Quotes from Midnight Riot

Ben Aaronovitch ·  298 pages

Rating: (55.4K votes)


“ I gave the prescribed Metropolitan Police "first greeting".
"Oi!" I said "What do you think you're doing?”
― Ben Aaronovitch, quote from Midnight Riot


“Carved above the lintel were the words SCIENTIA POTESTAS EST. Science points east, I wondered? Science is portentous, yes? Science protests too much. Scientific potatoes rule. Had I stumbled on the lair of dangerous plant geneticists?”
― Ben Aaronovitch, quote from Midnight Riot


“You put a spell on the dog," I said as we left the house.
"Just a small one," said Nightingale.
"So magic is real," I said. "Which makes you a...what?"
"A wizard."
"Like Harry Potter?"
Nightingale sighed. "No," he said. "Not like Harry Potter."
"In what way?"
"I'm not a fictional character," said Nightingale.”
― Ben Aaronovitch, quote from Midnight Riot


“Being a seasoned Londoner, Martin gave the body the "London once-over" - a quick glance to determine whether this was a drunk, a crazy or a human being in distress. The fact that it was entirely possible for someone to be all three simultaneously is why good-Samaritanism in London is considered an extreme sport - like BASE jumping or crocodile wrestling.”
― Ben Aaronovitch, quote from Midnight Riot


“Could it have been anyone, or was it destiny? When I'm considering this I find it helpful to quote the wisdom of my father, who once told me, "Who knows why the fuck anything happens?”
― Ben Aaronovitch, quote from Midnight Riot



“Conflict resolution,' said Nightingale. 'Is this what they teach at Hendon these days?'
'Yes, sir,' I said. 'But don't worry, they also teach us how to beat people with phone books and the ten best ways to plant evidence.”
― Ben Aaronovitch, quote from Midnight Riot


“Questions would be asked. Answers would be ignored.”
― Ben Aaronovitch, quote from Midnight Riot


“The motto of West African cooking is that if the food doesn't set fire to the tablecloth the cook is being stingy with the pepper.”
― Ben Aaronovitch, quote from Midnight Riot


“Fuck me, I thought. I can do magic.”
― Ben Aaronovitch, quote from Midnight Riot


“Are they really gods?"

"I never worry about theological questions," said Nightingale. "They exist, they have power and they can breach the Queen's peace - that makes them a police matter.”
― Ben Aaronovitch, quote from Midnight Riot



“The Metropolitan Police Service is still, despite what people think, a working-class organisation and as such rejects totally the notion of an officer class. That is why every newly minted constable, regardless of their educational background, has to spend a two-year probationary period as an ordinary plod on the streets. This is because nothing builds character like being abused, spat at and vomited by members of the public.”
― Ben Aaronovitch, quote from Midnight Riot


“If you ask any police officer what the worst part of the job is, they will always say breaking bad news to relatives, but this is not the truth. The worst part is staying in the room after you've broken the news, so that you're forced to be there when someone's life disintegrates around them. Some people say it doesn't bother them - such people are not to be trusted.”
― Ben Aaronovitch, quote from Midnight Riot


“If you find yourself talking to the police, my advice is to stay calm but look guilty; it's your safest bet.”
― Ben Aaronovitch, quote from Midnight Riot


“...don't ask me why I know what an Edwardian smoking jacket looks like: let's just say it has something to do with Doctor Who and leave it at that.”
― Ben Aaronovitch, quote from Midnight Riot


“He was from Yorkshire, or somewhere like that, and like many Northerners with issues, he'd moved to London as a cheap alternative to psychotherapy.”
― Ben Aaronovitch, quote from Midnight Riot



“Keep breathing,’ I said. ‘It’s a habit you don’t want to break.”
― Ben Aaronovitch, quote from Midnight Riot


“On the plus side, there were no rioters in sight but on the minus side this was probably because everywhere I looked was on fire.”
― Ben Aaronovitch, quote from Midnight Riot


“...good-Samaritanism in London is considered an extreme sport - like base-jumping or crocodile-wrestling.”
― Ben Aaronovitch, quote from Midnight Riot


“I have an idea," I said.

"This better not be a cunning plan," said Leslie.

Nightingale looked blank, but at least it got a chuckle from Dr Walid.”
― Ben Aaronovitch, quote from Midnight Riot


“I looked into the literature on this," said Nightingale, "and it wasn't very helpful."
"There's a literature about this?"
"You'd be amazed, Constable, about what there's a literature on.”
― Ben Aaronovitch, quote from Midnight Riot



“As I stepped onto the gloomy landing a word formed in my mind: two syllables, starts with a V and rhymes with dire. I froze in place. Nightingale said that everything was true, after a fashion, and that had to include vampires, didn’t it? I doubted they were anything like they were in books and on TV, and one thing was for certain — they absolutely weren’t going to sparkle in the sunlight.”
― Ben Aaronovitch, quote from Midnight Riot


“I left in a hurry before he could change his mind, but I want to make it clear that at no point did I break into a skip”
― Ben Aaronovitch, quote from Midnight Riot


“Officially she was there to liaise with me on the case, but really she was there for the wide-screen TV, takeaways and the unresolved sexual tension.”
― Ben Aaronovitch, quote from Midnight Riot


“As soon as we stopped sleeping with our cousins and build walls, temples and a few decent nightclubs, society became too complex for any one person to grasp all at once, and thus bureaucracy was born. A bureaucracy breaks the complexity down into a series of interlocking systems. You don't need to know how the systems fit together, or even what function your bit of the system has, you just perform your bit and the whole machine creaks on.”
― Ben Aaronovitch, quote from Midnight Riot


“When I was a kid I used to drink from the tap all the time. I'd run back into the flat all hot and sweaty from playing and didn't even bother putting it in a glass, just turned the tap on and stuck my mouth underneath it. If my mom caught me doing it she used to scold me, but my dad just said that I had to be careful. 'What if a fish jumped out?' he used to say. 'You'd swallow it before you knew it was there.' Dad was always saying stuff like that and it wasn't until I was seventeen that I realised it was because he was stoned all the time.”
― Ben Aaronovitch, quote from Midnight Riot



“..sudden attack of culture snobbery is a common affliction among policemen of a certain rank and age; it’s like a normal midlife crisis only with more chandeliers and foreign languages.”
― Ben Aaronovitch, quote from Midnight Riot


“NIGHTINGALE AND I did what all good coppers do when faced with a spare moment in the middle of the day—we went looking for a pub.”
― Ben Aaronovitch, quote from Midnight Riot


“We can't have your people fighting each other," I said. The 'royal we' is very important in police work; it reminds the person you're talking to that behind you stands the mighty institution that is the Metropolitan Police, robed in the full majesty of the law and capable, in manpower terms, of invading a small country. You only hope when you're using that term that the whole edifice is currently facing in the same direction as you are.”
― Ben Aaronovitch, quote from Midnight Riot


“Can you sacrifice people?' I asked. 'Take their magic that way?'
'Yes,' he said. 'But there's a catch.'
'What's the catch?'
'You get hunted down even unto the ends of the Earth and summarily executed.”
― Ben Aaronovitch, quote from Midnight Riot


“I think becoming a wizard is about discovering what's real and what isn't.”
― Ben Aaronovitch, quote from Midnight Riot



About the author

Ben Aaronovitch
Born place: in London, The United Kingdom
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