Edd was working for a marketing agency, and I was still in regular contact with him, in fact he had been amazing at coming to visit me, and in arranging to have my clothes brought in and the like. In a conversation on the phone with him one night, I told him about my new working arrangements, and he came up with the bright idea that his company might be able to use us for their printing needs with clients.
I mentioned this to the manager of the Print shop, who thought it a great idea, except that the prison had no way of getting paid for it, so in practice it was impossible. It was incredible to me, having run my own businesses in various fields for my entire adult life, that having spent so much capital on equipment, and with an endless supply of almost free labour, the prison, particularly a private one who was supposedly profit driven, should not be looking for every opportunity they could to make money, however, as with pretty much every other area in the prison system, they were very good at crying poverty, bemoaning the budget cuts and staff shortages, but were unwilling or unable to help themselves and come up with alternatives.
It seemed unless they were given the money from the Government, there was no other option, in fact, it was almost as if they had made a conscious decision not to make money for fear of having their budget cut, or allocated elsewhere if they showed a bit of initiative. It was yet another case of Government departments at war with Parliament. Meanwhile, what could have been an extremely profitable centre, with the potential as an invaluable training area for inmates to learn highly desirable job skills, enabling them to find worthwhile employment on release, and at the same time providing assistance in building confidence and self esteem, was being absolutely squandered. The facilities and all the machinery were virtually sitting idle while the staff sat around drinking coffee and waiting for the next stationery order to come in, when with minimal planning it could have been a hive of industry!
Another example of monumental waste was the gardens department. Not long after we had arrived, they had spent what must have been the best part of £10,000 each on two poly tunnels, which they erected in between the radial arms of B, C, and D wings. They must have been at least 30m long and 10m wide, large enough at least to grow a fairly substantial crop of vegetables, which could then have been used in the kitchens, we thought. The Prison allowed £2.07 per person per day to feed each inmate, and needless to say the quality of food was less than perfect. Absolutely everything came out of a Brakes freezer bag — all the vegetables were frozen, the fish was pre-prepared, cottage pies were made of cheap frozen beef mince, which oozed orange fat when cooked, and dehydrated potato whip. Even the roasted potatoes were straight out of a McCains freezer bag.
Seeing this poly tunnel rising from the ground got us quite excited, with thoughts of an abundance of fresh vegetables and perhaps even fruit or berries flowing forth in the coming months. How clever, we thought! How innovative and forward thinking! It would be another great training facility, where inmates could learn all the skills needed to grow their own vegetables once released, and could even provide employment prospects in gardening, landscaping, or other areas of horticulture.
I often went to bed at night dreaming of nice crisp, crunchy carrots, rather than the rubbery cubed variety to which we were normally subjected on a daily basis. Perhaps things were looking up! The first error, we noticed though, was that there was no watering system installed, meaning that throughout summer it would be extremely hard work to keep anything alive. They then spent a good couple of weeks cultivating the soil, adding compost, and fertiliser, and we watched the progress with avid interest. Before long we noticed shades of green emerging from the soil, and a dedicated team of eager, if somewhat geriatric inmates appeared and started tending the fledgling plants.
Before long there were other signs of garden life emerging around the prison. Weird round and triangular garden beds began to pop up everywhere, and even weirder shrubs soon began to appear in the centre of them. Meanwhile as the weather began to become warmer, these poor old fellows were forced to spend their days carrying buckets of water, often over quite large distances in order to keep everything alive. Luckily, English weather as it is, there weren’t too many weeks that this was necessary, however it did seem a little stupid, having spent so much money on the tunnel houses themselves, not to have spent a little more on some underground piping, a couple of extra taps, and at least a garden hose!
Of course the lovely fresh healthy vegetables I had dreamed about were not to be! After some three or so months, we began looking out the window in dismay at the sight of the bountiful produce rotting in the ground. Those five poor old fellows who had been charged with tending the tunnel houses had worked so hard maintaining the watering and weeding regime and must have been so disappointed and discouraged.
