Five years have passed. A small amount of continental-drift has occurred. The first ever Frisbee floats across a patch of grass in the United States of America, as Sputnik prepares for liftoff. That is literally all that has happened. Everything else is imagined.
That is, except for Sir Kenneth Badger, the British ambassador in Belgium.
The place? Bruges. The location within the place? A hotel foyer. A good one. Not one with towels you could carve.
Today Sir Kenneth, his rampart chin thrust out accordingly, stands by my side, his smile broad and unflinching as the cameras flash. Caught, for posterity, in this thirty second charade of a handshake, I stare at the cameras, my smile a rictus of humiliation. Always with the pictures. Is there no end to it?
You see, it all changed five years ago when I inadvertently gave the interview of the century. Sorry, I mean, THE INTERVIEW OF THE CENTURY.
“Turn to the left a bit, Sir Kenneth,” says one of the photographers, his Belgian, or possible Flemish words translating in the air for the sake of continuity. Sir Kenneth does so. His hand in mine feels clammy, like the insides of a mango.
Within my capacious mind I continue the self-flagellation that has bestridden me for the last half-a-decade. If I hadn’t given the interv…hang on…THE INTERVIEW OF THE CENTURY, then perhaps I’d be able to be like a normal person, and live quietly, being positive to my swarms of locusts and painting my pictures of young swans.
But no, I haven’t painted a decent cygnet in ages, and, quite frankly, the locusts are acting all depressed. If that doesn’t say ‘sort it out’ I don’t know what does.
Fade to a kind of putty colour.
PS, Don’t make me get surreal on your collective behinds.