The Beginner’s A-Z of D.I.Y Subversion (Diatribe to Dynamite)

DIATRIBE           A bitter, sharply abusive denunciation, attack, or criticism.  Known in subversive circles as ‘conversation’.  There is little point in speaking about anyone at all except in derogatory terms.  All subversives are bitter about something, be it the blatant oppression of the working classes by the ruling elite; the exploitation of minority groups in our supposedly egalitarian society, or the price of deodorised socks at the Co-op, and will waste no time in denouncing¹ any or all of them.

1. The most important thing to remember about the act of denunciation is that it does not encumber the denouncer with any responsibility, e.g. suggesting a solution to the problem.  This is the job of politicians – who really should know better.

DICTATOR         (See Despot – above)  Charlie Chaplin played The Great Dictator in a film, only to find that a Mr A Hitler subsequently plagiarised his creation and went on to achieve worldwide notoriety without having to eat liquorice boots.  Many historians have considered how the impact of the Second World War might have been lessened had Mr Hitler been as funny as Mr Chaplin, but on closer examination of the latter’s films, most are forced to agree that he was.

DIM                   Rather stupid.  It is impossible to underestimate the importance of dim people to your organisation.  With proper persuasion, they will do all the things that you are far too scared to do.  Also, when captured by the authorities, they will waste no time in admitting to anything at all, as long as the policeman offers to share his Smarties.

DIGESTIVE          A medicine which aids digestion.  More importantly, a biscuit.  Should you ever find yourself in gainful employment, always strive to assume control of the staff tea fund.  Once in this lofty position of power, replace the digestives with Rich Tea and watch the fun begin¹.  Remember that, whatever is claimed to the contrary, the tea fund never did stretch to Custard Creams and always offer to reinstate the Digestives in return for an increase of the weekly subs.  Be prepared to deny emphatically that the quality of the tea has fallen during your time in charge and also that the tea money has, in any way, contributed towards your new Rolex watch, whilst pointing out the importance of proper timekeeping in the delivery of the tea.  Always keep a separate stash of Supermarket Own-Brand Rich Tea, which can be passed off as ‘low-sugar’ or ‘gluten-free’ as required and a small pack of Jammie Dodgers for the exclusive consumption of the person in charge of the photocopier and the recently divorced hottie in accounts.

1. It is a universally acknowledged truth that absolutely nobody likes Rich Tea biscuits – with the possible exception of vicars’ wives, who do so solely on a cost basis, and Supermodels, for whom a single biscuit provides a)100% of their daily nutritional requirements. b) A convenient ashtray. c) A nice shiny surface from which to snort their actual daily nutritional requirements.

DISMEMBER        To sever limb from limb.  Probably not the best course of action for the do-it-yourselfer.  To be efficient at this you need a sharp knife and a strong stomach.  It does make a dreadful mess in the bathroom and, unless you feel you really have to make a point, I recommend you dismember something with far less blood, gristle and sinew than the average human being.  Try a chocolate digestive biscuit, a plastic duck or Donald Trump (please).

DISSENT             To disagree with the methods, goals, etc., of a political party or government; take an opposing view.  Does this make you a subversive?  No, this makes you normal.  Governments in general serve only one rational function, that of being the focus of dissent.  It is perfectly logical to hold in contempt anyone who always knows what is best for you.  Government is full of them¹.  It is also full of people who know that what is good for you isn’t necessarily good for them.

1. Politics is the only profession for which being called a ‘sanctimonious prig’ is considered a good thing.

DODGE              To evade by sudden shift of place.  What one does with all responsibility.

DOMESDAY        Archaic word meaning ‘The day of Judgement’. Generally associated with the Domesday Book, an early census, ordered by William the Conqueror, who wanted to know exactly how much he could screw out of whom.  Think combined Census and Tax Return with the implicit threat of disembowelment for non-payment.            

DOOMSDAY       The Day of Judgement.  Your afternoon in Magistrates Court – £25 fine and bound over for two weeks.  Also, excluded from all branches of McDonalds until April.

DOWNHILL         Into a worse or inferior condition.  The direction in which your life is heading.  Generally, unless you are wearing skis, it is not considered ‘a good thing’ to reach the bottom first.  Even in Downhill Skiing, one is expected to reach the nadir with some form and grace; not with one shoe missing, a fat lip and a tampon up one nostril.  Also, remember that not even Franz Klammer was able to walk back up the mountain, no matter how quickly or elegantly he got down it.  A couple of paper cupfuls of gluhwein down at the bottom end and you’re staying there baby.

