The term Twilighter started being used in the early 2000’s by the arts council of England to distinguish between respectable people and the type of person who was not worth counting as potential audience. They were poor, single, disabled, in temporary accommodation, in unstable employment if any. Elsie’s boss Douglas was one of the art consultants that first came up with the term Twilighter. “There’s something of the darkness about them” he said.
Douglas was a very determined man, there was something of the missionary in his righteous zeal, not religious, no, unless you called the religion Douglas.
He wasn’t a horrible man, on the contrary, he was one of the most pleasant people Elsie had met in the art world. Intelligent, witty, passionately engaged in his profession. In his fifties now, director of a large arts company, millioniaire arts dealer, father of five children by three women, regular judge at big arts prizes, one of those men who, despite the bad teeth, balding head and long grey ponytail, could still manage to flatter a woman with his attention. A well respected and charming man, yes, charming. He was also a sociopath with a grand plan.
There’s a woman standing outside Baron’s Court tube station playing, or rather attempting to play, a harmonica. I’ve seen her here before, she hangs out at Baron’s Court Housing project where they do free meals. She wears a wig and theatrical makeup. I thought at first she was a transvestite, like my neighbour Steve who goes to the Coop in stilettos and a mini skirt, but apparently not.
My other slightly more sober neighbour tells me she is an old theatre performer, been out of work for years though, a drinker with mental health issues. “A right care in the community that one” say’s my neighbour “a real special“.
The story goes that she was having medical treatment for a congenital brain disease during the privatisation of the NHS. She could’t afford to continue the treatment with the specialist hospital so ended up going through the Charity Care system. The hack-up job the church hospital did was well meaning but naive and slapdash, her memory was blown to pieces.
This is all just rumours you understand, but she is quite mad!
Still, she stands there at Barons Court station feather bower and all, screaching out lunacy and blowing down that poor old harmonica. The Station manager occasionally moves her along but she’s back the next day. On Sundays she is particularly enthusiastic, her words seem to take on a hell fearing vigor as she denounes the Sunday shopping public.
Abel held his breath, closed his eyes, and counted backwards from 10. When he opened them the machines were still looking at him. Big, metalic, shinning creatures, he wasn’t sure where their eyes were, but they definitely had eyes.
Was it his boss spying on him? New company policy to monitor staff ? Or the government tracking him? All seemed very possible, yet there was something else, something in the machines themselves, that knew him.
At first he’d thought he was delusional but now he knew it was more real than anything else he’d ever experienced. Not only were they looking at him from the outside, they were inside him as well, they could see his thoughts, they could taste the ingredients of his being.
He was coming to the end of his 40 hour shift. It hadn’t been so bad, though he’d had to take another one of those Spletzer-Martins. They were meant to keep you going for 40 hours no problem, but he always found he was flagging after 35. Not that it was tiring work, just rotating those huge machines, but failing to do it properly could muck up the whole network which would be catastrophic. Yes, better that he sneak an extra bottle of Spletzer-Martins from the office pharmacy now and then, than risk the whole network going down.
Elsie had told me he’d been feeling rough. To be honest I didn’t care. I didn’t know Abel that well, but I was developing a certain curiosity for the dramas surrounding him.
He is a friend of my friend Elsie. I chatted to him via Facebook and met at gigs occassionally. He’d always seemed quite pleasant and cheerful until that time I saw him in Clapton. It was late at night in a small venue off the main road, he looked so tied and old then, and nervous. He’d seemed a very confident almost arrogant man before, but now he was uncertain, shaky in his speech, and with the guilty look of a man whose just rummaged through your underwear.
Elsie told me he was worried about debt, working long shifts to pay it off. It is a relief that one can do that now, what with these new tablets, just keep working and working till you pay off all your debts, as long as you resist the temptation to get new ones come pay day.
I voted today dressed as a stern school teacher – long dress, hair back in a tight bun – but wearing no knickers. It seemed to make the activity slightly more of an event. It wasn’t an event, notable only for its inability to be anything meaningful. People have fort and died for the right to vote and here I am essentially voting for a hung parliament. I just don’t understand how any of the main parties could make much of a beneficial difference given our dependence on the world economy. So I vote for the situation where the least amount of damage can be done. Knicker-less voting.
As far as I can tell Britain cannot sustain itself without dependence on banks and bankers for maintaining our position in the global economy. Britain, and certainly London, simply does not currently have enough resources to carry on without being able to consume globally, we would starve. So it follows that we cannot put up taxes much because if we do the bankers will leave the country, and we do have to bail them out of trouble so we are in a position where we can still shop in the global economy. If we have to throw money at bankers to keep them here then how can we improve schools and hospitals? “We will organise things better”, “we will cut the red tape”, say the candidates that come to my door. Thats easy to say by anyone not in power, even i can say that, it doesn’t mean anything though.
The big thing I don’t understand about modern politics is how can the economy and global consumption keep going? Humans, despite all our fancy technology, are still entirely dependent on the earth’s resources. These resources are limited, yet the global economy depends on the vast and ever growing consumption of them. How can this be maintained? Whether you believe climate change is due to humans or not, doesn’t change the fact that we are dependent on the earth’s limited resources. “Nuclear Energy” people say, as if this is suddenly going to solve everything. Really? There is still the basic problem of land isn’t there? Food, over farmed land turns into dessert, but populations are growing and as countries develop they demand more and more food. And waste, all that waste, continually growing, where will it all go?
As for the privacy issues these are likely to stay pretty much the same no matter who gets in power, just dressed up in different costumes (dominatrix or mother?). As the global economy grows and the earth’s resources get used up the gap between rich and poor will greatly increase. Those without will get restless, cause problems, rebellions and war. The only way to control this is through increasing security measures and surveillance.
So my voting was meaningless, because I simply don’t understand how anything much can change for the better without completely radical changes to politics and the way we live and think. Perhaps we are merely carrying out our destiny as organisms – feed, breed, grow in population, consume more, create waste, run out of food, poison ourselves on our own waste – yeast cells in a petri dish.
I don’t have TV or regularly read a paper so I’m not very up to date on day to day issues. Maybe what I’ve just said is complete gobledegoo in todays politics. Maybe people who dress up as school teachers to vote and don’t wear any knickers shouldn’t be allowed the vote!
Anyway, I’ve had my little political rant and will now return to more important issues like Rude Mechanicals. Performing on stage entertains people, cheers them up (hopefully), gives them a moments escape, which is more meaningful than what I’d be doing if I was a politician.