Tony Allen, Global Village Idiot, experiences a mild identity crisis.
Squall 14, Autumn 1996, pg. 62.
What shall I be today? An armchair anarchist or a street shaman? A nuisance caller or an eco-warrior? Spikey or Fluffy?
There was an old geezer used to turn up at Speakers Corner every week wearing a sandwich board proclaiming the legend “THE END IS NIGH”. Never missed a week in thirty odd years. I haven’t seen him there recently. I do hope nothing’s happened to him.
He’d spent half his life prophesying doom and gloom for Western Civilisation. And now, when his message is so pertinent, he’s not around. I don’t like to think of him missing the fireworks. It’s sort of... well, sad.
On a quirky day I’ve even fancied doing his job. Of course I couldn’t be doing with all the bible punching side of the position, but “Get a grip or else bring on the hell fire and damnation” seems a perfectly reasonable message to be laying on both the Godless and the God-fearing. Because to my reckoning, unless there is an immediate and sustained New Age of Enlightenment the species is screwed! Kaput! Up shit creek without so much as a methane gas extractor.
I’ve never thought of myself as a fluffy anarchist but neither am I yer Spikey ‘small minority of troublemakers intent on violence in an otherwise peaceful demonstration’ variety of anarchist. No, I’ve always favoured the tag “Naughty”. Twenty five years an anarchist, Naughty Tendency. Twenty five years of smashing metaphorical windows in my Dad’s greenhouse and then running away giggling.
But events are on fast forward. Do I really believe we can build the New Jerusalem simply by being playful and imaginative on the odd demo while religiously recycling our kitchen waste. What does Naughty Tendency suggest we do about multi-national arms manufacture?
Okay, think globally, act locally. So, here’s the plot. We get some explosives and blow something up, anything, it doesn’t really matter what, so long as its very loud and nobody gets hurt or arrested. But, just before the copper tinsel melts the mackerel paste or whatever it is that sets off an explosion, because understand I know nothing about these things, Jack Shit squared me... your honour. Anyway, just before it blows, we phone Mr Howard’s new boy scouts and give ‘em the map reference. But most important we give them a code word: an obscure and pertinent word, something they’ve got to look up - East Timorese for British Aerospace, that line of thinking. Shortly after that we start bomb-scaring our way through the copex mailing list. “Hello, Land Mines Are Us Wolverhampton Ltd, we’ve just buried one of your devices in your executive car park. Tell the old Bill OKINOKI!” Just for a touch of authenticity we could leave some apparent clues behind at the scene of the karma - a few bits of copper tinsel or mackerel paste (not both together obviously) lobbed over the wall of the car park the previous night. Then we sit back and...
No, no! Of late there’s a Spikey inside me screaming “Let’s do it for real!”
The poet Auden once said, “We must love one another or die,” which of course is an essential if very tall order. In my current mood of urgency “kick shit out of the bad guys” has got quite a nice ring to it as well.
Here's more from Tony Allen...
Lofty Tones - Tony Allen, Global Village Idiot, surfs the net. Squall 13, Summer 1996.