If you've been brought up on a diet of superheroes and vigilantes; if you've ever wanted to have a spidey-sense that actually tingles when criminal trouble is near then you've got to take your hat off to the guy in the picture above.
Because he's living the dream. He's seized the day. He built it and is waiting for them to come. Scott is a bona fide vigilante.
And he has a proper superhero's outfit and everything. And just check that mean hombre "don't mess with me, purp" moustache motif. Yup, Scott Cooke is the man. He has it going down.
The people of Birmingham (UK) can rest easier in their beds at night. 'Cos Scott Cooke, aka The Statesman, is on the case. He's on the prowl.
He patrols the mean streets of 'Brum' just looking for lowlife scum to perform a citizen's arrest upon. According to news reports (here and here) Scott, a former Territorial Army soldier (hey, anyone remember Mike from Spaced?) spurns utility belts and web slingers and Iron Man techno-costumes in favour of a more down to earth crime fighting arsenal.
We're talking notepad and pen. We're talking torch (probably one of those Maglite things). We're talking a first aid kit choc-full of Elastoplasts and those weird thin bandagey things that no-one knows how to apply properly. And we're talking mobile phone for when, you know, Scott has whupped some mean spotty criminal ass and needs to call in the boys in blue to help cart off the bruised and bloodied hoods to the state penitentiary. Job done for another night. Rest easy citizens.
Of course, some people - some unpublic spirited people - take the pee and claim that as an effective crime deterrent, Scott falls a little short of the mark. A few cynics have tweaked and misinterpreted the crime stats and pointed out that Scott failed to stop "99 crimes in his own neighbourhood in the last month alone".
I think this is unfair. Let's look at this from a wider perspective. The police were also on duty during this time and they too failed to stop 99 crimes taking place in that very same neighbourhood. Shame on them. Meanwhile, there may have been a 100th crime that Scott did stop. That Union Jack jumper may have been the only thing between a wheelie bin being upturned in the road and rubbish all over the highway.
Yeah. It's easy to mock. Easy to snigger. But at least Scott is doing something. He's putting his time and money where his mouth is. He's out there. He's out there for us. For you and me, man. Well, you and me if we happen to live in Nuthurst Road, West Heath. But hey - if you want to live in a safer neighbourhood, maybe you should think about moving? Cut Scott some slack here; make it easier for him.
As for me. Well, I'm thinking of joining him. Not joining him in Birmingham 'cos getting back to Leamington Spa from New Street station is a real nightmare at the moment. But joining him in spirit.
I am going to patrol the mean streets of Leamington Spa. I'm going to get all vigilanted up. I'm going to call myself The MP For Justice. Though the local bad boys may call me The MP For Medieval Retribution On Our Asses. 'Cos I'm plannin' on getting all Biblical on the wrong doers and the ne'erdowells. I got me a torch. I got me a Victorinox penknife / bottle opener thingy (though I may have to leave this at home as apparently it's illegal to carry one on the street). I've got me a bottle of still spring water which can double as a rehydration device and a quick and easy way to wash grazed knees clean. And I have my wife's Kindle (well, once I've wrestled it out of her hands) ready for those quiet times when, through no fault of my own, I happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time (i.e. the crime is happening elsewhere) and it gets a bit slow and I have time on my hands and get a bit bored. Oh and I may knock off at 9.30 'cos I like to be in bed by 10. Don't get snidey about this; just remember I'm not actually getting paid to do this. It's purely voluntary. Think yourself lucky that I'm willing to give up some of my free time to ensure your safety in the first place.
I just need someone to design a costume for me. Maybe some kind of pinstripe motif? Though I want a cape as well. And a utility belt that can hold a thermos flask. And, in a break from superhero tradition, I want to wear my pants on the inside of my trousers.
'Cos, you know, I don't want people laughing at me or anything.
Be safe, people, be safe.
But I though you already had a costume, Steve. Who's that in your avatar then?
The Dotterel: the jester's costume is for pleasure only, not business.
It's about time you caught the phantom nob drawer. At the moment all I can picture is Only Fools and Horses Batman and Robin with you trailing behind!
Kelloggsville: trailing behind David Jason...?! How unfit do you think I am?!
I'm going into therapy as I have an image of you in lycra now. It's not nice
Nota Bene: but just think how it will incapacitate the villains and the miscreants!
I'm sure the criminal fraternity of Leam is quaking in its kick-your-head-in boots.
Rol: I must admit the 7 year old hooligan up the road has been giving me some unpleasantly funny looks. I might stay in tonight and watch TV instead.
You could get sponsorship...perhaps...from the Piddle Brewery by wearing their hat which is emblazoned with a true superhero slogan
'Piddle on my Head'.
The fly in the web: you're extracting the piss, aren't you?
You could definitely make a contribution to crime prevention as yobbo bait. When they start duffing you up, the vigilantes would pounce from a mobile shrub. With your beard you'd be the perfect tethered goat.
Gorilla Bananas: bah.
