Monday, May 11, 2009

Working in the City

I remember at school they had a textbook that showed light moths and dark moths.

It showed how, with industrialisation and sooty trees, the dark moths became more numerous... and then later, when there was less soot, the light moths came back into their own.

It was all to do with protective camouflage and natural selection.

With the moths it was because the birds that ate them could not so easily spot and eat the better camouflaged ones.

Recently one Friday was the dress down Friday of all dress down Fridays.

I set off for work that day, not in my normal work clothes oh no.

I guess I have been a bit more conscious of my appearance since the economic downturn and tried to be professionally and attractively turned out. Not that I was a slob before, but you do worry don't you?

That Friday I had on trainers, jeans and a fleece jacket. I had my laptop in its usual back pack... and a solidly constructed fold away umbrella.

That Friday the usual, normally quite smartly dressed, commuters at my station mostly looked more like a slightly raffishly disreputable football crowd, maybe a little down on their luck.

Lots were carrying supermarket carrier bags, instead of cases or over the shoulder laptop bags, us back packers smugly carrying on as usual.

Why? We were being like the moths, remember their protective camouflage?

That Friday was May the first. It used to be marked by getting to wear a pretty dress and skipping round a maypole holding ribbons, that seemed like innocent fun at the time but probably had something older related to fertility and sex at it's heart. Traditions change, by that time things had moved on to ribbons and skipping.

I guess they moved on again while I was not paying attention. Now it is more a day when traditionally the...

I am trying to think of a good word for them, maybe I should run a competition? Comments please...

… the work shy? ...thugs? ...anti “Capitalists” where “capitalist” basically means us poor wage slaves? You know... workers.

Anyway, on May first they dress up in their quaint traditional costumes of worn army surplus camos, hoodies, headgear and optional ski masks.

Then, like salmon, (only obviously a lot less clean) they are known to make the arduous journey into the very centre of London from far and wide. Many fall by the wayside laid low by alcohol, but still enough make it. In my best try at a "Documentary voice" ^_^

Those who get to complete the annual (except if there is a G8, 9, 10, 11... summit or some such, then they get to have an extra outing) journey conduct the ancient semi-religious ceremony of trashing McDonald's.

Plus maybe having a go at anyone they suspect of having 'sold out to the system' and got a job who looks half smart and has a lap-top and the places they work. The people who probably support them with the taxes they pay out of their earnings.

I so resent them, they so annoy me, I figure they do the other commuters too, like they do those I work with, messing with their routine and making life more difficult. Just as well for the protesters we are peaceable sorts. Otherwise... Beware the sheep! Baaah! "Movie Ad" voice; Be afraid, be very afraid...

Some insects like hover flies look like wasps, though they are pretty harmless. Pretending to be wasps makes critters that recognise wasps and don't want to get stung leave them alone... but it also makes them more likely to get swatted by people who can't tell the difference. So there can be disadvantages to camouflage.

That day I was really hoping things would go quietly and we wouldn't all get mistaken for protesters and accidentally 'corralled' or 'kettled' or whatever it is by the boys in blue.

As it turned out I got my wish, our dressing down efforts were thankfully not needed, not in this particular city, not this particular time.

The not so edible "Berlinners" (of JFK fame ^_^), did need to, and the commuters of Istanbul (formerly Byzantium/Constantinople) and Ankara. Ditto the Athenians, the citizens of Linz in Austria, Madrid and even Moscow.

Surely there are better, more peaceful ways to make a point?


Dr.John said...

The non workers rise to protest the poor wages paid the workers whose taxes let them . no make it possible for them,to protest . What a marvelous system we have built. So many proud drunks on a crusade.
Yes, the new customs beat the old may pole as television fodder.

Ian Lidster said...


Phil A said...

London escaped largely untroubled, but Brighton saw some "goings on" over that weekend.

Interestingly there were reports the protestors circulated and published on their website a so-called "antimilitarist" map of Brighton pinpointing more than 30 banks and businesses, including the city's American Express building, police stations and predictably several McDonald's restaurants.

One can only imagine so the premises could be boycotted by the demontrators.

It is interesting that McDonalds is always singled out, presumably simply for being an American franchise. One wonders if such an obsession might be classed as racism.

Rositta said...

I saw the Mayday riots on tv. In Greece they don't need much of an excuse to riot, any little thing will set the hoodlums off. There were very big riots there just before Christmas which destroyed most of the shops in the downtown area. Berliners are also known for rioting especially the former East residents. They are not happy with their lot in life since reunification. It has not been very good for them. Here in Canada there are thankfully no riots like that. The worst we have to contend with are the Tamil protests which have shut the city down and Sunday shut down a major highway, sigh...ciao

jmb said...

It must be quite scary, not knowing when trouble could break out.

While we must defend the right to protest peacefully, it doesn't take much for the whole mood to change and violence to break out.

Glad you made it safely to work and back again Miss Moggs.

Moggs Tigerpaw said...

Thank you all for your comments so far.

Dr John & JMB, I am not saying that people don't have the right to protest about stuff, but (I don't generally like to use the term) "these people" seem generally nasty and want to protest for the sake of protesting. You are right the violence is more likely to get on TV. I do think sometimes some of them go specially to smash stuff and provoke violence for all their claims otherwise.

Ian I guess you are agreeing with Dr John.

Phil, I am not sure what is even indirectly 'military' about McDonald's.

I have visions of something like a catering regiment called "The Queen's own golden arches". Maybe a Scots one given the name, with a red and yellow tartan.

I think the Brighton one was supposed to be pacifists. Maybe you are right about the prejudice.

Rositta, we had Tamils protesting here too. That is a complicated situation. It is dreadful that people are being slaughtered, but you can't help feeling the Tamil side, being backed into a corner, don't care about civilian casualties, maybe even set situations up so the army is damned if they do and damned if they don't.