A Kindness of Ravens
Andy's Podcaster Podcasting Podcast #33
SFX Intro Music
It’s Andy’s Podcaster Podcasting Podcast - EPISODE 33
Vincent Price, reads ‘The Raven’ by Edgar Allen Poe. Music bed - Walkin The Blues by John Yuan.
How you doing? Have you got vaccinated yet? Are you starting to step out a bit? That’s what’s happening here. Kids are back in school. Small classes with testing and mask protocols in place. They are so happy. They pretty much dance out the door in the mornings. We’re such social animals. The drive for endless individualism is such a strange, mad lie. No man is an island. Well, except perhaps that dude Archie Pelago. But you know what - Fuck that guy. He’s an Idiot. And anyway an archipelago is actually a group of islands - as I’ve told him a hundred times. Dumb Ass… So yeah, we’re out of fullish quarantine, and cautiously stepping back into society like shy little woodland creatures waking from hibernation. Today's show is a little different. Going to tell you about an outing I’ve had lately. And it’s been frankly very Emotional. Don’t want to harp on the trauma but it’s also not good to downplay it also. ALL the trauma. In all it’s forms. But particularly the pressures and seclusion of quarantine. So - I got my vaccine at the big Football Stadium in Baltimore. One of Maryland’s mass vaccination sites. The main classic horror trope of the 80’s and 90’s was the suburban basement or cellar - and the jump scare reveal was all about - not going down into the cellar… But one of the big horror tropes these days - is the Football Stadium. Don’t go to the Football Stadium in the apocalypse… you know what happens - you're looking for mummy Government to save you but when you get there they are either over-run by zombies or you get captured by an army sergeant who’s gone full Colonel Kurtz and will use you as a either a slave or food. Yeah, so they say the spooky basement cellar trope was a response to alienation of suburbia as compared to larger social community living. So I guess the modern Football Stadium horror trope is practically flipping the script, we’re not scared of individual alienation making us lonely prey for the boogieman instead its mass social experiences, the fear of Government being unable to provide for us, that's the boogieman. Probably hooking into the psychological reality that we do not have what it takes to be the lone wolf Manifest Destiny survivor, that we might have to pay the bill for all shit we’ve let slide, in our inability to come together to solve problems. The ecological destruction. And so we fear we may become the next prey to the monster we’ve created, The hyper-militarized colonialism we’ve exported to the four corners of the world. Because - you never want to be at the armed mercy of the military at the Football Stadium in a time of dire apocalyptic need. As all the movies tell you - NEVER GO TO THE FOOTBALL STADIUM. I’m sure the events of Hurricane Katrina also have played a part in this new horror trope too. Remember Katrina? That was fucking mad wasn’t it. Sixteen years ago now. Remember that Football Stadium? What was it, The Superdome. That they told everyone was a scientifically safe emergency refuge center built to withstand hurricanes. And it really fucking wasn’t. LIES. Capitalist Extremist Lies - Developer Brand… They always do this with NFL stadiums, seen this a lot around the country, most of them get built with massive municipal subsidies - money that any sane society would put towards schools, and local infrastructure, but they all promise crazy economic benefits and jobs, that never materialize. Unless you want to work at Bennigans for $4.50 an hour or your into the Human Trafficing for Prostitution that blooms and services big game events. Hey - You want the Rams in your City? Got to get an NFL team! Got to get the Rams! - you’re going to have to pay us 800million and build us a stadium and let us play there rent free while you wont pay teachers and nurses and the working poor a living wage. But don’t worry - the stadium can convert to Noah’s Ark come the flood and it also recycling dirty peanut oil into scratch cards. Man the Superdome. What was I doing going to get a shot at the football stadium? Was I crazy. Remember the Superdome. During Katrina - you had the Chief of New Orleans police Eddie Compass - the top man in charge of New Orleans police running out of the Superdome on like day two - all scared and crying, claiming the place had gone full on Madmax, saying in big recorded press conferences that he’d actually seen babies being raped inside. When of course nothing of the sort had happened. Not even close.
