The World Museum of Peppers (for this should not pass us by) is in the Basque country, and it is distinguished by a magnificent map which distributes topographical size according to each nation’s production of peppers. This produces strange effects, which I won’t attempt to list here (no doubt other similar maps could be produced according to nations’ relative bloodlust, intervals between urban toilets, concentration of unburied corpses, etc), but it did serve to reduce the gap between the self-assumed great and the apparently relatively deprived. The United States, for example, was reduced in mass; other lands which it has traditionally regarded as its backyard appeared to have utilised this ignominious status by growing large quantities of peppers. Yet this, of course, is only the start; it’s the circulation of, the trade in, peppers that is the crucial thing. What use is it if many small countries grow bananas if the whole lot is bought up by the United Fruit Company? What use, come to that, is anything when we are all in the end subservient to the United Fruit Company?

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