Have a very merry Christmas—
It’s off to bed for a few days to look after myself…
I thought the arrow was an especially nice touch!
Many thanks to the surgical team at the William Harvey Hospital…
Just as my wise and decidedly erstwhile therapist once neglected to tell me voluntarily, if you ain’t got none then fake some— something which was no doubt passed down from one learned bejacketed chap to another and then to him in order to band-aid folk in desperate need, for reasons both earth shattering or as erroneous as whatever mine happened to be at the time. Now just happens to be time to water the plastic tree and I don’t even consider myself to be overly sceptical. But I must confess to considering such sandwich-filler philosophy to be some kind of joke that few, of which I wasn’t one of those who were in on; or that perhaps this was his idea of faking it, and in some round about way, was him subtly demonstrating how to use the prescription.
Whatever it was, I accepted it and have attempted to use it many times since with varying degrees of success and failure I might add— all with the exception of sincerity, since I’ve found it’s the one thing that if you can fake, you can fake anything. As for me, my hypocrisy only goes so far and since I have so few opportunities to be genuinely sincere these days, I much prefer giving it a go the old fashioned way. Besides, it also seems to be something that becomes rarer with the passing of time. I suppose a lot of the ‘pretending’ nonsense is much better suited to young folk and their flexible skin, as my walrus-like derma gives the game away with far too much swift to be considered fair game— and I’m not one to be deliberately foolish, any more than I am to be accidentally hypocritical.
Enough as they say is quite enough. I’ve reached that unfortunate point in any period of sub-par-ness, whereby I’ll actually start rewinding moments and days in an attempt to fathom the unfathomable, or at the very least, the invisible bottom which deserves my unreserved wrath to be turned spittoon and crazed. It’s imprecise, futile and impossible to spank. Nope, it merely adds to the joylessness of something which belongs confined to the golf course. I’ve even begun harbouring ill thoughts concerning my recent trip— that if I hadn’t gone everything would’ve been fine, I’d still be sleeping and working and perfect— but that’s B.S. as well. For starters, I don”t believe it, secondly, I needed a break and had a wonderful time— I’m not much of a drinker these days and nothing quite validates the conscience like a change of scenery whilst corking a splendid Pinot Noir in the late ante meridiem on a school day. Nope, it wasn’t that and I bear nothing but resentment for even thinking it.
What I needed yesterday was some perspective and if I couldn’t muster any, I just had to fake some. I needed to lash my resentment and throttle my ill thoughts with a dash of fake perspective and put away all that reflection nonsense, because the last thing I needed was for my last trip to be the last I ever have— that just won’t do— I like a large glass of wine before lunch from time to time; and since the issue at hand isn’t really all that complicated: mainly sleep with perhaps a few pre-operation nerves thrown in for good measure, I decided to get some sleep-aids to knock me out, so at least I might be able to start unreversing the bollocks. If I can’t sleep, I might as well fake that too.
Anyway, I took a few of them last night and must’ve nodded off pretty quickly, because the next thing I remember is coming to, at least feeling like I’d had a good nap— gave a little nod to gods— and got up to make a cup of tea before realising it was still only 12.25.
There are always positives to be to found in a situation, no matter how gruesome it might first appear. There are also strengths, weaknesses, advantages and threats. It’s a pretty simple process once you get the hang of it— the trick is to treat all these things as situations likewise and then repeat the process; because no matter how shitty things may seem, there’s always a happy smile in there somewhere for the more stubborn of you to find.
If however dogs, pigs and bulls are a little mulish for your tastes; or for the rationally ignorant: and it seems like far too much effort— there are always more heuristic methods to blag happiness back and plenty of places to download a mask with one if the inclination to think your way merry is a revolting proposition. With that in mind, I’ve always thought some kind of Eleanor Rigby themed site would be perfect for such a thing and if not masks, then at least second-hand cellos of funeral planning.
Anyway, it’s how I know I can be certain, more or less— to a point, that strengths can also be weaknesses, or at the very least contain them and versa vice.
