Men! The class war was fought, and it was won, it was won by the middle class. The working class lost the class war. They now face a bleak future. Unable to afford property, their jobs moved abroad, displaced by migrant workers and without a political movement of their own, the working class of Great Britain face a return to the Victorian age. Fifty years from now
Britain's working class will live in temporary housing provided by their employers, they will be paid in vouchers
which will be irredeemable outside their work complexes, they will not appear in the media except as criminals or victims; not as individuals, but as an undifferentiated bloc, 'the masses
I have seen this future. It is with us today. On the shelves of our supermarkets; of such working-class supermarkets as Asda, Tesco, the Co-Op. Supermarkets are like toilets, in that they rule our lives but we do not remember them or write books about them, except self-consciously, as a gimmick. I have spent many a long hour wandering confused and scared through supermarkets across the south of England, but I do not dwell on these memories; when I come to write a history of my life, supermarkets will merit a passing mention, along with shaving and masturbation and the long hours spent in solitary rage, planning my massacre, along with with all those things supermarkets will not feature highly. I will instead write of my triumphs and opinions on world events, yet these were transient and short-lived. Ultimately, we spend a third of our lives asleep, yet how many biographies of great men cover these periods? In his multi-volume history of the second world war, Winston Churchill had much to say of diplomacy and military matters - yet no-where did he mention that, as France was falling, as Stalingrad was grinding millions of men to death, as the atomic balloon mushroomed over Japan, as all these things happened, the world slept through one-third of it.
The future has a name. That name is Robinsons High Juice. There are own-brand versions of it, and these are perhaps even more indicative of Britain's transformation - that Tesco sells crab meat, that it has a 'luxury brand', 'Finest', a word as deep and rich in the purest irony as the word 'choice' - but Robinsons were the first. Apres Robinsons, le deluge. Not 'la deluge', because it's a female thing, water.
A deluge of fruit juice, in this case, for Robinsons High Juice is the collective term for a kind of diluted fruit juice, or 'squash' as it is called in Britain ('fruit juice' in the UK is literally that). It is more expensive than what must now be called Low Juice, to the tune of £1.50 to £0.69 per litre, roughly. So far the company has produced orange high juice, pink grapefruit high juice, summer fruits high juice and peach high juice. The range has been such a success that Robinsons - part of the Britvic empire - plan to launch cherry high juice, raspberry and apple high juice, and apple high juice without raspberry, notwithstanding that plain apple juice is relatively cheap and tasty. There have been 'special editions', another interesting retail development during the early twenty-first century, most frequently in the domain of chocolate. Once you have tasted High Juice, ordinary orange squash has no meaning any more. It is obsolete. Point thirty-eight Smith and Wesson, in a world of point thirty-eight special.
High Juice is fifty per cent fruit, unlike traditional squashes, which tend to have as little actual fruit juice as possible. "Concentrated orange / peach / grapefruit juice soft drink made with 50% juice from concentrate. Shake well." it says. The other fifty per cent is made of glucose-fructose syrup (a substance familiar to veterans of the New Coke fiasco), sugar, water, orange fruit from concentrate (5%), citric acid, flavourings, potassium sorbate, sodium metabisulphite, sodium benzoate, and vitamin C. The film of 'Fight Club' claimed that this concoction could form part of an improvised explosive device, something which seems highly unlikely. Perhaps it might form part of a petrol bomb, the sugar attracting insects to the burned flesh of one's enemies, but I will not count on this supposition to save me when the time comes.
To turn this mass into a tasty drink, one is merely required to add one part Robinsons High Juice to four-five parts water, depending on the desired sweetness and intensity. As as child I used to drink orange squash without water at all, because I needed sweetness and intensity, I wanted to touch the sun. I still require sensory overload to achieve satisfaction. Not for me the unspoiled potato; I furthermore require soy sauce, pepper, salt, vinegar, mustard and tomato sauce in that order. Not for me a naked woman. The woman has to be wearing black rubber stockings, high heels, black rubber arm-length gloves, and she must be oiled, and gagged, and blindfolded, with black hair and a bobbed haircut, and I need a considerable warm-up period.
