. The only light was the little amount trickling in from the cell door, the source of the light was a bulb that was around a corner about 3 meters away.
After about 20 minutes I had no choice, I was exhausted, a wee bit beaten up and my arm was killing me, I had to sit down. The jeans I was wearing and the 1974 No 5 West Germany football top immediately soaked up as much of the dank surrounding as it could hold. It was only then that I noticed the front of my top was red and warm from the nose bleed that had developed, it wasn’t easily stopped.
I reckon it took a good 2 hours before I noticed two pair of eyes staring at me from across the cell 6 meters away. Now, that’s when the fear really kicked in. I said nothing, they said nothing, we just sat there, in the human waste staring at each other. My fear was misplaced, this was the beginning of an amazingly positive experience in my life.
“Hey Scotland! Agua! Water for you” The Policeman was standing at the bar cell door holding a bag of water, a clear plastic bag of water. “Your friend have brought you a bag of water” I took it and drank with a thirst I have rarely known, it was then my cellmates made themselves known to me. “Please, agua, Please” they pleaded. I wouldn’t ever refused any man a drink of water and in this situation I was eager to share.
I can’t remember both of their names, I really wish I did as these two guys gave me a re-energised love of humanity that night but I do remember their faces, their humour and their story, which they told me in near perfect English.
I explained who I was, where I was from and how I had ended up there, their foul language equally matched mine, I stole ‘Celtic, Whisky’ and we spend the next 2-3 hours talking, mainly them asking me about myself and my Country. They were locals, “peasants” and I mean no insult, that was their own words, they hung around town begging from tourists and getting drunk, “we come here lots of times Scotland”. In that dark shithole, we shared stories and laughter.
Now this is a weird story I know but it gets weirder.
“Hey! You, the guy I was fighting with! You Irish?” There was an American guy in the next cell, asking if there was a guy in my cell who was Irish. “D’you mean me?” I replied.
“Yeah you” was the response. “I’m fucking Scottish! Who the fuck are you and why did you hit me with a baseball bat?” “Maaaaaaaaaaan! I’m sorry dude, I had no idea what I was doing, I was really drunk” This was Bill, he went on to explain to me that he was a local businessman, a realtor as they say in America.
His mother had come down to visit him and it had gone badly, he went on to admit he was an alcoholic and his mother had left earlier that day, he had got drunk and went out looking for a fight, to make himself feel better about himself which he had managed rapidly with the appearance of Gary.
As we both stood at the cell doors about 400mm away from each other in that dark shithole we shared our life stories and a few laughs. “Hey maaaaaaaaan! I feel terrible about fighting with you, I want to make it up. He offered one of the properties he owned locally, free of charge for as long as I liked, I thanked him and politely declined.
Bear in mind this had been a few hours now and the girls were a huge concern, knowing the bullshit that Gary was capable of I later found out my fears were well founded, I may get to that at another time.
From having a gun pressed painfully into my temple to the moment the judge appeared, in shorts, sandals and a pristine white t-shirt, at the cell door must have been around 18 hours, maybe more. He proceeded to speak to Bill to which Bill replied in fluent Spanish, I tried to interrupt to find out what was going on but the Judge told me to be quiet, I wasn’t gonna argue with him, judging by the guard that was standing next to him it would have been an unwise move. This went on for 20mins with Bill assuring me that it was “getting fixed”.
“Ok” the judge pointed to me and said to the guard “let him out” In that moment I can still go back to and relive the relief, it was overwhelming…It lasted approximately 20 seconds. When I stepped out of the cell I immediately turned round to speak to Bill and it was then I saw his face for the first time, or more accurately what either myself, Gary or a combination of both had done to his face, it was a bloated beaten bruised mess, I felt like I had been hit with a baseball bat again, it took me all my composure to not burst out crying at that moment, in that jail, I was disgusted with myself. “I’ve paid your fine maaaan! It was 40 bucks, I admitted it was all my fault and you were only trying to stop the fight, you can go”. I couldn’t speak, I just looked at him and then finally all I could utter was “I’m so sorry Bill”, “Maaaaaan! It was my fault”.
“Ok, come with me Gringo!” Where the judge led I followed, into his office, well I say office it was a shack with a desk and some crappy chairs.
So, so far this has been a weird story right? And you don’t believe a word of it right? Well, it’s true and it gets a wee bit weirder.
“I cannot believe I have someone from Scotland in my jail! I am delighted, tell me all about Scotland” and I did, everything I could think of and that was about an hour and a half before he let me stop. As a side note, I drank the one and only cup of coffee I have every drunk in my life, in that shack, speaking to that judge, it was nectar on my tongue, I hate coffee and haven’t drunk it since. Finally I politely told him I really had to get back, I was covered in blood, head to toe in shit and piss and exhausted, he didn’t mind.
