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Judgements of Cade

The talk that languishes in Elizabethan alehouses is political. Expressed by those who assert the need for revolution against the very monarch that would later designate their period. The Elizabethan-revolutionaries, a paradoxical name that defines the outer limits of their entire historical presence, hold their antitheses close: those creased suits tight around necks.  In E14, where glass meets construction, people emerge from direct shuttles and flood the streets. Just as the plebeians did in Rome, and as they have done since.  When the restaurants came in bloom in 1980s London, a new revolution occurs—to toss the mediocrity of an antiquated diet to the Isle of Dogs.  Michael von Clemm emerges from his Oxford college, investment anthropologist and visionary. The American knew all too well, that to germinate in British minds a sense of La Distinction, one must look directly east to France (this being the done thing in high society at the time, and for a long time prior). But the product of von Clemm’s grasping, this urchin, Le Gavroche, grown as it has, reveals its dental apparatus—or Aristotle’s lantern—to put patches in the shoes of its staff and sip from an assumed charity. The necessary resources would be gathered, accelerating a long historical process of London-centred-funding. And from this investment a wake would ripple, catching London afloat as driftwood, to join New York and others as places that serve palatable cuisine for those with taste, with La Distinction.

The insatiable hunger of this ‘urchin’ meant that von Clemm was inevitably faced, like Seymour, with the unending task of filling its mouth. From genetic spindles or spines breeds self-preservation from the moving spirit. And so, a glance back again to the Isle of Dogs screeches and up-turns dreams into renovation. As this sycophant slowly treads forward, unknowingly, an idea is pushed upwards into the fleshy plate of his foot; and from the electricity of neuronal pain, a back-office is lit with fluorescent tube bulbs. An area is born to a new epoch, a glass epoch. Adoptive parents are soon found, Canadian giants of international acclaim: in ground, on the first number of their namesake, a monument is hurriedly built, cut away from the surrounding cloth tenements and declining metal ships. These ships may have brought the bricks of their own demise. Nonetheless, von Clemm’s head would become just a speck on the monument that ruptures his vision; his effigy would replicate, much like the cash his image served—imprints on cotton and granite.

Once a stasis had set on this emerging conurbation,

an indebted ownership falls drowsy in profits.

Only to be woken sharply by an unwanted ghost,

the spectre of Jack Cade.

In a sea of obsequious local councils and MPs, these Canadian leviathans had authorization to roam into homes—and so they did. It would only be a matter of time, five-hundred-and-fifty years previous in fact, when rebellious idols would appear: Jack Cade emerges from mystery, low-status peasant and pre-Elizabethan-revolutionary. Cade knew, much like von Clemm and others, how to germinate ideas in British minds. Unlike von Clemm however, Cade could not look east; for looking east only stretched out into an incorporeal horizon, to an imagined people, soon to take his ideas and Huguenotise them. Evidently, it was not Cade who had been tied to France, but his soon-to-be rival, Henry VI. As a timid and pacifist ruler, Henry had inherited nothing of his father’s machismo. Instead, only a doomed conquest of that nation of Distinction. Once enough blood and, perhaps more importantly, debt, that penetrating-oil of western civilization, had been consumed in the dwindling occupation of France; those angered, as Cade was, left behind members of privacy not accepted to fight, and set forward to London under the banner of ‘Peasant Revolt’.

Stacked glass had welded into a tower to mark that monumental vision. King Henry had relied on his favourites, thus igniting rumour of homosexuality and an illegitimate child. Without civil society, there was no public sphere; accordingly, rumours and distaste rang stagnant in the swelling lymph nodes of feudal society, ready to burst and gush forward into regicide. But now, out of the birth of civil society from capitalism, arrives that sphere of interlocution. To some a check on state power, to others a repressive patriarchy. Regardless, manifested in the power of civil law, and wielded by outraged constituents, an uprising would occur. Much like Cade’s club, however, it would prove ineffective.

On the 24th of April 1997, a newly assigned court stenographer stretches in euphoria. They have finished writing up a transcription of over twenty-five-thousand words. In the case they had noted, one Patricia Hunter, a resident and representative of the Isle of Dogs, claimed damages in negligence against Canary Wharf Ltd. for a loss of television signal. It seemed that the construction of the Canary Wharf Tower, was erected directly between these residents and the signal transmitter in Crystal Palace. The looming complex, with stainless steel cladding and metallised windows, jilted the passing relevant radiation required for proper viewing. The case was ‘thrown out’, in part, due to an apprehension to impart the lack of signal as being anything Real, like presence of smoke is Real, or dust, or prostitutes (these having been defined as such by previous successful cases against private nuisances; see Hunter vs London Docklands co. §2). There is, however, a mimetic force in signal. The judges are unwilling to see this, for they cannot recognise the incorporeal. Even in the case of television, that manifests itself so obviously in the illumination of that ‘black mirror’ many unoriginally criticise. Admitting a small incorporeal would open to gates to much larger ones. So matter, concrete matter, fills the minds of judges.

Douglas Neville is studying for an MRes in English Literature at Glasgow University.

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