Laundrie van, and other psychic shocks

On the way down the hill, a small white transit van of the sort driven by Brian Laundrie heads past, giving rise to a small shudder of false recognition and slight fight or flight response. Its obviously not that van, as the FBI has impounded it and will be going over it with minute forensic attention, but its identical appearance gives rise to a shudder. It must be disconcerting to have to drive it. It would be hard to feel affectionate to a van like like now, sweet and dinky looking though it is. A bit like the way that actors who play characters who do abusive things being treated with caution; as if it were them really doing it.

The pavements outside the library are being roped off and sawed up again. Blokes in hard hats and high viz jackets stand, shake their heads, rub their chins and suck their teeth. They have a plan, but seem to be making it up as they go along. An elderly Gujerati gentleman stands looking on with his hands behind his back and an air of lugubrious despair – as though he is dying to say “I suppose you know you’re doing that all wrong”, but can’t summon up the energy.

Outside Aldi, a four or five year old girl is perched atop one of the new stone benches with the local history notes built in. The Aldi, which used to be a Sainsburys was originally an Odeon cinema. She is playing at reading the newspaper*. Perhaps she can read the headlines, big enough print, short enough words, if not the text. She gives the pages a shake, then turns them carefully over and smooths them down, a pitch perfect imitation of her elderly relatives who still read newspapers. That’s the way to do it.

I see that Nadine Dorries, our new “Culture Secretary”, has accused the “snowflake left” of, among other things, “dumbing down panto”. I’m not sure how that might be possible – it would be like dumbing down the Metro – so all I can say is “OH NO THEY’RE NOT!”

*It’s the Metro, so that’s a loose description.

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