Key Stakeholder

9. The Cell

The overhead gantries of the VaMix System stood; muscular sentries on guard duty surveilling the town centre. Their oblong obsidian slabs trestled the full width of the carriageway and a bit more beside, it was no longer possible to drive into the town centre without passing underneath one of their gantries. They occupied the eyeline seven metres above the road, blotting out the skyline, vigilantly overseeing and algorithm-efficiently directing traffic flows to the carparks of the town’s retail and leisure destinations. Destinations like The New Centre.

It was in The New Centre I’d found myself that Xmas ShopDay. I hadn’t really wanted to go to the region’s premier deluxe retail destination and consumer leisure experience, but for some of the studio supplies  Read the rest of this entry »

8. The Hunt

He’s trying to organise the bags, trying to get the shopping sorted out and into the rucksack that he brought. But the dog’s playing up, barking and growling at strangers, pacing about and getting her chain tangled in her legs and just getting in the effing way. And the kid’s wailing, wanting that bloody toy. He tries and he tries to organise the bags of shopping into some sort of order and he just doesn’t have enough hands. He can’t control the dog ‘cos

Read the rest of this entry »

7. The Legacy

I’d been walking along the lade (though I didn’t at that time know it, nor that ‘lade’ was the name for it) for about a kilometre when I met the old man. He was sitting on a bench, drinking tea from a flask, watching the the flow change phase laminar to turbulent as it swooped over another weir – the second I’d noticed in my kilometre walk by the river. I knew that the underwater structure was a weir but, again, I didn’t really know what the function was.

“Aye-aye” I offered the traditional greeting.
“Aye” – the traditional rejoiner, on the in-breath.
“Not a bad day. Once you’re out in it.”
“You’re not wrong”
“Join ye?”

This verbal handshake complete, he nodded and gestured open hand that I sit with him Read the rest of this entry »

6. The Cycle

The majority of the climbing was past now. He’d started out just-that-little-bit-too-late (a spur to stay fast; to stay ‘on it’) and his time was good, but there was no scope to slack off – it wasn’t as if he could phone ahead and say he’d be late. The time when the light would fail was not open to argument or negotiation; the clockwork whirling of the earth, the surface of which he sped across, and its ellipsoid orbit around the sun was all set in stone – rather, that’s to say – set in motion at the coalescing of the solar system from the primordial dust and gas which made it. That faraway (but so influential, if currently quiescent – and all the more paradoxically influential for that) sun would set when it set. The music of the spheres is in time to to the unyeilding metronomic ticking of the clock. No room for error, no margin of forgiveness, no flexibility. No time to spare – that sun was on its way down.

The day had started Read the rest of this entry »

5. The Stones

>>>  Aaaaa-Wwupa-wwupa-wwupwwupwwupwwup-wupa-wupa  <<<

Through a sleep-sticky eyelid I begin to see yellow sow-thistle flowers and green blades of grass right up close as simultaneously the chopper blades above bludgeon the blue of the sky into submission. The machine noise wapa-wapa and the little yellow flowers and the grass dance and swirl in a synaesthetic maelstrom of abstract, yet urgent, contaminated pools of unfathomable – just fathomable? – meaning. Is it that a vast similitude interlocks all things? For a moment, the answer seems graspable – it has shape and flavour, momentum and surface.  Read the rest of this entry »

4. The Buck

He’d just been congratulating himself – it was quite early in the season to feel as fit as he did. During the winter, his saddle-fitness had declined, but since the spring had come early and bright he’d managed to improve on that. Climbing the steepest hill he knew within range; he’d managed it that day with less distress, in a higher gear, quicker and with better form than he’d done so far that year. Half way up he’d even felt good enough to kick, to dig down into reserves of strength he didn’t know he had – to spin the pedals faster and actually accelerate up the hill. That hill at the very edge of the ancient parish boundary of his town – quite rural really – up a forestry trail to Read the rest of this entry »

3. The Flare

There we were, wooly-hatted in the mid-afternoon’s mid-winter dusk. Blowing into our hands and stamping our feet against the rime. Standing out in the back garden, waiting…

> Just a few seconds… a few seconds more… I don’t see it! Where is it? <

> There! Look! There! Look! Ahaaahhh.  <

She’d spotted it high in the sky before me. Not far from the Moon and Jupiter, there it was – a man-made celestial event – glimmering above. Silently sliding past  Read the rest of this entry »

2. The Nocturne

Time after time we two, astride our mounts – with purpose in our cadence, ride out into the town in the night. Again and again we clip into the pedals and ride into the night for the peace and the space, for the fresh cool brush of our self-righteously self-generated breeze. We ride into the night for the chance to listen at a distance – no traffic foom, swish and roar to overrule our long-range listening. Through the quiet and muffle can we detect the soul of the town? Is it there at all in its repose after the frantic day? We make that choice to ride out at night because we have no choice; we’re forced to make our expeditions – our explorations – in these few hours of darkness and within this constraint we find the freedom, for only under the muffle-blanket quiet of night can we uncover the dormant truth in our town of false consciousness on overdrive.  Read the rest of this entry »

1. The Briefing

Hello?
Is this thing on? Can everyone hear me OK? Yes – good.
Ahem.

All cleared print ID? Yes. If you could leave all your mobile gadgets – cameras, body-mounted vid-capture devices, smartcells, enhanced biros etcetera with Judy at the thumb-print-in desk please. And step through the magnetoarch… nobody got an old-fashioned metallic hip replacement – ha ha – no? Good. Thanks.

Everybody through OK? No anomalous readings, Judy? No? Good. If you could all find a seat – is there enough room? The room is quite small, em… sorry about that, but the EM suppression means that Read the rest of this entry »