SFX CLIP EDDIE COMPASS SUPERDOME 2005
Just another lying corrupt cop there. And totally unpunished for his outright lies - because he was really just spouting the approved message from the system. That black and poor people are animals. SO - just look the other way and approve of however we want to deal with them. Eddie Compass is a black man himself of course, but in the uniform. Stanley Milligram et al can tell you how that goes. People in the Superdome raping babies what a fucking disgusting lie. A huge lie. And of course it was easily disproven. But it did its job didn't it. It rather effectively shifted media talking points away from President Bush’s incompetence, away from climate change and social funding and back into the all too familiar lies of America from it’s foundation - that black and poor people are brutal animals unworthy of help or compassion. same shit playing out today - if you watch Fox news you’re programed to think the real problem in America is looting rather than the Police killing unarmed black men and attacking citizens using their amendment rights to congregate and protest with massive and excessive military grade force. And of Eddie Compas wasn’t even fired for lying like that - a police chief making horrible shit up. He was actually fired by the mayor weeks later for flying out of town to the Giants v Saints NFL game where he appeared with President Bush at the coin toss. You think its crazy now with Trump and QAnon. It’s always been crazy. The Bush’s were just slicker manipulators of the narratives than the Trumps. And so what does the world see at the coin toss? It sees Business as usual. Ease on down the road folks. The football watching country sees the President’s dad and the current police chief of New Orleans, who has just been caught spreading a colossal lie, that has smeared black communities to promote fear and distract from necessary true hard reckonings about our values as country - hand in hand at the big game. Look Bush is friendly with a Black guy there's no racism or inequality in America. Ease on down the road. Don’t worry America, Katrina must not be that bad, shame about all the looting and baby rape though. Hey, we better give the police more weapons and money. It’s almost as if Bush’s dad founded the CIA (OK actually Truman founded it but Bush was instrumental in working and developing and growing it through a lot of its worst history) - some serious propaganda shit right there. Pat Tillman level shenanigans. Weapons of Mass Destruction level shenanigans. Iran-Contra level shenanigans. CoIntel Pro level shenanigans. Panama invasion level shenanigans (Academy Award Winning Panama Deception Documentary here). And there I was thinking about all this as I was and headed to the Football Stadium. To get my vaccine. Yeah It was very emotional. We live on the border of DC - nine miles as the crow flies from the Whitehouse but, if you don’t know the area, Baltimore and DC are super close - it’s just 30 miles to downtown Baltimore. So they set up the big Government vaccine distribution in the Raven’s football stadium (35million a year in tax subsidies from the city - I think in the event of a crisis it can transform like Optimus Prime and catch earth bound Asteroids and be a waterpark) So I called them up and what with the ebb and flow of vaccine supply and storage and availability - I got lucky and was offered a shot and I took it. I’m not throwing away my shot. I hope you will do the same. And the night before the first shot, I was tense. I’ve had a lot weird stress insomnia during the lock down, lot of stuff in the mix for sure - anxiety, grief about the death of my brother, fear of the virus. To be fair, it is my first deadly pandemic. And I was going to the Football Stadium - and a lot of shows I’ve binge watched in the past twenty years have had a clear message about NOT going to the Football Stadium. And COVID is a really horrible death. The local hospital - down the road - where my son was born - they tented over a big section of car park and had extra body bags lined up for use last April. Scary. And its a horrible death - you’re unable to breath - you kind of drown - as if under a green sea - like Wilfred Owen wrote in Dulce Decorum Est of his fallen brothers in a Flander’s Field gas attack - “Guttering, Choking, Drowning’, and just like Wilfred Owen, we should have them haunting our dreams - the 3 million and counting covid dead with their ‘Gargling froth-corrupted lungs…’ So yeah, I was nervous to head out and get the shot. And of course going to the FOOTBALL STADIUM, But also just having anything to do with getting medical treatment in this country is a stress inducing nightmare. SO on the one hand - not throwing my shot - on the other Football Stadium - and wondering what kind of clusterfuck I’m going to be walking