Take the last couple of weeks for instance: I’ve yet to establish any form of satisfactory schedule with work or sleep— which depending on how you look at it may or may not actually constitute a schedule. On the plus side, it hasn’t prevented the development of advent material but it has stalled its publication. I haven’t been able to type freely, but I have been able to concentrate on visual content as a consequent and because of this, ideas which haven’t been codified have matured off-shoots and follow-ups that typify the tangentlemen I describe in a piece as yet unpublished but started to elaborate on, with the series which stemmed from Martian Shock Therapy.
The only problem with these tangents is that they have the irritating nature of post-modifying the pieces from which they sprung, causing the originals to become somewhat leaky from the top as opposed to seeping from the bottom, in a drip fed manner which almost demands revision of everything else. It’s a kind of incestuous literary flux I find most bothersome, since I tend to store a complete picture of whatever I’m working on in my head until it’s ready to be typed. The fact I have a dozen now that want to be bedfellows, not to mention thematically related is not as saucy as it sounds. It’s positively exhausting.
It still irks a little that I failed to fully explain ad-vention when I had the chance, but it’s been one of those painfully disruptive months where the mere mention of routine is enough to break out in bruises or cause it rain. I first conceived of Ad-venting in 2002, primarily as a verb that described a set of very particular thought processes and their end product. It had nothing whatsoever to do with Christmas at first, but since the concept had been fully developed, I couldn’t resist giving a full Alternative Advent a go later that year. December has subsequently become a month I’ve indulged almost exclusively in ideas, creative supposition and hypotheticals.
Now, the ideas that provide the most mileage if they’re not immediately put to pen are typically the ones which have an underlying theme that can be shifted contextually and as a result allow for a flexible exploration of it.
Fine lines are always interesting in this respect.
This is one of those awkward ones which I’m in no doubt would tempt the path of polite conversation across that mark and back across them again. It just seems a pity it didn’t come about around the time the local idiot children thought it’d be wise to start knocking on doors expecting Halloween chocolate. I say ‘idiot’ with all the respect they’re due in regards to those of them specifically, who couldn’t wait until it was Halloween or dress up as anything other an ‘idiot’ child.
I am in all fairness to them: understating and feel great sympathy for whomever made them. I only wish I’d made good on my efforts and had a bowl of nail-clippings at the ready to out-post-modern them. Maybe next year.
In the meantime it’s worth noting that the genesis of ideas sometimes stem from slightly unrelated observations— in this case, the blur between news and entertainment, something as old as newspapers themselves, but also the difference between ignoring the nature of a particular content and being programmed not to see it.
At least ignoring something requires a degree of personal or intellectual intervention of some kind: a nice set of muffs or a door to close on cue works pretty well; whereas the other does not. And those afflicted by the latter are also an easy bunch to spot.
By using a slightly less sophisticated version of a Voight-Kampf test— it’s possible to identify them with none of the fancy equipment and silly questions. All you need is a piece of shitty journalism and a set of ear plugs: simply stick them both in and wait for an emotional response— or depending upon the subject; any response what-so-ever.
My idea for today then is really just taking advantage of this media induced scotoma— just to see what would happen if the next step towards bringing the ‘blur’ into the home was taken. We design a new set of Halloween costumes and accessories.
Because a lot of us have favourite serial killers or criminals: fact or fiction.
Norman Bates wasn’t all bad, once you get past the whole kill, exhume, stuff stuff— I once did a presentation on the horror genre dressed as Mrs Bates, complete with wig and scary knife and not only did it make for a riveting half-hour, it doubled to demonstrate the nature of this particular idea: the trend of bringing horror into the home, or classroom, Halloween, whatever.
So why not have the Berkowitz mask accompanied by a plastic .44 and a dog that barks commands when you pulled the string in its back; or the Bundy mask complete with a fake arm-cast and a rubber crowbar? Who would you choose?
Because I can’t wait for the year I have a hundred Dr Harold Shipmans come to the front door with their giant inflatable syringes followed by a hungry pack of Ed Geins wielding shovels and waste-coats made from other peoples faces.
Or an Action Figure?
It’s just a matter of taste…
What on Earth’s
the worth of girth?
she said in bed
with Ted who said:
“It’s good but wood’s
not always like
the night we’d
start with head—
I’d like to feel
your hands instead.”
So that’s the plan
to get it working
or MC’s twerking
might get him jerking—
And without a sound
the hand was led
inside the bed
to Ted’s renowned
to get aroused
an oak provoked
Oh how to spur
Ted’s broken bacon—
“Come South my dear
and bring your mouth
it needs something
to fight fatigue.”