DUEL                  A prearranged combat between two persons, fought with deadly weapons according to an accepted code of procedure, esp. to settle a private quarrel.  Once an invitation to duel has been accepted, it is considered extremely bad form to hide behind one’s girlfriend pretending to be a non-English speaking Lithuanian with a dodgy leg.  You will be considered a complete cad if you do not go ahead with the duel and die with honour.  Duels are traditionally fought at dawn, with either swords or pistols.  (If you are offered the choice of weapons, go for celery.  Contempt is much easier to handle than fatal wounding.)

DUET                 A piece of music for two performers.  What you thought you’d read when you accepted the invitation to a duel.

DUODENUM       The first portion of the small intestine, from the stomach to the jejunum¹.  The first indicator that you are actually properly scared.

1. The section of the small intestine between the duodenum and the ileum – and you think your job, stacking supermarket shelves, is grim.

DYNAMITE         High explosive.  Much like next-door’s glue-sniffing son, this is never to be approached with an open flame.  Much like next-door’s glue-sniffing son, dynamite can have a devastating effect on the neighbourhood.  Unlike next-door’s glue-sniffing son, dynamite is very rarely sick on your rhododendrons.

                          ASSIGNMENT.

                          Place a soft-boiled egg up a politician’s exhaust (or that of his car).

© Colin McQueen 2022

The Beginner’s A-Z of D.I.Y Subversion Index is here

The Beginner’s A-Z of D.I.Y Subversion (Accused to Assassinate)

ACCUSED           Person charged with crime or offence.  Try not to get accused of too much.  Being hounded by MI5 is all very well for a little while, but it soon becomes exceedingly tiresome.  Far better to be an accuser and accuse MI5 of hounding you, even if it’s not true – which, of course, it is not.

ACQUIESCE        To comply; to admit without interrogation.  Acquiescence is not encouraged in subversive circles unless, of course, it saves a lot trouble.  It can certainly spare you an enormous amount of pain during interrogation.  Admit everything: be remorseful; weep uncontrollably; call everybody sir.

AD NAUSEUM    Latin term to describe anything that has continued to the point of nausea.  E.g. Noel Edmonds.

ADZE                 A type of axe.  But a far more exclusive word.  Why be the 357th Mad Axe Murderer, when you can be the first Mad Adze Murderer?  Exclusivity is the key¹.  Make the spelling clear to the newspapers and make sure that the handle is fixed good and tight.  There’s nothing worse than your adze-head flying off, mid-assassination and ruining the wallpaper.

1. Unless you’re trying to open a lock, in which case it’s probably a Yale.

AMBUSCADE      Ambush.  Conceal yourself in some bushes, wait for your victim to appear, leap out from your hiding-place yelling ‘This is an ambush – you’re surrounded’ and try not to look too embarrassed about the fact that you are alone. 

Surrounding a victim is not easy for the solo subversive.  You could try using mirrors, but beware – the reflections are indiscriminate.  A subversive friend of mine was reduced to a gibbering wreck when faced with the multifarious images of his victim staring out at him from the 17 strategically placed mirrors that he’d forgotten all about.

Be certain of your reasons for wanting to attempt an ambush.  Is kidnap the motive, or perhaps gang-violence?  Perhaps you are just not very good at making friends and this is the nearest you ever get to normal social interaction.  If the latter is true, you could always try to ambush a psychiatrist¹.  (You will find this impossible during the summer months, unless you live in the Caribbean.)

1. If you do decide to detain a psychiatrist in this fashion, ensure that you have enough cash to pay his bill.  Psychiatrists seldom accept cheques – nobody trusts a loony.

AMMUNITION    The painful, nasty bit that fits inside the weapon: the bullet in the gun; the pebble in the catapult; the lie in the politician.  

ANARCHY          Lack of government within a state; lawlessness; confusion.  Creating a state of anarchy is the penultimate aim of all subversion, because, only when this is achieved, can one move onto the ultimate aim of all subversion e.g. installing a government that represents all your own views¹.