Do you want a mask? Fancy boots? Can you warn me when you're going to prowl the streets so that I can alert my sister and she won't be alarmed?
Doesnt this bloke realise that the rest of the country think that Birmingham is a laughing stock enough without him tarting about shouting "Oright Skip!" and "Bustin"? If you want to be a vigilante and hit people with a big stick do what all the others do and join the police, theres bound to be a student protest in a big city near by soon!
Libby: I think I'd be less likely to alarm anyone if I were to don a full face mask.
Joe: I fink yow've grately underestimayted the peeple of Birminum an' now mistayke. If yow jun the poleece yow av to wir a stewpid uneeform, dontch yow...?
You'll have to make sure you have some menacing-looking lighting coming up from your feet somehow. Looks far more serious.
I always ensure safety in my 'fist place', but I am sure there are others who don't take theirs so seriously. They'd do well to have you looking out for theirs 'cos you can never be too safe in that area.
(Why do I get all Word Police on you, Stevo? I don't do it to anyone else, you must be Very Special........ grin)
Being Me: I know not everybody loves a smart-arse but I do so you must be very special too. ;-) And actually that was a rather unfortunate typo (now corrected) that conjured up slighly unpalatable imagery that we would be wise not to go into here. Let's leave the fist place well alone and just agree to be special [needs]. Am loving the lightning from my feet motif but suspect the required battery pack or generator might slow me down in my pursuit of fleet-footed criminals...
You need a car, a sort crime fighting vehicle the name of which always ends in "-mobile".
Would you believe, I was called a smart-arse once! It was the nicest thing my ex's mother ever said to me and I took it as a compliment!!
Steve, you'd also need a catchy superhero name. How about LSD? Leamington Spa Defender.
Evil doers will sat that they were knocked out by LSD.
I read this and immediately thought of Only Fools and Horses and the Batman and Robin episode.
You go for it Steve:)
Löst Jimmy: you're right. Only problem is I have a mountain bike because I can't drive. The name may have to end in "cycle" rather than "mobile". How about The Righteous Cycle?
TimeWarden: I agree. I'd much rather be called a smartarse than an ignoramus.
lgsquirrel: I like where you're going with this LSD thing. I can see the news headlines now - Police Helped By LSD.
Ally: I must admit it crossed my mind too. Hopefully I'm in better shape than the Trotters!
Righteous Cycle, I like it, mind you it would be more impressive if it were a crime fighting Uni-Cycle!
One wheeled he roams the streets dealing justice!
Löst Jimmy: the uni-cycle I could just about cope with. It would be the juggling with three skittles that would let me down.
Send him down here to defend my front door, the lock flew off in the'quake and it's taking until TOMORROW for someone to come and fix it!! He can wear whatever costume he likes...
Amanda: he says he's on his way but to warn you he only travels by foot...
My mother in law has just crochet’d me ‘yet another’ bright new woollen Super Hero outfit complete with warm balaclava and a shoulder length cape, cos my existing ones are looking a bit ‘got at’ now. They’re a bit of a dog magnet unfortunately.
You’re welcome to borrow it if you want to Steven, see how you get on with it, although you’ll probably have to pad it out quite a bit in the crotch department, with plenty of super hero gadgets and so on.
You need to watch it a bit when it’s raining though. Tends to go all stretched and splodgy. Squelches quite noisily too, which can be a bit of a give away when you’re trying to creep up behind dodgy citizens doing dodgy things on the streets at night.
If you really must go out to serve and protect in the rain…best take a decent size brolly.
Phil: I'm assuming from your description of the aforementioned superhero suit that I could stash the brolly quite comfortably in the crotch...?
Well technically, you can. But just remember we're talking 'crochet' here Steven. Lots of holes. So you don't want to get all excited one night and end up getting arrested for assault with an offensive unmrella.
You could always try opening it first before you stuff it in there I suppose, but then you run the risk of no-one really taking you that seriously anymore. Tricky.
This is another one of your occasional posts that I absolutely don't get at all - I must lead sheltered life. Sorry.
I don't know what brought on that little attack, but there is one important piece of gear you forgot to mention, one that every well-equipped vigilante should never leave home without, one that I've mentioned before... the flame thrower... capable of vaporizing the barbarian savages you might encounter at thirty yards...
Phil: but opening the umbrella would make for an impressive crotch protector... it's not bullet-proof by any chance is it?
Mark: it's OK. It's just nice having you along for the ride.
Owen: do you manufacture flame throwers in your spare time? Do you sell them on eBay? In short, do you have a business interest that you're not declaring here?
I think you'd make a damn fine super hero and just think of the blog fodder the mean streets of LS would provide. Go for it! Although I think you need a punchier name, work in progress, work in progress...
Very Bored in Catalunya: thank you. You are the only person that has said that and I am deeply touched. If you were in trouble I would move Heaven and earth (and possibly my thermos flask too) to save you. Everybody else can go whistle. ;-)
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