As Slasher McGoogs had wheedled his way into the Fluffy empire, surreptitiously plundered the archives, planned and plotted, he had also devoured works by Peter Kropotkin, Errico Malatesta and Rosa Luxembourg. Emma Goldman wrote, A revolution without dancing is not a revolution worth having. If there won’t be dancing at the revolution, I’m not coming. The Grey Pimpernel found his soul mate in Niccolo Machiavelli, I’m not interested in preserving the status quo; I want to overthrow it, and, No enterprise is more likely to succeed than one concealed from the enemy until it is ripe for execution. He read of Ché, Zapata, the Levellers and Ranters, Nestor Makhno, the Kronstadt sailors. No revolution appeared to have achieved its lofty goals. Many failed, many faltered, many seemed won yet merely replaced one tyrant with another. In William Morris’ more radical tracts he learned that he must consider first the needs of the people. There would be no support if his actions resulted in famine and deprivation. Well before triggering the struggle he must plan for the peace.
And so it was that while Cable Street blazed, in the blackest streets of Bethnal Green, Poplar, Whitechapel, Canning Town, soup kitchens sprang up – vegetarian soup, piscatarian soup, carnivorian soup – every conceivable flavour for those who love soup. And there was crusty bread. The fish fags and tagareen wives and pleasure kittens had been baking across the day and all through the night, every variety of bread that multicultural, multinational sailortown could devise. It fell biblically from the heavens. Their aerial propaganda mission done, Ferdy and Beryl took it in turns to pilot the yellow Dominie over London’s East End, laden with bakery produce, tied by string to cotton handkerchief parachutes.
For those who craved more than soup and cobs Brick Lane became a street market of curry stalls and the rival bagel shops threw open their doors. In Salmon Lane trestles down the length of the street were laden with decorative bowls of sweet and sour pork, skewered chicken satay, sticky rice, Singapore noodles. Kelly’s Pie and Mash shop in Bow had extra tables, borrowed from neighbouring households, out on the pavement. M. Bloom (Kosher) and Son Ltd set up a take away stall next to Aldgate Station giving out salt beef sandwiches with kosher mustard. And all over town humble British chippies were frying flat out to keep up with demand.
In Victoria Park a spinning, gunmetal blue, Frisbee shaped aircraft appeared, descended and parked, only slightly scorching the lawn and crushing the tricycle of a traumatised East End urchin. The occupants of the craft emerged to set up a marquee advertising Vegan food and the resulting riot led to the visitors’ hasty departure. It would appear that they eat some very strange things on the planet Vega.
In time the Toad Lane Co-operative Franchise extended its stores beyond the confines of Rochdale; Co-op general stores, clothing stores, chandlers, butchers and grocers sprang up throughout the land, owned and run by the people, for the people.
The lending libraries reopened.