Friday, 22 November 2013
The Great Award
I still remember it to this day, even though it happened earlier this week. It's funny how you associate commonplace events with sudden life-changing events; I recall that I was busy tucking into a mouse pie (rare to the point of raw - sans pastry and gravy, of course) when my vulpine friend Feaxede the Fox approached me in a high state of excitement.
Fearing that I'd have to share my fine cuisine with him, to my shame have to confess that I bolted it quickly while I waited for him to arrive and tell me what he'd heard. My jaw almost hit the ground when he animatedly informed me that Streonaeshalh has been awarded the Holy Roman Empire Settlement of Culture for next year.
When we'd finished our frantic rejoicing, Feaxede delivered the momentous question: What exactly is it? I told him that this is a Most Special Award, reserved for the most deserving places in Christendom. How wonderful. My heart sings for joy.
I also informed him that this prestigious privilege was only granted to towns/hamlets/villages that were run down and in need of some Holy Groats. Although the title of Settlement of Culture presupposes an existing propensity on the part of the citizens towards high and noble artistic and aesthetic endeavours, this wasn't actually an expected prerequisite; all that is required for the aspiring place is to provide favourable enough inducements to those esteemed members of the Panel of Selection. Indeed, the most beautiful settlements of the Northumbrian Realm don't even bother applying for such a prize, since they regard the whole enterprise as infra dignatem.
So what can we look forward to in this humble, fish-odorous backwater on the coast of the North Sea? As your Cat understands it, we're likely to be visited by hordes of wood-carvers, finger dancers, loblolly men, mountebanks and performing bears, who will be gracing the quayside with their artistic skills. We'll be seeing hosts of the Northumbrian Redistributionist Workers' Faction with their bongoes, beansprouts and dog breath; there'll be obscure Saxon folk singers, delivering anthems about about obscure folk while holding mugs of the local mead and ale; it will be a vertitable Redistributionist travelling circus. The hordes of visitors will boost the inns and guesthouses, and the local alderman will be grinning inanely from ear to ear as he bathes in the glory of a Day that has come. The Holy Groats will clink into his bag. Happy days.
As for the ordinary Streonaeshalh dwellers - they'll be unnoticed, and the clinking of Holy Groats won't make a ha'porth of difference. Life goes on...