A couple of months later I was moved and shared a cell with one of them who gave me the full story on the entire saga. Evidently the whole project had been a resounding success — everything had grown exceedingly well, and by the end of the season they did indeed have a colossal crop of carrots, assorted varieties of lettuce, leeks, cabbages, tomatoes, cucumbers, radishes and peppers, along with strawberries and raspberries, and they too were becoming excited about seeing the fruits of their labours gracing the dining halls, or at the very least, the staff bistro, but no! Unfortunately when the first crops were picked and offered to the kitchens, they were told in no uncertain terms that they were completely unsuitable for any use whatsoever because it was too labour intensive to clean and prepare them all for bulk catering, therefore the entire project, all the expense associated with the erection of the tunnel houses, all the months of hard work, carrying endless buckets of water back and forth each day, not to mention the expense of purchasing the seedlings in the first place had all been in vain, all because the catering manager was too lazy to oversee a couple of inmates to wash and peel a few spuds!
Yet another shining example of prison efficiency, but it went further than this! The gardening detail were allowed to eat as much as they liked whilst they were working, but were not even permitted to bring any of the produce back to the wings for fear that they would trade it for other items of value or worse, sell it to other inmates. God forbid that any of them should develop any sort of entrepreneurial bent, or even that they should even give it away for free. Far more preferential for it to remain rotting in the hothouses, to taunt those who could see it from their windows!
To make matters worse, a few weeks after I had learned of the downfall of this project I was assigned yet another cell-mate, this one working in recycling and waste management. Quite often he would arrive back on the wing with punnets of strawberries and cherry tomatoes in peak condition, concealed under his jacket. It seemed that the kitchens did in fact order these items in their weekly vegetable order, however most of them never made it to the servery as they were usually consumed by the kitchen staff as soon as they arrived, however once these workers had had their fill, the remainder were simply thrown in the garbage. He assured me that sometimes, usually on a Tuesday, there were entire boxes thrown out as kitchen waste, and all in perfect order. Budget cuts and staff shortages indeed!
Double Bubble is the third book in The Chemsex Trilogy — a series of books written by Cameron Yorke about his experience with Chemsex, addiction, and imprisonment in the UK.
We are serialising Double Bubble on Mainly Male. This is the 14th instalment in the serialisation.
We want to hear your opinion
River Wilson is changing the narrative
“People are into the idea of seeing me naked…”
I caught up with River Wilson to talk heroes, underwear, and house-sitting.
What led you to start exploring a career in porn?
My curiosity for sex. I’ve always been fascinated with this world, so when I was old enough I started doing some research about the industry. After I gathered all the info I needed and felt comfortable, I started the steps to get in.
Would you describe yourself as an exhibitionist?
Not really, I always see the worst in my body, but find it interesting that people are into the idea of seeing me naked — I fake that confidence until I can get to a place where that energy of acceptance goes through my entire body.
Who are some of your porn heroes or inspirations?
I don’t think I have porn heroes. I definitively have people inspiring me to want more and to change the narrative already written for a young black man of colour in a place ready to put me in a box.
The Housesitter looks like a great production — how did that project come about?
I was having dinner with my dear friend — J of Socalled — about films, erotica, the industry, and he told me about a project he did back then at Cinema L’amour with a movie by Toby Ross. I thought it was an amazing perspective, so that night we decided to try to make our own production and see where it would go.
Is this the first film that you’ve produced?
It was a lot of work, but so worth it and I’m planning on doing it again for another project. Figuring out the casting and raising the money were the two challenges that almost got me questioning the whole thing, but then I was inspired and determined so I had to double the work.
Can we talk underwear?
I love wearing boxers — I find them most comfortable, and I’m all about comfort. For the gym, I prefer briefs — especially when I do squats. On other guys, I love them in boxer briefs because then I can see their butt well.
What are some of your goals and ambitions for the months ahead?
I’d love to get into acting and production more — if I can combine it with porn and erotica, then great. In that same breath, I’d also love to be more artistic with these visions.
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