A New Testament and tin of tobacco proved the inspiration for a novel set, in part, before the outbreak of World War I. Author Steve Goddard explains
another packet of Players No 6.
It set me thinking of Beggar’s Banquet, an album released by the Rolling Stones in 1968. The original cover, depicting a desecrated public toilet, was banned at the time and only emerged with the release of the CD in 1984. Above the pedestal, one of the scrawled lines of graffitti declares ‘God rolls his own.’ It’s an image I’ve always loved – the Almighty reaching for his breast pocket to contemplate creation. It seemed to make sense at a key point in Rattles & Rosettes.
It is the afterwards of love. Just afterwards. No more than 12 short seconds afterwards. Sweet stillness has taken repose after the sensual storm. Limbs lie limp and disentangled. One frantic heart beats smoothly as two again. Twelve seconds after such absurd ecstasy, Dan considers re-working his CV. He needs a good reference from somewhere, too. His former employer is unlikely to be helpful. Then there are tomorrow’s rehearsals for Sunday’s audition at Lancashire’s leading tribute pub – The 4000 Holes in Blackburn, Lancashire. Twelve short seconds and passion has given way to pragmatism, mystical to mundane. He envies smokers who light up afterwards. It must calm the nerves, soothe the troubled breast.
And, for no good reason, he thinks distantly about procreation and how it mirrors creation itself: life-force released in one explosive act. And, for no good reason, too, he thinks of God. Not Palace goalkeeper Julian Speroni this time but the old feller up there, somewhere way beyond the red and blue. Perhaps he is still recovering from the shock of his own creation. Never mind the earth, the entire universe must have moved for him. And now, here we are, in the afterwards of it all. A long time afterwards. And maybe the old feller is still distracted. Maybe that is why he shows little concern over the ensuing turmoil. Perhaps, billions of years after the biggest of bangs, he is drawing long and hard on one he’s rolled himself, thinking of other things.
I can’t help imagining hundreds of thousands of young men at the beginning of the last century, who found themselves at the pearly gates, cut down before their prime. And, far from being distracted, I’d like to imagine the Almighty putting an arm round each one and, with the other, reaching into his breast pocket.