If you feel very angry about your computer, Margaret Hodge or the Aussies' vote for the Queen, try a chainsaw

I've been feeling intense rages recently, the kind that make you feel as if internal organs are haemorrhaging and the only way that you can stop them is by punching a wall. Of course, I don't actually punch a wall. That would hurt. But you know the feeling.

Item one: I bought this computer, the whole point of which is that it can do lots of things very, very easily. After a day, I managed to get it to do two things. After a week of agonised effort, not only have I not managed to get it to do anything else, but it has now stopped being able to do those two things either. Strange signs keep appearing announcing "type 11 errors" and failures to do things I don't understand for reasons I don't understand. I am writing this diary on the ancient computer that the new was supposed to consign to the dustbin. I feel like begging it to take me back and apologising for ever having strayed.

Item two: it was bad enough hearing Margaret Hodge denouncing her fellow Labour MP, Ken Livingstone, for his loony left past. When everybody pointed out that this was a bit rich coming from the ex-head of Islington Borough Council, she replied that at least she had learnt from her mistakes, while Ken never had. There is no difficulty in identifying the mistakes Hodge had to learn from. Just look at Islington. It wasn't so clear what Livingstone has to be ashamed about. The things I remember from his stewardship are the thwarted attempt to lower transport fares, tentative contacts with Sinn Fein and what was then a courageous support for various gay organisations.

But perhaps I wouldn't mind the ludicrous right-wing posturing of people like Hodge, Harriet Harman, Patricia Hewitt, Paul Boateng and Michael Meacher if it hadn't been for their ludicrous left-wing posturing in the eighties. Who was it who said he wasn't a revolutionary while young for fear he might be a reactionary in middle age?

Item three: if the Australians can't manage to ditch the monarchy, then that must mean we're stuck with it here at least for my lifetime. What were they playing at? Admittedly, having Rupert Murdoch instruct them to vote against the Queen might have seemed a good reason to vote for her, but that's not enough of an excuse. If they like her so much, why don't they move over here?

When things like this happen, you just have to go out and damage something, and fortunately I've found the perfect solution. When we moved out to the country a man who was moving from the country to London sold me the complete contents of his garden shed. It contained all sorts of strange implements, several of which still remain mysterious, but the best thing of all was a chainsaw. For eight months, it just lay there on a shelf looking powerful and dangerous, but this week a man came and showed me how to use it.

Everything about a chainsaw is scary. Even the stuff you wear to protect you from the chainsaw is scary. I bought a chainsaw helmet with a vizor, some chainsaw gloves, some chainsaw boots and chainsaw trousers. Each item has a label attached to it asserting that it cannot be guaranteed to protect you against chainsaws. The trousers, which look as if they have been manufactured out of sleeping-bags, are stuffed with a fibrous material that looks as if was developed for some nefarious military purpose. If your chainsaw slips on to your leg, the fibres are meant to snarl up the chain and stop if before it severs the leg. It's touch and go, though. The label doesn't sound very confident.

It was absolutely brilliant. All I can say is that if you have any lurking worries about your masculinity, as well as a few tree trunks lying around, then a chainsaw has an awful lot to recommend it.

I was wearing ear-guards and I've still never heard anything so loud since I actually sat by the side of the stage at a Hawkwind concert when I was 13 years old. There are about 30 razor- sharp blades driven at hundreds of rotations per second by a motor that could drive a small motorbike. It cut through a tree trunk like scissors through cloth.

If this is reading alarmingly like a column written by Leatherface, the principal psychopath in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (a character I now see as unfairly maligned), then so be it. Your problems have a way of not bothering you when you're brandishing a howling chainsaw. In fact, your problems don't come within 50 yards of you, if they've got any sense.

This article first appeared in the 15 November 1999 issue of the New Statesman, Guns and the Dome