Celtic Illumination, part 118, How now brown cow
I have to admit that it is only the unfettered support that I receive from you, the Illuminati, that I can find the strength to admit certain things that before now I wouldn’t have dared mention. Take for example answering a telephone and writing things down. I have made a mockery, I hope, of this activity yet I found it to be one of the most difficult tasks the air force could throw at me. The air force, being the air force, demanded that everything was written in triplicate which would mean using carbon paper. Quite a clever invention when you look at it, in the cold light of day, but unfortunately to use carbon paper, to repeatedly fill out the barrage of forms that you were presented with, you had to use a biro, or as some of you may know it, a ballpoint pen.
I was always taught that handwriting was a very important form of communication. If you wrote a letter to someone they could, or might, make certain assumptions about you from your handwriting. This is probably why I was forced to do an hour’s handwriting every evening with my father, the retired headmaster, breathing down my neck. I could really only write with a fountain pen so I may as well have used a four inch paint brush as a biro.
I hear a voice in the corner saying that the same distinction could be used to explain why someone like myself, with a strong regional accent, could never become a leader of men. That speech is a very important form of communication and a clear defined accent, easily understood by all, is what is required. This of course is absolute hogwash and reminds me of the bad old days of world war one, when our illustrious leaders, all posh sounding, public schooled, chinless wonders, who formed the back bone of the officer corps were described as donkeys and the basic private foot soldier as a lion, resulting in the term, lions led by donkeys.
It was an event that changed the class system in the UK; unfortunately it never gained enough momentum to rid the country of these inbred leeches. It’s one of the reasons that the British joke about the French, calling them cowards and smelly. The French showed the world that the only way to deal with aristocrats was to chop their fecking heads off. The British establishment were terrified that the great British public might be reminded of this, and realise what a good idea it was. If you may think I jest, well why not have a look at the little certificate I was given for arranging a treasure hunt. A very telling piece of paper. I explained to you that officers had ladies, non-commissioned officers had wives and other ranks, the hoi polloi, had women. So can you draw any parallel with the Knight, the Freemen and the Peasants? There are other telling indicators in that certificate, but I shall not dwell on them as I am sure most of the Illumanati will already have dissected the language used.
Which probably leads me into explain to you how the air force actually works. You may have been slightly confused when I explained that there are only two positions in the air force, fast jet pilot and failed fast jet pilot. I hope I have given sufficient evidence to prove my point, so now I shall dissect another myth. Yes the air force was a military body and yes, there were rules and regulations however you only got things done, important things, by using a barter system, or back scratching, as in you scratch my back and I will scratch yours.
I have explained that I often flirted with the idea of buying myself out of the air force but only to come back in again at a different level. I was approached by a fellow from air traffic; let’s just call him Kev at the moment. Kev was a nice chap but sick to death of answering telephones and writing stuff down. I don’t think he was a fountain pen loving aficionado like myself, I think he thought the job stupid and had had enough. His girlfriend was a student at Bangor University and they lived together in a flat in Bangor. Kev wanted out of the air force, but he wanted out in double quick time and didn’t want to pay any money for the privilege.
Drugs, in any form, unless it is alcohol, are frowned on in the forces. At that time anyone caught with drugs would be locked away in the glasshouse and the key thrown away. We were constantly reminded that at the glasshouse, the military prison at Colchester, you would have to empty the dustbins and then wash and polish the inside of the bin. Kev believed that he had found a loophole in the air forces logic towards drugs. If you were a drug user, or pusher, then you would be given the maximum prison sentence. If you were associated with drug use they would quickly ‘let you go’ as they couldn’t prove anything, but rather than have doubts, it was quicker and better to sweep it under the carpet, so to speak.
Kev asked me if I would telephone the civilian police in Bangor, he gave me the number. He said that he and his girlfriend were arranging a party in her flat. Drugs would be present, marijuana to be precise. The police would raid the flat, he would be arrested, but with no proof of his direct involvement and no evidence of drugs in his blood stream, it would be enough of an association for him to be thrown out of the air force. We were always threatened with getting a dishonourable discharge, another bit of paper that would follow us around for the remainder of our lives and which would mean we would never get decent employment on the outside. More military bullshit. I have never been asked for my discharge papers, which I wouldn’t have shown to anyone anyway, as they were incorrectly completed. However that’s a different story.
As for Kev? Well he took a few weeks to think about his plan and then came to me one day and gave me a piece of paper, on it was the address of the flat, the name of his girlfriend and the time he wanted me to call the police. I did give it a lot of thought, for if the civilian police contacted the military police and it was reported that a fellow with an Irish accent had initiated the call then the finger could start to point at me, especially if the call was traced to a telephone at RAF Valley. I went into Holyhead and to the train station. Hundreds of Irishmen would pass through that station every day, moving between Dublin and Holyhead. It was perhaps the one and only time that my accent ever bothered me, although I wasn’t to know then, that my accent bothered an awful lot of people.