To the Cenotaph above Fortune’s Well for the annual Remembrance Day service, my first on the Island of Portland. We stood on a windswept clifftop, overlooking Lyme Bay and Chesil Beach, paying our respects to the fallen of both past and current generations. It is a memorial constructed from the local stone – most of which leaves the island by lorry at an alarming rate to build expensive looking offices in London, while other lorries arrive at an equally alarming rate to fill the quarries up with landfill. So that’s Portland, slowly getting hollowed out and filled with shit.
Still, it was a well attended affair, made all the more memorable for Scary duck Jr being photographed by the local rag, and appearing in Monday’s Dorset Echo looking suitably respectful at the cenotaph. Memorable for me too, as it’s the first time I’ve ever seen him quiet and/or away from his PlayStation 2.
But who the bloody hell invited the town crier? Never in my life – and I’ve met more than my fair share of these people – have I met such a bunch of lunatics. I am firmly convinced that the post of town crier is one invented by local councils to keep their most dangerous people in a place where they can keep an eye on them. You cannot have a conversation with a town crier without the words “tradition”, “Brussels Eurocrats”, ”bring back the birch”, “Enoch Powell” and “darkies” coming up at some point, usually at over 110 decibels, and much to your embarrassment.
Most town criers – and I found this out for myself – supply their own robes, bell and extraordinary growth of beard, which just goes to show the extraordinary lengths these people go in order to look ridiculous in public. Even the female ones. It keeps them off the streets I suppose, and I trust that the council does go as far as providing them with sound-proofed housing. For all our sakes.