austerity astrology

Aries
Pioneering and courageous / you love to share your outrageous / personality / and vivacious company / with the rest of us / girl? you’re the best of us
(under normal circumstances / but with Boris I’m sorry but I don’t rate your chances)

Taurus
Determined and loyal / your practical approach is the oil / we need / to keep society up to speed / and speaking honestly? / the other star signs rely on you constantly
(it’s usually that way / but you’ll need to find extra credit today)

Gemini
Sharp and sexy / you handle issues of startling complexity / with your fleet & soulful duality / smart and adaptable / phenomenally compatible
(in happier times / now you’re running county lines)

Cancer
Emotional & receptive / your hard shell can be deceptive / in fact you’re a natural source of electricity / and although you value domesticity / you can still find room for eccentricity
(in the past / before your bills got quite so vast)

Leo
Enthusiastic, emphatic / a flair for the dramatic / you live life to the marvellous max / oriented to the bad boy side of the tracks / in Burberry glasses & Gucci slacks
(these days you’re a little more off-the-rack / the queue for Primark’s round the back )

Virgo
A perfectionist with a heart of gold / your loyal spirit is a joy to behold / standing your ground / bringing order to the chaos all around
(or did, formerly / up until Sunak’s Spring statement, unfortunately)

Libra
Social & diplomatic / you have a fearless drive towards the democratic / seeing the positive not the negative / balanced, empathetic, deeply sensitive
(these days you need a little more luck / with the Tories in power your scales are fucked)

Scorpio
Passionate & cunning / sometimes you’re a little ‘all or nothing’ / but your joie de vie will enliven the situation / and win you oodles of adoration
(what can I say? / I’m afraid the food bank’s closed on Wednesdays )

Sagittarius
You’re wild and impulsive and refuse to be boxed / laughing your way free of the toughest locks / and although you lack focus some of the time / your beautiful dreams are always sublime!
(until Brexit / when we all got thrown headfirst through the exit)

Capricorn
A reserved and patient goat you may be / but that’s why you’re the leading lady! / hardworking, resilient / never less than brilliant / and although you’re last to hear any rumour / you’re blessed with a mordant sense of humour
(so here’s a thing to make you laugh / the room’s so cold you’re sat in your scarf)

Aquarius
One of a kind / you totally know your own mind / hungry for knowledge, socially inventive / the pursuit of wisdom your soul’s incentive
(but if you didn’t go to Eton / you may as well accept you’re beaten)

Pisces
You swim upstream, emotionally intuitive / your skill and your instincts frequently lucrative / and even though you take on too much / you don’t care how hard you work and such
(which is just as well / because I hear there are vacancies at the local motel)

before you say anything let me tell you something

I’ve been in the office all day and I’m feeling scratchy. The same kind of scratchy a hamster probably gets, rattling round and round on the wheel, cheeks bulging, stopping for a quick suck from the coffee teat, its black eyes taking in the room like pin-head security cameras, whiskers quivering.
Something like that. A relentless administrative hamster. With call centre headphones and access to the database.

I stop chewing.

Miles is walking towards me down the aisle.

If I’m a hamster Miles is a dog. One of those limber, spiky-haired lurchers with big paws and pained eyes. The kind that roams vast distances but always somehow manages to be there when you turn around.
He wanders over and collapses in a galumphing heap.
After a while he looks up.
‘Pisces’ he says.
‘Who is?’
‘You are. And before you say anything let me tell you something, and this might properly freak you out, and if it does, I apologise beforehand. I found out I’ve got this gift for knowing what someone’s star sign is without them saying a word. It’s so weird. I went to the pub last night and there were about fifteen people on a big table. And I went from one person to another and I got every single star sign right. Every single one! It was like there was this voice whispering in my ear. Or not even my ear, Jim. It was more like it was right in my brain. Like someone was standing in the middle of my brain and calling out the answer. Just like that. Libra. Sagittarius. Cancer. Yep. Yep. Yep. And the whole place went crazy! They went properly mad, Jim! They’d never seen anything like it. And to be honest, neither had I. And I’ve no idea where it came from. I just opened my mouth and I could do it. So … go on, then. I bet you’re going to say you’re not Pisces.’
‘No. I’m afraid I’m not.’
‘What? Oh gosh! You’ve got me doubting myself now. You’re not Pisces? Are you sure?’
‘Pretty sure. Sorry.’
‘No! Don’t apologise! There’s probably a very simple explanation. But I don’t get it. I heard the voice so clearly. Okay. Hang on a minute. So you’re not Pisces. Hmm. Let me think …’

He tilts his head to the right and rubs his chin in a thoroughgoing mime for thinking. I sit there neutrally and let him study my aura. I feel myself sinking. I have a growing and irresistible urge to put my head on the desk and sleep for a thousand years. I’d be comfortable enough. Especially if I swept all this shit off the desk first. Although – to be honest – even if I didn’t, it wouldn’t stop me. And when they woke me, eons in the future…. exhumed by a squad of robot marines…cutting through the layer of crystalline rock frost with a thermal lance…. dragging me backwards on the computer chair…. ancient pencils and pads and coffee cups sticking to my face…. they’d laugh and pose for selfies with Sleeping Beauty, because in the future I believe all robots will be programmed to have character and act a little snarky.

Miles narrows his eyes.
‘Hmm,’ he says again. ‘Methodical…. a bit mental… Taurus!’
I shake my head.
Another referral appears on the screen. I skim through it.
‘Nope,’ I say, tapping the keys.
‘Aquarius. Of course! can’t believe I missed that one.’
‘Nope.’
‘Not Aquarius? Well, then. My gift has deserted me. Maybe I’m just tired. So go on, then. What are you?’
‘Capricorn.’
‘Capricorn! Of course! It all makes sense now!’
He shakes his head sadly.
‘Classic Capricorn! I knew I’d get it.’