2017-06-13

Agatha Christocracy

Alternative Forms of Government
(an occasional series)

Number 2



Agatha Christocracy


As part of a clever system of checks and balances, parliament is divided into subcommittees of a suitable size for putting up at long weekend house parties in isolated country manors.

These committees are put up at long weekend house parties in isolated country manors, and well equipped with ceremonial daggers, antique pistols, rare Amazonian poison frogs, and loose floorboards at the top of the Elizabethan stone staircase, etc.

Each house party is composed of those from all political parties, and also a good mix of those for and against proposed legislation.  The factions take advantage of the natural cover (e.g. secret passages) and resources (e.g. weapons) to try and swing the vote in their favour.

The chairman of the committee, roughly equivalent to a Deputy Speaker, is called The Detective because he maintains order by attempting to "detect" who has murdered whom.  Accordingly each day he calls the members to order in the library and explains, whimsically and at some length, who's going to be taken away by the police superintendent for a lengthy stretch in jail.

As this process inevitably burns through the sitting members at a prodigious rate (considered one of it's most favourable aspects by modern political thinkers), new candidates for public office are also always present in the guise of butlers, police constables, inquisitive neighbours, eccentric artists, etc.  These can achieve election as simply as by being first on the scene when a body is discovered, or for higher offices by more stringent requirements such as unexpectedly being the long lost sister of the Home Secretary, the person with single most compelling motive, but who eventually turns out not to have done it after all.

All those in favour: leave suspiciously deep footprints in the flowerbed outside the orangery window; those opposed: turn up under a false name and only reveal one critical fact on the final page of the penultimate chapter...



2017-06-07

The guide to nine utopias - Afterwords

The guide to nine utopias


...Afterwords

There is no beach upon the beach--the wind
shifts scuds of pale dry grains across the waves
of rippled, damper sand. The same breeze finds
a dry crab shell and drifts grit in its caves.
It's often little happens here all week,
unless you count the seabirds' yaw and dive.
Their daily round of being alive and eking
birdness from the strip between the tides.

Of course it is all shellfish now and bits
of misc dead ocean denizens. It sits
well with the flock as none are old enough
to recollect the days of richer stuff:
the sandwich halves and ice cream cones. The bladderwrack
trims no beach now; the waves erase no sandal tracks.







Or if you want to hear the whole thing...





2017-06-04

The guide to nine utopias - IX - Traditional

The guide to nine utopias


IX -- Traditional

Lisa is embarrassed; she sat down on
the snide receptionist who was hunting
for something dropped upon the floor, on brown
commercial carpeting. He was affronted,
but, I assured her, he was sharply styled
with all chrome limbs and fuzzy dark-blue skin
quite like the furniture. He finds our file.
We watch the chairs until the doctor's in.

Conventional, the doctor's body. Standard
for human, but with extra eyes and hands
--all doctors love that stuff. He's sad. He thinks
we make a comely pair: my gills, her wings...
but says our custom genes aren't guaranteed
to do the right thing if we want to breed.








2017-06-01

The guide to nine utopias - VIII - Glorious

The guide to nine utopias


VIII -- Glorious

World and other wars, bringing you them all:
Carnage Coverage Extreme--all the armies
you support; field marshal to corporal;
winning, losing, lying in smithereens--
just watch this space to get into the guts
of every battle. Later in the program:
two privates try to storm this simple hut
without great care. I won't spoil it, but... BANG!

--is a fair summary. Also, coming up: wounds
in Scar of the Week, and have you found
the mystery munition yet? Now, watch
this clip where our boys neatly snatch
two likely lads, but only one can go
through to tonight's Interrogation Show!