On handing me my stuff he said ” do you have any souvenirs for me?” Remarkably there was still money in my returned wallet and I took out what I had to give him, “no, no no Gringo, not that, something from you to me, to remind me of your stay”. For no reason I can explain to this day I rummaged through my wallet and found a tightly folded one pound Clydesdale Bank note, I took it out, opened it up and showed him the picture of Edinburgh Castle. “The capital of my Country” his joy was a sight to see, “sign it, please” which I did. He pinned that note up on the wall of his shack and we shook hands like friends do.
“Before I go, can I ask when Bill will be getting out?”
“Oh Gringo, ( this Gringo wasn’t an insulting Gringo) we are sick of his behaviour, he is a big man with big money but he has caused trouble too many times now in San Felipe, he gets drunk and does it all the time he is going to the big house”,
“The big house?” I replied.
“Yes, Prison, this time he admitted his guilt and in Mexico you are guilty before you are innocent, he can’t buy his way out now, lucky for you he did or you would be going too.”
I returned to the accommodation to the obvious relief and bewilderment of the girls, this is a whole other story which I won’t get into now as Gary again is instantly involved.
I will finish on this, on getting cleaned up and packed we got our stuff into the car and drove through San Felipe, on our way through I couldn’t believe it but there, at the side of the road in the town centre was my two cell mates. I pulled up, opened my window and called them over. They were delighted to see me, we hugged and I emptied my wallet and pockets of everything I had, I knew what they would do with it but it’s all I could do in the moment. These two guys took me from the absolute bottom of despair, to laughter and amazement in a shit hole, in a jail, in Mexico, and for that and them and the life changing experience that was I will be forever grateful.
In someone’s imagination is a Universe. In this Universe is one solitary planet. On this one solitary planet is one tiny island and on this tiny Island is a tiny cottage. This tiny cottage consists of one room which has one door in and that same door in is the same door out. On this door is one handle allowing the sole occupant either entry or exit. This single door and its single handle are the subject of this specific story.
Now in this persons imagination, within this peculiar scenario the door and its handle could converse and their current conversation is, as it always is, as follows.
“yeh????? Well I allow him the chance to come and go” says the door (him being the sole occupant, whom we shall here on to refer to as, him,)
“Oh really”” harks the handle “If it wasn’t for me you would just swing open and closed as the wind sees fit, I keep you closed and allow him to open you”. “If you weren’t screwed on to me you wouldn’t be able to do that, now would you? “Is the witty but somewhat predicable reply from door “and I do stop the wind coming in and blowing all the furniture over” door continued with. “THAT’S MY POINT”” exasperates handle “I KNOW YOU STOP THE WIND” BUT IF IT WASN’T FOR ME YOU COULDN’T!!!!. “”I’m more important!!!!”” they both declare at the same time. “What about me? Says the key lock, but since there I s absolutely no point in a lock being in a handle on a door in a cottage on an island which was is on a planet within a Universe in someone’s imagination with absolutely no other person whatsoever to lock against they simply ignored the comment as they always do and lock goes silent until the next time it’l say “what about me?”.
“I allow the cottage to cool in the heat when I’m open AND! I keep the heat in when I’m closed” “but can you be opened and closed without me” handle enquireS “If him doesn’t lever me closed or shut?!!!!” Eh? Again!! They both proclaim.
The rest of the components of the cottage listen (weirdly enough they can converse as well but mostly they just listen); it’s the same argument, with the same irrational reasoning, with the same political statements they have heard a thousand and three times before. They have sussed out a long time ago that if you are one small component of a larger thing nothing is more or less important as you, so what’s the point in arguing!!!
To the door and the handle it’ll never be an open and shut case. Such is Politics.
It was just lying there, underneath the table, Naomi had spotted it while clearing up, It was 1.30am and she had had a long hard shift. An iPhone 5, brand new, she couldn’t believe her luck. On her meagre wages there was no way she could afford one of these but now here it was, hers for the taking, so she took it “Finders keepers” she mouthed in delight.
She arrived home at 2.10am and took the newly acquired technological marvel from her handbag feeling very pleased with herself. It wasn’t locked, “Bonus, How stupid” she thought and immediately went to the phones pictures. There she entered into the private moments of another human, friends, family, pets, holidays, parties, it was all there and for the next 2 hours she immersed and intruded herself into the life unfolding from the phone of Nicola Price, 32, a nurse. The phone rang at 4.23am, Naomi stared at the screen, it read Dad Mobile, she ignored it, it rang again, then again and a further three times, all ignored. Finally a text, it read “Darling please answer your phone. We haven’t heard from you in days. We are so worried. We love you”. It took 20 minutes before she could muster up the courage to call Dad mobile. “Oh honey I’m so relieved, are you ok, where you have been?”
