‘The Directive’ in The Edinburgh Review

‘The Directive’ has just been published in issue 139 of The Edinburgh Review. ‘The Directive’ tells the story of two Mass Observation participants in the late 1930s as their day intersects.

Extract:

It being springtime, there was bunting on some of the streets as I walked to the office.

The newsstands had headlines which seemed, as always, to have a tone of excitement and fake dread about the probable war ahead. I have been reading some essays by Mr O—- recently (having seen in a leftist magazine that the Mr Madge has recommended Mr O—- as the writer for our times) and I have become properly sensitized to the loudhailer voice of the press.

There were an unusual number of ships entering the port today, and the tide favoured morning docking. It was a busy morning and I noticed little outside my work. Before lunch I had time to tally some of the figures for the last week’s shipping. In the past few months I have occasionally looked through the ledger books to see if some pattern presaging war can be discerned from the movements of merchant vessels. I feel strongly that the authorities know more than the public about what the future holds.

The remainder of the day was devoid of any political nuance.

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