I remember the blood rushing through my ears and the sick cramp in my stomach as the judge passed her sentence. My probation officer, my lawyer and the law of the land all agreed that I should not go to jail. Rupert Murdoch had dropped the charges. But this woman, alone and unaccountable, was having none of it. There were rules, she said, but she, like I, was willing to break them to make a political point. I got 6 weeks.My girlfriend was in tears and I was in shock as I was led into custody. The man who took me down worked for SERCO, a private contractor, the same one currently bidding to run the probation service. My own probation officer was hard working and overworked, dedicated, caring, fastidious and fair. I dread to think of the plight of future defendants if his job is taken by the lazy gang of plastic pigs who clumsily processed me.
I've already been advised to keep my tobacco in my sock and never leave it in my cell. “It's the main currency in here” confides Donatello “That and coffee”. Suddenly I wish I was better at giving stuff up.My tobacco comes, along with a bag of sundries: 1 plastic plate, 1 plastic bowl, 1 plastic knife, fork and spoon, 1 plastic cup which I immediately lose, 1 tube of toothpaste, 1 toothbrush, 2 sachets of shampoo which state that they have not been tested on animals, 1 bar of soap which does not, 1 envelope, 1 pen, 1 sheet of HM prisons paper. The spartan functionality of my welcome pack immediately focuses the mind. I decide straight away that the item in shortest supply is paper. Donatello quickly finds me some through some quasi-contraband process which I do not understand but for which I am eternally grateful.That night I watch Celebrity Juice with Mr. Magoo, a sickly Romanian man recovering from an operation who is my new cell mate. Celebrity Juice is easily the worst thing that has happened to me in jail so far.
The exercise yard is tense. I feel exposed walking laps on my own until a guy I recognised calls me over and I take a seat with his crew. They talk gangster s**t I half understand interspersed with a quiz regarding my own illegal antics.“So, why'd you do that, Blood?” asks Ruxspin. I give him the long answer: Beyond hacking dead girls phones, Murdoch supports despots in dictatorships and democracies and has poisoned the public discourse with racism, class war and ever shriller cries for harsh and punitive “justice”. The short answer is that he's a c**t.“You shoulda thrown a grenade, mate” suggests Ruxspin. While I might not agree with his tactics you can't fault his spirits, particularly to his face.