Monday, 17 October 2011

Each and Every Angel

"The jam was getting exciting. For five days they had been parked on the ring road about a mile from the arch of Wembley. Initially there was anger but when realisation dawned that this was finally it, the road began to take on a life of its own.

Perhaps the first sign came about seven hours in, when Jerry the Hatch stuffed his rucksack full with the festival supplies from his boot and wove his way between the cars on his little scooter selling beer window to window. He was surprised how quickly they went, it still being the afternoon. In half an hour the bag was empty and he pushed back into Neasden, his leg swinging freely, to find an off licence. By nightfall he was exhausted and with a four pack remaining he returned to his vehicle.

Lubricated by alcohol, conversations were struck up through open windows, Facebook friends were made, hashtags formed constellations in the Twittersphere.

Jerry awoke early the next day to get to work, only to find other vendors already going, most on scooters but others jogging. Some tried bicycles but there wasn't really room to pedal around. Business was just as quick though and by midday the party was in full swing. People tuned their radios to the same stations so that the road echoed to the BBC's own holy choir, voices fractionally out of synch.

This unity was temporary though and as the afternoon wore on it fractured. Channels were changed and new hashtags were born, nastier now. There were scuffles. The third day continued in this vein, with added car horns. Jerry restricted his sales to the mornings and locked himself in by dark. Sleep became harder to come  by. He caught snatches but the noise never died. Sometimes too near.

When rumour spread that something was coming he made one last trip to the off licence, for himself alone this time, and returned to wait."

"And then?"

"You know what happened then."

"I don't. I thought you were going to tell me."

"It was horrific."

"So you say."

"It was inevitable."

"So you say. So it's been said around here since the sixteenth century, or earlier, but you can't tell me what happened."

"I wasn't there."

"Yet you seem so sure."

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