in to. But I’ve also really got to get back to hug my folks as soon as the UK opens for travel this summer, if possible, also Jen says she'd be open to me taking part in market testing the Trump Presidential Library, which sounds so bizarre I’ve got to check it out - but it would probably be inside with an anti-mask crowd - so you know, getting vaccinated is the first step to going to that responsibly - but it's strange too being out, heading to be out amongst a large group of people - but I crush all the fear down, like a man is supposed to, like we’re taught to do. And I Drive to the football stadium and I’m a punctuality nut so I get their way too early. And It feels really good be outside again, amongst people, we’ve been very strict with the quarantining and social distancing, And I know we were very fortunate to be able to do that. And Maybe along with the anxiety there's also touch of cabin fever in me too. So I get there early, because I was expecting traffic and hassle but it’s super smooth and well organized and I end up having to sit in the parking lot for an hour before I can get in to join the line going into the actual Football Stadium… and it all looks very very well managed. And my minds spinning, synapses snapping at all the wonderful stimuli. The world is so full of stories and history and voices. I tell the kids all the time, I don’t know how you can be bored, if anything we're all over stimulated. We need more boredom. More time to collect our thoughts. I love that phrase, collect your thoughts. And the National Guard is everywhere walking around in full combat fatigues, calmly and helpfully keeping the line moving, monitoring everyone with radios. And it crosses my mind to ask some of them about the Q conspiracy, because a lot of Q’s posts were about how the National Guard was constantly like once a month or so about to imminently arrest Hilary Clinton and Oprah Winfrey for sex trafficking and drinking babies blood. I know insane but literally a bunch of Q posts, almost a sub theme of the conspiracy - was constantly urging people to ask National Guard members about their order papers for immanent top level military arrests. And so I see a lot of National guard and I want to know - if people have actually been seeking them out and asking them about the Q nonsense - asking them as urged by Q to verify his bullshit. An Important and interesting question. We've got Q people in congress. Q people committing crimes and getting shot because of these lies. And here I am, in a rare position to talk to guardsmen. But of course - How that particular Qanon lie works - is that people don’t generally get to see National Guards around to ask them about it, and certainly not around DC area National Guards - so it's a very good lie in that respect, not necessarily hard to disprove but such a fucking whopper, another big lie, that if you repeat it enough it almost must be true right - and easy to back up with second hand hearsay if you really want to believe it. People might not know a member of the National Guard but they might pretend to know a guardsman or they might know a cop or a state trooper or a new brownshirt from ICE - who given the way QANON and White supremacy Trump loving ideology is baked into the DNA of police forces throughout the country, will not give an honest answer to the question. And so like an insane game of fascist telephone. The QAnon brain worms spread - into congress. ‘Yeah - My cousin is a cop and he hangs out with National Guard dudes at Bennigans and he says they’ve had orders for major intel ops for months…’ SO yeah, I’m at the Football stadium. And it occurs to me that I have questions for National Guard soldiers around me, And I can record it, And it might be interesting… And I was just about to do it, - I’m charming and affable, got my white skin, my ghost shirt of privilege and invulnerability. It shouldn't be a problem - ah but then again it's masks days. It's strange times. And I bottle it and realize it might be a bad idea to be the cabin fever guy who's not been out in public around people for a year who suddenly starts babbling about Qanon conspiracies. Even if my intention is honest curiosity. That shit could go wrong real easy. They are at the Football Stadium en masse in part because of Covid days crowd control as needed. I start to think it’d be like asking gate agents at the airport how many bombs they've found in all the shoes and bottles of water they’ve rifled through in past year. It’s just inviting trouble. You know, the gears of the machine are running smoothly for me, so why trouble trouble? So I’m early, and I’ve stopped myself talking to the National Guard about Q and how they feel being such an integral part of his bullshit. And I’m waiting and collecting my thoughts and from my car I can see the front