Plant life

    Colin Beaven vor Großbritannien-Flagge
    Von Colin Beaven

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    Transcript: Plant life

    There’s often a strong smell in Britain’s towns and cities. It’s not unlikeunähnlichunlike my granny’s old asthma medicine — a herbalKräuter-herbal mixture she burnt every evening. The fumeRauch, Qualmfumes helped her breathe, but they smelt like a decomposingsich zersetzenddecomposing football sock. Like the cannabis that’s smoked in the streets these days.

    Remember, though, this isn’t Amsterdam. Cannabis is illegal in Britain. The police can arrest you if they find it, but they may give you just a warning instead. It’s often argued that they should concentrate on finding the dealers and secret cannabis factories.

    Apart from being inhuman and illegal, these factories use such a lot of electricity. Do they overload the network? Were they the real reason for the serious blackout across parts of England last August? The official cause was “lightning”, but does that really sound plausible?

    And what about the mysterious blackout in Yesterday, the latest film from Richard Curtis. It begins with a global power cut. Then, when power’s to restorewiederherstellenrestored, nobody has any memory of The Beatles — apart from Jack Malik, the central character, who claims he wrote their songs himself.

    He sings them, too. Songs like “Yesterday” make Malik as rich and famous as the real Beatles more than 50 years ago. He becomes a sort of tribute band, though tribute bands don’t normally to pretendvorgeben, vortäuschenpretend they wrote the material they perform.

    The film’s a charming fantasy, but that mysterious power cut (UK)Stromausfallpower cut reminds me of a science-fiction novelRomannovel that certainly isn’t: John Wyndham’s The Day of the triffidTriffid, (imaginäre) menschenfressende PflanzeTriffids, in which almost everyone in the world is blinded by strange lights in the sky — perhaps the accidental use of some secret weapon. The book was written not long after Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

    Worse still, there are triffids: meat-eating plants that can walk. Having been cultivated for their oil, the plants escape. Blind humans don’t stand a chance. Perhaps the idea of mobile plants seems ridiculous. Mobile phones probably seemed just as fancifulfantastisch, unrealistischfanciful in 1951, when the novel was published. I recently saw this sign in a supermarket: “Soft fruit has temporarily moved to the end of this island.” It was obviously The Day of the raspberryHimbeereRaspberries — and clearly time to panic.

    Cannabis growers might welcome plants that could walk; at least they’d have an answer when the police came knocking: “I’m as surprised as you are, officer. They must have moved in overnight. They definitely weren’t there yesterday.” There it is again: “Yesterday” — possibly The Beatles’ best-known song. What were the words? “Yesterday / All these triffids seemed so far away / Now it looks as though they’re here to stay.” But I don’t recommend using this as an excuse when the police arrest you. You might find yourself quoting another line when you’re in prison: “I said something wrong / Now I long for yesterday.”

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