Just ahead of Episode Eight of our current Tale for Our Time, a word from your humble host:
As some of you know, SteynOnline, along with various other websites, disappeared entirely from Google's search engine for a few hours last week. Don't worry, Google subsequently assured the world in the usual gobbledygook that it was an entirely innocent error - rather than a trial run for permanent memory-holing or anything like that. Perish the thought. In such circumstances, I thank all of you who keep this l'il ol' website and its various activities part of your daily rounds.
With the summer season - movies, shows, sports, county fairs - all but totally clobbered by Covid, we offer this Tale for Our Time by way of compensation - my contemporary inversion of Anthony Hope's classic The Prisoner of Zenda, the original of which I serialized three years ago. Last night's episode of The Prisoner of Windsor, with a Ruritanian king subbing for a British PM at a Pride Parade, found favor with Peter, a First Week Founding Member of The Mark Steyn Club from the English Home Counties:
The best ep so far? Many thanks, I'm enjoying these immensely!
Very kind of you, Peter. But we'll try to top your favorite episode with tonight's installment. To his bewilderment, Rudy Elphberg appears to have accidentally sown political chaos. Struggling to understand what he's done wrong, Rudy asks his minders to clarify Robert Rassendyll's politics:
'But wasn't he in favour of Brexit?'
'Publicly,' said Severn. 'That was just a bit of opportunism on his part. He wasn't really in favour of it. But it stood him in good stead when his predecessor ran into trouble. She'd been opposed to Brexit, but not very loudly. That was just a bit of opportunism on her part. But it stood her in good stead when her predecessor ran into trouble. He'd been...'
Now my headache was really back.
We walked round the corner and up Buckingham Palace Road to Victoria Coach Station. Outside the terminus, five brightly lit Eurobuses were waiting to disgorge their bedraggled passengers – from Prague, Bucharest, Istanbul, Alma Ata... The coach station was an art deco structure built for a London long vanished, and through its doors poured the new London – Slavs, Kazakhs, Nigerians, Arabs, blinking and bewildered, dragging their belongings onto the pavement and off to a new life in the great world city.
'You're the only one going the other way,' observed Fritz.
I've always loathed that expression "world city", which London mayor Sadiq Khan is especially fond of. It's a euphemism designed to obscure the fact that your national capital no longer feels very national.
Earlier instalments of The Prisoner of Windsor can be found here - and thank you again for all your comments, thumbs up or down, on this latest serialization. Very much appreciated. If you'd like to know more about The Mark Steyn Club, please click here - and don't forget, for fellow fans of classic fiction and/or poetry, our Steyn Club Gift Membership.
I'll see you back here tomorrow for Part Nine of The Prisoner of Windsor - and throughout the coming week for more audio delights.