Sir F. Chook, Inventor of Leopard Oil

Likeness captured upon a daguerrotype machine in Japan, July 1891

Lettres

Wherein the Author reflects upon certain topical & personal issues of the Day.

A couple walk into a talent agent’s office…

Penned upon the 8th of October, 2014

A couple walk into a talent agent’s office and announce “Have we got an act for you!”

The agent, surprised but not uninterested, asks “Well, what kind of act?”

“Oh,” they reply, “it’s a real family act. Everyone gets in on the show!”

“How does it go, this family act?”

“Well, it starts off with the great-grandfather. He’s one of the officers of the local military ruler, or warlord. He organises a garrison against foreign invaders, leads raiding parties into rivals’ territory, that sort of thing. In return, he’s given command over a portion of the ruler’s land – and over the peasants living there. Things are looking pretty good for the old fella!”

“Next up, it’s the grandfather. He’s translated this power into social and political authority – his entitlements are coded into law, and his manorial tenancies can afford him the very best of everything. His ream of titles, his lavish estates, his university education – all right and fitting rewards for one who represents the true elite, the defenders of the realm.”

“After that, on comes the mother and the father-”

“That’s us!”

“That’s us. And by the time we’re on stage, the dynamics of power have shifted. Between the expansion of trade and the mechanisation of production, agricultural prices have plummeted, and those very laws set up to ennoble us are now strangling us. We try to maintain the family’s dignity – making economies where we can, and seeking out alternative sources of income, as country houses moulder and fall apart – but another class is rising, and inevitability is looming.”

“Finally, on come the kids – dissipated and decadent, they’re content to fritter away what remains of the family fortune on drink, cards, fast cars and faster living. Their names may still be enough to make the headlines, but it’s clear to everyone what they represent – the final death-rattles of an archaic system, a relic of a bygone age.”

The talent agent chewed his cigar, looking stunned. “That’s a hell of a performance you’ve got there. And what do you call this act?”

“Uncle Goodtimes’ Variety Shindig & Vaudeville Revue!”


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