Are you comfortably numb?

Sunday, August 28, 2005

AWOL

Hi everyone.

1) Sorry if you don't like the new layout of the blog. It's what comes from having no job and no money, and way too much free time on your hands.

2) We're going away till Wednesday to Wales as of tomorrow, which will explain the lack of posting.

3) I am severely disappointed by the lack of comment on my blog. Even if you have something critical to say and you'd rather say it just to me, please email me or something. I need feedback people!

Anyway, hope you're all having fun and games, I will post more when I am back.

Ta-ra. x

Friday, August 26, 2005

Boys (or girls?) and their toys

Hi everyone. I got my laptop yesterday, and my new stereo! I realised the other day that I actually need some form of computer for university, a) because my halls are miles away from campus and b) because that's my main way of communicating with Mum and Dad. So I spent some of my hard-earned cash on (the cheapest possible, while still being good) laptop. While I was at it I saw a 20 quid stereo on the same website (ebuyer - I recommend it). I also really needed a stereo as I have no other way of listening to music (not even a walkman or discman or iPod or anything). For 20 quid, however, I thought, must be rubbish. Then I read all the reviews and thought well, they're all raving about it, so for 20 quid I might as well go for it, as I'm not going to find anything cheaper. That arrived yesterday as well, and guess what, it's amazing! Obviously, being a girl, my favourite feature is the amazingly cool blue lights that characterise the display screen and CD player, not to mention the remote control! (The music quality is also good - in fact Tom said he may buy one himself so I think that says it all.) All we need now is a wireless hub to connect all our laptops to the internet... then posts galore will abound on Are You Comfortably Numb?

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

The drugs debate part 2

Lionel Shriver: Why can't you buy heroin at Boots?

Just found this in today's Guardian - smacks (ha, ha) remarkably of Ben Elton to me. Still, interesting that the events of High Society are actually being played out - or at least, a shadow of them is - in real life.

For those of you who are recoiling in horror at the idea of legalising recreational drugs, I'd like to know, what do you suggest we do instead?

Monday, August 22, 2005

Could also be called drivel - decide for yourself!

Isn’t getting older weird. People always say, the older you get, the faster time goes. And it’s true, it’s a mathematical principle, but it’s always slightly surprising just how much faster it does go. You feel like you’re in a car slowly accelerating. The concept of time is just as strange. You look at a year as a unit of time, or a month, or a week… and then you think about it, and realise that actually it’s only a collection of seconds, or milliseconds. You just let a lot of seconds go by and then all of a sudden that’s a day. And all the while it’s just ticking away, like a dripping tap that can never be stopped. I thought about it the other day when I was reminiscing about being a kid and growing up. You think, wow, that feels like ages ago, and it is, it’s years ago, and then you think, but actually, all those years, when you come down to it, just sort of slip by, steadily, steadily. The old ‘sands of time are sinking’ quote is pretty apt. I mean, you look at one grain of sand in an hour glass, and that’s nothing, just a tiny tiny grain. And then at the end of the 3 minutes or however long, all the sand’s gone, and it might look like quite a lot of sand, but actually, it’s just a lot of little grains. And that’s what all the years are. Just lots of little grains, all slipping away, unstoppably.

It reminds me of that thing John Lennon said, ‘Life is what happens to you when you’re busy making plans’. I think you spend most of your childhood fantasising about when you’re older. Little kids always boast about their age – you know, telling you how many quarters of a year old they are on top of the number. Everything is projected towards the future. What child doesn’t spend at least a few minutes every day thinking about the future? Thinking about what they want to do for their 5th birthday party, what they want to be when they grow up, or in the case of girls, what kind of dress and how many bridesmaids they want at their wedding (whilst trying to pin pillowcases to their heads as veils). Little kids can’t wait to be the big kids at primary school, then they can’t wait to be the little kids at secondary school, and so on. Going to university sounds like something only ancient people do. And then all of a sudden you get to 18 and bam, you don’t want to grow up any more. You just want to stay there, no responsibility but no naivety (or so you think), carefully balanced in between the two realities. You get your first P45 and you think, oh dear, I think I’m growing up. Then you start getting taxed (when you get a proper job, after the 2 hours after school one), and that’s a real wake up call. All of a sudden you’re becoming an adult.

