Once again, I found myself unable to sleep at 3.20am and so thought about what books it would be nice to own. I remembered that I’d seen a big stack of JG Ballard hardbacks in HMV for £3 each recently. The book on sale was his final novel, 2006’s ‘Kingdom Come’.
According to its Wikipedia page, the book deals with the supposed blurry line between consumerism and fascism. However, this wasn’t exactly enough information for me to make an informed decision on the back of, so I thought I’d consult the masses and posted onto Twitter, “They’re selling hardbacks of J.G Ballard’s ‘Kingdom Come’ in HMV for £3. Worth it/Not worth it?”
Now, I forgot that it was 3.24am and that Twitter isn’t exactly thriving at this time of day. Thus, there was no reply.
Eleven minutes later, I decided action needed to be taken. I was going to send a text to the Any Question Answered service to see what the opinion of the lucky person receiving an early-morning message from me would be.

✓? X?

I typed, “They’re selling hardbacks of JG Ballard’s ‘Kingdom Come’ for £3 in HMV. I’ve heard it’s not brilliant, but still, £3. Do you reckon it’s worth it or not?” into my phone and sent it to 63336.

After two minutes passing with no reply, I began to panic. I recalled a time in the past where I’d sent them a question at an equally ridiculous hour that was keeping me from sleeping and they didn’t reply until several hours later, by which point, the time for sleep had passed. Incidentally, this laptop has saved me from stupid questions preventing me from sleeping. I’ll think up something, then research it so it doesn’t plague me. The last time it happened, though, I could not find an answer to my query, “How do you define the word ‘and’ to a child?” Of course, later, in the harsh light of day, it was easy to come up with a nice sentence that flowed well to answer that. Brains are funny sometimes.
After four minutes, I was beginning to get impatient. I branded the workers at 63336 ‘slackers’ over Twitter, but immediately regretted it as my phone alerted me that a text had come through.

I read the message and felt grateful to whoever sent it. They earned the £8 they get per question answered.
It did make me wonder who exactly was dealing with these mundane mysteries sent in by faceless night-ghouls. Were they, like me, sat at a laptop unable to sleep and remarking to themselves that it was nice to hear birds chirping away so early in the morning? Possibly they had been out drinking earlier that night with some friends and my question had interrupted the sacred toast-preparation that often occurs when one finally makes their way back to the kitchen? Perhaps they were a student who was awake due to studying profusely, grateful to me for offering them a moment’s worth of procrastination that they could pass off as “doing their job”? Or maybe they were just some poor sod I’d woken up.

The message said, “£3 is a good price for a JG Ballard hardback. If you can spare it, why not? The book deals with the supposed blurry line between consumerism and fascism.
So I’m glad that’s been cleared up.

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