Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 24th 2015 Contents Sunday is wash day in our neighbourhood
but the busy launderettes or "laveries", of
which there are many, lack the banter of my
north London launderette where weekly I
would go to dry my clothes and be charmed
by the smiling broken-English wit of the
young Pakistani man who works there.
I still don t remember his name, and having
asked him three times, I have used up my
unsuccessful login attempts. I m now locked
out of my knowing-his-name account. I m
one of those people who asks somebody their
name and then doesn t bother to absorb the
It s hard to be witty in another language,
as anybody who attempts it will discover. In
Paris, however, there are no employees in the
launderette to even attempt wit, just machines
turning incessantly for 12 hours a day and a
coin-operated slot machine to make them go
for the required amount of time.
Opposite is a German bookshop and a
newspapers and magazines store selling titles
from around the world. Le Monde, France s
best paper, stands out amongst them and I
have noted how Francophone countries like
Burkina Faso, Benin and Congo-Brazzaville
occupy prominent slots in their news agenda
alongside domestic and EU affairs.
Whilst sitting in the launderette watching
the drums spinning hypnotically, I stumbled
across a horrifying French news story about
a man in a town just east of Paris, who put
his three-year-old son into a top-loading
washing machine and turned it to a spin cycle
for 30 minutes, and then a wash cycle. As
the boy screamed, the father surfed the Inter-
net and the mother played a jigsaw puzzle
with their five-year-old daughter. The boy,
Bastien, died and the father was sentenced
to 30 years in prison for murder. The mother
got 12 years.
In a week of shocking news stories, that
was one I ll never forget. It shocked France
and raised huge concerns about social services.
Three more shockers caught my eye last
week, all of them British. Relax, they re less
The first was the case of Gayle Newland
who was convicted of sexual assault for imper-
sonating a man to have sex with a female
friend. How does a woman disguise herself
as a man while having sex? Using a prosthetic
penis and a blindfold, obviously.
Newland, ashamed of being a lesbian, had
adopted a male persona with a Facebook pro-
file page and began contacting a friend who
Eventually, after much online courting, they
met up, but Newland insisted the friend
remain blindfolded, making up an elaborate
story about brain surgery and saying she didn t
want her to see the scars. The complainant,
whose name was not reported, did as Newland
asked and remained blindfolded, believing
her to be a man called Kye Fortune.
Newland then made love to the woman
using a prosthetic penis, having first used
bandages wrapped round her body to flatten
The pair had a relationship which lasted
for months. Every time the same---the woman
blindfolded. She even told the court how she
went out in the car with Newland, blindfolded,
and "watched" DVDs with her, blindfolded.
They spoke on the phone all the time, and
Newland said the reason she sounded like a
woman was because she was Filipino and
therefore had a high pitched voice. Which is
a bit racist.
During the trial, the complainant said she
even looked out of the window once after
"Kye" had left and saw Newland walking to
her car, parked on the street outside her house.
But still she did not put two and two together.
She was blinded by love. And, presumably,
by the blindfold as well.
The truth only emerged after Newland,
drunk on the power of her deception and
wracked by lust, asked her friend to give her
oral sex, at which point the complainant said
the testicles "didn t feel right" and whipped
off the blindfold to find her friend standing
there, strap-on dildo in hand.
"It s not what it looks like," Newland cried
out, before attempting to kill herself by jump-
ing from a bridge into a canal.
It s not meant to be a funny story, but it
is.Meanwhile, also in the north of England,
on a night out in Lancaster celebrating her
18th birthday, Gaby Scanlon went with friends
to a bar called Oscar s which specialises in
selling unusual drinks including liquid nitrogen
cocktails that the barman lights before handing
them, still smoking, to the customer to drink.
Scanlon and friends lost no time in quaffing
shots of liquid nitrogen and Jagermeister.
"Wait...That doesn t sound safe," you say...
"Liquid nitrogen? Really?"
Yes, perfectly normal. Next you ll be telling
me you ve never tried a sulphuric acid Martini.
Things were going OK until Scanlon did
one final shot and it exploded inside her stom-
ach. She began loosening her clothing "as
smoke billowed from her mouth and nose,"
the report read.
What s that? You ll stick to Carib?
Rushed to the nearest hospital, Scanlon
had her stomach and small bowel removed
to save her life. The bar has been fined
£100,000 for failing to ensure the safety of
And finally, a mother in Kent, eager to see
her daughter turn 18 in style, ordered a stretch
limo to take her friends into town for her
birthday with a fully stocked bar and 12 bags
Sadly, the 87 per cent pure cocaine never
made it into the limo, having been tracked
down by sniffer dogs when the police raided
the house days before the adventure began.
"They were going to London in a limousine
and wanted to ensure her daughter had a
good time," said the prosecution.
"It s all been blown out of proportion," said
the mum, genuinely blasé about it. "It was
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Thursday, September 24, 2015
Blind woman's bluff
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