Sunday Times

Why is it that on Sundays life feels a little more lived? What is it about the day that makes the heart more open, the eyes more searching, speech slower? Is there something inherent in it that makes the sight of a pretty girl lovelier and of a homeless man harder? Or are these heightened feelings just the biological, mechanical results of the brain’s recovery from long nights of too little sleep and too many drinks, just like in Johnny Cash’s Sunday Morning Come-Down? Maybe, but there must be something more to it, something magical in the truest sense of the word: the spontaneous coming together of so many wildly flowing people, forces and chances to make a fleeting, transient moment perfect, impossible to replicate, important in itself. It is this condition of a Sunday, that things flow freer, which distinguishes it from every other day: there are less cars on the street to pollute the air we breathe with their poisonous and deafening externalities which we are all forced to internalise, there are fewer shops trading money and false social signals, more elderly warming their bones in the sun, more young baking their skin in it, fewer clothes covering all, more colour in their dresses and on their faces, more rhythms flowing round them, less rubbish flying and floating in the streets and seas beneath them.

Yes, Sundays are by nature more beautiful, more human, than any other day of the week. If humankind were to ever build a New Jerusalem, were it to ever throw of the self-imposed chains of modernity – with all its injustice, insincerity and isolation – which lock us down into the daily grind, then it would probably be a society of endless Sundays: happier, cleaner, slower, freer. Of course, other days have their charms: Monday its freshness, Tuesday its productivity, Wednesday its heaviness, Thursday its hope and Friday and Saturday their headiness. But on Sunday – the day of rest, the day of our lord (in the Christian sense if you want, but more universally in the human sense; literally, the day of the sun, the day of the pagan and Mayan, aboriginal and animal god; that is, the only deity – omnipotent and omnipresent – worth worshipping: the sun) – the sky is cleaner and calmer, the lights are softer and speech is slower. Sunday is a man sitting on a ship bollard staring at a light post, no reason needed, no time noticed. It is drinking Don Simon watching the Don Juans paseando with the señoras, and it is that one señorita who will turn around and give you a smile as she saunters off to the sea.

Yes, Sundays are sacred, but we live in an age where we will have to fight to keep them holy. We live in an age where the enemies of Sunday – the same tax-collecting, money-lending merchant-men who would trade in the modern temples of learning, wisdom and health to gain but more wealth – are, paradoxically, both great and few; great in power but few in number, and so they ought to be cast out. In the newly-established Protectorate of Greece, the high priests of the Troika have recently abolished Sundays, sacrificing human gaiety on the altar of credit markets and currency zones. In Catalonia the daily Sunday that is the siesta is threatened by the ‘normalisation’of labour law along European lines, meaning that the brief respite from midday heat and stress that is the long lunch will become a short recess in the endless flow of money and goods, thereby homogenising our world just a little bit more, just to be sure. In Australia the whispered prayers of the LNP-BCA sect are turning into zealot chants that Sundays be effectively abolished with the abolishment of penalty rates, one of the features that distinguished a modern civilisation from the barbarity of both the majority world, in which Sundays are but a dream for most, and the market world, where Sunday labour is valued no more than Monday labour. The barbarians are no longer at the gate, they have stormed it. So we ought to fight back against these heretics against humanism and reclaim the sanctity of the meandering, rambling laziness and indolence of Sundays and say No to attacks on penalty rates, Oxi to Germanic hard work, כֵּן to the Sabbath, to the Siesta and Yes to Sunday.

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