Thursday, 19 November 2015


Unless you are a heavily armed psychopath, there’s very little to look forward to post-Crisis, although those interested in what could be elastic banded together as 'green issues' will be delighted to know that the world will ultimately become more ecologically balanced than it has been since the Industrial Revolution. The word ‘ultimately’ is important, as there will initially be a horrible period of collapse, where unattended factories and facilities will first go off piste, then off line, then, finally, just go off, blowing up and throwing filth and foulness miles out into the air. When the smoke clears, things will be pretty grim: no light; no heat; no water. Your American style Fridge Freezer won’t work. Everything will start to rot, and disease will come, like a huge, dirty scythe cutting enormous swathes through the weakened populace. Cities will be hellholes, open sores where the rats will reign supreme, so it’s time to get that place in the country you always talked about – and quick.

One of the main benefits of The Crisis is how deadly it will be. Under normal circumstances, moving to the country would be a massive pain in the arse requiring time, money, patience, money and more money. Post-Crisis, three out of five picturesque cottages will simply require sweeping clean of human remains before becoming perfectly habitable dwellings. There will be no estate agents or solicitors fees, nothing to sign or register, you will simply move your shit in, shore up the windows and doors and defend your new home day and night from others with the same idea as you.

Country life will not be the cakewalk you may have seen in thick, glossy magazines. There will be no poncing around in designer wellies. On the plus side, much of the pointless, spiteful cruelty of rural living will have been eliminated, as hunting things that taste like shit will be considered a massive waste of resources. Foxes will still kill chickens, and we will still kill chicken killing foxes, but this is equitable. It will be a war again, not a pogrom. Badgers will still be at risk, though, as we are likely to give them Tuberculosis.

Life will be almost impossible at first, a hard, endless grind of wet, brutal days, long, cold nights and desperate survival. But the countryside will be the only place where you can survive, an oxygen tent in a dark world of unspeakable horror and toxic filth, so you will at least be able to persevere, to keep going, to stay alive. At first you will work like a hamster on a wheel, exhausting yourself to little or no profit. In time, though, there will be progress: the windmill and the water wheel will begin to turn again; the river will run relatively clean and corpse free; the ground will relent and begin to yield misshapen root vegetables, which will be great delicacies; a cup of acorn coffee in a chipped enamel mug will be luxury; every drop of milk squeezed from a cow or goats teat will be a delight, a triumph - a victory.

Life will not be easy, and it will not be better, but it will have more value - it will mean something, precisely because it is so difficult to hang on to. Family life will be of the utmost importance once again and, eventually, a social system will begin to tentatively reassert itself. There will be friendship, kindness, co-operation – even charity. In the evenings, there will be music and laughter and companionship. Life will be more than just existence. Then the Plagues will begin.

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