Joined: 30 May 2013
|Posted: Mon Jul 07, 2014 1:24 pm Post subject: The Lizard of Boz
|My friend Jane at university had a friend who sometimes went by the byname Boz. Because Jane was gentle and helpful, I took it for granted that Boz was much like her. This was the 1990s.
When Boz invited me out for a drink, I was aware that he saw himself as a supporter of Plaid Cymru. I knew Saunders Lewis had espoused pacifism, and Plaid had been the only party to oppose the Falklands War.
So I was startled to hear that Boz had been fighting in Yugoslavia on the Croatian side. When he spoke about male bonding and how shooting people made him feel hungry, I thought I had misheard because of the noise in the pub and because he never opened his mouth properly when he spoke.
I was prepared to see him in a similar light to the Welshmen who had slipped away to fight the fascists in the Spanish Civil War. After all he said he was a socialist and claimed to have 'left wing principles.' Local papers felt the same. They happily published his thoughts accompanied by pictures of him posing with guns.
He also had pictures of himself posing with the Mujahadeen in Afghanistan. He had fought with them against the Russians in the 1980s.
This was before the internet age. I really had no idea of the fascistic ethos in either of these causes. When Boz gave me his written philosophy to proof read, it didn't really sink in that it contained nothing but self-justification for homicide in the name of an ideology.
When I feebly protested that I did not approve of killing people, he said,''That's because you don't believe in God''. He bragged of how he and his colleagues had gone through a Serbian town and burnt down every house in it. It was good for the Serbs that they had all fled.''Otherwise we'd have killed them all'', he added with a smug grin. He added that he had forgotten to check if there was anyone hiding in the cellar before setting fire to a house.
Boz did have standards. He was very averse to sloppy military uniforms. He disapproved of my stirring my tea with a knife instead of a spoon in a café where there were no spoons. He felt very threatened by gay men. He thought 'the world would be better off without them.' I said, ''Yes, and it would be especially better off without Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo.''
He became agitated on hearing that they were in this category and demanded ''Prove it to me!'' He thought male foetuses known to be genetically gay should be aborted, a procedure he otherwise disapproved of. But some people thought he was a repressed homosexual, and apparently, he later went round claiming to be gay.
I foolishly told myself he couldn't be as bad as he seemed. Then I began to think I could help him. Finally, I told him in no uncertain terms that I wanted nothing to do with him.
Boz cornered me in the library to tell me that I was not a real socialist and that I had no real moral sense. I pointed out, not unreasonably, that this was a bit rich coming from a murderer. His riposte was ''You murder people verbally.'' I reminded him of how he had insulted me. He said ''Well, that's an opinion.''
I found this smug moral lecture from a self professed homicide not a little infuriating. But Dafydd ap Geler Thomas found it hilarious when I repeated it to him.
That evening, a mutual acquaintance told me that Boz attended a martial arts class. His invariable practice was to offer to see a female classmate home and then molest her. The tutor had warned the class about Boz in his presence. Boz was so out of it that he didn't even notice. I've no doubt he was guilty. He'd done it to me.
The Welsh socialist paper, 'Y Faner Goch' expressed concerns about this 'sinister idiot' whom they first christened 'the lizard of Boz'. He sent them weekly letters advocating unspecified but violent resistance against English rule in Wales and bragging that , in the light of Sion Aubrey Roberts' release, he was about to seek martyrdom. They warned the unwary that he was not a Welsh socialist.
'Y Faner Goch' and I agreed that ,sexual assault aside, he had done nothing illegal. I didn't know then that it was a criminal offence for a British person to go and fight against a friendly power abroad, and had been since 1870.
Shortly afterwards, Boz was arrested for causing a bomb scare in Cardiff that led to the city centre being closed down while bomb disposal experts were called in from Hereford. When the police raided his flat, they found that it was he who had sent threatening letters to the newsreader Sara Edwards just after the murder of Jill Dando.
They did not threaten her personally. They were aimed at the members of the newly formed Welsh Assembly which was just about to convene. Security was subsequently tightened. I was in the public gallery when the prosecution lawyer said he wanted publicity and he'd stop at very little to get it.
Why would a Welsh nationalist threaten the first Welsh parliament since Glyndwr's time? Perhaps because, as he said, he aspired to father a Welsh messiah, and things weren't working out according to plan. Or is that too rational an explanation?
Boz went to the pub called Poet's Corner to declaim derivative if not plagiarised patriotic drivel full of truisms like 'the land will live on after us.' A more inspired poet noted that he 'had only the most tenuous links to reality', and one can only agree. The last I heard, he was going to Thailand to persuade a family of good stock to give him a wife pliable enough for his purposes.
That's someone who radicalised himself long before 9/11. I'll put my neck out and say Leanne would be right about him. There's nothing inherently Welsh about this kind of lunacy. It could have arisen anywhere, and we shouldn't blame ourselves.