The Worldwide Weblog of Donald Pincher

Blogged prose fiction by Joshua Gaskell


I am the WEBMASTER, and it is I that will be presenting to you, READER, the private journal of Donald Pincher, aspiring author. How I came to be possessed of it is no concern of yours. And in any case, if I did go about to tell you by what accident I obtained covert access to the file, it would in this unbelieving age pass for little more than the cant or jargon of the blogosphere. Suffice to say that he types Journal.doc on his computer (Windows ME) and, in his careless cyber-luddism, has left open a pathway vulnerable to exploitation by those of us who know the ways of data capture.
Pincher is a pious, small-c-conservative young fogey of the leftmost wing. He lives unfashionably in the London district of Forest Hill SE23, and devotes his life to writing entries in his Oxford Urban Dictionary, trying to find someone willing to publish his novel – five-hundred pages of relentless socialist manifesto masquerading as literature – and to being fruitlessly apoplectic about the price of things in the capital. A privacy obsessive, much of his novel consists of (in equal measure) decrying the dangers of the internet age, and mocking its pretentions. Which is why I thought it would be funny for him to write his own blog, even if it is one that he doesn’t know he’s writing.
Though the automatic-upload macro I’ve attached to Pincher’s journal makes me something of a deistical Prime Mover, I will occasionally deign to intervene in ‘the cool of the day’ (to footnote, to hyperlink, to tag, or otherwise curate). To this end you will know me by my dark-blue font.
Without further ado, I present to you what I’ve chosen to dub, in the idiom of its unwitting BLOGGER, The Worldwide Weblog of Donald Pincher

Friday, 31st October 2014

Wild sheep + plastic explosives = your time! #ShaPEYourTime

Thursday, 30th October 2014

Newsflash: Medieval advertising slogan uncovered on excavated town wall:

Relics: Wheresoever. Whensoever. Howsoever.

Wednesday, 29th October

Q. Why do some young women keep their iPhones in the back pockets of their jeggings?
A. To remind them not to sit down and remove their nether (jegginged) regions from view.

Tuesday, 28th October 2014

An open letter to the Secretary of State for Transport:

Dear Mr McLoughlin,

Earlier in the year, I was thinking about the history of New Cross and New Cross Gate stations, opened just ten years and six hundred yards apart by rival entrepreneurs – the Britain being forged in the white heat of the Industrial Revolution was no place for restrictive practices. However, I argued that though our own age is one of free-marketeering white heat regained, it is also inevitably one of restrictive practises; and that, as such, our railways remain in the private sector either through blind faith or (heavily in)vested interests. Now I know how pushy it looks, to quote yourself, but I did relevantly continue,

The trains are overpriced and overfull, supply is not meeting demand; but it’s no longer possible, as happened in 1849, for a group of entrepreneurs to rock up somewhere and compete by actually building. Today’s train operating companies expend all their white heat in competing franchise bids, but once the franchises are awarded they continue as complacently as the nationalised system supposedly did.

Having passed through private and nationalised railways, we’re now stuck with the worst aspects of both: the disadvantages of monopolies, but without the advantages of having them run for the public good. A third way indeed.

I would like provisionally to withdraw this scathing speech and suggest an experiment. Given that we have at our disposal a veritable parliament of train operating companies, squawking for franchises, let’s put their go-getting capitalism to the test.

While a small number of the stations that fell under the Beeching axe have since been reopened – funded by local councils and government agencies – most of them remain closed. So given that public money is tight, lets give the TOCs – from Abellio to Virgin – carte blanche to raise money from private investors and put forward proposals to reopen and run old branch-line stations. This should be a win–win: if they prove themselves the entrepreneurial equals to the London and Croydon Railway of old, then a few towns will get their stations back; and if they prove themselves to be supinely rent-seeking organisations, then that’ll settle the matter and we can bring back British Rail without delay.

Yours sincerely,
Donald Pincher, SE23.

Monday, 27th October 2014

I stand at an intransigent cashpoint, trying to coax out some beer money to place me amidst my cups. I’m bartered down to requesting just ten pounds, but still money comes there none. Instead I get a curt message, and realise for the first time why these machines are called automatic tellers: what can one say to ‘You do not have sufficient funds’, except ‘Well, that’s me told.’


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