I remember when I started driving on my own, after I passed my test. What felt most strange was not the fact that I was single-handedly controlling a huge lump of metal that could cause a potentially fatal accident, but that I, myself, yes me, I was driving. Driving is what grown-ups do! Driving is what Mum and Dad do. It’s what your friends’ parents do. It’s what so-and-so who’s a bit older than you started doing a couple of years ago and you were in awe of them. It seems only the other day that you were sat on your dad’s lap being allowed to put both your hands on the steering wheel in the supermarket carpark and ‘drive’. And then all of a sudden, you’re there, on your own, doing it, and you look at your hands, the only ones on the steering wheel, and you’re on the wrong side of the car, and you realise that you’re not a little kid any more. And it’s scary.

Then you start having to make decisions. Proper decisions, and it terrifies you. Decisions that could potentially map the course of the rest of your life. Which degree shall I do? That determines what careers are open to me. Which university shall I go to? It’s pretty likely that I’ll end up living wherever I go for a fairly lengthy period of time. It determines what churches I find, the people I meet, maybe even who I’ll marry. And then you realise… this is the end of the road, and the start of the motorway. Life until now is just the slip road, the preparatory part, where everything is being pieced together to determine what direction you’re going in. What GCSEs you do, what A levels you choose, the interests you have, the books that grab your imagination, the people that drift in and out of your life, the careers you dream of, everything is just a road on the way to the rest of your life. They’re just patchwork pieces that make up the quilt. That conversation about what you would really love to do, that was a few more stitches. That person you met who you really admired, they were another square of material. That exam result, another. And then you get to the stage where you’re about to go to university and you’re at the end of the slip road, about to get onto the motorway, and then when you graduate and get a job you know you’ll have merged onto it, with an imperceptible but fundamental shift in gear, heading straight towards the rest of your life. Because once you finish your education and start working you know the questions will stop, questions that have been familiar to you your whole life. ‘So what secondary school…. what college… what university are you going to? What GCSEs… A levels… course are you doing?’ It’s all going to stop. Once you get yourself on some sort of career path no one’s going to come up to you and check up on where your life is next going, what path you’re next choosing, which junction you’re going to stop and turn at. You’ll have chosen your path, laid the foundations, traced the lines of your route with the keys before getting in the car, and then you’ll be there.

And isn’t it strange that we spend our lives up until the end of the slip road racing there, accelerating, desperate to get there as fast as we can. “When I’m 17 I’ll be able to drive! When I’m 18 I’ll be able to vote!” And then when you’ve made it, you’re about to get on the motorway, you suddenly look back a few metres and realise, do I actually want to be here? You think about having to pay for your own shampoo and loo roll and realise you don’t actually know how to pay the TV licence. Council tax, you have a vague idea that it’s a bad thing, but how does it work? You think about – shock horror – having a mortgage. You think about bills, home insurance, disposable income becoming a distant memory and the numbers 9 and 5.You realise that from this point on, you’re on your own. No one to subsidise your life. The 3 Rs – responsibility, responsibility, responsibility - (it’s like a Thatcherite answer to Blair’s 1997 mantra) are staring you squarely in the face. And you can’t look them in the eye. You feel like you can’t be bothered to grow up. It’s too much effort. You want to get all those grains back from the hourglass and scoop them up and put them back in the top. But you can’t. They’re gone, forever. And all the while, the tap keeps dripping, the seconds keep ticking away.

Then again, isn’t the slip road the worst part of motorway driving anyway? Once you’re on the motorway, then you feel like you’re really going somewhere. And life in the fast lane can be fun – hey, there’s a song in there somewhere. But more importantly than all that, I’m glad I’m not driving alone. In fact, I’m not even driving. I’m just in the passenger seat. God’s in the driving seat and he will take me wherever he wants me to go. And for all of you blokes out there, no the moral of the story isn’t that women shouldn’t be allowed to drive.

“The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
He leads me beside quiet waters,
He restores my soul.
He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.”

Drivel

is the title of this post, because that's what it's going to end up being. My head is full of thoughts, none of them arranged in any particular order... I just feel the need to write something.

I've just written a paragraph and then deleted it.

And another.

And another.

Well this is going well. Think I'm going to give up for now. On a slightly more interesting note, watched Kramer vs Kramer today for the first time. Rating: 4 stars, cried a lot. Hoffman continues to soar in my estimation.

