A Day in the Life of Julian Assange
A day in the life of Julian Assange, as imagined by The Dulwich Raider.
Woken again by Harrods delivery vans. I shouldn’t complain because later there is a delivery for me – a Harrods hamper! This one is from lovely Eric Cantona, the soccer star, with a note about living like a farmer which I don’t understand.
I try to get back to sleep but there is an incessant ‘Ping’, ‘Ping’, ‘Ping’, from my laptop as my Google Alerts start to ramp up. People all over the world are writing about me, which is tremendously exciting. Someone wrote that I was dead last week, which, even though I am often accused of not having a sense of humour, I found amusing. Of course I’m not dead.
But instead of reading all the things people are saying about me, I turn instead to The Bible which I keep at my bedside in the converted toilet that is my room. The Bible? That sounds odd, you may think. Why would a man whose mission is to question orthodoxies be interested in such traditional coercive fare? Well, the answer is that in the New Testament I find many parallels with my own struggles – a man’s fight to change the world, to be heard, to be invited to dinner.
I get up and go to the toilet to take a leak. It’s wicked. A wicked leak! This is another example of my humour and, I suppose, my all-round good spirits.
Back in my room, Concepción, the member of the embassy staff assigned to look after me, knocks and puts her head round the door asking if I’m ready for breakfast and I sit down to my ceviche. Ceviche is raw fish marinated in lime juice and in no way a bad alternative to double egg, bacon and chips with a lovely cup of tea.
After breakfast I get down to work. I work a 17 hour day, and not at all because there is nothing else to do. Today there are two commission offers on the table. One from a website called Deserter which asks if, as the ‘ultimate deserter’, I’d be interested in writing a piece about my days lounging around and ‘pulling myself off to A Place in the Sun’. If only they knew. (I’m more of a Countdown man).
The other is from The Spectator inviting me to write a piece about sexual politics and gender equality. They say that Jonathan King’s piece about Ted Heath went down very well. I google Jonathan King. It turns out he is a man who, once feted, was ‘wrongfully convicted’ and subsequently incarcerated. I’m certain there is a bit of Jonathan King in many of us.
I decline the Deserter offer. They could only pay me in beer anyway and, perhaps surprisingly, I am not a big beer drinker. I spend an hour sketching out my Spectator piece, in which I draw parallels between sexual politics, gender equality and my own struggles.
In what seems like no time, Concepción knocks and shows in Barrington, my legal advisor, who has come for a working brunch. I clear my underwear from the back of the spare chair and he takes a seat.
Food is served and as the hour hand slips past 12 I allow myself a glass of claret. My counsel declines a glass as he must return to the office later in the afternoon. It must be awful, I think, to have go outside and return to work after an aimless walk in the cool, free air.
‘This food is delicious,’ he says, breaking the silence. I was miles away.
‘Yes, it is a simple Ecuadorian classic,’ I tell him. ‘Slow-roasted hog with potato and garlic, known as hornado.’
I tell him about the piece I’m writing and that I’m planning to include an hilarious joke: ‘I wake up every morning with the hornado’. He looks unconvinced.
‘You don’t want to go into that,’ he says.
‘That’s just what that Swedish girl said,’ I say, and we smile. He has a funny smile, my counsel. More like a grimace sometimes, if I’m honest.
He informs me that the statute of limitations for some of the charges against me is rapidly approaching. I ask him if he means ‘statue’ but he says no, it’s definitely ‘statute’, which is a shame. I’d like a statue.
Nevertheless, it turns out this is good news and I am about to call for Champagne when he goes on to say that this will not mean so-called freedom for me since there remains one allegation that the authorities can collar me on until 2020. Long ting.
No problem. Five years to go.
I look out of the window for a bit. It’s absolutely pissing it down. Thank God I’m warm and dry inside. It must be awful to feel all that rain, cool and wet and alive on your skin.
I jump as Concepción comes in to clear the table and bring in the cigar humidor.
‘Isn’t Concepción lovely,’ says Barrington, when she leaves us.
‘That’s what I said to the other Swedish girl!’ I say, chuckling. Again with that funny smile of his.
After lunch I spend some time on correspondence with my team, my supporters and my admirers. Plus, I’m having a lengthy correspondence with BT about the performance of their Home Hub 5 and whether the wireless transmission at 5GHz is wholly compatible with Macintosh computers or whether I’d be better off limiting it to 2.4GHz and having done with the whole shitting clusterfuck. It really is fascinating.
I am distracted by a mosquito that has become trapped in a spider’s web. I work feverishly to free it and as I am doing so I am struck by the parallels between it and my own life: Both of us much-maligned creatures, doing only what we believe to be right but caught in the glutinous web of international diplomacy.
I free each of his delicate legs in turn and then prick my finger to place some blood under his tiny proboscis. (To be honest, I’m not actually sure if it is male or a female as, perhaps surprisingly, I am not an expert zoologist.)
We become great friends and eventually he is strong enough to stand. He looks at me for a moment and actually gives me a high-five before flying away! A wonderful moment and yet how awful it must be to fly, fly away.
But what am I thinking? Already it is past 4pm and I hurry to the window to give my supporters a wave. Each day they gather outside the embassy where they wait patiently for a sign that I am well. Sometimes I am not sure who is supporting who!
It’s Friday so as usual the ambassador drops in for a brandy and a pep talk before the weekend. I tell him to stay positive and keep his head up and off he goes to the archbishop’s drinks at Lambeth Palace the better for it, I think. How awful it must be to be constantly whizzed about London in private cars, plied with fine wines and introduced to beautiful strangers.
There is a knock at the door and I realise with a start that I have been staring at the wall for an hour. My take-away is here.
It’s Pizza Hut night and I settle down to eat it with Aston Villa v Man Utd on the radio. I am pleased to hear that Adnan Januzaj is back in the picture at Old Trafford. A man once widely feted, then cast into the wilderness, now struggling for a chance to prove himself. I see a lot of parallels with my own life, although, perhaps surprisingly, I am not an accomplished soccer player.
I treat myself to the last of the ketamine and meet some Incan textile workers who live in a settlement under the sink. We drink aguardiente and someone gets out a guitar and we sing along to David Bowie songs.
‘Five years. Stuck on my eyes.’
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