Robinsons High Juice therefore appeals to me. It is not quite the whole orange - I believe it is superior to oranges, it is easier to decant and does not contain pips. I have no idea how it compares to real-life peaches and pink grapefruit because it has been a long time since I last tasted a peach, and I avoid grapefruit as much as possible. I have once or twice attempted to create orange juice by squashing oranges. A big bag of oranges was required in order to fill up a pint glass. I assume that industrial orange presses must squash with greater efficiency, and they probably squash the whole orange, peel and all, with the sugar and fructose corn syrup compensating for the undoubtedly foul taste that results.
Nonetheless it seems clear that enormous fields of oranges must die for a single Tesco store to maintain its stocks of orange squash. Robinsons High Juice requires even more oranges, a condition which could perhaps herald the sudden infrastructural collapse we were promised in the 1970s, in 'The Limits to Growth'. As our lust for oranges grows we will require higher and higher doses of the fruit in order to quench our desire, just as I require more and more extreme pornography in increasing amounts in order to relax my lust. With all of mankind's technology dedicated to squeezing more juice out of an orange, dedicated to planting more oranges, more and bigger and faster-growing oranges, juicier oranges in more locations, in deserts and tundra and permafrost, one day entire countries will consist of warehouses stacked a hundred stories tall with pallets of interlocked super-oranges, many feet square, tubes running from their insides.
And the working class will have a role in this society. They will be fed vegetables and fizzy drinks, and their stool will be harvested, to provide the oranges with fertiliser. This is the future of the working class, made whole by Robinsons; ten billion people concentrated in batteries, strapped to toilets, force-fed cabbages, their excretions whisked away to be impregnated with nitrogen. Woe betide the haemorrhoidal. Blood and soil shall not mix.
What of Sunny Delight? For a time this was the working-class orange drink. Working, as I did, for a new media company at the height of the dot.com boom, working with the kind of middle-class graduates who had heard of Manu Chao - a sure-fire giveaway, the Manu Chao test - I found that my love of Sunny Delight provoked disgust from these people, actual disgust. As I supped the strange, chalky, vegetable-oiled fruit juice, it was as if I was drinking the blood of freshly-clubbed seals, such were the insults and blows hurled in my direction.
Sunny Delight no longer has a hold on me, or on the people, the people having rejected it. It is not them. People were weak for it, for a time, but now people are strong, or rather they believe themselves to be strong; they spurn Sunny Delight, they warn their children to avoid it. It is right to sup the orange; it is not right to be an orange oneself.
People used to dream about the future. Birds die in the winter, you just don't see their corpses. If you stand outside a lighted room at night-time, you will be able to see the people inside whilst they will be unable to see you.
Special Edition DVD Section
To create this writeup I consulted a bottle of Robinsons Orange High Juice. I was also greatly assisted by a small tumbler, within which was a quantity of Friary Vintners' Spiced Mead, which smells foul but tastes nice and helps me to write, along with sleep deprivation. Living now far away from London I find it hard to obtain the services of rubber-clad ladies; if anybody in the Salisbury area could drop me a line I'd be eternally grapefruit. Grateful.
Even if you think all the above is wrong, and bear in mind that I'm trying to combine the observational comedy of Jasper Carrot with the relentless intensity of Hitler, you have to admit that my programme has produced results, in that several of the soft-links above would make fine book titles. To whit:
Not Quite the Whole Orange
The Atomic Balloon Mushroomed
It Has Been a Long Time Since I Lasted Tasted a Peach
Sunny Delight No Longer Has a Hold on Me
Sup the Orange
'People used to dream about the future' is a line from Finitribe's classic single 'Forevergreen', although it is more familiar to those to whom it is familiar as a clothing label.