Monday, 5 April 2010

Fallout and Blog

It has been a glorious warm and sunny day. Pity about the cricket. On Friday night as yet again relatives and friends of a murdered teenager took to the streets of London there was an excellent feature film called Fallout, not the fall out from atomic and nuclear weapons, the falling out between black friends attending a school in a deprived part of London. The plot was a brilliant examination of what happens when young people are overwhelmed by their undeveloped emotions in an uneducated straight jacket of a culture, and where parents are ill equipped to respond when their children commence to go off the rail, often because they were never on the rails themselves.

The victim of the film had created problems for himself when he refused to participate with the rest of the class in ignoring a newly appointed teacher. I am not for a moment suggesting he contributed in anyway to his own murder, but it is the way it is if you stand out from the norm whatever that norm is.
In my first year of school, because I had been held back at my previous school, and then failed the eleven plus examination I was placed in first year at the John Fisher school in the lowest stream of my chronological year which was full of aggressive misfits and bullies and where if you a became a witness to any misbehaviour in class you would speak out at your peril. I was fortunate in that I was able to move into a higher stream early on in the term and then into the A stream when C was amalgamated with B and by the time I was back in B I had physically developed through cycling and was part of a small group at school which meant I was not picked on. This contrasts with the situation where the school environment reflects that of the home and there is little opportunity, if any, to come under the influence of anyone who can tune in and offer you not just different experiences but the opportunity to make use of that that experience.

In the film this victim appears to have been asked to sit next to the girl friend of the most volatile member of the gang and when she makes a pass at him when doing evening work at the local café and he rejects her advances she alleges to her boyfriend that the victim has made a pass at her. She therefore provokes a situation out of revenge for being rejected and is as culpable of the murder as the young man who did the stabbing. She represented many a young woman in today's society who believe that all they have to offer is their bodies and their behaviour towards everyone is governed by this presumption which in many instances becomes the reality. They have had no responsible training for parenthood, being a partner in a long term relationship, or making any contribution to their wider society. The murderer has the emotions of a baby who is given a real knife to play with. The victim is not only stabbed but left to die by another gang member who wishes she looked and was desired in the same way as the girl friend of the murderer. She will do anything for her friend including stealing clothes for her and towards the end of the film expresses a willingness to tell the police what she has seen, not out of any sudden remorse and desire to bring justice to the family of the victim but because a substantial reward has been offered and this is the immediate way out of the situation enabling them to go on an extended holiday acting out the lives as footballer's wives. The It girls and there are countless magazines and TV programmes promoting the concept that young girls should want to be It girls. The girls who fall for this dangerous nonsense are not the scum of society, nor indeed those who work on the programmes and magazines just as those who work in the cigarette factories or make armaments, (someone has to make all those cluster bombs) are not social scum. The scum are those who know the harm their products do but continue with the production because of the profit. However we are all culpable when we know the connections and do nothing. Some are more culpable that others. Politicians, religious leaders, and media controllers being the leading ones.

The twist in the film is that a black detective, poster boy, is attached to the investigation team because in theory he should be more able to connect with the community, a community which he hates because it was where he originated. The film does not turn him into the hero, who in fact is the white sceptical partner who resents the tokenism and promotion irrespective of ability and then intervenes when poster boy starts to go off the rails in the way he behaves towards suspects. OK he has the talk jive and knows all the moves but he fails to unravel what actually happened, and why, because is over emotionally involved. We learn the truth, only because the girl works out she will remain imprisoned until she can exorcise the demon of what happened, and she does this by calling on the mother of the murdered victim and through this act both she and the parent achieve a resolution they can live with. The film is brilliant because it shows that the whole process of the justice system, the police, the prosecution process, the courts and custodial and punishments systems while essential to society are superfluous in terms of prevention and treatment and, in some aspects are counter productive. Those who draw the conclusion that this means there should be wholesale dismantling or changing of the justice system are as mistaken as those who went ahead in the seventies and created a revolution in the education, health and social services system. The systems needed to change but the idea that you improve quality by changing systems remains as ludicrous as the idea that handing out large dollops of cash produces desired change without identifying the effective change makers and giving them the authority and the power as well as ensuring they are controllable.

Admittedly I did not think about any of this as I sat in the sun at the Riverside for the greater part of yesterday. I and not expected the extent of the sunshine as the clouds were rain bearing when I set off around 10, deciding to do some major shopping, two chickens, two joints of pork and two packs of peppered steak along with some more bread, tins of tomato soup and baked beans, a large jar of large unstoned olives, a cucumber and some tomatoes and patched red pears together wither some frozen rugged roast potatoes and frozen vegetables.I forgot the onions and the decaffeinated coffee. Originally I was only going for weekend essentials but decided to do the shop and return home to place in fridge and freezer. This led to setting off for the ground with some dark rain looking clouds overhead until just before reaching the ground around 11am and parking close to the river wear.

The red sports umbrella looked as if it would necessary as I made my way to on an aisle seat by the bowler's arm, but at the wrong end of the ground to view the sky super screen scoreboard. It has been the situation than whenever Sky appeared as a North East sports events the regional team lost or played badly or both. The kiss of death this morning was to listen to early Sky commentary which drew attention that Durham had not lost a one day game at home for more than a year.

However the loss was mostly of our own making although not to take away from a magnificent performance by Kent who have made great strides wining the 20 20 last year and now look unstoppable. It also has to be said that some Durham bowlers performed exceptionally well especially my hero Liam Plunkett whose ten over cost less than forty runs as Kent smashed their way to over 300 for the loss of four wickets and with a partnership which led to two centuries and a score of 190 for one wicket at one point. The Durham failure mainly rests with rested with Mr Morkel who is a flash in the pan hitter who can turn matches but in this instance did so with a 7 over for 75 runs closing performance and then striking out for only nine runs. Durham had a horrendous start losing two wickets for two runs but then Captain Beckenstein and Will Smith commenced to score at he required rate with both reaching their 50's. What turned the game was a very tight spin bowler and a controlled medium paced bowler at the other end who quickly established a line and a length which made scoring strokes difficult without taking risks. Yesterday the risk had to be taken but did not come off.

However this match may have turned on one bad decision by the umpire who gave Di Venuto out LBW when the replays showed that the ball had got from bat to pad. It was not to be Durham's day. Pity because having missed going to Lord's last year to celebrate the Durham win, it began to look as a visit this year was likely. It still could be if Yorkshire win away into day's match as along with Surrey, they are teams with past associations which I can support. We shall see later to day and again on Monday when Durham face their next test.

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