Friday, 24 May 2013


Norman Drainwangle sits alone in a corridor, he's a man like very much like you or I, except Norman has broken the law and awaits his sentence in court of justice. A court with judges, barristers and layers going about their business, the every day drama acted out in a thousand such institutions all over the world. But this is no ordinary world, this is world where nightmare tiptoes into the daylight and says, 'Boo' a world where reality and fantasy mingle like the fruit topping on the ice cream you bought your girlfriend at Mr. Whippy's. Tell her to eat it now before it starts to drip on her blouse because now you're about to take a peek through my -- DeadSpiderEye. 

It had to happen eventually I suppose, they caught me out, god I thought I was safe over breakfast just goes to show how much effort they put into catching you.

I've not had a licence for some time now, probably about six years, I don't miss it, X-Factor, Coronation Street, the endless trivia and white noise. The only thing I still do occasionally miss is the racing, football, Jeremy Clarkson's banter and his colourful prose. Of course it's not a licence any more, it's officially been a tax for a number of years, they still call it a licence in public though. I suppose they're shying away from the word even though they're eager to embrace the benefits of the licence's status as a tax, evading the licence is now a criminal offence. I admit I don't abstain completely from activities that require the licence,  I'm usually careful to avoid situations that would cause me liability though. Avoiding the licence legally is becoming increasingly difficult, if you've got a computer or mobile phone they're after you, there's even talk of you having to prove you use these devices exclusively for purposes other than that covered by the licence fee. I suppose if they just taxed you being alive or having a head on your shoulders that be too reminiscent of Mrs. T's Pole Tax.

They send you threatening mail regularly if you don't have a licence, not the corporation itself mind you, their proxy in the licence fee collection business. They need to have suitable distance between the corporation and the issuing of threats to innocent member of the public, you see how that works? Quite why the licence fee and the attendant coercion is tolerated in what's supposed to be a liberal democracy is a mystery to me. Perhaps it's just a lack of perspective, it's always been there, there's a blind a spot within public perception, a bit like people disappearing when they reach thirty in Logan's Run, if it's all you've ever known it would seem normal.

'Norman Drainwangle!'

Oh that's me, here goes...

Twenty seven minutes later

...oh well that's not so bad, £700 fine, not the maximum, I think that's about £2000. The judge warned that If I'm caught again, it's a custodial sentence I can't risk that especially considering what I was caught doing last time, Dam it, if only I hadn't read the back of that cornflake packet as I sat down for breakfast -- and aloud too, what was I thinking? I suppose I'd better get my Reading Licence now, don't want the BPC, the bloody British Publishing Corporation jumping on me for reading the mail when I get home.

And so Norman Drainwangle leaves the court castened, branded a criminal for reading without a licence. An activity that you and I would take for granted in our world, criminalised with offenders and the innocent alike hounded by a ruthless bureaucracy. Take comfort with the knowledge that this could never happen here -- or could it? That's a question to ponder till the next time you dare to peek beyond the veil, through my -- DeadSpiderEye!!!!

Doo doodoodoo.....   

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