I was in London last weekend.
The wind whipped right through me at Battersea Park, it was like a cold sharp knife seeking the warmth in my body, so it could slice and dice the heat into fragments to jagged ice through my old blood. Do not go out there people. I saw skinny folk jogging, I felt eternally sorry for them but they probably had better arteries than me, so who am I to judge?
I walked down past the Latchmere theatre to find a hairdresser to get my ever present grey roots dyed as they push up through my scalp like persistent weeds. Why can’t someone invent a chemical pill that you take which dyes your hair from ‘inside’ your head and grows out that particular colour? Why can’t that happen? University’s get funding to write papers on why biscuits go damp in tea or why women don’t like slap stick comedy, why can’t someone spend cash on the hair dye pill?
Anyway I went searching for a hairdresser’s and came across one where the woman hairdresser wears a Burka and as much as I am liberal enough to understand women’s right to wear what they want, I am not getting my hair coloured and blow dried by a woman who doesn’t actually show her hair in public….ok I am saying that tongue in cheek and it isn’t meant to be a racist slur, but am I alone in that thinking that? Anyway the real reason I said no to their shop was that they didn’t take credit card, and I didn’t have enough cash on me.
Finally did get my hair done and had a wonderful show at Hammersmith Jongleurs which is awesome by the way- a whole audience facing front and being attentive was just refreshing.
On Saturday night I went out my favourite Soho club with my mates Monica and Elaine, all was fabulous and I finally got to relax. I have been writing for other people recently and my head has been filled with words that aren’t destined for my mouth and that can be confusing.
Sunday morning- I head to Heathrow- got on a plane and sat beside two very young soldiers just back from Afghanistan’s Helmand province (the word province makes it sound so genteel and villagey doesn’t it?) anyway they both looked about 12 years old and of course we got chatting.
“Why did you join up” I asked them both.
The one at nineteen with a flushed face, skin so burstingly bright and full of energy said “I saw what the Iraq’s done as they bombed the twin towers and I needed to stop them bombing us”
“You do know it wasn’t Iraq’s on that plane and there were no bombs used on the twin towers don’t you?” I whispered as people across the aisle watched us. My opinion doesn’t bode well being said loud in public, as they shit folk are fed by the press make them comfortable in their fear.
“Yeah, well that thing that happened in 9/11 made me want to protect my country” he added. He was about 11 years old when the twin towers were attacked by Saudi men and sharp knives (not bombs) and he looked so eager.
“Well, good for you, though I can’t believe they let you have a gun! You are so young. My daughter is 23 and would probably shoot her own eye out trying to light a fag with a gun” I giggled. He laughed and his mate giggled. Bless their wee strong hearty souls I thought to myself. They were sitting there in their camouflage soldiers outfits and gulping down cans of beer.
Just then a wee boy aged about 6 years old with thick glasses and a heavy blond fringe popped over the seats in front of us and said “Are you real soldiers”
“Aye, we are, do you want to be a soldier when you get big?” the dark haired soldier to my left asked him.
The wee blond boy said “No, I am going to invent a computer game, have you killed anyone yet?”
Everyone went quiet; the wee boy was dragged down into his seat by his embarrassed mum. “I want to know if they have shot bad men in the desert” the wee guy hissed. The soldiers went quiet and stared into the beer cans.
“I bet you the computer game he invents will have guns in it” I said quietly. They boy soldiers smiled wanly.
“What kind of work do you guys do?” I asked to break the tension.
“We do mapping and patrolling really” one said.
“My mum doesn’t know I am coming home” the brown haired fresh faced soldier said “I am going to just turn up at her door” he smiled.
I told him to ease up on the beer as he will end up vomiting all over her face if he didn’t stop necking the cans! We laughed and I told him I was a comedian, and then we just chatted about comedy and life.
When the plane landed, everyone was smiling at the soldier boys and patting them on the back, I felt so strangely sad for them They looked so young and full of life, I hated to think of what they went through and will go through out in Helmand Province.
We all headed downstairs at Glasgow Airport to get the luggage and I stood by the belt allocated to our flight, I noticed the boys were at another belt for a flight from Gatwick. I gingerly tiptoed after them and whispered “Guys, I know you do mapping and work with intelligence but you need to know that your luggage is going to come out over there” and I pointed to the other conveyor belt.
The laughed loudly and followed me over to the belt. All I could think about was some mother was going to open the door and see her son standing there back from a war zone.
“Janey, maybe one day we will see you in the paper and we can say ‘we met her’” the taller soldier laughed as we parted.
“Well, I hope I never see you in the paper” I whispered as I hugged both of them tightly, I felt so sad for them and worried for their future.
Life goes on for me, but I am glad my daughter isn’t in uniform standing in a desert at such a young age with fear and a gun in her hand. But bless all those young folk who do and I hope they get out of that dirty illegal war as soon as possible.
I hope my two big soldier boys have fun back in Scotland and stay safe forever._