Tuesday, May 10

Adonis and Aphrodite Today

I live in what is, more or less, the inner city. It’s not a bad neighbourhood. It’s kind of on the edge of what some people might think of as not a great neighbourhood, but I’ve been here over two years and apart from the occasional and transitory drunks and some cars going faster than is polite it’s been quiet as any leafy suburban avenue. True, there are also sometimes a few "rambunctious peddle-twats loitering" (cf. Paul Violi, "Police Blotter") but it's no big deal. This evening, however, I was roused by raised voices out in the street, some ten yards from my window. The language made me blush. I was thankful the vicar had just left. I looked out in time to see a baseball-capped and tracksuit-trousered male run across the road to smack what I can only assume was his girlfriend around the head. As it happens, she was no lightweight, and she smacked him back. They then exchanged a few more blows, then he went indoors and left her out in the street, experimenting with language.

She experimented at some length, quite loudly, and hung around on the pavement for half an hour or so, clutching her shopping bag, talking into her mobile phone, and occasionally shouting up at a window where, presumably, her loved one lurked. I don’t want you to think I was watching this, but I was observing. It’s what writers do, as I’ve mentioned before.

Then a police car turned up, and a couple of policemen got out and started chatting to the girl. I couldn’t hear what they were talking about, of course. Then another police car turned up. I thought this a trifle extravagant. Nottingham has a reputation for being something of a gun city. You’d think, especially if you were a Conservative, that it was almost too dangerous to go out. But these chaps evidently had time on their hands if they could come
around and lavish so much attention on this little incident.

I was thinking exactly this when a third police car arrived. I couldn’t help looking up into the sky, to see if I could spot the helicopter. Then I got bored, because nothing was happening much. My mind wandered, and I remembered I was going to say something witty about the fact that someone by the unlikely name of Lord Adonis has just been given a government job by Tony Blair.

He is, it seems, going to be whatever a Parliamentary Secretary in the Department of Education and Skills is. I’m more taken by his name than his job. I mean, you couldn’t make it up, could you? You could? Oh, okay. The picture isn’t him, by the way.

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