Define blaze. Define glory.

This week a man was sentenced to 12 years in prison for being a bit of a prick. Personally I’d altogether forgotten the whole thing but it came back to me on the radio yesterday. You may faintly recall that last year there was an ‘incident’ at a bowling alley in Nuneaton. The fact there was an ‘incident’ of any kind in Nuneaton is something worthy of a minor celebration. Sad as it may be to admit I know nothing at all about Nuneaton and even that is slightly more than I probably need to know. I have no reason to go there and if I did I doubt I could be bothered. Besides, while I may enjoy bowling my experience of doing so has taught me that a town with a bowling alley is rarely the kind of town you’d want to live in.

Anyway, last year some chap called David Clarke burst into MFA Bowl (‘eating, drinking, bowling, rock ‘n’ rolling’ (their words, not mine)) and demanded to see his ex girlfriend, the break up from whom had clearly not done his frazzled psyche any good. Presumably there were no lanes free that day because David proceeded to go extra mental; brandishing a decommissioned sawn-off shotgun, knives (very vague) and a samurai sword. The reports I have consulted failed to specify if the sword had been passed on to him by an ancient Japanese sword maker, whose masters of yore had been the shogun themselves, but I’m going to say it’s doubtful.

So, David was mightily pissed off at the loss of his girlfriend and he went to find her at the bowling alley where they both worked. It might seem a bit redundant to say this but I would always recommend that you don’t work at the same place as your partner, especially if you’re a touch fragile. The court heard that David, 53 and with a face like a robbers dog, wanted to end it all in a ‘suicide by cop’ kind of deal. To get himself in the right frame of mind for such a spectacular demise he guzzled vodka and chomped on pain killers first. I can’t be the only one in thinking that a combination of the two would only promote drowsiness and the necessity to avoid operating heavy machinery.

I digress. In stormed David and proceeded to hold everyone who didn’t run away very fast hostage for 4 hours, all the while making a series of film script threats and generally being a top of the range bell-end. The police were called and the reason I remember the whole thing in the first place was that for a couple of hours the level of local reporting from the scene was so deeply crap that it was made to sound like a potential terrorist attack. Of course – Paris, London, Barcelona, Nice and Nuneaton. Nowhere is safe from ISIS.

Eventually armed police stormed in as David continued to make his daft promises such as everyone ending up “like spaghetti, because our body parts will be all over the floor”. I can’t be bothered with the rest of the details because this entire piece has only been manufactured to fit in the punchline. Apparently the prosecutors asserted that David Clarke had wanted to go out in “a blaze of glory”. Which is nothing short of brilliant. A man can do many things but only an idiot of substantial calibre would think that being killed whilst holding hostages with a broken sawn-off and a dodgy samurai sword at a bowling alley in Nuneaton would be considered a “blaze of glory” scenario. Takes all sorts.

G B Hewitt. 03.03.2018

Ps – If I’d been there I would have shit myself with fear.

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