When I was a callow youth of sixteen or so I wrote a poem that began "There is something something something obscene in the manufactured article."
I didn't know it at the time but what I was trying to convey was my hatred of the consumer society, which back then was in its infancy, a slumbering giant waiting to embrace us all. Forty years on that prospect has grown until the shadow of the giant towers over us all.
I was in town the other day and the streets were heaving with shoppers. As the crowds elbowed past me, their grim fun-filled faces fixed on a far horizon, I felt like a visitor from another age. I caught sight of my refection in a shop window. I saw an alien, lost in space.
The crowd swarmed over the shopping centre like locusts. Shopping as therapy. Shopping as pastime. Shopping as fucking. Shopping as religion. Shopping as living. Shopping. Shopping. Shopping.
Everybody was buying except me. I was selling. I was selling my book A Half Life Of One. Selling as therapy. Selling as pastime. Selling as fucking. Selling as religion. Selling as living. Selling. Selling. Selling.
Selling to the locusts.
Well, I'm not going to do it anymore. I've had enough. I wrote the book and that's the end. The book is done and dusted. The finished article. Here and now. I'm proud of it. I gave it my best shot. It's not going away.
The time has come to move on. My work-in-progress, Mummy's Boy, languishes on my computer. I can't wait to return to it. Get that first draft slapped down. The endless, exquisite hours of re-writes that will follow. A world of my own creation. No crowds. No shopping. No selling.
I'll be in Heaven.