the last good use of fantasy
A ring-necked parakeet came and sat in one of the street-trees for a few minutes, while some reluctant flakes of snow fell around it. Occasionally it pecked at the branch by its feet; then it flew off, trailing its elegant tail feathers, its head & body making a shape like a fist on a thin wrist. No one notices them any more, except perhaps when they turn up at a garden feeder; like foxes, they’re not just physically established in London, they’re psychologically established. I must be the last person in the city who still finds their cry disjunctive & weird. Every time I hear it I think of Ballard’s “Dream Cargoes”; in fact, really, I just think of Ballard, & how his stories were the only way of importing the exotic into ordinary life in the Midlands in 1963. Now the exotic has so interpenetrated the ordinary that it no longer exists unless you’re prepared to farm your own naive intensity of experience & project it firmly on to the world.