We could always try an EKG?
he swiftly pleads
his lead and hopes
his pope will lift—
“Commandeer my pier,
I know I’m near.”
“You think?” he said
and fed herself
as the burden
to harden was hers—
Not that I mind
if I may
like a bloke
A joke is a joke
cos this member
there must be
a new note—
I want someone
to drill me
and you can’t
even fill me!
you won’t have me stay over:
a soiree is cliché
when there’s no naughty croquet whatsoever—
So Ted sorts out
it’s not he
on the singles-night
on a weekday—
He finds something
to help her
and ride him
reviving the pipe
that denied him—
Earlier that night…
When like vampire bats,
there’s tacit catsent
circumventing other cats’
nose for a scent—
who’ve their bents made too fat,
Hell dis-management’s lent
dire rules supplemental:
cos unless you’ve not noticed
they’re all derangemental…
So it’s war for clan Bailey:
‘no fire fur first’
for engagement is lore—
before who comes out worst—
we’ll see three pick on one:
in a fight to the last paw…
The sound of discrete feet(s)
abound are coming
from somewhere(s) over there-
It’s Fritz: she sneaks around and sits;
I think sensing purring in the air.
Then a sound disturbs her.
Potts smells catburger.
thinks he’ll have her,
So by stealth on delft paws,
she beelines for the doors
between Jabber’s hind legs
and Pott’s jaws…
Sandwiched tippy-toes to mind her
she’ll be sure they’ll not find fur
to lead them;
cos they know
she’s frightened of claws.
Tri’s pounces were announcements,
she’d discredit then denounce them—
any cat who had motives
less emotive than hers.
No tit-for-tat, prattle-splat
at this or spat at that
She’ll take a look
in every nook such are
Guggie’s slink was succinct
and instinctively trying.
her cruelty ensuredly unindemnifying.
So when she offered to nobble
Fritz’s mid-thorax bobble:
an offer as kind as maligned by design.
“Fluff?” Frtiz thought ought,
not be enough—
tried to “break me—
and waved away the axe—
With revolt in her steps
you can bet that she crept
like a colt from the bolt
A prima facie evasion,
from oedemas and abrasions;
Fritz was not
in way, shape or form
Although Fritz found the chasing
at times too defacing
she was so gracefully pacey and
If I’d’ve seen her,
I would’ve timed her.
but that’s before she’d seen
and sheaningly gleaned
Johann Sebastian Bach
We live in an elegant universe, which according to some is composed almost entirely of a very large string section, indefatigably riffing out an eternal coda without rest. It has absolutely nothing to do with what it eats, no matter the Bard’s avowal that if music be the food of love— because it plays on regardless of physicists harping on about attraction.
It certainly has nothing to do with love … or sandwiches...
It is what it picks, plucks, taps, sweeps, shreds and strums— and it does it without a single fret, which might I suppose, render certain things inexplicable but at the same time, it would explain why the world goes round as it does.
It does it for us, so we can play ourselves; or with ourselves: ultimately it all depends on how enlightened or blind we want to become.
If you’ve ever heard of The Boys from Brazil or The Second Coming Project, you’d know that neither of them have anything to do with the universe, football or sex— unless of course, you count Pele’s Viagra commercials, which in a delightful quirk of the universe working in harmony to connect my vagrant ideas, I can ingeniously, albeit inadvertently have it all my own way and cover all the bases.
No, they are in fact about the cloning of a bunch of baby Hitlers and a bunch of baby Jesus’.
Now far be it from me to question the dedication of either party, since I regard such endeavours purely as entertainment first and then just expect the inevitable ridicule to turn up at some point or other. However, as hypotheticals go, it’s an amusing one and all well and good until somewhere along the way someone has the notion to have them doing something together.
This would be problematic for some, because they’d probably get along— Jesus got along with almost everyone after all. But to do it, just to do it, would pose unique ethical problems, so they probably wouldn’t. The fact of the matter is, they couldn’t be trusted to get it done right.
Cloning should therefore, be left where it belongs— in the only place where ‘ethics’ is still a dirty word: reality television. And they should treat it with the levity it deserves.
