Scotland’s foremost Irish historian and Ireland’s finest Jockstorian, Owen Dudley Edwards, finds a textless chronicle of the farcical and chaotic politics of Jockland in the 2020s. It’s to be sung swiftly, though it’s no song of Solomon. The rulers from Laputa assume they have (in the jargon of that period) ‘taken back control’, but none of them can actually determine where Jockland is, or if it even exists …
Reports from the future include fragmentary reports of an opera JOCKLAND apparently set somewhere in the 2020s.
It supposes a country, Jockland, apparently ruled by a flying island or Laputa whose rulers imagine they have taken back control of Jockland but cannot determine where it is.
It is officially ruled by a Monster from Loch Ness who is incapable of recognising any Jock inhabitants, hearing any political messages, or knowing how many wives it has itself.
Several singers declare Jockland a great nuisance to Laputa whose attempts to shoot Jocks as required on 12 August by law always end in overshooting to dismiss all criticism as Grouse. The opera’s Overture seems to have been spoken by a demented ennobled weather-forecast perpetually Frosted while losing Europe, the Jock Kindergarten, the UN, International Law, the Empire on which the Scum never sets, the Moon, &c., &c. What survives of the score is marked ‘Unspeakable’ and the Overture was or would be therefore sung without words.
The first scene was or will be set in a sense-proof peace-room wherever Laputa thinks it has reached by now. All those present are members of a committee calling itself Puff-Adder carefully not identifying themselves as fellow-members in case they may actually be Jockish Infiltrators or imagine that they are while possibly not. In an exquisite aria the Puffest Adder tells us that Security once required that all members of the Puff-Adder had to be white but now they may not be, provided they have been initially scrubbed enough to look like it.
In a gruesome Creation, all members of the cast receive ante-natal thermometer tests to prevent contagion from the Jockish Enlightenment, a horrendous mental condition for which no antidote is possible. When sufficient ignorance has been declared for each newly-chosen Ignoramus, further brutal tests are required so that each Ignoramus will prove s/he doesn’t know who is the leader of their party except that it was probably not the same person as it was last week but could have been the one in the week before that. It is essential that each Ignoramus imposed by Laputa on the Jockish Kindergarten insist that they have not been chosen by Puff-Adder so that in each case everyone immediately realises that they were and/or will be.
Meanwhile, members of the Jockish Kindergarten will swear (unless children are present) that they well and truly observe that the Loch Ness Monster is the Loch Ness Monster, and that so is his wife whoever she may happen to be at the time of the swearing of the moment. Any Ignoramus secretly despatched by Puff-Adder will swear louder than anyone else. They will also sing in the loudest Chorus for any Kindergarten legislation swearing that it is true Jockish law so that they can assure Puff-Adder they know it isn’t, unless it prove that it is. The real Jocks will then declare that nothing henceforth will be Not Proven.
The chief issue proves to be gynaecological, swearing that any man who thinks he is a woman and any woman who thinks she is a man will be certified but that no doctor may be necessary to certify them (unless the doctor fails to certify itself). This will be known as patter-batter.
The Ignoramus procedure must be distinguished in excruciation from Puff-Adder History or Hysterics, Truss-binding that any Activist employee who knows anything whatsoever about the work in its Department must be immediately dismissed without hope of Recall, Repeal, or Resurrection. Should any civil servants be murdered by a Puff-Adder minister whilst giving advice, they may not claim funeral expenses.
The opera evidently was (or would be) enthralled by the uses of doubles. If it be thought that this suggests the ensuing millennium will not be distinguished for its originality, were we sufficiently original in the last one? In any case, the idea may be intended to reflect a loss of originality in our own time. The book and lyrics apparently necessitate a perpetually intrusive Interloper who proves to be Sir Hardie Mooner, the head of Opposition in Laputa perpetually trying to prove himself better qualified to be the head of the Laputan government, regardless of whoever may be the actual head at the time in question, to show that he, Sir Hardie, can play the part better than its occupant, preening his social and ideological prejudices better and showing the deeper ignorance of supposed Jockland/Laputan responsibilities. This ensures that whoever may be the real head of Laputan government must be in perpetual duet with Sir Hardie so that they become indistinguishable, and the audience probably succumbs to acute mental agony trying to conclude which is which. The high point may be the mutual hostility between Sir Hardie and his competitors as to which is more ignorant of the whereabouts of Jockland. At the end of the opera Sir Hardie triumphs over all his rivals and amid roars of applause throws away his mask and cloak revealing nothing save empty air, not even government briefs. This is followed by Apotheosis while the Enlightenment fuses. The actual conditions of Jockland throughout the opera are expressed by a Yes Minister to give the Last Call in the Kindergarten although this portion of the Jockscript has vanished. It was originally removed by Interlopers from a Grand Solomone who was accused of having 800 wives thus committing High Treason against the Loch Ness Monster. His duties were relegated to a smaller fish by a process of acute Sturgery known as Nickers to be recognised as Jockish by its use of the Tar-skirt which definitively tells the Jocks and Laputans how and where it genders itself. In order to show its newtrality, in an excruciating coloratura Nickers announces its own maritalia with a Muddle hitherto unknown to Science but now credited with losing funds to oil the 800 wives under their seven veils, and rings down its Curtain with an Eternal Curse on anyone who declares the Solomone Not Guilty after he has been acquitted.