‘The Burning Man’ Comes True
It’s the fiery season – a time of insurrection and flame. In ‘The Burning Man’, Bryant & May’s twelfth outing, London is on fire. Rioters are protesting against a banking scandal that has allowed a financier to make a fortune from insider trading. The book was based on the recent banking riots and suggested that the public was becoming more polarised by the investor-carrion now invading London to make private overseas fortunes without respecting communities or returning a penny to the streets they leech from.
So when a mob with burning torches marauded through the East End this week, vandalising shops and businesses in Brick Lane, it seemed as if the book had become more relevant – except there’s a difference.
Because the targets they picked were simply on their route, and the real villains, using secret funds to snatch property for portfolios, tearing down neighbourhoods in the process, remain invisible, locked behind computer screens. The protestors were hopelessly misguided, of course, for attacking ‘hipsters’ as the cause. They smashed up ‘Cereal Killer’, a peculiar little place that just sells breakfast cereal, and it didn’t help that its owners do fit the perfect image of Hoxton hipsters.
But insurrection is in the air, and according to the Shadow Cabinet ‘Marx is back on the agenda’. Thus legitimised, London will go through one of its characteristic hooligan phases. These steam-releasing fightbacks seem to work as a pressure valve on the city, and generally speaking, the police deal with them lightly. Walking through King’s Cross last night I saw a copper telling a very drunk man who was determined to sleep in the middle of the pavement, ‘Time to go home, I think.’
I hope the subjects tackled in the next Bryant & May books don’t come true, though!