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Saturday 14 June 2014

Prismatic Reflection

    The topic for this article is the very mundane question of, who runs The Village on a day to day basis? The answer you might think is No.2, after all he is the Chairman and chief Administrator of The Village. But the people who actually run The Village each and every day, is the work force. All those little people, cogs in the machine if you prefer, without whom The Village would grind to a halt. After all who do you think delivers the milk? Oh yes there is a milkman. When No.6 leaves his cottage that morning he wakes to find The Village deserted, there’s an empty milk bottle on the doorstep waiting to be collected, which presumably means there’s a milkman who delivers the milk, cartons of cream, possibly butter and cheese. So fresh milk means there must be a dairy, and a dairy means a farm with cows, which can be observed in the pasture next to the hospital.
   Basic needs have to be met, these being water, food, shelter and warmth. So a fresh water reservoir nearby would be necessary together with a water works and purifying plant. A farm providing fresh vegetables, and meat. Although the tinned produce of Village Food, would have to be brought in from outside. The provision of electricity for power and warmth, would be provided possibly by a hydro power station, somewhere in the mountains. Then comes the question of sewage.  Even if The Village waste is pumped into sceptic tanks, human waste must be processed somehow, and that means a sewage farm! Also there must have existed a small gas works, seeing as No.6 once earthed himself to a gas pipe in ‘12 Private’ when he used a short circuiting table lamp to reverse the electrical therapy. But all these plants need one thing, personnel to run and operate them. But before this, The Village has to be constructed in the first place.
   Before they could even commence building The Village, the logistics of the place had to be worked out. The British government wouldn’t want an installation like The Village on their own doorstep, would they now? Impossible? Well look no further than Guantanamo detention camp!  So, seeing as The Village is located somewhere on the coast of Morocco, southwest of Portugal and Spain, the British government would in all probability have had a treaty of some kind with a government of one of those countries in order to have The Village built in that country’s territory.
   So some bright spark has had the original idea of The Village, a place for people who cannot be left around. People who know too much, or too little. Perhaps a recalcitrant agent or two. People who have gone against the establishment for one reason or another. An International community where anyone from around the world can be safely kept in The Village out of harms way. So now an architect is required, and contraction workers to carry out the work. Electricians, engineers, plumbers and their mates, builders, bricklayers, roofers, men to erect scaffolding. Glaziers, carpenters, plasterers, metal workers, painters and decorators, a large number of skilled men who work in the building trade, all having to be recruited through building firms, Labour Exchanges, Employment Bureaux. This after building contracts had been gained by a variety of companies. Once construction companies had attained such contracts, that in turn would open the way to possible sub-contracting to smaller firms. And what about all the materials needed to be taken to the site where the construction of The Village to be carried out. That would have to be by ship, and taken up the estuary by smaller craft. And once the construction had been carried out, landscape gardeners would be required to landscape the area, the gardens, and woods. And all those people first on the site, actually building The Village, would all need feeding, somewhere to sleep at night, possibly in tents or on the smaller boats that brought the materials up the estuary. And might not they themselves have been the first citizens of The Village? After all they built it, why not let them live in it. Well they would all be in possession of sensitive information about The Village. People like that cannot be left to roam free.
   So, the community of The Village is established. A farm has been established, they have water, heat, and shelter. Now comes administration, there must be people to administer The Village. Order must be maintained, and The Village governed. Such people could have been recruited from within the British Civil Service.
    Then there is the question of transport within The Village, the Austin Mini-Moke is the ideal vehicle, which would have been supplied either directly from the Austin car company, say a special order of six or seven. Possibly before the advent of the Mini-Moke the American Jeep might once have supplied Village transport. And the Raleigh RS16 bicycles with the addition of a canopy would be another special order. The Village will be a small community, and that community will not survive without a number of “special imports,” and I don’t just mean records, cameras, and Cuckoo clocks. There are the tinned products of Village Food, which can only be produced by a food company based in Britain. And for the tinned food special Village Food labels would have to be printed, all produced under special license, and possibly the official secrets act. Not only labels for Village Food, but also a record label. Labels for Village film for cameras, Village darning needles, carrier bags etc. And that doesn’t take into account all the clothes needed for the good citizens of the community, all of which have to be brought to The Village, either by road, sea, or air.
   So The Village has been built, the garden and woods have been landscaped, which have to be tended, and there is the beginnings of a community, a community that must be served. And that cannot be done without a large number of personnel; gardeners, painters, motor mechanics, window cleaners, milkman, postman, shopkeepers, administrators, surgeons, doctors, nurses, hospital orderlies, psychologists, dentists, opticians, gynaecologists. Waiters, waitresses, maids, carpenters, cabinet makers, builders, plasterers, glaziers. Artisans to create copies of anything from paintings, statues, statuettes, to fine art, and furniture, anything that is required which cannot be purchased, for the replication of prisoners own homes. And that means a very large warehouse!     Electricians, Stone masons, taxi drivers, clerks, administrators and officials. Security guards, computer technicians, cipher clerks. Scientists, laboratory technicians. Refuse collectors, telephone engineers. A farmer and farm hands, milk maids, dairy producers. Observers, helicopter pilots, seamen. Tailors, and seamstresses. A watchmaker, butcher and baker, laundry workers and dry cleaners. People to man the Citizens Advice Bureau, Labour Exchange, the Recreation Hall. The television station technicians, Projectionist for the cinema, librarians, a midwife. Rocket scientists, musicians. Bio-chemists, frogmen, divers, chemists. Barbers, hairdressers, road sweepers, a cartographer to draw the Map of Your Village, chiropodist, gas workers, and that’s not taking into account anyone I may have missed off this list!
    The Village may be a secret government installation constructed somewhere on foreign soil, yet it is run no differently to any other English village or town. It maybe isolated, an independent unit of our own society, but The Village is certainty not so completely cut off from the outside world, as much of the needs of The Village and it’s community have to be brought in from the outside world. Crockery, cutlery. Salt, pepper, spices. Baskets, mops, brooms, brushes, washing lines, saucepans, frying pans, all manner of cooking utensils, in fact all manner of household goods. Candles, aspirin, medical equipment, drugs and medicines {although the chemists would be able to develop drugs and medicines of their own in time}. Not to mention paper, pens, pencils, books. Perfume, lipstick, aftershave, razor blades, soap, shampoo, hair rollers, towels, bed linen. Cameras, clocks, records, and so the list would go on and on. Not to mention the non-alcoholic gin, whisky, and vodka has to be brewed at a distillery somewhere. You see The Village doesn’t produce anything, either for itself, or for export to every corner of the globe.
    It took a great many people, as well as time and effort, to make The Village what it is, and continues to go on maintaining both it and its community. It’s all well and good thinking of ‘the Prisoner’ in allegorical terms, but when one thinks of The Village in actuality, one realises the monumental task it would have been to create the installation of The Village and to maintain it. In those terms it is clear that the British government was clearly determined to see their plans for such a village come to fruition.

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