Bombs don’t go bump in the night …

So there are Bombs that don’t go bump in the night … The new/not so new development in wartime-Britain this week is that relatively mundane places … a trashy nightclub, a regional (!) airport, a carpark … have become targets™. And, more importantly, this targeting is an admitted consequence of robust security at more prestigious and high profile locations: according to ‘an intelligence source’, symbolic targets are now ignored in favour of a policy aimed at a more general destabilization, by way of ‘easy to make’ car bombs (‘Independent’, 1 July 07). Suddenly (how sudden?) Mike Davis is required routine reading on all sides, as the anniversary of ’7/7′ approaches. [see buses]

The surprise is not that there was a car bomb (which was defused), but that it took so long for London to get one of its own. I am not suggesting that Davis’s bestseller tome on ‘The People’s Air force’ hurried this traffic along, but as a vehicle of critical thinking some will find his book so predictable that it stalls any attempts to read all the way through. On a slow news day speculation as to motive and meaning of this thwarted/botched attack on a trashy London club gains more space than might be warranted. Or rather, the space that warrants conspiracy theorizing-cum sane calculation of the anticipated blowback of the bloodless coup that installs Brown in place of Blair (don’t blink) means that all news seems to wash over us, seamlessly now … we are left contemplating jazz … Even the terror alert is business-as-usual today, there’s no surprise when here in paranoid London the return-to-normal is unseemly fast. The Pride march (the London one is a week after NYC) was the manifest character of this return to normal (how ironic) … and it hardly registers that the very first reports pondered whether the bombers were really targeting the gay parade, when it turns out it was more likely to be the so-called “hen’s nights” frequenting the razzle-dazzle club who would have been splattered, bleeding forlornly, from Piccadilly Circus through to Park Lane.

The burning vehicle outside Glasgow airport evokes other flaming cars in the traffic of images in our time. Recently a sports presenter narrowly escaped death after tumbling a rocket powered dragster end over end in a field for a TV show … he was soon on heavy rotation celebrity talk-back … here ‘Top Gun’ car porn still has its heroes … And then an anniversary tabloid tele-exposure of Princess Diana had her dying in her drink drive accident Paris smash, aired just before her 46th birthday party … the boy-Princes made a point by staging an event immediately after, as public concert … the ‘candle in the wind’ spluttering once again, with feeling … I think we need a vehicular appreciation of the war … instead of the tread of the Panzer tank tearing up the paved cities of Europe as they did just 60 years ago, a burning jeep tries to squeeze through the revolving doors of the arrivals hall at Glasgow. Instead of buzz bombs, bus-bombs, I guess. Travel gets invested in warfare once again, with a new fold … the stirrup and the war machine I think D&G were on about, now transmuted into transport terror … and there are close links between troops on the march and the unfolding violence of grammar … the ellipses in these sentences here are both tank tracks and a tribute to Burroughs, scourge of mere Mildred Pierce style reportage … the dots trace an absence you can do more with as ‘no-man’s land’ than as writing. Mind the gaps in the story, the pieces out of place, the jig-saw yet assembled, the cell is still at large … paranoia takes hold and strangles you in sequence …

… and every moderate Muslim is called upon to alibi yet another round of random stop, search and harass procedures … yet another escalation of quivvering anxiety … yet another set of calls for increased police resources ‘in order to cope’ … and an ever more robust assertion that the murderous blitzkrieg of foreign intervention that provoked this entire debacle will not be dulled … the new Premier continues with the old … and democracy on the march will be carried forcibly, if need be, to those who deserve it so much … we are on the bus and the destination is marked ‘Crusade’ …

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