In AD64 as the city of Rome was being decimated by a huge fire that would leave one tenth of the city homeless, the Emperor Nero stood on the Tower of Maecenas on the Esquiline Hill and, skillfully playing his lyre, sang The sack of Illium to a small coterie of scheming sycophants. The fingering for the piece was difficult, but Nero persisted, selecting complicated arpeggios to compliment his rich baritone, and his artful interpretation was praised by those privileged enough to be present. The backlight of the city in flames and the distant, terrified screams of the populace was held to give the performance a poignant atmosphere.
Its been announced that Gordon Brown, David Cameron and Nick Clegg are to sit side-by-side as part of a live pre-election debate. This is the first time that such an American-style format has been used in British politics, leading up to the anticipated General Election next summer. Given the appalling state of the economy with unemployment expected to cross the three million threshold, the ongoing war in Afghanistan which looks set to last decades and leave thousands of UK troops dead and disabled, and the shame and scandal of MPs fattening out their already bloated salaries by fiddling their expenses, the leaders have chosen to ponder the hotly debated issue of how to get more women, ethnic minority and disabled people to enter Parliament. Fingers on the pulse.
To round off the debate, with Brown on bass, Cameron on guitar and Clegg drums the three will jam to Boyzones Love the way you love me in honour of Stephen Gately. Each taking a turn on lead vocal. The X-Factor voting lines will then be opened and the frantic, desperately worried public will cast premium rate telephone votes on who they would like to see make a mess of the country for the next five years. Cheryl Cole has pledged to take Gordon Brown under her wing and groom him for political stardom. Speaking of Browns troubled premiership, which has seen major banks wobble on the verge of collapse and government borrowing reach horrifying levels to meet benefit claims and Jacqui Smiths mortgage repayments, a tearful Cole was understood to have said: I duv’ent naa hue ya’ve coped, mun! Am really prude of ye!