In Contempt of Court My Education Begins
- 15 March, 2020
- Linda Brogan
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Chapter 11. Arriving at excavating the Reno and uncovering all the injustice buried beneath that has lead to our huge multiple triumphs including the Reno at the Whitworth. The journey began from many different angles. Meeting Tom in the Reno is a major one.
‘You have to go to university for that.’
‘No you don’t. All you need is talent, which you have. And the opportunity, which I’m giving you. Wouldn’t you rather be a designer than a cleaner?’
Anonymous’s anxiety peeks. She has to leave.
University is a piss-take, like getting a medal from the queen. Who the fuck is the queen? Really? Think about it? In my writing classes I also have problems with people who go or have been to university. Brainwashed.
I don’t know if you know or you have heard about referencing. Well this is how it works. Because, I did go to university for a little while. For 9 months. You have to reference who has gone before you. I can’t remember how you do it exactly, but you have to state the name of the person and the exact page on which you read what they said, what you are quoting or referencing. Fucking boring. So supposed the person you are referencing is an idiot, or a liar. Or didn’t do their homework properly. Or referenced a stupid cunt when they were at university. Then you have a line of command that if full of fuckeries. And that is the way the whole world works. One after another, dominoes toppling to hell. No original thought.
The other day I was listening to my guru, this Indian geezer called Prem Rawat, who I’ve been listening to since I was 18. And he said that war costs billions of dollars. Then he said supposed we didn’t spend that money. Suppose we distributed it to all the people on earth. Each would roughly get $1000. In some countries that is a lifetime of money. Some people won’t need it. If all the people who don’t need it refuse it and it goes into the pot and is redistributed to all the people who really need it that would be a good amount to set them up for life. We could do it. But we can’t do it: because it has never been done before. There is no reference. It would kill the world order.
Tom had never been to university. He had not been anywhere. He had hardly been to school when I met him in the Reno. No references. He was full of radical thoughts. If I hadn’t met him I would never have met Prem Rawat. Tom was looking for God. Not an old guy with a grey beard, but the meaning of it all, the answer to equality, a way to feel superior to the swamp he was meant to feel. A free thinker. He dressed like a free thinker. He had long curly hair. And what we called his mushroom hat. And a flak jacket. A lot of his crew wore flak jackets. A symbol of the times. Radical. The 70s. A whole raft of young men who did not believe the 1970s world order. Who saw greed as the devil. Who saw equality as the way forward. Who were Travis Bickle. ‘You talkin' to me?’ Before Travis Bickle became Travis Bickle. Who were Taxi Driver. Alone in a hostile, unjust world that they can’t believe in. Part of a movement that don’t believe it is a movement. Long hair. Afro Hair. Parties. Weed. Rizla signs stitched to their jeans. That shop in second hand shops.
I can barely touch the clothes when Tom takes me to the one on Claremont Rd. I buy a long green cheese-clothe dress to please him. I have to look the part. I always have to look the part. The part is everything. The outside of me never seems to reach the inside of me. The outside of me has to be enough.
I first touch the inside of me when I get Knowledge on Lausanne Rd Whalley Range in a place that looks like a Swiss cottage, and an old lady called Irene says yes I can have it revealed to me. I’m in a line on the hallway waiting to go into her room. You can tell the ones who are going to get Knowledge they come out happy, no blank. You went blank when you were ready to receive Knowledge because there is no where else to go to in the world. You need, we needed in 1979 what Prem Rawat is revealing, showing. His 1970's name is Maharaji. He spoke at Glastonbury 1971/72. When Glastonbury was hippy. Anything I say will make him seem hippy. I still listen to him in 2020. I listened doing the Reno at The Whitworth budget the other day and realised: he no longer sounds like a hippy. He never sounded like a hippy. All I know was when I used to walk down the street beside Manchester Town Hall in 1977 with Tom after listening to Maharaji audios in Premie meetings [people who already have Knowledge] I would feel relief from my worries, from my troubled head. I would feel like I could live. There was a reason to live.