of the Stadium. The Main entrance. M&T Stadium. Home of The Baltimore Ravens. So named because of Edgar Allen Poe’s poem The Raven, who was killed close by. Yeah, I mean come, it's Baltimore after all, there’s t-shirts with ironic tourist slogan ‘So much more than murder’ for sale at the Aquarium. So the football team is named after Poe’s Raven. And I guess the name also shares a nice birdy symmetry with the baseball team in the other stadium down the road, the Baltimore Orioles. I’ve actually never seen a Raven around this neck of the woods in Maryland, I get tonnes of orioles in the garden, and cardinals, doves, woodpeckers, turkey vultures, goldfinch, all manner of occasion hawkage.. Big Tit Grey Breast headed Titwings and lots and lots of crows, some pretty big crows actually that have at times made me stop and look twice but I’ve never seen the shaggy Raven collar and the long knife beak that is almost like plague doctor mask. But anyway, the Football team are the Ravens not because of any local bird population but because of the local literary connection. Old Edgar Allen Poe died mysteriously in the town - and is actually buried a few blocks up the street from the Football Stadium in the centre of the city. Being a lover of literature - I have visited Poe's grave. The last time was in 2016, we'd come out to see the opening of a play and before the show went to the grave and toasted the old boy with a few swigs from the hip flask. During that day in 2016, it was the run up to the election and it was the day when Republican FBI chief James Comey chose to throw the whole thing to Trump by publicly opening another completely bullshit official enquiry into HER EMAILS - and I remember seeing the Ticker Tape scrolling message headline going on the screens around the outside of the Baltimore Sun Times, And I remember a ball of tension springing up in my stomach. And we went to Poe’s grave, and toasted him and I told him - ‘The Elections are still weird and fucked up Edgar my man’… because he died in a very strange way most probably connected to actual Election fraud. Yeah, more information in the transcript with hot links spinning off into the world wide web of information. So there was this thing in the 1840’s where armed gangs would kidnap unsuspecting white guys off the streets on election day and get them drunk and hit them on the head and drag them around many different polling stations, making them vote over and over for Democrats (the Democrats who were what we know now as Republicans - the parties switched agendas in 1960s) And Edgar Allen Poe was on his way from Richmond to New York when he went missing for a day, an election day, and then he turns up a day later in Baltimore - and he's not in his own clothes and he’s incoherent, suffering some kind of a brain injury indicative of a head trauma or a vast consumption of dodgy liquors. But as historians trying to solve his death have discovered by uncovering this practice of vote rigging kidnap known as ‘COOPING’ - they’ve shown, that his death was eerily reminiscent of a COOP victim. He was the demographic, a well to do white man - the only people who could actually vote at the time - and when he reappeared he was drugged and beaten up and this is the real kicker for me - he was in different clothes than his own - because they would capture and coop you up, drug and beat you so you were manageable and then dress you up through several costume changes in a day to fool poll workers as they led you through polling stations to mark your ‘x’ for the 1840’s equivalent of George Bush. It’d be like if today, you kidnapped Stephen King and made him wear six different wigs and drove him around to a dozen polling places in Rural Maine so he could vote for Joe Biden. Which is why the Republican party in Maine is pushing through election laws now requiring all voters in future elections to prove they are not Stephen King in a wig or a magic negro character come to life from one of his excellent books. AND if you’ve been following the Republican parties national attempts to rig the elections for the next decade in their favor you’ll know that this is not even that weird and doesn't even make the top 50 of new batshit racist laws the Republicans are trying to implement to across the country of these United States. So I’m looking at the stadium and thinking about Poe, and all these National Guardsmen coming and going. And I’m wondering what Poe would make of knowing that his Raven from his weird fucking Raven Poem, is now the mascot animal of an American Football team. You know the poem, it’s essentially about an annoying Raven, croaking about the finality of death - Everyone knows the poem - the Raven - ahhh It’s an OK poem. Some nice victorian comical wordplay. But -I think it has only lodged itself in the collective brain