‘We Need To Talk About Winston’ By Quentin O’Brien

‘What you have to understand Winston’, I told him once, ‘is that I am a people person.’

Everyone thinks being a member of the Inner Party is all about wine, women and song, but with the abolition of the orgasm (which I said to Winston one time was inevitable- but I’m jumping ahead of the tale here!), wine only really being available if we kick-ass with Eurasia (or is it Eastasia? Just joshing!) and music not being my bag, I just feel like a jumped-up bureaucrat most of the time. Anyway, back to the plot, as they say in the Fiction Department…!

Hard worker, straight talker, keep myself to myself. What’s not to like?

I joined the Party in 1956 (or was it 1957? Numbers are, in the final analysis, a past-time for statisticians. Anyone who says otherwise is a Thought Criminal in the pay of Goldstein) as Mother (a great woman, until I found she was in league with Goldstein and denounced her to the Thought Police. I have no time for wishy-washy sentiment that gets in the way of the Great Future For Us All) said to me once: ‘Quentin, if you want to get anywhere in life these days, join The Party.’ So I did, and I found it very rewarding, meeting lots of truly great people, whose names I have totally forgotten (put people in the blue uniforms of The Party and very quickly 99.9999% of them become much of a muchness to me!). After a few years in the Ministry of Truth getting rid of all totally worthless publications down the Memory Hole (does anyone seriously regret the total destruction of all copies of the 1948 Arthur Askey Annual? Don’t insult my intelligence, as I used to say to Winston when he gave me stupid answers in the Ministry of Love and I was forced to up the voltage!) I got a job in the London office of  the Thought-Crime Investigation Inspectorate, which is where the name of ‘Winston Smith’ first came to my attention.

I was given this artwork at a drinks reception celebrating my ten years at the Thought-Crime Investigation Inspectorate. It now hangs in the office toilet cubicle!

There are always people who join the Party with some rum ideas.  Our (that is, the ideas of Ingsoc as articulated by the thoughts of Big Brother) first reaction is that they will grow out of such daft thoughts.  If not, then regretfully we have to take it a lot more seriously. Condemn the sin, not the sinner, to use a line I remember from one of the many religious books I slung down the Memory Hole on one very productive night I had way back in early 1960s! Whenever I have to deal with a Thought Criminal, I always take the attitude that it is the thoughts, not the criminal, that is the problem.

Winston, with Big Brother trying to watch out for him. If WS had listened to old BB, he wouldn’t be the broken gin-addicted wretch of a man facing the firing squad any day now!

So it was with Winston. However, he alarmed me and the other Comrades in the TCII back in the early 1970s, when we started to notice that he was becoming more and more odd…[to be continued]

Published in: on February 18, 2011 at 12:50 am  Leave a Comment  
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