I knew something was wrong when I spent ages staring at poultry in Waitrose. I kept rereading the advert: ‘a chicken that shares our values,’ and thinking does that chicken really believe in a free market, democracy, in being organically grown and then butchered? Butchered, what’s more, without the benefit of private health insurance.
No one else was bothered. The guy behind the meat counter went on wrapping steaks, a woman with dyed orange hair glided past with screwed up lips as if she’d been chewing wasps. A chicken that shares our values was clearly unremarkable but I was still transfixed.
When I woke up on the Avondale Ward a fortnight later, I thought the symbols might have come to an end. They shook their quicksilver chains and I followed. They drove me up scaffolding at night to puzzle over obscure blue plaques. I didn’t dare miss a single bulletin from any one of these dead artists. In all the confusion, they might offer a clue. Whether I should become a collector, a watercolourist, a diarist or failing all that just a lover of the arts like the plaque outside the old Kensington Spa with its list of artistic types in order of decreasing importance. Continue reading