The journey began when I left Leeds just before 0600, to drop off my car two hours later on the outskirts of Birmingham. (Don’t ask, you don’t need to know) Divested of my iron horse, I trekked to New Street station, now being confusingly remodelled, to catch a train to Coventry, take another trans-city Shanks’s Pony ride and finally a bus to the Ricoh Stadium, all of which steps would be retraced later in the day. Why, you ask? Read on…
Just as political activists periodically like to come together to sell each other stuff and promulgate ideas and theories they don’t want, don’t need and can’t work with, we simple sons of toil wisely like to do, er, likewise. And the annual autumn Elex Hajj is where electricians get to shamble aimlessly around in circles, muttering under their breath, bound together by a common faith - that one day we will see the light and finally admit we already have enough tools.
The aim of the game is, of course – once you’ve proff’d the free bacon butty and oversized show tee-shirt – to bimble along from stall to stall collecting free stuff. All you have to do is listen to the odd sales pitch and maybe occasionally give away all your bank details... or sign your firstborn into indentured slavery. The winner is the individual or team that comes away with the greatest number of carrier bags – they’ll come in handy for Tesco when the bag tax starts – and the best goodie-to-literature ratio.
The ratio is important because to get to the rewards you have to survive the propaganda. “Join us and we’ll help build your business to gargantuan proportions.” And “Buy this and it will save you literally fifteen minutes each and every one of the three times a year you might remember to use it.” Or “Hey, give me money and you can have a free pen!” All sparky life is here; vans, stowage, tools, tricks, gimmicks, gewgaws and gadgets galore.
And then there are the seminars! Because few electricians can read, the burden of unopened books with which they must equip themselves lies heavy on their hunched shoulders. So the great and the good perform the imam role of intoning the creed to the believers who bow their head before the mighty presence of such luminaries (Sparkies think that is spelled ‘luminaires’.) as Anthony Charles Cable – Tony “AC” Cable, the very face of electricking in the UK. He’s been on the telly you know!
One Cross to rule them all!
And then at the end of the day we are ejected, refreshed and recharged (see what I did there?) to spread the good word throughout the land. The gospel? Get your ‘lectrics checked by a proper, qualified electrician. How do you tell? Well unless he bears the sign of the cross and quotes you an eye-wateringly enormous fee, beware. Only the one, true spark should be allowed to light up your life.
Electricians – just another fucking bunch of politicians!
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