So far, I have heard Boris say “Hi folks” whilst waiting for trains at Blackheath. I’ve heard him say “Hi folks” as I interchange at London Bridge. I’ve heard him say “Hi folks” at Charing Cross whilst making my way to the underground. I’ve heard “Hi folks” as I scurried through at least three tube stations.
And I could just about get by with the occasional grumble on Twitter to maintain my sanity. But today, after hearing it three times at three different stations, I took a bus to Sainsbury’s. The bus was full. It was too hot. Everybody was standing. And then, along came the aristocratic old Etonian who read Classics at Oxford calling me his “folk”.
I’m not his folk, and he isn’t mine. I never will be. It was only on the bus when I realised what a disaster the “Hi folks” recorded messages are. They make you feel as though you are living in a police state. I feel like I’m being told how to think, without any control over when I hear it. It’s the same message everywhere, and it doesn’t change. It’s relentless. And it’s starting to terrify me.
I realise that we live in a democracy, and that we’re lucky to do so. But playing the announcements everywhere with such ease demonstrates that most of the equipment is in place to remove our democracy at any time. All the machinery necessary to tell you how to feel, and what to think is sitting there, and is ready to go. And that scares the life out of me.
And it’s weird, because that Tannoy system has probably been set up for years, but I’d never noticed it until I heard it on the bus for the fourth time today.
Charing Cross photo by Flickr user Mike_fleming. Booming Boris Johnson from Wikipedia.
Transcript of the recording made by Darryl at 853blog of Leisure Councillor John Fahy responding to the public on Blackheath Halls:
Please note that several sections (
crossed out) were really difficult to understand – if you can hear what is being said, please let me know in the comments, and I’ll tweak:
…er from Blackheath Halls, and many of us attend functions there and see the quality of the performances etc.
These are very dark days for the arts in the UK. I think not only have we had to make difficult decisions in Greenwich, we learned today that something like 300 organisations across the UK, I think 5 in Greenwich, have had their funds cut by the Arts Council.
So in that regard, it’s a very depressing time. <
In particular and the Friends representing here this evening asked some questions about the difficult choices the council had to make, both in respect of Blackheath Halls, the theatre, and Greenwich Dance Agency.
In respect of the theatre and Greenwich Dance Agency, had we decided not to fund one, or the other, or both, we would find ourselves in a position where we would have two empty buildings on our hands, because they were buildings owned by the council. And that of course would be even more difficult, in the longer term.
In respect of Blackheath Halls, as I understand it the Blackheath Halls
covenant has been purchased recently by Trinity Laban and obviously their performing arts are going to use the hall more extensively. And obviously that is a matter for them. But if the Friends look at paragraph 3.51 and paragraph 3.5.2, it relates to the fact following representations and all due scrutiny, cabinet has set aside a sum of £42,000 to support the delivery of community based and participatory projects across the borough. And I would urge strongly for Blackheath Halls to seek to keep that going.
I’m very happy to meet friends of the Blackheath Halls because I think for any of us, we want to ensure that, at least here in Greenwich, as we move towards the Olympics, the Cultural Olympiad 2012, we don’t want any lights out in any of our quality buildings, and I very much hope that, with all of our joint efforts we can hope to keep Blackheath Halls, and lift its contribution to the community, which is set out very well in the programme that the Friends have very kindly circulated.
I’ve finally managed to get the audio from the Hustings at the Blackheath Halls out of my phone, and onto the site. The quality isn’t brilliant, but you can hear what is going on. It is split into two parts, and should be playable on pretty much anything:
Part 1 (22MB mp3)
Part 2 (40MB mp3)