The Vacuum Vote

An email:

Dear Mr Edwards,
We seem to have been staying at the same hotel in Sark at the same time; I presume you were the young man who had difficulties with his bicycle chain and who resembled a refugee from ‘Crome Yellow’.


Have given my notice at the night shift. My last night there is June 25th.

I’d been hoping to keep the job on and have it support the writing, but it was becoming increasingly obvious that I couldn’t muster the energy for both. However, I swore to myself I wouldn’t quit until, say, a literary agent contacted me out of the blue with a view to writing a book. Which is exactly what happened.

The proposed book is a non-fiction travel work, working title ‘Forever England: Corners of Belonging in Foreign Fields’. It’ll muse on versions of the displaced Englishness I’ve come across in Sark, Gibraltar and Tangier, as well as places I’d like to go, if the book deal allows. I’m fascinated with 2009 notions of belonging, where people escape a country yet take bits of it with them – or create a version of Albion from scratch. It’ll be about otherworldly bars, poignant shops and strange monuments. All from my point of view, as someone who thinks he doesn’t really have ‘roots’ or fits in anywhere – only to be told the moment I step outside the UK that I resemble a terminal Englishman. Whatever that means…


As I’m quitting the night job, it means I’ll be available for more London DJ gigs. There’s these between now and Latitude:

Thurs June 18th: Beautiful & Damned at the Boogaloo, 312 Archway Road, N6. The usual vintage, easy listening & showtunes.

Sat June 20th: How Does It Feel To Be Loved, The Phoenix, 37 Cavendish Square. 80s indiepop & 60s girl groups.

Mon June 29th: Book Club Boutique, Dick’s Bar, 23 Romilly Street, Soho. Gay Pride event. Not sure what I’ll play here. Perhaps everything I can’t get away with at the other places.

Sat July 4th: Last Tuesday Society’s Fairy Tale Masked Ball, after a talk by Marina Warner. The Vaults, 47 Chiswell Streets, EC. The B&D stuff with a slightly more hedonistic, giddy angle.


The sensation of finding out there’s a Big Brother contestant whose path has crossed yours is, I suppose, an increasingly common modern experience. This year’s series includes an intriguing Russian lady called Angel, who entered the BB house in top hat, tails and brandishing a cane. Last time I saw her she was married to the manager of Spearmint, the band I was in during 1999 and 2000. She designed and built the set of the video for Spearmint’s single, ‘We’re Going Out’, which I appeared in. I don’t watch the programme much these days, but I hope she wins. Her bohemian, arty charm might swing it for her. Niceness is the alibi of otherness.


Today the country has woken up to the results of the European Parliament elections, with the BNP acquiring two new seats. A closer look reveals the actual number of votes for the BNP in their two winning regions (Yorkshire, North West) has in fact decreased. It was the poor turnout by people who’d normally vote for the top 3 parties that gave them a higher percentage of the vote, and thus the seats. Proportional Representation is thought to be a fairer system, but if people aren’t voting at all, it’s useless. So now the rest of Europe – and people who aren’t looking hard enough – think the UK is becoming more right wing. No, it’s becoming more apathetic. More people than ever have chosen not to choose.

But they forget the trouble with choosing nothing. Like the laws of nature where a vacuum is abhored, something still has to go in nothing’s place. So now we have BNP MEPs. Well done, nothing.

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