Last week’s successful launch by North Korea of a long-range rocket has heightened tensions across a privet hedge in the London borough of Bromley.
When, in a show of solidarity with the communist state, one time Stalinist and Maoist Bert Driberg declared his Chislehurst semi-detached to be part of the Democratic People’s Republic of North Korea (DPRK), he said he expected some local opposition – but was initially surprised when neighbour Julian Dearlove then declared his house to be part of South Korea.
‘I see now it was just fear,’ said ex-trade union leader Driberg. ‘That bourgeois imperialist running dog next door can see the historical necessity of the collapse of capitalism, and he’s running scared.’
‘When that commie next door announced he was making his place a piece of North Korea’s territory, I guess I just saw red,’ confessed ex-stockbroker Dearlove. ‘I thought, OK, comrade, two can play the cold war game.’ Now Driberg and his neighbour are locked in a daily see-who-blinks-first stand-off across what Dearlove calls the ‘Ligustrum vulgare frontier’.
Tensions heightened when Driberg erected a loud hailer in his front garden and began blaring DPRK revolutionary songs across the hedge dividing the two territories. ‘I picked up the music on a long wave wireless I bought in East Germany in the good old Berlin Wall days and thought I’d share it with an enemy of the people,’ he said, ‘give ‘em a taste of a cultural revolution.’
In response, Dearlove claimed that his neighbour’s two cats have dug their way to freedom under the hedge to escape life in Driberg’s North Korea. He was also said to be planning a daring midnight raid to repatriate a hover mower which he insisted had been illegally declared ‘the People’s Flymo’.
But Driberg – who is about to change his name to Kim Driberg-il – is confident that the Juche (self-reliance) philosophy of Kim-il-sung, the founder of North Korea, will triumph. He has already refused to negotiate with the local council about the huge ‘You Are Now Entering the DRPK’ sign in his garden, and has symbolically torn up an ASBO about his all-night outside broadcasts of the speeches of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il in a brazen act of defiance of the local borough and Parish community.
‘Long live Kim Jong-il! Long live the Democratic People’s Republic of North Korea!’ declared Kim Driberg-il, as he prepared a rocket assault on his neighbour with a battery of milk-bottle launchers and fireworks left over from his local takeaway’s Chinese New Year party, and his wife popped next door to collect Mrs Dearlove for their weekly jaunt to the pictures.