If one thing characterises this place I live in, it’s sheer bloodymindedness. After all, this in Sussex, where “We wunt be druv” is an unofficial motto. So it’s no surprise that Lewesians take a deal of pride in the fact that Tom Paine lived here for some years, and the debating society he joined, the Headstrong Club, was restarted some years ago. Thanks to the Tom Paine Printing Press, it’s not uncommon to see his sayings stuck up in front windows as posters.
Yes, Paine and Independence (and Bonfire). That just about sums up this place.
And the sound? The sound of argument, of striving for equity and truth, of protest and celebration and singing.
I’d say he is a man whose time (if it ever went away) has come again:
“Independence is my happiness, and I view things as they are, without regard to place or person; my country is the world, and my religion is to do good.”