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Circumstances too complicated to explain lead to me waking on Easter Sunday alone in a Travelodge on the outskirts of Milton Keynes.
A minimalist single room with eggshell blue walls, an open hanging rail for clothes, a desk supporting a kettle with a collection of individually packaged teas and coffees, and a single bed positioned to face a 65” wall mounted flat screen TV.
The windows looked out onto a Motorway intersection leaving me with no illusion; I was nowhere, marooned, with a constant flow of vehicles passing, moving between places with the vindictive aim of emphasising my predicament. Even Easter Sunday hadn’t altered the relentless flow all heading elsewhere.
Recognising that I would not be able to continue my journey until the morning I switched on the TV. A fault with the hotel’s satellite receiver had rendered all the channels blank with the exception of one that was receiving a disrupted signal.
Competing images overlaid each other: sections disintegrating into psychedelic digital interference. The channel was undecipherable in any conventional sense, yet somehow compelling.
Broken fragments of religious iconography, a cross in the centre, a close up of burning candles, the outline of a figure in ceremonial robes, features morphing in a process of RGB fractal degeneration, geometric disturbances punctured organic forms and revealed a gathered congregation.
Fragmented Images obscured the reading of a coherent totality, yet the interference reconstituted pieces into alluring sequences, producing a new whole, possibly a new religion.
A jolly earcon, Popcorn I think, distracted my attention from the screen and towards my phone. Breaking news,
‘Pakistani Taliban faction Jamaat ul-Ahrar says Christians were target of bomb that killed 72 and injured 280 in a park thronged with families… The bomber blew himself up near an entrance to Gulshan-e-Iqbal Park, close to a children’s play area. The sound of the explosion was heard several kilometres away and eyewitnesses said there were big crowds in the area because of the Easter holiday’.
Religion has re-immerged as a significant political force in the era of mass digital communications. Even factions of the British working class have not been immune, with football hooligans mobilised, imagining themselves as modern day crusaders, picking up the standard of St. George, declaring themselves Infidels, or invoking the Bible to put Britain first.
Violent street armies gather in Dover to defend Christian values by closing the borders. Islam is at the forefront of the hatred, but speeches bring to the fore older antagonisms; Irish Catholics. Chants of No Surrender. A swastika daubed in blood.
The images continue to reconstitute themselves, a constant stream of becoming punctured sporadically by stuttering metallic tourettes audio outbursts.