Sunday 27 February 2011

Diametrically Opposed

While you were trying to square a circle with a compass and straight edge, Leon has become friends with a range of extraordinary people: a successful neurosurgeon, a Nobel-prize winning physicist, an influential politician, a concert violinist. “All people of the highest calibre,” Leon smirks. Clive is having none of it. “People of the highest calibre are a bore,” he says, dismissing them roundly.

Tuesday 22 February 2011

A Crack in Time

While you were upstairs trying on your wife’s underclothes and hats, Leon and Clive have been sucked separately through a spatio-temporal vortex. Leon finds himself for a while on the streets of Harlem in the late twentieth century. Here he fits in well, honing his basketball skills and listening to hip-hop – until, that is, the vortex opens again and he is rushed off to Regency England. Here Clive has been all along, and, after some successful speculation in cotton mills and coal mines, is now a wealthy man. On seeing Leon at the road-side, he reins in his galloping grey, bringing his spanking new two-wheeler to a screeching halt, and greets his old friend.

“And what do you think of my new carriage?” Clive asks.

“Pretty fly,” says Leon.

Friday 18 February 2011

Should he stay or should he go?

While you were off looking for powdered eggs in the cupboard, Leon has become manager of a successful football team. Here his natural stoicism serves him well. After five triumphant seasons, Leon decides it’s time to move on, but the Board of Directors won’t let him go.

Friends ask Clive how Leon feels about staying.

“He’s resigned,” says Clive.

Tuesday 15 February 2011

Dark Humour

While you were dozing in your chair with your hand in a bowl of nachos, Clive has got lost in the maze of cellars beneath Hawker’s Pot.

“It’s pitch black down here and I can’t find my way out,” he says, feelingly.

Saturday 12 February 2011

After considering the propensity of gravediggers to make puns, Algernon Swift discovers that the same is true of geologists. (If you do not believe him, try googling “jokes about geology”.) Both professions involve looking at the ground for long periods of time and Swift supposes that this inclination of the head stimulates the area of the brain responsible for punning.

As an experiment, Algernon Swift tries staring at the sky for ten minutes, and does not think of a single pun.

Wednesday 9 February 2011

The Ineffable

Algernon Swift has an experience that, in spite of his large vocabulary, he cannot successfully convey. He takes a hint from modern life and tries again, this time effing and blinding his way through the telling of it, but still to no avail. It truly cannot be expressed in words.

Saturday 5 February 2011

Sporting Chance

Algernon Swift (previously uninterested in athletic exercise) has the good fortune to fall in with the members of a women’s Olympic sporting team.

“I’m a great fan of any sport played with a high net, a ball, and your bare hands,” he says, suddenly voluble.

Thursday 3 February 2011

Polygraphic, Stratigraphic

Algernon Swift has been reading Edmund Gosse’s Father and Son and has been struck by Gosse Sr.’s theory that God created the world within the Biblical timescale, but gave it the appearance – by concealing fossilised remains in the rocks -- of a planet on which life had existed for millions of years previously.

The geological record, that is to say, is deceptive and some parts of it are just plain Lias.