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So, there we were, a couple of gorgeous fools, vaping out front of Carnegie Place Grade II listed building, laughing away in the sunshine, drinking our Coca Colas.

Can you imagine.

Do you remember.

The once symbol of corporate capitalist viral mind brain fart oppression. You’d never drink a coke.


Beyond the perils of a generation destroyed by the myth of happily ever after prince farming, Coke was the grease that turned the wheels of capitalism, that threatened drought and deforestation in far off lands, the gods of consumer manipulation, we were the angry young men aware of a future yet imagined.

Anything but a brand.

In a small town, belted by the bible and head strong in the super ego mantras of the ways a good life was supposed to unfold, young adult choices between the army, the factory or the university loan sharks that were foaming at the mouth to set you up for, buy the dream, get a degree, work hard, die.

You weren’t punk nor poor by choice, but by something within, a rage against a machine, a rage at what is now referred to as the Matrix, (written and stolen from a black woman), but you didn’t drink Coke, or go cruising, you found late night radio stations that played music that transported you out of a doomed future you had yet to discover.

Have a coke and a smile.

That probably hits a little different now.

I’d like to buy the world a Coke and keep it company. I remember the bronzed beautiful people, singing arm in arm. I thought they were in L.A, because everything that wasn’t in my small town was in L.A, my aunt was in LA, there was a beautiful young woman in the commercial, I thought it was my aunt, so I would press my face next to the cathode box hoping to get an essence of her, maybe she could see me, maybe she could feel me, maybe she would come and save me.

I’d like to teach the world to sing, in perfect harmony, then a news report. They found the 8-year-old girl that had gone missing. She was inside an abandoned refrigerator in a landfill. Her school picture on the TV.

Girls went missing and girls were put in refrigerators in landfills. This was news to me. No one said anything at school. The laws were changed, so doors had to be taken off refrigerators before being put in landfills. Her face, that moment, permanently imbedded in my mind, amongst the green shag carpet, the brown corduroy of my dress, the suppression of my small person hardships, all with god, the holy spirit and Jesus, just sitting around, watching and judging and probably allowed to drink Coke.

Soggy whole wheat sandwiches, another new school, being locked into bathroom stalls. The kids drank Coke and had white bread and bright orange cheese. My father snuck things into my pumpernickel lunch, so I could trade with the other kids, when they weren’t throwing pudding at me.

You weren’t punk or poor by choice.

And then the wall came down. ACT UP stood up and American went to war with the world, again.

Smoking a Marlboro light, drinking a diet coke, the freezer coolant that made pilot’s brains zap out like grease from an egg in the war on drugs. Your days are already numbered, live fast and leave a good-looking corpse.

You grow up. Life has a way of kicking you in the head. Like the fabled Orwellian boot.

You put on new hats, new roles, new bills, new ways of being. You look after small beings that have been lent to you, in hopes of doing more good than harm. You learn and then unlearn, learn and unlearn and learn again.

Once you go clean and sober, drinking a Coke feels a little rebellious. Maybe because of the tyranny of evil, and culture wars, and fighting just to breath and trying to make sense of the post-truth, post-trust, endless god damn fuckery of the world, sometimes the old comfort of the devil you know, just hits the spot, or maybe it’s the sugar.

There was a time, when we thought we knew our enemies. There was a time when the revolution would not be televised.

There was a time, when evil didn’t seem ubiquitous.

That’s a lie, I just had the wrong hashtags.

Time stamps.

The OJ chase and 24/7 live feeds.

Computer are coming your way.

The war on terror.

The war on drugs.

The war on humanity.

Always cokeacola.

We are beyond satire, beyond meaning. Beyond the days of truth and ethics. Beyond the symbols of white on red as a signifier of which side of the fight against corporate you stand. For now, it’s a fight to save the world or save our sanity, or just try to have a moment of connection.

Of presence.

Of communication.

One human face to another.

A sharing of stories.

On a sunny Thursday evening, on an East London high street, outside a library smoking our fruity flavoured vapes and drinking cokes, and for a moment Coca a cola brings us together.

and the world is not so dark.

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