Hopefully I'll find something a bit more coherent to say at some point later. For now, farewell.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

The Graduate

After many years of curiosity, I finally got round to watching this film last night. I had no idea what to expect; when I got it from Blockbuster it was classified under ‘Comedy’, which I thought must be an error, as the last thing I was expecting was side-splitting entertainment. I suppose I had a vague image in my head of a seedy story with Simon and Garfunkel playing over the top, but it’s supposed to be a classic so I thought there must be more to it than that.

A few minutes in, I was not disappointed. It rapidly became clear that whoever wrote the script was a comedy genius. It was literally a laugh every line in the first few scenes, Hoffman bringing the character of Benjamin, the graduate (no prizes for guessing that), to life in a hilarious, and very watchable, way. The acting in this film leaves nothing to be desired, with brilliant performances from all the leads. Anne Bancroft, particularly, who plays the infamous Mrs Robinson, has that crucial quality belonging to all good actors: the ability to portray a multi-dimensional character. Although Mrs Robinson has the veneer of a strong, seductive woman who is totally in control, Bancroft manages with apparent ease, in the scene in the hotel room, to reveal the vulnerable side of her character. Katharine Ross is perfect for the role of Elaine, the beautiful, spirited and yet mature girl with whom not only Hoffman, but the entire audience falls in love. (See Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid for another sterling performance by Ross).

Another aspect of the film that stands out almost immediately is the superb camerawork and screenplay. This is striking even from the first scene, where Ben’s reluctance to be part of the graduation party his parents have thrown for him and desperation to get out is accentuated by the close-up, slightly chaotic camera angles that leave the audience feeling claustrophobic and also wanting to leave. The best example of the camerawork is the scene involving the confrontation between Ben, Elaine and Mrs Robinson, where Elaine discovers the truth about Ben’s affair. I tried to explain the beauty of this shot in text but failed miserably; you will just have to watch it yourself to see.

The film is not only great viewing, it raises and explores several different issues through the portrayal of the various relationships. In some ways it reminded me of ‘The Great Gatsby’, in that it takes a part of society that is obsessed with outer appearances and blows it wide open to expose a far more sinister reality. It is clear from the opening scene of the graduation party that the collection of people pictured are well-to-do people in a well-to-do place. They are successful, high up the pecking order and are celebrating the inauguration of Ben, their friends’ son, into their midst. He has just become “one of them”.

The affair between Ben and Mrs Robinson explodes this myth. Mrs Robinson’s marriage is part of this social pretence, and so by having this outrageous affair with the son of her so-called friends, we see how beneath the supposed social utopia of their society, there lies an uglier truth. It is revealed later in the film that the Robinsons’ marriage is a complete sham; they married because she was pregnant and they do not even sleep in the same bed. This could be perceived as a comment on the artificial nature of relationships in their entire social circle.

The nature of Mrs Robinson’s marriage, and perhaps of the whole social echelon, is reflected even in her affair with Ben. From the very first, her seduction of the young graduate is cold and calculating – “I want you to know that I am available to you”. There is no passion or fire between them, neither emotionally nor physically. The Simon and Garfunkel lyric, “Hello darkness my old friend” strikes a particularly poignant note here. In fact, it is unclear why Ben even enters into the relationship; one possible theory is that it is a way of rebelling against the society he so detests; another is that he is very bored (and curious). The emptiness of their relationship comes to disgust Ben, as is evidenced by the conversation he is so desperate to have mid-film in the hotel room. There is no affection between them, no warmth. Even Mrs Robinson’s own character mirrors the artificiality of society and her marriage. Beneath her powerful, manipulative exterior she is actually weak and quite pathetic as a character whose life is meaningless and in which she is deeply unhappy.

Another function of the affair is to be a starkly contrasting prelude to the relationship between Ben and Elaine. Ben loves Elaine with unbridled passion, emotion and a lack of control – all things which were decidedly lacking in his relations with her mother. Ben and Elaine’s first encounter leads to them talking for hours, sharing mutual feelings and ideas; Ben and Mrs Robinson struggle to manufacture a decidedly self-conscious conversation, which ends in awkwardness and regret. Ben and Elaine do not sleep together at all during the entire film; Ben and Mrs Robinson do nothing but sleep together. Ben cannot change his feelings for Elaine and is totally governed by them; finishing the affair with her mother is as simple as turning off a tap for him and happens as soon as he meets Elaine.

