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LRB: 26 Pieces for COP26

LRB: 26 Pieces for COP26

The London Review of Books is sharing writing about water, fire, earth and air from their archive. Many beautiful, thought-provoking pieces, including this, excerpted from Neal Ascherson:

The little pub​ is still there, the Myddleton Arms, and in front of it the zebra crossing on the Canonbury Road. I came out of the pub that evening in early December 1962, and stopped as the door closed behind me. There was no crossing, no beacon pole. I could make out the paving slabs gleaming wetly under my feet, but not the kerb. With a painful jolt, I stumbled into the roadway. Shuffling forward into the thick yellow murk, I suddenly saw what looked like a row of orange pips hung across the street. I kept moving towards them until I collided with something wide and hard: a vast object which turned out to be a London bus, slewed across the street and abandoned by passengers and driver. The orange pips were the bulbs of its lower-deck lights. It was quiet but not soundless. It was like the H.G. Wells story in which time is slowed down until sounds disintegrate into separate beats. Cars revved somewhere; a lorry far over towards Shoreditch hooted. A distant alarm pulsed. Across a distance which could have been far or close came the tap of a stick, then a few footfalls which died away.

You don't get what you expect, you get what you inspect.