HERE COMES HODKINSON TO SACK YOU by David Seagrave
After a conversation between Shane Harte (who did a talk about his time staying in Nepal), myself (Alex Dunedin) and David Seagrave (A unique and interesting gentlemen who comes to talks who has Asperger’s Syndrome), I found this in my email inbox to share with everyone, with his permission:
Dear Alex, Further to your proposal to stage an exhibition about the dehumanisation of society I herewith append a story JUST COMPLETED to illustrate what actually happens to ME in supermarkets – David Seagrave:
It is eighteen months since I graduated and do I get replies to my job applications/do I hell ! father on my back all the time and sister nagging me, calling me “lazy Paul “I owe the Student Loan Company fifteen grand I wish I had never gone to university John Ryhope only got a C grade in woodwork and he s doing well up-county near Etal on that estate with the miniature railway, making furniture Me I am always in trouble It’s a long weary ride into Alnwick and oh mother kicks up a fuss whenever I return, soaked.
Father insists “Set your sights lower, Paul“, But I’ve applied for menial jobs indeed on the Etal estate and Mother whinges that I woild have to stay in digs and I can nt look after myself then I must put on my one and only suit every Sunday because its SUNDAY and I must troop into Church with parents and sister who nag SING PAUL SING
Its lonely, being a farmers son. I want to join those people who are saving the environment who got into the Northumberland Courier when they discovered that secret weapons at the Otterburn training camp are being let off – and affecting the wild life All those dead seagulls ! and hares and foxes ! Is it true that thin layers of coal deep underground have been set alight by the secret weapons and cause carbon monoxide to come out of cracks in the rock ? Oh what offence I have caused merely by reading aloud these reports ! And I cannot meet these people in Newcastle because I cannot cycle all the way or afford the fare .
Wow ! a job offer at a Newcastle supermarket. So away I go and it’s a sad farewell to the Cheviot country but at last I will pay off that debt. Oh Newcastle IS a grim city but the rental for a squalid little bed sit is astronomical ! More than what I paid in the Student hall of residence .
The supermarket warehouse is downwind of a chemical works that has a peculiar stink I see suspicious looking people on the way to work ,loitering at street corners My job is to keep track of groceries being sent out all over the city
I learned to read with the advertisements for familiar products: Oxo, Bovril ,Virol and so on each with its distinctive type face. But somehow there are messages in the type faces particularly with breakfast foods I have to carry the cartons and every brand has garish labels. So it is with nearly everything else sold by the chain including their own brand goods which I always buy as they are about a half of the price of the other brands I get permission to take away all kinds of damaged goods so I only have to pay the quite exorbitant rent NO CHURCH SERVICES but Mother whinges that I have not come home for six months now I feel quite jubilant – on top of my job and I enjoy exploring Newcastle’s hinterland and now its spring I go out with Friends Of The Earth to conduct an air pollution survey down river of the city every Saturday .
I am being transferred to the mega–supermarket out at Boldon What an upheaval ! Right on the edge of the heavily polluted area and I am paying more for accommodation. My living expenses go up a lot but I do manage to obtain dented cans of this or that-those without labels and perishable foods that would otherwise be chucked away. All I do is stack shelves. Now why is it that the type faces shout at me ? every day it seems that one product or another is trying to talk to me
…Lilburn its your imagination running riot ,,,
CORNYCRISPS in flaming red letters
The enlarged P in PEPERONI is part of an inflection denoting the ABLATIVE RETROGENITIVE and must agree with the twisted R
MUNCHCRUNCH !MUNCHCRUNCH ! MUNCHCRUNCH ! marches through your mind Lilburn ! soldiers appear as shadows on the cartons
Its all awry HAKEMUTTON ! CARPYBEEF ! LENTMOCKSIRLOIN ! each in pink or yellow letters which form stripes
Now it’s the music LOVELOVELOVELOVELOVE screech LOVELOVELOVE screamLOVELOVELOVE yell
PLing plang PAY ATTENTION TO THE TWISTED Z in ZOMBYGLUMPTOASTIES
The 4 in 114 is SPECIALLY IMPORTANT ITS IN THE ABLATIVE GENITIVE
Whose that ! Its Hodkinson behind me
“PAUL LILBURN” he bellows COME WITH ME ! So I follow him What have I done wrong now ! have I mixed up cartons of cat food with detergent on aisle 17 ?Or mispriced the Own Brand Minced Hake ?
“Have you a psychiatric problem,Mr Lilburn “
“No sir No “
“We heard you talking to someone in Aisle 27 but nobody was there “
“was I talking ?”
“You certainly were And you were singing product names to the hymn tune For All The Saints “
“Surely no ! “
“If you persist in upsetting customers we will have to discharge you “
“Yes I understand, Mr Hopkinson
“Mr HODKINSON if you please Now any more complaints and I will take appropriate action “
Hit the pillow early Oh the bloody Asians next door are making a racket !
..they have moved you to a supermarket as big as the football stadium Food cartons are stacked high The products are calling you Lilburn
TWWEETYGLOMMLEPUFFPUFFS ! HAKECARPMOCKMEATSIRLOINETTES !
SWEETYSOFT (Gothic script ) MUTTONLINK POTOMATOLETTUCEIN WATER (In vibrating yellow letters) DRINKASHTONSBEERWITH KICKANDBRUISE
(To All things Bright And Beautiful )
ALLHAKEANDMUTTONSINGWELORD POTATOCRISPSANDASHTONSBEER SHARKTHE LENTENSIRLOINLORD WERE GOING DAFTATBOLDONHEAR
The packages jump off the shelves and shout shout shout in garish red and yellow letters
SOUPLORDFORJESUS HAKETHEBEEF OF ASTONS SKYHIGHSUPERCOOLLEDALE FROMHEAVENSENT114 H Gothic script M PAYATTENTION LILBURN TO THE GOTHIC M IN MULTIPACK AND THE HUGE FRIGHTENING SNAKEY S IN SUPERSUGARSNAPSOUPSOPPYSING SONG All the SS s jump off the packets and become COBRAS TO BITE YOU LILBURN
Landlady MR LILBURN YOU WILL BE LATE Pell mell to Boldon On time Into the supermarket and there all the breakfast food packages SHOUT SO LOUDLY THAT YOU PUT YOUR FINGERS INTO EARS AND YOU CANNOT BEAR TO LOOK AT ANY CEREAL PACKETS Up the ladder you go DON’T ANSWER IT BUT ITS TALKING TO YOU IN HODKINSON S VOICE stab of pain over you go pile of cereal packets all SHOUTING AT YOU PAY ATTENTION Lilburn here comes Hodkinson to sack you ….
David Seagrave Dunfermline Library 1-7-13