Another compelling facet of the love story between Ben and Elaine is how they relate to the society they are part of (at least by birth). Ironically, at the start of the film, their relationship is conceived of and encouraged by both Ben’s parents and Elaine’s father (obviously her mother had some issues with it). In social terms, it is a good match – it makes sense strategically. Part of the beauty of the love story and its tortuous journey towards fulfilment is the way in which their relationship becomes totally unacceptable, as Ben becomes more and more of a social pariah. It develops the Romeo and Juliet factor, which of course makes it incredibly compelling watching for the audience. It is far more gripping to follow the fate of a couple who love each other against the odds and against society’s mandate, than to watch two people egged on by their parents towards a happy ending!

Any good love story is worth watching, and it seems that as human beings we never tire of them. Yet what makes this one spectacular is the context in which it happens. Furthermore, Hoffman’s portrayal of a man so lost in his own fanatical love that he drives through the night, develops stalker tendencies, and eventually pounds on the glass separating him from Elaine at her own wedding ceremony whilst screaming her name like a madman is so agonising that anyone who has ever been in love, or wants to be, cannot help but watch, entranced.

Of course, this film is also famous for the soundtrack, which thoroughly deserves a mention. Simon and Garfunkel’s poignant lyrics and apt music fit beautifully with the film. They make an already classic film even more enjoyable to watch. If you haven’t seen it already then do.

Argh!!!

I just wrote the longest post ever and it timed out and deleted the entire thing!! I will attempt to recreate it!

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Comments

Hi everyone,

I've just changed the settings so that anyone can comment, not just registered users. Please make use of this - I'd appreciate your feedback, esp. on the short story and other lengthy writings...

Bec x

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Short Story

I was asleep. It was the kind of sleep that makes insomniacs more jealous than anything else. Cosy, warm and dream-free. Sleep that leaves a contented smile on your face when you eventually wake from it, still cocooned in your hazy surroundings. It was not only unbroken, blissful sleep, I knew when I woke up that there was no need to shatter that momentary paradise with unnecessary stirring; I could lie there for as long as I wanted. There was no job to go to, no deadline to meet, no train to catch. I could bathe in that pool of relaxation for hours more. I sighed happily to myself as the prospect unfolded before me, and closed my eyes again to let dozy slumber seep over me again…

Then it comes. My peace is shattered. I hear screams and shouting, panicked voices. It feels like an earthquake is shaking everything, jolting and shuddering my surroundings. Is some kind of monster outside, trying to get in? I open my mouth to let a silent scream emerge, my face locked in an expression of pure horror. I try and get out but realise there is no escape: I am trapped. And all the time the tumult is worsening. The screams grow louder; outside someone is hurting, really hurting, and there is nothing I can do to reach them. I try shouting to them but my voice has become muffled, as if my vocal chords have been paralysed. I scream and scream but no one can hear me. There is what seems like a vacuum around me. There is no way out.

I open my eyes and realise it has stopped. My heart thundering in my ears, I try and measure my breathing carefully, willing my quickened pulse to slow. What was it? Whatever the answer to that question is, I know that I’m more scared of it than anything else. I don’t want it to come back but I know there is nothing I can do to stop it if it wants to. I look around me, searching for something to protect myself. There is nothing.

It feels like hours later, but it must be just a few minutes, when it begins again. This time it feels like I am being squeezed to death; the walls seem to be pulsating, crushing me and then relenting, before turning against me again. Am I hallucinating? This time the screams don’t start up at first, but then they come, now more harrowing than before. Who is that? I want to get to them, to help, or if helping is not possible, at least to share our common terror. What has happened to my blissful, uninterrupted sleep? It has been invaded, poisoned by this uninvited enemy. I try to run, but it is as if I have been paralysed; my limbs feel as if they are trapped inside some invisible cage, tied down by intangible ropes. The monster groans again, sending a hellish chill through my veins. I am certain that death lies outside these walls which for so long have been my protection.

