Let’s assume for the purposes of possible comedic merit, that I have decided not to mess with the causal narrative of history. Although if that girl is out there (sadly I can no longer remember her name), I maintain it was a bloody nice jumper. So I’m sat here with my time machine, a copy of an illustrated history of the world and the DVD remaster of “Bill’n’Ted’s Great adventure“. Where would I go?
16th century London I think. Right slap bang in the middle of the Elizabethan age. Not, as you may think, because of Shakespeare turning up, the vast population explosion of our capital city or seeing off the ruddy Spaniards for the first time. No, it’s because London was the epicentre of that quaint European custom of chopping peoples heads off.
This was a surprisingly common judgement on crimes ranging from ursary*, treason and being a poor person in the presence of a rich person. And because the whole caboodle was run by a ruling class who believed strongly in the idea of positive deterrent and justice for all**, a site was established at the southern end of Southwalk bridge for the display of grisly faces recently deceased.
And what was the best part of such a positive piece of social inclusion? Well, it was such a growth industry – well unless you were a victim, in which case rather the opposite – an official position was ordinated for smoothing the process of head to spike. The title “Keeper of the Heads” is just brilliant, but even this could be improved upon by modern day management speak.
Hand me the job of “Head of Heads” and I’ll deliver consistent spikey performance. Heading (sorry) up my crack team of “plopper onners” , we’d meet each day to freshen up the display. “Right Jim, third head on the right has been pecked to buggery, get a new one up there pronto, ginger hair if you can find one as it’ll set off the autumn colours a treat. Bill, get down the scaffold and see who is up today – I’m going with a ‘big nose” pastiche next week, so get scouting for some outsize snouts”
I’ll accept there are some downsides. Squalid living conditions, virulent diseases such as plague, typhoid and cholera. Average lifespan of 32 years and a better than average chance of being accidentally murdered. But not only could I revel in the glory of being the much respected “head of heads“, I could do while quaffing strong beer at the average daily rate of the time. That’ll be a gallon then.
Wonder what commuting would have been like? 🙂
* Lending money on credit. I think we should consider bringing that back onto the statute boo
** Except for them of course. Take privilege back to it’s linguistic roots and you get “above the law”