The format would be the primary hurdle, but I was thinking along the line of something really quite simple. Something like:
Take these guys for example:
Sure, they were instrumental thinkers, but if we brought them back— I’d much rather see them with instruments. It could just be me but I think their resemblance to ZZ-Top is uncanny.
But why stop there when we could have:
The potential for abusing the genetic material of luminaries is boundless— and if I can have this much fun with google and photoshop, imagine how much fun the universe could have with a bunch of test-tubes and a T.V.
The disappearance of socks is an enduring mystery for sure. As far as phenomena go, it is quite simply the Linear B of domestic curiosities. I’m not sure if it’s a complex which manifests as frustration owing to the bewilderment that surrounds it; its very odd ubiquitousness that gives it its general appeal thus adding to an already confounding character; or the fact this vicious cycle is in some-way exacerbated by the spinning nature of washing the things in the first place. Whatever it is, it is the exception to the rule of what goes around, comes around, because all too frequently, socks forget to do the latter.
It certainly isn’t an occurrence isolated by a dip in landmass, since no mater how far from the edge of whatever body of water one may loiter, the chasm of lost socks is a deep and peculiar one.
It’s so peculiar in fact, that I couldn’t possibly hazard a say as to where they go either— not even if I was in the mood to inkle readily; and this despite years of spying on them. It’s an embarrassing thing to admit: being outwitted by foot-sheaths, but there you go— I can say it’s been a trait of my own laundry-blues where ever I go— and it is this, above all else which seems to be its most irritating irony.
It would be all too convenient to dismiss the disappearance of socks after a good spin in the same way we do the the appearance of bright lights in the sky— you wouldn’t normally associate high jinx with an item of clothing after all; but there is something otherworldly about it. So much so, the thought of attaching GPS to something meant to comfort you whilst walking, instead of causing unrest by walking off— would be pointless, particularly when there are far more useful ways to examine the limits of these devices.
I’ve often wondered what time is it at the North Pole exactly, and whether there is something about 90 degrees North that’d cause the signal to malfunction. It’s the romantic in me that’d like to believe these devices would think of this latitude as an infinite.
In many ways, it’s thought trains like this that’ve always had me wondering whether there are more practical uses for such equipment. For instance, I’ve long imagined modifying underwater sonar technology to produce the world’s most powerful, independently targeted loud speakers. Just the thought of being able to pick out a particular person with a focused packet of sound that remained inaudible until bouncing would be highly jinxing indeed…
But such a fleeting mention seems a waste of an Alternative Advent to me, and unless I’m very much mistaken nothing whatsoever to do with socks.
Five minutes with a laptop however is quite adequate to put that right— and there’s nowhere more chuckle inducing than a quick browse of the patents pages, as the lengths that some will go to describe their ‘inventions’ is truly comic…
There are radiation-free boat socks; two-way socks, described as a sock structure with two sides both capable of being worn; shoes with socks which may have additional miniature stylish designs; toe-independent antibiosis and stink prevention socks which describe the ‘processing process thereof’; outdoor waterproof non-slip Pet Socks;the antibacterial warm-keeping wearable sock; latex toe sock; Acupoint therapy socks, which you could be forgiven for thinking they’re to be recycled after use in the kitchen…
However, in keeping with the issue of hungry white appliances with a taste for tubular threads, I did find a device for keeping paired socks and similar before, during and after washing, imaginatively called: A device for keeping paired socks and similar before, during and after washing.
But no mention whatsoever of GPS…
A noted poet was once asked in an interview if he could explain one of his poems, in ordinary terms. He replied with some feeling:
I managed to find time for a refresher shower shortly before the cat decided it was morning for the third time, knowing full well I’d either soon be summoned back to bed by her or unnecessarily shoved there by the brass monkeys.
You know the sort of thing— the 30 minute wake-up plunge squeezed into 90 seconds, with water that’s underdone for this time of year. I was hopping about chattering in fear of being caught short and shorter between a bout of hypothermia and an outdoors at its worst, in the chops.
We’ve had some particularly serious and chapping weather today; and it’s been miserable. Last night it was howling around the garden, in the way and of the type that used to smoke my cigarettes for me— all whilst slapping me about for good measure. Liveners they may be, but they’re insolent all the same.
