I travel a lot, often slipping off the edge of the map to places barely connected to the outside world. Sometimes, when I come home, I feel that the world I’ve returned to isn’t quite the same one I left. I go away, and Bill Cosby’s the revered elder statesman of family-friendly entertainment. I return and he’s embroiled in a drug and rape scandal. I leave, and Russell Brand’s a prancing prat. I return, and he’s arevolutionary.
It’s not exactly Planet of the Apes, I admit, but cumulatively it’s disquieting, particularly since I never quite know what’ll change next. Take a recent trip to my local off-license—what Brits call a shop that sells booze. This one is popular with hipsters and thus stocked with draft wine and craft ales. As I waited for my payment to clear, I noticed the shop counter was adorned with half a dozen bottles of “London dry gin”—brands I’d never even heard of before; brands with hand-designed labels, funky bottles, unusual names; brands that bore the unmistakeable signs of being hip.
Hip? Gin? The world had slipped again.