Tuesday, June 22, 1982

The streets are full of mercenary eyes

Dad told me stories about his days in the police in the early '60s and about “The Watcher of the Night,” a mysterious figure who dropped notes through the station letter box at dead of night with tip-offs about local crimes, tip-offs that usually turned out to be right. The notes kept coming for two years or so, and made Dad and colleagues feel uneasy as they patrolled the dark cobbled gas-lit alleyways and backstreets, wondering if the all-seeing eyes of the “Watcher” were on them. . . . It all sounded so far off and primitive; the early shift stoking up the big coal fires, the Inspector living at the station, tunics that buttoned up the neck, police boxes, old scooters.

Mum is convinced I’m thinking of joining the force. I suppose if nothing else it would clear up my many prejudices, but I’d be too scared that I'd become bitter and twisted, just as Dad can be.

I continue reading Doctor Sax  and Kerouac's sad tales of Lowell childhoods. As soon as I play Charlie Parker, as soon as I put the cold dead vinyl on the turntable, blue smoke-filled visions of dingy ‘40s and '50s dives waft into my mind.

In the World Cup, Poland beat Peru 5-1 and Scotland were knocked out by the USSR on goal difference. Coverage was interrupted for more shots of The Baby accompanied by sentimental and sugar-coated comments delivered in a soft and smiley ‘here’s-what-you’ve-all-been-waiting-for’ tone, as though the whole cosmos should be rejoicing. It makes me sick. Planet-wide, countless babies arrive unheralded; this royal one will never have a chance to live a normal life and will be ruined by protocol and starch-stiff tradition.

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