I like dumps. I like the mess. I like the outskirts of towns with the randomness of buildings and telephone poles and wires. I like the scattering of car shops, tyre shops, furniture shops, bathroom shops, burger shops. I like Derby road in Burton. It’s all so normal somehow.
It’s sad to see farming villages neat and tidy. ‘Cotswoldized’ is the word I use. They should have dogs barking and cows mooing and cow dung decorating the roads. And smells. That’s what farming villages are for. It’s depressing when the chattering classes move in with their A-K-ya accents, their Chelsea tractors and their notions. It’s all so sterile. We’re too clean. No wonder our immune systems don’t cope like they used to—they’re not challenged enough.
Some people have a vision of heaven that’s ordered beauty. A Midsomer village where one’s friends live in ochre-cloured cottages along the banks of the stream, behind Kentucky-fried Georgian doors. I hope not.
Sunday Mass is heavenly. Sounds, sights, smells. Incense smoke curling up through stained glass sunlight. It’s a mood altering substance: it alters mine anyway. Music to aid devotion rather than simply excite. Order, certainly, but with a joyful tendency to entropy. Acolytes doing their own thing, the occasional wanderer from the pathway brought back with a quiet hiss to attract attention. Then giggles. Where is the thurifer? Where are my specs? I’m in the wrong place again. I forget a book and have to ask someone to pass me it. And then, charismatic soul that I am, I do something spur of the moment. Loosely ordered humanity. I hope this is more what heaven’s like.
Down with cleanliness, down with tidiness. Eat dirt—it’s good for you.