Phil Gyford


Wednesday 21 January 2004

PreviousIndexNext Bah, kids today...

When I was young I hoped that thirteen year olds might stop picking on me by the time I was, I don’t know, twentyfive. (OK, I think I’ve been reading too much Richard Herring.)

So anyway. When sat in my secure middle class flat watching something like Towerblock Dreams it’s easy to wonder how kids think it’s a good idea to carry weapons. It seems such an alien state of mind, one that’s only going to make the streets more dangerous, make it more likely the kids themselves gets hurt.

This evening, cycling home through Islington, I ran the gauntlet of four young teenagers on a cycle path armed with stones and a plank of wood. I don’t know if they were hanging out there solely to hassle cyclists, or if they were merely making the most of a prime opportunkty. Thankfully, my momentum kept me going and I escaped with a couple of bruises, but for the rest of the journey home I wanted to do little else other than head back there with weapons and/or friends to beat the living shit out of the wankers.

If it only takes this to turn me, Mr Peaceful, into a homicidal maniac it’s easier to understand how more frequent and serious incidents lead to people tooling up. But still, now the rage has subsided I have a tiny glow of satisfaction from warning some kid who was cycling towards the teenagers; hopefully he took a different route. Or had a great big gun.


Although their attitude, in your eyes, is wrong, for them it is not. Examine pack animals on the pairie - they exhibit the same 'have-a-dig-at-it-until-it-bites-back' attitude, that's how they learn. Humans are animals in the same way. You can't deny 200,000 years of genetic programming in them. And you shouldn't deny it in you. Your rage was justified, and if you had any balls you would have stopped by this kids, and fucking gone mental at them. It's normal. It's what you're supposed to do. You're supposed to be a man, I'm sure you resemble one in some ways, so start acting like one and kick the living shit out of them. Stop acting like a girl.

As a side note: Girls fucking love aggressive guys. Why you may have bad luck with girls and ths spend more time alone with other attitude-neutered personality-less people online doing IT web stuff is cos your attitude is one forced into you by British society: be nice, be kind, blah blah.
Do you live your life for other people? For what they say, for what they believe? Do you plan to do what other people say you should do for the rest of your life? If you do, it's more like their life, not yours.
Try being an aggressive arsehole man for just one day, see how you like it. Change your posture a little, stand a little taller, push out your chest, try to talk in a deeper tone of voice.

Try it out.
You can always be a mouse again if you don't like it, that's already clear.

Posted by djdk on 22 January 2004, 11:13 am | Link

Thanks for your comment djdk! A few points:

a) Just because their behaviour is OK in their eyes doesn't mean it's right from the point of view of the rest of society. We're not pack animals, which is why we don't all go around attacking each other and eating each others' young (well, I don't; I can't speak for you).

b) I could have stopped, but it's not what I'm *supposed* to do. If I had, the four of them (and their two mates who were nearby) might have run. Or they might have ganged up on me. I couldn't have beat six of them up, and certainly not at the same time as hanging onto my bike and bag.

c) I don't live my life for other people, but I enjoy doing what I can to make life better for others, as long as it doesn't put me out too much. Again, this is what makes us human, although plenty of animals also display altruistic, rather than solely agressive, behaviour.

d) You and my girlfriend obviously have different tastes in men.

Posted by Phil Gyford on 22 January 2004, 11:36 am | Link

Djdk, "200,000 years" of genetic programming also hones the flight reponse. Taking flight on a bike was the natural thing to do.

Posted by Tim on 22 January 2004, 11:48 am | Link

Sorry to hear about your scary experience Phil.

I had an experience on the Tube once where a gang of youths were causing mayhem in an adjacent carriage. I have never been one for by standing so when they started scratching the glass on the connecting doors (next to where I was standing) I sort of snapped: I turned around and opened the windows (removing their scratch pad), snatched the bottle that was being used to scratch the window and said (stupidly), "My ticket paid for that glass so cut it out". I think I was trying to say that my weekly pass (

Posted by Jonathan Davis on 22 January 2004, 1:08 pm | Link

Definitely tell the police. Antisocial behaviour like this is supposed to be their top priority at the moment. The police might not be able to do much in your case, but the more people who report stuff like this, the more likely they are to do something about it. They're unlikely to do anything about crimes that are unreported. Insist on being given a crime number.

Posted by Richard on 22 January 2004, 9:16 pm | Link

Chiming in a bit late, but I agree with Richard. The police should at least know this is happening. What those thugs did was assault, and the next person might not get away with a few bruises -- especially if it's a child or an old lady or someone otherwise unable to live up to djdk's expectations.

I hope you're feeling better now. I always tense up when I walk past a group of teenagers -- they seem to exude menace even when they're just standing there. But then, I never liked kids even when I was one.

Posted by Laura Brown on 24 January 2004, 6:10 pm | Link

Phil, you could always kit out your bike with razor-sharp jagged knives that poke out at the hub a la Road Warrior...

Your experience once again reminds me that though America is so "dangerous" as our news constantly tells us, all my experiences with completely random violence have been in England. Remember the Woolpack pub, Phil? It was just a given that you didn't even walk past it! I've been accosted in the street, threatened, and seen other people pummeled right in front of me back in our "sleepy little town" of Witham.

Back to Phil's situation: He was right to ride off. Maybe if it was only two teenagers he might had scared 'em off, but four? With stones and planks? Who knows what would have happened? He *should* have went and found a cop ASAP, though...

P.S. Fucking little bastards! (there, I said it.)

Posted by ted on 26 January 2004, 8:47 pm | Link

Glad the subject provoked you to look at it in a new way, though my direct line of thought seems to have been attacked by yourself. It was Nietsche who said "The surest way to corrupt a youth is to instruct him to hold in higher esteem those who think alike than those who think differently", so with that in mind perhaps your action was a good course. I however was addressing your internal desire to lash out, and how you were dealing with the frustration that plagued you afterwards.

Further analysis of your reaction indicates you regard humans as different to animals. Interesting. Our level of intellect perhaps, but our basic motor response and social behaviour is extremely similar to a wide range of life forms.

I found your persistent snipy remarks somewhat crude Phil. Has your education thusfar not taught you the simplicity in stating your intention to disagree without resorting to such behaviour?
Well, it wouldn't seem so.

It reminded me of how gangs of kids snipe at passers-by with rocks and sticks.
There is much to learn in life Phil, don't be so quick to push aside the comments of others just because the words are provoking.

Posted by djdk on 9 February 2004, 1:32 pm | Link

OK, no snipy remarks this time -- you need no help in making yourself look a fool.

Posted by Phil Gyford on 9 February 2004, 3:29 pm | Link

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