In going about your legitimate subversive activities, you may be able to take the opportunity to accuse the government (or, more likely, the Parish Council) of ‘allowing a state of anarchy to exist’, which is both a damning indictment and the ideal springboard for your efforts to create such a state.  As in all matters, the wise subversive must be wary of public opinion.  The general perception of anarchy is not terribly good; it invariably receives a very bad press.  There is little that the solo subversive can do about this – good P.R. men² are very expensive.  If you are caught out and accused of being an anarchist yourself, try this argument – ‘In a truly Utopian State there would be no laws, as there would be no law-breakers.  Hence, the truly Ideal State would be an anarchistic one.  Just imagine that.  You may say that I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.  I hope some day you will join us and the world will live as one.’  If at all possible, attempt to end all public statements with a quote from John Lennon, but be prepared to paraphrase Salman Rushdie or Good Housekeeping in an emergency: it is unlikely to convince any but the terminally stupid, but might just work with a journalist.

1. Better still; install a government that is you.

2. Game of the Page – Spot The Oxymoron.

APATHY            

ARSON               Crime of intentionally setting fire to property or possessions.  Although burning things can be politically prudent, one has to accept that setting fire to the seat of our government is perhaps a little ambitious for the solo beginner.  Try burning unpaid bills.  Utility bills are a nice size in general and suitable for warming your hands by after you have been cut off.

ASSASSINATE     To kill by treacherous violence, especially for reward.  Don’t get involved in this sort of practice; it does not help your image.  If you feel that you really must rid yourself of a troublesome person, try sending them somewhere with a message and then changing all the locks before they return.  

HOMEWORK     

Carefully plan an ambush: prepare maps, timetables, escape routes etc, and then think of 101 reasons why you should not go ahead with it.

Subject to legal advice, ‘The Beginner’s A-Z of D.I.Y Subversion’ will return with the letter ‘B’ in 4 weeks time.

© Colin McQueen 2022

Beginner’s A-Z of D.I.Y Subversion – Index, is here.

The Beginner’s A-Z of D.I.Y Subversion (Abduction to Abuse)

This was supposed to appear on Tuesday, but life got in the way…

ABDUCTION       The felonious carrying off a man’s daughter, wife, etc.  More often referred to by the media as kidnapping (see below) this is an excellent method of raising cash, but it is wise to be cautious:

a) Before deciding on your victim, carry out some basic research: is anyone likely to want them back and, if they do, can they afford to pay the ransom?  There can be little worse than being stuck with someone whom you can’t return, who eats like a horse and insists upon attempting to ‘discern the rationale of your didactic approach’ every evening over the cocoa.

b) When operating solo, always kidnap someone smaller than yourself.  If that is not possible, try to snatch his dog – as long as it is neither big and vicious nor small and yappy.

c) Do not get over-ambitious.  Kidnapping the mayor might seem like a wonderful idea after thirteen glasses of your sister’s homemade rhubarb wine, but it is unlikely to prove practical, and it is doubtful that you will be able to carry out your scheme without eventual exposure, capture and humiliation.

d) Do not attempt to kidnap someone of above average IQ¹.  There can be little more embarrassing than losing so many games of chess that you are forced to pay the ransom yourself before releasing the brainbox with money for train fare and a sandwich on the way home.

                          PLANNING AN ABDUCTION – Honestly, it is probably better not to.  The moment you start to get involved in meticulous planning, you will realise how fraught with problems the whole thing is and, like as not, will decide not to bother.  My best advice is to go into it as one of those spur-of-the-moment things.  Have a room set aside and fully prepared: buy a clean bucket, but other than that, take the whole thing as it comes and sooner or later, a suitable victim will walk into your life.

                          A TYPICAL D.I.Y ABDUCTION – Walking through Tesco’s car park one Friday afternoon, you spot a frail old man pushing a trolley piled high with luxury goods.  You make a split-second decision to abduct him as he starts to load up his car.  It is not until you get him home that he manages to convince you that neither the trolley nor the car was his own, and that he is himself an habitual thief.  Worse, he is old, small and frail – he is also poor and lonely.  You give him a hot meal and attempt to release him, but he refuses to go.

