The insidious crime against culture… or ‘The body in the Library’

The Cranes at Waterloo,

They know a thing or two,

It’s clear from their jaunty lean

They’ve no intention of coming clean.

And there’s the announcements on the tube,

The surprise in the voice that intones,

All seems to be going according to plan

Move along sir, ma’am.

Tickety Boo. Nothing to see here.

The cordoned off corner of SoHo Square

And the silent dog smothered in handprints

Intimating otherwise. Men in high viz

Simply standing there,

Immune to scrutiny, public glare,

Or stoically prepared, perhaps,

As an eloquence of cultural folk

Descends upon the city.

I am stuffed in a crisply, contemporary Boardoom

With Baronesses, Big Wigs and Chatham House Rules.

My twitchy twitter finger lies mute.

Once grimy Soho has gained a glow

and now, most endearingly shows

A practised charm in cuddling close to Theatre Land.

One can almost smell the indolence dancing

Nonchalently out from Patessierie Valerie, drifting.

And later, vacillating from Soho to Cambridge Circus

along the Charing Cross Road, up from Southbank

Like an elastic band of cultural invaders they come.

Tally Ho! No crime apparent, yet a shadowy finger points accusing.

A tribe of disparate nomads

a merry band of players, a gallery of glamour

In the white smoke of reprobation.

The guady lights, a whiff of Chinese spice,

Embracing the hundreds of us in Multi-platform dimensions;

screen, stage, mobile media, open mic live,

Will we fade away or thrive?

Sucked down in the bowels of the city, marble topped and ornate

We flow. Expectant. Curious. Raging.

Both audience and cast in this movement of hope, this agony

of circumstance, this grind of repitition.

Epitaphs and admonitions; less talk, more do!

Action to the Word! Street talk, flourish, and prickly articulation

As we stand to save our cultural nation. Not as one, but many.

And so,

A temerity of activists? emerge blinking into the light of day

Our thumbs pricked, our comfortable consciences plucked

A tempest gathering.

The crime was more apparent on my way home.

The cranes still lowering on the horizon as I stood beneath the bleached halls of bureaucracy at Whitehall the cultural clouds now drifting away and a jolly policeman making sure he got a good shot of me as he beamed hello. I pondered the statues to fallen heroes, the architectural grandeur, an abundance of building and the Big Wheel slowly turning, rolling over the river reflective in the golden sunlit glow on the portals of power.

There’s a body in the library, you see

And it’s as much who next, as what next?

We can’t stand by and watch the glorious sun set

Now is the time, now the hour

Action to the word. Actions to the words

As one, as many, together.

J. Brain

What Next 2013 #WN2013