When the money ran out they realised they were in trouble, and they started making plans.

While protests were still polite they began moving, women and children and expensive dogs disappearing in the middle of the night in Range Rovers packed with tinned food and batteries. Out of Office Auto Replies spread like forest fires through offices abandoned, cups still stuck by rings of stale coffee to untidied desks.

By the time hungry protestors were breaking glass doors and spreading out across marble-floored lobbies, the City was empty. When they eventually swarmed into Westminster it was a ghost town.

They had known from the start where they would go. When it came to it they would be ready.

They were smart. They knew not to flee to country houses with simple floor plans and accesible windows. They stayed away from cramped castles and suicidal high rise apartments. They didn´t dig or climb or float away.

Instead they sought refuge in the great cultural institutions they knew so well. The elaborately designed theatres and cultural centres and art galleries, impenetrable and unheard of, dizzying illusions of glass and plastic in unfrequented corners of regenerated towns. This is where they would make their stand. They barricaded the doors with moveable walls, found themselves space in side galleries and hospitality suites. They burnt coffee table books to keep warm. They installed look-outs on viewing galleries. And they waited.

No one ever came.

Babies grew into children, fighting with pedigree dogs for food. Out of habit they stuck mainly to the edges, scampering rarely and quickly across the vast white gallery floors. The soft pitter patter of their feet echoing through otherwise silent rooms, accompanied very occasionally by the dying moan of a video installation slowly grinding to a definite, final halt.

Advertisements