It is observations such as these that really can inspire one to start looking at such things in a hurtful way, as though its infliction of injury is quite deliberate.
I can certainly imagine worse ways of looking at weather, but none quite so British or appropriately condescending as categorising it in terms of their manners.
And as such, it really would require a condescending name:
I’ll leave it to you to imagine the extent to which a bag of Atlantic wind would have on your patience; or how amused you’d be were it on someone else’s, but I assure you there really are weather equivalents to:
Obviously, I’ve allowed myself several moments to savour some of the more beastly behaviours of the uncontrollably uncultured and pondered their meteorological twins— and I must confess to much delight in doing so.
There would be something endearing about a forecast focussing on how noisy the weather was going to be; on its brashness; whether it would be rude, brazen, vulgar, impudent, discourteous, unmannerly, uncivil, cheeky, uncouth, crude, crass, gross, rustic, rough, common or churlish…
Or to what percent we ought expect a state of being or funny-business to swirl about us. How it may veer from a general gentlemanliness to being distinctly unladylike, lacking in gallantry, spine, spirit, heroism, pluck or consideration, or in a moment— being chock full of it!
It’s not what I had in mind exactly once the cat had finished her nonsense earlier, but I’ve decided there’s little virtue in describing how to make smash out of chewing gum— or spoiling how amusing applying good etiquette to shitty weather can be.
It had been Chip’s turn to impress the judges of the science fair for as long as he could remember; you were born for this he told himself, just five short minutes and it’s over…
He took the stand, avoiding the small damp patch left over from the experiment Tina had performed with the goldfish and bag of washing powder only seconds before— took a deep breath and began.
“If Einstein had’ve had scurvy the world would be a different place— however, he did not and so the ‘model of the universe’ is incomplete. It’s almost as if the way we’ve looked at the sky because of this, has been determined by the very darkness of space itself— and in doing so— left darkness occupying the thoughts in spaces we should have left retaining their brightness. Take the apple for instance— the true ‘model of the universe’ and inspiration for centuries of health, thought and enlightenment. If [they] hadn’t been so eager to get to ground, then Newton wouldn’t have been so inspired to’ve been so quixotic with his numerals; William Tell wouldn’t have been immortalised by a cowboy and sailors wouldn’t have had so far to go with only a paddle to skull to shore.”
It’s going well he thought, not daring to look up… right then—
“Instead of looking to numbers, which is understandable since mathematicians seem to like them; which is foolish, since there are few of us who know what to do with them besides pulling the odd face and nodding knowingly— and smirking. We should look elsewhere.
“So, if Einstein had been a poet, he’d have chosen a different route, and perhaps weighed his own impressions with his own collection of grimaces. Had he been a carpenter instead of a clerk, or perhaps a gardener with a keen interest in botany— the development of something tangible, like explaining the movement of clouds, would have been cultivated instead. He would also have found the apple and in it— the solutions he wanted so desperately to prove; since a mathematician without proof is just a scientist practising; a gardener without a crop just goes hungry for a little while— so the ‘knowing’ is preferable to the ‘perhaps’ of thought.
“An apple has a core, a seed, a skin, a stalk and a leaf; through which a branch, a trunk and a network of roots affiliate. They connect, create and make anew— much in the same way a human conditions itself in similar circumstances. So I ask you: how would a scar affect a dream? You sleep to heal and dream to co-ordinate but: a scar is a tissue that disrupts the surface: it is a raised imperfection; imperfections are distortions which need negotiating, meaning obstacles, meaning what?”
Chip surveyed his audience, having paused dramatically. That’ll get ’em he thought—
The purpose of the rough, is to reproduce without the impediment of a lumpy bed. The bark, the ground, the leaves— the skin of the apple— and it’s through which and its cycles we come to the ‘model of the universe’…
“Let’s throw away the universal constant because we don’t need it, not today— because although ‘the speed of light’ is inextricably wrapped up with the ‘time’ we need for the fruition of proof— and not least because I’m burdened by using a two dimensional ‘model of the universe’— combined with the long-time over-looked projection of ‘apple-time’— which is like space-time but better for you; both nutritionally and for the purposes of understanding. Especially if you happen to be a lesser exponent of ‘mathematical aptitudes’. This is mainly because there are none required whatsoever.”