because Halloween has become this huge commercial thing and social event and people need just the right type of - family friendly spooky shit - to fill out the holiday. That and desperate teachers in classrooms need a tie in to some kind of legitimate cultural product, and that’s best anyone can do. And it was inspired by a real Raven - a pet raven that belonged to Charles Dickens called Grip. Which Dickens put in his own work Barnaby Rudge. Grip the Raven - was a talking bird by all accounts, with a few stock phrases. And when it died Dickens had it stuffed and it was bought in an auction and it now resides in a special collection library in Philly. So When Poe met Dickens he told him should have put more talking Raven in his novel Barnaby Rudge, should have actually made it the centre of the book rather than a minor sideshow. Dickens wasn't that keen on the feedback, said no it's a social history of the anti-Catholic Gordon Riots and upheaval due to economic fallout from losing the Americas in the Revolutionary War - thank-you very much my talking bird is cute but I'm shooting a bit higher Edgar - but Dickens told him go ahead and write his own Raven based book on Grip and good luck to you sir. And So that is how we get the poem The Raven came about. It’s Ok I guess, some delicious comedic victorian wordplay, very Dickensian and playful style - and a talking Raven. It’s not what Poe should be mostly known for though. There are better and more spooky poems. The Goblin Market by Christina Rossetti is for example maybe… better but yeah probably way too long, Victorian and weird. ‘DO NOT LOOK AT GOBLIN MEN AND DO NOT BUY THEIR FRUITS - Who knows upon what soil they fed their hungry thirsty roots’… Even if it does have a Frozen sisters girl power ending. So what else, now I've said it - maybe - Emily Dickinson’s ‘I felt a funeral in my Brain’. That's chilling… but on second thoughts, we can't have that in kids classrooms. you know just inviting trouble in the Classrooms across America if you popularized that little gem… ‘Ok Kids, while we're doing active shooter lockdown drill today I want you to read ‘I felt a Funeral in my Brain’. NO better to stick with the silly Raven bothering a Pickwickian type gentleman about some odd character called ‘Lenore’…who I’m frankly convinced didn't exist and was only called that because it rhymes with ‘Nevermore’ and ‘Pkaw’. My problem with it is that it’s almost one bad poem everyone sort of knows so they can shrug their shoulders and dismiss the whole of poetry as not being for them - which is exactly like how most people see one bad production of Shakespeare and then dismiss live theatre going as an irrelevancy. But I am a fan of Poe though, just not his biggest hit. I really like his short stories. I mean who hasn't wanted to brick up an annoying person alive in a cellar? Don’t go into the cellar in a gothic horror novel! And then there are all those first pieces of detective fiction are fkin great - The Purloined Letter - fabulous - isn't the obvious always hidden in plain sight. Deep Psychological truth right there. Incredible work Mr. Poe. OH! And his short story The Masque of the Red Death! How can we forget that? I can’t think of a more relevant story for our plague ridden times. Gothic Horror story written to be critical of feudal society with colossal inequality leading to social collapse via a plague that doesn't respect the corrupt, unethical and stolen entitlements of money. I think was best summed up by Madonna in her bath at the start of the pandemic,
People thought she was being a bit more mental than usual, maybe suffering some kind of affluenza celebrity cold turkey from all the constant little ego buffs of public fame she was probably used to - but it turned out she was actually just trying to launch her Masterclass in Batshit Crazy. Probably one of the more useful Masterclasses for our time. I don’t know about you but I can’t go online without having celebrities hawking a masterclass at me. Some of them are really tempting, how to insult the religious with Ricky Gervais. Steve Martin and Judd Apatow teach comedy. I actually got one as gift on my birthday. From my mum… she got me Stephen Hawking’s Masterclass on Wheelchair Maintenance. Another example of low working class expectations right there. Don’t want to sound ungrateful but - there are a lot to chose from. Billie Collins and Margaret Atwood and David Sedaris all have writing classes. But, what you going to do. I think she bought it with good intentions, Andrew can at last learn something practical, how to fix wheelchairs. Bless her heart. I gave it a go… but didn't finish it. I mean, who am I kidding, I’ll never be as good at wheelchair maintenance as the Great Stephen Hawking. Also I really have no practical use for wheelchair maintenance and a lot of the Astro-physics he started pounding out seemed way too theoretical and beside the point in the upkeep of mechanical conveyances of a non mobile body, otherwise known as 'the wheeled chair’. Wish I’d been given a different Masterclass. Even some of the stranger one would have been better. James Suckling on how to drink wine. Elmo on Critical Race Theory. Karl Rove on propaganda. Dr. Jane Goodall on how to speak Monkey… Hell even Gordon Ramsey swearing at food. I can swear at food! Do it all the time. Look at that fucking egg. Bastard cheese…
