Last night I dreamed that Emily, forceful daughter of a dear friend and Themself an Editor-Jounalist-#activist of awesome clout, told me sweetly but firmly, (as They would,) to Update my Blog.
I wasn’t aware that I had one, but it may be correct to assume that this sporadic posting is what They meant…
I awoke full of inspiration and resolve with the dream still present…
When also full of coffee, I located my most gemütlich Device, blew the cobwebs from the lid, thumbnailed it open and dived into: not the smoothly maintained Mac of remembered fancy but, a digital Petrie-dish of sliding desktops, multiple message systems, alerts and applications akin to the Sleeping Beauty forest of thorns with an added detour through the entropy of Password Hell, in order to fix the DNS of my website, the payment for the domain and, my access to the Demon Social Site that, like the Soma of the Lotus Eaters, softens the brain and dissolves all desire to return to work. It seemed cruel to ignore the messages from a new crop of honest if fancifully-named young persons in dire difficulties that need my friendship and my bank details to journey safely home and, buy themselves the underwear they so blatantly lack.
…so, Yes, I have learned some new stuff, tho’ not how to turn off the computer’s thuggish robotic voice notification that shouts
“It is Naow Sick Stein Huvvers” (the nearest the poor creature can get to pronouncing ‘hours’ on the nominally “British-English” setting) and indeed it is now: Four o’Clock. The ice-white sun is barrelling through the spectrum towards a hard horizon, slicing shards of chromatic unbelief through the diamond-rattling trees and across a sea the colour of butterflies’ wings.
My day is gone, my blog still nascent. It is Cold outside.
What I wanted to say is that society may indeed need scientists and mathematicians as well as its mightily undervalued workers; but above all, we need Historians, Journalists and, Artists.
I allow that to cite the latter is to fight my own corner, as historically did the brilliant AA Milne in an essay I can’t find online; but Historians, now:
Historians will be able to tell you with proportionate hindsight what journalists are clamouring to tell us now – some with the hysteria of ignorance, some with tears of realisation – that: Market Forces enshrined as deity are every bit as harsh as the jealous god of the Old Testament, setting up tyrants without conscience to reward their Own faithful with obscene riches while they defecate on the legions of the poor who must balance the equation by sinking starving ever deeper into the mire.
They will tell you that even in fairly civilised Britain society is in crisis.
Did I say civilised? The last two men hanged here were dispatched in 1964, in living memory for many of us, in the Swinging England of Carnaby Street and the chart topper by British uber-band The Beatles called ‘Twist and Shout’.
The swinging, twisting rope would have prevented much shouting and they died largely unnoticed; but back in befrilled and pantalooned Merrie England, judicial murder was a rowdier affair. People (some of them actually guilty) were viciously unsexed and, literally gutted. Sliced up on the gallows in front of uncountable spectators who thought themselves not mentally sick for queuing up to watch. We know of this shaming underbelly of our most velvet-clad reigns through the journals of eyewitnesses and the writings of contemporaries. Word of mouth does not long outlast the mouth itself, but parchment and paper endure.
We also know what the people who relished or, suffered these horrors looked like, from the work of those who wielded the astonishing skills of the figurative artist.
In today’s rather kinder society (really? People are still entertained by graphic butchery albeit simulated in splatterfest cinema while outside in the street children die sleeping in cardboard boxes) …in today’s Kinder Society, we still need people that can depict: us and, what we are about in lasting form, for without such accounts and images, when our numbingly vast digital archives succumb to future technologies that will not know their codes, Archaeologists may be left with less to go on than a Millennial confronted with a floppy-disc.
Taking the attitudes of ourselves to lost civilisations as a marker we may be thought to have been just a little superstitious.
Why else would we place our Dead, some with their pets and toys to provide amusement in the afterlife, inside glazed, upholstered coffins with rubber-tyred wheels on the corners and, bury them in the basements of the half-mile -high steel and glass tombs that we, in our naive stupidity, believed would carry us to Heaven? It will be unthinkable to a wiser future – for we all consider ourselves wiser than our forebears – that these rusted and radioactive towers once housed a society that actually wanted to work and live in the sky, or that, blessed with a world of wonder and beauty, chose to loot it, poison it and, blow it, to pieces.
Maybe, against all the odds, we won’t…