The Town Hall reminds me of asking for money when Pauline got off with stabbing Ivern. When I have been stood in the dock. The rest of the court feels a long way off, like I am looking down from a long way off. Like I am being hung out to dry. Yes, I am being hung out to dry because the only way her counsel can save her is to say I am to blame.
‘Did you refuse to open the door when Pauline, Miss Harrison, was knocking?’
‘Answer the question: yes or no. Did you refuse to open the door when Miss Harrison was knocking?’
I stumble again.
‘The court needs an answer. Did you refuse to open the door when . . . ‘
I am wearing the green cheese-clothe dress. It is to the floor. Tom is in the gallery wearing his mushroom hat and his long hair. Travis Bickle does not exist yet. I am at their mercy. I am 17. I am buoyed by Tom and his lack of references. I am buoyed by Maharaji and his Kali Yuga. It is a time of darkness. I am saved. They are dead. Kill them Arjuna they are already dead. Krishna on the battlefield.
‘Did you refuse to open the door when Pauline Harrison was knocking?’
Of course I didn’t answer the door.
'We need an answer. A yes. A no.’
There is my mum. My mum is there. I am far from my mum these days. She is also part of the dead. Lost in the sea of references. It is a good day for washing is all the precious sunshine means to her. They are already dead. The 4 horse of the Apocalypse will come down on them all. We try to work it out. Me and Tom. We drink the bible at night when we are stoned. When we are tripping. Be Here Now. When we watch the rabbit die by the one bar fire in my Whalley Range bedsit. Khalil Gibran: The Prophet inspires the project on my bedsit wall of fish postcards that try to understand the beginning of life in the sea, its connection to the fish in early Christianity, through referencing the end of life the end of the world we are living in a time that is actually the end of the world. It is all coming to an end.
‘I will ask you for the last time Miss Stanners did you refuse to open the door to Miss Harrison’s knocking?’
There is no way out. ‘Yes.’
He looks like he is resting his case. But he doesn’t rest his case. Because he has a knock out punch.
I am in a red dress it feels. Like the whore. The whore of Babylon waiting for my sentence. But I am not in the dock. There is the dock. She is the one up high. She is the one in the red dress. She used to have a red dress when she was with Ivern in the Russel. A beautiful red dress. It was expensive. She was a big woman. I was a young girl. He was a young boy. She bottled me at the top of the Russel stairs. And when I hit the bottom my front teeth were smashed.
‘And did you or did you not have an abortion?’
I look at Tom. He looks at me across the courtroom.
‘FUCK YOU. SHE'S NOT THE ONE ON TRIAL HERE.'
'I’ll warn you again. One more interruption in my court and you will be held in contempt.’
Cut the bullshit and sentence her. No they can’t sentence her because her dad was fucking her from the age of 7. He did 7 years. They have to get her off. They have just been handed the ammunition to get her off.
'Did you abort Ivern Walker's baby?'
‘Yes. I had an abortion.’
And then it seems to be over. And just like Tom introduced me to the secondhand shops and the way of being cool, he also introduces me to the back shop in the courthouse where I can claim my expenses for the day. My mum is ashamed. Just like she is ashamed that my green cheese-clothe dress is not ironed. This is not doing better in her book. But this is our world order. Go back to your world order.
‘Who are you?’ she asks Tom with contempt. A fucking Didicoy she wants to say. A fucking traveller.
‘I’m Tommy Brogan,’ he says.
The courthouse back room give me £40 expenses. I never go back to work. It feels like a small fortune. We buy curried goat cut up in small pieces. And 2 Breakers. And a bag of weed. Later that night Tom goes down the Reno. But I am not supposed to go down the Reno because I am his woman now. So I wait for him.
Thank you for listening to me. Don't forget to listen to this weeks podcast episode.
In which Carmen declares she will write a book. And it will be phenomenal because she has nothing to reference but the 66 years she has authentically lived.
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