extensive rewrite of this here
On the fourth day of my sickness I lay in bed getting more and more freaked out by the status of a memory I couldn’t shake: a village at twilight, uninhabited houses, several animals burning. I had never been to this village. The texture of the sky, the nameless blue of the mist, everything suggested an apocalypse it was impossible for me to have lived through. It reminded me slightly of the early scenes in Haneke’s film The Time of the Wolf. You know the bits I mean. The father has just been shot dead. They have yet to reach the wasteland. Great gusts of silhouette. No shelter to be found. The countryside a splinter of spiteful knives. Blah blah. It put me in mind of the mass incineration of farm animals that happened in Britain, in 2001. Remember that? The foot and mouth thing? When they burnt all the animals? I remember watching that on TV, back in 2001, and saying to everyone who’d listen that Britain was in danger of putting a hex on itself, behaving like that. I mean, obviously. Ghost mathematics. The absolute content of the 1990s. From the Poll Tax Revolt to the death of Diana Spencer. From the Criminal Justice Bill to the insipid immolation of Britpop. Bang bang. All of it compressed and spun, baked and loaded, until it was transformed in its sleep into incinerated invisible villages. That type of thing. Obviously I was right. But it wasn’t that was bothering me. It was simply the light, the unnameable blue at the centre of this nameless memory, a still-point that could but shouldn’t be passed through. Thats what the end of the world looks like, in The Time of the Wolf, which is a film I watch quite often, three times a week etc. The end of the world, and how you can’t tell whether its just happened or is merely about to happen. An endless stillness. An aching blue. A scraping sky. A screeching of blackened burning bells. A sleepless night. An endless regret. All of these things stripped of their names. Their dates. All constellations aimed and loaded. Typewriters and falling bombs. As if you had 87 parallel lives. And each of those lives was passing from you. Was falling from you. Like a hex that you’d dropped. Like the eyes of boiling pigs. You would recognise nothing. Like that part of the land that is also part of the sea. A sadness so great you have to invent new words to express it. Like in The Time of the Wolf, when they’re all standing there, outside the station, waiting. All of them saying to each other “I have, of course, been sick for a very long time”. So what. Who hasn’t. New bombs squealing. New reasons to be fearful of the stars. Oh blah blah. To hate the stars. To dream that one day you will go out into the streets of this quite possibly non-existent village, and it will be very quiet, and there will be new constellations in the sky, and you will know they are new because they will already have names.The Body Fluids of the Electorate. The Kids Who Jumped Into the Fire. The Boiling Bones of Boris Johnson. The Blood of Horses. The Strangled Bird. The Broken Strings. The Incineration of the Pigs. The Deserted Houses. The Marriage Feast. The Defence Speech of Emile Henri. Devotions and Buildings Falling. A huge meteor will be approaching. Contains all of your unlived memories. Your 87 unspoken names. The other half of a helplessly oppositional sky.