October 2014 and your second-most guilty pleasure jogs sprightly past yet another mini-milestone: our twenty-fifth issue. The magazine has, as its source, a very small pamphlet entitled, The Shabby Hare, of which only a handful were produced and distributed to a select band of readers comprising just one team on one floor of a banking organisation in the North East of England. In the main, it covered team news, such as birthdays and long service awards, together with Company announcements, but interspersed with the dry, dusty dross and glinting like a parched man’s wristwatch on the floor of the Nevada desert were two or three nuggets of literary gold. These inoffensive, humorous items received a surprisingly vociferous response of a positive persuasion (I use the word ‘surprisingly’ as given the working conditions of the time and the natural reticence of the good citizens of the UK, anything more than a barely audible grunt counts as an over-emotional outburst) and this led the editors to believe that there might be something in this.
Quickly abandoning the corporate propaganda sheet (The Shabby Hare existed for just that one edition), the editors resolved to produce a magazine consisting entirely of satirical articles, humorous asides and short stories persuading its readers to think deeper than the superficial message fed to them in the news every day. The result was a twelve-page, pocket-sized, packet of intellectual dynamite called, yes, you’ve guessed it, The Casual Express! I’m teasing, of course. The very first issue of our humble publication was, indeed, titled The Casual Express, but only one was ever printed with this moniker. This is now sitting in a vault in Incon Towers insured for a sum running into six figures as befits its hallowed status. We decided on a name change almost immediately, something that better reflected its humble nature, and some nine or ten years ago (even the editors are not sure of the start date exactly) there appeared your fist-pumping, groin-kicking, greed-exposing periodical now and forever known as The Inconsequential!
You may be wondering why I regaled you with that not uninteresting stroll down memory boulevard. Well, apart from giving you a little background information, which you will need if appearing on quiz shows in the not-too-distant future, it serves as an introduction to this issue’s loose theme of commemoration and remembrance.
Our allegorical Cover Story recalls the fall of the Berlin Wall twenty-five years ago and the apparent death throes of Communism as a political system. The dismantling of said edifice allowing the cleansing properties of Capitalism to surge over east Germany and beyond in subsequent years ridding Eastern Europe of its extreme-left infestation. Now don’t misunderstand us, Communism as practised in the old USSR, with its corrupt, totalitarian government doesn’t work and should be replaced, but Capitalism and the God that is Economics don’t work either. Our tale cautions against treating anything or anyone left of centre as something to be feared and then eradicated.
On less weighty, but no less pertinent matters, the Ethics Girls continue their revealing trip to times past, memories of legitimate choice at mealtimes infuse another amusing plateful of Stalin’s Breakfast, while heart strings are given a tweak when Poo Corner remembers lost relationships.
The film ‘Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind’ explores the possibility of deleting painful memories in order to make the present easier to bear, but are we not all a product of our experiences, both good and bad? We have all lived through events we would rather not remember, but each one has coloured our character and modified our behaviour, albeit subconsciously in some cases, to make us better equipped to deal with whatever the future holds. We would all do well to bear that in mind when Life next bowls us a beamer.