THE smouldering shell that was once Hastings Pier is almost certainly symbolic of something or other, it has been confirmed.
Forensic symbologists will today begin sifting through the charred debris in a bid to discover what it all means and what it can teach us about ourselves, with preliminary results expected by the end of the month.
The Victorian pleasure jetty caught fire early yesterday forcing a succession of Sky News presenters to ask middle aged men in bow ties and tweed jackets about Punch and Judy, fish and chips and a simpler, more innocent age where your could call someone a picaninny without being arrested by some dirty great lesbian homo.
Dr Julian Cook, director of the Institute of Applied Forensic Symbology and author of Blazing Piers and How to Interpret Them, said: “Oh yes, this is tremendously symbolic. The reason you can tell is because it’s so large and so badly burned.
“If someone had set fire to a small part of a model of Hastings Pier it wouldn’t have been very symbolic at all.”
He added: “It could represent the death of the traditional English seashell or it may even be a stark metaphor for Britain’s general post-war decline. But my initial hunch is that it’s all very, very sexual.”
Roy Hobbs, 82, from Bexhill, said: “I remember when I was a nipper and my old dad would take us down to the pier on a Saturday morning. We’d buy an ice cream cone from a picaninny and then have a ride on the waltzers.
“And then I’d try to set fire to the whole fucking place.”
He added: “I think it’s symbolic of why we don’t build very large things almost entirely out of wood any more. But I’m just an old man.”