Friday, December 18, 2009
Snow is now general all over London. It falls across the dark centre, the hill stations, the free-fire zones, pound shops, no-go areas, dole queues, empty crisp packets and ripped up lottery tickets. Over the semenated upon peep show interiors, receivership notices, porn spam, closed Accident and Emergency Wards, dog shit, Suicide Bridge on Archway Road, muggers, landlords, current account charges, estate agents, BNP councillors, cancelled trains, churches turned into serviced apartments, war memorials, the 7” Johnny Reggae single in a second-hand record shop closing down sale, lifestyle interfaces, microwaveable cheeseburgers, terrified OAPs. Over crushed Red Bull cans, skinheads, dirty looks, underpasses on the North Circular Road, pet cemeteries, the ruins of World War Two aerodromes, monosodium glutamate, the archeological remains of the Hammersmith Palais and the Astoria, psychopaths, osteopaths, budget cigarettes. Over the Christmas ghosts of Lady Diana, Georgie Best and Steve Marriott. Over bottles of Fanta, bags of pickled onion Monster Munch and retro packets of Opal Mints. Over the footsteps of Mary Millington in Soho and Dylan Thomas in Fitzrovia. Over every last tear, heartfelt sigh and lost dream in this broken city.
Friday, November 6, 2009
Pitifully sad pictures this week of a bomb disposal officer's widow bravely smiling and applauding his coffin during the funeral in Wiltshire.
This same seven-day period has seen five British soldiers shot dead by an Afghan policeman in a British military compound. At Halloween a banker was kicked to death in Sutton after some hoods stole the witch's hat belonging to his girlfriend on the way to a fancy dress party.
I remember when growing up in Belfast that two oft-repeated Ulsterisms of the Troubles period included "Comanche Territory" for parts of the country that were truly out of control and "They're getting it hard" for similar areas embroiled in ongoing unrest. Looks like both phrases are pertinent to the state of the country and our fateful foreign adventures.
In Oxfordshire the Mitford sisters are buried at Swinbrook Cemetery - Unity Mitford's grave bearing the legend Say not the struggle naught availeth. The cause they believed in for a New Britain, alike those of the millions like my grandfatehr who fought against it under the warlord now buried in another grave in the county, would appear to have disintegrated alike into total societal dissolution.
The RAF leader Arthur Harris once stated that area bombardment could win the war and that his surety was at least in part underpinned by the fact that it had never been tried. The military, political and moral results of that same offensive were far from conclusive but this undesired and equally untried national metamorphosis we are currently witnessing takes us down much darker pathways indeed.