Note: I was unaware of the pertinence of this issue until seeing a VT on ‘The One Show’ (yeah, I know). According to a study they referred to, November is the month when you are most likely to be targeted by burglars and, as if they had known the content of my blog, well-known students areas are the primary destination for thieves.
‘Don’t Forget the Lyrics’ was ‘Blankety Blank’ with a feather boa. The castigated teenage child of ‘Have I Got News for You?”s Missing Words Round, it was equal parts catastrophic and brilliant. Now though, it seems it has been forgotten by all but me, my good friend and housemate Dilan, and the commissioner of Challenge TV.
For me, the programme was a chance to demonstrate my lyrical dexterity. As Dilan is both unable to follow a rudimentary tune or recall the most basic of rhymes, for him it was an exercise in exposure to what he calls ‘white’ music. An hour to diversify his iPod.
‘Don’t Forget the Lyrics’ was the reason why, as he characteristically crashed through our front door on the 22nd November 2012, Dilan was deaf to the fact that he was not home alone. Returning from football, with MP3 earphones stuffed between ear bones, the muffled shrieking of Belinda Carlisle, alongside his own lung-straining accompaniment, was enough to distract him from the fly-tipping of milk cartons over our corridor floor. On his bed, he laid on his back, still werewolf howling under the full moon of his pendant light, still suitably oblivious to the dusty outline where, just minutes earlier, his laptop had sat.
There had been a five minute interval between me leaving and Dilan returning from his football match. Five minutes was all that was required for one local opportunist to obliterate a six foot window, recycle a ‘green’ bag of empty containers and fill it with four laptop computers. Dilan stared blankly at the jigsaw of diamonds that had surrendered beneath the blunt blow. His machismo instinct to run and wrestle Whoeveritwas to the ground was dulled by the sense that Whoeveritwas could now have been anywhere.
‘I’ve had to warm these up three times.’ He later told me nodding to the thin sticks of corn that are McDonalds fries, ‘They keep asking me questions.’ One of the policemen ‘asking him questions’ was a PCSO vicar cop complete with dog collar, an ITV Drama protagonist in waiting – Christian Laws: Special Officer. The policefolk made the same requests of us all; name, home address, value of goods stolen (‘Do you know what that’s worth?’ was the refrain of the day.) etc.
After each housemate was scrutinised of all requisite information, we were force-fed curdled mounds of advice that we struggled to swallow. Advice that, if I were to repeat it now, you would feel so severely patronised you’d snap your tablet in two over your knee. That being said, the condescension was deserved.
We were dunderheads who didn’t lock their bedroom doors despite the presence of heavy duty locks, our valuables were on view behind our rented nets and, perhaps worst of all, we were arrogant enough to think that it would never happen to us. I wondered whether I could ever enjoy a camp, karaoke-based quiz show again without expecting balaclava-ed men to descend through our windows in scenes reminiscent of the Iranian Embassy siege. It seemed, in addition to graduating with the University of Warwick, we were on course for a first class honours degree at the University of Life.
For information on keeping your home safe, please be sure to click the following link to the Metropolitan Police’s crime prevention page.