Sent by the Ministry of Elsewhere to England, tasked with infiltrating high Tory country: the UKIP shires, where the money lives when it gets tired of the cities: our agent files his report.
Then to the market town of K and the erecting of stalls for a Christmas market, ex service folk all around, being surprisingly useless at practical stuff (I thought that is what armies did when not killing people). Then the village fills up slowly as lots of people come and choose not to buy the overpriced tat and hippy bullshit medicine that is for sale. It’s weird how 60s counterculture notions melded so seamlessly into Rural heritage Britishness: the homeopathy stall next to the RAF recruiters, the bits of wood with Noel scrawled on them in red felt tip besides the peace bracelets and ying yang symbols. The politely indifferent visitors viewing all of it with benign smiles of apology as they say sorry for things they haven’t done.
We go in search of fireworks: there are none to be found, but on the bottom edges of The nearest real town we see where those people are spending their money in a retail sprawl that is as busy as a Moscow railway station. They all come out in their Gortex arctic wear and wander around places called the range or such, full of shite ceramics and gardening tools. This apparently is leisure. Today at Meadowhall, near Sheffield we see this on an industrial scale in a mega mall with exactly the same shops that they have in every other mall: shite: this is not good enough as a way of life, work to buy shite then complain about immigrants in country cottage cafes in a light industrial zone, come friendly Russians and fall on slough.
Ah but the peace: it’s so quiet, all the time, even where there are lots of people it remains hushed and calm. Nobody has a megaphone to shout about lottery tickets, the cafes seem to have lost the sound system that would pump out third rate dance pop as you try to talk with a friend, even the cars are quiet: not constantly honking at each other and revving their engines in impotent rage.
It seems that these people have set out quite deliberately to create a zombie apocalypse version of the shire: their success is admirable.