Teletext – A Job

I used to work as a writer for Teletext until I met the unfortunate first Mrs Mindpox and ran away to a madhouse in Cornwall. When I’d been a patient in a real madhouse I started reading William Burroughs for the first time and his brain scrambling cut-ups were the perfect literary companion to my lunacy – they seeped into my mind; my days were full of slithering centipedes amid the misery and the medicine, rectal mucus and beautiful nihilistic cowboys and everything fallen undeniably to pieces. I’ve never been able to write properly since then. I can’t sustain a narrative. I can’t write for more than a few sentences before everything mutates and dies. It’s like a magic trick I say will amaze you and then forget how to do it in the withering, cold blast of your contempt. When I worked at Teletext, in between writing details for TV programmes and films, we all had access to the internet. This was back in ’95 – Windows 95 with its bundled Weezer video was just starting to make its way into people’s homes. It was so novel and exciting and everyone saw it as a major bonus – people furtively downloaded porn – women with big hair and free range lady gardens, fellating an endless procession of bored, bronzed clones. They had to download it from newsgroups, in multiple files, slowly, then use another bit of software to assemble a low resolution picture of some fairly innocent shenanigans between two naked people who looked like they could have been in Dynasty. This was pretty much the time when internet porn began to crawl from the well of depravity and into our consciousness – it all looked pretty innocent back then. I miss those free range lady gardens. The bosses must have known we were all up to all sorts of mischief online, but the whole thing was an experiment – we were playing with emerging technology and it was playing with us. It was a relaxed environment – down at my end of the airy, open plan office we had three TVs which were on all day, two showing various Teletext pages and one showing programmes with the volume low, When the soaps were on we’d have to turn the volume up and sit and watch and then write a brief synopsis of what we’d seen. We were all pissing about virtually all the time, but the good times came to an end when I posted something on a childcare newsgroup about sacrificing children to Beelzebub. The next day we were all just pissing about as usual when the boss and a couple of tech guys came in and looked at all our computers and identified me as the man who had forced the Press Association to call an emergency meeting to discuss damage limitation. Damage caused by my silly self and Beelzebub – not for the first time and almost definitely not for the last. I think they wildly over estimated the importance of this trivial ritual slaughter related misstep, but like I say, it was a whole new thing, way back then. Anyway, I had to endure a proper telling off and I didn’t get a pay rise when everyone else did and everyone got the internet taken away and I ruined everyone’s lives and everyone hated me so I ran away and got married and vowed a hideous vengeance which I never got round to.

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