So resonant is the phrase “banished to a pompous land” that it was adopted by one expatriate Hooting Yard devotee as a pseudonym. You will, I trust, be familiar with Mr Banished not only for his comments here but for his own blog – where, in the sidebar, you will see the quotation from A Lecture Delivered In The Big Tent At Hoon where the phrase appeared.
As far as memory served, this 1987 story was the only incidence of the phrase. However, while researching the Bill Hatworn letters, I discovered this earlier usage, which I think dates from about 1984 – almost thirty long, long years ago. It is a piece called Golden Gate, and is a good example of the kind of thing I was writing at that time, before the advent of the Malice Aforethought Press. Make of it what you will.
Banished to a pompous land where I knew no one, I set about mending my ways. There were flags to be darned, ceremonial shields to be polished, hospitality to be dispensed. At night, I was seconded to stand guard at a gateway. The gateway was made of solid gold. It was enormous. I sat hunched on a wooden stool, alert and eagle-eyed. I brandished my pike at the hint of a passer-by. But few passed by, and in the tiny hours I pondered, and pondered hard. There was me, felon, rascal, thief, and behind my back a gigantic gateway cast in gold. One night, I took a rasp. All was dark and still as I began to shave the gold from the gate. At dawn, my satchel held a cellophane packet of gold, and each night I added packet after packet. It is dawn again now. In an hour, they will take me away and behead me.