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Their Lordships’ electric execution of earthy language a burning blow to the fusebox.  Their Lordships’ multiple threats of open violence against the body of the Governor and bawled through loudhailers marking a precedent in the annals of the All England Law Reports.  The Governor sinks cowering into the cracks of the high-backed management chair — ‘Now Knees is suing my butt for every penny ...’

   The pressures are immense.  Daily demanding a vice-firm grip.

   ‘... Knees is suing the hind pants off every single one of our sicko-bloody-pinko-ologists for negligence, malpractice and hurt feelings ...’

   Bottle sinking quick.

   ‘... Knees is bleeding me dry!’

   Simply he must get a bigger office.  The whitewashed walls and barred poky window unbecoming a Hero of Privatisation.

   The bulbous nose of Deputy-Dawg Blunkett unearthing a bone: ‘Sar, you’ve a letter on file from a er ... Professor Stephen Squawking ...’

   ‘Nerder heard of him.’

   ‘... “Knees is a Loony of National Interest” ...’

   ‘Rot!’

   ‘... “Knees is the world’s highest astro-recidivist and can we please take care of him” ...’

   The wilting fungal affront of compost confounding the Governor’s concentration on matters of national importance.  ‘What’s that smell?’

   ‘Chef, sar.’

   ‘And what, pray, is Chef dredging for our delight?’

   ‘Chicken Surprise.’

   ‘And the surprise?’

   ‘I’m afraid, sar, we won’t be satisfying the breast men.  Or the leg men.’

   With the balls of a Hero bouncing the basket of a bony frame he will ensure Knees suffers just deserts.

   And Justice for the deserving classes gets done.

                              

                                                                                          ***

                                                    

                                             Close up the casement, draw the blind,

                                             Shut out that stealing moon

                                                                                  THOMAS HARDY

 

The darts of the sun can’t be counted upon to penetrate the covering of cloud over London and the dirt-crazed panels of the Victorian dome.

   Dickies arrayed on rafters réchauff the spindrift of halcyon dreams.

   Heaven’s evening chorus sweeps in waves across the arc of glass panels and cascades the sweetest harmonic chirping.  Tails a-wagging.  Throats a-warbling.  Calling to the fledgling prisoner who scales the last steps to the top row —

   ‘Wither goest thou?’

   A glorious body of melodic hymning to accompany the musty mellow spirit of eventide.

   Flaming June in London and the Block brrrs! Blair-colder than a New New New Labour arms sales convention.

   The Great Gate drags an iron curtain from Mother Earth.  Lunar winds howl to the Ones Siouxsie and the Banshee’s Happy House.  A local storm is strum when tormenting phantoms scoop paper and dust to form mini-tornadoes.  You’d be hard-pressed to root your feet in the face of a freak-city cyclone.  Flying kites whip and wheel a dance of death in the Underworld.

   Down in the belly of the Restaurant at the End of the Ones Chef simmers in a foul mood the last of the regular peasants dispensed with.  He pulls round a portly frame a favourite battle-encrusted uniform — canvas riot in the manner of Jackson Pollock — and waves a ladle as a mad artist might a brush, or a conductor a baton, and dreams of salad days when he served Queen & Country in the Covert Operations Chemical Warfare Division.

   Hard-baked Committeemen and the Governor gasbag twenty to the baker’s dozen in the glass room Centrepoint.

   The rusty bell peels six o’clock.

   A steamy stormy stage the Ones to the strutting spooks and spirits of the night.

   A coating of congealed slurry to protect the concoction Coq à la Grande Surprise du Chef de la Maison [sic].

   The sensitive Reader recoils from the scraping of the barrel but four political parties flavour the gristle of Life in the stewpot of Springwood Gaol. Nazis form the meatiest rump fronted by Tosa-the-Man-Mountain. Revolutionaries vie for the favour of members with bribes of capitalist tobacco.  Your Liberals represent the greatest danger to peace and democracy of course.  But no-one has viewed the constitution of a Pissman.

   Your Pissman, fusion of Pessimist and Nihilist, is firm of belief that Life is so miserable your best course lies in topping yourself as speedily as possible. But so successful has been the recruiting of members and the implementation of policy that rarely may a Pissman be found to take minutes at meetings.

 

 

MINUTES OF THE MEETING FOR THE CO-OPERATIVE COMMITTEE FOR CONSULTATION, UNDERSTANDING, NEGOTIATION AND TRAINING (CCCUNT), SANCTIONED BY IMPERIAL EUROPEAN DIRECTIVE 10/666, BLESSED BY HOLY ROMAN EMPEROR PETER MANDELSON (ENFORCED R v JAMES [2025] 46 ALL ER 664), HELD WEDNESDAY 14 JUNE 4 PM CENTREPOINT HER MAJESTY’S PRISON SPRINGWOOD.

