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Archive for July, 2009

Final Day Email

An email from an admirer who knew it was my last day on Dog Island today…..quite amusing

Dear HB Corporate IT monitors, 
As you may already be aware, one of your most excellent employees has been abusing the privileges of your wanky organisation for some time now. Yes, those business lunches were mere excercises in furthering his (scandalous) social life; and all those times you proudly watched from the viewing gallery as he type-type-typed away earnestly – gossiping. In truth, he has been harbouring desires to take the disproportionate salary that you think he earns, and run off to central america, to finally realise his dreams of sitting on a beach and getting a tan. I think he might even be one of those hippies.  
While it was great while it lasted, there is no doubt that it is time for him to feck off now. He has a party to organise and everything. You’re probably better off without him. Don’t say you weren’t told. 
However, its too late for regrets now. He has been; he has dossed; he is leaving in 3 hours.  
With kind regards,
 
anonymous.

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This is the description of Coketown from Hard Times by charles Dickens. It begins to expound one of the main themes of the book, namely the application and continual deference to free market principals in all aspects of existence such that anything non-tangible, not purchaseable,  such as emotional wellbeing, the creative inner mind, and a propensity to wonder at the marvels of the world, are excluded from what in the estimation of the industrialist, constitutes a good life.

It was a town of red brick, or a brick that would have been red if the smoke and ashes would had allowed it; but as matters stood it was a town of unnatural red and black like the painted face of a savage.  It was a town of machinery and tall chimneys, out of which interminable serpents of smoke trailed themselves for ever and ever, and never got uncoiled. It had a black canal in it, and a river that ran purple with ill-smelling dye, and vast piles of building full of windows where there was a rattling and trembling all day long, and where the piston of the steam engine worked monotonously up and down like the head of an elephant in a state of melancholy madness. It contained several large streets all very like one another, inhabited by people equally like one another, who all went in and out at the same hours , with the same sound upon the same pavements, to do the same work , and to whom every day was the same as yesterday, and tomorrow, and every year the counterpart of the last and the next.

These attributes of Coketown were in the main inseparable from the attributes of the work by which it was sustained; against them were to be set off, comforts of life which found their way all over the world, and elegancies of life which made, we will not ask how much of the fine lady, who could scarcely bare to hear the place mentioned. The rest of its features were voluntary and they were these.

You saw nothing in Coketown but what was severely workful. If the members of a religious persuasion built a chapel there, as the members of eighteen religious persuasions had done – they made it a pious warehouse of red brick, with sometimes (but this is only in highly ornamental examples) a bell in a birdcage on the top of it. The solitary exception was the New Church      ; a stuccoed edifice with a square steeple over the door, terminating in four short pinnacles like florid wooden legs. All the public inscriptions in the town were painted alike, in severe characters of black and white. The jail might have been the infirmary, the infirmary might have been the jail, the town hall might have been either, or both, or anything else, for anything that appeared to contrary in the graces of their construction. Fact, fact, fact, everywhere in the material aspect of the town; fact, fact, fact, everywhere in the immaterial. The M’Choakumchild school was all fact, and the school of design was all fact, and the relations between master and man were all fact, and everything was fact between lying-in hospital and in the cemetery, and what you couldn’t state in figures , or show to be purchaseable in the cheapest market and saleable in the dearest, was not, and never should be, world without end, Amen.

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