(Now) The curtain was going up. London was taking a bow. Abandoning her infamous reserve, at last, to replace a stiff upper lip with a puckered pout. The city was preparing to dance her dance step and sing her song. Not bigger than Beijing, of course. Not even in her wildest dreams. Nothing could be. Not when money was too tight to mention.
But lest any of her detractors dared suggest this a bailout of creative bankruptcy by austere quirkiness, she would show them that as long as music and people and life were plugged in – there really was a light that never goes out. Yes, London would be the star of the show.
Time, of course, had not been kind to her homeland. And the botched reinventions did not come cheap, even if the alliterations did. Breadline Britain. Bleak Britain. Broken Britain. Blair’s Britain. From a green and pleasant land to pandemonium. Paradise had been lost. The capital of hell, unearthed. And still the women were coming and going, talking of Michelangelo.
Meanwhile, Countenance Divine, that most fickle of benevolence bearers, had, herself been preoccupied. With dreams of hope and glory that spanned wider still and wider. Fantasising about rising majestically from the waves of baptism that not only washed over her – but that she felt destined to rule yet again. Oh, to be once more the dread and envy of all other lands of despair and dishonour!
Yet an impostor was she, nonetheless. Neither transcendent, nor immortal. Neither omnipotent nor just. Countenance Divine was simply the privately-named alter ego of a man dressed in robes borrowed. A man who thrived on self-congratulation for having cemented the Third Way as an alternative to turning Left.
With all sustenance thus overspent, it was, perhaps, inevitable that in his sex-ed up mission to freedom gain and truth maintain, some lights would have to accordingly be dimmed. To flicker-forth-and-refracted-and-extraordinarily-renditioned upon those cry-freedom battles waged in London’s name across far-flung lands. Delusions of Empire can go by many a name. But into fruition they will come not if paid for on the never-never. However far those feet in ancient time did have to walk.
As England’s hills duly clouded over, from the emerging darkness lurked those who would don the bloody masks of anarchy.
The writer is the Deputy Managing Editor, Daily Times. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and tweets @humeiwei
Published in Daily Times, August 13th 2017.