SFX -Masterclass montage
SO anyway, I’m at the Football Stadium waiting to get my shot. I’m not throwing away my shot, and it gets my time and I join the line and it goes in to the building between the statues of two Football Players - Hall of fame linebacker - Ray Lewis and some other dude. Now, I like sports -but I’m not a football fan. I’ve tried but I just don’t get it. And the optics are all wrong. And the sport itself seems a like secondary afterthought to the all advertising and financing. It’s classic America in a way, just a condensed mix all the worst bits - Hyper Masculine Militarization and endless committee meetings. Three hour games with about 6 total minutes of watchable identifiable sport, if you’re lucky. I have regularly, as I’m sure you have, heard fans in Football Shirts with face paint say they only watch the Superbowl - for the commercials. It’s not right. And even before Kapernick exposed one of it main role in society, maintaining the racist status quo, the optics were way off, you know Black players generally and suspiciously restricted to certain positions, policed on the field by gangs of old white men in stripy suits throwing flags relating to arbitrary misdemeanors while our modern day kings sit the corporate boxes ogling the cheerleaders. Ah come on admit it, it's a weird mad mess. And it’s main function is to perpetuate a rigged closed system that guarantees a revenue stream for a few rich Republican Plantation-esque owners. Nah. You're all mad. Please. Go take your sons on a nature hike or something. Paddle in the creek. Leave your phone at home. See what it feels like not be sold anything for a few hours. So… I’m in line and it seems pretty good its the Football Stadium… Don’t go to the football stadium… but everything is working really well. I’ve got my appointment email ready on my phone and the line is moving and I’m getting up to the Ray Lewis statue and there are people taking selfies next to it and I glance up and see someone has put a mask on the Ray Lewis statue - it’s cute, a nice moment - but I then have to do a double take - because it looks like the mask has little bloody daggers on it. And I can’t believe my eyes and I laugh. Because Ray Lewis was of course involved in this horrible stabbing to death of these two guys in Atlanta in fight outside a Superbowl after party in 2000. He was partying with some friends and two guys got stabbed to death. And then he fled the scene. And he’d been wearing this ostentatious cream colored fancy Superbowl party suit all night but that suspiciously goes missing. And just like Edgar Allen Poe, he turns up the next day in different clothes and unable to explain why that is coherently. So he is charged with murder, and I think they even find some blood in his limo - but we have the best legal system money can buy… so of course the charge ultimately gets down graded to just obstruction of justice and he settles out of court with the dead guys kids for some big wad of money. Ease on down, ease on down the road America, nothing to see here - I don’t know, I guess the dead guys just happened to stab themselves to death outside a nightclub and in the process it somehow disintegrated a Raven’s linebackers beautiful white party suit into atoms that nobody will ever see again. Totally believable. But hey, the Raven’s key property, this investment entity known as Ray Lewis - future hall of famer - is returned to Baltimore intact. And then - amazing to me - someone put a dagger design Covid mask on his statue, and I can't believe it, it’s fkin awesome and I’m like giddy with it. It’s all I can do to not laugh and point. I’m getting my phone ready for a selfie too. But, as I get closer I see that its not little bloody daggers at all but little red crucifixes. Man! Damn Disappointment. Magic Jesus bullshit strikes again! And of course the crucifixes also make total sense because all he’s done since the murders is spout a lot of magic jesus bullshit, Especially when asked about the missing suit. GOD took the suit away like Josephs coat of many colors. I think the only major blowback Ray Lewis faced for the whole thing was that when he won the Superbowl with the Ravens - even though he was MVP - he didn’t get to say the Disney line. Tragic. God moves in mysterious ways.
