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Sober Life
by Sinclair Newton



Sober Life

Have you noticed there's no sign of a drink whenever Bin Liner and the Afghan Cavemen put on a show?

I was watching CNN the other night and there was this film of them all wearing watches on their right wrists.

Apparently this is a sign to watching Muslims who can figure out that they belong to a special sect to do with wearing your watch on the right wrist. It was also something to do with the way the turbans finish up in a straight bit that comes over your left shoulder.

This expert was going on about these clues and the messages the Tallymen were sending out and for a moment I thought I had been drinking.

It was the sort of gobbledegook that used to come through the ether when I'd had a few. You hear about every third sentence.

This man was being paid to waffle on like this about these crazy clues and all I was wondering was why they needed watches in the desert anyway.

Everyone was stoned in Vietnam, but there's not even a cup of mint tea for the Americans in Afghanistan because all they ever do is fly over the place and drop a few food parcels and fewer ghetto blasters with a card saying: "Sorry, you guys," before they fly home to Missouri.

Oops! I feel a bit like Kate Adie now in case I've given out a secret. Did I say Missouri? I did. I said it because that's what I've just read in the pornographer's newspaper, the Daily Express. Did Kate tell the world that Tony Blair was on the flight arriving in Islamabad at 14:10 and cause a security alert like no other?

I would have thought it was dangerous that, saying where the Stealth Bomber himself, Tony Blair was going to be, because he could be rushing off to be World President any day as soon as he's sorted the Congo.

Just as dangerous as saying where the American planes are parked at night, but not when darling Kate is broadcasting flight arrival times. You only know whether anything on the Nine O'Clock News is serious by seeing Kate Adie looming up.

In the drinking days, she and I were fellow judges at the Bramley Apple Pie of the Year Competition. It was not long after she'd been bravely shot in some war zone and become a celebrity reporter. That's when I experienced my own little version of a Holy War.

I had interviewed her mother and my story made the front page of the Daily Mirror. "How is she?" I asked. "MY mother," she thundered, has NEVER been interviewed."

"But I interviewed her," I said, tamely, and I remember I had to look upwards because she's very, very tall and omniscient.

I've just checked that in the dictionary in case it didn't mean what I thought it did and it says it means you are a know-all, like God, which is about right.

"You did not," she said and stormed off and right out of the Bramley village hall before we had presented the prize to Mrs Tyldesley, of Old Manor Farm, Great Tiddington. Unlike many of the competitors, she had not decorated her pie with twiddly bits of pastry like flowers and leaves, which should be reserved for pies of the savoury variety.

At least the Brits are operating from submarines under the Arabian Sea, which means you can't see where they are. Kate should go down there.

But I bet you I could find where the Missouri base is where these multi-billion super planes park every other day (they're on their way there or back the rest of the time) and I haven't got a beard as wide as my fist.

Wars were never outed by newspapers like this. There were things called "D" Notices that the government issued to editors who agreed not to print what they were not told. Half a century later, I still don't know what the "D" stands for.

Mind you, I don't think reporters are what they were.

They don't drink anymore (like the Tallymen) and I bet most of them have never been to Ibiza, unless it was to rubbish the place.

Sinclair Newton