Down on my luck, with a few scrapings to my real name and even fewer clippings to my virtual one, I took myself off to the end of that slow and once graceful meander, where the well-heeled luxurious palaces — built in styles of architecture bearing their regal inspiration and carrying blue plaques paying testament to the presence of unknown dignitaries — suddenly splay wide open, letting loose a seething mass of humanity into a soulless circus of gaudy hoardings and incessant graphical blinkings.
Buy me, buy one, buy another, buy more. They’ll scream and shout until you do. You can’t take it with you, and the clock is ticking. There are only so many minutes remaining before you inevitably decay into dust.
I tapped on the driver’s window. I told him of my weariness, my bitterness and my rancour. I was full of hate, and the only solution I could see was to try for assimilation. I wanted to be accepted as just another anonymous figure lurking under cover of an umbrella, shielding myself from the grimness. He seemed to understand, and agreed to bear me in a funereal procession without end. Just round and round until the money ran out, until there was nothing left of me because I would have at last been eaten away by the clamour of all the worshippers speaking in tongues, as they sought enlightenment in the drizzle sodden temple of conspicuous consumption that surrounded us.
I felt dirty and used, filthier even in thought and deed than the fellow travellers outside my windows. At least they had a single-minded reason to be standing stock still in the middle of this unearthly din, staring up in wide-eyed wonder at the messages writ large, then writ large again. And again and again and again. Slowly scrolling them into submission. Making them believe each neon boast.
The worshippers’ faces were ecstatic, bathed in the pulsating electronic glow as it spilt out into the night and polluted the puddles beneath their feet. These people had come from every distant point — places I couldn’t even imagine, couldn’t even pronounce — to see the sights and soak up the dubious culture, yet here they were captivated by capitalism, raising their exultant gazes to read the few words they understood.
Sony, Samsung, Sanyo and Sega are all alive and well, right here on the streets of Sodom. Wish you were here. Wish hard enough to hell, and you could be.