No idea why I kept the fish. It was in one of the random boxes of my uncle’s things. Cracked and old but there’s personality there somewhere. I like it. It doesn’t have to be valuable to have personality.
Like the UK. We are cracked and old. But there’s personality. I have a friend from Georgia who flew to London for something like 12 days and watched 7 shows. Our glittering West End, making worldspanning stories for decades. A taxi driver in Utah told me he’d seen The Mousetrap. “I’m not allowed to tell you who did it though,” he said with joy. That’s the old bit. Longest running show. Then there’s stuff like Jerusalem, made in the tiny Royal Court and off it went. Art galleries full to bursting with amazing pieces. One of our galleries is selling a major piece to stay afloat. Smaller ones are looking at the empty wall approaching. The Opera House is selling a Hockney. All of us in the arts are wondering how the government can be so open about deprioritising us. The much mocked “cyber” campaign saw ballerinas being sorted into the same category as unskilled workers who might be looking to change career. Ballerinas! One of the hardest careers to train for that there is. One that destroys your body before you’re in your forties in the name of seemingly effortless beauty. The swan gliding above the water, little invisible legs paddling hard. Sure maybe they can shift to cyber. They’ll have the work ethic. But better by far to support their industry – one that brings beauty and skill and practice around the globe. Considering we are a tiny ancient nation, we have a powerful tradition of the arts. I know that my work has given me skill. My skill has given me confidence. I’m in a powerful place. But the industry isn’t. And travel is looking harder and harder even despite the cove. It’s why I’m looking towards my Spanish ancestry.
There’s a change coming and it’s not feeling good yet. Boris and his sovereignty are waiting to hear if Trump gets re-elected before laying any cards down on a severance from Europe that will only benefit the rich how he wants it. Trump probably will get re-elected and if by some miracle he doesn’t then there’ll be people setting fire to the place and saying it was rigged. Boris is hoping for the chlorinated chicken to start crossing the Atlantic instead of cheese over the channel. At least it’ll wake up Liverpool. He’s hoping for the final golden nail in the NHS to be presented on a cushion before being driven in with American steel trucked Liverpool to Sheffield. If it’s Biden we are once again back to square one with no time.
I started to worry that this old cracked country is looking to model itself on the likes of Dubai, a shiny new place designed to make money. The UK trying to follow that model? It’s like Rembrandt trying to stencil a tag onto a railway bridge. Sure there’s lots of money in Dubai but google Dubai theatre and there’s an extravaganza show and the cinema and not much else. Touring musicals. Telly stars singing. There’s no meat in that art. With our generations of history and weirdness we have no end of cracks and stuff is always going to leak through the gold paint.
I keep remembering it’s global and it has never made the world feel so small. We’ve all but built walls. Nobody is happy about it which is why we’ve all devolved into petty squabbling. We need other people, conflicting opinions, different cultures, society, understanding. Otherwise we atrophy. It’s written in the gene pool. We are made to spread and mutate. Like a virus.
It’s getting harder to genuinely connect. I’m going to try to send more messages to old friends and new, to just build a little string of love from one bubble to another across the country and the world. I can bury my head for England. Whatever England is these days. Green and pleasant land. Pleasant or not I’m not sticking my head into the earth.
At least we’ve had the sunshine today.