THE REAL FASCISTS

If there’s any real authoritarians here, it’s the authoritarian left. That’s what I say. I say it at least once a day in response to something I read online or when looking out the window of a cab at someone with a shirt that doesn’t button up, onto whom I project all my deepest anxieties.

“It’s the authoritarian left that are the real fascists,” I say accidentally to my secretary, instead of my usual clipped greeting. But it’s true, you know. They don’t just try to control you with force. That’s the old fashioned way. Good old fashioned brownshirts, booting down your door and hauling you off to an internment camp. That’s nothing. I’d take that again in a heartbeat.

But the new fascists, the left, they get you where it hurts – by appealing to your conscience and making it clear that your behaviour is causing harm to other people. A man’s conscience is his castle, in that it is his to neglect. If you want me to regulate my own harmful behaviour you are worse than Hitler. You are turning my own moral compass into an ethereal rotating swastika that floats above my pineal gland. My Jiminy Cricket is shaped like Adolf Hitler who, in between goosestepping along my collar bones, keeps whispering in my ear. ‘Remember to use people’s preferred pronouns’ and, ‘You can emphasise a point without touching her leg like that’.

Whenever I cannot do something I would like to do, that is authoritarianism. I have become the enemy within.

LUXURY STUDENTS WANTED

As a property developer, I have your best interests fuelling the core of my cold, consumptive heart.

I have lived in Sheffield for business purposes going on three years now and consider this city mine. Though legally my official residence is the Cayman Islands, cut me and I’ll bleed pure steel (due to an ongoing circulatory issue).

I have given much of my professional time (three days a week, two on call in Harrogate) to developing this city from a confusing backwater of independent shops, microbreweries and local people into a utopia of luxury student flats. Yet now the streets are literally paved with gold, to stop the tree roots taking hold again, I am faced with a new problem: where are all the luxury students?

When I built these luxury student flats, I was picturing people who are 6’4” on average, with lots of fine hair and carrying a cane crowned with a mysterious jewelled surprise. Other prerequisites are a monocle for affectation only, or a propensity to declare themselves as ‘a little bit from everywhere’ when asked where their parents live. Luxury students, in my dreams, are made entirely of vellum and use words like ‘incunabula’ and ‘quixotic’ when ordering a pie.

If anyone knows where these rare and feral creatures dwell, do send an unsolicited email to my temporary PA, whose name is Margaret Something. Till then, these palatial halls shall remain curtains drawn, until such time as the undergraduate nephilim return to play awkward drinking games in the spot where Jarvis Cocker’s favourite bookshop once stood.

@seanmorl | @samnicoresti

Sean Morley & Sam Nicoresti