It takes a long time for the threads of Empire to fray, and you still find them caught on your jewellery after you’ve pushed through the narrow library, with all its mythical heroes and unused telephone directories. You wonder which, death for death, was the most pernicious empire; but more than that you wonder what mythical heroes would make of telephone directories, being more used to scrolls and Roman numerals. Imagine Icarus running his waxy finger down the page as he searched for a cab to the airport, or Medusa checking for a local hair salon, both confused by these strange symbols that you take for granted. You read somewhere that Britain transported over three million Africans to its colonies between the mid-seventeenth century and 1807, but these numbers are too big to mean anything to you, and you feel like Pandora, face pressed into an empty jewellery box from somewhere your grandfather called The Orient, desperate for the residual scent of hope.
Picture Nick Victor