I feel so like I have been sitting here before, writing these same words on this same piece of paper after a night out on the town. It feels so familiar, this, what? A sense of ending. A sense of being an observer of some sort of last act.
I’ve been spinning up West, playing other people’s music for money while people eat and drink, but mostly drink, a lot, and then some more. Kind of like there’s no tomorrow.
Tonight in the restaurant, the theme is Monopoly. The ultimate capitalist game where the aim is to buy everything, then charge people for occupying your land till they all go bust. In the game, of course, at this point you have won, and you can carry on, make a cup of tea, chat with your friends and family and forget about the glee you felt watching your youngest daughter borrow money from her mother so she could pay you for sitting outside one of your several hotels on Park Lane.
In the restaurant the rules are a little different. There’s a drinking game with a big fluffy dice and an unidentified blue liquid; there’s a fire eating lesbian stripper and an S&M Asian violinist to spice things up, but the end result is the same. Feed the people booze till they’ve spent all their money then send them packing. In this game they wake up the next day with a sore head and few embarrassing photos on their phone. No real harm done, just another bump on the credit card and a fuzzy feeling between the eyes.
On the way home, out on the real streets of London all is calm and autumn dark. A van with SECURITY written on the front in bright red letters follows me for a while as I navigate the back streets of Kensington. Just in case, you can hear the man behind the wheel thinking as he attempts to keep up with the bike, discreetly. You never know about people on bikes do you. Why don’t they drive?
Maybe they want to charge me for using the road. Maybe it belongs to someone else now. Maybe it belongs to a bank or an organisation or another country.
Out here in the misty air, in the quiet heart of the beating city, I ride and I wonder. What happens at the end of the big Monopoly game, the one that is played out across the country, across the continent, across the world. What happens when the big players have all the money and nobody else has any? Do they just stop the game, make a cup of tea, and carry on, or is that just the end? Europe, done that, pack it away will you darling, I’m not making anything from it anymore, I’ve done it, it’s done, finished, over.