As the village bells struck noon, the moment at which the Mayans had supposedly predicted the world would end, Sylvain Durif was calmly playing the panpipes for a vast crowd of jostling camera crews. "I am Oriana, I embody the energy of cosmic Christ," he said. "When I was five I was abducted by a flying saucer belonging to the Virgin Mary. I'm here to get my message to the world, that there will be a regeneration."
When two men dressed entirely in tin foil with silver bobbles on their heads walked into the village swigging beer, TV reporters immediately surrounded them. Aged 25 and 40, the men said they had driven down from Lille as a bet with friends that they could get on to the top of the world news bulletins. It worked.Meanwhile, some who weren't particularly concerned with matters cosmic or apocalyptic took this as an opportunity for self-promotion:
An American musician, Jeff, based in Belgium, had driven from Luxembourg and was planning to set up outside in the village and perform his act as a one-man piano and trumpet band. "I came because it's the only place in Europe anyone's talking about," he said, talking of an "astronomical event that should bring light to the world, open people up". He added: "I might get some gigs out of it."And now that the world hasn't ended, the ancient Mayans (who turned out to not be so cosmically enlightened after all) will once again be forgotten. Perhaps 21 December 2012's Mayan Long Count association will end up in the occasional pub quiz, or eventually as a marker of retro-ness in fiction set in the 2010s (Remember the 2010s? Wasn't that a wacky time, with brostep and iPads and stuff, and everyone thinking the world would end?), but otherwise it's unlikely that the peculiarities of the Mayan calendar will feature in public discourse again.
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