Shortly after midnight on the 21st January 1950, the man known to his readers as George Orwell and to his new bride Sonia, as Eric Arthur Blair, breathes his last in a small side ward of the University College Hospital. Beside his bed, his bags are packed for a trip to Switzerland. He is alone and afraid.
Shortly after midnight on the 21st January 20--, in a country with 4.2 million CCTV devices - one for every 14 people in the country, a security camera captures a homeless tramp with a high forehead and thin moustache, dying of hypothermia in an alley beside an Islington pub on a snowy winter night. As his dying breath vaporizes in the freezing air, he grows cold. The warm vapour of his final exhalation travels upwards to dissipate in the atmosphere, but instead, coalesces and descends again to the cold blue lips of the man lying in the alley. He takes a breath and the tramp’s body warms as a new occupant moves in.
Eric is awake.
Cover design by Dominic Thackray