Hugo Rifkind Hugo Rifkind

Suddenly everyone wants an iron bar under their bed

I keep an iron bar under my bedside table. I was telling a colleague about it the other week, while mobs were rampaging across London. ‘

I keep an iron bar under my bedside table. I was telling a colleague about it the other week, while mobs were rampaging across London. ‘

I keep an iron bar under my bedside table. I was telling a colleague about it the other week, while mobs were rampaging across London. ‘Where did you get an iron bar?’ she wanted to know, and I told her I’d salvaged it from a towel rail. I think it was that little act of ingenuity which impressed her the most. It’s terrible, really, the hopelessness of the urban middle classes. It’s wonder we still know how to feed.

She’d taken to sleeping with a screwdriver. What was she going to do with a screwdriver, I wondered. ‘What are you going to do with an iron bar?’ she retorted. Swing it, I said. Because there’s a democracy in cudgelling, isn’t there? Whereas stabbing, that’s an art. Somebody breaks into your house, my hunch is he’s going to be better at it than you are. Mind you, now I think of it, somebody once did try to stab me with a screwdriver while mugging me in an Edinburgh underpass, and I didn’t even realise until the police told me about it after they’d had a confession. So maybe these people have narrower skill-sets than one would suppose.

I’ve had that iron bar down there for years. Couldn’t tell you why, really. I wouldn’t have mentioned it before. I’d have been a little embarrassed. Even if my wife had spotted it, I’d have probably have made up some lie about storage. Suddenly, though, everybody wants an iron bar under their bed. Or something like one. In the immediate aftermath of London’s dirty long weekend, sales of baseball bats were up 5,000 per cent on Amazon.

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