The nightmare continues as what feels like a landslide erupts under my feet and I am sucked downwards, headfirst, for what seems like miles. Then again, the silence. But now the silence is not filled with relief. It throbs with dread, beating a drum of certain doom through me. Then, more voices. A different voice this time, slightly calmer. Perhaps there is a ray of hope after all. Then all fantasies of redemption are obliterated as to my horror, a cruel metal implement is forced through the wall where my head rests. I stare at it. I cannot breathe. I retch silently. I can feel the blood screaming through my arteries. Then the huge metal thing moves towards me, working its way tentatively but determinedly into what moments before had been a safe haven of rest.

It gets to my head just as the walls start pulsating again. Pain floods my eyes and snakes to the back of my brain. I can hear the screaming again and this time it has a note of mad desperation in it. My head feels like it is going to explode. Then I hear panting nearby, someone gasping for air, trying with every atom in their body to feed their lungs. They sound so close. If only I could get to them!

This time it doesn’t stop. There is no brief moment of silence, of rest before the monster resumes his relentless torture. I feel myself being sucked downwards once more, hear the sound of wailing and sobbing louder than ever, and feel my whole body convulsing under the power of the metal weapon on my head. I scream in utter dread as I am dragged, kicking and screaming, down a dark tunnel which squeezes every breath out of my being.

In the delivery suite, a new mother sobbed tears of relief as the doctor smiled and the baby emerged, crying healthily at the top of its lungs.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Cuba - Episode 1

It was our first view of Havana and it was just as remarkable as we’d ever thought it could be. As the bus we were on emerged from a tunnel that ended mile after mile of road flanked by trees and bushes, we were suddenly faced with a somewhat crumbling, Colonial building. Immediately we realised that this was what we’d been waiting for. All those references to Havana, cigars, 50s cars, the Malecon, Buena Vista Social Club – it was all caught up in this one image that took our breath away by its unexpected appearance. Just a few metres later and we were deposited onto the street, but not before a stilted conversation in Spanish. As usual, our attempts to extract information from someone (this time the bus driver) were met with ample reply, but one that we failed to understand, for the most part. Nevertheless, too embarrassed to waste any more of his time with further broken enquiries, we simply nodded as if we had comprehended perfectly, and jumped onto the pavement.

Immediately we were greeted by hustlers trying to sell us their wares. Although we didn’t yet know it, this would be a major part of our Cuban experience. The lines used to try and grab our attention became familiar – “Where you from? England? France?” and even the more ingenious Cubans’ repertoire of Ali G impressions soon failed to impress us. We were offered, amongst other things, cigars, taxi rides, guided tours, cigars, tables at restaurants, places to stay, cigars, and, in one case, marriage. Not only do Cubans try and sell, they even try and persuade you to buy things for them. Not from them, for them. Writing this, I realise this is typical of Cuban culture. Unembarrassed attempts at taking advantage of their foreign visitors, whom they know to be wealthier than they, are constant – but all with a wink and a smile. Cubans may be unashamedly unrelenting in their endeavour to milk you for every last penny, but they know it and they are far from threatening. Speaking of which, it seems what Cubans most covet in life is milk. Yes, milk. I realise I may have made it sound like they wanted us to just nip over to the States and buy them a car or something, but actually most of them were just after milk. We never did quite work this out.

After descending from the bus, we walked a few paces and then consulted a map. Making our way towards the ‘Plaza de San Francisco’, we squeezed through a small alleyway characterized by the smell of stale urine, something we would have to get used to. We spent the rest of the morning wandering through downtown Havana via the ‘Obispo’, the main high street of the city, full of bars, art studios and other shops. Our cameras clicked at the mere hint of anything famous. I think we all fell in love with Havana within the first few hours of being there. The combination of live music wafting through open doors from street to street, sights of gorgeous dilapidated Colonial buildings wherever you looked and plenty of places to relax over the national tipple, the ‘Mojito’, made it hard to not like the city.

There were many moments that day that felt almost too good to be true, like we were living someone else’s life. We had lunch on the terrace of the Capitolio Nacional, the intricate and beautiful building designed (unwittingly?) after the same style as the Capitol Building of Washington D.C. Once used as a political headquarters, it is now a tourist attraction. After some more sight seeing, we made our way to the Hotel Inglaterra (Hotel England), one of Havana’s most prestigious hotels, to enjoy a Mojito on the terrace. While we sat refreshing ourselves with the mixture of lime juice, mint and rum over ice, a band struck up at the end of the terrace. Being as they were in Hotel Inglaterra, they were of top quality and finally our Cuban dream was being realised – I mean, what we had pictured when we imagined coming to this country was actually happening. They even played the Chan Chan, originally made famous by Buena Vista Social Club.

