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Cold Beer and Hot Politics. Chapter 7.

A Counterculture Story

By Tanya DoolinPublished 4 months ago 2 min read

As London's sullen skies unleashed spring's first rain, so too descended resignation upon John's sagging shoulders. His solitary crusade to resurrect radical dissent had stalled, impotent pamphlets reduced to street litter rather than kindling for revolution. No swelling crowds issued outraged choruses for economic justice or political accountability. Anaesthetised by distractions and indulgences, the proletariat slumbered on, impervious to John's strident wake-up calls.

And so John retreated once more into obscurity inside his cramped flat. The clamorous mimeograph machine returned to the wardrobe, replaced at his Formica table by cricket broadcasts murmuring comfortingly again each night. Their intermittent shipping bulletins were soon joined by the mellifluous first measures of the national anthem, signalling the BBC's closedown for the evening at midnight. Only then would John swallow an extra-potent nightcap dose of NyQuil, hastening the barbiturate's familiar embrace to transport him into nostalgia's honeyed refuge.

As the medications encircled his faltering consciousness, John would find himself reliving his boyhood's halcyon moments - endless summer afternoons chasing mates across meadows ablaze with cow parsley, trapping lightning bugs in jam jars at twilight. He saw himself paused in pleased awe along the bustling Coronation parade route, heart swelling with patriotic hope at the cheering throngs celebrating their slight young Queen. Though John understood such visions were gilded fiction, more poignant yearning than faithful recall, still he sought nightly solace in the fleeting sensation of spiritual connection severing the long lonely hours til dawn.

Of late John had taken to combing the city's streets on weekends behind his battered camera lens. Slowing to document shabby corner pubs where pensioners still gathered to grumble about football and politics - here a rare frosted window still sporting a tattered Union Jack, there a weather-beaten plaque marking the Battle of Britain anniversary — he felt cradling such endangered artefacts kept cynicism and despair at bay. If Britain's last humble monuments to continuity and conscience could persist half-forgotten in the creeping homogenous modern tide, might not her endangered soul endure somehow, ready to reawaken when the masses ended their bender of selfish excess?

Yet John understood such hopes balanced precariously, sustained only by nostalgic retreat and chemical relief. Awake again beneath the harsh glare of morning, his faith often wavered. But still he grasped stubbornly to the tattered thread of dogged dissent and chronicling. If not optimism, at least it gave fleeting purpose. He would record heritage whispers before the winds of 'progress' shifted inexorably, sweeping away the last leaves of Britain's former glory.

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About the Creator

Tanya Doolin

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    Tanya DoolinWritten by Tanya Doolin

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