Fourth of July

It’s a cold, blustery Fourth of July in England, American Independence Day. The day the middle-class revolutionaries from Cromwell and the Pilgrim Fathers onwards came up with a new world order based on democracy and reason, a republic free from the tyranny of kings and the right of a militia to bear arms in order to keep the government in check.

Yeah, right. Good luck with the project.

Like most social experiments it didn’t turn out quite the way the disconnected, well-off theorists thought it would. The same way it didn’t for the unemployed stacked in concrete brutalist tower blocks with piss-smelling broken lifts who bafflingly failed to appreciate the exciting statements in post-modern architecture they were stacked in against the day someone would want shipbuilders again, or find enough estate agencies to re-train them into.

Say goodbye,  it’s Independence Day

I took a walk around my own not very urban manor today as the wind buffeted and only now and again brought warm gusts of wind smelling of the spice of summer trees. Someone who’s just reviewed Not Your Heart Away asked if there was going to be a sequel, a future past world where Ben goes to America to find Claire, in a fictional world where he doesn’t know he’s looking for her, except he always would. It made me remember another Independence Day very nearly thirty years ago, a summer so hot by a lake in Wisconsin that no-one could believe the thermometer by the basketball court, way over a hundred, when it was still hot when the PA system blew Taps and we hauled down the Stars and Bars for the day, the same way we did every day that summer on summer camp. It wasn’t quite like the Springsteen song but it was pretty close. We just didn’t believe nothing we could say or do wouldn’t change anything now. We were all a lot younger then.

The heat bent the light and weighed so heavy on us we could hardly get the energy to pile into my old Chevrolet station wagon and go down to Gene Fleck’s Meadow Inn bar to see if Nancy-Jean and the other girls from the nearby summer camps were suffering from the heat too, after work, and how many clothes they’d be wearing to deal with it.

It was a long, good summer, a long time ago.

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