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Sophie Woolley © 2003


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You shout at the news. Passionately, after some spaghetti bolognaise. As the tanks roll around Heathrow and police look for terrorism in random vans and flats above laundrettes, as zealous clowns are demonised as James Bond hook-handed baddies, as trains derail in tunnels and they think its all over, as sex in the city succumbs to the law of ever diminishing returns (and it was never much cop in the first place), you grip the firm arms of your sofa, turn up Trevor and shout at the news.

Things are bad. They are very bad indeed. The politicians think you are stupid and paternal newsreaders with twinkling eyes are there to lead you gently through the maelstrom of international histrionics. The subtext of the news chisels away at your self-esteem like a wife beater’s foreplay. It tries to scare you, to make you feel small and vulnerable. Again you are vacuumed into this daily and mutually abusive relationship Lock your doors, close the curtains, turn down the lights and hate the world’s policemen. Shout at the grim reapers of the latest Armageddon; their eyes are close together, their grins beam strobe lights from the television screen and somewhere at this very minute someone you vaguely know is batting you an anti-war petition, via email.

You video yourself shouting at Question Time and goading abrasive Newsnight interviewers, you build a website and then a whole philosophy extolling the power of shouting at the news. And at that advert for Kentucky Fried Chicken with cheery black people at the end eating chicken wraps and imbuing KFC with the reflected glory of soul. You give a whole generation of conscientious objectors hope that we can change the world. YES, WE. CAN. CHANGE. THE WORLD. Punch the air and push back a strand of middle-youth side fringe, momentarily dishevelled by your armchair vigour.




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