When I first landed here, almost seven years ago, it was all empty streets. No seriously. People wouldn’t walk and local people still won’t walk: Outposters have a fetishistic attachment to their cars, effectively turning them into Daleks, as Dæmion said today.
However, the influx of immigrants (who will happily walk), the Northerners crossing into the Principality from the Other Side (formerly known as Mordor) since 2003 and the growing shopping needs of Outposters have led to a couple of changes: for instance, the pedestrianised Long Road to Nowhere becoming populated with shoppers, tourists, loiterers, alcoholic Eastern Europeans and teenagers on weekends. In contrast, on my first day here ever, a Sunday, it was as empty, sombre and as dreary as any Twilight Zone backdrop. There were exactly two cafes, both sleazy.
Yesterday and today, we experienced another first: Posh Street (you know, where Dolce & Gabbana, Louis Vuitton, Clinique, Fendi, Wolford, Longchamp, Fogal, etc. etc. have their intimidating local branches crammed along 150 meters or so) was closed for traffic and a street party was held there throughout the weekend. There were even people visiting the various stalls. A faint sense of urbanity, of city life. I fondly remembered this.
“We’ve seen enough things change”, Jod said, “our work is finished here”. But what if we have become immobile and unmovable by now, like those benevolent alien black monoliths? Life certainly feels as lonely and subdued as that of a monolith (I don’t know: have monoliths got a life?), concentrating and fizzing around and during trips away from the Outpost, and some rare and precious moments here.