Politics and Protest in the New Normal
Spontaneous combustion is just. a part of the new normal.
Passers-by, postal. workers,. newsreaders:. anyone can. go
at. any..moment,. and..it’s. no. longer. a. surprise.. It’s..an
inconvenience, of course,. if you stay in. for a supermarket
delivery which. doesn’t arrive,. and. days later. you. pass. a
looted van with a blackened cab;. and when you. finally get
through. to..the. helpline. to. claim..a.. refund,..the…stock
apologies are interrupted. by a whoosh and crackle, .before
you’re redirected to hold music. .There are. demonstrations
on. the. site. of. Pudding. Lane;.flashpoint.mobs. gathering
against government guidance, with no demands, just petrol
and homemade. explosives,. hot breath scorching the. faces
of police equipped with nothing. but stone, flint, and damp
powder.. Ministers. and. experts recommend.. spending as
much. time. as possible. under. water. –. though. they. stop
short of formalising advice into rules – and. I for .one. have
placed a tin. bath .in every room.. I often hear voices. as. if
from far away,. but I can never make out the words, and. by
the time. my ears pop. above the surface,. there is .nothing
but silence and the smell of smoke.
Oz Hardwick’s a work has been published and performed internationally in and on diverse media. His chapbook Learning to Have Lost (Canberra: IPSI, 2018) won the 2019 Rubery International Book Award for poetry, and has been followed by The Lithium Codex (Clevedon: Hedgehog, 2019) and Wolf Planet (Clevedon: Hedgehog, 2020).