He took a small pause and though he observed a distinct lack of fidgeting; he found some of the bewildered gawping a little discomforting. He took some water and continued…
“The nineteenth-century author Charles Lamb wrote: “Nothing puzzles me like time and space, because I never think of them.” Had he considered the benefits of consuming more fruit in his adolescence, he just might have been pondering differently— realising how ultimately fruit-ile and flawed his reasoning, or lack of it was. You see time flies like an arrow— and just because I like the sound of it: ‘fruit flies like a banana’. But what if they did not and what if ‘time’ could not fly at all. What if it fell?
“Let us consider the implications of such a concept shall we? If ‘time’ falls, it means that ‘time’ can be caught— meaning the future is tangible and can be stopped. In other words: if an arrow was aimed at an apple and [it] moved— the arrow would move to hit [it]. The probability of a hand interfering with the natural determinant of an apple striking the ground by catching it, would also curve the trajectory of the arrow— although, because the interruption could be construed as a ‘distortion’— by the rules we’ve already conceived of— though slight and tersely I may add— it’s of worth to note which would be struck first— ‘the hand’ thus resolving the offending variable— or ‘the apple’ to which the attraction originated…”
Chip looked up from the pages he’d been shuffling to a blank room filled with blank faces. The judges at the front of the hall began whispering amongst them selves— twitching their eyebrows as they did so, before the tall gentleman with the distinguished forehead took to his feet.
“Let me see if I’m understanding you correctly; you say the universe can be explained using an apple. And you prefer this method, to that of one of mathematics? In fact you’d dispense with mathematics altogether!”
“That’s correct sir.” said Chip.
“Then why may I ask, an apple? Couldn’t the same be said about an orange— or anything else that grows on trees for that matter?”
“Well, no sir. I do not believe you could.” said Chip. “Not only is it unlikely that Sir Isaac Newton even ever saw an orange— not up close or anything. But I don’t even like oranges…”
I think my blog-watching will take a few days yet…
Skill without imagination is craftsmanship. Just as, imagination without skill gives us modern art. Tom Stoppard made that observation, no doubt with, The Prudence and the Pill in mind: Nothing unites the English like war. Nothing divides them like Picasso.
Modern Art, it’s true— is considered with derision by many and as absurd by most, typified by nothing better than The Turner Prize. It is greeted each year with anticipation and enthusiasm, but for all the wrong reasons. With a glint in their eyes and half-baked chuckles wrestling in their throats, our newsreaders announce the short-list and their creators’ achievements, knowing full well that that we: the unenlightened ones, will be hooting and cursing in equal portions wondering what on Earth it’s all about?
Rachel Whiteread won the award in 1993, with her creation “House”. You may remember it: a Victorian Terrace was filled with concrete then its outsides were taken away, and so astonishing was its impact, the local council waited an entire year before tearing it down.
More recently though we had my personal favourite: Simon Starling, who ingeniously turned a boat into a shed, then back into a boat. Imaginatively titled: Shedboatshed (Mobile Architecture No 2). It was supposed represent the, slowing of things down, and about trying to retard the incredible speed with which we live.
The only thing I could tell was being slowed however, was the boat’s ability to float.
But of course it did. It made perfect sense. It made as much of it as being described ‘eccentric’ did to Mr Starling— which wasn’t a great deal, in fact he took great umbrage at the description— an act I found more bewildering than his former dinghy.
There’s little wrong with ‘form’ of any kind going hand-in-hand with hand and head, but when hands and bloockls become inseparable, even indistinguishable from the bullshit and bafflement which surrounds it; perhaps it’s worth trying to take the intellectual out of the art, or better still, away from it altogether.
How about bringing a little accessibility back? How about something like:
I’d have galleries handing out different coloured gum upon entering, to be chewed; there’s a little ‘shaping’ for you right there, where it matters— on the building blocks. It’s contemporary, very pop; and like all art— not everyone’s cup of tea— so it’ll either be chewed over or not— with verbals or mandibles, it doesn’t matter…
Towards the end of the gallery I would have a canvas for the used gum and a bin for that which was not. I like the irony but none of the significance which could easily be spun— but it’s as close as I can imagine, art for art’s sake, becoming more than a spectator sport, at least indoors anyway; and the kids would love it…