Amidst the revellers lining The Mall stood Titus Spring, as grey and unmoving as a blown pixel on a busy screen. All around him rainbow scarves and ruffles twitched in the breeze, holofabric gowns and suits glittered against scintillating self-generating backgrounds, and shimmering clouds of floating nano-pigments puffed and settled, puffed and settled in a seemingly endless sequence of ever more complex patterns. Nearby, children shrilled past in blurs of swirling colour and light, and the air around him was thick with flashing logos, tags and mini-screens and the roar of a great party in full swing. Titus Spring, by contrast, stood resolutely straight and still and silent in a drab smock of dumb, unbleached linen, tan leggings, a functional hat, and a cape that might have been interpreted as a very low-key attempt at flair had the stiff dun-coloured waxed cotton given any quarter whatsoever to either fashion or style. He was an absence, a blot, a colour sink that leeched brightness from the world around him by sheer force of his sartorial disdain.