 

1. MEMBERS PRESENT: GOVERNOR JAMES (CHIEF EXECUTIVE), PROFESSOR JASON KNEES (ELECTED CHAIR).

NAZIS: TOSA-THE-MAN-MOUNTAIN (OBERGRÜPPENFUHRER), GOEBBELS, HESS, BORMANN, HIMMLER, SPEER.

REVOLUTIONARIES: GONZALEZ-THE-BASQUE-BANK-ROBBER (CHIEF SHAREHOLDER), RED KEN THE MAYOR (POLITICAL WING), HANS BLIX (WEAPONS QUATERMASTER), HARRY THE HAMSTER (FREEDOM FOR RODENTS), JIMMY ‘MILKY TRAY’ BROIL (ANTI-VEGAN LEAGUE).

PISSMEN: SEE AGENDA ITEM 2.

 

2. APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE: PISSMEN.

 

3. MINUTES OF THE PREVIOUS MEETING: Not agreed as accurate record.  Heated debate.  One broken nose.  Members insist mass starvation imminent.  Chef deserving of similar fate.  Or worse, being branded undercover Arsenal supporter.

 

4. MATTERS ARISING:

 

A) FOOD (extract):

Gonzalez-the-Basque-Bank-Robber: ‘Thifh Chef ifh to blame.  I keeeeeel heem!  I keeel hifh wife, hifh children, hifh servanfh, hifh aunt and uncle, hifh sheep and goafh baaaaaah!  until the FOURTH GENERATION AND BEYOND!  I keeel hifh man-goafh, hifh lady-goafh and hifh in-betweeny-goafh —’

Tosa-the-Man-Mountain: ‘Oh no you won’t!  I will!’

Gonzalez-the-Basque-Bank-Robber: ‘I keeel them all!’

Tosa-the-Man-Mountain: ‘You bloody well will not!’

Gonzalez-the-Basque-Bank-Robber: ‘I bloody well will!’

Tosa-the-Man-Mountain: ‘Won't!’

GonzaIez-the-Basque-Bank-Robber: ‘Will!’

Tosa-the-Man-Mountain: ‘Says who?’

Gonzalez-the-Basque-Bank-Robber: ‘Seth me.’

Tosa-the-Man-Mountain: ‘You and whose army?’

Governor James: ‘Gentlemen!  Gentlemen!’

Governor James demands minutes be exorcised.  Governor James demands election of Chair be retabled.

Revolutionaries red-misted and demand apology in blood.

Nazis not swallowing any adverse motion and threaten to sulk.

Explosive debate.  Complaints of snoring from top table.  Chair thrown.  Governor James threatens dogs and Riot Squad.   Governor James suggests review of week’s menus and only formal complaints be recorded:

Thursday: Chicken Stew (green); Friday: Chicken Casserole (no chicken, no casserole); Saturday: Chicken Hot-Pot (cold, no chicken, boot at bottom of pot); Sunday: Chicken Ragoût (floaty bits); Monday: Chicken Lucky Dip (unable to prise from plate); Tuesday: Chicken Chowder (movement, fur coating, only fur coating found of nutritional value).

Governor James suggests great improvement from last meeting and proposes vote of thanks to Chef.

Revolutionaries revolt and threaten to withdraw from pot unless Governor seasons apology with full eight pints.  Nazis demand equal share of blood.  Subject to guillotine.  Meeting splits from being over-egged when Chef pops head round door and says if members don’t come and get their dinners soon he is shutting up shop and members can go without.

 

                                                                                                ***

      

Naturally the first port of call is the filing cabinet and the golden medicine dispensed therein.  The Governor embarks on the planning of an attack on the enemy by leading a pre-emptive strike on the bottle.  And in two shakes of a gerbil’s tail he windward has veered to the bottom.

   The country’s most precious asset, Mad Prince Charlie, expects every man to stand in line and do his duty.  Duty hanging in potting a plan so cunning it will ensure the right man comes up smelling of roses and the enemy stinks to high Heaven.

   Rude rheumatic blasts easily penetrate the steel barrier.  Whispering vapours rise from the damp earth and faintly suggest revolution or dark secrets.  Visions invade the mind.  Ghouls blow cobwebs from the dungeons of your memory and scream grievances against Life.  Medieval scenes of torture play for your private pleasure.  Your soul is swamped by the urge to commit evil — cacoethes — a gift from your demon below.

   Gentleman’s blindfold, black frilly apron and garden trowel stuffed in a trouser pocket, rodently scampers Governor Archibald Gerbil James for the Wednesday night meeting of Springwood Lodge.

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