SFX - Montage NFL players going to disney world.
So I’m disappointed its a jesus mask not a dagger mask on the statue of Ray Lewis - but still a bit giddy about it but I manage not to say to the guy behind me or the woman in front of me - ‘I thought They were daggers on that mask’ because, you know its still a FOOTBALL STADIUM full of Nation Guard soldiers in a pandemic and I’m still probably going to come off like a cabin fever crazy. And I also doubt my ability to connect with people in public, Sarah Kendzior and Andrea Chalupa talk about it best on Gaslit Nation when they refer to us living in the Untied States of Amnesia. I doubt people will remember Ray Lewis murder trial. Or the lying cops of New Orleans throughout Katrina. It’s the United States of Amnesia - people might not know Edgar Aleen Poe’s Raven as we enter the Raven’s stadium. So the line shuffles me up into the stadium - I went through a tent - where the National Guard checks my appointment details and identity from my Driver License and there’s another line, moving pretty quick - snakes around these concession area up to the second floor. I’m given a touch screen computer pad and I check the boxes waiving my rights to sue if anything goes wrong with the vaccine and I’m getting the Pfizer shot. And there are big glowering cartoon Raven faces everywhere. Grip the Raven, Charles Dickens and Poe’s Raven everywhere. And there’s even a bar called Marga-Ravens-ville - which I’m guessing serves margaritas that look like yukked up bird bile.
SFX - Margaritaville Instrumental
Wasting away again in Marga-Ravens-ville, Looking for my lost shaker of ground up worm bits, Some folks say that Ray Lewis is to blame, But I know, it’s just all God’s fault… And theres a young National Guard soldier stood behind the bar of MARGARAVENSVILLE - wiping down a bunch of the ipad things - where you agree not to hold Pfiser accountable in case you drop dead from side effects from this vaccine they have brilliantly produced on really short notice. And the line pauses by him, and I say ‘One frozen Rita for me please’ and he laughs and say ‘I wish I could sir’. A small, nothing of a moment but I laugh back, and I’m feeling weird and giddy as I've explained - so I can’t stop myself and I say something else - I say ‘Quoth The raven’ and he just looks at me and I’ve turned a nice moment into a strange one and the line moves and I’m almost ready to try and explain The whole Raven poem thing which I though everyone in the world fucking knew, as he's hanging out under a giant picture of Poe’s Raven. United States of Amnesia. It’s fine. It’s hard to collect your thoughts these days. He’s just doing a job, he signed up hoping to Shoot bad guys and instead wiping down ipads in a corner of a football stadium. I want to say - that actually yes - its these small actions of care, the necessary drudge work of society - that is the real hero work, it’s why we need to recognize it all properly, starting with a big increase to the minimum wage and making higher education free for all. BUT I just need to shut up. It’s all in my head the Guardsman, is fine. He skipped out on the Raven class. No biggie. And It's a pandemic, everyones a bit weird everyone has a lot going on. Many of the people around me will have lost people or be suffering various stress. And it’s all good. He didn’t know the raven and thats fine and I chill and recognize that it’s good that at I didn't start babbling about the New Orlean’s Police Chief lying about rape at the Superdome. How anyone can forget and not know either thing is weird to me but life is busy and we are over stimulated.
