“There’s something curiously out-of-focus about the Prime Minister, isn’t there? I mean, I’ve been up close and pretty personal with him on a number of occasions, and I still can’t help seeing him with a sort of fuzzy nimbus surrounding his roly-poly outline – as if he were one of those newborn babies covered with a lot of vernix. It’s widely bruited about that his dishabille is a deliberate affectation – like Harold Wilson’s pipe-smoking. In private the Labour premier and soi-disant ‘socialist’ smoked Havanas – but can we really believe that left to his own devices Johnson’s coif becomes immaculate and his clothing sharp? Of course, Tony Blair was beautifully groomed, but it didn’t stop him trashing his entire record by getting involved in a quixotic and criminal foreign jaunt.”
“So, farewell then to the Routemaster bus – and while I fully appreciate that those of my readers who live elsewhere than the corporate death star formerly known as ‘London’, the fact remains that these vehicles were symbolic not just of the city but an entire culture. That this culture was largely bogus is neither here nor there – because let’s face it, most culture begins with fakery of one sort or another that once entrenched becomes indisputably real. Transport for London were operating a ‘heritage service’, the 15H, that ran from Tower Hill to Trafalgar Square, but what with the emissions issue and the lack of step-free access – plus the pesky pandemic – there was no longer any economic justification for a seasonal service aimed mostly at the tourist trade.”
“There’s been a great deal of guff expelled over the past year or so about how the pandemic will make us rethink our lifestyles going forward: no longer will we sacrifice our souls on the altar of consumerism – no longer will we leave huge and sooty carbon footprints all over the place, and no longer will we treat other cultures as if they were a form, of exotic wallpaper, to be hung for a couple of weeks then stripped.”
Read Will’s latest New European column here.
Will on the death of Prince Philip.
Will’s New European column on Sacha Jafri’s The Journey of Humanity, which sold for $62m.
Will’s latest column for The New European is about the implications of our surveillance culture.
Listen to all five of Will’s episodes on bottled water – from its origins to its environmental impact – for Radio 4 here.
Will writing for Kultur Austausch on how outdated taboos live on online.
Will’s latest New European column is about being knocked off his bike again. He wonders whether the reactions of passers-by were conditioned by the pandemic.