Friday, 30 September 2011

Smoke and Mirrors

And this week, we are off to ol' London Town although Stephen's piece may put you off a bit in this extract. For us editors, Stephen's work was wonderfully provocative and fascinating - a new take on familiar urban landscapes. The whole chapter moves in tone up and down streets of feelings and ends challenging us all to act on behalf of the lost voices of our towns and cities - or at least it did for Susan and I!

Smoke and mirrors
Stephen Grasso

All cities have magic. You just have to find it. For some, London is a mechanistic urban grind. A compassionless engine powered by seven million dreary and disillusioned lives that trudge back and forth across the City in their tremendous rush hour waves. Spilling out of holes in the ground each morning to labour at deskbound servitude or whatever menial task has been allotted, moving paper around for unknown masters, tinkering with abstract systems, selling anonymous product, keeping the machine well greased and oiled. Whatever you can do to keep the slow trickle of funds coming in. Whatever you can do to stay afloat.

Counting off the hours with cups of tea and cigarette breaks, we make it through the day until the silent bell rings and it’s out again into tumultuous streets to fight the last desperate battle of the day. Tramping over the corpses of neighbours, co-workers, future partners, ex-lovers. It doesn't matter who they are. Through the commuter glaze, all heart and personality are boiled out, reduced down, distilled away in a perfect alchemy of intent. All that matters is your destination. Nothing else is real. With invisible machete you hack through a forest of meaningless bodies moving in space. Your space. It's best not to think of them as people. We bare our fangs and claws, and rend our way through the crowds. Those who fall behind, the weak, elderly or infirm, will be torn to pieces by berserker salesmen and maenads from accounts. Try to ignore them as they crunch underfoot. Doesn't matter, needn't be.

and, as ever, if you want to read the rest of this piece, contain yourself in patience, and watch for The Wanton Green (the book) as the leaves fall, or with the first frosts or maybe when the snow hits...who knows!  Wanton is  as Wanton does, but the moment draws closer!

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