And I get up to the next floor and there volunteers and more National Guard and two banks of twenty pairs of nurses at tables right down the concourse and they are working it. The line is moving. Not like a Disney Ride, this is an awesome site to behold. Government in action. Humanity coming together, overcoming financial stumbling blocks and vested interests and engineered stupidity to try and solve a big problem. Keeping me alive to raise my kids and try and help them build a better world. But not only that - trying to keep that grandparent alive who might breathe my air somewhere - a year down the line, trying to save people, everywhere, from the gargling green death with froth corrupted lungs. And like the war poets in the trenches telling us that war is wrong and heroic patriotism is a lie, like the marchers for social justice who are just asking for the Good Cops to step up and show themselves - don’t be bystanders to lies and murder, like eco-warriors chaining themselves trees that are being clear cut to produce toothpicks… this is also an important… social action… and all it requires is for me to turn up and get vaccinated. For some reason the collective noun for Ravens is an unkindness - I don’t know why, collective nouns can be witty and dumb, but I’ve realized I’ve not heard of a collective noun for humanity - it could a Grievance, an Idiocy of Humans, a Greed, a destruction, a plague… but it can also just as easily be a KINDNESS. Eddie Compass lost his shit at the Superdome but there were 30,000 poor people trapped in there without much food, light and nowhere to shit for weeks. And it didn’t actually go mad max, which should be the headline. We don’t need Masterclasses on swearing while cooking expensive food or business tricks from the people born at the top of the pyramid - we need to learn to listen and think and see the struggle and ultimate kindness in all the people around us and we need to all do our bit. And I look around and for the first time in years, I think yeah we can do this. And I get my shot and then theres an area where they like you sit down afterwards for 15 minutes just to make sure there is no adverse reaction. And I sit there and its pretty beautiful. I’m surrounded by people of all ages and races, all working together, helping each other just as it should be. Government working, in action, a vaccine for a once in a lifetime pandemic produced in double quick time and delivered in a organized way. The world seems so fucking mad and spinning out of control, but we can turn it around, we work together for the good of everyone. And I left the building be truly hopeful. A spring in my step - past the Guards, past Ray Lewis in his dagger looking mask, more people getting selfies. And there was a News Crew - set up - asking people how it feels getting vaccinated, and I the journalist stops me and asks…
ANDREW NEWSHAM - WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO NOW YOU’VE BEEN VACINATED?
I’m so excited, I’m going to go take a dump on the Trump Presidential Library.
That’s a wrap…
Music - Everything is Permitted - Mario Rom’s Interzone
Hope you enjoyed the show, please take a second to give me five stars and review in whatever app you use to listen. And If you really want to help, click the link and buy me a coffee for a few bucks and help me spread the word, help me grow an audience. It’s a free podcast and I enjoy doing it for few hundred or so of you that listen. I’m honored to have you listen, I know there’s a lot of competition for your ears. Cheers. I’ve got some great podcasts I want to tell you about in upcoming shows. Let me know if you hear anything good. Off on another outing next week though. Going to tell you about what happened on my tour of the Trump Presidential Library. Thanks to my friend John Yuan from the Funkatronics for the piano sample. I was trying to find a Willie Dixon type blues riff and he came through me. If you’re in Maryland… Watch out for cicadas - we’ve got a 17 year generation hatching coming soon. All the local old timers are winding me up, saying it’s going to be biblical… saying we’re going to be drowning in em. Every still we take will be crunching a hundred of their shells. Saying they will be louder than an airplane landing in the garden. Take it easy. Have a great week, wherever you may be… BBBBBBBYE