Cubans live and breathe music. I think that was what made me love the country most of all. You can go nowhere without hearing a salsa beat or a guitar striking up a tune. It makes everything feel alive and vibrant, particularly in Havana, where the city never sleeps. The pavements seem to exude rhythm with every step; the doorways are merely corridors for a tune to travel through. Even in the seemingly tackiest of snack bars, there will be a band playing, making everyone tap their feet and long to get up and dance. That afternoon at Hotel Inglaterra was our first taste of a nation obsessed with music. We all sat there, barely believing we’d actually made it to Cuba, and thinking nothing could top this.

Actually, something could top it. We didn’t know how to get the same bus home so we decided to get a taxi. But not just any taxi – a 1950s taxi. So there we were, in a vintage car, listening to Stairway to Heaven come on the radio, after having spent the day in Havana. It was like being in a film. As soon as we got home, we went for a dip in the (warm, not cold) sea. It doesn’t get much better than that!

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

High Society - Ben Elton

Has anyone else read this? I've been on a bit of a Ben Elton bender recently, having read Popcorn, Dead Famous, Inconceivable, Blast from the Past and High Society (in that order) in the last year or so. I'm a big fan of his writing style. He manages to be cynical, hilarious and pack an emotional punch all at the same time - particularly the case in Inconceivable, a true-ish story about a couple who can't have kids.

Anyway, I've just finished High Society and it's about the great drugs debate. That is, whether we should legalise all recreational drugs or not. I can't really tell if Elton actually supports that view (as his main character, a backbench MP named Peter Paget, does) or if he's just being cynical about everything, apart from the desperate plight of those who do actually get hooked on serious drugs with tragic consequences. Nevertheless, it's a really good book, and like all Elton's material, gets you thinking, which is never a bad thing.

If anyone here hates Big Brother and gets very frustrated by it, I recommend Dead Famous, by the way. It's one of those books that expresses everything you think about something and makes you feel better just because you know someone agrees with you and is articulate enough to formulate a cogent argument with which you can completely identify.

Anyway, anyone else read any of his stuff? Opinions, comments? And the original point of this post was going to be, where do you stand on the drugs debate, and why? If I have any response I'll post some of Elton's arguments to get the discussion going!

Follow-up to the previous post

Hello again. This post has been a long time in coming, but I'm finally getting round to it. Just thought I'd better write something about what my views are now all the truth has come out about the Brazilian man who was shot.

First of all, I'd better clarify that my strong reaction was a reaction more against people's apparent indifference to what happened, than anything else. I was worried that this incident had been accepted because of what happened on 7/7, and that no one was really going to question it or be saddened and shocked by the death of a potentially innocent man.

Given all the events that have occurred since I last posted, my views have shifted somewhat.

1) I realise that the policeman who shot the man is most probably in no way to blame whatsoever; he was acting on information being fed to him and given the circumstances he was right to pull the trigger. There is obviously doubt surrounding the accuracy of the information he was receiving, though.

2) De Menezes acted in a way that left the police with no choice but to do what they did. They already thought him to be connected to the attacks of July 21st, and not only was he wearing a jacket unappropriate for the temperature, he ran away from the police and jumped over the barriers onto a tube when asked to stop. Even if July 7th had not happened, this behaviour would be regarded as highly suspicious; but it had, and in the current climate, it was tantamount to distributing cards with 'Profession: Suicide Bomber' written on them. Many have made the astute point that had the police not shot him and he had turned out to be a suicide bomber whose death killed many on that tube, the public would now be decrying their hesitancy to act rather than their actions.

I realise these points may be surprising in the light of what I said previously, but hey, I can acknowledge I'm wrong once in a while. I still hold to the belief that we should be shocked and saddened by cases like this, and no matter how much we justify and analyse what our police did, there is no forgetting the fact that this was indeed a tragedy. Nevertheless, I do believe it was a tragedy that was necessary given the immediate circumstances. To call for the abolition of the entire principle of 'shoot to kill' is an overreaction'; however, to call for scrutiny of the intelligence processes feeding information to the police is not.