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Horns Road


Ye Prologue:

The late 19th and early 20th century

Saw a red brick suburban terrace street building boom,

All over the country and also in towns like Stroud, -

A walk along Horns Road to the Crown and Sceptre

Will exemplify that and take you down a wormhole of time.

More Prologue:

The late 19th and early 20th century

Also saw a bohemian near-worship of Pan,

As exemplified in the work of Arthur Machen;

A cultured mockery of shabby genteel pretensions

As in the Weedsmiths’ The Diary of a Nobody;

And also, an almost subliminal fear

Of the suburbs’ manic growth,

That fused together so many inchoate anxieties,

As articulated in Algernon Blackwood’s stories,

Where the ordinary, everyday red brick dwellings

Harbour dark secrets of sorcery and the occult;

As though the very utilities of mains pipes

Could transmit necromantic alchemical evil,

As well as water, gas and, eventually, electricity.

Last Prologue:

Of course, subsumed within this confusion,

Was also a nostalgia for the loss of landscape,

And a fear of the working-class and socialism.

Which all brings us, sequentially and logically,

Along the garden path and up to the name: Horns Road.

Horns Road:

Metonymy? Synecdoche? Nominative Determinism?

An almost bricks and mortar personification?

Perhaps residents could celebrate this history

And rekindle the words of these books and Prologues

By reviving the old radical tradition

Of beating pots and pans in the street,

Making a public din

(Rather than a private dinner),

Ringing bells, banging pans, blowing horns

(Donning madcap horns and coxcombs),

With domestic utensils used in public,

Expressing disapprobation

Through community pandemonium,

And a cacophony of disharmony.


A symbolic and cacophonous

Criticism of the ruling class.

A symbolic representation of disapproval,

Marking a transgression of agreed social norms

By the great and good;


To indicate disapproval of rulers,

With a Pan-tomimic declamation of their crimes,

The wrong-doer often shown in effigy,

Sometimes riding the SKIMMINGTON,

As in The Mayor of Casterbridge,

Or the 1825 Stroud weavers’ riots,

As the world is turned upside down.

Perhaps Horns Road residents and the Stroud Red Band

Could lead a carnival to the Crown and Sceptre,

And there vote and choose which cabinet-member,

Or, indeed, mere member of parliament,

Should be lampooned in effigy.

Bring on the Skimmington!

The Carnival of Continuity!

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