A figure strides forth, tall of stature, commanding of presence, and makes a stand atop the High Street, just where the old Town Hall is still proclaimed above the lintel. It is difficult to see whether it is man or woman but the voice is sonorous when it comes. And all about the High Street stop and listen as the words ring out to the clock tower, and Cobblestone Walk, and well beyond. This, as closely as I can remember it, are the words declaimed.
'Revolution is coming! Hear me, my friends, and follow. Mark well what I say.
'A wedding in Windsor. A winner at Wembley. A wonderful week ahead.
'What a day, you may say, and with justice! Less than a week to Revolution and then for 16 glorious days, Festival will be the new order. But today, or yesterday, or whenever you may hear these words.
'Manchester united. Chelsea on show. Mark well, my friends. The Americans are coming. No, they’re already here lining the streets. It’s a revolution in reverse.
'“No taxation without representation!” they cried in ancient times. Let’s be rid of them. Be a colony no more. Go it alone. Be done with George III (1776). There was justice in their cause, as there is in ours.
'Now in this modern age the tale is different but the story is the same – now told in reverse. Hold on, hold on, they cry. Let’s surprise them. Let’s do it the other way round. It is the modern age indeed. Their voices swell. Revolutionise royalty. Marry monarchy. Marry Harry. When Harry met Meghan. And the rest is history. And the future too! (2018)
'Yes, my friends. It’s the way of revolutions. Everything is turned upside down. Things come round again. The form is different. And yet the longer you live the more you will see that it all seems strangely familiar. Two years ago it happened last. Now it’s happening again. Prepare. Brace yourselves for all that is to come!
'There are revolutions aplenty. The French Revolution, The American Revolution, The Industrial Revolution, on and on it goes, The Russian Revolution, The Digital Revolution.
'Ah, my friends, the world turns, the worm turns. Here it comes now. See. The Garden Revolution. What, you cry? Where’s that? Well, here.
'The Revolution is only a week away. Next Saturday to be precise
'I tell you confidently that here in Steyning, people will take to the streets, take over the Big Top, seize hold of all the venues, witness event after event. Some will be strangely familiar. Others will be new and surprising. There will be something for everyone. Of every age and any age.
'Revolution is our theme. Revolution is our watch-word and our guiding star. The word is everywhere. Sewn into the very fabric of our programme. Just look. There’s David Boyle’s Passport to Steyning, for instance, part of a Revolutionary Double Bill. I shall be there. I might even get caught up in it! Will you?
'But it all starts, before the mayhem and the razz-a-mattaz, with a Revolution of a different kind. Come, my dear friends, join The Garden Revolution in the Big Top field, where St Cuthman rests his barrow and ceases the endless turning of its wheel. Experts will be there. Advice will be handed out freely. Plants will sow seditious seeds that will sprout and flower. Your garden may never be the same again.
'Wembley, my friends, is in the past. Steyning is the place to be next Saturday. The Community Parade kicks off the Festival at 11.00. Wave your revolutionary flags. Take to the streets. And then enjoy The Garden Revolution from 12 noon onwards.
'Onwards and upwards, brothers and sisters of Steyning. Spread the word. Read the blog. Take the Festival to your hearts. Take the place by storm. Turn this way or that, you can’t escape it – it’s all around you. And why would you want to escape when there’s so much to enjoy?! It all starts here. Next Saturday.
'Wedding in Windsor. Chelsea in flowers. Football finished – until the World Cup that is. Encourage Revolution. There, I’ve said it – at least for now. Blog done.
'But one more thing, my friends. Rumours will sweep the land. Why only last night I heard that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, newly-minted, spent the night in Steyning! Oh, but surely that would be revolutionary, wouldn’t it? It couldn’t possibly be true, could it?”
The figure strides off as swiftly as it came. Parnell, Fawcett, or some other. We may never know. But watch this space.
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