a new conversation, Back to the future, beauty industry, fear is an energy, Foot Long Suasage Rolls, Governance, HR Strategies, leadership, millennials, passion & belief, Punk, Resilience Strategies, Restoration, Social Purpose, Sustainability, Sustainability Diplomacy
From the dressing up box of clashing social fabrics, a Queen arose: restorative, reckless, feckless and committed. The Restoration Queen.
Harsh. Brittle. And of Exceptional mettle; and a little crazy perhaps.
But that’s how to get on in this money-sucking carbon-wheeze of a 21st Century.
Too many bankers living in a coke and Purlina lunch schema; tucked up tight with the cross-dressing maid-interfering industrialists who say ‘what the hey, Ill be dead tomorrow…what if some kids drink piss from a rusty wheel rim and the forests collapse. I’m coining it, my kid’s at Harvard and I’m in the Cinquante Cinq’
But down the Production Catwalk of Life strode the Restoration Queen, no knickers and a pair of slab-soled Kickers to put the boot into every rhino skinned half-wit with a double-bubble scratch-card life with Ugly lurking under its soiled foil veneer.
And, wrapped in battling plaids, leaden white skin, and piercing black eyes thus spoke the Restoration Queen:
All the Shiny in the world shall be yours if you make it fairly and in good faith: but make someone else pay in misery and squalor for the colour of your money: and as Not God is my witness I will hunt you down and nail you up on a poster pasted to the honour of your disgrace.
If I find that for even the briefest second of your existence you can question the provenance of your good luck and in doing so find it tainted – dipped in the ink of someone’s diminishment, heartbreak, pain or misery – and in the second that immediately follows the first, do not immediately act to make amends in some way of other – you truly are the lowest in my domain and will suffer accordingly.
So, punchy? Perhaps. Threatening? Most certainly. And mediaeval? Without doubt. BUT effective none-the-less.
Polite entreats to corporate and government, to turn the nature of enterprise to better and kinder purpose, had made good dinner party conversation; the diplomacy of intellect deployed into rare and grand salons and boardrooms warmly welcomed. But you see everything was written in the courtly language of the Academic – and riddles rarely make for revolutions in anything.
Once the conversation had climbed out of the impenetrable linguistic forest of the bureaucrats, civil servants and systemic bourgeoisie; and ripped itself free of the suffocating social creepers of the over-educated, under-whelming middle classes, the language of Sovereigns and Serfs reigned supreme – and it is a surprisingly and disarmingly simple one – heart filled, base, emotional, primal and blunt.
There had been something fundamental missing in the more rarified and courtly conversations: something powerful enough to override the staggering self interest of the die hard industrialist and money monster – something that could present a healthy threat – a razor sharp blade waved at the fabric of their voracious acquisition.
What had been missing was Fear: Fear with a capital F. Fear of being hurt. Of being Humiliated. And diminished. Fear of LOSING!
And if there’s one thing that the Restoration Queen could inspire in the hearts and the underpants of the stolid grey captains of industry and finance – it was fear. because without her they were nothing.The Queen and the land were one. And without her the land would suffer. Poison her, act against her interests and their future would crumble into the sea never to be given a moments thought ever again.
From whence and where the Restoration Queen came is a matter of conjecture to some and legend to others. Her punked credential to rule in a land of shaped hedges, swinging Cul de sacs, subversion, elegance, eccentricity and foot-long sausage rolls was without question. But her conscience? Her fiery righteous conscience written across the world: where did that come from?
Some say from just an hour in a sweat shop outside Delhi – that the shock was too much for even her bullet-proof sensibilities – and that to scuttle from a palatial room to view a button pauper stitching Hope onto jackets put the first fissure in her armour of suburban everydayness – and sparked a more regal purpose in her heart.
Others say that it was that day at the Palace all that time ago, when the stick finally pricked the ardour of her anger at the inequality and destruction of it all.
So the Restoration Queen took stock and a deep breath; and she thought ‘time to knit a new fabric of life: one hitch and stitch at a time.’
There are alternatives, she thought, to the burning, drilling, cracking, fracking, and spilling that props our most industrious purpose.
Why is our ingenuity applied in such dark corners? Why do we abdicate all personal responsibility and accountability to new technology and innovation and the whimpering simpering ripostes of ‘I just didn’t realize – if only I had known’.
And so it was: slowly and surely at every turn and every opportunity: where she found distemper and malaise she cut it dead. In the presence of toxic arrogances cluttering tables and rooms, her acid dismissal followed. Intuitive, and ingenious improvements were made, some small and expensive; some grand and expansive.
