Laughter & Forgetting

BY JAMIE FOSTER

There was always a danger when our highest court was called Supreme a time would come when we would have to discover whether a court can be both supreme and independent. A group of parliamentarians is currently lobbying the government to put off that moment and not to appeal a high court’s view, presumably in case a higher court takes a decision they consider to be of lower worth. We live in strange times.

I make no prophecy as to the outcome. Those who tell you what the future will hold forget they weren’t able to predict the present. I prefer to hold my counsel, or at least to dream of it.

Let me reminisce:

We have recently remembered the fallen, as is right and proper. We have also been left with some glamorous images of a past that may have contained more mundanity than we give it credit for. The temptation to repeat the mistakes of our forefathers in the hope that we are more civilised than them is almost overwhelming. We are in a time of precious babies and dirty bathwater. We dress to kill, as we have done since we became fond of scrumping for the truth. I am as guilty as anyone else. I have worn Hugo Boss raincoats and Avirex jackets because I liked the way they looked on me. I have driven Volkswagens because, in many ways, they are the best cars in the world.

The beauty of circles is they have no sides. The beauty of sides is skipping back and forth across them just for the joy of the lightness of life. I will never forget the kind words of a border guard on my way back from TJ when I foolishly rested my pink anaconda boots on the dashboard of the Dodge for comfort. “Sit up straight boy, you’ll give yourself a backache.” I smiled. We drove on. I’m glad he forgot to ask for my passport because I had left it in Long Beach on a Sunseeker.

So while the great and the good talk of cabbages and kings I remember those who have touched me with a fondness bordering on enthusiasm. My grandparents drove a Ford Transit camper van from Portsmouth to Calcutta in the 70s. Across the Khyber Pass and the Persian desert. My Nanny was allowed to drive just the once, on a stretch of sand so long there was almost no horizon. It was the only time they crashed into another vehicle on the entire trip.

It would be a beautiful world in which we could all travel freely for love and return home for money without any being spent on trying to kill us. The baby, incremental steps that would require leave the journey appearing as long as it ever has. Which is no reason to stop travelling.

I do not intend to make a song and dance about this particular piece. If it appears contrived and crass to you put it down to the aspirations of a talentless wannabe. If you like it and it makes you smile I smile with you. I look forward to the prospect of normal service being resumed by Christmas. I suspect we have all made that mistake before.