1. This is an immutable law of subversion – if it were not so, Stephen Fry would have been taken long, long ago.

ABSCESS            A gathering of purulent matter.  All of the main political parties have an annual abscess, usually at the seaside.  A subversive is expected to study this sort of thing carefully in order to understand what the enemy¹  is up to.  If this doesn’t put you off, nothing will.  Actually, it is not difficult to discover what the political parties are planning, as they are rarely off the television during the abscess season and go to great lengths to tell you, ad nauseum, what they intend to do next².  If you belong to a subversive group, you will probably have an abscess of your very own – probably in the pub on a Friday night.

1. As a subversive, you may decide to view all organised political parties as ‘the enemy’ – this is perfectly normal and, frankly, not terribly subversive.

2. In truth, what they want you to believe they intend to do next.  What they actually intend to do next is exactly the same as every other party in power over the entire history of the world e.g. feather their own nests.

ABSCOND          To hide oneself; to fly from justice.  Flying from justice will probably prove to be totally impractical for the do-it-yourselfer, but you can run away.  Ignore all the rubbish about attack being the best form of defence; run away and, if at all possible, hide.  Disguise has always offered additional scope for the prospective escapee and, in the case of a male disguising himself as a female, allows him to employ the supplementary safety net of tears if cornered.

ABUSE                Bad language addressed to a person; insulting words.  In order to be effective, abuse must be witty and incisive.  Abuse is never effective.  If you wish to employ abuse as a subversive tool, try to obey three simple rules:

  1. Never waste wit on anyone you suspect may not be able to understand it.
  2. Never abuse anybody you feel may be likely to beat you up as a result.
  3. If you feel that you really must abuse somebody who may beat you up, do it very quietly and from a very great distance.

The Beginner’s A-Z of D.I.Y Subversion (Accused to Assassinate) will appear on Friday 28th January 2022 providing I remember.

© Colin McQueen 2022

Beginner’s A-Z of D.I.Y Subversion – Index, is here.

The Gentle Art of Subversion (part 2)

subversive

I urge you, now, before it is too late, to consider what it is that has drawn you to this subversive path. Perhaps you have always harboured an urge to behave subversively. Perhaps only now, after (comfortably) more than half a century of life’s travails, have you built up sufficient resentment to act. Remember: into every life a little rain must fall. There’s always sunshine after the rain etc. etc. Except that there’s not, is there? After rain, there’s normally even more rain, followed by fog on high ground and flooding in low-lying areas. Subversion comes in many guises: think Guy Fawkes attempting to blow up the house of commons; think ringing a call centre and leaving your phone off the hook; think taking an unfeasibly long time to read all of the myriad delights laid out before you on the Starbucks menu before asking the extensively over-qualified barista, ‘do you do Nescafé?’.

Whatever subversive action you decide to take, even if it is just sticking your tongue out at someone when they’re not looking, somebody is almost bound to take exception to it. If they react badly, you will find yourself in ‘a situation’. At this point adrenalin will kick in. You are unlikely to experience the fight or flight dilemma as you will be too busy running away. Whatever you do, always make certain that you have a suitable means of escape. Bicycles are excellent, but only if you are heading downhill. If you plan to escape by public transport, always ensure that you know the location of the easy access stops.

Broadly speaking, subversives fall into two categories: a) those who consider themselves torchbearers for the right and good – enemies of injustice and inequality – warriors for a righteous cause and b) those who would really quite like to get their name into the newspaper. Many of those who fall into category a) will enter into politics, whilst many of those who fall into category b) will also enter into politics. The Houses of Parliament are the subversive equivalent of the elephant’s graveyard. Politics is the domain of those who have lost all conviction – or at least home to those who have sued the press for releasing details of their convictions. Subversion is simultaneously the enemy and the father of politics – whilst politicians are often simultaneously the father and employer of any number of tax-deductable children. Winston Churchill remained subversive throughout his political career but then, so did Tony Benn and Dennis Skinner and look where it got them. For most, subversion and political success are mutually exclusive – in much the same way as hand-knitted cardigans and sexual excess. Indeed, for the majority of subversives, subversion and normal social intercourse are also mutually exclusive. Show me a subversive with friends and I will show you a liar. Subversion, like golf, is a group activity in which no member trusts any other member; consequently, most D.I.Y subversives also become solo subversives. After all, what is the point of other opinions if they do not agree with your own?