Slowly but surely a new dawn arose, as the restorative nature of the Queen spread rapidly across the land. A fresh vibrant shout went up in think tank, factory, mill, studio, office and laboratory.
All Hail The Restoration Queen.
And restorative missives and mantras were pinned (kindly) to trees, walls and doors:
Goes around comes around, Mend and Make Do, Thrifty is Nifty and Waste Not Want Not; Look after the pennies…
Everything was to be restored – not through the recreation of some over sentimentalised Narnia of what was, clambered into through a wardrobe of smoke-stinking camel hair coats and a barrage of idiot politics – but by tempering a sharp edged, keen and bright future forged out of the mettle of the past.
Back to the future was the way forwards – reaching back into old wisdoms and a sense of fair play. Reaching back to a time when decency wasn’t stunted and twisted by technology.
But this all seems so simple as to almost ignore how long – how terribly long – it took for the Restoration Queen to arise to her throne. Why?
Well, at first, they laughed. The ‘Mostly Men’ of Enterprise and Industry. And they laughed and laughed – at the mad harridan, the witch, the acid bitch, the righteous trollop. Laughed at her assertion that industry can be good: enterprise can be honorable: and business can thrive without extracting every shade and shred of Hope hosted inside every heart of every worker and every thread of natural capital the world has to offer.
Her ridiculous naïve protestations at the tenor of their destructive exclusive diseases raised howls of derision:
Anarchist – tree hugger – lofty lesbian – lefty dyke – punk slut – suburban nobody – clothes hag – freak.
Who are you to question the integrity of our enterprise, the substance of our trade and the provenance and integrity of our wealth creation?
Governance is reserved for those fit to govern, and agility is an over rated skill. Adaptive Governance my arse. We shape the world to ‘me’, not we to it.
And in the end?…Short time living long time dead, Love, so you can stick it. We’re off to the Guinea for a 100 Guinea’s worth of grub.
These ‘mostly men’ who everyday proved themselves to be mostly men (but not quite – perhaps therein lay the issue) would throw buns and scold and mock the Restoration Queen and her little theatre of ‘better’.
Ridicule and sneering was an everyday curtain call.
You can take your silly clothes and your gawky principles and awkward politics and stick them up your ignoble arse.
Everyday the mockery fell from the purses of the industrialists and the bankers. But the Restoration Queen was immutable and immoveable.
Until one day, amongst the hubbub and the screeching and the guffaws and coins spitefully chucked, a chair scrape was heard.
This was no ordinary scrape. This was the scrape of an antique chair crafted in Asian Oak, Teak & Walnut, hand finished in Windsor and reupholstered in St James. This was the scrape of a chair leg across a floor repeatedly oiled and waxed for hundreds of years to a sheen of patrician ‘just so’. This was a scrape of great import.
The dark, bright eyes of the Restoration Queen lifted from her Orb of Hope in the direction of the scrape.
There stood one industrialist: his heart in his hand. Courageously silent; and fiercely vertical in a room of horizontal disdain and louche legs crossed.
One solitary man in a shade of unsexual grey – a knight had arisen. The Restoration Queen had her first champion.
To honour this courageous chair scrape, the Restoration Queen matched with a scrape of her own, as she rose to her full fierce Celtic height – and stepped lightly off the podium and into the swarming mocking crowd.
Together they stood in the mote dusted, smoke filled half-light. The Restoration Queen and her First Knight.
The rising of a champion only served to provoke the laughter to continue louder and the mocking to increase;
BUT through the laughter a small whistle was to be heard. A wry whistle, through smiling pursed lips.
Who’d have thought it? The Restoration Queen has skinned her first Money Monster and revealed the human underneath – with a wish to create better together; not just more for his own.
But that first step to better seems so long ago now; and there is still much to change.
But lets hail the day that a real fear of retribution entered the halls of the mighty, that the possibility of their failure became real.
Praise the day the riddles ended, that language opened up its doors once more and the debate opened out to include everyone, and conversation flowered on every street corner and thoroughfare.
Let’s Hail The coming of The Restoration Queen.
NOTE: The Restoration Queen is the embodiment of the immutable thronging mass of Millennials and Post millennials rising up through the ranks – bringing with them their ‘naive’ assertions that it is incumbent on any business or enterprise to deliver rewards both financial and social, to mind their manufacturing and operational manners, take care of the people they both serve and who serve them, and to take a role in securing a more resilient human existence for us all.