“I’m not Nicola, I found her phone earlier in the café I work in”
Dad was desperate “Where did you find it? What café, when?” Dads question were in rapid succession, too quick for Naomi to answer. “Hold on, what’s up? Is your daughter in danger?”
“Who are you? You said you found Nicolas phone in the café you work in? Where”
“It’s the bay tree café on high street in Fenham” Naomi was now equally concerned.
“I know it” dad answered “We live just about 2 miles away, are you there now?”
“No, I’m home “
“Look we need to look at the phone and go to the police to report her missing, is there somewhere we could meet to get the phone back, We really need it” Dads voice was even more urgent “ “Yes of course, I can get you outside the café, it’ll take me 5 minutes , I’ll leave straight away”. Naomi didn’t even notice the short walk, more of a run to get to the café. It was almost 5am now and her mind was racing with a multitude of scenarios concerning Nicola, had she been abducted? Was she suicidal “I wish I had never found this bloody phone “Naomi repeated over and over.7 more minutes passed, a few cars drove by, finally a silver blue Audi pulled up, A man stepped out from the passenger seat and Naomi stepped cautiously towards him, “Naomi?” he asked.
“Yes that’s me” he was followed immediately from the driver’s side by Nicola Price, 32, a nurse who held her hand up in Naomi’s direction “My phone!”
The BBC unequivocally apologises for any insult, hurt, stress, trauma,abuse,affrontery,derision,discourtesy,disrespect,ignominy,impertinence,impudence,incivility, insolence, offense, outrage, rudeness, shame or slander that any of our viewers may have felt or felt subject to, think they felt, either real or not or felt they felt in any way conscious or subconscious either mentally spiritually or other dimensionally.
Any offence to persons fictional or non-fictional, heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, transsexual, asexual or nonsexual perceived for whatever it was we unintentionally or inadvertently said or aired on any one of our TV, radio or iPlayer channels was not intended. Furthermore we would like to apologise if any the words we have used in this statement does not cover any level of political correctness that you feel we got incorrect. We strive to achieve the highest standards in being morally superior and apologies if we are wrong and also when we are right if you feel us being right is wrong. If you do not feel we are wrong or right and object to this apology then we are sorry. If you were not insulted by anything we have broadcast and now are aggrieved by this apology then we apologies for the apology. Whatever it is we have done wrong to anyone’s political, religious, atheist or agnostic perspective, we assure you that an enquiry will be undertaken at no expense spared to our licence fee payers and whatever lessons learned will be acted upon until the next time any individual, group, minority, nation or continent feels aggrieved then another enquiry will be implemented at even greater expense and lessons learned and acted upon until such time that everything we do as a corporation is both right and wrong to absolutely everyone and no one on earth.
(disclaimer) : This Statement does not apply to Scotland.
John was born in Glasgow 1967 and grew up in the west end until the age of 6 before moving over to the East End. In these formative years he developed a love for punk rock which continues to this day and particularly Anarcho Political groups such as Crass and Conflict which he says is where he developed his interest of politics and animal rights.
At 16-17 he was involved with the protests for the miners strike and set up a collection table with 3 others in Argyle Street Glasgow collecting money for the miners wife’s groups at the time . In total £11,000 was collected and distributed to help feed the miners families.
Along with these activities John was one of the founding members of the Clydeside Hunt Saboteurs operating and effectively campaigned with a large group of fellow activists against the barbarity of the Houstoun fox hunt.
Between the years 1987 -1995 john studied at College and University gaining a BA in Spatial Design and Bsc Architectural Technology then going to live in Southern California travelling Europe, Australia and Uganda in between contracting for Architectural Companies around Scotland.
John met and married Sarah and on the 24th January 2014 his son Joel was born. The next day John flung himself head first into the Yes Campaign realising that morning when he picked his son up for the first time that a future in the UK was not a place he wanted to see Joel grow up in. John voted Yes on the 18th of September 2014 and started Yes2 Dunblane on the 19th of September 2014 which is now Yes2 a campaign for Independence group now at 50,000 followers.
John continues to work in Architecture based in Glasgow and lives in Dunblane where he devotes any free time he has to his artwork which can be found on Facebook
You can see a selection of John’s Ungagged Art here,
Yes2, the Internationalist Butterflies and the Screams of the Traditional Media!
In this episode we have Neil Scott talking about the internationalist outlook of a new Independent Scotland, Ruth Hopkins on the plight of the Native American Water protectors in North Dakota and Amber Daniels on the Screams of the Traditional Media and Chuck Hamilton on the mess that is the Middle East.