Somebody once said that 99% of all subversive activity takes place between the ears. They obviously associated with different subversives to me. 99% of what goes on between the ears of the subversives I have met is… well, zilch, quite honestly …and the other 1% involves sexual exploits – 99% of which are fictitious.

Remember, subversion is not all glamour. Che Guevara was indeed glamorous, but not until after he was dead. If you want glamour, you are reading the wrong blog – look elsewhere – there must be one somewhere about existing purely on the calories extracted from cigarettes and cocaine.

I do not seek to persuade anyone that committing subversive deeds could in any way be seen as a desirable course of action. Indeed, I consider it imperative to advise against any activity that may, in any way, be associated with terrorism or extremism and which might, ultimately, lead to the suspicion that it was me who placed the fake dog-dirt in the butcher’s doorway. Amateur subversion seldom involves killing your enemy – although it may necessitate tying his shoelaces together. If you are happy living your life as a friendless bozo, perpetrating small acts of subversion whenever and wherever the opportunity arises, distil from this such succour as you are able – then, for God’s sake, go out and get yourself a life…

The Gentle Art of Subversion (part 1)

subversive

This is not a terrorist handbook. If you are scanning this page at random whilst pretending to peruse some far more worthy thread, you need not be concerned – it is highly unlikely that you will receive a knock on the door from a shady-looking character with a rolled-up umbrella and a GCHQ security pass hanging from a purple lanyard around his neck. You can read on in relative safety. You are unlikely to find yourself on the receiving end of a polonium enema just yet.

Perhaps we should begin with a definition. My hastily Googled enquiry offered this – Subversion: the undermining of the power and authority of an established system or institution. I see it more as the art of being a bloody nuisance. Like stretching Clingfilm over the toilet bowl, it seldom ends well. I tend to think that the aim of undermining the entire established system might be a slightly ambitious one for a long-in-the-tooth loner such as you. I am happy to discuss subversion in all of its forms, from hacking the Pentagon computers to leaving a drawing pin on the Bowl’s Club Secretary’s chair, but I urge you to consider – those on the receiving end of acts of subversion do not necessarily share your healthy regard for democratic rights and may just call the police if you continue to shout rude words through their letterbox – worse, they might just open the door and chase you.

Subversion is a gift for life. The desire to subvert is there from birth. Any parent will recognise the look on a baby’s face as it widdles on the changing mat or poos in a freshly changed nappy. The urge to subvert grows with the child. School brings unrivalled opportunities: bird whistles behind a raised desk lid; innocently made smart-arse remarks during class discussions; getting lost on the way to classes; falling to sleep during them… all of the things that teachers love. In adulthood, the opportunities to act subversively occur daily. I am not talking about the kind of actions that could cause physical harm; I’m talking about the slight discomfort of a rubber band on the back of the neck, a dried pea in a brogue, an unpicked seam in the underwear… And I’m not necessarily thinking about actual physical irritation, I’m thinking mental too. I’m thinking about moving the most expensive suit you can find onto the Bargain Rail at Next; I’m thinking about casually pretending to pick up a loose bolt from the floor near the railings at the top of the Eiffel Tower or producing your own bottle of tomato ketchup at an oyster bar. It might sound like little more than a practical joke, but it will put a bat up the nightie of a) the multi-nationals, b) the French and c) people who insist on eating raw molluscs in public.

Subversion that results in violence is often linked with religion. Religion is, in my opinion, not something with which the subversive should become involved. Too often, the incorporation of subversion and religion can lead to shed-loads of anguish and not a little bloodshed – just think back to the Sunday school outings of your youth. If you are decided upon a career in religious subversion, there are other websites out there for you, although I would not necessarily recommend accessing them on your mother-in-law’s laptop.

I am no connoisseur of violence – I haven’t queued for a bus in years – but I am aware that some factions quite like it. I am a firm believer that blood is designed to remain within the body. As far as I am concerned, a pool of red liquid around a person’s feet can only spell trouble – unless it is being lapped up by the cat, in which case it probably spells strawberry sauce. I would certainly never encourage risky behaviour: life and limb are not designed to be exposed to danger. Extreme pain is nature’s way of telling you to stop whatever it is you are currently doing, even if it is just sitting cross-legged on a concrete floor. The only advice I can offer is that violence is seldom the answer (unless, ironically, the question is ‘what is seldom the answer?’).